Conference on Teaching of Writing

University of Connecticut, First-Year Writing
Fifteenth Annual Conference on the Teaching of Writing
April 17, 2020, UConn Hartford Campus

Making Your Writing Course Move
We invite conference proposals for the University of Connecticut First-Year Writing Program’s Conference on the Teaching of Writing, taking place Friday, April 17, 2020 on the UConn Hartford Campus. Proposal submissions are due Tuesday, January 21, 2020. Our theme this year is Making Your Writing Course Move , with keynote speaker Jenae Cohn of Stanford University; we invite proposals that engage this theme.

UConnFirst-Year Writing is at the end of a multi-year curriculum redesign based on recent research on multimodal composing, accessibility, and digital literacies. As our program and Rhet/Comp in general have experienced a digital
turn, we must also consider the ways digital writing still engages bodies and the role bodies, norms about embodiment, and bodily literacies have in composition in all modes.
Scholars such as Christina V. Cedillo and Robert McRuer have argued that composition courses tend to privilege certain kinds of movement in writing, a movement that also assumes whiteness, ablebodiness, and straightness or wholeness.

This conference asks in what ways instructors of writing can make space for diverse kinds of movement, or facilitate movement that may not always lead to wholeness or completion. Recent work in the field has also considered
how technologies may destabilize traditional or normative modes of composition. Jenae Cohn’s latest work, for example, explores the ways in which digital reading practices and the moves therein create opportunities for more inclusive perspectives of what reading for learning can look like. Her keynote talk will draw upon her forthcoming book, Skim, Dive, Surface: Strategies for Digital Reading in the College Classroom.

We have designed our First-Year Writing classes around five “ course moves ” that prioritize active learning and accessibility. Each move offers a way to think about what we do when we write.

We invite proposals of 250-300 words to consider questions such as:
● What does it mean to move in writing? What does this term afford, enhance, inspire,
entangle, and limit?
● How do we make space for diverse writing moves in our field, classes, or institutions?
How do students engage those moves?
● How is the embodied experience of writing shaped by fields, classes, or institutions?
● How do we see fields, classes, or institutions constructing movement based on race,
class, ability, gender, sexuality, or culture? How might we subvert, push back, or find
space for alternative movements and possibilities within these spaces?
● How does technological composition move ?
● What kinds of bodies get to move through/with technologies? (e.g., how do surveillance
technologies privilege or assume certain kinds of movement? How can we design
technologies for inclusion?)
● What kinds of expressions are possible through/with technologies?
We offer a variety of session types: panels, posters, and workshops, each with their own
affordances. Below, we’ve outlined examples of each, as well as what to expect. Please indicate
which session you will be engaging in your submission form and in your session description.
● Posters can focus on a specific activity or method you use in the classroom, or on a
specific aspect of your in-process research. They can be in digital, analog, and/or
interactive formats, and don’t need to be on a traditional “poster.” Poster presenters have
an opportunity to receive in-the-moment feedback from circulating audience members.
● Panels are ideal for a larger scale intervention; for example, extending recent work in
composition or drawing larger conclusions based in research or case studies. We
especially invite group proposals (at least 3 to 4 people) to submit as a panel. Individual
proposals will be grouped based on the topic.
● Interactive Workshops can engage participants in a classroom exercise, an
activity-based engagement with research or a theory, etc. Workshops should have at
least two presenters.
Apply at our conference website

The Wallace Stevens Poetry Prize

Calling all undergraduate and graduate student poets! The Wallace Stevens Poetry Program is now accepting submissions for this prestigious campus award. Prizes of $1000, $500, and $250 will be awarded to the winning poets. Students from any major at any UConn campus are eligible.

Deadline: December 9, 2019

Submit 1-8 poems.

We look forward to reading your work!

Full details and guidelines are posted on the Creative Writing Program Website.

Eleni Coundouriotis Brown Bag Event

Join the Department for a Faculty Brown Bag Event with Eleni Coundouriotis.

Wednesday, November 20 at 12:00 pm in the Stern Lounge (Austin 217).

“Refugee Experience and Historical Retrospection”

For literature scholars, the exile and an exilic sensibility of homelessness have a particular resonance associated with an ethics of reading marked by historical engagement.  Anthropologists are now using the term exile to recast the figure of the refugee. What happens in this shift from refugee to exile, especially considering that exile is not a term with any legal meaning? What can our literary sense of the term exile bring to the discussion of refugees as exiles?  To explore these questions, the paper examines the figure of the exile in the context of what Michel Agier has called the “existential community” of exodus for which historical retrospection becomes a means of political re-subjectification.

Sponsored by the Department of English Speakers and Symposia Committee. Drinks and desserts will be provided!


Margaret Gibson Poetry Reading

Margaret Gibson will give a Creative Sustenance Poetry Reading on Thursday, Nov. 14, at 6pm in the Storrs Center UConn Bookstore.

Creative Sustenance is a series hosted and sponsored by the Creative Writing Program to benefit the Covenant Soup Kitchen in Willimantic. Attendees are invited to make monetary or nonperishable goods donations after the reading.

Margaret Gibson, the Connecticut Poet Laureate, is the author of 12 collections of poetry including Not Hearing the Wood Thrush (2018). “Passage, ”a poem from this collection, was included in The Best American Poetry 2017. Her 2014 collection Broken Cup was a Finalist for the 2016 Poet’s Prize, and the title poem won a Pushcart Prize for 2016. Her awards include the Lamont Selection for Long Walks in the Afternoon (1982), the Melville Kane Award (co-winner) for Memories of the Future (1986), the Connecticut Book Award in Poetry for One Body (2008), and The Vigil (1993) was a Finalist for the National Book Award in Poetry. Her memoir The Prodigal Daughter was published in 2008. She is UConn Professor Emerita of English.

Sarah Beth Durst Reading and Q&A

Award-winning fantasy writer and children’s book writer Sarah Beth Durst will be giving a reading and Q&A in the Stern Room at 6:30 on Tuesday, November 12, to which all are invited. There is also limited availability for her talk at 5:00 p.m. on how she worldbuilds differently for children’s and adult fantasy, in AUST 102 (please email Leigh Grossman at if interested).


Sarah Beth Durst is the author of nineteen fantasy books for children, teens, and adults, including The Girl Who Could Not DreamDrink Slay Love, and The Queens of Renthia series. She won an ALA Alex Award and a Mythopoeic Fantasy Award and has been a finalist for SFWA’s Andre Norton Award three times. She is a graduate of Princeton University, where she spent four years studying English, writing about dragons, and wondering what the campus gargoyles would say if they could talk.