The Balderdash Reading Series, organized by English and Film Studies PhD candidate, Sanchari Sur, held its second event for the fall at the Robert Langen Art Gallery on October 26, 2017.
Pasha Malla, Laurier’s Writer-in-Residence for fall, read an amusing extract from Fugue States in which the narrator describes an attempt at skiing with homemade skis and boots. We are left hanging, wondering if the boots stayed on the intrepid skier.
Jagtar Kaur Atwal, from Cambridge, read an autobiographical poem about the difficulty of speaking in an alien tongue: “Writing has been like walking in knee-deep mud for my fear of rejection.” She finds strength in another kind of voice, a silenced one.
Tanis MacDonald read from a recent issue of Arc Magazine and poems yet unpublished. She shared her poem outlining a professor’s thoughts while invigilating an exam. Apparently, MacDonald has reflected on birds, especially finches, while students are writing their exams.
Canisia Lubrin read from Voodoo Hypothesis and reminds us that “black isn’t always a void.” Meditating on the many recent hurricanes that have hit the Caribbean, Lubrin writes, “We return to burn or bury what we have lost…” when nature swallows “things many times the size of our earth.”
A great event with talented voices…
Balderdash Reading Series runs with the generous support of the Graduate Student Association. It holds monthly readings with new and established writers, often featuring works by writers published in the New Quarterly.
Manreet Lachhar (Event organizer) and Daniella Cavallini (ESA President)
The English Student Association hosted their annual Meet the Profs night this winter term with an added twist.
They had a trivia game that determined if the students would be smarter than the professors in literary questions from all areas of study. The students were spilt into two teams of eight and the Professors team was made up of Dr. Poetzsch, Dr. Pirbhai, Dr. Sharpe, Dr. Shakinovsky, Dr. Kerber, Dr. Wyse, and Heather Olaveson. It was a close game but the professors won by two points. They said they would have had a higher score if Dr. Waugh stayed to help answer all the medieval questions, but they still came out as winners.
The “Profs”: R. Waugh, L. Shakinovsky, M. Poetzsch, M. Pirbhai, A. Sharpe, J. Kerber and B. Wyse, H. Olaveson (not in photo)
Beniah Lanoue, Sarah Shearer, Manreet Lachhar, and Heather Hattle: Judges
Dr. Andrew Bretz, who teaches our Early Modern courses, has been leading students in an informal and fun performative reading group. In the fall and winter semester, Dr. Bretz shares his enthusiasm for some of the bawdiest and most brilliant works of the Jacobean Golden Age with about a dozen or so keeners who show up at Wilf’s to read aloud plays and learn more about the context in which they were written.
Photos: Francis Alexander Rock
Andrew Bretz says, ” This past fall we looked at Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay (a rollicking comedy about the (literally) devilish shenanigans undergraduates got up to in the renaissance), The Revenger’s Tragedy (which is to Hamlet what Young Frankenstein is to the original Frankenstein), and The Jew of Malta (wherein Christopher Marlowe created probably the most interesting anti-hero the English stage has EVER seen).”
These pictures are from our Revenger’s Tragedy play reading, where, like Hamlet, everyone got to hold the skull! I invite you to come and join our Early Modern Play Reading Group at WLU and broaden your knowledge of Shakespeare and company!
The academic has the strange experience of working alone and in a large group simultaneously. Despite being part of a rhetorical discourse community and a physical departmental community, it is nevertheless easy to feel alone as one reads through endless stacks of books while writing everything from essay comments to book-length treatises. Enter the conference.
The conference is useful in a number of ways: as an opportunity to network, to receive feedback on your research, to meet others in your field with whom you might collaborate, and to get involved in administrative aspects of various academic organizations. But for me, what the recent ACCUTE conference made so clear is that the social aspect of the conference is as important as the professional aspects. Interacting with others is vital to our ability to produce good work, and unfortunately, this is something I think many of us often forget in the whirlwind of deadlines and to-do lists.
I confess that I did not have high expectations for the conference before attending. As I flipped through the initial program in the weeks before the big event, I thought that there were relatively few panels of relevance to my research. Canadianists and Victorianists seemed to be the two largest camps, and, as I am neither, I expected to feel somewhat out of place. But this was not at all the case. The biggest lesson I learned at Congress was to avoid retreating too far into the specificity of my own research.
I heard papers on Medieval, Early Modern, Victorian, and Canadian literature—none of which are really my area—and still found my mind racing excitedly with ideas. From the NAVSA series on “The Uses and Abuses of History” to the debate on “The Modern Academic and Copyright Law” to Faye Hammill’s keynote address on “Sophistication, Modernism, and Entertainment,” to the extremely popular poetry event “Soirée des Refusés,” I felt recharged and reinvigorated with each event I attended. Moreover, I began bumping into other students and professors I knew from various levels of my university education, and even our informal conversations were infected by our excitement about things we had seen and heard.
See, when academics attend a conference, their enthusiasm and excitement becomes contagious. It’s difficult to avoid becoming infected by the energy of thousands of minds and voices coming together in collaboration. Although I arrived expecting to find few connections to my own research, I left with a supply of creative energy that followed me home and made the month of June extremely productive.
Tanis MacDonald presents paper on Renee Saklikar’s Children of Air India
Tanis MacDonald and Eleanor Ty were invited to participate in the Canada and Beyond Seminar 3 at the University of Huelva, Spain from 19-20 June 2014 hosted by Pilar Cuder-Dominguez (Universidad de Huelva) and Belen Martin Lucas (Universidade de Vigo). About 20 scholars from Canada, Britain, and Europe gathered to talk about “the geopolitics of intimacy.” Other speakers included Cynthia Sugars (University of Ottawa), Winfried Siemerling (University of Waterloo), and writer/poet, Larissa Lai (CRC, University of Calgary).
Tanis MacDonald’s “Unauthorized Exhibits: The Space of Mourning” argued that even when the elegy concerns familial loss, it can be political. Eleanor Ty’s “Intimacy, Violence, and Disruption in Monsieur Lazhar” looked at the parallels between familiar teacher and the stranger to reveal the connections triggered by unexpected violence. After the conference, they visited some castles and other sights.