New book from Dr. O’Gorman

Congratulations to Dr. Marcel O’Gorman, whose latest book, Making Media Theory Thinking Critically with Technology, has just been released (Bloomsbury). Chapter titles range from “Writing with a Soldering Iron” to “In Defence of Uselessness.”

As the press writes: Making Media Theory is about the study, practice, and hands-on design of media theory. It looks at experimental research methods and engages in media analysis, inviting readers to respond to and shape the materiality of media while carefully considering the implications of living in a technoculture. The author walks readers through the creation of digital objects to think with, where critical design practices serve as tools for exploring social and philosophical issues related to technological being and becoming.

Online Teaching: A How-To

UWaterloo English faculty Dr. Lai-Tze Fan and PhD candidate Becky Anderson have collaborated to produce a helpful overview of “How to Succeed at Online Teaching and Virtual Education.” It covers everything from “What if my students can’t access certain websites?” to “How do I assign grades for things like participation?” along with providing a thorough round-up of useful links. Even if you’ve been teaching online since March, there’s a chance there’s something new and helpful included.

Why Omar Gutierrez chose English’s XDM

Why did Omar Gutierrez decide to on UWaterloo English’s masters program in Experimental Digital Media? Click on the above video to find out!

Critical Media Lab Talk Series

We’re pleased to announce Digital Scholars Lecture Series, which unites UWaterloo English‘s Critical Media Lab, Guelph’s THINC Lab, and McMaster’s Sherman Centre for Digital Scholarship. At Uwaterloo, it is coordinated by Dr. Lai-Tze Fan.

Of especial interest is the speaker on November 19th, UWaterloo English PhD candidate, Lillian A. Black , whose 4pm talk is titled “It’s Queerly Identifiable: Transgender Narrative Reclamation in Overwatch” for the Digital Scholar Lecture Series. 

To register, click here. The entire schedule follows.

November 5 – Amanda Montague (McMaster) – Advancing Collaboration in Digital Project-Based Learning
November 12 – Asen Isanov (Guelph) – Texts, Minds & Contexts: Exploring culture, meaning and practice across approaches & domains
November 19 – Lillian Black (Waterloo) – It’s Queerly Identifiable: Transgender Narrative Reclamation in Overwatch
December 3 – Alexander Fleck (Waterloo) – Communities in Care in Platform Construction: Understanding Video Game Preservation in 2020

Wild Writers Festival Starts Nov. 2nd

A reminder November brings us the Wild Writers Literary Festival, founded by The New Quarterly, a literary journal based at UWaterloo’s St. Jerome’s. Interested in placing the perfect line break? Or starting your own writing group? Maybe you want some guidance in finding your voice?

UWaterloo English faculty Dr. Vinh Nguyen and Dr. Lamees Al Ethari will also be participating. For more see Wild Writers Literary Festival.

New Faculty Book: Poetry and Science

Congratulations to English’s Dr. John Savarese. His book Romanticism’s Other Minds Poetry, Cognition, and the Science of Sociability is now available from Ohio State University Press. As the press writes:

In Romanticism’s Other Minds: Poetry, Cognition, and the Science of Sociability, John Savarese reassesses early relationships between Romantic poetry and the sciences, uncovering a prehistory of cognitive approaches to literature and demonstrating earlier engagement of cognitive approaches than has heretofore been examined at length. Eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century writers framed poetry as a window into the mind’s original, underlying structures of thought and feeling. While that Romantic argument helped forge a well-known relationship between poetry and introspective or private consciousness, Savarese argues that it also made poetry the staging ground for a more surprising set of debates about the naturally social mind. From James Macpherson’s forgeries of ancient Scottish poetry to Wordsworth’s and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, poets mined traditional literatures and recent scientific conjectures to produce alternate histories of cognition, histories that variously emphasized the impersonal, the intersubjective, and the collective. By bringing together poetics, philosophy of mind, and the physiology of embodied experience—and with major studies of James Macpherson, Anna Letitia Barbauld, William Wordsworth, and Walter Scott—Romanticism’s Other Minds recovers the interdisciplinary conversations at the heart of Romantic-era literary theory.

Alumna and Faculty on CBC Poetry List

UWaterloo English faculty Dr. Sarah Tolmie and alumna and international best-seller author Rupi Kaur have both landed on the CBC list “37 Canadian poetry collections to watch for in fall 2020.” Tolmie, previously nominated for the Governor General’s Award for poetry, has just released Check, while Kaur, a New York Times best-selling author, is the author of home body.

Congratulations to MA Grad Renée Belliveau

Congratulations to MA English alumna Renée Belliveau, whose debut novel Blinking Embers has just been acquired by Vagrant Press (Nimbus Publishing), and will be available fall 2021.

New Poetry Book from Dr. Sarah Tolmie

Join us in congratulating Dr. Sarah Tolmie on her newest book of poetry, Check. The collection is a series of poems about confirmation bias. From the press:

Hairless apes, while they’re alive / Need a community to thrive. / Bald fact.

Hard-won freedoms of choice and association lead us to flock together in groups of the like-minded. Check is a book of contemporary poetic satire about the groups that we inevitably form and their consequences: in-groups and out-groups and mutual suspicion. When we look around at others, and talk about them amongst ourselves, we agree.

Sarah Tolmie writes about parents and teenagers, social media users, different kinds of writers, university professors, feminists, celebrities, pundits – each one in possession of a different truth and determined to defend it. Hatred and intolerance are always the province of other people, never ourselves.

Check begins and ends with the premise that toleration is exceedingly difficult and exasperating; it should not be casually assumed, and failures in it are universal. There has never been a tolerant society before, certainly not a global one.

Engl 230: The Pleasure of Poetry

Looking for a new course? English 230 is an introduction to the enjoyment of poetry for students from all faculties and programs, covering poets from Emily Dickinson to Rupi Kaur, no prior experience or academic background necessary.

Poetry is a wonderful, rich form of literature that should not be a closed book to anyone; indeed, when we are really moved, we often turn to verse to express our feelings; this course will give everyone a chance to “break into” poetry by focusing on the feelings, experiences, and powers that it communicates. Open to all, the course will guide students to better understand what poetry offers readers today.

Poems will be sampled from different periods, forms, authors, and topics, but always with an eye to why poetry gives its readers unique and enjoyable experiences. A range of poems will be sampled, from traditional ballads to instapoetry, and students will have opportunities to share poems that they like. Authors will include (but are not limited to): Kamala Das, Margaret Atwood, Langston Hughes, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Phillis Wheatley, Rupi Kaur, e. e. cummings, Alan Ginsberg, Mona Van Duyn, Sylvia Plath, and Terrance Hayes.

About the instructor: Fraser Easton began his university studies in Physics and Math and only later switched to English, avoiding poetry as much as possible in his own studies. It was at the University of Waterloo, where his duties included teaching poetry, that he finally overcame his fear of the genre, and really began to be open to it and to enjoy it. He has designed this course to help all students increase, or to discover, their own appreciation of what poetry can offer.