Monthly Archives: March 2013

Jen Banning Recommends ‘The Penelopiad’ by Margaret Atwood

Jen Banning graduated summa cum laude from Ball State University with majors in history and anthropology in 2010.  She is currently pursuing an M.A. in general English with a focus on creative writing. In the latest installment of our “Recommended Reads” series, Jen recommends The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood.

As a history and anthropology undergrad-turned-English grad student, I find it hard to resist a good retelling of Greek mythology.  Though the myth of The Odyssey has been told and retold countless times, Margaret Atwood takes on the tale in an irreverent and thought-provoking manner by breathing life into Penelope, Odysseus’s faithful and patient wife.  A part of Canongate’s Myths Series, The Penelopiad reinterprets the familiar legend from a woman’s perspective, exploring issues of justice, gender norms, and storytelling.

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Graduate School for Creative Writers

Last week, Associate Professor Cathy Day convened a panel on graduate school for creative writing majorsThis panel, featuring creative writing faculty members Jill Christman, Cathy Day, Sean Lovelace, Michael Meyerhofer, and Matt Mullins, addressed common questions and concerns that prospective creative writing graduate students have. Follow the link below to see Cathy’s original post, “Graduate School for Creative Writers,” on her Literary Citizenship blog. The post contains links to resources that are relevant to students thinking about applying to graduate school as well as a complete transcript of the event.


Andrew Neylon Recommends Blue Valentine directed by Derek Cianfrance

In the latest installment of our “Recommended Reads” series, Andrew Neylon, a senior literature major, recommends Blue Valentine, a film directed by Derek Cianfrance.

When I was a kindergartner in the mid 1990s, only one boy in our class had divorced parents. We were all made aware of this through monthly parent nights, and in the way that children often do, we summarily ostracized the boy for being, well, different.

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In Print Interview: Marcus Wicker, Poet

Marcus Wicker is this year’s poet for the In Print Festival of First Books, which will be on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week! His debut collection of poems, Maybe the Saddest Thingwas selected for the National Poetry Series and published last year by Harper Perennial. Below, Wicker discusses his book, inspirations, and writing experiences among other topics in an interview conducted by Makayla Sickbert. Also, be sure to check out interviews with In Print Festival’s fiction author Eugene Cross and nonfiction author Elena Passarello, and don’t forget to join us on March 19 and 20 at 7:30 PM in the Student Center Ballroom for the 8th annual In Print Festival of First Books!

*Photo provided by Marcus Wicker

*Photo provided by Marcus Wicker

Marcus Wicker’s first book Maybe the Saddest Thing was selected for the National Poetry Series and published by Harper Perennial in 2012. He has received fellowships from The Poetry Foundation, Cave Canem, the Fine Arts Work Center, and Indiana University. Wicker’s work has appeared in Poetry, Beloit, Third Coast, and Ninth Letter, among other journals. He is assistant professor of English at University of Southern Indiana and poetry editor of Southern Indiana Review.

The following interview was conducted by Broken Plate 2013 student faculty member Makayla Sickbert.

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Publishing Internships and Scholarships Available to BSU Writers


Did you know there’s a writers’ conference in Muncie, Indiana?

Well, now you do.

Thanks to a grant from the Discovery Group, Ball State students can 1.) intern at or 2.) attend this summer’s Midwest Writer’s Workshop, a yearly gathering of agents, editors, publishing professionals, and writers whose mission is to help Midwesterners become published authors. Participants can gain real-world experience and build the kind of credentials that will give them an advantage in their careers.

To get this kind of experience as a college student is unusual. To get it as a college student not in New York City but in Muncie, Indiana is amazing.

There are up to 15 internship spots available. Find out more here: Discovery 2013 Internship

There are up to 10 scholarships available: Find out more here: Midwest Writers Workshop Scholarship.

The deadline for applications is Friday, March 29, 2013 at noon.

For more information, please talk to the Project Director, Prof. Cathy Day of the English Department.

In Print Interview: Elena Passarello, Nonfiction Writer

Elena Passarello is this year’s nonfiction author for the In Print Festival of First Books, which will be held on March 19 and 20 this yearHer debut collection of personal essays, Let Me Clear My Throat, was published last year by Sarabande Books. Below, Passarello discusses her book, inspirations, and writing experiences among other topics in an interview conducted by Veronica Sipe. Also, be sure to check out an interview with In Print Festival’s fiction author Eugene Cross, and don’t forget to join us on March 19 and 20 at 7:30 PM in the Student Center Ballroom for the 8th annual In Print Festival of First Books!

*Photo provided by Elena Passarello

*Photo provided by Elena Passarello

Elena Passarello is the author of Let Me Clear My Throat (Sarabande 2012). Her writing on music, performance, pop culture, and the natural world has appeared in Slate, Creative Nonfiction, the Normal School, Ninth Letter, the Iowa Review, and the 2012 music writing anthology Pop When the World Falls Apart. For a decade, Elena worked as an actor and voice-over performer throughout the East Coast and in the Midwest. She is an Assistant Professor at Oregon State University.

The following interview was conducted by Broken Plate 2013 student faculty member Veronica Sipe.

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Dr. Adam R. Beach Recommends “Finn: A Novel” by Jon Clinch

In the latest installment of our “Recommended Reads” series, Dr. Adam Beach, assistant chairperson to the Department of English, recommends Finn: A Novel by Jon Clinch.

Some of my favorite books are those modern or contemporary novels, sometimes called metafiction, that rewrite a classic piece of fiction from a different point of view.  For example, Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea (1966), which is perhaps my favorite such book, rewrites Jane Eyre (1847) by focusing on the life of Bertha, the madwoman in Rochester’s attic, and her life in the Caribbean as well as her marriage to Rochester, events that are only dimly referenced in Charlotte Brontё’s novel.  Another of my favorites in this line, J.M. Coetzee’s Foe (1986), takes a postmodern approach to Robinson Crusoe (1719) by giving us the doomed figure of Susan, a woman who was shipwrecked on Crusoe and Friday’s island.  Susan paints a rather dim picture of Crusoe, his domination over Friday, and the island itself—the first part of the book represents Susan’s narrative account of the island, which she subsequently gives to the author “Foe” upon her return to England in hopes of getting it published.  This Daniel Foe adds a fake “de” to his name, and in Coetzee’s book, becomes both an appropriator of Susan’s work and its enemy, for he takes her story, writes her out of it, and creates one of the most enduring British—and highly masculine—imperial fantasies.

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