Thursday, April 30, 2009

SDSU MALAS and Collaborate on a Cool Summer Class!

Joanna Brooks, our award-winning*, fab Americanist, is teaching a new class for graduate students into literature and cultural studies at SDSU--the course is inter-disciplinary and open to all majors! Click the image above to get the scoop! This is the first of hopefully many cross-pollenizations between and SDSU's MALAS program.

*American Lazarus: Religion and the Rise of African-American and Native American Literatures, William Sanders Scarborough Prize, Modern Language Association, 2004

Apply for the 2nd Annual Joe Gillis Internship in Hollywood Competition!

More information appears below the clickable image here:

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Our 2009 Cool Summer Schedule is now ONLINE!

Click the image below to be instantly teleported to the mothership! Hit the beachball on the top of the page and you'll be looking at our Summer menu of literati delights!

CCC, NCCL & host GENE YANG @ SDSU, Wed. May 6, 2009

Stop the presses! Stop the presses! Gene Yang, comic book superstar extraordinaire, is coming to SDSU on Wednesday, May 6, 2009; hats off to Professor June Cummins-Lewis and the rest of the SDSU Children's Literature cohort for making this happen.  Hit this image for all the details {more below}:

For more on Yang and his work, go here.

ps: you may have heard we are going to have a Comics/Graphic Narrative class at this Fall 2009--it will be led by our cool, indy-film prof Neil Kendricks!

English and Comparative Literature Chair Invades the SDSU Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Wednesday, April 29, 2009

When not alligator-wrestling colleagues over departmental politics, Bill Nericcio tries to keep himself busy being a scholar and cultural studies writer. He's been invited by the generous graduate students in Spanish and Portuguese at SDSU to share his latest findings filed under the salacious working working title Eyegiene: Permutations of Subjectivity in the Televisual Age of Sex and Race--his follow-up book with UT Press to Tex[t]-Mex: Seductive Hallucinations of the "Mexican" in America. Go to Professor Nericcio's blog or click the image opposite for more details.

Logo Prototype |

Friday, April 24, 2009

Jericho Brown Reads and Talks to Students @ SDSU's

Crisis Carnival Recap

Now that two weeks have passed since this year's SDSU English Department sponsored graduate student conference, allow me to supply a rundown of the day's proceedings.  As organizer of this year's event, I was pleased by the quality and contrast of the presentations, and was glad to see so many people turn out in support.  


The title of the conference, "The Ecstasy of Speed," was selected due to its relevancy to current issues of study, and allowed for an array of presentation topics ranging from from crank addict surfers to Craigslist ad surfers; we saw Corpus Christi Pageants and Facebook fanatics, and had analyses on everything from Doctorow's  Ragtime to Danielewski's  Only Revolutions.  Since the panels were set up thematically in an attempt to simulate the debilitating effects of escalating speed, it came as no shock when the unexpected ending left many in attendance craving more.  


The event ended after keynote speaker Derek Pell captivated the crowd with anecdotes and satirical readings of his work ranging from "deconstructing" art to tips on how to write a successful suicide note, ending with a clip from his reworking of
Plan 9 From Outer Space, aptly titled Plan 9b From Outer Space.


In a comment to a rousing presentation by Larry McCaffery, MFA graduate and author Kimball Taylor may have summed up the overall feeling of the day when by saying that the most dangerous effect of speed is not the acceleration but coming to a quick stop.  


As a result of my own confusion with the unexpected ending, I failed to thank the people I had meant to (besides Pam Fox Kuhlken for supplying us all Cracker Jacks), so allow me to use this space to thank everyone whose hard work went into making this conference happen:

Thank you Gaelan Gilbert for all your help in co-organizing the event; Bill Nericcio for running the Crisis Carnival website  and basically guiding us through the whole process; Nathan Leaman for helping in the transitioning from last year's amazing conference;  Larry McCaffery for all the arrangements with the keynote; Derek Pell for acting as keynote; Mark Young, Quentin Bailey, Joanna Brooks, and the other respondents already mentioned for giving your time; Annie Foral for reserving rooms; Adam Pike and everyone at Ponce's for supplying our lunch; Megan E. Gilbert for displaying her artwork; Charlie Yi of The Latent Print for help with the flier (see above); and thank you again to all of the panelists for sharing their work under the rigorous pressures of an academic conference.

I enjoyed the entire experience and look forward to seeing what comes of next year's conference after I pass the torch on to the next unsuspecting grad student.  Any volunteers?

Kevin Gossett


Carey Wall in Mississippi Quarterly

Our congratulations go out to Carey Wall, an SDSU professor and former department chair whose article "`The Burning' : Extreme Reversal to Meet Life's Obligations" will appear in this month's Eudora Welty Centennial Supplement. For subscription information click here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Jericho Brown Reading from PLEASE this Thursday Morning @ 8am, West Commons 220! Free

Jericho Brown is in the house @ SDSU this coming Thursday morning to dazzle listeners in Professor Bill Nericcio's Sex in Film and Lit class with readings from his jaw-droppingly compelling new collection, PLEASE. The talk begins at 8am (yikes!), Thursday, April 23, 2009 in SDSU's WEST COMMONS 220; admission is FREE, but seating is limited, so make sure to get there early to secure your ringside seat. Brown's liable to burn the house down with his searing, lyric musings, so brace yourself for incoming! Here's a cool interview with Jericho Brown.

Music, classic R & B music, rules the pages of this slim, potent volume with cameos by Donny Hathaway, Roberta Flack, and Marvin Gaye rolling in and out of its pages. Here's a classic taste of Marvin Gaye to set the vibe for Thurday's reading:

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Thursday, April 16, 2009

More About Diane Ackerman @ SDSU, Monday, April 20, 2009 at 6pm | Hardy Tower welcomes DIANE ACKERMAN to SDSU, Monday, April 20, 2009!!!

Poet, essayist, and naturalist, Diane Ackerman is the author of many highly acclaimed works of nonfiction, including A Natural History of the Senses--a book beloved by readers all over the world and the volumes Deep Play, A Slender Thread, The Rarest of the Rare, A Natural History of Love, The Moon by Whale Light, and a memoir on flying, On Extended Wings. Her poetry has been collected into six volumes, among them Jaguar of Sweet Laughter: New and Selected Poems and, most recently, Praise My Destroyer. Ms. Ackerman has received many prizes and awards, including the John Burroughs Nature Award and the Lavan Poetry Prize. A Visiting Professor at the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University, she was the National Endowment for the Humanities Distinguished Professor at the University of Richmond. Ms. Ackerman also has the unusual distinction of having had a molecule named after her -- dianeackerone. She lives in upstate New York. [thanks Harper Collins, for the bio]

More on the event, with maps!, here:

Wednesday, April 15, 2009 helps welcome DIANE ACKERMAN to SDSU!!!

MFA Graduate Martin Woodside Going to Romania on a Fulbright Fellowship

The last time SDSU's stellar MFA graduate Martin Woodside was mentioned here it was to advertise his recently published chapbook, Stationary Landscapes (available from Pudding House Press for ten dollars). In addition to having his poetry published, Woodside now has two new impressive accomplishments to add to his literary resume. Woodside answered Fulbright's call and has been offered a fellowship to research poetry in Romania. And yet, this was not enough for the ambitious artist/scholar. He has also won the very prestigious Presidential Fellowship at Rutgers-Camden. Rutgers-Camden are allowing him to defer admission there for a year so he can take the Fulbright in Romania. When Woodside returns from Romania he will begin in the new Childhood Studies Program at Rutgers.

Oliver Mayer at SDSU, April 16, 2009

You are an early-riser and lover of the arts, wondering, "what should I do this fine Thursday morning?" We've got the solution. Oliver Mayer, the West Coast's hottest American playwright, is hanging out in Bill Nericcio's English 493, Sex in Film and Literature class at SDSU.


where: WEST COMMONS 220
when: the ungodly hour of 8:00am
why: amazing literature/theatre
hosts: ENGL 493, sdsu; SDSU PRESS, the Department of English and Comparative Literature, Hyperbole Books and pacificREVIEW

The lecture is FREE and open to the public! welcomes DIANE ACKERMAN to SDSU

Diane Ackerman Coming to SDSU! Mark Your Calendars! April 20, 2009 @ 6pm in Hardy Tower!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

We take our Children's Literature seriously at SDSU!

update for this posting

Not for nothing does SDSU have one of the most prolific and dynamic Children's Literature cohorts on the planet! One of our top lecturers, Dr. Mary Galbraith, forwards this communiqué regarding the devotion of one of our undergraduates. Let's just say he lets Children's Lit get under his skin! Here's Galbraith's missive (with picture!).

Transmitting the Body of Children's Literature:

Max's wild rumpus in Where the Wild Things Are as recently published on the chest of Lance Dela Llana, a student in English 306A (the department's course in Children's Literature for Liberal Studies majors).

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Emeritus Professor Gennaro Santangelo, 1929-2009 | R.I.P

Literati and Friends in the College of Arts and Letters,

Once again mala Fortuna visits and I am called upon to forward sad tidings.

Professor Emeritus Gennaro A. Santangelo, an outstanding retired member of our faculty has passed away. Santangelo was an amazing mentor to me my first years here on Montezuma Mesa--funny, wise, brilliant, and well-versed in the mysteries of academe. Join me in sharing my condolences to his wife Beth and his entire surviving family. Riposa in pace.

My thanks to Emeritus Professor Federico Moramarco for bringing this to my attention; Fred writes: "Gennaro's the guy who interviewed me at MLA and recommended I be hired at SDSU, so had a pretty large impact on my life."

Please send your pictures, written memories, reminiscences, and the like to me at this address,, so that we can honor Professor Santangelo with a memorial on our web site.

William A. Nericcio

Memories of Professor Gennaro Santangelo

Fred Moramarco reading a poem on the occasion of Jerry Santangelo's retirement--also pictured, Bill Rogers and Jerry Farber. Picture courtesy of Carey Wall.

Gennaro Santangelo was the Department's town crier. (Except for the negative and generally feminine connotations of the word, I would call him the department's "Yenta," but he would know I mean that very lovingly.) No one ever knew anything about the department before Jerry knew it, not even the chairs. He had his fingers on the pulse of the university and was a familiar figure in the hallways of the Adams Humanities Building talking to one person or another to one person or another about the latest administrative outrage, and lobbying for what we used to call in more innocent times, "department autonomy." Unlike many faculty members, Jerry loved being at SDSU and conveyed a sense of pride about the department and the university. He and his wife Beth were also the semi-official department host and hostess for many years, holding various gracious and generous parties at their beautiful, art-filled Mt. Helix home. He practiced what we Italians call "convivio," making people feel welcome and comfortable when hosting them. He loved to travel and did so widely, to virtually all parts of the world. He loved to visit museums and galleries and to talk about connections between literature and art, which was the subject of his favorite course. He was a passionate art collector, especially of high quality limited edition prints which he had a special feel for. Over the years he suffered from various physical ailments, and had difficulty walking, but he rarely complained about it, and walking across campus with him at his slow, measured pace, was a kind of revelation. When I did so, I always noticed things I usually breezed right by. Though I saw him rarely recently, I did visit him just a week ago and even though he looked very ill, he remained curious, interested in what I had to say, inquisitive about the department and my family as always, and the same old Jerry underneath his frail and ravaged body. I will miss his presence in the world.

Federico Moramarco
Emeritus Professor
English and Comparative Literature, SDSU

In the fall of 1991, I was one of twenty or so students in the Monday night Introduction to Graduate Studies seminar at SDSU. We were an enthusiastic bunch, eager to engage the work of pursuing a graduate degree. But for all of our gusto, our collective understanding of the realities of life in the academy was, at best, myopic. Fortunately for us, the professor assigned to teach the class was Genarro Santangelo. And one could not hope for a better or more benevolent taskmaster for what lay ahead.

From the moment he walked in the room on the first night (I can still see his purposeful entrance, taking us all in, nodding and smiling genially) he began giving shape to our enthusiasm, making us into the teachers and researchers we would become. The next fifteen weeks would be a series of challenges in learning the finer points of teaching, research and writing. Whether we were navigating the stacks of Love Library in search of an answer to one of his carefully considered research problems or preparing for the daunting task of the in-class presentation, Santangelo sat at the front of the room, Yoda-like, smiling and nodding at our attempts at insight, questioning that which was unclear, encouraging that which showed promise. He was exacting (and at times, demanding) but his standards were always tempered with fairness and kindness, and we learned a great deal that term.

But beyond the course material, Santangelo provided insights into the culture of the profession. Using terms like "expert," "professional" and "colleague," he provided countless examples of just what we had gotten ourselves into. Outside of class he led seminars on applying to doctoral programs and job searches, providing practical anecdotes from his own experiences from a life spent in academia. I fondly remember the class party he and his wife hosted at their home. With the entire seminar seated in the living room, Santangelo held forth on topics as wide ranging as the relationship between art and literature to how the Chargers were faring that season. In these times and others, he gave a sense of our future selves, and with that emerging picture came the lesson of the obligations that came with such aspirations.

His constant reminder that we were all "here to learn" has served me often and well; it is a mantra that I now repeat to my own students, and I cannot repeat it without hearing it in Jerry's voice. I am saddened to hear of his passing, but I am grateful for the good fortune to have had him as a teacher and thankful for the lessons he taught me.

Michael Harper
Professor of English
Mount San Antonio College

Jerry Santangelo was one of my oldest and dearest friends. I first met him in Binghamton, New York, in the mid-1960s, where he was a faculty member and I was a faculty wife and independent (read "unemployed") researcher. At that time I had the pleasure of reading Jerry's doctoral thesis on George Eliot's Romola (which I found marvelous--and told him so).

When I moved to San Diego in 1971, our friendship continued as Jerry and his wife, Beth, welcomed me with generous hospitality. Over the years, as colleagues in the Department of English and Comparative Literature, Jerry and I enjoyed countless hours of schmoozing over coffee or over lunch. Jerry loved discussing a wide range of subjects, including literature and art (about which he was passionately interested and extremely knowledgeable).

We shared a London Semester of teaching, going to plays, and taking field trips in 1988. In our retirement, we--with our spouses--travelled together in Italy and in Mexico.

I treasure memories of our shared adventures, discussions, and friendship--both abroad and at home. I shall miss him terribly.

Elsie McKaskle Marini
(formerly Elsie B. Adams)
Professor Emerita
English and Comparative Literature, SDSU

Jerry Santangelo at his retirement dinner, 1992, the Gaslamp, San Diego--picture courtesy of Carey Wall.

Genarro ("Jerry") Santangelo was, as he was for Fred Moramarco, the SDSU professor who interviewed me at the MLA meeting in NYC, December 1968. A quality that struck me about him even in that first meeting, and continued to impress me through the years I knew him here, was his genuine happiness about his colleague's accomplishments. He was lacking in jealous envy of others' work and rewards, and was glad for them and what they had done. This is, perhaps, sadly, not a virtue as wide-spread in academia as it should be, and made Jerry stand out as a model for me.

Ron Gervais
English and Comparative Literature, SDSU

Hi, I was a long-time friend of Gerry's, being a fellow philatelist. We'll certainly miss him as he was a fine philatelist as well as a good friend. In 2007, he received an award in Los Angeles, at SESCAL 2007. You might take a look at for the award presentation speech.


Jerry Kasper