Yesterday E. Ethelbert Miller, a beloved figure on Marymount’s campus, joined us for our biannual poetry series. Miller read from his new book If God Invented Baseball, and discussed the context of some of the poems and the process of the book’s creation. He also read from some newer poetry, including a series on Nat Turner, and spoke about his literary activism and relationships with writers like June Jordan and Alice Walker. Miller spoke about the changes in poetry and the changes in society he has witnessed over the course of his career and encouraged students to find writers whose work they love and find inspiring.
Photo by Kirsten Porter
Ethelbert Miller is the author of thirteen collections of poetry and two memoirs. Miller serves as the board chair of the Institute for Policy Studies and is a board member for The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region. For fourteen years he has been the editor of Poet Lore, the oldest poetry magazine published in the United States. In 1996, Miller delivered the commencement address at Emory and Henry College and was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Literature. He was a Fulbright Senior Specialist Program Fellow to Israel in 2004 and 2012.
Miller is often heard on National Public Radio. He hosts the weekly morning radio show On the Margin, which airs on WPFW-FM 89.3. Miller is host and producer of The Scholars on UDC-TV, and his E-Notes has been a popular blog since 2004. In 2016, Miller received the AWP George Garrett Award for Outstanding Community Service in Literature and the DC Mayor’s Arts Award for Distinguished Honor. His The Collected Poems of E. Ethelbert Miller, edited by MU alum Kirsten Porter and published in March 2016, is a comprehensive collection that represents over 40 years of his career as a poet.
Miller speaks with MU professor Dr. Michael Boylan. (Photo by Kirsten Porter)
“…You will have to take liberties, you will have to feel free to write as you like…even if it is irresponsible. ”
— Zadie Smith
Photo credit: Dominique Nabokov
On the evening of Thursday, October 4, Marymount’s Department of Literature & Languages sponsored an outing to hear award-winning British novelist Zadie Smith speak at the Arlington Public Library. A powerful, generous storyteller, Zadie Smith spoke about the act of writing, the concepts of race and racial identity, the many contexts that influence her work, and the value of libraries as some of the only truly free and freely-accessible public spaces left to us. Two students, two faculty members, three staff members, and a prospective graduate student met up at the central branch of the library to hear Smith in conversation with Library Director Diane Kresh, and many stayed late to have books signed by the author. Feel Free, her most recent book, is a collection of essays on a variety of current cultural and political topics. Learn more about the author here.
Students in Dr. Rippy’s EN321 course attend a play in Alexandria
On Thursday, September 20th, 15 students in Dr. Rippy’s EN321 Modern Drama course went to see South African playwright Athol Fugard’s most recent play, The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek (2016). The students visited MetroStage in Alexandria, Virgina, to see the play about “outsider artist” Nukain Mabuza under the apartheid system of the 1980s. After the show, actors Marni Penning and Jeremy Keith Hunter, along with MetroStage’s creative director, Carolyn Griffin, hosted a talk-back to answer questions about the show. The students had a chance to hear from the actors about how they perfected the South African accents needed for the show, the physical demands of acting, and how the set was designed to age visibly 20 years during an open-stage intermission. Click here for more information.
If you’re interested in theater at Marymount, consider joining Marymount Actors’ Guild, taking some more drama classes–like EN355 Shakespeare, EN207 Theater History, or EN429 Studies in Performance!
Marymount students attend an author talk by DeRay McKesson
On Friday, September 7, 2018, six Marymount students and two faculty braved the rainstorms to hear internationally-known civil rights leader, activist, and teacher DeRay McKesson speak about social justice, writing, and contemporary culture. His new book, On the Other Side of Freedom, details his experiences in Ferguson, MO, as part of the birth of #BLM and much more. McKesson spoke with noted civil rights historian and author Taylor Branch, and each student left with a copy of McKesson’s new book.
Welcome and welcome back to campus–we hope you had a fabulous summer! It’s a new academic year, which means it’s time for new writing and new writing goals. If you’ve got some fiction, poetry, or essays on hand that you’d like to share with the world, consider submitting your work to one of our campus publications, or even to a journal off-campus. There are dozens of fabulous opportunities–both for undergraduate and graduate student writers–to be found on our Opportunities for MU Writers blog, curated by Dr. Karapetkova. You can find out about how to submit your work to MU’s BlueInk and Magnificat, as well as how to submit your work to national journals and contests. Check it out!