Marymount Literature & Languages Welcomes DC-Area Authors

This term, Arlington Poet Laureate Dr. Holly Karapetkova and the Program in Literature & Languages brought two speakers to campus to share their writing and their insights on writing with students.

Teri Cross Davis, our Spring Visiting Poet, connected with MU students and faculty, reading from recent works like Haint (Gival Press, 2016) and A More Perfect Union (Ohio State Press, 2021). Cross Davis also serves as the poetry coordinator for the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC. Her talk is accessible below for a limited time!

These poems are hopeful, yes, and also smart and honest. They are as purple as a funky lyric or a keloidal scar. You’ll find resilience and resistance and rough sweet magic in these poems by Teri Ellen Cross Davis. You’ll find the truth.

—Camille T. Dungy, author of Trophic Cascade

DC-area prose fiction author, Tara Campbell visited Marymount in late March. She has published many books, short stories, and flash fiction pieces, all of which she memorably describes as “crossover sci-fi, or speculative fiction off the warp-drive path.” A fluent German speaker and native Alaskan, she is also a teacher, a gardener, and an editor at Barrelhouse Magazine. Her talk is also visible below.

If you’ve ever wondered what a fat cell writes in her diary, or how your teeth really feel about you, look no further. If you want to read about a beer-swilling mermaid, a murderous houseplant, or the chlorophyll-based weight loss empire of the future, you’re in the right place.

We are so honored to have had Tara and Teri visit with our students! Remember, words matter–your voice matters.

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Digital Writing & Narrative Design: A New Degree for the New Economy

Digital Writing and Narrative Design at Marymount University

Most college-aged students today have grown up with digital devices, but how many are really ready for the demands of writing and communicating in the 21st century job market? Now, more than ever, writing – especially writing adapted to digital and social media – is the key to personal and professional success. According to Forbes magazine, writing is “one of the best ways to remain consistently employable – no matter your profession.” Marymount’s new degree in Digital Writing and Narrative Design was created to meet these needs and prepare students to succeed in a constantly-evolving economy.

Employers Want Tech-Savvy Communicators

Employers are seeking tech-savvy workers to navigate social media and the growing world of digital applications. Marymount’s Digital Writing and Narrative Design program, which combines courses from English, Communications, and IT, offers students the opportunity to hone highly desirable and transferable skills and prepares them to communicate effectively and creatively across multiple mediums.

Writing these days isn’t just about inter-office memos or reports. Crafting a compelling story is key to an organization or business’s success. Alan Kay, an executive who worked with Xerox, Disney, and Hewlett-Packard, famously said “Scratch the surface in a typical boardroom and we’re all just cavemen with briefcases, hungry for a wise person to tell us stories.” This is true even in data-driven professions. “Stories connect the dots in the data and make the data relatable, portable, and memorable,” says Dean Browell, Executive Vice President of the Feedback Agency, “Stories bring data alive.”

Flexible Program Design

The Digital Writing and Narrative Design program is flexible and interdisciplinary: students build their degree from courses in the fields of English, Information Technology, Graphic and Media Design, History, and Communication to mold their studies to fit their academic and career ambitions. With courses like Digital and Nonlinear Storytelling, Approaches to Creative Writing, Museum Studies, Contemporary Journalism, Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, Video Production: Multimedia Communication, Mobile App Development, and Story and Narrative Development for Video Games, there are many ways students can match their degree to their interests. The program is also designed to encourage double majors and minors in fields like Business, Information Technology, Psychology, Sociology, Biology, English, Gender Studies, Fine Arts, Communication, Sustainability, International Studies, French, Spanish, and more.

And what do our majors say? According to student Charles Walker, he picked Digital Writing and Narrative Design because it “offers the skills to develop as a story teller … I want to impact lives on screen and this major gives me that opportunity.” To learn more about this major and all the ways it can work for you, visit our information page and reach out to our faculty!

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Outdoor Movie Screenings for EN350: The American Dream

This past Fall, Dr. Zaleski, a Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow at Marymount, supplemented her upper-level LT2 course on The American Dream with a collection of outdoor film screenings to both develop community and share course content in the pandemic, which as we all know limits social interaction.

Despite some hiccups with our new outdoor screening technology, Dr. Zaleski triumphed!

She worked with IT and Student Activities, which had recently purchased an outdoor movie screen, to set up the events. Over the course of the term, Dr. Zaleksi paired her readings for EN350: The American Dream with three films, The Farewell (2019), Grapes of Wrath (1940), and Ya No Estoy Aquí (2020). What classes are you excited about this Spring?

By Source, Fair use,

Copyright by Twentieth Century-Fox-Film Corp. MCMXXXX” – Scan via Heritage Auctions. Cropped from original image., Public Domain,

By Source (WP:NFCC#4), Fair use,

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Student-Led Humanities Discussion Group Creates Community Amidst Uncertainty

Macy Pope, English & Philosophy

By: Macy Pope

How could I accomplish this goal of creating community around the humanities when we were supposed to be distancing ourselves from one another?

At the beginning of 2020, I was incredibly optimistic about the projects I had planned for the year.  It was the start of a new semester, a chance for me to continue my involvement in my academic school.  When I approached the head of the English department, Dr. Tonya Howe, concerning the visibility of the humanities at Marymount, we immediately began to formulate plans for a discussion group.  My vision was for faculty, students, staff, and any other interested parties to come join in conversation with one another about different areas of the humanities.  However, we only managed to have one introduction meeting before the COVID-19 pandemic forced us away from Marymount, for all of us to literally socially distance from one another.  How could I accomplish this goal of creating community around the humanities when we were supposed to be distancing ourselves from one another?  This is when I resolved that I would continue this program regardless of the circumstances that had been thrown at us, and I’m grateful that I got support from my department on continuing the group.  As the fall semester of 2020 came upon us, we prepared to work through the tumultuous circumstances that threatened the continuation of our group.

Humanities Discussion Group

My main goal for the semester was to make the Marymount community feel less distanced, for everyone to simply chat about interesting topics in the humanities that could distract us from the academic and the abysmal state of the world.  Over the course of the semester, we had four different meetings, each of which had a different theme of the humanities together with another interesting field and different participants, but the sense of togetherness still remained throughout them all.  Our first meeting in September was called “Science Fiction and Science Fact,” where we discussed the intersections of the science fiction genre and the rapidly changing technological world.  Our second meeting in October was titled “Frightful Fairy Tales and Feminism,” which allowed us to have an incredibly diverse conversation that added to the spooky feeling of the Halloween season.  The third meeting we had was titled “Literary and Visual Art,” where the participants who made it did commiserate with one another on the contentious events of early November.  Our final meeting of the fall semester in December was focused around the topic of “Classics and History,” where we discussed the importance of literature and our perceptions of historical events and time periods.  There was a wide variety of topics and conversations that were sparked because of the wonderful people who offered their time to be with us.

While most of us are likely dreading the idea of yet another semester online, I know that the humanities discussion group that I have worked on will hopefully continue to spark conversation and create community during a time of uncertainty and isolation for so many that are a part of the Marymount University community.

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Books, books, everywhere!

By Alicia Hobson

Did you know that picture books are simultaneously the oldest and newest ways to tell stories?

Imagine this: you walk into a bookstore and head straight to your favorite section. There, you find your absolute favorite titles, with other recommendations that fit your mood. The pages are old and yellow and smell like old books smell. Or maybe they are glossy and smooth–a texture that you just can’t seem to get enough of. Maybe you find a scroll filled with the most minute illustrations in the margins–strange creatures and people limned in gold. Maybe you find an interactive fiction or a video game or a podcast that tells a story digitally!

What if we could offer you a class all about books: their history, their materiality, their future? A class designed just for bookworms and bibliophiles! Dr. Katie Peebles is teaching an upcoming class for the Spring 2021 semester, EN 360: Book Histories/Book Futures, which is LT-2 and INQ. That means that it will fulfill your advanced literature core requirement!

We’ll look at new ways of telling stories through digital, multimodal, and non-linear means like computer games. We’ll also experiment with hands-on book technologies and make our own books.  –Dr. Peebles

In this class, you can expect to learn things like the history of books from clay tablets and scrolls to e-books and video games. As Dr. Peebles notes, “We’ll look at new ways of telling stories through digital, multimodal, and non-linear means like computer games. We’ll also experiment with hands-on book technologies and make our own books.” In a world that is rapidly going digital, it is imperative to understand where the first books began, so we can imagine how their stories evolve.

You won’t want to miss out on this opportunity to not only dig deeper into the history of storytelling but to create your own books as well.

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