Regie Cabico Delivers the Bisson Humanities Lecture

By Macy Pope, Class of 2022

One of the biggest events of the year hosted by the Marymount University graduate Humanities Department is the Bisson Humanities lecture.  The hallmark event brings all different types of students, faculty, and Arlington community members together for an evening to celebrate literature, language, history, art, and free thought.  

The speaker of this year’s lecture was none other than the “Lady Gaga of spoken word,” poet Regie Cabico.  A queer Filipino writer and performer, Cabico recited his poetry about mangos for his mother, his relationship with diabetes, his dating history, and his place in “the American Dream deffered,” as he refers to it. The life stories and quippy humor were a fresh reminder of the life that literature and stories hold in today’s society.  He spoke quite a bit on the “orientalizing” of asian actors in America, but also what his fluid identity means to himself and how to it can impact others. One of his most popular poems, “I’ll Check Other” speaks to the division that he and other Asian-Americans feel as their identity has been restricted only to their native ethnicity, much like only being able to check one box on a full page.  My personal favorite part of the evening was during the “conversation” portion, where after being asked a question about his worst performance, he proclaimed “Well, I don’t suck, ever.”

I believe Cabico brought a total new light to what modern humanities can be.  In a university environment where my non-humanity major friends poke fun at me for loving dusty old books and the philosophies of dead white men, this outspoken queer poet has shed a new light onto what the present and future of the humanities will be.  It is full of diversity, inclusion, and performance. It is not just for the majors and minors of what some may call expired knowledge— it is for all people to appreciate and enjoy.

Cabico also gave two spoken word workshops as part of his engagement with MU, allowing students to take an active role as spoken word creators.

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Spotlight on Jeidy

Senior English with Secondary Education Licensure student Jeidy Luperon was recently featured in the Arlington Catholic Herald discussing her story of faith and education. Jeidy, who is from the Dominican Republic, is here at Marymount on scholarship, and she plans to attend graduate school and teach high school, sharing her determination and love of the language with her students. Catholic Herald author Zoey Maraist interviewed Jeidy for the story, learning about her life in the small, rural community of Bánica and how she came to be an English major after spending just over a year learning the language formally.

Though living here has been an adjustment, Luperon said she’s come to love her adopted home. “I’m so grateful for Marymount. I love everything about it — the education I’m receiving, the relationships you can make, strong bonds with faculty members,” she said. “I’m grateful that I’ve encountered people who have helped me grow spiritually and have challenged me to be a better person.”

We are grateful that Jeidy is here, too, and we look forward to hearing about all her purposeful future!

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Dr. Rippy awarded NEH stipend for research on Welles

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has anounced that Dr. Marguerite Rippy, Professor of Languages and Literature, has been awarded a $6,000 summer stipend for her project “Orson Welles, Macbeth, and Africa: Collective Genius and the Diaspora.” As only one in ten stipend proposals are funded, this is a great opportunity to have Marymount research be supported by NEH.

More information is available on the NEH website and the full NEH press release.

Congratulations, Dr. Rippy!

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Mary Karr, award-winning author, speaks to Marymount students

On April 18, the first day of Easter Break, Marymount students were out in force to hear author Mary Karr talk about writing, trauma, memoir, and more. Spanish minor and Biology major Aya Raihanoune introduced the author.

Karr’s first memoir, The Liar’s Club, was the shared text read this year by all first-year composition students at Marymount. All students in EN102 will be sharing research inspired by this book at the annual final exam conference event on May 4th. Karr spoke with humor about her life as a writer, growing up in a dysfunctional family, religion and spirituality, and dealing with alcoholism and sexual trauma.

The Liar’s Club won nonfiction prizes from PEN and the Texas Institute of Letters. Recently, Entertainment Weekly rated it number four in the top one hundred books of the past twenty-five years. Her second memoir, Cherry, which was excerpted in The New Yorker, also hit bestseller and “notable book” lists at The New York Times and dozens of other papers nationwide. Her most recent book in this autobiographical series, Lit: A Memoir, is the story of her alcoholism, recovery, and conversion to Catholicism.

Great turnout on the first day of Easter Break for Mary Karr!

Great turnout on the first day of Easter Break for Mary Karr!

Karr talks with students on April 18

Karr talks with students on April 18

Karr is an award-winning poet and best-selling memoirist. She is the author of the critically-acclaimed and New York Times best-selling memoirs and five poetry collections, most recently Tropic of Squalor. Karr is also a songwriter, having collaborated with Rodney Crowell, Norah Jones, Lucinda Williams and others on a country album called KIN. Her many awards include The Whiting Writer’s Award, an NEA, a Radcliffe Bunting Fellowship, and a Guggenheim. She is also a regular contributor to The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and Poetry magazine. Karr is the Peck Professor of Literature at Syracuse University and she lives in New York City.

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Thinking like Shakespeare: Dr. Scott Newstok talks about education, research, and the humanities

by Meghan Burke

Dr. Scott Newstok, Professor of English at Rhodes College in Memphis Tennessee visited Marymount on Tuesday, April 9 for two events: a lecture on his recent research into “How to think like Shakespeare” and a colloquium about the Folger Shakespeare Library on Capitol Hill with Humanities graduate students. I had the pleasure of attending both events with Dr. Newstok.  

Dr. Newstok talks to students in Dr. Rippy's EN429: Topics in Performance (Global Classroom)

Dr. Newstok talks to students in Dr. Rippy’s EN429: Topics in Performance (Global Classroom)

The presentation, “Thinking with Shakespeare’s Islands” provided much food for thought. In it, Dr. Newstok proposed that the island imagery in Shakespeare’s plays (the most obvious being The Tempest which takes place on an island) can make us think about how we create our own islands.  Personal islands can form in our education, or they can be the institutions of education themselves.  The students who attended the talk offered insight into their own “islands” and offered suggestions on how they can or could move outside of their islands to make connections.  

The conversation continued in the evening when the graduate students met with Dr. Newstok to talk about opportunities for involvement at the Folger Shakespeare Library.  The Folger offers a variety of programs and research opportunities to students and professionals on a myriad of subjects. The discussion proved fruitful for students in attendance, who discussed internships and job opportunities.  

I found the conversation interesting for another reason.  While I am a graduate student in the Humanities program, I am also a librarian at Marymount.  During my graduate program in library and information science I completed an internship in cataloging at the Folger.  I had only approached the Folger from a librarian’s perspective, and it was interesting to hear about it from the perspective of a researcher.

During our discussion that evening, I found myself returning to the idea of islands in Dr. Newstok’s earlier talk in relation to the work of librarians and researchers at academic libraries.  Libraries and librarians can be seen as islands. We do our own work and generate our own data about collections. Often, our data exist in silos, individual library catalogs that are not crawled by search engines or (even worse) in card catalogs only accessible to those with physical access to them.  At the same time, researchers also exist on their own islands, tirelessly combing through mountains of documents and text, discovering aspects of the text that are crucial to understanding it.

A comment by Dr. Newstok really brought this into focus.  He asked what librarians think about scholars linking back to a library record on a website for example, in order to enhance it, to add more meaning.  My answer was a simple yes, but I asked that the original link be to the carefully curated metadata librarians create to describe the object. The descriptive information librarians create and the analytic and creative research done by academics is not meant to exist in isolation, but to be complementary.  Rather than existing as islands, the information held in libraries should be discoverable and informative, enhanced by the research of those who are passionate about its contents, and described in a way that makes it easy to locate. With more conversations such as our colloquium, and less “island thinking,” it is my hope that we can create an archipelago between the existing library metadata and the information of those the libraries serve.  

I would like to thank Dr. Newstok for sharing his time, information, and insights with the Marymount community.    

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