Thursday, March 31, 2011

Employment Opportunity: Russo Endowed Professor

The Department of English at the University New Mexico invites applications for a Russo Endowed Professor for Creative Writing in Creative Nonfiction for the academic year 2011-2012, with the possibility of renewal for up to three years.  We seek an outstanding writer with significant publications and demonstrated excellence as a teacher to work with students at the graduate and undergraduate level in the UNM creative writing program.  A secondary expertise in poetry is also welcome, but not required. The successful candidate will teach both undergraduate and graduate creative nonfiction courses and will also be expected to provide exceptional mentorship as a dissertation committee member and thesis advisor.  Teaching load is two courses per semester.   The position is eligible for benefits and begins with the Fall 2011 semester. Salary range 45-50K, depending on credentials.

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS: MFA in Creative Writing and at least one published book from a reputable press and a demonstrated record of successful college-level teaching.  A full position announcement and instructions on how to submit an application can be found online at:   With the online application attach a letter of interest, c.v., and writing sample (30 pages maximum).  Please have three letters of recommendation sent to: 

Greg Martin, Chair, Search Committee
MSC03 2170
University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131 

For best consideration, applications should be received by April 14, 2011.  The position will remain open until filled.  Review of complete applications will begin on April 15, 2011.  The University is especially interested in candidates who can contribute to diversity through their teaching, research, and service.  All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply, including women, minorities and those from other underrepresented groups.  The University of New Mexico is an EEO/AA Employer.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

English Department Colloquium: Jerry Shea

Please join us on Thursday, March 31st from 12:00 - 1:00 in the department lounge for the English Department Colloquium featuring Professor Emeritus Jerry Shea. Dr Shea will be presenting "Stylistics and Tropes and Wonks, Oh My!"

You can get a taste of his wonks online here.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Taos Summer Writers' Conference: Award Nomination

Congratulations to the Taos Summer Writers' Conference which was nominated for one of this year's Presidential Luminaria Awards.  The nominations reflected many very committed individuals and groups that have impacted the University of New Mexico with their work in diversity and social justice.  

Visit the Taos Summer Writers' Conference website here

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Gail Houston: Outstanding New Mexico Women of 2011 Award

Congratulations to department chair Gail Houston who has just been chosen by the New Mexico Commission on the Status of Women as one of 20 women honored with the 26th Annual Governor's Award for Outstanding New Mexico Woman.  Dr. Deborah McFarlane from the Political Science department nominated Dr. Houston.   A banquet will be hel on Friday, May 6 to honor the awardees at the Hotel Albuquerque in Old Town.

Librarian at Large

A reminder, Steven Harris, subject librarian for the English department, will be holding office hours in our lounge on Thursday, March 24 from 1-3 pm. Please drop by with any questions you have about research, acquisitions, special collections etc.

Gregory Martin: Publication News

Gregory Martin's essay "The Great Bewilderment: Reading Captin JJC the Feirce" was just published in the March 2011 issue of The Sun.  You can read an excerpt of the essay here.

Alumni News: Nari Kirk

Nari Kirk, who graduated in Fall 2010 with an MFA in Creatve Nonfiction, has received an honorable mention citation from the Associated Writing Program's Intro Award for her essay "This Freaky Female Body."  The AWP Intro Journals Project is a national literary competition for the discovery & publication of the best new works by students currently enrolled in the programs of AWP.

Learn more here.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Gail Houston: Outstanding New Mexico Women of 2011 Nomination

Congratulations to department chair Gail Houston who has been nominated for the New Mexico Commission on the Status of Women Governor's Award for Outstanding New Mexico Women of 2011.

Anita Obermeier: Accessibility Resource Center recognition

Anita Obermeier has been nominated and selected by students who receive support from the Accessibility Resource Center due to her efforts to ensure that the learning environment she provides enables all students' access to the course content, and because of her increased awareness of the academic needs of students with disabilities.

This recognition understands that the success of any college student, particularly in the academic realm, is determined by the type and quality of interactions that he or she has with his or her professors.

RAC grant recipients

Congratulations to faculty members Kathleen Washburn, Carmen Nocentelli, and Anita Obermeier who received RAC Grants this semester.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Diana Noreen Rivera: Publication News

Diana Rivera's article is titled: "Reconsidering Jovita Gonzalez's Life, Letters, and Pre-1935 Folkloric Production: A Proto-Chicana's Conscious Revolt Against Anglo Academic Patriarchy" will appear in Chicana/Latina Studies Spring 2011 Vol. 10 Issue 2. Noreen's inital ideas for this article grew out of Dr. Jesse Aleman's Fall 2008 Southwest Literature and Film course. However, she owe much gratitude to Dr. Hector
Torres, since she went to him for guidance on how she could theorize her ideas and claims.

Noreen emphasizes how Dr. Torres's professorial mentorship and teachings continue to have a positive impact on graduate student work at UNM. In the "Acknowledgements" section of her article she writes, "[l]astly, I must
thank the late Hector Torres, dearly departed Professor of Chicana/o Literature and Theory at the University of New Mexico. Thank you, Hector, for introducing me to the works of Chela Sandoval.

On the Light Side

From the humor site McSweeney's:
Rubber Stamps I Wish I Had for Grading  Freshman Composition Papers.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Gail Houston's Remarks from the Memorial Tree Planting Ceremony

Hector Torres has become a kind of secular saint for me. As Chair of English, I spend most of my time in the Chair’s office on the second floor of the department, where the business and busyness of department matters take place.  I go up to my own office on the third floor when I need to think and have some quiet time to prepare for class. Hector’s office is still there across from mine with the memorials students have left on his door as well as some of Hector’s own items—the cross woven from straw, a green rubber bracelet with the word “inspiration” on it, Hector’s picture of Jesus.

The shock of seeing Hector’s office door but not seeing Hector himself has still not diminished in any way after a year. I will forever feel the loss of his presence there. But now when I go up to my office across from his, I’ve started noticing that the sun always creates a strip of light that glows from beneath his door. And I cannot help but think that if I opened that door the light would be so overwhelming that I would not be able to bear it.

Hector sought the light of knowledge—a brilliant man, everyday of his life was devoted to learning, teaching, and sharing knowledge. So as I always envision my uncle now inhabiting the Sangre de Cristos, I think of Hector as inhabiting the light in his ongoing quest for knowledge. And I thank Hector for being that example to me.

Spring Colloquium: Professor Gail Houston

Professor and English Department Chair Gail T. Houston will deliver a lecture,"'Pray don't forget me': Charlotte Bronte's Relationship with her Students," tomorrow from noon until 1 in HUM 108 as the second in this semester's English Department Colloquium Series.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

"In Memory of Uncle Hector"

[For homework in her language and literature class, Adelina D. Marquez decided to write about her “Uncle Hector”]

Dear Mr. Winning,

I was thinking really hard about what to write for my personal narrative this time around. I started to think that maybe I could write a story because I have not done that yet, but I could not think of a good story line. So I then started to think about what else I could do and thought that maybe I could write about Disneyland. Although, as the days were coming and going so quickly, I still had not written anything on my subject. As time was passing, I started to get very overwhelmed with all my schoolwork, drama at school and with friends, and then problems I was having at home, but the biggest thing on my mind was my uncle Hector. I have therefore decided to write about him and his story.

My uncle Hector was my step-dad’s best friend. He was 54 years old but never ever seemed to be that young; he was always full of life! Now, you must understand that he was not really my uncle, but I knew him since I was little, loved him as an uncle, and just called him my uncle because it came so naturally to me. Calling him “Hector” just never seemed right to me. My uncle Hector was a great man. He was a professor at UNM, and taught literary theory, linguistics, and Chicano/a studies. I would see my uncle Hector pretty often. In fact, once he even came to stay with my family while he was in the process of moving. We had a lot of fun that week or so, hanging out and talking about everything that came to mind.

My uncle Hector would fit in with everyone. What I mean by this is that when he was with my brother and I, he was just like another kid hanging out with us. Or he was an adult chit chatting with our parents; a very educated person with smart people; or a killer basketball player on the court; wherever he was he would fit in with everyone! It always seemed he fit perfectly with whomever. My uncle Hector would treat everyone nicely and with respect. He never looked down on people, made them feel stupid or feel like they were out of place. He was a very peaceful man, and I never once saw him loose his temper or get angry about something. My uncle Hector had a huge heart, a great personality, and an amazing smile that would spread cheer to everyone in his path.

The last time he visited my house he brought his new girlfriend. Her name was Stefania Gray. I liked Stefania very much, though I did not get to know her very well; still, my uncle seemed very happy to be with her so that made me happy. My uncle Hector seemed to like her very much. In fact, he had just met her two girls who were twelve and fifteen. It seemed like having her meet my parents, brother and I was the equivalent of having him meet her kids. After we finished eating dinner, chicken molĂ©, my brother and I left to let the adults visit. I would still come back to get snacks, dessert, and all that fun stuff. When I was getting dessert, we all talked about having my brother and I meet Stefania’s daughters since they were about my age. Her daughters sounded very interesting, and I wanted very much to meet them. I was pretty excited. That was the last time either of them will be in my home in their human bodies.

March eighth 2010. That has to be one of the two saddest days of my life. (The other being when my great grandma died). I completely broke that day in a way I didn’t think that I could ever be broken. My heart got broken, ripped out of my chest, and stomped on. With no heart, I was dead inside, dead and depressed. That day my uncle Hector’s and Stefania’s bodies were found. Stefania’s ex-boyfriend supposedly broke into my uncle Hector’s house and shot them both, killing them. He did this on the 7th of March but they weren’t found until a day later. Now, the sad thing about this is that he had been out of jail on bond when he killed them. He was in jail because he had attacked Stefania, tackled her to the ground, and started to hit her in the ribs, back, and pulled her hair. (That is according to the police report that she filed). He also pulled out a knife on her and said that he had a gun. In the end, the police report says that my uncle Hector was able to “talk to the man, calm him down, had him commence in ‘prayer’ with and had him leave peacefully.” This can prove my point that my uncle Hector was not a violent man at all but was peaceful and kind even to a man whom was beating up his girlfriend. I think that it was his personality that saved their lives once. After this incident Stefania and my uncle Hector pulled out a restraining order, yet this man was still able to kill my uncle Hector and Stefania, and on bond for a previous assault against them.

As you might be able to imagine this event has affected me greatly. I could not stop crying and it all felt so unreal. It felt like I was in an episode of CSI Miami and I kept thinking that soon it would be over, I could get to my normal life and be happy again. Except that it was real: I could never have the same life and was not going to be truly happy for a long time. I will never be able to see my uncle Hector again.

He was always there for my birthday party spoiling me with gifts wrapped in a plastic bag from a store. I learned later, from the eulogy my step-dad delivered at the funeral, that my step-dad had told my uncle Hector once, “Torres, don’t spoil the kids so much.” My uncle replied, “I can’t help it, man, I love those kids.” I read the eulogy a few times, and each time that I read that line proclaiming my uncle Hector’s love for us, I cried. Today I went back to the news reports about the double-murder. I think that looking at the news reports and articles written about the murder makes my mind process it a little bit better. Lately, my uncle Hector has been visiting me in my dreams, and although they scared me at first, I now realize that he was coming back to remind me not to forget him.

For my recent birthday, when I was listing who I wanted to invite, I had to remind myself time and time again that I could not invite my uncle Hector because he is no longer on earth. Of course, I know he will always be with me in my heart. He will be there to help heal my heart and help get me through life, which I have learned in my first 14 years of living it that life can be very, very hard. On a bad week, the fact that he is gone can make me very sad and I can get annoyed, ticked off, and saddened very quickly. My mind hasn’t fully processed the fact that my uncle has been killed and is no longer here, so on my bad weeks I can get very emotional. On a good day a little like today I can be able to think about him without getting too sad. I think that sharing my uncle’s story has helped me release all the emotional strain that has been overwhelming me for almost a year now but that it will also help me never to forget.  

Reminder - Memorial Tree Planting Today

Don't forget that the English department will be planting a tree by the UNM Duck Pond in memory of our friend and colleague, Hector Torres. The ceremony to dedicate the tree will take place this afternoon at 2:00 p.m. and a reception will follow immediately after in the department lounge.

At the request of some of Hector's friends, this evening's 5:15 mass at the Newman Center on Las Lomas will be offered in memory of Hector.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Works in Progress: Lena M. Todd Award Winners

This month's Works in Progress features readings by the Lena M. Todd award winners

March 4th at 7 p.m.
Winnings Coffee Company
111 Harvard Dr SE

1st: Johanna Byrn-Orand
2nd: Jean-Louise Zancanella

1st: Johanna Byrn-Orand
2nd: Annie Siegel

Creative Nonfiction
1st: Michael Gay
2nd: Jaclyn McAlester

Hosted by Marisa P. Clark

Gary Jackson: Reading

EGSA presents a reading by MFA alumnus Gary Jackson

Wednesday, March 9th at 7 p.m.
SUB Sandia Room

Gary Jackson received the 2009 Cave Canem Poetry Prise for his manuscript, Missing you, Metropolis, selected by Yusef Komunyakaa. Graywolf Press published the collection in fall 2010.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Read Across America Day

It's March 2nd, and time for NEA's Read Across America day. Celebrated on Dr. Seuss's birthday, Read Across America day calls for all Americans to celebrate literacy. You can get involved at a local school or by simply reading, something that should not be difficult in our bibliophilic department!