Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Five Questions for New Mexico Authors - Sharon Oard Warner - New Mexico Mercury

Please see the full interview with Professor Warner at!

Book Release, Of Small Children / And Other Poor Swimmers: Poems by Brian Hendrickson

"Of Small Children / And Other Poor Swimmers is centered in the push-pull of place. Hendrickson wants to leave behind his Florida childhood, where every memory is still moist, but he continues ‘calling on the voices’ and crossing back, wading into love, loss and danger with vivid imagery." - 
Lauren Camp, author of three collections of poetry, including One Hundred Hungers, and winner of The Dorset Prize (Tupelo Press)

"Hendrickson's literary prowess is plentiful, but what intrigues me most is how the collection calls us to embrace, fully, what's most formidable (and most innocent) in our own humanity. As if each shattering was merely a good throttle and every devastation could blossom on chain link. The smallest moments of truth. The largest. Line-break-grit / word-ache-gorgeous. How stark, how challenging and awkward, how irresistible our foibles become when rendered by Hendrickson!" - 
Lisa Gill, recipient of an NEA Fellowship in Poetry and author of five books, including Caput Nili and Red as a Lotus

"Brian Hendrickson demands the inclusion of the real press of the discursive and meditative into his poems, by juxtaposing multiple levels of diction, and by frequently shifting between the anecdotal, the essayistic, and the lyrical. Through his careful use of these techniques, Hendrickson is able to achieve James Scully's ideal of ‘audacious speaking’: he refuses to capitulate either to the lyrical moment or the abstraction, and so his poetry exists and persists as an urgent place for utterance of consciousness." - Don Winter, author of seven collections of poetry, including Saturday Night Desperate

The Book Release, Of Small Children / And Other Poor Swimmers: Poems by Brian Hendrickson will be celebrated at Bookworks, 4022 Rio Grande Blvd NW,. on Wednesday, December 3rd at 7:00 PM

Book Links:
Event Links:

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Professor Sharon Warner interviewed by the New Mexico Maganize

"Taos Summer Writers’ Conference founder Sharon Oard Warner talks about her new novel and tending to D.H. Lawrence’s local legacy."

Please see the full article, "Sharon Oard Warnder:  Homing In", by Candace Walsh from the New Mexico Magazine.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Anita Obermeier Publishes Book Review

Anita Obermeier publishes book review of Scattergood, John, Occasions for Writing: Essays on Medieval and Renaissance Literature, Politics, and Society (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2010) in Mediävistik 26 (2013): 288-89.

Brian Hendrickson Published in Mosaic

Brian Hendrickson published "Irreverently Unromantic: A Rhetorical Path to Sophistic Poetics in the Poetry of Bob Hicok." in the June 2014 issue of Mosaic: a journal for the interdisciplinary studyof literature.

"Irreverently Unromantic" is a rhetorical analysis of Bob Hicok's earliest and most recent poems in which Hendrickson reveals how the poet modifies the terms of the central problem in contemporary poetry--Romantic irony--by employing an irreverent poetics he describes as sophistic to highlight its rhetorical tendencies while differentiating it from the inverted Platonism of Romantic irony.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Daniel Worden’s coedited book Oil Culture has just been published by the University of Minnesota Press

Daniel Worden’s coedited book Oil Culture, edited by Ross Barrett (Art History, University of South Carolina) and Daniel Worden (American Literary Studies, University of New Mexico), has just been published by the University of Minnesota Press.

Oil Culture is a field-defining, interdisciplinary collection of essays on the cultural life of oil. In the 150 years since the birth of the petroleum industry, oil has saturated our culture, fueling our cars and wars, our economy and policies. But just as thoroughly, culture saturates oil. So what exactly is “oil culture”? This book pursues an answer through petrocapitalism’s history in literature, film, fine art, wartime propaganda, and museum displays. Investigating cultural discourses that have taken shape around oil, these essays compose the first sustained attempt to understand how petroleum has suffused the Western imagination.

The contributors to this volume examine the oil culture nexus, beginning with the whale oil culture it replaced and analyzing literature and films such as Giant, Sundown, Bernardo Bertolucci’s La Via del Petrolio, and Ben Okri’s “What the Tapster Saw”; corporate art, museum installations, and contemporary photography; and apocalyptic visions of environmental disaster and science fiction. By considering oil as both a natural resource and a trope, the authors show how oil’s dominance is part of culture rather than an economic or physical necessity. Oil Culture sees beyond oil capitalism to alternative modes of energy production and consumption.

Contributors: Georgiana Banita, U of Bamberg; Frederick Buell, Queens College; Gerry Canavan, Marquette U; Melanie Doherty, Wesleyan College; Sarah Frohardt-Lane, Ripon College; Matthew T. Huber, Syracuse U; Dolly Jørgensen, Umeå U; Stephanie LeMenager, U of Oregon; Hanna Musiol, Northeastern U; Chad H. Parker, U of Louisiana at Lafayette; Ruth Salvaggio, U of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Heidi Scott, Florida International U; Imre Szeman, U of Alberta; Michael Watts, U of California, Berkeley; Jennifer Wenzel, Columbia U; Sheena Wilson, U of Alberta; Rochelle Raineri Zuck, U of Minnesota Duluth; Catherine Zuromskis, U of New Mexico.

For more information about the book, see

If you purchase the book through the above link, you can use code MN76520 for a 30% discount on Oil Culture.

Oil Culture

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Ana Castillo to deliver the 5th Annual Rudolfo and Patricia Anaya Lecture on the Literature of the Southwest

On Thursday, October 23, the UNM Department of English will host the distinguished writer Ana Castillo as the featured speaker for the fifth annual Rudolfo and Patricia Anaya Lecture on the Literature of the Southwest. Castillo will speak at 7:00 p.m. in Room 101 of George Pearl Hall (the School of Architecture and Planning), with a reception to follow. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Ana Castillo is one of the leading figures in Chicana and contemporary literature. A celebrated poet, novelist, short story writer, essayist, editor, playwright, translator and independent scholar, Castillo is the author of the novels So Far From God and Sapogonia, both New York Times Notable Books of the Year, as well as The Guardians, Peel My Love like an Onion, and many other books of fiction, poetry, and essays. Her most recent novel is Give it to Me, and the 20th-anniversary, updated edition of her groundbreaking book The Massacre of the Dreamers: Essays on Xicanisma will be published this October by the University of New Mexico Press.

The UNM English Department established the annual lecture series on the literature of the Southwest in 2010 through a gift from the renowned fiction writer Rudolfo Anaya and his late wife Patricia Anaya. The annual Rudolfo and Patricia Anaya Lecture on the Literature of the Southwest features foundational figures such as Acoma Pueblo poet Simon Ortiz (2010), Las Cruces writer and playwright Denise Chávez (2011), Taos writer John Nichols (2012), and Kiowa writer N. Scott Momaday (2013). For further information, visit the Anaya Lecture Series website at

Todd Ruecker Publishes Article in College Composition and Communication

Todd Ruecker published an article in the September 2014 issue of the flagship composition journal, College Composition and Communication.  The article is titled, "Here They Do This, There They Do That: Latinas/ Latinos Writing across Institutions," and focuses on how writing instruction was shaped across a high school, community college, and university by a variety of internal and external forces such as standardized testing pressures, resource disparities, and individual instructors.  The article is part of a two-part special issue titled Locations of Writing.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Students Receive Latina/o Fellowships

Congratulations to Michael Flores and Julian Sanchez, two American Literary Studies students who were recently awarded the 2014-2015 Latina/o Graduate and Professional Student Fellowship. Michael Flores is a first-year PhD student studying Native American and Chicana/o literature, and Julian Sanchez is a first-year MA student studying Southwestern literature.  

Brenna Gomez, an MFA student, also received a 2014-2015 fellowship, which is a joint initiative between the Graduate Resource Center and El Centro de la Raza. 

The fellowship seeks to increase the representation of the Latina/o graduate and professional student community in academic and professional organizations. In addition to attending monthly graduate sessions and workshops, the program provides fellows with a $1,000 scholarship to support their research. Fellows also meet with a faculty mentor for intellectual support and advisement. Dr. Melina Vizcaino-Aleman, Asst. Professor in ALS, will serve as mentor to both Michael and Julian, while Professor Dan Mueller will serve as Brenna's mentor. Congratulations go out to all three.

Community Collaboration in Technical and Professional Writing

Spring semester 2014, Dianne Bechtel’s Technical and Professional Writing students wrote documents with a community service focus. The Campus Office of Substance Abuse Prevention (COSAP) information on Alcohol was selected to fill a "safety" gap and the students wrote manuals on Alcohol Poisoning.

Students were given the opportunity to have their work make a difference in the UNM community and in their academic portfolios. Eight student documents met all assignment criteria and were selected for the competitive opportunity. John Steiner and his COSAP staff chose the winner, Audrey Martinez. COSAP worked with Audrey over the rest of the semester and summer to complete the project. We are proud to announce that the UNM COSAP website has posted Audrey’s work. To see the work, please go to  On the left side of the page, click Alcohol Poisoning? Save a Life and Click Here!  

In the process, a mutually beneficial relationship with COSAP was developed. John and his staff came to the classroom and introduced COSAP's student-services and distributed a survey to help update their research on student substance abuse at UNM. In addition, one student reported that working on the assignment taught him how to act during an emergency and it helped him take care of a girl who had been binge drinking and became unresponsive.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Alemán Elected to C19 Executive Committee

Dr. Jesse Alemán has been elected to the Executive Committee of C19—The Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists. He will serve as Membership Chair for the first academic organization dedicated to nineteenth-century American literary studies. C19 holds an annual conference; publishes J19: The Journal of Nineteenth-Century Americanists; and invites student membership for $35, faculty membership for $65, and institutional membership for $80 annually.
For more information, see:

Tiffany and Andrew Bourelle Publish New On-line Resource

Tiffany Bourelle and Andrew Bourelle have published a webtext article in the digital peer-reviewed journal Kairos: Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy. The article addresses how to develop a successful multimodal curriculum in a fully online classroom, providing instructors with advice on creating instructional tools.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Emily Rapp joins UNM English as Russo Chair Professor

A former Fulbright scholar and graduate of Harvard Divinity School, Emily Rapp is the author of Poster Child: A Memoir and Still Point of the Turning World.  Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, and Salon, among other publications.  She is the recipient of the Rona Jaffe Writers’ Award, a James Michener Fellowship at the University of Texas-Austin, and the Philip Roth Residence in Creative Writing at Bucknell University.  A professor of creative writing and literature at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design and a faculty member in the University of California-Riverside Low-Residency MFA Program, she joins UNM’s creative writing faculty as the Joseph M. Russo Visiting Professor in Creative Nonfiction.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Rananim program, the Online Writing Community of the Taos Summer Writers' Conference

The UNM Taos Summer Writers' Conference began sixteen years ago to create a link between UNM and the D.H. Lawrence Ranch just outside of beautiful Taos, NM. For years, the Conference has taken participants to the Ranch, had fellows stay in the fellowship cabin, and created that thing that Lawrence so desired: a utopian society where writers and artists of all kinds can go to create and commune.
This summer at the Conference, a new program called Rananim was created. The proceeds of Rananim, an Online Writing Community of the Taos Summer Writers' Conference, will go toward the renovation of the D. H. Lawrence Ranch. For more information about the new Rananim program, go to the website at or watch the video that describes the ranch and the project
The Rananim website includes a blog with posts about the Ranch. Here's the link:

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Poets Publishing MFA Dissertations

Nick dePascal, who graduated with an MFA in 2013 and is currently a lecturer in our department, won the first West End Press Poetry Prize.  His book, Before You Become Improbable, is now out from West End Press. Congratulations to Nick!

In addition, Natalie Scenters-Zapico, also a 2013 poetry MFA graduate, has had her manuscript, The Verging Cities, accepted by the Center for Literary Publishing through their Mountain West Poetry Series.​ Congratulations Natalie!

Kathleen Washburn awarded a Smith College Travel-to-Collections Grant

Professor Kathleen Washburn was awarded a Travel-to-Collections grant from the Smith College Archives Research Support Program. The award funded archival research in the Sophia Smith Collection on writer and editor Elaine Goodale Eastman, who is best known for collaborating with husband Charles Eastman on a series of nonfiction texts on "Indian" life.

AISB Outstanding Student Award in English

New UNM student Bobbie Thomas (Navajo) was honored with the Outstanding Student Award in English for the 2014 American Indian Summer Bridge (AISB) Program. Through the intensive summer program sponsored by American Indian Student Services, recent high school graduates earn credit in Native American Studies, math, and English courses and prepare for college success. The writing workshop course this summer was taught by Dr. Kathleen Washburn and Ph.D. student Julie Williams.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Todd Ruecker Publishes Article in TESOL Quarterly

Todd Ruecker published a short article, "Exploring the Linguistic and Institutional Contexts of Writing Instruction in TESOL,” in the June 2014 issue of TESOL Quarterly, the top journal in the field of TESOL.  He co-authored this piece with Shawna Shapiro from Middlebury College, Erik N. Johnson from Arizona State University, and Christine M. Tardy from the University of Arizona.  It is based on a globally distributed survey of 456 TESOL members about the way writing is shaped by their particular teaching context.

Monday, July 7, 2014

N. Scott Momaday to teach at UNM in Fall 2014

The English Department is very pleased to announce that a premier writer of our time N. Scott Momaday will be a Visiting Professor in our Creative Writing and American Literary Studies Programs during the 2014-15 academic year. Specializing in poetry and the Native oral tradition, in fall 2014 he will teach 487/587 The Native American Oral Tradition.

He received the National Medal of Arts in November 2007 ‘for his writings and his work that celebrate and preserve Native American art and oral tradition.’  In addition to the National Medal of Arts, he has received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his first novel, House Made of Dawn, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Institute of Arts and Letters Award, the Golden Plate Award from the American Academy of Achievement, the Premio Letterario Internazionale “Mondello”, Italy’s highest literary award, The Saint Louis Literary Award, the Premio Fronterizo, the highest award of the Border Book Festival, the 2008 Oklahoma Humanities Award, and the 2003 Autry Center for the American West Humanities Award.  UNESCO named him an Artist for Peace in 2003, the first American to be so honored since the United States rejoined UNESCO.  He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and holds 20 honorary degrees from colleges and universities including Yale University, the University of Massachusetts, the University of Oklahoma and the University of Tulsa in his home state of Oklahoma, Blaise Pascal University (France) and his alma mater, the University of New Mexico.

A member of the Kiowa Nation, Momaday has written the following books: The Complete Poems of Frederick Goddard Tuckerman (Oxford University Press), House Made of Dawn (Harper and Row), The Way to Rainy Mountain (University of New Mexico Press), Angle of Geese (David R. Godine), The Gourd Dancer (Harper and Row), The Names (Harper and Row), The Ancient Child (Doubleday), In the Presence of the Sun (St. Martin’s Press), The Man Made of Words (St. Martin’s Press), In the Bear’s House (St. Martin’s Press), Circle of Wonder:  A Native American Christmas Story (University of New Mexico Press), Les Enfants du Soleil (Le Seuil, Paris), and Four Arrows and Magpie (Hawk Publ. Group).

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Daniel Worden Publishes In Background Readings for Teachers of American Literature

Daniel Worden’s co-authored essay on “Postmodernism, Then” has been reprinted in Background Readings for Teachers of American Literature.

Originally published in the “Postmodernism, Then” special issue of Twentieth-Century Literature, Daniel Worden’s essay “Introduction: Postmodernism, Then” (co-authored with Jason Gladstone) has been reprinted in the 2nd edition of Background Readings for Teachers of American Literature, edited by Venetria K. Patton.

With chapters that address literary and social movements, questions of identity, the geopolitical aspects of American literature, and classroom approaches, Background Readings for Teachers of American Literature, Second Edition, provides an overview of changes in the field of American literary studies and a survey of its popular themes. The twenty-seven readings include important scholarship, critical essays, and practical ideas from working teachers. This professional resource offers support to instructors using The Bedford Anthology of American Literature.

Andy Bourelle Publishes in Encyclopedia of Educational Theory and Philosophy

Andy Bourelle contributed three entries to the recently published Encyclopedia of Educational Theory and Philosophy from SAGE Publications. The entries make up the encyclopedia's coverage of classical Roman rhetoric: "Cicero," "Quintilian," and "Rhetorical Canons."

Alumnus Diane Schmidt Wins Writing Award

Diane Schmidt got her MA in Creative Writing from UNM, in Spring 2002. Her MA Thesis was The Collected Works of Earnestine Thebad.

Attached is an article from the Gallup Independent, June 24, 2014.

"Freelance writer wins national award for enterprise reporting"
By Kyle Chancellor, News intern

GALLUP - An Independent columnist exposed a con man working in New Mexico and won a top award from The National Federation of Press Women.

Diane Schmidt won the first place award for enterprise reporting from The National Federation of Press Women for her articles "Who you gonna call, Ghostbusters?" and "Con man who posed as Native fooled merchants, media" which both ran in the Independent.

The first of the two stories appeared in the Independent on April 20, 2013, as the spiritual perspectives column after Schmidt received an irate call from a Native community member. The individual stated that David Rendon, at the time known as David RedFeather, who had recently been featured in the Navajo Times as a Native American healer, promoter, and savior for the merchants of the Old Town business district and who had recently been elected president of the Old Town Merchants Association, was in fact not who he was claiming to be.

The individual claimed that RedFeather was not a Lakola healer as he was claiming and also had an extensive criminal record including a civil complaint in Ramah from 1998 where Rendon was accused of failure to pay rent. The first story didn't name Rendon explicitly because Schmidt could not get absolute confirmation to match the man to the police records.

Through further investigation, Schmidt uncovered an extensive criminal past for Rendon in Utah, Colorado and New Mexico and finally confirmed that it was indeed the same David Rendon. Schmidt reported that the man had conned around $50,000 from people that believed he was a successful businessman, healer, roadman and mystic. What he really was, was a crook, who would prey upon peoples vulnerabilities, taking their hard earned money and bouncing out of town before the boys in blue could catch up to him. The second of the two stories ran on the front page of the Independent on Aug. 21, 2013.

Schmidt submitted the stories to the New Mexico Press Women, where they won first place in enterprise reporting and advanced to the National Federation of Press Women where it also won first place for the same category. The judges commented on the story by saying the stories were a "Great example of enterprise reporting with impact for the community."

Diane says, "The story was a lot of work and cost ten times more time and money than I would ever get paid, as this sort of work always does, so this was sort of my 'reward.'

"The real payback was a call I got some months later from a gal who was helping Rendon where he had resurfaced in the Carolinas, and saw my stories online about him and I was able to advise her to contact the police there instead of her trying to 'save' him."

Monday, June 23, 2014

Richard Vargas' Guernica,revisited Reviewed

This review of Guernica,revisited was just published on Cultural Weekly, an ezine out of L.A. if you haven't had a chance to check it out, this gives you an idea. they also featured three poems from the book.


featured poems

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Marisa Sikes to teach Middle English at Austin Peay

In April, Marisa Sikes, PhD in Medieval Studies, accepted a tenure-track position at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee, one of the Tennessee state universities. She will be joining their faculty as the Middle English specialist with secondary responsibilities in History of the English Language and World Literature. We wish you all the best, Marisa, and a wonderful career.
~Dr. Obermeier

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Rudolfo Anaya wins Gold for Popular Fiction from Benjamin Franklin Independent Book Awards

The Department is pleased to announce . . .
Benjamin Franklin Independent Book Awards for Popular Fiction Gold Winner:
The Old Man’s Love Story, by Rudolfo Anaya, University of Oklahoma Press
This is just one of numerous awards and accolades our emeritus Rudy Anaya has received over the years.  Many kudos and good wishes to our good friend and colleague.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Jill Walker-Gonzalez Lands Job

Jill Walker-Gonzalez, an American Literary Studies doctoral candidate, has accepted a faculty
position at her alma mater, La Sierra University in Riverside, CA. A Seventh Day Adventist university, La Sierra’s English Department hired Jill to teach early American, Nineteenth-Century American, and Native American literatures starting Fall 2014. The position is a non-tenure track Assistant Professor line that will be converted to tenure-track status when Jill completes her dissertation, “Imagining Poland in Nineteenth-Century American Literature.” Under Dr. Jesse Alemán’s direction, Jill’s dissertation argues that minor references to Poland across nineteenth-century American literary history betray major gothic anxieties in the US about culture, imperialism, slavery and the Other. Congratulations to Jill on landing her dream job!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

John Knapp to Summer at the Huntington Library

Dr. John Knapp, who teaches upper-division English courses at UNM West, has been awarded a Mellon summer fellowship at the Huntington Library. His book on the eighteenth-century hymn genre is under contract with Lehigh Univ. Press, with a delivery date of June 2015.

Karra Shimabukuro Publishes Games & Dreams of Horror

Karra Shimabukuro has coming articles in two journals.

"Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Game as Liminal Space" will appear in Intensities Journal and explores the ways in which the game explores and rejects gender stereotypes, how the board game is “coded” for gender, how this compares to the target audience of the show, and how the game navigates and transverses the boundaries of both the source text, and the source genre.

"The Bogeyman of Your Nightmares: Freddy Krueger’s Folkloric Roots" will appear in Studies in Popular Culture in June.

Faculty and Graduate Student Appearances in Fall 2013


Jonathan Davis-Secord. "Exploitation of Compound Frequency in Old English Style." Studies in the History of the English Language. Brigham Young University. Provo, UT: September 26-28, 2013.


Lisa Myers. "Music Theory and Performance in the Middle English Breton Lay Sir Orfeo." Southeastern Medieval Association. Appalachian State University. Boone, NC: October 3-5, 2013.

Association for the Arts of the Present (ASAP). Wayne State University. Detroit, MI: October 3-6, 2013.
W. Oliver Baker. "Meth, Rural Whiteness, and the Ozarks: Neoliberalism and the Great Recession in Winter’s Bone."
Ann D’Orazio. "Save Our City: Transmetropolitan and the Antihero Citizen."
Stephanie Spong. "'Affection Would Be Revolution Enough': Public Eroticism and the Re-Imagined Love Lyric in Bruce Andrews' Designated Heartbeat."

Western Literature Association. Berkeley, CA: October 9-12, 2013.
Erin Murrah-Mandril. "Preserving the Ghosts of the Alamo: Adina de Zavala's History and Legends."
Melina Vizcaino-Alemán. "Critical Regionalism and The West: Intersections of Architecture and Literature in the Southwest."
Julie Williams. "Western Writing and Wheelchairs: Embodiment and Ability in Women's Writing about Place."

Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association. Vancouver, WA. October 9-13, 2013.
Doaa Omran. "(Re) Defining Islamic Terrorism: A Middle Eastern Perspective."
Erin Woltkamp. "Performing the Discourse of Power: Breaking Away From the Madwoman in the Attic Through Discursive Tactics in Villette."

Natasha Jones. "Social Justice as Technical Communication Pedagogy." Council for Programs on Technical and Scientific Communication (CPTSC). Cincinnati, OH: October 2013.


Daoine Bachran. "Being (post)Human: Mechanization, Militarization, and Human Rights in Chicana/o Science Fiction." American Studies Association Annual Meeting. Washington D.C.: November 21, 2013.

Kathleen Washburn. "Modern American Indian Literature: Early Twentieth-Century Texts and Contexts." The Newberry Library Colloquium. Chicago, IL: November 13, 2013.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Michelle Kells' article will be published in The Best of the Independent Rhetoric & Composition Journals

Michelle Hall Kells' article for the Journal of Community Literacy.: "What's Writing Got to Do With It?: Citizen Wisdom, Civil Rights Activism" has been awarded the Best of Rhetoric/Comp Independent Journals for 2013. The "phronesis" of Vicente Ximenes as a civil rights activist was the inspiration for this article, as well as the "Citizen Scholar" WAC Workshops facilitated by Dr. Kells this spring here at UNM.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Francesca Tuoni presents at Medieval Academy at UCLA

Francesca Tuoni, PhD student in Medieval Literature, received a travel bursary award from the
prestigious Medieval Academy of America for the paper "Arabisms and Hospitallers: A Plausible Pathway into Middle English" that she presented at the Annual Meeting of the Medieval Academy at UCLA, April 10-12, 2014.

Michelle Kells & La Voz Newspaper "Civil Rights Turns 50"

Michelle Kells forwarded this article from the Denver newspaper "La Voz" today "Civil Rights Act Turns 50." This is an important historic moment in U.S Civil rights history. The reporter has an insightful recognition of the role/significance of this legislation for women and Latinos (and especially women of color). From the article:

“We could not have endured much longer had the ’64 signing not occurred,” says University of New Mexico historical writer and English professor Dr. Michelle Hall-Kells. The massive and growing resistance to the status quo, including Freedom Summer, was not going away. “It pressed LBJ into doing the right thing.”

Hall-Kells says too many of the epic gains that resulted from the Civil Rights Act are today taken for granted. “I can’t imagine a 2104 without a 1964 moment,” says the UNM professor.” Without those formative policy changes our civic imagination would be so limited.”

Perhaps the biggest gain, Hall-Kells says, have been in gender equality. Women a half century ago were simply not part of the discussion in terms of career opportunities. Today, while still not exactly equal partners in many fields, woman have climbed to the top in finance, politics, science and technology and so many other disciplines once the sole purview of men. But much work remains. “The groups that are still struggling and have not benefited are women of color. There is a lot of unfinished work.”

La Voz  Bilingue (Denver, CO) 

A thank you to Christine Sierra for connecting La Voz reporter Ernest Gurule with me last week for an interview on Good Friday and including Latinos and women under the rhetorical umbrella of 1964 Civil Rights Act stakeholders.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Matt Hofer named Honors College Visiting Distinguished Professor

For Fall 2014, Matthew Hofer has been named one of two Honors College Visiting Distinguished professors, a fellowship program established by the newly organized UNM Honors College with the support of the Office of the Provost. The program is designed to bring select senior faculty to teach and mentor undergraduates in the Honors College, engage with Honors College faculty and undergraduates in a number of informal and formal settings, and present one or more public lectures. Many congratulations to Dr. Hofer, on this accomplishment!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Evee Ung begins her bright future at Georgetown University in Fall

Evee Ung has received an impressive offer from Georgetown University's Center for New Designs in Teaching and Scholarship that includes full tuition remission and a stipend.

Monica Kowal travels to Engagement Academy for University Leaders

Monica Kowal and Dean Kate Krause have been accepted to the Engagement Academy for University Leaders, an executive development program for university leaders who will be building institutional capacity for community engagement and community engaged scholarship. They will be traveling to Virginia Tech in June to represent the University of New Mexico and develop institutional plans to effectively link community engagement to the teaching, research, and service missions of our University.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Nicholas Schwartz receives Bilinski Dissertation Fellowship

Five talented doctoral students in the humanities at UNM will receive 2014 Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Dissertation Fellowships thanks to a generous gift from the Bilinski Educational Foundation, including Nicholas Schwarz (English), for his work on history in the 11th-century writings of the Archbishop Wulfstan of York.

Alternate Stephanie Spong (English) is also to be commended for her outstanding dissertation project.

2014 Bilinski Fellows:

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Rivera Lands Tenure-Track Job

ALS PhD candidate in English, Díana Noreen Rivera, has accepted a tenure track job as an assistant professor of English at the University of Texas, Brownsville, for an advertised position in American literature to begin Fall 2014. The inaugural CRS Torres Fellow and a current Mellon Fellow, Noreen is also a native of the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas—she received her BA and MA from UT-Pan American, so her return to UT-Brownsville is the perfect position for her to take after she defends her dissertation in July. Congratulations!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Erin Penner Gallegos Extending Peace Corps Service

Erin Penner Gallegos defended her MA R&W Portfolio in May 2011 and took an appointment with the Peace Corps. She is now back in the US before going back overseas and taking her next promotion appointment in Thailand.

Erin will be here for the Writing the World Symposium on Friday. Another Professional Writing MA success story for our placement records. Erin launched the first WAC Earth Day Symposium which evolved into the Wriitng the World Symposium.  She didn't just theorize about "writing the world"--she's living it.

They will extend Peace Corps service by one year (to start in May, after coming home for a month-long visit). Then back to Thailand, but a new city, and working with the College of Local Administration (COLA) at Khon Kaen University, in Khon Kaen City. Most of the time will be working with the "Youth Anti-Corruption Network" which is a project started at Khon Kaen University through COLA about two years ago with funds from the UN Development Programme. The students who go to COLA will for the most part become government administrators at the local (town / county) level.

Greg Evans Haley the new Strategic Communications Director for ACT Foundation

Greg Evans Haley has landed his dream job in Austin TX as the Strategic Communications Director for the ACT Foundation (a Bill and Melinda Gates Foudation). This is a brilliant placement and exciting news for our Professional Writing Program.

Greg's search committee was very impressed with Greg's work in rhetoric (hermeneutics of John Dewey especially) and Greg's grassroots experience working with Writing Across Communities here at UNM. In Greg's words,

I have accepted a position as Director, Strategic Communications for the ACT Foundation. The foundation was established as a public trust non-profit organization in October, 2013 with the mandate to establish a national learning economy to benefit working learners. The goal is to develop a nationally recognized certification program that allows working learners to gain mobility across industries and across companies based on their skills and training learned on the job. The foundation is working to build a network of industry associations, education, and worker training programs to collaborate in this effort. This economic plan is currently in design and development phase with organizations from all across the country, and across the political spectrum, joining in the effort. The ACT Foundation's role is to develop the strategy, provide funding for innovative solutions, and provide leadership for this nationwide effort. 

As Director, Strategic Communications, Greg's role is to develop the national communications strategy, introduction, and ongoing development of the national learning economy. This involves working with key stakeholders from government, industry, and educational organizations to develop the key messaging, communications strategy, and overall outreach effort to help make this new economy a reality. This is a senior management position at the foundation that is also responsible for managing stakeholder relations, developing the overall framing and direction of the learning economy, and providing internal leadership for the foundation's employees.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Writer's Almanac Chooses UNM MFA Alumni Richard Vargas' Poem to Share

Richard Vargas is one of our MFA alumni, and we are very proud of his work.

As of right now, Writer's Almanac is kicking off National Poetry Month with a poem from my new book, Guernica, revisited. Scheduled for Tues., April 1.

In Albuquerque, the show airs on KANW, 89.1, usually around 8:15 am. This will be the third time Garrison Keillor has read my work on the air, an honor. Hope you give it a listen, and enjoy.

Richard Vargas

why i feed the birds

i saw my grandmother hold out
her hand cupping a small offering
of seed to one of the wild sparrows
that frequented the bird bath she
filled with fresh water every day

she stood still
maybe stopped breathing
while the sparrow looked
at her, then the seed
then back as if he was
judging her character

he jumped into her hand
began to eat
she smiled

a woman holding
a small god

"why i feed the birds" by Richard Vargas from Guernica, revisited. © Press 53, 2014. Reprinted with permission. (buy now

The book launch for Richard's new book will be April 26 at the Peace and Justice Center.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Karra Shimabukuro Publishes Advice on How to Thrive in Graduate School

PhD student Karra Shimabukuro has written a guest post for Grad Hacker, a resource for grad students. Karra’s post deals with how to “thrive” and not just survive in graduate school. It can be found here:

Cris Elder Selected as UNM Teaching Fellow

Dr. Cristyn L. Elder has been selected by UNM's Center for Teaching Excellence as one of eight faculty from across the disciplines to be a UNM Teaching Fellow during the 2014-15 Academic Year. Fellows will investigate carefully-defined teaching challenges by examining the latest research on teaching and learning in one's discipline, design a teaching innovation, and collect and evaluate evidence of student learning. Dr. Elder aims to work with faculty outside the English Department in an effort to increase undergraduate student success in designated "killer courses" (i.e., those with high fail rates). Specifically, Dr. Elder will be working with faculty in designing and implementing scaffolded class activities and writing assignments that align with disciplinary course content in an effort to help students successfully address course goals and learning outcomes while developing their writing skills. Dr. Elder's overall research question is the following: Does an increased focus on writing as it relates to course content improve students’ success rate in the course?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Oliver Baker admitted to the School of Criticism and Theory at Cornell University

Oliver Baker, a PhD student in American Literary Studies, has been admitted to the School of Criticism and Theory at Cornell University!

A six-week summer program, the School of Criticism and Theory was founded in 1976 by a group of leading literary scholars in the conviction that an understanding of theory is fundamental to humanistic studies. The SCT offers faculty members and advanced graduate students in the humanities and social sciences a chance to work with preeminent figures in critical thought — exploring debates in and across literary studies, political theory, history, philosophy, art, and anthropology; examining the role of ideological and cultural movements; and reassessing theoretical approaches that have emerged over the last fifty years.  More information about SCT is available here:

Congratulations to Oliver—we are thrilled that he will be representing the UNM Department of English at SCT!

Christopher Bartlett admitted to Boston University’s graduate program in Literary Studies

UNM English major Christopher Bartlett has been admitted to Boston University’s MA/PhD program in English and American Literature! Chris has received a full graduate fellowship from Boston University, and he will begin graduate study this fall. He is currently finishing an Undergraduate Honors Thesis in the English Department here at UNM, under the supervisions of Prof. Daniel Worden, titled “‘An Exercise in Telemachry’: David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest and Intergenerational Conversation.”

Congratulation to Chris!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Vicente Ximenes Reception, Friday March 28th

We hope that you can attend the Dr. Vicente Ximenes reception this Friday March 28th at the Chicana and Chicano Studies and Southwest Hispanic Research Institute building at 1829 Sigma Chi Rd NE from 3pm-4:30 pm. There will be food and drink and a memorial arranged for Dr. Ximenes. The reception is sponsored by UNM's Chicana and Chicano Studies Program, College of Arts and Sciences, Department of English Language and Literature, and Southwest Hispanic Research Institute. 

For more information about Dr. Ximenes, to pay tribute to his legacy, or to donate to the Vicente Ximenes Scholarship in Public Rhetoric and Community literacy, visit

Monday, March 24, 2014

Joseph Bartolotta presents on Rhetoric and Literacy Thursday, March 27, 12:30 pm

UNM Department of English Language & Literature
Spring 2014 Colloquium Series
Joseph Bartolotta
Lecturer, Rhetoric & Writing Program
UNM Department of English Language & Literature

Thursday, March 27, 2014
12:30 p.m.

English Department Lounge
2nd Floor, Humanities

Dr. Bartolotta’s research focuses on the intersections of rhetoric and literacy. The questions that drive his research are: How and where do people learn rhetorical strategies? Further, how is rhetorical acuity related to literacy training? Joseph recently defended his dissertation titled “Laboring Literacy: Rhetoric, Language, and Sponsors of Literacy in Workers’ Education in the International Ladies Garment Workers’ Union 1914-1939,” which is concerned with non-academic literacy in a professional context and argues that the acquisition of literacy itself constitutes a rhetorical act, as learners are trained by literacy standards that urge a certain rhetorical interaction with existing power structures.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Emilee Howland-Davis into a Bright Future

Emilee Howland-Davis has been accepted into the English PhD program at the University of Missouri at Columbia with a full assistantship and two fellowships: the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Supplemental Graduate Fellowship, as well as the English Department Fellowship. Emilee will continue studying Arthurian Literature in the context of magic. We will miss you, Emilee, and wish you all the best. Dr. Obermeier

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Professor Ruecker Receives Research Grant

Todd Ruecker has received a grant from the UNM Research Allocations Committee in the amount of $5,437 to fund his project titled "Linguistic Minority Students and Literacy Education in Rural and Small Town High Schools."  The grant will support Professor Ruecker's work this fall focused on literacy education in small town high schools and how it supports linguistically diverse students' transitions to college.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Center for Regional Studies Hector Torres Fellowship

The Center for Regional Studies and the English Department at the University of New Mexico announce the Center for Regional Studies Hector Torres Fellowship for Fall 2014-Spring 2015.

The Center for Regional Studies Hector Torres Fellowship supports graduate research and scholarship in the English Department directly related to the late Dr. Hector Torres’ fields, as well as the mission of the Center for Regional Studies. These areas include Chicano/a literary and cultural studies; theory (i.e. Marxism; post-structuralism; deconstruction; psychoanalysis; and globalization); film studies; and scholarship related to the mission of the CRS (including history; archival research; literature; and other interdisciplinary fields related to New Mexico, the US-Mexico borderlands, and the greater southwest).

The award amount ranges from $10,000 to $15,000 a year, depending on availability. Renewal is not automatic. The Fellowship is housed in the English Department but sponsored by the Center for Regional Studies. Fellowship funding pending final budgetary approval.

Qualified graduate student applicants must meet the above criteria; be graduate students in good standing (3.0 GPA or better); maintain full-time graduate student standing during the tenure of the award; and complete a CRS application, which includes a letter of intent; transcripts; resume; two letters of recommendation; and proof of enrollment. Preference will be given first to advanced doctoral students (post-exams); doctoral students in coursework; and advanced MA students. Highly qualified applicants to the English doctoral program in American Literary Studies will also be considered for the fellowship for recruitment purposes.

Submit all inquires and all application materials (in hardcopy) to Dr. Jesse Alemán (, Professor, Department of English.

Deadline: 5pm, April 4, 2014

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

English Department Colloquium, Wednesday, March 12 at noon

For our first English Department Colloquium presentation of the semester, Belinda Wallace will present "'It is only she that brings them to any life:' Mapping a Meta-Colonial Feminist Space in Dionne Brand's Ossuaries.
Wednesday March 12 at noon, SUB Fiesta A.

Vicente Ximenes, rights activist, dies at 94

XIMENES: Believed in the dignity of humans
Read the eJournal Albuquerque Journal Sunday March 2, 2014

By Nicole Perez / Journal Staff Writer
PUBLISHED: Sunday, March 2, 2014 at 12:05 am

Ana Ximenes remembers moving to Washington, D.C., as a child with her father, knowing very little English and sprinting from the school bus to her home because she was Mexican-American and different from the other kids in her neighborhood. “My dad felt sorry for me but said, ‘You have to fight back and stand up for yourself,’ and I’ve been doing that ever since then,” she said Saturday. It’s an attitude family members say Vicente Ximenes displayed throughout his life. The longtime grass-roots civil rights activist,scholar and White House appointee died Thursday night in Albuquerque at the age of 94.

Ximenes was renowned both in Albuquerque and on a national level for his work with the Agency for International Development (AID) in Panama and in Ecuador, he was a founding member of the American GI Forum chapters in New Mexico and was appointed to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by President Lyndon Johnson. He was instrumental in organizing the El Paso hearings, a summit with President Johnson in which the conditions of Mexican-Americans were highlighted, and the hearings led to widespread social change, said University of New Mexico English professor Michelle Kells.

Ximenes’ friend Armondo Lopez first met him in Panama working for AID, where the pair tried to improve education and economic opportunities for Panamanians. The group established credit unions for low-income farmers throughout the country. “He was dedicated and determined, his commitment – which I saw and understood much more later – to helping others was tremendous,” Lopez said Saturday. “There were a couple of instances where he got out of his sick bed and went to the office, maybe at the detriment of all of us, just to encourage us to keep on trying to make those projects we were involved in a success.”

Born in Floresville, Texas, Ximenes received a bachelor’s in education and master’s in economics from the University of New Mexico in the 1950s. He also received an honorary doctorate from UNM. One of his early projects, said Ximenes’ son Ricardo, was helping Albuquerque sanitation workers get showers after work. He went on to actively lobby for affirmative action and Mexican-American rights. During his retirement in Albuquerque, Ximenes remained politically active, heading his neighborhood association and fighting against the building of a nearby Wal-Mart. He also founded the Youth Conservation Corps in New Mexico, according to Journal archives.“There are millions of people that he helped who have probably never heard his name,” Ricardo Ximenes said. “He always believed in the dignity of humans, that was his driving force. He was a progressive thinker; he still kept up with local politics.”

A rosary will be held for Ximenes at French Mortuary, 10500 Lomas NE, at 6 p.m. Thursday, and a grave-side service is planned for 2:30 p.m. Friday at Mount Calvary Cemetery, 1900 Edith NE. The family requests donations be made to the Vicente Ximenes Scholarship in UNM’s English department.

Check donations can be mailed to:

Checks made payable to Ximenes Scholarship/UNM Foundation
c/o Dr. Michelle Hall Kells, Department of English
MSC 03-2170
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001

Online donations can be made here: Vicente Ximenes Scholarship in Public Rhetoric and Community Literacy at:
Tributes in honor of Dr. Vicente Ximenes can be sent to the: Vicente Ximenes Legacy Blog at:

Monday, February 17, 2014

Stretching for Student Success

In Sunday's Albuquerque Journal, an opinion piece, titled "Rethinking Remedial Education Is Essential to Student Success," describes two curricular initiatives within the Core Writing Program that may eliminate "remediation" courses for first year writing that do not carry college credit. As Dr. Mark Peceny, Dean of UNM's College of Arts and Sciences, writes, 

"Our 'Stretch' program extends the work of the first semester writing course over two semesters, accompanied by overall assistance in the transition to college. In a trial run last summer, 100 percent of the students completed the first semester of work. In our equally successful 'Studio' program, students began typical first semester writing immediately and were supported with an extra one-credit-hour course that provided additional assistance in college-level writing. UNM is now prepared to extend these opportunities to all main campus students in the 2014-2015 academic year."

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Feroza Jussawalla wins UNM Faculty Teaching Award

The UNM Alumni Association has given the 2014 Faculty Teaching Award to Feroza Jussawalla.
Feroza Jussawalla’s specialty of postcolonial literature in the UNM English Department lends itself to teaching at a minority-majority university. Jussawalla earned her BA at a women’s college in India before furthering her studies at the University of Utah. She taught at UTEP for 21 years before coming to UNM in 2001. In her classes, Jussawalla relates the experiences of international writers who lived under colonial rule to the experiences of the myriad cultures in the Southwest. She embraces the importance of teaching and research, and works to see her students succeed at both.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Natasha Jones honored by Conference on College Composition and Communication

Dr. Natasha Jones won two awards from the Conference on College Composition and Communication! Her dissertation won the 2014 CCCC Outstanding Dissertation in Technical Communication. In addition, her article won the 2014 CCCC Technical and Scientific Communication Award in the category of Best Article Reporting Qualitative or Quantitative Research in Technical or Scientific Communication (as lead author). 
Congratulations, Natasha!

Daniel Worden awarded a B-Side Modernism/Raymond Danowski Poetry Library Fellowship

Professor Daniel Worden has been awarded a B-Side Modernism/Raymond Danowski Poetry Library Fellowship by the academic journal Nonsite. Sponsored by the Mellon Foundation, the fellowship funds archival research at Emory University’s Raymond Danowski Poetry Library. The results of Professor Worden’s research will then appear in a special issue of Nonsite on “B-Side Modernism.” For more information, see

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Lindsey Ives to be Professor at Embry-Riddle

Lindsey Ives has accepted an offer for an Assistant Professor position in Composition and Second Language Writing at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona, FL.
Congratulations, Lindsey!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Winners of the Lena Todd Awards In Creative Writing

Every fall term, instructors of UNM’s undergraduate creative writing workshops nominate stories, poems, and creative nonfiction essays written by their students for the Lena Todd Awards. This year the authors of the first place entries will receive $100, the second place entries $50, and all winners will be given the opportunity to read from their work at an upcoming Works-in-Progress reading at Winnings Coffee House (111 Harvard Dr. SE).

First Place: Quentin Chirdon, “The Flyover” (Instructor: Jack Trujillo)
About “The Flyover,” Judge Brenna Gomez had this to say: “The entry self-consciously explores a writer’s struggle with herself and her work as she watches another bitter writer she knows—and hasn’t spoken to in years—implode. The prose is sure and strong, the dialogue funny, painful, and very believable.”
Second Place: Lyndsey Broyles, “American Perspective Weekly Special Feature” (Instructor: Jill Dehnert)
“A newspaper pays tribute to their obituary writer by showcasing his best obituaries—one of an old friend, one of his wife, one of a woman he loved and killed in an accident, and finally himself. Reading this story was a bit like fitting the pieces of a puzzle together—at the end the reader fits together the smaller character sketches to create one larger sketch of the main character. The experimental nature and ambition of the piece is intriguing and successful,” writes Gomez.

First Place: Erin Pooley-Cooper, “Genesister” (Instructor: Diane Thiel)
Judge Reid Maruyama admired the line breaks and concrete, synesthetic imagery. “The poet,” he writes, “makes an utterly captivating statement about gender roles with regards to the Biblical tradition.”
Second Place: Tiffini Mungia, “Of the Sun and Moon: a haiku series” (Instructor Diane Thiel)
“The imagery, rhythm, and form were perfectly suited to the content,” writes Maruyama.

Creative Nonfiction:
First Place: Molly Cudia, “The Bat” (
Instructor: Ben Dolan)
“The best memoirs are often disguised by voice,” writes Judge Annie Olson. “The narrator in “The Bat” is tender, honest, and wise beyond her years. She is impressively strong and vulnerable at the same time. The essay relies on the narrator’s keen eye for detail. A meticulous description of the house she grew up in serves as the foundation for an essay about how one’s sense of home, family and belonging is irreparably altered by divorce. The narrator in “The Bat could easily judge her family and upbringing, but refuses to do so, and this is a big factor in why she is so endearing to readers.”
Second Place: Catherine A. Hubka, “Ghost Towns” (Instructor: Marisa Clark)
“Addressing grief and loss in writing is thematically challenging. The narrator in “Ghost Towns” is poignantly honest and forthcoming with readers about the death of her son. The essay is narrated with humor, poise and candor. There’s momentum to this story. From page one, readers are compelled to journey with the narrator, learn from her mistakes and insights, hurt for her loss, and relate to her humanity.”

Many thanks to this year’s judges! Congratulations to the writers and their mentors!