English and CW News

[If you have something you would like to add to the News page, please contact Dr. Smid.]

November 2017

Professor Emerita named Poet Laureate

The city of Winnipeg has appointed its first ever poet laureate, and it’s Dr. Di Brandt, Professor Emerita in the Department on English and Creative Writing. Congratulations, Di! What an honour and a boon for the Arts.

See the CBC news story here.

October 2017

Brandon University pays tribute to Laurie Block

The English and Creative Writing Department has a new speaker series: “The Literary Exchange.” On October 28, the Literary Exchange hosted a Tribute to Laurie Block, a local poet, playwright, and story-teller. What a lovely afternoon! The Gathering Space was packed with people, most of them old friends and admirers of Laurie. Laurie read a number of his poems, but most of the readings were done by Laurie’s friends and admirers. It was indeed a celebration of Laurie’s work, life, and impact on the cities of Brandon and Winnipeg.


English prof publishes plays to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation

Dr. Deanna Smid was commissioned to write a series of plays to mark the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s challenge to the Roman Catholic Church. The plays are openly accessible online, and have been performed across Canada. See the press release here.

September 2017

Jennifer Still: Poetry Reading

As part of the Winnipeg Thin Air Festival, Jennifer Still visited BU to present a reading from her new book of poetry, Comma, and to lead a poetry workshop.

Jennifer Still: Poetry Workshop

By Tyler Huff

I attended Jenifer Still’s poetry workshop on September 25th, 2017. This poetry session was interactive in nature and therefore educational. Jennifer read her poems, answered questions and shared her knowledge on poetry. Preliminarily, she shared where the meaning of the word “poem” originates. She stated: ““Poem” comes from the Latin word “make””. Next, she instructed us to walk the hallways of Clark Hall. The point of this was to write down what went through our minds when we looked at the architecture and contents of Clark Hall. I noticed a vast amount of mahogany wood, clocks, and books on bookshelves, which made me write down words such as “intellectual, gifted, professional and English”. Once back in the conference room, we sat down and shared what we had written. Jennifer seemed to be fascinated by all of our thoughts and ideas. We put our words together and created lines of poetry based off of that. Usually I am not a fan of poetry because I generally cannot understand why the author is writing a poem instead of writing out a story in detail. However, through Jennifer’s teachings, I can understand why. One may feel release through poetry, or may have objects, ideas and feelings that can be expressed more efficiently through poetry. I learned that it is all about preference, and that perhaps the author does not want you to understand what he/she means; but take what you want from the poem.

Books published by English and Creative Writing faculty members

Dr. Jonathan Allan (co-editor with Cristina Santos and Adriana Spahr) recently published Virgin Envy with the University of Regina Press:

Virgin Envy sets out to re-conceive the ways that we describe and relate to virginity as a cultural construct. Who is a virgin? How do we lose our virginities? What if we regret our “first time”?

Contributors to Virgin Envy everything from medieval romance to Bollywood films to Twilight and True Blood, to destabilize the many assumptions about sexual purity. In particular, the hymen is called into question. How is virginity determined for those without a hymen? How do we account for the ways in which the “geography of the hymen” has changed over the course of history? And what about male and queer virginity? Issues of commodification, postcoloniality, and religious diversity are also addressed.

Order your copy here!

And Dr. Deanna Smid published a monograph, The Imagination in Early Modern English Literature, with Brill Publishing:

In The Imagination in Early Modern English Literature, Deanna Smid presents a literary, historical account of imagination in early modern English literature, paying special attention to its effects on the body, to its influence on women, to its restraint by reason, and to its ability to create novelty. An early modern definition of imagination emerges in the work of Robert Burton, Francis Bacon, Edward Reynolds, and Margaret Cavendish. Smid explores a variety of literary texts, from Thomas Nashe’s The Unfortunate Traveler to Francis Quarles’s Emblems, to demonstrate the literary consequences of the early modern imagination. The Imagination in Early Modern English Literature insists that, if we are to call an early modern text “imaginative,” we must recognize the unique characteristics of early modern English imagination, in all its complexity.

Order your copy here!

August 2017

Dean of Arts selected for major research project

Dr. Demetres Tryphonopoulos has been selected for a prestigious, collaborative research project, connecting him with the largest university in Greece. Dr. Tryphonopoulos is the Dean of Arts and a Professor in the English and Creative Writing Department.

See the press release here.

April 2017

Matt MacDonald wins Senior Colloquium award

Matt MacDonald won one of the four awards for his outstanding research and presentation at this year’s Senior Colloquium. He was recognized for “The Dracillian Breed, or Flight of the Grypis,” written for Prof. Dale Lakevold’s Intermediate Workshop in Creative Writing: Science Fiction and Fantasy. Congratulations, Matt!

See the news story here.

English and Creative Writing at the Senior Colloquium

English and Creative Writing students shone at the April 10 Senior Colloquium. Congratulations to the following speakers:

  • Matt MacDonald, “The Dracillian Breed, or Flight of the Grypis,” and “Okafuado: Broken Swords”
  • Derek Booth, Scene from “Reunited (And it Feels Not So Good)”
  • Ariele Kehler, “The Grace Tales”
  • Maria Schigol, “An Anthropologist’s Last Hope”
  • Emily Kroeker, “Monsters or Men: Interpreting the Other in Beowulf
  • Theodore Farough, “The Pursuit of Knowledge: A Cautionary Tale”

Thank you as well to the many English and Creative Writing students who chaired panels at the Colloquium. It was an impressive day, to be sure.

March 2017

Arts Speaker Series: Bees with Dr. Smid

By Ariele Kehler

The final Arts Speakers’ Series of the 2016-2017 school year took place on Friday, March 17th. Dr. Deanna Smid of the English/Creative Writing department presented the research she began last summer regarding the way the bees were treated in the Renaissance, particularly in regard to literature.

“You’re all my guinea pigs,” Dr. Smid began with a smile, as this was the first time she had presented the research.

The first five minutes of her presentation were scattered with bee-related puns–which I, for one, very much appreciated. The presentation showed that people in the Renaissance very much relied on bees as a source of income, as honey and wax were necessary commodities. There are many works of written accounts on the maintenance and care for bees and their hives, many be Renaissance apiarists. It was common conception at the time that bees themselves were artistic, and that the hum of the bees at work in their hives were songs. Songs were written for a capella musicians to replicate the bee song, and were so common that there is written record of them in books dating back to the 17th century.

While Smid did a large amount of research on the scientific aspect of Renaissance bee literature, she was also interested in the poetic reference to bees. A common theme in poetry of the time was to compare women and bees. As at the time, men were of a higher order in the social chain, in many poems what we now know to be the queen bee is referred to as the king bee–because the bee in charge was obviously male.

Smid’s research is not finished, and she intends to look more into the Renaissance beliefs that bees were creative creatures. She also hopes to coordinate with the Brandon University School of Music to recreate the seventeenth century bee songs.

Reprinted from The Quill, Issue 26, Volume 107

Beer and Pizza: A rousing success!

I’m going to let these pictures tell their own story:

(Also, does anyone remember the shameful pictures from last year’s beer and pizza party? Check out the 2016 news to find them).

2016 news

2015 news