Department Notepad December 2013

Sandy Longhorn (Class of 1993):

My second book of poetry, The Girlhood Book of Prairie Myths, won the 2013 Jacar Press Full Length Poetry Book Contest, judged by Stuart Dischell, and is now available. The Girlhood Book of Prairie Myths centers on the coming-of-age of Midwestern girls whose lives have been formed and transformed by the natural elements of rural communities. In that wide-open space, personal mythologies abound. These poems weave the personal into the environmental through the use of fairy tales, newly minted saints, and elegies for both people and the land. The girls and women of these poems struggle to find their places within their own families and within their often under-appreciated physical geography. This book continues to explore themes found in Blood Almanac, my first book. More information can be found on my blog: Myself the only Kangaroo among the Beauty.



Lori Moe (English Department Administrative Assistant):

Really, to ask me to "write" something for you all, professors, professionals, and students, in the English Department, is quite amusing to me. Not that I haven't dreamt about being an author in my own right in the past, but I have not even put pen to paper since graduating from college myself quite a while ago. I grew up way up north in East Grand Forks, MN, attending the University of North Dakota for Advertising/Communications and had thoughts of moving out of this cold country to a coastal area out East to live but then love intervened and I moved to St Cloud, MN, instead where my husband was born and raised. With family being at the top of our list, we stayed in St. Cloud just blocks from where my husband grew up in northwest St Cloud and still live there today. I have had quite a creative past work history including being in sales for many years and becoming a registered jeweler and an interior designer for some great local employers in the area and also working in Training and Development for a Direct Sales company based in St. Cloud. When becoming a mother, little do you know about how much medical information you can learn when you have a son who, born totally healthy, starts having seizures at 5 years of age! He is now wonderfully grown up at 19 years of age and I also have a daughter 13 years old as well. I eventually needed to work more from home and be available to my son to get him through his school years so I became a medical transcriptionist and worked at home for a company in Atlanta, GA, and eventually the St Cloud Hospital. I would have never guessed as a student in Mass Communications that I would ever want to have that much medical terminology in my arsenal. Now that I am grown-up I guess I finally get to go back to college and work with you all at this wonderful establishment here at CSB/SJU, which really seems like the dream job I was thinking about way back in Mass Communications!



Jane Opitz (Director of the Writing Center):

The Writing Center is having a busy fall semester. The 25 tutors have conducted 1900 appointments with more than 700 individual writers-so far and finals week looms large. The big news in the CSB office is renovation: The facilities crew demolished the interior walls to the adjacent courtyard offices last summer. The space is now large, inviting and open, with windows and daylight. No more cave-dwelling!



Mike Opitz (Professor of English):

For the past several years, a group of musicians calling themselves The Karma Refugees have met at my home studio to record music. I have posted examples of our recordings in previous issues of The English Web. The current Karma Refugees are: Professor Tom Daddesio (Slippery Rock State University, PA), Caitlin Brutger (CSB graduate), Kathleen (Regan) Downes (CSB graduate) and me. Over that last four years we have written, arranged and recorded enough songs to make our first virtual album. I spent at least 100 hours mixing and mastering these tracks. We have now posted that virtual album, Dreams and Visions, on a new and updated website. This website will continue to grow as I add new posts. It starts with this first album and will develop into an on-line text for my Creative Writing course. Please check it out!



Luke Mancuso (Professor of English):

In addition to the two tinkerings on earlier essays, "Got Milk?: Zizek Giving and Receiving in Gus Van Sant's Milk," and "Show It To Me: Making Feminine Desire Visible in The Kids Are All Right," I now have decided to collect these queer cinema essays in a book, called The Many Splendid Failures of Heterosexuality in 21st-Century Cinema. This book will include chapters on another writerly obsession, Steve McQueen's two feature films, Hunger (2009) and Shame (2011), two exquisite tone poems about the one of the core secrets of the masculine body: the desire to dematerialize the male body through an abrupt intrusion of the Real. Respectively, these two essays-in-progress are called, "A Proper Hiding": The Indelible Residues of the Masculine Body in Hunger," a reading of the role of Lacanian fantasy and desire in Michael Fassbender's wasting flesh; and "The Punctured Narcissist: Censorship, Passion, and Attachment in Steve McQueen's Shame," a Zizekian reading of the sterile eroticism of virtual intimacy in the film.

My third Zizek Reading Group gathered every two weeks this Fall 2013 term in an energetic call-and-response method, to interrogate Zizek's book, On Belief. We will look at Violence: Six Sideways Reflections in the Spring 2014 term. Can't wait. Also, doing a lot of Zizek and Lacan in the Spring term version of English 243: Literary Theory, including How To Read Lacan. What a blast.