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News of our students, faculty, and alumni

Welcome Fall 2016 Students!

  • Upcoming Events
  • News from the Department

Oct. 4

Richard Lyons has tentatively scheduled a debut reading from his newest poetry offering, Un Poco Loco. Details will be announced when available. Dr. Lyons is the author of three previous award winning books of poetry, most recently Washington Prize winning Fleur Carnivore.


Richard Lyons
Aug. 20 Becky Hagenston participated in the panel discussion "Short Stories" at the 2016 Mississippi Book Festival in Jackson. Becky Hagenston
July One English major participated in the Mississippi State Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium. Lily Hebert presented a paper titled, “Multifaceted Objectification in The Duchess of Malfi.” Her conference paper won First Place in the Humanities Division.
April 23 Members of the English Department and friends met to commemorate Rich Raymond's years as Head of the Department of English. Dr. Raymond is retiring from the Head position this summer. He will remain as a professor in the department through the end of the year.
April 18 Hannah Rinehart read from her MA thesis, a collection of stories titled Any Other Animal.

English Department graduate student Caitlin Branum was the recipient of the Zacharias Graduate Student Teaching Assistant of the Year Award.

English Department graduate student Antoinette Hayden received third place in the Graduate Research Symposium Arts and Humanities division for her paper on Octavia Butler. 

April Donald "Field" Brown has received the Ashford Scholarship to Harvard University. A Rhodes Scholar, he will continue his graduate studies at Harvard. Field Brown
April 9 Matthew Little presented his abundantly illustrated work in progress on The Great Gatsby at the spring Department of English symposium. Matthew Little
April M.A. student Vanessa Beeson has been selected as the recipient of this year's Martha's Vineyard Institute for Creative Writing scholarship. Vanessa will be attending the Institute for an intensive week this summer.
March 23 Becky Hagenston presented a reading and book launch for her short story collection, Scavengers, sponsored by the Creative Writing program. {Press Release}. Becky Hagenston
March Graduate Nick White (MA '09) has accepted a tenure-track position at The Ohio State University, where he'll be an assistant professor of creative writing in the MFA program.  Nick White
Feb. 29 - Mar. 4 Dorothy Allison has visited us as this year's Writer-in-Residence through the joint efforts of the Institute for the Humanities, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the English Department. Her visit included a public reading March 1.
February Natalie Jones (double major, English and Sociology) has been informed she is a finalist for the prestigiouis Truman Scholarship. Natalie Jones
February Graduate student Antoinette Hayden represented the English Dept. and MSU at the Southern Studies Conference at Auburn Univ., Montgomery.
January Professor Emeritus Patrick Creevy is featured on the Mississippi State "Our People" web presentation.
January 29 Andrea Spain and Stacey Kastner spoke at the Gender Studies Feminist Pedagogy panel. Stacey Kastner
January 2016

Donald Shaffer’s edited collection of essays on The Construction of Whiteness has been published by the University Press of Mississippi.

Dr. Donald Shaffer

Announcing the results of this year's Undergraduate Writing Contest:

1st place: Hannah Warren, "To Survive Uneven Hours"
2nd place: Charis Brightwell, "Roots From Your Tree"
Runner-Up: Rachel Griffin, "A Photograph of Brothers"

1st place: Sam Gibson, "Choices"
2nd place: Jessica Collins, "Alexander Evans"
Runner-Up: Hannah Warren, "Hiking in Alaska"

The first and second place entries in both categories will go on to represent MSU at this year's Southern Literary Festival.


The winner of this year’s Peyton Williams Award is Kylie Dennis for her ‘Don’t laugh like that, Bertha’: Laughter and the Limits of Female Emotion in Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea.”  Kylie is the first student since 1998 to win the award twice.

Brandi Torre's “ ‘When mothers fail us’: Sisterhood in Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Aurora Lee” won this year’s Honorable Mention.

October Wendy Herd's article on “Phonetic Drift in a First Language Dominant Environment” will soon appear in the Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics. Dr. Wendy Herd
September Wendy Herd previewed her work in progress, on 'phonetic drift' as speakers learn a second language, at this fall's department symposium.
Sept. 24 As our second scheduled creative writer of the term, poet Allison Joseph read from her work. Allison Joseph is the author of ten collections of poetry, the editor of Crab Orchard Review, and the director of the MFA program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Her reading was delightful.
September Student Jessica Moseley Lockhart has had a poem accepted for publication in storySouth:
September Kelly Marsh has been named Arts&Sciences Researcher of the Month for September. Dr. Kelly Marsh
August Iris Press has contracted with Rich Lyons for his fourth book of poems, Un Poco Loco. Dr. Rich Lyons
Aug. 25 Fiction writer (and MSU alumnus) Brad Watson appeared as the inaugural reader in the Price Caldwell Visiting Writers Series. 

Kelly Marsh's recent South Atlantic Review article on “Jane Eyre and the Pursuit of the Mother’s Pleasure” will appear in the new Norton critical edition on Jane Eyre.

August Nick White (M.A. 2009) has had two books accepted by Penguin (the Blue Rider Press imprint). They will publish his story collection, titled Sweet and Low, and his novel-in-progress. The collection is due out in fall 2016.

Becky Hagenston's short story “The Upside-Down World” was chosen for The O. Henry Prize Stories 2015

Becky Hagenston

Publisher W. W. Norton is preparing publication of Robert West’s manuscript for The Complete Poems of A. R. Ammons.  This scholarly edition should reach print in 2016.

Dr. Robert West

Southern Quarterly has published Ted Atkinson's article titled "Faulkner on the Mississippi Popular Currents of Realism in If I Forget Thee, Jerusalem.

Dr. Ted Atkinson
June Matthew Little's article, “’I Could Make Some Money’: Cars and Currency in The Great Gatsby” has recently been published in Papers in Language and Literature. Matthew Little
June Amy Mallory-Kani has received a summer 2016 visiting fellowship to begin her new research project at the Chawton House Library in the United Kingdom. Amy Mallory-Kani

Becky Hagenston’s third collection of stories, Scavengers, has won the Permafrost Book Prize!  The University of Alaska Press will publish the collection in 2016.

Becky Hagenston
April 27 English minor and Presidential Scholar Sally White is featured in this week's Mississippi State "Our People" profile.
April 20 PBS has documented Catherine Pierce's reading of her "Dear Atom Bomb" at the 2015 AWP Conference: Catherine Pierce

Student Successes!

--MA student Matt Morgan will be joining the MFA program in poetry at Western Michigan University in the fall. 
--MA student Kayla Pearce will be joining the MFA program in poetry at Oregon State University in the fall. 
--MA student Jermaine Thompson will be joining the MFA program in poetry at University of Missouri-Kansas City in the fall. 
--Undergrad Molly Beckwith will be joining the MFA program in fiction at University of Nevada-Reno in the fall. 

Congratulations are also in order for current MA student Simone Cottrell, who is this year's recipient of the Martha's Vineyard Institute for Creative Writing grant.

Kelsey Norris, who graduated with her BA in 2012, has earned admission and a Teaching Assistantship to Vanderbilt's MFA program in fiction.

April Undergrade Molly Beckwith's poem “The Girl in the Cactus” is being featured at Hayden’s Ferry Review, along with a Q&A.


Becky Hagenston’s story “The Upside-Down World” has just been selected for the prestigious collection titled The O. Henry Prize Stories 2015.

March 2 Mississippi Book Launch of associate professor Michael Kardos's new novel, Before He Finds Her. Dr. Kardos read from his new book as well as offering signed copies. Before He Finds Her
Feb. Matt Morgan (BA 2011, MA 2015) has received a scholarship for the MFA program at UMass-Boston.
Feb. 8-14 This year's Institute for the Humanities Writer-in-Residence, National Book Award-winning poet Terrance Hayes, made his visit to campus and offered a public reading. The MacArthur Foundation has said that "Hayes is extending the possibilities of language and pushing the art of poetry toward places altogether new."  If you'd like to learn more, here's his page from the Academy of American Poets website:
February Catherine Pierce's poem “Relevant Details” will appear in the 2015 volume of Best American Poetry. Catherine Pierce
January Ohio State University Press will soon publish Kelly Marsh’s book, In Search of the Mother’s Pleasure: The Submerged Plot and the Unnarratable from Jane Austen to Arundhati Roy. Dr. Kelly Marsh
Jan. 23 & 24, 2015 The English Department and Mississippi State University have been pleased to host the 2015 Mississippi Philological Association Conference.
January Andrea Spain and the two other members of her team have received an International Working Group Grant to support their upcoming project in Bayreuth and South Africa. Dr. Andrea Spain
January Catherine Pierce's third book, The Tornado is the World, will be published by Saturnalia Books in 2016.

Undergraduate research successes:

This spring, English major Ashleah Wimberly will present her essay on ‘“Bodiless Heads and the Headless Bodies’: The Insurrection of the Colonized Female in Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions and Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea” at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research at Eastern Washington University. Ms. Wimberly wrote under the guidance of Dr. Amy Mallory-Kani.

Lien Van Geel will present her essay, “Shakespeare’s Own Metamorphosis: From Hermetic Revenge to Ovidian Alternatives in The Winter’s Tale.” Ms. Van Geel wrote under the direction of Dr. Tommy Anderson in the Oxford Study Abroad program.

Kylie Dennis will present her essay, “’I only speak from hearsay’: Layered Narration and the Extension of the Bronte Myth in Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey." Ms. Dennis wrote under the guidance of an Oxford don in the Oxford Study Abroad program

Kelsey Huggins will present her essay, “Discourse Markers Haha, Lol, and Ha: A Comparison between Children’s and Young Adults’ Computer-Mediated Communication.” Ms. Huggins wrote under the direction of Dr. Ginger Pizer and Dr. Lyn Fogle.


Senior English major Brandi Torre received the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal Undergraduate Research Award for her project titled “Diminishing Phonological Errors in L2 Signers.”

January Michael Kardos's new novel, Before He Finds Her, is in print and available from all major booksellers in February. Before He Finds Her
December Dr. Peter DeGabriele's book Sovereign Power and the Enlightenment: Eighteenth-Century Literature and the Problem of the Political has been accepted for publication by Bucknell University Press. Peter DeGabriele
December Dr. Shalyn Claggett's book, co-edited with Lara Karpenko, has been accepted for publication. The volume of essays on Strange Silence: Investigating the Limits of Knowledge in the Victorian Age will be published by Michigan University Press Shalyn Claggett
December Tommy Anderson has been named Mississippi State University's Humanities Professor of the Year. Thomas "Tommy" Anderson

The Mississippi State English Department would like to announce The winner of the 2014 Peyton Williams Distinguished Writing Award:

Kylie Dennis for her essay " ‘We are arrant knaves all. Believe none of us’: Power and the Construction of ‘Truth’in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. "

Honorable Mention to Lien Van Geel for her essay “Shakespeare’s Own Metamorphosis: From Hermetic Revenge to Ovidian Alternatives in The Winter’s Tale.”

September Andrea Spain's essay“Composition, Emergence, Sensation: Science, New Media and the Experimental Novel” will soon appear with the publication of Steve Tomasula: The Art and Science of New Media Fiction. Dr. Andrea Spain
September Former student Carina Lewis has passed the Mississippi bar exam. She holds an M.A. from our program as well as a law degree from the University of Mississippi Law School.

European Romantic Review will publish Dr. Amy Mallory-Kani’s essay on “’Contagious Air’: Wordsworth’s Poetics and Politics of Immunity.”  The piece will appear sometime on 2015.

Amy Malloy-Kani
September Milton Studies will publish Lara Dodds' essay on "Death and the 'Paradice within' in Paradise Lost and Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake" in their 2015 volume Lara Dodds
August Lara Dodds' article on "Bawds and Housewives: Margaret Cavendish and the Work of Bad Writing" will be printed in Early Modern Studies Journal this fall.