Professor/Chair, Department of English

Mark West

Monday Missive – June 19, 2017

Wonder Women — This past Saturday, my wife (Nancy) asked me, “So what do you want to do for Father’s Day?”  I suggested that we go see the new Wonder Woman movie.  “It seems more like a Mother’s Day movie to me,” she said, “but let’s go.”  And so we did.

I had heard good reports about this movie, but I did not expect to like it as much as I did.  I especially liked the depiction of the central character.  I liked her...

Monday Missive – May 29, 2017

Aunt Lou has a winning hand!

Angie Williams and Her Aunt Lou — Last Friday, a little before midnight, I received an email from Angie informing me that her Aunt Lou had passed away earlier that evening.  She was 92 years of age.

Angie’s sad news did not come as a surprise, for I knew that her Aunt Lou had been receiving hospice care for about a month.   I knew about her Aunt Lou’s struggles with cancer and dementia.  I knew about her Aunt Lou’s love of poker...

Monday Missive – May 15, 2017

Margaret Farrer

Playing with Words — My wife, Nancy, always starts her day by working the New York Times crossword puzzle in ink.  A few days ago, she mentioned to me that President Bill Clinton created that day’s puzzle.  I asked her if there was any particular reason that the New York Times published a puzzle by President Clinton, and she informed me that it was part of the paper’s celebration of the 75th anniversary of featuring crosswords.

Nancy is much...

Monday Missive – May 1, 2017

The Center City Literary Festival and the Spirit of Engagement — One of the dictionary definitions of the word engage is “to connect or interlock.”  The upcoming Center City Literary Festival is an example of how the English Department is connecting in meaningful ways with the larger Charlotte community.  Not only is this festival free and open to the general public, but it takes place in the the center of Charlotte.  This festival, which will take place...

Monday Missive – April 17, 2017

National Poetry Month Meets Earth Day

April is National Poetry Month, and April 22 is Earth Day. As I see it, these two celebrations not only overlap in terms of time, but they also speak to each other in meaningful ways. Since ancient times poets have been inspired by the natural world. Many of today’s poets also write about nature and the relationship between humans and the natural world. Three such poets are Christopher Davis, Allison Hutchcraft, and Grace Ocasio,...

Monday Missive – June 13, 2017

Sustaining a Sense of Community — This past weekend, my wife (Nancy) participated in her 40th class reunion at Davidson College.  The class of 1977 holds a special place in the history of Davidson College, for it was the first class to include a cohort of women students.  As a member of this class, Nancy has long felt a deep-seated bond with the other members of the class of ’77 and especially with the other women who transformed Davidson College into a coeducational...

Monday Missive – May 22, 2017

Award-Winning Educators — Our English Department has a long and distinguished history of preparing future public school teachers and administrators.  Once such former student is Tisha Greene, who received both her BA in English and her MA in English Education from our department.   She is currently the principal of  the Oakhurst STEAM Academy, and she has just received the 2017 Outstanding Administrator Award from the North Carolina Science, Mathematics, and...

Monday Missive – May 8, 2017

Puppeteer, Dr. Mark West, with “Big Mouth” the alligator

Spanning the Generations — This past Saturday, I performed a puppet show for the children’s part of our Center City Literary Festival.  As I assembled the stage, took my marionettes out of their box, and tried to remember the show’s dialogue, I realized that 40 years had elapsed since I launched my puppetry career.

I was in my early 20s at the time and living in Madison, Wisconsin.  Like...

Monday Missive – April 24, 2017

Our Students’ Winning Ways — Last Friday was a remarkable day for many of the students associated with the English Department.  Not only were 25 of our students recognized at our annual Student Awards Ceremony, but a number of our students achieved recognition at two other events that also took place on Friday.

Peter Fields

During an awards ceremony sponsored by the Graduate School, Peter Fields received the Graduate School’s Outstanding Teaching...

Monday Missive – April 10, 2017

March for Science — On April 22, many scientists and scientific organizations plan to gather in Washington, D.C., for an event that is being billed as the March for Science.  While reading about this event, I was reminded about the English Department’s involvement with science and technology.  Our faculty members have published numerous books and articles that deal with these topics, including Alan Rauch’s Dolphin, Aaron Toscano’s Marconi’s...

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