Professor/Chair, Department of English
AUTHOR

Mark West

In the Words of Two Charlotte Poets

Charlotte’s community of readers and writers is reeling as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.  We have seen the recent cancelations or postponements of Sensoria, the Center City Literary Festival, many library events, and a number of book signings and readings by local writers.  However, the coronavirus cannot stop the National Poetry Month, which takes place each April (https://poets.org/national-poetry-month).  It is fitting, therefore,...

Patrice Gopo, Tommy Tomlinson, and Sensoria

One of the great strengths of Charlotte’s community of writers is that it usually makes room for newcomers.  Even in the 1950s, Harry Golden, a Jewish activist from New York City, found Charlotte to be a conducive place to pursue his writing career.   Nowadays, writers from many different places have set their roots in Charlotte, and Charlotte’s cultural scene is richer as a result of this infusion of talent.  Two notable examples are Patrice Gopo and Tommy Tomlinson. ...

Park Road Books and Dr. Seuss

I love visiting Park Road Books, and I love reading Dr. Seuss’s stories aloud to children.  Drawing on these two loves of mine, I joined forces with Park Road Books to organize our annual Seuss-a-Thon, an event that is now in its 9th year.  This year’s Seuss-a-Thon will take place on February 29 (Saturday) at Park Road Books (4139 Park Road) from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  At the Seuss-a-Thon, local educators and literacy advocates will participate...

Monday Missive – December 16, 2019

Turning Over the Keys —  On August 1, 2012, I began serving as the Interim Chair of the English Department, and on August 6 of that year, I sent out my very first Monday Missive.  Since then I have sent you a Monday Missive every week.  The only exceptions have been during the weeks when UNC Charlotte has been closed for the holidays and one week in March 2017 when Jen Munroe wrote the Monday Missive because I was hospitalized.  I did some quick calculations, and I am pretty...

Monday Missive – December 2, 2019

Artwork by Clem White

The Intersection of Play Studies and Narrative Studies — This week I am heading off to Oxford University to participate in the Oxford Education Research Symposium for the fourth time since I have been chair of the English Department.  Last year, I had lunch with one of the symposium’s organizers, and I expressed my appreciation at being invited back repeatedly.  He responded by saying, “We like your stories.”  I suppose that...

Mister Gavin Edwards’ Neighborhood

I didn’t know that Gavin Edwards lives in Charlotte when I spotted his book Kindness and Wonder:  Why Mister Rogers Matters Now More Than Ever while shopping at Park Road Books the other day.  The store has a special display of their bestselling nonfiction books, and that’s where I saw Edwards’ book.  The cover features a photograph of Mister Rogers wearing his iconic red, cardigan sweater, and the photograph called out to me.  Being a longtime fan...

Charlotte’s Publishers

As an English professor, I am one of the unfortunate people who is expected to keep up the Modern Language Association’s ever-changing rules about citing sources.  I usually adjust to these changes without much complaint, but there is one change that made its appearance in the latest edition of the MLA Handbook that bothers me.  This change relates to how we are supposed to deal with the publisher of a book that is included on our works cited list.  Under the...

Storied Charlotte: Celebrating the Stories and Storytellers of Charlotte

Charlotte, Carson McCullers, and Harry Golden — Welcome to the inaugural post of Storied Charlotte, my new blog about the stories and storytellers of Charlotte.  Storied Charlotte is an outgrowth of my Monday Missive, a blog I wrote during the seven and a half years that I served as the chair of UNC Charlotte’s Department of English.  When I stepped down as chair in December 2019, I drew the curtain on my Monday Missive.  Since then, numerous people have...

Monday Missive – December 9, 2019

Storied Places — I just return last night from participating in a symposium at Oxford University.  The symposium was interesting, but what I enjoyed the most was wandering the streets of Oxford.  As a children’s literature professor, I think of Oxford is a special place.  It is associated with a number of important children’s books, including Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, J.R.R. Tolkien’s The...

Monday Missive – November 25, 2019

Giving Thanks — With Thanksgiving just around the corner and the end of my term as chair of our English Department just around the next corner, I decided to devote this Monday Missive to expressing my thanks to all of you.  

I thank you for not factionalizing along disciplinary lines.  We are a very diverse department, encompassing creative writing, digital studies, film studies, linguistics, literature, pedagogy, technical communication, and several other...