The Dillon Johnston Writers Reading Series

Anne Waldman imageAnne Waldman is a prolific poet and performer, creating radical hybrid forms for the long poem, both serial and narrative, as with Marriage: A Sentence, Structure of the World Compared to a Bubble, Manatee/Humanity, and Gossamurmur (Penguin Poets). She is the author of the magnum opus, The Iovis Trilogy: Colors in the Mechanism of Concealment, a feminist cultural intervention taking on war and patriarchy, which won the PEN Center 2012 Award for Poetry. She has been deemed a “counter-cultural giant” by Publisher’s Weekly for her ethos as a poetic investigator and cultural activist and has been at the forefront for decades in creating poetic communities. She was a founder of the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church In-the-Bowery and The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University with Allen Ginsberg and Diane di Prima. She continues to work at Naropa as a Distinguished Professor of Poetics and Artistic Director of its Summer Writing Program. She is the editor of The Beat Book and co-editor of Civil Disobediences: Poetics and Politics in Action, Beats At Naropa, and Cross Worlds: Transcultural Poetics. Her latest book is Voice’s Daughter of a Heart Yet To Be Born (Coffee House Press, 2016). She is a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. Celebrated as a remarkable performer with a unique vocal range including techniques of Sprechstimme and her own model structures, she performs on stages all over the world.


Schreier is Associate Professor of English and Jewish Studies, Lea P. and Malvin E. Bank Early Career Professor of Jewish Studies, and Director of the Jewish Studies Program at Penn State University. He is author of The Impossible Jew: Identity and the Reconstruction of Jewish American Literature (NYU 2015) and The Power of Negative Thinking: Cynicism and the History of Modern American Literature (Virginia 2009), and since 2011, he has been the editor of the journal Studies in American Jewish Literature.

Please join us on Wednesday, March 23, at 4:30 pm

in Tribble C216 for a

Talk by Richard Begam, Dean Family Speaker:

“From Automaton to Autonomy: Mechanical Reproduction in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis” 


Begam considers issues of modernism and modernity in Fritz Lang’s 1927 cinematic masterpiece, Metropolis. Drawing on Walter Benjamin’s “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” Prof. Begam examines how Lang develops visual equivalents to the “auratic” and the “mechanical” in mounting his own critique of technology. At the heart of the film is the relation between automation — exemplified by the robot Maria — and the autonomy essential to Lang on aesthetic and political grounds. From Automaton to Autonomy: Mechanical Reproduction in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. The latter is a major concern of Benjamin’s essay, whose “Epilogue” famously claims that fascism aestheticizes politics. In From Caligari to Hitler, Siegfried Kracauer takes up Benjamin’s charge and levels it at Metropolis, asserting that the film is proto-fascist. Prof. Begam responds by arguing that what Kracauer regards as Lang’s extrinsic formalism—his “ornamental” patterning—is in fact intrinsic to the film’s Weimarian liberalism.

Reception follows in Ammons Lounge, A107.

Reading aloud

‘Paper conference’ helps students become better writers

By Kim McGrath Office of Communications and External Relations
English professor Jessica Richard
English professor Jessica Richard finds paper conferences are a good way to measure her students understanding of the books they read.

English professor Jessica Richard’s students turn a paper in and get a grade the same day. Right after they read it to her in her office.

“I was nervous the first time I submitted a paper,” says senior English major Ashley Gedraitis. “Grammar errors and typos jump right out when you hear yourself say them aloud.” After just one “paper conference,” however, Gedraitis become a fan, enrolling in two more of Richard’s classes during her four years at Wake Forest.

Ashley Gedraitis

Ashley Gedraitis (’11)

“I can’t remember the number of times I worked on a paper and, weeks later, received it back from the teacher with a question mark in the margin or a comment I couldn’t read. By that time, I could hardly remember the thought process that went into writing the paper in the first place.”

Richard, an expert in 18th-century British fiction and all things Jane Austen, says writing is the instrument she uses to ensure that students understand the course material. The 10-page paper is a chance to delve into a novel and explore what is happening in the text, and Richard says giving the students immediate feedback puts important emphasis on the process of understanding and communication.

“Before I started the paper conference, I was frustrated by the time it would take to grade papers. I would write elaborate comments on each paper, but when I returned them, I never knew if students read them or just looked at the final grade.”

Dissatisfied with the traditional paper-grading process, Richard decided to borrow the idea for tutorial-style grading from her own experience as an undergraduate studying abroad in Oxford. The conferences usually run about 30 minutes. After reading the paper, professor and student discuss what worked and what could be improved.

“The conference is set up as if you’re defending a paper in graduate school,” says Gedraitis. “It might seem frightening, but Dr. Richard balances constructive criticism with positive feedback.”

Gedraitis, who is from Peru, Ill., says the paper conferences inspired her to write a final honors thesis on gender dynamics in Jane Austen’s “Emma,” with Richard as her advisor. Along with her English major, she is earning minors in sociology and women’s and gender studies. “Professor Richard teaches us that the humanities enter into all disciplines and are a part of our daily lives.”

Richard was awarded the Reid-Doyle Prize for Teaching Excellence at the University’s Founders’ Day Convocation in February.

Link to original article.

Trivia-Spring2016The English Department invites you to an evening of Literary Trivia.
Come socialize, play, and compete with faculty.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016 from 7 – 9 p.m.
Shorty’s restaurant in the Benson Center

Want to play? Ask a faculty member to join your team!
For more information, email Professor Omaar Hena.

Recycled Possibilities and New Combinations: Book Structure from Medieval Europe to Contemporary Artist’s Books

Monday, February 22, 2016, from 3:30-4:30 p.m.
Tribble Hall Room C216
Reception follows in Ammons Lounge A107

This event is free and open tot he entire community and the public.

Sponsored by the Creative Writing Program and the Medieval and Early Modern Studies Program in the Department of English. For more information, contact Joanna Ruocco: To learn more about Sarah McDermott visit

“Queer Uncles: Homosexuality and the Family in Modern Britain”

Wednesday, February 10 at 5:00pm to 6:00pm

Tribble Hall, DeTamble Auditorium 1834 Wake Forest Road Winston-Salem, NC 27106

Professor Deborah Cohen is giving a public talk about the history of homosexuality and the family in modern Britain. She is the Peter B. Ritzma Professor of the Humanities and Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence at Northwestern University.

Cohen has published three award-winning books about Victorian and Edwardian Britain. The event is part of the 2015-16 History Department Lecture Series. It is co-sponsored by the Departments of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and English.

Click for additional information.


Come socialize, play, and compete with Faculty.Trivia Night Flyer Wb
At Shorty’s on the Wake Forest campus
Wed., Nov. 18 from 7-9 p.m.

Rules: No more than 6 on a team. Teams must include at least one professor and one student. Start recruiting! For more information on participating, contact

Emma Skeels, an English major, will present on her research completed in London made possible through a Richter Scholarship.

This presentation will take place in Tribble Hall, room C216 on Monday, November 2, 2015 at 3:30 p.m.

For additional information, contact

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English Department
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