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English Students Represent Whitworth at National Literary Conference

Six English majors represented Whitworth at the National Undergraduate Literary Conference held in April at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. Students Sid Friedman, Jake McCoy, Tana Trobaugh, Leslie Nelson, Jeremy Cushman and Michael Achterman presented papers or read their creative writing at the conference.

During the conference, Whitworth senior Leslie Nelson read a research piece, "Obedience and Tragic Conventions in Shakespeare's Late Tragedies" in which Nelson observes contrasting styles in some of Shakespeare's latest tragedy plays. Sophomore Tana Trobaugh presented a fiction story, "I Am Lonely at Twilight," a work that artfully describes the dark essence of loneliness.

Senior Michael Achterman presented several generational poems of the experience genre. "The Years," "At the Table," and "Yet Again" emphasize aspects of ancestry and historical remembrance. Senior Jake McCoy read a research piece, "Emily Dickinson's Poem 1291," an analysis of the works of Emily Dickinson.

Also featured at the conference was work by Whitworth junior Sid Friedman, who presented an interpretative reading, "I Love, Therefore I Am: A Cartesian Reading of Calamus." Senior Jeremy Cushman read a fiction piece on the dynamics of family and friendship, "Sometimes for Hours."

Featured speakers at the conference included Robert Pinsky, the poet laureate of the United States from 1997-2000. Pinsky teaches in the graduate writing program at Boston University and is the poetry editor of the online journal Slate. Speaker Laura Furman, associate professor of English at the University of Texas, Austin, is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Dobie-Paisano Fellowship. Furman founded the literary journal American Short Fiction, which was nominated three times for the National Magazine Award.

Utah Poet Laureate Kenneth Brewer was featured at the conference as well. Brewer has been selected to serve as poet laureate until January of 2008. He is retired from the University of Utah, where he taught English, and has published more than 300 poems, essays, and reviews in literary journals throughout out the U.S. and Canada.

Other participating universities included the University of Arkansas, Ohio University, Texas A&M, the University of Wisconsin, the University of California Berkeley, and the University of Minnesota.

The students were invited to apply to the conference by their respective professors, based on excellent creative work or formal research papers they had written for class. The work was then submitted with an application to the conference organizers for review.

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