Department of English: December 2015

in this issue

WRC and Bellflower Hall /Faculty Notes/EGSA Mentoring/ Alumni News/Letter from the Chair/ Beachy-Quick Reading

The Writing Resource Center and Bellflower Hall

by Kurt Koenigsberger

About the Writing Resource Center

Pardee Hall, in its earlier years.

The Writing Resource Center was founded in 1977 by Dr Julia C. Dietrich, Assistant Professor of English. From 1977 to 1999 the WRC occupied rooms in Pardee Hall, on Case Quad (first in Room 3, then in Room 329). In 1999, the WRC moved to Bellflower Hall in anticipation of the demolition of Pardee. Between 2005 and 2007, the Center expanded to offer satellite services in Kelvin Smith Library, at the SAGES Café in Crawford Hall, and in a pair of rooms in Nord Hall. In 2015, the Center’s primary location expanded to encompass the entire first floor of Bellflower Hall, with additional office space provided on the second floor.

In 2015, the Writing Resource Center expanded into the first and second floor spaces of Bellflower, and with fresh renovations will open in 2016 as a crucial part of CWRU’s Writers House.

About 11427 Bellflower Road


Lyman residence in 1904.

The house at 11427 Bellflower was built in 1902 by F. S. Barnum & Co. (a major designer of schools in Cleveland, including John Hay High) as a residence for Henry F. Lyman, president of Cleveland Block Co. and vice president for Upson and Walton Co., ship’s chandler. Lyman and his family, including a wife, a son, and a daughter, lived in the residence less than a decade, however, eventually moving to a home on Cornell Rd.

By 1910, the home had passed into the ownership of Fred W. Gehring, heir to the Gehring Brewery, first president of the Cleveland & Sandusky Brewing Company, and president of a Cleveland bank (likely American Trust). Gehring’s family included his wife Emma, four daughters, and a son. The family was attended by four servants in residence (three women and a man). The house in these years was a vibrant social space, and youngest daughter Clara regularly hosted musical (and Bryn Mawr alumnae) events in the house. Fred Gehring died in 1925; his funeral was held in the home. Emma Gehring’s father’s funeral was also held in the family home in 1929. By 1940, Emma was living in the house with two of her daughters and two female servants. During its existence as a family home, it had five bedrooms and three baths on the second floor, and two servants’ rooms and one bath on the third floor. It featured “a large music room with a magnificent pipe organ.”

The house ceased its life as a family residence in 1944, when it was sold to Mrs. Mary E. Drum who lived in the house and ran a nursing home there until her death in 1949. The Drum nursing home continued under her name into the 1950s. By 1958, ownership passed to the Benjamin Rose Institute, and the house was called “Junipur House” and operated as a 24-hour nursing facility. Through much of the 1960s, it served as the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity house.

Roy Lichtenstein’s logo for the New Gallery of Contemporary Art, c.1978.

In January 1972, the New Gallery of Contemporary Art moved from its first Euclid Avenue storefront location into the building. The move coincided with a blockbuster exhibition featuring Christo, who wrapped the old storefront and provided models and exhibits in the new space. Renamed the Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art in 1984 at an event featuring Joan Mondale, the Center exhibited work ranging from Buckminster Fuller’s “Tetrascroll” (a three-dimensional book) to Keith Haring’s graffiti art.  When the gallery moved to the Cleveland Playhouse building in 1990, the East Side/West Side Cooperative Gallery moved into the Bellflower space, which later hosted the Infusion Gallery.
In the late 1990s Case Western Reserve University assumed ownership of the building and in 1999 the Writing Resource Center moved from Pardee Hall on Case Quad to the porch area of what became known as Bellflower Hall (distinct from what the University once called Bellflower House, at 11421 Bellflower Rd.).

Over the years, many other offices and businesses occupied rooms on the first, second, and third floors. The Epstein Design Firm once had space in the building; a violin-maker worked from the basement of the house.

Directors of the Writing Resource Center

1977-78                                                Julia C. Dietrich
1978-85, 2007                                     William Siebenschuh
1985-98, 2003-04, 2006                      Judith Oster (acting director, 1985-87)
1998-2003, 2005-06                            Todd Oakley
2004-05                                                Kimberly Emmons
2007-16                                                Megan Swihart Jewell


Jessica Birch presented “The Public Pedagogy of Race; or, They’re All Lying to Us, So Why Do My Students Believe Them?” at the Midwest Popular Culture and American Culture Association Conference.

Michael Clune‘s new memoir Gamelife is reviewed in the New York Review of Books.

T. Kenny Fountain‘s book, Rhetoric in the Flesh: Trained Vision, Technical Expertise, and the Gross Anatomy Lab, is reviewed in Communication Design Quarterly.

Mary Grimm read from her in-progress novel in the Great Room at Notre Dame College.

Kristine Kelly had an article, “Aesthetic Desire and Imperialist Disappointment in Trollope’s The Bertrams and the Murray Handbook for Travellers in Syria and Palestine,” in Victorian Literature and Culture in September.

William Marling‘s “Ernest Hemingway / Pedro Romero” was on view in the Jewish Community Center’s Annual Art Show.

Brad Ricca read from his book, Super Boys, the Amazing Adventures of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster at John Carroll University.

Jim Sheeler joined local journalists Brian Bull from Ideastream and Ron Regan from Newschannel 5 to discuss “Interview Tips for Reporters” on November 18th at the Barley House, 1261 W. Sixth Street.The event was sponsored by the Cleveland chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

On November 3rd, Dee Perry spoke with BIll Siebenschuh on WCPN’s Sound of Applause about his book about Cleveland bodyguard James “Diz” Long, Always on My Own.

Thrity Umrigar
gave a plenary address at the 44th Annual Conference on South Asia at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

On October 22nd, Martha Woodmansee delivered a key-note address at an international symposium, “(Re)-constructing Authorship,” which was organized by the federal arts & sciences research center, Akademie Schloss Solitude, located in Stuttgart, Germany.

Announcing the EGSA’s Peer Mentoring Program

by Catherine Forsa

When we founded the English Graduate Student Association in September 2011, we envisioned it as an organization that would help graduate students support other graduate students in the department. Our mission statement emphasizes this goal:

  • To provide sustained support for current and prospective graduate students in the Department of English at CWRU in all aspects of graduate life, including but not limited to coursework, MA comprehensive exams, PhD qualifying exams, dissertation writing, professional development, and teaching pedagogy.

With this mission in mind, we identified mentoring—both informal and formal—to be at the center of the organization. And, over the past four years, we have seen an informal support system become more robust. Our graduate student lounge provides a space for informal meetings, and EGSA-sponsored events have helped to facilitate conversations among graduate students.

Last year, the EGSA commissioned a taskforce to provide more shape to these conversations. Officers wanted to explore opportunities to strengthen the peer network at the heart of the graduate program. How could we enrich conversations about research, teaching, and professional development? Volunteers gathered input from our fellow graduate students, talked with faculty members familiar with mentoring practices, researched peer mentoring programs at other universities, and assessed current mentoring opportunities in the program.

After several months of planning, the EGSA launched a pilot peer mentoring program in May 2015. We are pleased to share its successes as we reflect at the end of the first semester.

We envisioned the program as taking a different form than a traditional mentor-mentee relationship. While some mentoring programs typically see one person as an expert, we believe that all participants have expertise to share. We believe that each person in the pairing could offer advice, support, and encouragement. As soon as we announced the program, we had a high level of interest, and that interest continues to grow. We have participants from the master’s program and all years of the doctoral program.

Mentoring takes several forms, but discussions often center around four main areas:

1. Answering practical questions about English graduate studies at CWRU (e.g., help with registering, planned program of study, fellowship courses).

2. Discussing program requirements (e.g., guidance on experiences with preparing for MA/PhD exams, creating teaching portfolios).

3. Discussing professional practices (e.g., identifying, applying, preparing for conferences, thinking about publications/relevant journals, applying for Ph.D. programs).

4. Additional issues of support (e.g., work-life balance, time management).

The program supplements the mentoring we receive in the program from professors, research advisors, the Director of Graduate Studies, the Director of Composition, teaching mentors, and other resources across the university.

We are pleased to report that this program has provided opportunities for new friendships to develop, as students learn more about each other’s interests and share in each other’s good news. As the program continues, we will work on making it a permanent part of the EGSA.



Will Allison (’91) taught an online editing course for One Story called “Become Your Own Best Editor II.”

Iris Dunkle (’10) has two new poems from There’s a Ghost in this Machine of Air up at Talking Writing.

Alum (’63) Raymond Keen’s poem “On The River Ben Hai That Separates The War,” was just published in O-Dark Thirty.

Sidonie Smith (’71) received a Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award from the University of Michigan.


Letter from the Chair

by Christopher Flint

In November, during Veteran’s Day week, one of the English Department’s alumni wrote the banner story that appeared on the University’s website homepage. The author, Alejandro Abreu, served as a cavalry scout in Iraq in between starting and completing his English Major at CWRU (you can read his story here). In his story Alejandro writes that “I began to see English as more than old stories and plays written by long-dead authors and poets. I saw it as an outlet for raw emotion—happiness, frustration, desire, fear.” After finishing his degree Alejandro went to law school and served as a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.

Alejandro’s observations on the value of an English major highlight the need to merge the creative and the practical at a time when English Departments, like many other Humanities Departments, face decreased funding and challenges to their legitimacy. Alejandro’s remarks make one thing clear:  the intangible values that an English program instills reinforce the concrete benefits it provides. The CWRU English Department takes pride in promoting the skills our students develop in imaginative and analytical writing, critical thinking and logic, research and rhetoric, and moral judgment. But we value even more the ways our students not only find a rewarding career but also lead a life enriched by intellectual, artistic, and humanistic ideals.

As you contemplate your gift giving at this time of year, we hope that you will consider a donation to help fund the English Department’s efforts to support current and prospective students in all aspects of their educational progress, including but not limited to coursework, writing instruction, and professional development.

There are many ways you can contribute:

  • Investing in the future of Writers House, a new enterprise housed in historic Bellflower Hall, which serves as a campus hub for collaborative. practices—academic, artistic, investigative, material, and digital.
  • Subsidizing student awards and fellowships for research and travel.
  • Increasing the amount of resources available for our two minors in film and creative writing.
  • Providing scholarship support for the Adrian-Salomon Fund (for graduate students working on dissertations) and the Frederica Ward Memorial Scholarship (for undergraduate African American students).
  • Sponsoring our weekly Colloquium Series, which hosts an array of distinguished local and national speakers.
  • Offering funding for lecturers to be able to travel for study or to present their works at conferences and workshops.

All of these depend on support from our alumni and friends.  We are enormously grateful for your donations in recent years and hope you will continue to help us build on our achievements. If you would like to make a gift to the department please visit here.

Dan Beachy-Quick Poetry Reading

November 20th, 2015.

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