Department of English Newsletter: December 2014

in this issue

Interview with Laura Adiletta (’08)/World of Sound/Interview with John Vourlis (’88)/Faculty Notes/art/sci’s Dixon Long article/Play. Speak.–The Monologue/Perks of Being a Generalist/Alumni News/Ongoing Projects: Kristin Kondrlik/EGSA News/Scrapbook

Interview with Laura Adiletta (’08)

1.  How did EatloCLE, your subscription meal plan service come to be? What made you think that Cleveland was ready for this kind of hip/responsive food service—concerned with the local food movement as well as taste and health?

EatloCLE is still very much a work in progress. As with most entrepreneurial ventures, logistics, marketing, financial planning and all the other elements that go into a new business take a lot of time — more than I’d hoped! But the initial idea was conceived while I was working full time as a line cook. I would spend upwards of 15 hours a day working in professional kitchens, then come home and end up eating take-out or highly processed convenience foods because I was too exhausted to plan, shop, prep, and cook for myself. I thought, if I have years of experience in the kitchen and can’t manage it, how are other people in similarly demanding fields supposed to?

As a nation, we’re seeing the effects of too little time to prepare our own meals using ethically raised whole foods. If I can make it a little more convenient, I think more people will be able to make better purchasing and eating decisions, and that’s good for everyone. Cleveland is in a unique position to test this idea: We’re very food-focused right now, the city is very supportive of new businesses, and there’s still a gap in services due to the population loss and economic problems we’ve faced over the past 100 years. Now we’re seeing more people moving into the city, but without the services and conveniences that people expect in 2014/2015, it will be a challenge to keep them there. The more we support local businesses, the more we can fill that gap to make Cleveland a more attractive, livable city.

Continue reading interview here.

World of Sound

by Andrew Karnavas (’06)

I am a record producer. I am someone who listens to a world of sound and steps into a studio to arrange sounds into music. Sometimes that music is my own, and sometimes it is the music of other people.

As a kid, my first experience with a musical instrument was pulling open the front panel of an upright piano and running my fingers across the strings. I noticed that raking the piano strings with my fingers made a very different sound than striking the piano keys to trigger little wooden boots to kick the strings. I didn’t know it at the time, but this encounter had the basic principles I needed to know about producing a record.

1) Music is made with sounds, not instruments.
Sometimes you need the sound of a piano hammer striking the strings, and sometimes you need the sound of raking your fingers across the piano strings. Sometimes you need a drum kit, and sometimes you need pots and pans. You always need an open mind.

2) Trust your ears.
You can record a vocalist singing the same song on a $100 microphone and a $10,000 microphone, and sometimes the $100 microphone sounds better. With each song there are hundreds of decisions to make throughout the recording process, but in the end all you have to do is close your eyes and listen to the music, and if it sounds good, you have done your job.

We live in a world of sound, and the earth is a record that never stops spinning. Take a moment wherever you are and listen to your surroundings. What do you hear? A car driving by? The hum of a refrigerator? Birds chirping? How many sounds do you hear every day without noticing? Have you ever listened to your favorite song and focused only on listening to the bass line? The snare drum? The background vocals? Have you examined the parts and how they make up the whole. Maybe you’re a musician performing a song, a patient in the hospital talking to your doctor, or a teacher instructing a classroom full of students. What do you want others to feel when they hear you?

After graduating from Case Western Reserve University in 2006 with a BA in English, minors in Italian and Chemistry, and the Edith Garber Krotinger prize for excellence in creative writing, Andrew moved to Houston and worked as a Clinical Research Coordinator at UT Health Science Center. Opting to decline his acceptance to medical school to pursue music, Andrew left health care and founded Yawp Records, his own record label and production company. He has written and produced six albums across three original projects (Andrew Karnavas, AndyRoo and the AndyRooniverse, Runaway Sun) and performs over one hundred shows a year nationwide at a variety of venues and festivals such as South By Southwest in Austin and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. In addition to music, Andrew teaches creative writing to elementary school children through Writers in the Schools (WITS) and writes for Houston copywriting agency GlobalWrites. Look for Andrew on tour in 2015:

Interview with John Vourlis (’88)

1. How did you come to visit Nepal, and in particular travel with the Yoga for Freedom group? The arrangements/itinerary seem to combine aspects of spirituality, adventure, sight-seeing, volunteerism, cultural immersion. What especially appealed to you?

I found out about the Yoga For Freedom trip in a yoga class at Cleveland Yoga, in Beachwood, Ohio, where many of the travelers practiced. It was around Christmas of 2009, and one of the teachers there mentioned a trip that was taking place the following summer to Nepal. It was a part of the world I had always wanted to see, so I filed that little bit of information away in the back of my brain as something I might want to do.

When I first heard about the trip, I was working as a freelance writer, splitting my time between Los Angeles and Cleveland. I headed back to LA for business not long after that class, and soon forgot about the trip, until one day an ad for it popped up on my Facebook page.

I clicked on the Facebook ad, and realized that this must be the trip the yoga instructor in Cleveland had mentioned. I sent an email to Jesse Bach, the trip organizer, asking him if there were still spots available. He wrote back with an introductory letter and brochure.

From: <Jesse Bach>

To: <John Vourlis>

Date: Sun, Jan 24, 2010 9:00 am

Well this might sound like it was planned, but it totally wasn’t. I just opened my e-mail this morning [and] the first message was an unfortunate cancellation; a member of Yoga for Freedom had to drop out. The second e-mail was you…

Attached to this e-mail is our brochure and description letter; …fill out the application and send it to me… so I can hold [a spot] for you…

– Jesse Bach

The brochure read, “Yoga for Freedom: One traveler, two lives forever changed… This trip is life changing for all people involved; the traveler as well as the child who this trip will support.” A vacation with an altruistic twist sounded very  intriguing. I checked out the itinerary: Grand Norling Resort Hotel, Mt. Everest flight, Lumbini—the birthplace of the Buddha, Chitwan National Park—home to elephants, rhinos and tigers!  Not one, but two Buddhist monasteries. Yoga twice a day, morning and evening. This trip sounded amazing.  I wanted in. So I immediately filled out the form, sent Jesse the initial deposit check, and with that I was on the list to go to Nepal.

Continue reading interview here.

Faculty NOTES

Barbara Burgess Van-Aken’s book Partenia, A Pastoral Play, co-authored with Lisa Sampson, has received the 2014 Josephine Roberts Prize for a Scholarly Edition on Gender from the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women.

On December 8th, Michael Clune spoke at Columbia University: “How Poems Know What It’s Like to Die.”

Joe DeLong‘s poem “Favor” just appeared in Roanoke Review.

Sarah Gridley lectured on “Hic Sunt Dracones: Deep Edges in Eliade, Tolstoy, and Atwood” in October as part of the CWRU World Literature Colloquium.

Megan Jewell gave a paper titled “Modernism in the Composition Classroom: Process, Grammar, and Research” at the Modernist Studies Association Conference in Pittsburgh in early November.

Kurt Koenigsberger gave a paper titled “Modernism and Traveling Cultures in and Beyond the Writing Classroom” and participated in a seminar with a paper titled “Flapping Pages, Slow Literature, Edwardian Reading” at the Modernist Studies Association conference in Pittsburgh in early November.

Dave Lucas‘s poem “Down in the Flood” appeared in The Threepenny Review.

Gary Stonum‘s review of Emily Dickinson in Context by Eliza Richards was published in The Emily Dickinson Journal.

Maggie Vinter‘s article, “‘This is called mortifying of a fox’: Volpone and How to Get Rich Quick by Dying Slowly” has been published in Shakespeare Quarterly 65.2 (2014) 140-63.

Celebration of Student Writing (December 5, 2014).

art/sci features Dixon Long and his endowment gift to the Writing Resource Center and others:…/fall-2014/everything-hes-done/

Play. Speak.—The Monologue

by Tia Dionne Hodge-Jones

I write monologues for kids—young actors as they like to be called—and for some reason they connect to my work. Does one make a living doing that? I don’t know, but I’m working on it, and as far as I’m concerned writing monologues for young actors isn’t so much about money as it is about being good at being immature. Why? Because immaturity is youthful, and there’s only so much eye cream. I’m 42 years old—so what if I’m lying to myself. It’s my lie and I’m sticking to it.

How did it start? In 2000, I was hired as an acting instructor at Performers Theatre Workshop (Maplewood, New Jersey), and my students ranged in ages from 4 to 44. The majority of my young actors, however, were ages 13 to 18, and they were eager to learn character and scene study, along with audition technique—you know, cute kids with dreams of fame. And we all know that fame costs. Their only problem was finding material that was age appropriate, of interest to them, and still challenging enough to push them to the next level in their acting. I started writing monologues specifically for each student, and over the years I’ve written over 100 monologues.

In May 2012, I produced the first public performance of my collection at Hat City Kitchen (Orange, New Jersey) with several young actors. Afterward, one of the parents—Darrell Gunter—inquired about my work as he just so happened to be in publishing. (Beat) I kid you not. Just so happened. What? Would I lie about something like that?  (Beat) Mr. Gunter put me in touch with Michael Johnson and Ross Follett of OddInt Media, a small, independent publishing house in Fontana, Wisconsin. I submitted the full manuscript in mid-2013, signed my publishing agreement, was assigned a book manager and editor, and then we edited, and then edited even more.

Play.Speak.—an instructional guide and collection of forty challenging monologues for young actors—launched on May 29, 2014, at the TRYP Hotel in NYC, and the next day I was again with my publishers at the BookExpo America signing books at the Author’s Pavilion, and feeling like a million dollar goofball. Look, I write monologues for kids that connect them to their daily lives and the subjects that matter to them, and although The Montclair Times has compared my work to David Ives and a young Whoopi Goldberg, I’m still just as immature as I was at the beginning of this article.

Tia Dionne Hodge-Jones is a writer, actor, director-producer, and acting instructor. She is the author of Play. Speak., a workbook and collection of 40 challenging monologues for young actors ages 13 to 18 (OddInt Media) She is also the inaugural recipient of the Adrienne Kennedy Society’s Louis Kent-Hope Award for Excellence in Creative Writing & Poetry, and a National Poetry Slam Team Champion (Cleveland Team). She is an acting instructor at Performers Theatre Workshop in Maplewood, New Jersey, and coaches the speech and debate team at Montclair Kimberley Academy. Currently, she’s in negotiations for two projects: a film that she’ll be starring in beginning January 2nd, and a feature film she’s been asked to write and direct next year.

The Perks of Being a Generalist

by Jamie McDaniel (’10)

I never thought of myself as a specialist. True – I had taken the required coursework and passed the necessary exams in British literature, and in 2010, I completed my dissertation on representations of property and theories of possession in contemporary British women’s writing. Though the topic may indicate a level of specialization typical of freshly minted PhD students, I constantly found myself exploring film and professional communication, for example, and looking for ways to bring together these interests. This process often involved straying from the intended path, and the moments when I ventured into unknown territory were the most exciting for me as a teacher and scholar as well as the most valuable for my students.

Indeed, my position as an Assistant Professor of English at Pittsburg State University represents the perfect job in this respect. As a public regional university, Pittsburg State educates a diverse student body, providing a catalyst for understanding how I can unite seemingly disparate approaches to the English discipline. In my role as Director of the Technical/Professional Writing Program, I help technical/professional writing majors analyze texts and develop arguments in their literature classes, and guide literature majors in using visual tools to solve real-world problems in a document design course. I’ve taught classes that span disciplines as varied as disability studies and the rhetoric of game design. My course on monsters in literature and film has delved into the nature of our fears, hopes, and anxieties as a culture.  I have also become known as a local expert on zombies and the undead, participating in panel discussions and hosting lectures within the university and in the community.

My training at Case has been key to my success. As a graduate student, the chance to teach an array of English and SAGES classes, especially Professional Communication for Engineers, helped to cultivate my ability to collaborate across the university setting. Taking interdisciplinary classes, such as Digital Literacies, Victorian Literature and Psychology, and Film Adaptation, revealed how disciplines can inform and enhance one another. Working with resources in Kelvin Smith Library and the Freedman Center alongside Dr. Kurt Koenigsberger showed me how to incorporate technology into my teaching for the good of the students and not simply as a fashionable addition to the course. In my current position, I have developed and now co-direct our new interdisciplinary Film and Media Studies Minor that began this fall with eleven minors already enrolled. In 2015, I’m attending the Digital Humanities Summer Institute at the University of Victoria and hope to use what I learn there to create an online certificate program in Digital Humanities. My pursuit of these two most recent opportunities has come as a result of my time in Case’s English Department, and I’m grateful for the ways my professors have helped make me into the teacher and scholar I am today.

Alumni News

Darcy Brandel (’06) is still in the post at Marygrove College, which she took straight out of the doctoral program at CWRU in 2006. She has been serving as chair of the English and Modern Languages department since 2013. Recently, she has published literary translations of Korean Buddhist poetry in The American Reader and has translations forthcoming in Metamorphosis. She delivered a paper in November at the Midwest Modern Language Association conference titled, “Form as Protest: Seeking Justice through Innovative Aesthetics.”

Josh Green (’07) is Advisor to the President at the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to the President’s speeches, lectures, columns, op-eds, media appearances, and high-level correspondence, Green is now venturing into her presentations to key stakeholders–trustees, primarily–that deal with advanced institutional research, financials, endowment, capital projects, etc.

Sheehan Hannan (’14) is an Editorial Assistant at Cleveland Magazine and Inside Business Magazine. His byline appears in the magazine’s pages every month in both cover packages and the front of the book. Along with the editors, he pitches ideas for tentpole issues, such as Best of Cleveland, Most Interesting People, and Rating the Suburbs. He has written about everything from theatre to politics to sports for both publications, including profiles appearing in Inside Business Magazine, a business-oriented sister publication to Cleveland Magazine.

Phillip Iannarelli (’67) is writing a book on the period of the great estate gardens of Cleveland, 1912-1935 with lots of photo/slides that he took of them.

Eve Proper (’98) has a new co-authored book coming out in December– Institutional Advancement: What We Know.

Ongoing Projects: the British Library and the Wellcome Library of Medical History

by Kristin Kondrlik

Last August, I embarked on a three-week research trip to London’s British Library and Wellcome Library of Medical History. I spent my days and evenings immersed in rare medical texts in the British Library’s Science and Rare Books Rooms, analyzing the interactions of gender and print in magazines written by and for women physicians.

By allowing me time to immerse myself in the textual world of female physicians at the turn of the twentieth century, this trip bolstered my research. My dissertation, chaired by Dr. Kurt Koenigsberger, focuses on the intersections between late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century print culture and the professional lives of female physicians. During this trip, I encountered fascinating, humorous, and sometimes troubling articles: reports of scores from field hockey matches at medical schools; whimsical accounts of student holidays in California, Bombay, and Siberia; satirical poems about patients’ inability to follow doctors’ orders; and clinical case reports on terrifying diseases that contemporary medicine keeps in check, such as cholera and small pox. The articles I uncovered in my time in the archives demonstrate the richness of writing in these magazines and the openness with which writers approached the print culture of the period. When I stumbled on an eighth account of a visit to a leper colony in the Magazine of the Royal Free Hospital and School of Medicine for Women, however, I admit that I took the hint to step away from the microfilm reader and have afternoon tea.

While the real benefit of my research trip was the sheer amount of energy and time I was able to devote to studying the wealth of resources available in the city’s archives, as a scholar of British literature and culture of the period between 1880 and 1920, I also did my share of sight-seeing around London, visiting sites such as the reconstructed Globe Theatre, the British Museum, and Hyde Park. Most striking, however, was the World War I centenary memorial at the Tower of London, where the moat was filled with ceramic poppies to represent each fallen British soldier.

This trip was made possible by the English Department’s Adrian-Salomon Dissertation Fellowship, in addition to Undergraduate Studies’ Eva L. Pancoast Fellowship, which supports international research projects conducted by the university’s female students. I was extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to spend the time necessary in these archives to bring these rare writings into my dissertation and into scholarly conversations.


The EGSA Murder Mystery Gala (October 4, 2014). Stay in tune with the English Graduate Student Association here.


(from the CWRU archives)

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