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Greetings Comrades,

 Well that was a lot of fun. The 2021 EGSA Symposium has concluded and in my completely unbiased opinion, it was an unmitigated success. Thank you to our presenters: Kyriana Lynch, Sally Hansen, Daniel Hellstrom, Emily McLemore, Marie Shelton, William McCarthy, Mitchell Kooh, Logan Quigley, Anne Crafton, Nathan Phelps, and Isiah Dale.

I am blown away by how strong those presentations were. I learned so much about your respective topics and can’t wait to follow up with each of you about where your work is going next. I also want to thank our chairs: Sara Judy, Jake McGinnis, Josh Wright, Oliver Ortega, and Kyriana Lynch. The panels were smooth and engaging thanks to your leadership. Finally, I want to thank Alissa for doing so much of the behind the scenes work (not least of all sitting through each and every panel to make sure everything was working).

While our big annual event is over, we have many more exciting events to keep us occupied as winter begrudgingly gives up to spring. Marie will put a spring in all of our steps as she revives her " Let’s Take a Walk" nature writing series. More on that below. Until next time, 


New Student Spotlight

Phillip Spinella
First Year MFA

Pen & paper? Keyboard & laptop? Blood & parchment? Subconscious & consciousness?

Computer. Partly by necessity - I basically can't read my own hand-writing (at least if writing at a speed that gets my thoughts out in anything approaching real-time).  

Any particular space you retreat to, when writing? 

No particular physical space. Mentally, I think it's the opposite of retreat - more like trying to gin up the gumption to charge over the top of a trench. Writing, for me, is often a difficult process to stare down, confront directly, etc. But being in an MFA program has helped with that.

Any books you find yourself returning to again and again?

The Rings of Saturn by W.G. Sebald. 

How would you describe your readerly/writerly interests?

As a reader, I make a concerted effort to read a wide range of prose styles. I will read and fall in love with a certain sort of book - the Rachel Cusk Outline trilogy, for instance, which I've read twice now -- but then I will try to find something else that is going to be quite different. So, after that I picked up If On A Winter's Night A Traveler, by Italo Calvino (who I had never read before, but far better to be late than never arrive). I think moving around like this is particularly important to me because reading terrific writing by others is generative and inspiring for me, and I don't want to constrict myself to a particular voice or style, etc. Especially when I'm still figuring out my own. 

As for my interests as a writer, they tend toward the intersections of the personal and historical. The micro and macro, might be another way to say it, in that I'm trying to find ways of writing, and subjects to write about, that allow me to focus the camera lens in, so to speak, and scope out to a more birds-eye view, as well.  Which, I know, is a bit vague as a response, but will have to do for now. 

If asked to conjure a metaphor for your writing process, what would it be?

Good question. Going to do this on the fly . . . for me, the writing process usually begins with a hook: a phrase, or an image, a work of art, something I read that I need to know more about . . . So, I reel that in, inspect it, throw it back, or not. The metaphor can get more grisly from there so I'll just say that I hope my mind, if only subconsciously, is consistently casting that hook out. So, fly-fishing? In any case, I think the image of me standing in a river in chest-high rubber waders is a fun one.


We’ve concluded professionalization programming for this academic year, but if you have suggestions for next year’s professionalization chair, please feel free to send them to

Thanks to everyone who attended and participated in the panels and events this year! I’ll leave you with Dr. Harris’ sage professionalization advice, applicable in all contexts: don’t be a jackass!

Quality of Life

Hello from afar! EGSA is hosting another chapter in “Let’s Take a Walk”, a series of outdoor events designed to connect us with our creative minds (and to help get us out of our quarantine beds).

Our next meeting will take place on Sunday, March 28th from 2-4pm. We'll stay on campus and transcribe our thoughts/observations (drawing inspiration from our environment or personal experience). Even if you don't consider yourself a writer or artist, you're more than welcome to attend and enjoy some time outdoors : )

For the upcoming meeting, all you need is a notebook or sketchbook. More details will come once I have a good sense of who is coming. If interested, please RSVP by sending an email to your GSU rep, Marie Burns (

Graduate Student Union

To raise money, provide financial support for students, and promote activities to combat COVID-19 isolation, the GSU has created ‘The Helping Hat’ - a cap available for pre-order this month.

Link below:

We want to hear from you!
Do you have any announcements or messages you would like to share with all of us? Send our President, Julian Dean (, a quick email so we can feature your announcement in our next newsletter.  
Also, don't forget to visit our website! Here you will find information about our goals and even a copy of our constitution, keep up-to-date with our events by following our Google Calendar, find incredibly useful links and resources shared by our different chairs, and more!
EGSA Website
Those are all our announcements for now. If you have any questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to reach out to us any time. Follow us on Facebook too, where we will be posting updates and pictures of our activities. 
We hope to see you in all our events! 

The English Graduate Student Association Board
President: Julian Dean
Vice-President: Oliver Ortega
Treasurer: Joshua Wright
PhD Professionalization Chair: Sara Judy
MFA Professionalization Chair: Valerie Vargas
Quality of Life Chair: Jake McGinnis
GSU Representatives: Marie Burns & Kyriana Lynch
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