Saturday, March 20, 2010

Shame on you if you missed out on hearing Judith Ortiz Cofer this morning! The convention committee never fails to impress this convention goer -- that last keynote speaker is as fabulous as the first (and every one in between). This morning's address "From Silence, To Voice, To Vision" reminded us that we are "students of literature for life" and that literature is "a spell against loneliness." Whether quoting Czeslaw Milosz, "Language is the only homeland," or Sister Rosetta, "you have a hungry mind, don't feed it trash," or telling us that she "made art from the ordinary material of my life," she made us think and laugh and cry.

For more information about Cofer, this Voices from the Gap page, is wonderful place to start: and this page at the Georgia Encylopedia which links to several of her talks:

Azar Nafisi

Friday night's keynote was presented by Azar Nafisi, writer of (among other works), Reading Lolita in Tehran.  Her talk has echoes of Chris Abani's as she reminded the audience that "great literature always turns the question to us and that the basis of literature is not us, it is always the other person."  Telling us all that those who would state that there is no future in graduate studies in English,  she declared "Tell them to go to hell" and that "Imaginative knowledge is a wa or relating to the world. . . it is like bread and water. . . literature gives you clean washed eyes. . . it is like Alice woming back from the Wonderland."  She held the audience enthralled suggested that we all "find our own Mr. Darcy" and then energized us with her final, echoing call, "Readers of the World, Unite!"   What a dynamp!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Sharing Chris Abani - some of my favorite quotes from tonight's talk

quoting his brother's comment when he (Chris) told his brother that he was afraid because he'd just heard the story of  Little Red Riding Hood,  "dude, you can't be afraid of a wolf that dies wearing a dress"

on Americans, we are "more a nation of refugees than a nation of immigrants"

quoting poet Jack Gilbert's "Failing and Flying," "Everyone forgets that Icarus also flew"

(check out the entire poem here  )

from his mother, "the kindness of strangers can unstitch us"

"Speaking your truth can be dangerous"

why he writes, "to work out questions about my human-ness"

the question he says he is always working through in his writing, "how do we become what we become?"

"language allows you to negotiate multiple identities"

Concurrent Sessions, Bad Poetry, T-shirt skits and author Chris Abani

another day of the convention has come to an end -- concurrent sessions filled most of the day and in the evening we were completely rapt as author Chris Abani read to us from brand-new material written just today for our conference!  not only that, but he fielded questions for almost an hour and then signed books. 

To cap off the day, bad poetry was heard in the convention halls with top honors (perhaps a misnomer for a bad poety contest) going to Micah Hicks and Shannin entertained the audience with a special reading of "Look Away."  Maybe we can get her to repeat the performance next year in Pittsburgh!

What did you do today?  We want to know!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Dance, Dance, Dance!

Photos of last night's dance can be found on Facebook at!

Check out our pictures, tag your friends, and share your photos with us! Tell us what you thought about the dance, or anything you have done at convention so far. And don't forget to friend your region on Facebook and join your region's group, so you can stay up on all the latest and greatest from Sigma Tau Delta.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Fun Begins!

Today's the day!  and when registration opens, the atmosphere will surely be electric --  don't miss the opening events or the first keynote speaker Li-Young Lee -- tell us about your first day's experiences here in St. Louis --  first-time conference goers, what's making an impression on you?

Chapter Sponsors -- we want to hear from you too!

a big shout out to all of the chapter sponsors arriving in St. Louis --  how was your trip out?  is this your first conference?  tell us why you come to the annual event and what you're doing -- inquiring minds want to know.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

You've just arrived--What Are Your First Impressions?

The Arch is gorgeous, and the hotel is very comfortable. It's great to see everyone again, and I am really excited to share convention with the members of my chapter who have never been before. I didn't realize it would be so chilly--brr! I can't wait to see the hotel start to fill up with all of those Sigma Tau Delta badges. But what I am most interested to see are your responses to these prompts, and your pictures and thoughts from the Convention!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Convention is less than a week away --What Are You Excited About?

I'm excited about our upcoming road trip out to St. Louis!  The plans have been made, the route is chosen, the drivers are ready --  we anticipate 18 hours of good company, interesting music and some fierce rounds of Catch Phrases and Mad Libs.  As a chapter sponsor, I know I'm really excited about my students' presentations and the featured speakers, especially snagging a few new autographed books.  Since I went to graduate school in St. Louis, it's also a sort of homecoming for me, so I'm hoping to go to some of my old "haunts" -- maybe the Art Museum in Forest Park, or a drive-by of the building where graduate housing used to be oh so many years ago.  I think that a trip to The Hill is a must -- perhaps that's Cunetto's calling my name -- or maybe it is Amighetti's!   Oh, or maybe a concrete at Ted Drewes Frozen Custard.