The Literary Way

a newsletter for Xavier University of Louisiana's English majors, minors, and honors students

December 2013

Javon and her father

Javon and her proud father, Mr. Marion Bracy

Javon's Busy Year

English major Javon Bracy has had an active year in 2013. Besides serving as the newly elected Student Government Association (SGA) president, she helped the Xavier team advance to the HBCU National Quiz Championship, and she was inducted into Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honors Society. This summer, Javon interned in Washington, D.C. at the headquarters of the UNCF. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is among the VIPs that Javon met during her stay in the nation's capital.

Everyone in the English Department, faculty and students, is proud to count Javon as one of our own!

Joi Martin

Joi Michelle Martin '13

Where Are They Now?

Joi Michelle Martin (2013 English Grad.) is teaching English III and IV at West St. John High School in Edgard, Louisiana. Nearing the end of her first semester at her new job, she writes:

In the beginning, the kids gave me a hard time because I graduated from East St. John High, the parish rival school that's located on the other side of the river. The animosity died down after I attended a WSJ vs. ESJ game wearing blue and white—WSJ school colors. The students appreciated my support, and that occasion actually made this semester a smoother ride. I've grown close to many of the kids and fellow co-workers. Adminstration has also trusted me to lead or participate in multiple activities such as tutoring the 8th graders for LEAP after school twice a week, coordinating the Student of the Year event, being on the board of the homecoming committee, and critiquing essays the students needed to submit for college scholarships. It was hard to believe I did so much during my first semester as a new teacher, but I'm beyond grateful that I was chosen as someone trusted to do the projects. It was unbelievably challenging but fun. While this semester is winding down, I'm anticipating the future memories of next semester.

Writers Visit Campus

R. Flowers Rivera talks with freshman student Atiya Muhammed after her reading.


Charles Fort signs a copy of his book for James Shade.

Erna Brodber poses with Dr. Violet Bryan and Adia Wallace.

Dominca Radulescu.

This fall semester Xavier students were treated to literary readings by R. Flowers Rivera, Charles Fort, Erna Brodber, and Dominca Radulescu.

R. Flowers Rivera, a native of Mississippi who now resides in Texas, in September gave a lively reading from her new book of poetry, Troubling Accents (already a bestseller published by Xavier Review Press with nearly 800 copies sold!). Her short story, "The Iron Bars," won the 1999 Peregrine Prize, and she has been a finalist for many literary awards.

Charles Fort, who taught at Xavier in the early 1980s, returned to a much-changed campus in October to read some of his award-winning poetry, gleaned from books such as We Did Not Fear the Father, Mrs. Belladonna’s Supper Club Waltz, and The Town Clock Burning. A MacDowell fellow, Fort is currently at work on Sorrow Road, One Hundred Villanelles, and a novel, The Last Black Hippie in Connecticut.

Erna Brodber, a celebrated Jamaican novelist, gave a reading in November in the context of her lecture, "Why Louisiana?: Blackspace and Cultural Production." Brodber has spent a career involved with community work in the village in which she was born and lives, Woodside (St Mary), and she has published two monographs on the history of this village. She is the author of four novels: Jane and Louisa Will Soon Come Home, Myal, Louisiana, and The Rainmaker's Mistake, a collection of short stories, The World Is a High Hill, and several monographs and historical and ethnographic studies. In her lecture, she described her commitment to facilitating linkages between descendants of Africans enslaved in the New World and the peoples of Africa.

Domnica Radulescu, last but not least, paid a visit to campus late in the semester to read from her poetry. Radulscu is the Edwin A. Morris Professor of French and Italian literature at Washington and Lee University, and the author of two best-selling novels: Black Sea Twilight and Train to Trieste, for which she won the 2009 Library of Virginia Fiction Award. She is a Fulbright scholar, presently hard at work on her fourth novel, My Father’s Orchards and new play, Exile is My Home.

These wonderful, inspiring, and well-attended events were made possible by the "Read Today, Lead Tomorrow" program, the English Department, and the tireless efforts of Dr. Biljana Obradovic, Dr. Violet Bryan, Dr. Nicole Greene, Ms. Katheryn Laborde, and Dr. Jay Todd.

ObradovicBryan Greene
Laborde Todd

Xavier Review cover

Special Issue of Xavier Review

The Spring 2013 issue of Xavier Review (Vol. 33.1) is available for purchase at the Department of English and African American Studies. This special keepsake issue focuses on works by English Dept. faculty and a few of our creative writing graduates. Contributors include Dr. Oliver Hennessey, Dr. Biljana D. Obradovic, Mr. Jay Todd, Mr. Mark Whitaker, Dr. Thomas Bonner, Jr., Dr. David G. Lanoue, Dr. Bonnie Noonan, Dr. Violet Harrington Bryan, Ms. Katheryn Krotzer Laborde, Dr. Ronald Dorris, Dr. Robin Runia, Mr. Jeremy Tuman, Dr. Thaddeo Babiiha, Dr. Donna Marie Gould SBS, Dr. Nicole Pepinster Greene, and Mr. Ralph Adamo (who also edited the volume)—with cover photography provided by Dr. Robin Vander. This treasure trove of poetry, stories, and critical essays is dedicated to the memory of Allison Pitcher. We miss her very much!

On Sunday, November 10th several of the faculty contributors to the issue gave a public reading at the Maple Leaf Bar.

Mr. Adamo

Mr. Ralph Adamo

Xavier Review editor

The English Website Re-Imagined


Dr. David Lanoue, English Department Head, added some new features to the departmental website, based on feedback from faculty and assisted by the Recruitment Committee of the newly formed Division of Fine Arts & Humanities. The website now features a slideshow of our graduates and a Google calendar of events that will be accessible to all faculty and to officers of the English Club. This calendar can not only be viewed on the new English home page but can also be downloaded into smart phones and other portable electronic devices. No longer will students or faculty be able to use that tired excuse, "I didn't know that was happening!"

Check it out here

English Department End-of-Semester Soirée

Origami Restaurant - December 9, 2013

party party party party party party party

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English Dept. home page

The Literary Way is edited by Dr. David G. Lanoue of the Xavier University English Department. Contact: dlanoue@xula.edu