Charles Andrews (known as Casey) teaches courses in modern British, Irish, and postcolonial literatures as well as film studies. He is a regular contributor to The Cresset, writing film reviews. His upcoming Fall 2015 film course is EL 204: Film Noir and Hardboiled Lit, and this most recent article on Paul Thomas Anderson’s adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice draws on several of the course themes and readings. Dr. Andrews’ in depth study of this genre can be seen in his recent review “Purple Haze: Paul Thomas Anderson Takes On Inherent Vice” published by The Cresset.
Check out this article posted on the main page of the Whitworth website featuring our very own Thom Caraway!
Author G.L. Corum shares info about the release of Ulysses Underground, along with some tried and tested tips for aspiring writers:
At Whitworth, I majored in English Literature without Post-it Notes or a MacBook. The latter had not been invented in the mid-seventies. And Post-it Notes had barely begun marking the pages of history when I took two American History survey classes from Homer Cunningham. I am certain I never thought of writing a book, especially about a war hero.
Post-it Notes appeared after 1968, when chemist Spencer Silver, attempting to develop a super strong adhesive, accidentally invented a super weak, repositionable one. Ulysses Underground came about through a similar arc of unexpected discovery. I set out to find the earliest, organized, nonviolent resistance to slavery. In mid-search, I discovered young Ulysses growing up in an antislavery community committed to ending slavery without dividing the Union.
In the 1990s, while parenting young children in an increasingly materialistic, environmentally toxic world, I began seeking deep lifestyle change. I prayed. I listened. I journaled. I got sick.
Recuperating in bed in 1997, I received a biography of an east coast abolitionist. (Though I did not pay attention at the time) when I picked up that book, I was pulled into a world I could not put down. I became ravenously interested in how slavery ended.
When, how, where and who started its demise? Never had I had such ferocity to learn. My quest took me over tracks of the Underground Railroad spread across the country. As I searched for earlier and earlier sources I found footnotes pointing to southwestern Ohio and moved there.
Ulysses Underground uncovers seventy years of secret history near the banks of the Ohio River. For more than a decade I assembled a 200,000 piece puzzle of hidden history with no cover picture. For months I would work on bits of one section, and then after discovering a small link, I would set in on another section.
Having absorbed the 1920s version of America’s victorious Civil War general, I had no interest in Ulysses when I first came across his name. But I encountered more pieces and began reading current Grant scholarship. I learned how at his death, his immense popularity surpassed that of President Lincoln. Ulysses’ seven-mile-long funeral procession included every stripe of humanity. Thirty years later his reputation was deliberately distorted to foster Jim Crow thinking; black people faced hurdles much harsher than ruined reputations. The distortion hid the history even farther underground, but I kept digging.
Many pieces remain lost, but enough came together to reveal Ulysses’ family inside a startling community committed to liberty and justice for all. Fierce piety and patriotism combined to push for the full benefits of democracy for everyone, regardless of color.
Clusters of families intentionally aligned their homes to form an escape route out of slavery; their children and grandchildren continued their work. Everything incriminating had to be erased. How could I ever explain all this in any compelling manner?
Post-it notes! In 2011, I read David Shenk’s advice: “Get feedback — oodles of it. Show pieces of your book to lots of people — different types of people … beg them for candor. Find out what’s missing, what’s being misinterpreted, what isn’t convincing, what’s falling flat.” Shenk’s quote went on a virtual sticky note on my Macbook desktop.
My readers wrote corrections, suggestions, etc. on Post-it Notes and positioned them on the errant sentence or words. After entering the corrections into the text, I peeled off the note. The process satisfied me. My convoluted writing improved. Ulysses Underground unfurls America’s best history and I hope it will satisfy you deeply when it is released on Memorial Day weekend 2015. One of Whitworth’s founders may link to the history, but that will have to wait for another book.
You can check out Corum’s book at http://www.ulyssesunderground.com.
All sorts of readings are coming up. Make sure to check them out:
There will be food. There will be drinks. There will be laughter. There will be carpooling (outside of Westminster Hall at 6:20 p.m.).
Railtown Almanac Reading
Saturday, April 25 at 5:00 p.m.
Venue: Hendrick House, Whitworth University
Free & open to the public
Participating writers and teachers include faculty from EWU, Whitworth, Gonzaga, North Idaho College, SFCC, and SCC, who will read from new works of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. EWU professor Natalie Kusz, author of Road Song, will host the event.
Participating faculty include:
*Jaime Baird of Whitworth
Megan Ciesla of Gonzaga
Christopher Howell of EWU
*Fred Johnson of Whitworth
Leyna Krow of NIC & SFCC
Kathryn McKenna of SCC
Gregory Spatz of EWU
Rachel Toor of EWU
In celebration of Whitworth’s 125th anniversary, students were asked to write a poem of exactly 125 words, including the words “pine,” “cone” and curtain.”
1st Place winner Sandra Tully is from western Washington and is currently a senior at Whitworth. She is an English/writing major and also a Computer Science major.
Guest Judge Arlin Migliazzo had this to say about Tully’s poem, “Perhaps Da Vinci Told Her”: I can envision the master himself nodding appreciatively at the poet’s whimsical but humane explanation for Mona Lisa’s smile that almost isn’t. The reference to da Vinci’s ingenious flying “contraption,” the artist’s care in his desire to hide the “tea stained tinge on her two front teeth” and her damaged incisor cracked “into a thousand tiny triangles” speak to the centuries that separate us from the painting itself. Yet the recognition that she might have wanted “to show a subtle streak of rebellion” and his efforts to coax a real smile out of her as well as his compassion in masking her physical limitations speak to our shared humanness across the years.
Perhaps Da Vinci Told Her
not to smile, still she turned the corners of her mouth
just enough to show a subtle streak of rebellion.
Perhaps he made her laugh,
recounting the time he tested his own contraption;
catapulting into the cold night air,
and waking up shivering and naked in a field
surrounded by cattle beveled, staring,
like the slanting surface of a cone.
Perhaps he would have seen it then,
her two lips parting like horizontal curtains
revealing the fall from a pine tree that
fractured her left incisor into a thousand tiny triangles.
Perhaps he waited for her amusement to fade,
slowly concealing the tea stained tinge of her
two front teeth until all that was left
was the lingering remnant of delight.
2nd Place winner Leah Dassler is a freshman marketing major with a Chinese minor. She hails from Denver, Colorado, where she enjoys hiking, playing tennis, and going on adventures with her family. At Whitworth, you can usually find her having random dance parties with her friends or exploring Spokane. In her spare time, Dassler loves to read and write poetry because poetry often presents truth in its rawest form.
Guest Judge Arlin Migliazzo had this to say about Dassler’s poem, “Navigating Red and Black”: I am drawn into the mystery of this poem–and its puzzling, even disconcerting message for me. Since the author clearly cares for the companion(s?), does the incurred expense “in red and black” refer to a connection (or connections) here at Whitworth? As the debit/credit ledger theme is carried on in other phrases (“numbers corralled between parentheses/To ignite finely-kept balance sheets” and “gypsy tendencies unaccounted for/The ones tensioned between red and black”) is it rather a paean to the necessity of repeated forgiveness in the constant human struggle upward toward authenticity, both for ourselves and for those we most care about? What is the poem urging me to consider in my quest for self-knowledge as that quest both connects me to others and also creates pain for those closest to me? That is the disconcerting part. . .
Navigating Red and Black
In red and black I incurred an expense
You hurdling up over stairs the way you do,
Insisting the summit must be just
Past swirl-bound mist
Can’t you see as I, from the base, do—
The best climbs lack steps entirely.
To make one’s own way
Toward sunlight patches
To uncover souls in places where we thought only fog existed
Along the cone-covered way we wander
To disentangle names
from numbers corralled
To ignite all finely-kept balance sheets
This is the path we are meant to stumble upwards
Side-by-side navigating the misty curtain split in two,
Top to bottom
Seven times forgive
These gypsy tendencies unaccounted for
The ones tensioned between red and black
Congratulations winners! Thanks to everyone who submitted, and to our guest judge, Arlin Migliazzo!
Arlin C. Migliazzo is professor of history at Whitworth University where he has taught since 1983. He received the B.A. from Biola College (1974), his M.A. from Northern Arizona University (1975), and the Ph.D. from Washington State University (1982). His publications include essays and articles on ethnic studies, the Pacific Northwest, colonial South Carolina, church-related higher education, the history of evangelicalism, and comparative democratic development. He has also published some of his poetry in Script, the Whitworth University literary journal.