Internship Opportunity: Turk’s Head Review

Posted October 7, 2014 by Janine Utell
Categories: Internships

Tags: ,

Turk’s Head Review magazine seeks qualified English and/or Creative Writing majors to help with editorial duties, promotional initiatives, and writing assignments (blogging and reviewing). Turk’s Head Review (URL: combines the power of blogging with a selective small press literary magazine. Works of accepted authors are published online and in periodic print-on-demand issues. The magazine would like to increase web visibility and publishing frequency, to build its readership, and to further its mission of fostering stronger ties to the local literary community. The magazine is edited by James Esch, Senior Lecturer English at Widener,, 610-499-1060.

For 2014-2015, this unpaid internship will be offered on a “not for credit” basis. Student interns can expect to gain valuable experience in editing, writing and publishing, make important contacts in the literary publishing field, and boost their professional credentials.

As an editorial assistant, the intern will assume several responsibilities, which includes any of the following:

  • Read and score creative submissions of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction
  • Copyedit accepted manuscripts before publication
  • Process manuscripts on
  • Assist with editing and layout for print-on-demand issues
  • Assist with promotional efforts (social media, marketing, email)
  • Contribute occasional blog posts about local literary events and relevant web content
  • Write online reviews of books, plays, films (with byline)

Expected workload
The intern should expect to work an estimated 2 to 3 hours per week, with periodic office visits to review assignments and progress. Regular contact via email is expected.

The student also will write Pre- and Post-Reflection pieces about the internship experience: expectations and results. These reflections will be used for program assessment.
To apply
Submit a cover letter, résumé, brief writing sample (academic paper or campus publication), and list of personal references to the English department:

Dr. Janine Utell, Associate Professor and Chair of English

Widener University


The Blue & Gold: Reporting on News and the Arts

Posted September 26, 2014 by Janine Utell
Categories: Course Information, News, Recommended (Internet) Reading

Tags: , , ,

Widener’s student-run digital-first news site The Blue & Gold is keeping its finger on the pulse of arts and culture not only on campus but in the Philadelphia region.  The site is helmed by English/Communication Studies major Maria Klecko (managing editor, news) and English/Creative Writing major Autumn Heisler (managing editor, arts and entertainment), and features the work of many of our English and Creative Writing majors.

Sam Starnes serves as the advisor for The Blue & Gold and teaches courses in arts journalism and feature and magazine writing for the English department.  He is also the editor of Widener Magazine, which has garnered numerous awards under his leadership.  Prior to joining Widener, Sam freelanced for The New York Times and also had work appear in the Washington Post, Boston Globe, and Philadelphia Inquirer, among other papers and a few national magazines. From 1994 through 2006, Sam worked for PR Newswire, the largest of the national and international press release wire services, including seven years as national director of media relations.  From 1989 through 1994, he worked for two small-to-midsize Knight-Ridder newspapers in Georgia and Florida, winning a number of Associated Press and Georgia Press Association awards for his work.

Arts Journalism students meet with John Timpane at the Inquirer

Arts Journalism students meet with John Timpane at the Inquirer

This semester, Sam is offering Arts Journalism.  Students are focusing on events around campus, including creating a package of stories to run in October around the first-year common experience and visit from author Jena Osman; a preview was recently published on the site here.  In addition, students have had the opportunity to visit the newsroom of the Philadelphia Inquirer and meet John Timpane, a writer and editor there.  Timpane shared with the students an early look at the newspaper’s planned redesign of its Arts section. Timpane gave students a tour of the newsroom and led a 90-minute discussion offering advice on writing reviews, profiles, and other stories focused on the arts, as well as addressing a wide range of topics ranging from covering a production of Othello, the new U2 album, and singer Iggy Azalea.

Sam will be teaching Magazine Writing in Spring 2015.  The Blue & Gold holds its editorial meetings every Monday at noon in Freedom Hall — get involved!  You can also follow the site on Twitter.

Events Round-Up

Posted September 24, 2014 by Janine Utell
Categories: English Club Cool Stuff, News, Upcoming Events

Tags: , , , , ,

We interrupt our regularly scheduled posts for a quick events round-up.  Lots of cool stuff going on, so save the dates!

  • Jena Osman, author of Public Figures, will be reading in Alumni Auditorium, TODAY, Wednesday at 4pm.  Osman’s book of photos and prose-poems is the common reading for this year’s freshman class.  You can read more about this over at The Blue & Gold.
  • Our first open mic will take place on Oct. 1 at 7pm in University Center, Room C.  Come read your poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, drama…or just listen!
  • The annual Fall Faculty Lecture is planned for Oct. 23 at 4pm in the Drost Room of Wolfgram Library.  Professor Mark Graybill will be giving the lecture, entitled “Disease and Disability in Flannery O’Connor’s Fiction,” in conjunction with his leading of Senior Seminar this fall.
  • Alumnae Emma Ricciardi and Ashley Babcock will be returning to campus on Oct. 29 for the second in our occasional series of career panels.  Emma, a graduate student in Library Science and an intern at the Library Company of Philadelphia, and Ashley, incoming Director of the Writing Center for Montgomery College, will share thoughts on post-college work and life, offer advice, and take questions.  Early evening, exact time TBD.

Hope to see you around!

Professor Pobo Launches State Street Reading Series, Publishes New Book with Professor Esch

Posted September 23, 2014 by Janine Utell
Categories: News, Professoring, Recommended (Internet) Reading

Tags: , , , ,

Last week saw the inaugural reading in the State Street Reading Series, a new event in Media sponsored by the Media Arts Council and Widener University.  The featured readers were our own Professor Ken Pobo, joined by Dilruba Ahmed.  The reading was held in the Media Arts Center Gallery, an intimate space displaying the work of local artists and a venue for a number of exciting events.

Professor Pobo reads at the Media Arts Center for the State Street Reading Series

Professor Pobo reads at the Media Arts Center for the State Street Reading Series

Professor Pobo read poems from over the course of his career, displaying his range and wit with lively performance.  We were particularly glad to hear work from his new collection, When the Light Turns Green, the publication of which is an especially exciting event because it is the first book produced by colleague Professor Jim Esch through his new independent small publishing company Spruce Alley Press.  When the Light Turns Green, a 32-poem chapbook, is a mix of poetry and art, with Stacy Esch contributing 12 full-color digital art pieces.   This is the 19th chapbook in Professor Pobo’s distinguished career; he has also published five collections of poetry. Stacy Esch has published writing and artwork in wordriver, Oddball Magazine, and Ibbetson Street. She is an English instructor at West Chester University.

The book’s title stems from the last poem in the collection, “Funeral Homes.” Professor Pobo explains: “For me, the light is a changing force. What I saw as light at twelve seems quite different now at sixty.  Green means go.  It is also a central color in nature, restorative, an essence of spring.  A steadying color, one to rest in.”

Professor Esch, who also edits the literary zine Turk’s Head Review, had been planning to launch the press for years. “With all the changes going on in the publishing world, there are doors opening for small, independent publishers to offer high quality books that can be distributed worldwide with minimal startup costs. I want Spruce Alley to be a channel for independent literary voices, as well as a local and regional cultural presence in our community. Plus, I get a chance to indulge my passion for book design.”

Professors Pobo and Esch have been getting a lot of great press for this project, including an interview here with Professor Esch and one here with Professor Pobo.

The book is available print-on-demand at, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and can be special ordered from independent booksellers everywhere. E-book versions are also available at Apple’s iTunes, and a Kindle version at

We’re looking forward to the next event in the State Street Reading Series, to be held on November 20, and featuring Professor Esch.

Welcome Back: Busy Semester Ahead!

Posted September 10, 2014 by Janine Utell
Categories: English Club Cool Stuff, Internships, News, Professoring, Recommended (Internet) Reading, Upcoming Events

Tags: , , , , ,

Greetings, all!  Now that we’re well into the new semester, I wanted to offer an official welcome back and share some exciting news and events.

Our faculty have been busy the last few months researching, writing, publishing, and traveling with students.  In the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting some faculty accomplishments and adventures, so keep an eye out.

In the exciting news department, some cool new developments for Widener English include:

  • The (re-)appointment of Sam Starnes to the position of advisor for the Blue and Gold, Widener’s student-run multimedia news site — and the offering of some new journalism courses in English.  This semester, Sam, an experienced and award-winning journalist, is teaching a course on Arts Journalism, and in the spring we look forward to an offering on Magazine Journalism.  Students are welcome — and encouraged — to come work for the Blue and Gold.  News meetings are held Mondays from noon to 1 in Freedom 224.  We’re happy to partner with the Blue and Gold, and will be regularly sharing links to stories published by our majors.
  • The new season for Lone Brick Theater!  This fall’s major production is Aristophanes’s Lysistrata (with cabaret!), and it will run from Nov. 13-16.  LBT will also be offering an experimental production based on the life of Edgar Allan Poe, Dissever My Soul, on Oct. 23-24.  Contact Professor Rob Reutter if you’re interested.
  • New internships!  This semester we’re sharing several internship opportunities, as well as piloting a new, and hopefully more streamlined and centralized, application process.  All internship announcements will be posted here and on the bulletin board outside the English Suite (third floor Kapelski), as well as information about how to apply.  Watch the space for details!

And:  save the dates for these upcoming events:

  • Our annual Fall Open House will take place from 8:30 in the morning until around 11 in the English Suite on Sept. 23:  bagels, coffee, and conversation for majors, minors, and interested parties.  This coincides with the visit from this fall’s writer, Jena Osman.  Osman directs the MFA at Temple University, and is the author of this year’s first-year common reading, Public Figures.  Osman will be reading at 4pm on Sept. 24 in Alumni Auditorium.
  • We’ll be offering our second occasional career panel this semester featuring gainfully employed English majors who have found fulfilling jobs post-graduation.  They’ll share their experiences on the job market, talk about how to sell your English major to prospective employers, and answer questions.  More details to come.
  • The annual Fall Faculty Lecture is scheduled for Oct. 23.  Professor (and Associate Dean of Humanities) Mark Graybill, who is leading this fall’s Senior Seminar on Flannery O’Connor, will be the speaker.

Finally:  here’s some recommended reading:  a recent piece by Frank Bruni in the New York Times about the REAL purpose of college:  questioning everything, challenging yourself.

Follow the blog and visit the departmental bulletin board for news, events, opportunities, and information.  And feel free to stop by the English Suite to say hi!

Professor Utell Wins Major Teaching Award

Posted August 30, 2014 by widenerenglishadmin
Categories: News, Professoring

JU Lindback

Provost Stephen Wilhite, Professor Janine Utell, and President James T. Harris

Dr. Janine Utell, associate professor and chair of English at Widener University, is the recipient of the 2014 Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching, an honor bestowed annually to a member of Widener’s faculty. Utell recently accepted the award at the university’s opening faculty meeting from Widener University Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs Stephen Wilhite.

Wilhite highlighted Utell’s efforts to revise the English 101 course at Widener and set the stage for a common student experience for all Widener undergraduates. He recognized her commitment to assessment as a way to refine and advance pedagogy and her success in making her classroom both a challenging and welcoming environment.

Before presenting her with the award, Wilhite read student reactions to Utell’s teaching: “I thought I hated this subject matter, but this course changed my mind,” one student wrote. Another student simply stated: “Best class ever. My brain is on fire.”

Dr. Mark Graybill, associate professor of English and associate dean of humanities at Widener, recommended Utell for the Lindback Award, citing her efforts to inspire faculty in addition to her students. Utell helped launch “Your Monthly Need to Know News,” a newsletter informing the Widener campus community of a handful of issues affecting higher education. She also addresses topics in higher education as a contributor to the “University of Venus” blog through Inside Higher Ed. “[She] teaches not only her students, but also her colleagues, both on campus and beyond,” Graybill said.

Last winter, Utell was named the 2013 outstanding researcher in humanities by Widener University’s College of Arts and Sciences. Utell’s research has made her an internationally recognized scholar of James Joyce and British literary modernism. Her first book, James Joyce and the Revolt of Love, was published with Palgrave Macmillan in 2010. She has since published articles on Joyce and other writers of his time in peer-reviewed journals such as James Joyce Quarterly, The Journal of Modern Literature, and College Literature, for which she is an associate editor.

Utell’s colleagues have recognized the symbiotic relationship between her scholarship and teaching. From 2005 to 2007, she oversaw the annual James Joyce exhibition at The Rosenbach Museum in Philadelphia. The project was influenced by her teaching, but it also allowed her to bring to her students – particularly those in her senior seminar course on Joyce’s “Ulysses”– a mixture of theoretical and practical knowledge.

More recently, Utell has pursued an agenda concentrating on print, digital and visual narrative and narrative theory, which she applies specifically to narratives about couplehood and intimate life. Her next book, Engagements with Narrative, is under contract with Routledge and due out in 2015. She is also working on an extended study of intimate life writing in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Utell, a resident of Philadelphia, has taught at Widener since 2003. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English and creative writing and French from Barnard College, Columbia University. She earned a master’s degree in English from The Catholic University of America, where she focused on 20th-Century British Literature. She then earned a Ph.D. in English from The Graduate Center of the City University of New York, where her major field was British Modernism/20th-Century Studies.
The Lindback Foundation Award is endowed by the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation, a Philadelphia-based foundation that provides grants to institutions of higher education for the promotion of excellence in teaching.

Widener University is a metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, leadership development and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener is comprised of eight schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate, baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral degrees. The university’s campuses in Chester, Exton and Harrisburg, Pa., and Wilmington, Del., serve more than 6,300 students. Widener is proud to be a tobacco-free campus. Visit the university’s website,


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