Castings Journal Winners Announced

Sandy Hook Yard Sale
First Place Poetry by Jessica Love

The tables are full of their children.
Ripped jeans lay folded
in neat stacks,
whispers of fun shouting
from each torn thread.
Stuffed horses and lions
hold each other,
remembering the grip
of small hands.
Sticky books with syrupy pages
rest in a pile,
words sounded out
through their bindings.
Empty cups nestle in columns,
with smiles pouring out through
bite-marked rims saying,
“That’s mine.”
Backpacks worn with life,
cradle each other in perfect rows,
while limp sweaters and jackets
hang on a line,
shivering, wasting warmth.
And twenty pairs of tennis shoes
stand at the sidewalk,
with soles that seem to skip in place.

Desolation Compressed

First Place Digital Art: Sreenath Shanker “Desolation”








Up in Smoke

First Place Prose by Natalie Zaldivar

The cramped kitchen smelt like mold and stagnant cigarette smoke. The yellowed tile was cold against my feet and the early morning light fell through the broken blinds in splotchy, splintered waves of gray. I stood quiet as the hot water warmed my hands bright pink. I scrubbed the congealed grease from corners of an old Tupperware container. I didn’t hear Nan’s soft shuffle from her bedroom to the couch, but I finished the last of the dishes before she sat down.

“Magpie,” she wheezed. “Get your little ass in here.”

I dropped the dishtowel on the counter and walked into the living room. Nan sat in her usual spot on the couch, cocooned in an orange afghan, her oxygen tank sitting at her feet. She was so small but the thick wool swaddling her made her seem puffy and swollen. The tubes running up through her nose gleamed blue in the dark living room, and I choked.

“I done told you, Magpie,” Nan hissed. “I can wash my own goddamn dishes. I appreciate you staying with me, but I don’t need a babysitter. I’m seventy-eight years old, Maggie. I can wash my own dishes.”

“I know, Nan.” I grabbed two blankets and a pillow from the floor, folded them and placed them beneath the coffee table; Nan had a one-bedroom house and I didn’t mind sleeping on the floor most nights.

Nan scooted forward in her seat and reached for her pack of King-size Winston’s. Her fingers were long and crooked and as the afghan dragged back along her hand, my eyes traced the scribbled veins that seemed to glow through her paper skin.

I grabbed the cigarette pack before Nan could and gently set one in between her lips before taking my own. “Nan, you’ve got only five left in here.” I threw the pack onto the table and grabbed a lighter. “Think you’ll be okay with that until tomorrow? I’m staying with Chino tonight.” I lit my cigarette and exhaled slowly, letting the smoke singe the tip of tongue.

Nan snatched the cheap lighter from my hand in a flash of white and orange. “Yeah, I’ll be okay with five.” She lit her cigarette and closed her eyes. Every long, hungry drag from the Winston left her lungs whistling.

“You keep on, Nan. Get them pancake-lungs full of smoke.” I took a drag and stood up, grabbing my car keys off the table.

“If I wanted to hear shit talk, I’d go sit in the bathroom.” Nan’s laugh was a strangled breeze.

I slipped my coat on before kissing Nan’s cheek. “I love you, you old hag.”

She let out a soft chuckled and sighed. Her face hardened. “I love you too, Magpie. And you be careful. You know I don’t like Chino.”



First Place Fine Art: Morgan Granoski “Skirt”

The air was biting cold and my chest ached. I parked on the curb and made my way up Chino’s rickety porch. The mesh part of the screen door was broken and hanging low above the doorknob, and the front door itself had busted locks.

Chino and the guys were huddled in the living room, splitting open plastic-wrapped bricks with pocketknives and weighing out the powder into eight balls.

“Hey Maggie.” Chino cut his eyes at me for a moment then went back to weighing the product. “You want to help us weigh out or do you want to make me some sweet plantains?”

I sat on the arm of couch and kissed Chino’s cheek. The stubble on his face was uneven and ragged; it looked like thick steel wire sprouting out of his chin.  He smelled like warm milk and sweat. “I’ll make you some food.

Chino’s house was much like Nan’s, in regards that it was small and rotting. The whole house smelt like damp wood and over-ripened fruit, and the wooden floor in the kitchen was warped because Chino had never fixed the leak in the ceiling. Rain left the kitchen humid and sticky, water dripping off the ceiling in one steady stream.

While I waited for the skillet and the oil to heat up, I grabbed the last of Chino’s plantains. The skin was tough and green, and they would need at least another week before they were ripe. I massaged them hard with my fingers and beat them against the countertop until they were soft before slicing them and throwing them into the skillet.

Chino and I had met a few years back, before Nan’s emphysema got bad. He was a large man, dark-skinned, and quiet. We were friends in high school but didn’t get close until I started smoking weed. He sold it to me ten bucks cheaper than street price because I wasn’t a regular blanca. Romance was never his thing, but he was soft around me. Called me Nene and let his grimy hand sit on my hip.

The only times he got jumpy were nights like tonight; all of the guys got trigger happy when new shipments came in. They would sit in the living room all night and package every ounce it, occasionally dipping their finger into it and rubbing the powder along their gums.

I was never much of a cokehead; uppers and tweakers just weren’t my thing. Chino loved it, though. When the shipments came in, before breaking the product down, Chino would cut five lines and knock them back, one after the other. Whenever he sneezed, I imagined his septum flying out of his nose, half-rotten, glistening in a pile of blow and blood spewing onto his hands.

That’s why he let me help weigh everything out; I never snorted product.

As the plantains were nearly finished frying, I heard Chino pacing, the boards creaking under his heavy steps.

“No man. I never seen it like this before. Look at that shit in the light, man. Looks almost like gold.”

I turned the stove off and put all of the plantains on a plate, cramming one into my mouth. They tasted bland. Needed salt.

“Yeah yeah yeah, man. We can sell it for thirty extra bucks a hit. Everyone’s going to want some of this shit.”

I poured the hot oil down the drain and left the skillet in the sink to soak before grabbing the plate. Because of the water-warped floor, the wood muted anytime someone entered the kitchen. I noticed the silence when the living room floorboards stopped squeaking but I didn’t think he’d walk into the kitchen. I turned around and stepped forward, smashing into Chino. We collided head-on, arms fumbling and the plate shattering on the soft wood. Chino dropped the plastic wrapped brick in his hands as he stumbled backwards and the kitchen glittered thick with gold powder.

“Chino, I-“ my throat swelled shut. I pulled my shirt over my mouth and watched Chino stare at the ground, before his eyes slowly locked on me.

“I didn’t mean to. It was an accident.”

His fist was hard against my cheek, but when I hit the ground my hand found a jagged piece of plate. I scrambled to my feet and as Chino lunged at me, I jammed the piece of plate down until I felt it pop into his muscle. He wailed and grabbed his left calf while I ran out of the house.


I slept in my car, parked outside of a twenty-four hour fitness center. My left brow was split and the thin flesh around my eye was purple and swollen. A pink web of broken capillaries throbbed beneath my eye every time I blinked. The sky  was clear and the sunlight was pastel. I opened my glove box, pulled out a velvet drawstring bag and shoved it in my pocket. I started the car and drove home.

I parked halfway down the street. Chino’s black charger wasn’t there. I squinted and examined the living room window. Looked like someone had thrown a rock through it.

I opened the door. “Nan?”

The sunlight poured in through the busted window, tinting the house gold instead of grey. Nan was sitting on the couch, nestled into a white fluffy blanket.

“I knew that motherfucker put his hands on you.” The deep wrinkles above her lip twitched. “Makes me feel good now.” She flicked her hand toward the empty cigarette pack.

“I’m sorry, Nan. I forgot to stop by the gas station.” I took the velvet bag out of my pocket and tossed it. “You look like a fucking cotton ball.” I chuckled and stooped down, picking up all the glass that would fit in my hands.

I stood and we were quiet for a moment. Her face softened and the ends of her thin mouth fell. Her eyes glassed over, but she wiped the tears away before they fell. I had only seen Nan cry once before, when her three-legged Yorkie died. Buford. He’d run out into the street chasing a squirrel. Chino and I had been there. He dug a hole in the backyard while I stood with Nan under my arm, face crumpled inward in a mess of wrinkles and tears. Chino snorted two bumps right after he buried Buford and Nan threatened to beat his ass bloody.

“That shit,” she snarled, “is for deadbeats. Sellin’ it or snortin’ it, it’ll kill you either way. Get the hell off my property.”

That was four years ago.

I rubbed my temples and winced, the skin beneath my eyes throbbing. “I’m sorry, Nan. I thought he’d know better than to come here-“

“Go on into the kitchen and get the alcohol. You can’t go no where with your face all bloody.” Nan’s mouth was a hard line.

The smell had been faint in the living room, but when I walked into the kitchen, the heavy metallic fumes made my stomach lurch. The glass from the back door had been broken and there was dried blood caked on the tile.

I steadied myself on the counter until my head stopped spinning. I opened the medicine cabinet and grabbed the alcohol, some bandages, and a rag. There was a bloody knife sitting in the kitchen sink.

“Nan, what happened last night?” My voice cracked as I sat next to her and put the alcohol on the table.

Nan placed the velvet bag on the coffee table and patted her legs. I laid my head in her lap and kept my eyes on my feet.

She dipped the rag in alcohol and stroked my cheek. “That spic showed up here around midnight, making a ruckus and beating on the damn door. He was screaming for you. ‘Maggie, this. Maggie that.’”

She pressed the rag against my brow and I flinched. “’Maggie ain’t here,’ I told him. But he kept on and on. Running ‘round the house, breaking windows, trying to see if you were hiding somewhere. So I called your Uncle Henry and told him to get his ass over here.”

She seemed to spit her words. “Chino was getting mad. He started to threaten me and I wasn’t having that, so I made it into the kitchen and grabbed that knife. Had it in my right hand and when he punched through the damn window on the kitchen door and opened it, I stabbed the motherfucker.”

She slapped a bandage over my cut and I sat up.

“Henry and his son came, saw him, and handled the rest. I picked up most of glass. Meant to clean the kitchen up before you got home, but I got tired of wheeling this thing all over the house.” She nudged her oxygen tank as she emptied the velvet bag onto the table: two grams and a peach cigarillo. She split the rillo and poured the guts into an ashtray before licking it’s edges.

I grabbed the alcohol and rag and put them back in the kitchen. The blood in the kitchen sink looked like strawberry jam: bright and clotted. I turned the hot water on.

Nan choked, then exhaled. “Magpie, don’t you touch a damn thing. Come out here.”

I left the water running and stood in the doorway.

“Sit down, Magpie. Come here and smoke this with me.” She coughed hard and her small frame shook, her feet knocking against her oxygen tank. “I’m seventy-eight years old, damnit. I can do my own dishes. Sit down, Magpie.”

And I did.



Faculty Making News

Dr. Libby Broadwell (Professor, Literature and Languages) presented a paper entitled “Phoenix Jackson’s Repurposed Umbrella: An Ecocritical Reading of Eudora Welty’s “A Worn Path” at the Tennessee Philological Annual Conference in Henderson, TN, in February 2015.

Dr. Jeff Gross (Assistant Professor, Literature and Languages) presented a paper, “Teaching African American Literature in the Age of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown,” at the College English Association Annual Conference in Indianapolis.

Dr. Paul Haught (Dean, School of Arts, Associate Professor) along with Dr. Eric Welch (Electrical Engineering) presented their research on CBU’s STEM educational outreach programs at the second annual meeting of Socially Relevant Philosophy of/in Science and Engineering (SRPoiSE). The meeting took place in Detroit, and the title of their presentation was “Educating Minds and Touching Hearts: Adventures in STEM Educational Outreach.”

On November 20, 2014, Dr. Emily Holmes (Associate Professor, Religion and Philosophy) read from and signed copies of her book, Flesh Made Word: Medieval Women Mystics, Writing, and the Incarnation (Baylor University Press, 2013). The event was sponsored by the President’s Commission on Women and held in Plough Library. Furthermore, Dr. Holmes was the guest editor of a special issue of the Journal of Theology & Sexuality on the theme of “maternality.” In addition to editing, she contributed the introduction to the special issue, “On Maternality, Between Theology and Sexuality.” Theology & Sexuality 19:3 (2013): 195–202.

Little Free LibraryMaybe you’ve already noticed the little wooden “house” outside St. Joseph Hall. It’s CBU’s new “Little Free Library.” If you’re not familiar with the Little Free Library movement, it’s a “take a book, return a book” gathering place where neighbors share their favorite literature and stories. In its most basic form, a Little Free Library is a box full of books where anyone may stop by and pick up a book (or two) and bring back another book to share. CBU’s Little Free Library is the brainchild of Dr. Kelly James (Assistant Professor, Behavioral Science), who has already stocked it and is in the process of registering it with the international organization. By the way, our Little Free Library is the 15th one in Memphis — check out the map of all locations around the world. So, go ahead, take a book, CBU. (And don’t forget to return a book.)

Dr. Kelly James also lead a discussion on consent, sexual activity, and the dynamics between women and men on March 26 as part of the Women’s History Month Series at CBU.

An article by Dr. Karl Leib (Associate Professor, History & Political Science), entitled “State Sovereignty in Space: Current Models and Possible Futures,” has been published in the journal Astropolitics.

A huge thank you to all of the CBU students who helped out with Cheer for the Kids this year. Over 50 CBU students volunteered their time at the 8th annual event to help raise enough money for Make-A-Wish of the Mid-South to grant approximately five wishes. A special thank you to CBU student Mauricio Ramirez (Psychology) for all of his involvement over the past year in helping plan the 2015 event.

Cheer for the Kids is a grassroots non-profit organization founded by Chanda S. Murphy (Instructor, Behavioral Sciences) and fellow Memphian Ashley Bradford to help raise awareness and money for local child-focused philanthropy organizations. For more information or to get involved with Cheer for the Kids please visit

Dr. Brendan Prawdzik’s (Assistant Professor, Literature and Languages) article “Marvell’s Phenomenal Spirituality and the Processes of History: ‘Eyes of Tears’ and The Remarks upon a Late Disingenuous Discourse,” has been acccepted for publicaton in Explorations in Renaissance Culture, date TBA.Dr. Prawdzik also presented his paper “Sexual Violence and Civil War in ‘To His Coy Mistress’” at Exploring the Renaissance: An International Conference [SCRC], in Raleigh, NC, this past March. And will be presenting his paper “Samson Agonistes: Passion’s Looking-Glass” at the International Milton Symposium, Exeter, UK, in July of this year.

SOA Faculty Making News

Dr. Samantha Alperin (Education) represented CBU on the Teacher Effectiveness Committee with Shelby County Schools – a committee of each of the directors of teacher education programs at each of the universities in West TN. She also conducted two seminars: ‘Put the Textbook Down and Teach’ for the summer Diocesan in-service at Holy Rosary this July; and ‘You have an IEP, Now What?’ for the fall Diocesan in-service at CBHS in October.

On October 16, Dr. Libby Broadwell (Literature and Languages) gave the keynote address on the Southern writer Eudora Welty to approximately 200 students in grades 9 through 12 at CBU Middle College’s Literary Festival. This event was the culmination of the students’ study across the disciplines of the short story “A Worn Path.”

Dr. Kristian O’Hare (Literature and Languages) was invited by his alma mater (Western Michigan University) to do an alumni reading as part of the Fall 2014 Gwen Frostic Reading Series.

Dr. Scott D. Geis (Chair, Religion and Philosophy) attended the Kierkegaard Symposium this November at Baylor University, where he presented his paper, “The Hound’s Distant Baying, the Attentive Teacher, and Kierkegaard’s Point of View.”

Additionally, as part of the implementation phase of CBU’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), Dr. Geis (Religion & Philosophy), along with Dr. James Moore (Biology), attended the 2014 National Academic Advising Association’s (NACADA) Annual Meeting in Minneapolis, MN, this October.

Golightly IrelandDr. Karen Golightly (Literature and Languages) attended the American Conference of Irish Studies in Dublin, Ireland in June 2014 where she presented her paper: “The Past and the Present: Battling it Out in Tana French’s In the Woods.” She was also a featured reader at the Partners in Health Fundraiser in April 2014, where she read a fiction piece titled, “There Are Things I Know.” Additionally, she attended the Southern Literary Festival in Oxford, MS, in March, where she accepted an honorable mention for Castings in the print literary journal category of their annual competition. Furthermore, she had 15 photos accepted for publication in Number Magazine (including the cover and an accompanying article entitled, “Graffiti: Art for the Lucky”), Pank Magazine, El Aleph Magazine, and Star 82 Review.

9781441115485On July 22, the Feast of St. Mary of Magdala, Dr. Emily Holmes gave a lecture on “Mary of Magdala and Marguerite Porete: Faithful Witnesses” at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. Additionally, Breathing with Luce Irigaray, a collection of essays centered on the work of philosopher Luce Irigaray, which she co-edited with Lenart Škof was released.


Dr. Karl Leib (History & Political Science) had an article published in Science and Politics: An A to Z Guide to Issues and Controversies (CQ Press, 2014).The article is entitled “The International Space Station.”

Dr. Christophe Ringer (Religion and Philosophy) recently presented two papers: “District 9 and the Gates of Difference,” at Afrofuturism in Black Theology: Race, Gender, Sexuality, and the State of Black Religion in the Black Metropolis sponsored by the Graduate Department of Religion at Vanderbilt University this October; and “The Militarization of the American Dream,” at Nightmare on Our Street: A Teach-In on Racialized Violence in America, again sponsored by the Graduate Department of Religion at Vanderbilt University on October 31st.

Dr. Jeff Sable (Behavioral Sciences) teamed up with Rebecca Klatzkin from Rhodes College to give a workshop at MSPC (which CBU hosted in March): How to Read Minds (well… sort of): An Introduction to Psychophysiological Methods, and was co-author of a talk given there.

He also co-authored of a journal article published in March in Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior. The article was “Sex differences in response to amphetamine in adult Long-Evans rats performing a delay-discounting task”, by Paul A. Eubig, Terese E. Noe, Stan B. Floresco, Jeffrey J. Sable, and Susan L. Schantz. This was a collaboration with researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of British Columbia.

Furthermore, he and Dr. Mary Campbell (Behavioral Sciences) attended the third annual Symposium for Lasallian Research, held in September at St. Mary’s University in Minneapolis, MN. The symposium was attended by more than 120 members of the Lasallian community from the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Philippines, Colombia, Brazil, Italy, France, Spain, Andorra, and New Zealand—primarily from colleges and universities. The conference fosters international relationships and collaborations among researchers, especially in advancing research in line with the Lasallian mission.

As part of one of the conference “breakout sessions”, Dr. Sable delivered a talk entitled “Psychophysiological Methods for Assessment of Education and Learning Innovations”, which is related to one of the three broad themes on the research agenda of the International Association of LaSalle Universities.

History professors Dr. Neal Palmer, Dr. Ben Jordan, Dr. Marius Carriere, and Dr. Doug Cupples presented papers at the 30th Annual Ohio Valley History Conference at Austin Peay State University. Palmer’s and Jordan’s papers were a part of a panel on “Race & Identity: The Politics of Citizenship during World War I.”  Carriere’s and Cupples’ papers were on the topic “Varied Perspectives of the Civil War Era.”

Dr. Ric Potts (Education) presented a workshop for 12th Annual RISE state conference: Reading Instruction Successfully Enhanced – topic: “6 Trait Writing and Common Core: Meeting Students Where They Are and Providing the Path to Improvement” this April. He also gave a presentation titled “Literacy in the Age of Common Core” for the Martin Institute Conference in Memphis in June.

Dr. Brendan Prawdzik’s (Literature and Languages) article, “Naked Writhing Flesh: Rhetorical Authority and Theatrical Recursion,” remains forthcoming in the tentatively titled volume, “Varietie without end”: Generative Irresolution in Milton’s Poetry, ed. Mimi Fenton and Louis Schwartz. Pittsburgh, PA: Duquesne University Press. Additionally, his article “State-Building in Harrington’s Oceana and Milton’s Paradise Lost, i-ii,” was recently published in Notes & Queries. Dr. Prawdzik has also been chosen to present “Samson Agonistes: Passion’s Looking-Glass” at the 2015 International Milton Symposium in Exeter, England in July of 2015.

Jana Travis (Chair, Visual and Performing Arts) was in a group show in June at Marshall Arts called: THIS ART HAS COOTIES. Follow the link to read the review in the Memphis Flyer.

The following faculty members were granted tenure or received promotions for the 2014-15 academic year:

Dr. Wendy Ashcroft (Education) has been granted tenure.
Dr. Burt Fulmer (Religion & Philosophy) has been granted tenure.
Dr. Karen Golightly (Literature & Languages) has been granted tenure.
Dr. Clayann Panetta (Literature & Languages) has been promoted to the rank of Professor.
Nick Peña (Visual & Performing Arts) has been promoted to the rank of Associate Professor.

CBU NAACP Chartering Ceremony: Dr. Jeffrey Gross, Faculty Advisor

NAACP GrossTonight, as a faculty advisor for the CBU NAACP Chapter, I have been offered the opportunity to say a few words to mark this important event in CBU’s history. I am honored. The Lasallian Christian Brothers have long had a commitment to educating the poor and underrepresented as a means to bringing about a more just society. On the grounds of this campus, Br. Terence McLaughlin acted against the orders of Church leaders who told him it was too soon to integrate Christian Brothers High School. Defying the wishes of Church leadership, Br. Terence acted in defense of fairness and equality, admitting Jesse Turner as the first African American student on August 16, 1963. Christian Brothers High School became the first high school in Memphis to desegregate. Bishop William L. Adrian chastised Br. Terence for moving too swiftly, writing, “Up to this, we have followed the policy that integration be authorized only when the pastors of Shelby County approved; this included high school integration. Evidently you misunderstood or ignored this.” Br. Terence had not misunderstood the Bishop’s directive; rather, he understood that acting justly required breaking unjust policies.

Today, CBU is one of the most diverse university campuses in the South, but we cannot rely on our past and present. As a university, we must prepare students for future challenges. A college education is an investment in futurity—future careers and earnings but also future civic engagement.

Why do we need a chapter of the NAACP on a college campus in 2014? As someone who teaches about race, culture, and history, I see the difficulty students often have in participating in open discussions about race. For too many students, the topic feels taboo. An NAACP chapter on this campus ensures that students will have the opportunity to discuss and learn about the ways prejudice affects people. Education creates a foundation for advocacy and empowerment. Education is the foundation of justice.

We need the NAACP at CBU because…

We need our students to be future leaders. I hope this chapter includes future legislators, school board members, superintendents, doctors, teachers, professors, mayors, governors, district attorneys, public defenders, and community activists. Memphis hungers for innovative and compassionate solutions to inequality and poverty, to climate change and environmental pollution, to education shortfalls and public health crises, to racial profiling and unequal sentences, and to violent crime and mass incarceration.

Jeff Gross

Dr. Jeffrey Gross

We need citizens who are brave enough to imagine alternatives to the New Jim Crow, to use Michelle Alexander’s term for the caste system created by disproportionate arrests and unfair sentencing. Instead of a school to prison pipeline, we need a school to social mobility pathway. We need leaders who say “no more”—no more Trayvon Martins, Jordan Davises, Eric Garners, or Michael Browns. When CBU students enter to learn and leave to serve, we want them to embody CBU’s Lasallian tradition and the NAACP’s mission, both of which demand that we work toward a society that respects, without prejudice, the rights of all persons.

I believe that a college campus has to be a space where we can be our best possible selves. If we cannot imagine and work toward a more just world here, then we have no hope beyond these grounds. Today’s chartering of the NAACP is both a landmark event in CBU’s history and a continuation of the legacy that began with the Brothers’ arrival in Memphis in 1871 and the NAACP’s formation in 1909.

Tonight, we gather because a group of students saw a need and opportunity on this campus. They understood that the legacies of the NAACP and Christian Brothers University should go hand-in-hand. Thank you Taylor, Sam, Amber, Justin, Jasmine, Rakesha, Darianne, and all the other involved students for making tonight possible. In your hands, we are all assured a better future.

Dr. Jeffrey Gross
Assistant Professor, Literature and Languages

Student Spotlight: Alicia Russell’s Letter from Japan

RusselDear Dr. Broadwell,

I hope all is going well this year! Things are finally picking up here in Nago, Okinawa Japan and I started teaching last week! It feels wonderful to finally be able to put my degrees to work and to help teach English as a second language. I have even been given my own class of seniors to teach for two hours once a week! I expected to be team teaching for the duration of my stay, but I’m getting practice on my own now!


Japan is such a wonderful place. I have agreed to two years so far, but my schools are already talking about me staying the full five years allotted in the JET Program. I wanted to say thank you again for helping me get to this point and to give you and update on how things are here.

Again, thank you for everything!

Alicia Russell, English Education graduate (B.A., 2013; M.A. 2014)


Poet Renee Emerson Visits CBU

10678627_481174708689244_3830371808948835603_nAuthor Renee Emerson read from her poetry collection Keeping Me Still in the Wilson Family Commons in the Living Learning Center on October 7th. Emerson received her M.F.A. from Boston University, where she was awarded the Academy of American Poets Prize in 2009. Previous publications include three chapbooks: Something Like Flight (Sargent Press), The Whitest Sheets (Maverick Duck Press), and Where Nothing Can Grow (Batcat Press). Her poetry has been published in Christianity and LiteratureBoxcar Poetry ReviewI ndiana ReviewRock and Sling32 Poems and others, and she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2010. Emerson teaches creative writing and composition at Shorter University, in Rome, GA.

Faculty News

Dr. Marius Carriere (History & Political Science) kicked off Black History Month activities with a presentation on ”Blacks in Post Civil War Memphis: White Resistance to Reconstruction and the 1866 Riot.” Later that day, Student Life, in conjunction with Student Government Association, Black Student Association, and the National Pan-Hellenic Council fraternities and sororities, sponsored a showing of the Academy Award-nominated 12 Years a Slave at Playhouse on the Square. After the Brother Allen Johnson and Dr. Jeffrey Gross (Literature & Languages) shared their impressions and lead a discussion after the event.

Education Department faculty members participated in the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) conference in Nashville the weekend of March 26th. The faculty attended the conference in preparation for a visit by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) in spring 2015. Topics included accreditation standards, reviewers’ expectations, how to measure candidate effectiveness, and the overall review process.

Dr. Jeff Gross (Literature & Languages) delivered the keynote address at the 11th Annual English Graduate Student Conference at the University of Kentucky on March 28. His address, “Grad School Won’t Kill You: Reflections on the Transition from Ph.D. Program to Assistant Professor,” addressed trends in the humanities and deconstructed both the rhetoric and accuracy of sensationalized “Don’t go to Grad School” polemics.

EmilyDr. Emily A. Holmes (Religion and Philosophy) served on the planning committee of the Fourth Annual Mid-South Farm to Table conference, held on February 4, 2014, at Christian Brothers University, for which she organized three well-attended panels: “Beyond Charity: Faith-Based Food Justice Initiatives”; “Theory and Practice: The Role of Colleges and Universities in Building a Just, Local, and Sustainable Food System”;  and “Good Food for All: Increasing Access to Locally Sourced Foods.”

Additionally, on February 9, 2014, Dr. Holmes gave a public lecture on “Healing the Body and Repairing the World: The Ethics of Eating.” She was invited to speak by the Women of Reform Judaism Temple Israel Sisterhood as part of their event called SPA…ahh! A Spiritual Approach to a Happy & Healthy Life.

Her most recent book, Flesh Made Word: Medieval Women Mystics, Writing, and the Incarnation, was published in November by Baylor University Press. Dr. Shawn Copeland, Professor of Systematic Theology at Boston College, writes, “Flesh Made Word brings medieval mystical writers and post-modern theorists into dialogue in order to demonstrate their relevance for a contemporary feminist theology and a theology of the Incarnation. This is an engaging and elegant work of history and theology.”

Furthermore, Dr. Holmes and Dr. Paul Haught (Dean, School of Arts) have each published an article in a special environmental issue, Living with Consequences, of the Slovenian philosophy journal Poligrafi. Dr. Holmes’ article is entitled “Ecofeminist Christology, Incarnation, and the Spirituality and Ethics of Eating.” Dr. Haught’s essay is entitled, “Place, Narrative, and Virtue.”

CFTK_SAECBU’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and many other amazing CBU students volunteered their day on Saturday, January 25th, to the annual Cheer for the Kids event and helped raise $44,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Mid-South.

Cheer for the Kids is a grassroots non-profit organization founded by Professor Chanda S. Murphy (Behavioral Sciences) and fellow Memphian Ashley Bradford (front right and left respectively) to help raise awareness and money for local child-focused philanthropy organizations. For more information please visit Cheer for the Kids.

Professor Nick Pena‘s works Disruptive Pattern, oil on canvas, 48×48” and Through the Moulin, oil on canvas, 48×48” were selected, by Curator Ian Lemmonds, for an exhibition at Crosstown Arts Gallery titled Inspired Resistance. The exhibition focused on highlighting artists who have resisted failure by continuing to hone their craft. The exhibition featured 7 artists and more than 50 works of art. The exhibition opened on Monday, the 11th of February and closed on Saturday the 1st of March. Further information including a review of the exhibition and video introduction by the curator, Ian Lemmonds, can be found at the Memphis Flyer.


Through the Moulin

Professor Peña was also one of eight finalists for the third annual Emmett O’Ryan Award for Artistic Inspiration, an award organized by ArtsMemphis. This was the first year the competition was open to faculty and students at local college and universities. Peña’s recent work in his What Lies Beneath series has exhibited at the Eggman &  Walrus gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico and at Lyon College’s Kresge Gallery in Batesville, Arkansas. Paintings from this series will be highlighted in a solo exhibition entitled Processing the Ideal at the Dixon Gallery and Gardens from July 13th to October 5th. The exhibition will be sponsored by Suzanne and Nelly Mallory and Charles Wurtzburger with an opening reception on Thursday, July 17th in the Mallory and Wurtzburger Gallery from 6-8pm.

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Professor Pena (front row, first from left) with the other nominees.

Dr. Brendan M. Prawdzik’s (Literature and Languages) article “Theater of Vegetable Love and the Occult Fall in Paradise Lost,” has been accepted for publication in One First Matter All: New Essays on Milton, Materialism, and Embodiment by Duquesne University Press, Pittsburgh, PA (publication date TBA).

He recently delivered his paper, “‘Eyes and Tears’: Spiritual Phenomenology and Marvell’s Religion,” at Exploring the Renaissance: An International Conference, a meeting of the Marvell Society of America in Tuscon, AZ, April 3-5, 2014. At the conference Dr. Prawdzik was nominated for and elected to the Executive Committee of the Marvell Society, an international group of scholars — some the most renowned in the field — who work on the poet Andrew Marvell.

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Dr. Prawdzik (back row, fifth from right) with members of the Marvell Society, including scholars from the U.S., Canada, England, and the Netherlands.

The following School of Arts faculty members have been promoted effective the 2014-2015 academic year:

Clayann G. Panetta, Ph.D. to Professor of Literature and Languages                   Nicholas Pena, M.F.A. to Associate Professor of Visual and Performing Arts            Conrad J. Brombach, Ed.D. to Professor of Behavioral Sciences


Castings Journal

Eleven creative writing students attended the Southern Literary Festival and Oxford Conference for the Book this past March, where they participated in master classes on screenplay writing, dramatic writing, poetry, prose, and creative nonfiction as well as publishing. Castings 2013, edited by alums Paulena Passmore, Jennifer Sharp, and Danielle Morris received an honorable mention in the Print Literary Journal category of the literary competition.

Castings is the literary journal that publishes the poetry, prose, fine art and photography of our students. It’s an opportunity for students to showcase their talent and represent the creativity within the CBU community. It is put together every Spring semester by two student editors and overseen by Dr. Karen Golightly in the School of Arts. To help promote the journal and motivate students, submissions are entered into a contest where the winning students in each category win a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place monetary prize.

2014 Winners of Castings Art and Literary Competition:

Fine Art: Johnnie Sue Huddleston — Mike at Moe’s
Photography: A Gift of Nature — Alvin Siow
Poetry: 3:28 am — Claire Rutland
Prose: Eight Weeks to the Sea — Jessica Love

Fine Art
2nd and 3rd place: Johnnie Sue Huddlestone

2nd and 3rd place: Alvin Siow

A Gift of Nature 2

“A Gift of Nature” Alvin Siow



2nd place: Nathanial Celenski
3rd place: Jessica Love

2nd place: Janara Harris
3rd place: Larshay Watson

Past Events

New York City based poet Ekere Tallie read her work and answered student questions during an intimate poetry workshop in Kenrick Hall this past October 22nd.

2013-10-22 13.40.33

The recipient of a 2010 Queens Council on the Arts grant for her research on herbalists of the African Diaspora working in urban and non-traditional settings, her writing has been published in numerous literary journals and anthologies including Crab Orchard Review, BOMB, Paris/Atlantic, Go, Tell Michelle (SUNY), Listen Up! (One World Ballantine) and Revenge and Forgiveness (Henry Holt). She has appeared on Dutch television and her work has been the subject of the short film “I Leave My Colors Everywhere.”

Her first collection of poetry, Karma’s Footsteps, was released by Flipped Eye Publishing in September of 2011. She currently teaches at York College. For more info please visit her website.

Note From A Loving Wife2013-10-22 12.42.28

The dishes all want to break,
My Love
one by one
they wriggle from my hands
shattering in unsorry pieces

Leave him cries
the cracked bowl
You are too much whispers
a shard of plate
Too good jagged mouth
of glass to be here

your very own dishes,
betrayed you, My Love
spoons beat your secrets
‘till they bent in fatigue

so when you come home
with her scent in your hair
and you walk from room
to room finding no sign
of me, keep your shoes on

particularly in the kitchen,
my freedom might get
stuck in your feet

Tiny Circus Comes to Town

tiny circusTiny Circus, a community based collaborative art group, was on campus conducting a workshop during the week of Oct. 21st – 24th, with the Visual and Performing Arts Dept. Visual and Performing Arts students worked with the group to create a stop-motion animation documenting the retellings of ghost stories, spooky tales, hauntings, and supernatural events attached to Kenrick Hall – CBU’s oldest building on campus.