A Word from the Chair

Table of Contents

Fall/ Winter 03


A Word From the Chair, by Richard E. Miller

You are probably wondering just who the Friends of Rutgers English are. This question has been very much in the air this semester.

Visiting alumni, on campus this fall to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Graduate School, wondered this as they stood before the remarkable poster the Friends of Rutgers English designed to showcase the Department's accomplishments.

Faculty have also been asking questions about this group: Who interviewed Alicia Ostriker and Paule Marshall, the featured authors in this fall's Writers at Rutgers series, and helped promote these public readings? Who created the bibliography of books and the online slideshow of book covers by Rutgers English alumni that is now available on the Department's website?

And as I've described my plans for this newsletter to others - the interviews with the Department's newest faculty members, the articles on the Howard Fellowships and on the history of English at Rutgers, the lists of awards and publications and other successes - another version of this question inevitably arises: just who are these extraordinarily talented and gifted Friends of Rutgers English, these amateur graphic designers, writers, photographers, publicists, researchers, scholars in the making?

When I moved into the Chair's Office this summer, I knew that I would need help with the newsletter that Cheryl Wall, my immediate predecessor, had launched. So I contacted the Writing Program's Michael Goeller, director of the undergraduate Writing Internship program. I was hoping that Michael would find me one or two undergraduates interested in helping me reach out to the many different communities and constituencies who make up Rutgers English. Michael and I were both unprepared for and overwhelmed by the response we received: instead of one or two students, we found ourselves faced with dozens of applications. I set up interviews and asked each applicant why he or she wanted to join this project. What I heard amazed me: stories about the power of a given teacher, about a given reading, about a given lesson; stories about wanting to give back.

And so, instead of one or two interns, I found myself with seven. And these interns, under the inspired guidance of the newsletter's editor Vic Tulli, have produced what you have before you now: a record of what is going on in and around the Department and a sign of just what is possible when a thriving community begins to tap its own resources.

The next issue of the Friends of Rutgers English newsletter will come out in the spring. We welcome any and all suggestions and look forward to hearing from you.

Richard E. Miller

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