LSU English is home to world-renowned faculty, innovative course offerings, and talented students. At the heart of our work is an attention to verbal communication in spoken and written form – what humans do with language, how we do it, why we do it, and to what effects. Through the study of literature, linguistics, rhetoric, film, theory, and the craft of writing in a variety of genres and forms, we challenge students to ask questions of texts, to read beyond literal meanings, to understand how context and text interact, and to create compelling texts of their own. The value of an English degree is that the person who can write with elegance and precision, and who has the skills to interpret and analyze texts, is needed – and valued - in every area of work and life.
Go to Undergraduate and Graduate Course Descriptions to see examples of what our Department has to offer and browse “About Us” to learn about our faculty, graduate students, publications, events, and more.
Professor Sue Weinstein
Chair, Department of English
Assistant Professor Maurice Ruffin on Cover of Publishers Weekly
Assistant Professor Maurice Ruffin is interviewed in the November 13 issue of Publishers Weekly, where he discusses his forthcoming novel, The American Daughters (One World/Random House). The book has a starred review in the same issue, which reads, in part, "Ruffin’s dignified prose and focus on the bonds of women of color help elevate the novel from the tropes of slavery narratives, and he paints a vibrant picture of antebellum New Orleans. Readers won’t be able to resist this stirring story of freedom by any means necessary."
Dr. Ruffin says, "I remember picking up a copy of Publishers Weekly back in the day and thinking, "this is what an author looks like." Well, here's the latest cover of the legendary magazine that's been around since the 1850s. I'm definitely the first son of Cassandra Ruffin to appear on the cover. PW loves my new book, and I'm officially on cloud nine."
The full review is available here. The American Daughters will be released in February 2024 and is currently available for pre-order.
English Department News
Dr. Sue Weinstein and Rachel Howatt were guests on WWNO/WRKF show "Louisiana Considered" on Tuesday. October 24, 2023. They discussed the College of Humanities and Social Sciences new AI-engaged classes initiative and how this will be used for writing in the classroom. The segment starts at about 4 minutes on this link.
In 2021, the SEC provosts established an emerging scholars program to help current doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers prepare to be future members of the faculty through professional development and networking. Seohye Kwon, PhD doctoral student in the Department of English, is one of five that have been selected as LSU's SEC Emerging Scholars for 2023-2024.
Congratulations to Dr. Benjamin Kahan! Dr. Kahan has been named the Huey McElveen Professor of English in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Dr. Kahan was selected by a committee of faculty from within and beyond the English Department and is most deserving of this honor.
Congratulations to Dr. Chris Rovee! Dr. Rovee has been named the new Robert Penn Warren Distinguished Professor English. There were several nominations and the decision was not an easy one for the committee, but Dr. Rovee's accomplishments are many and this honor is well-deserved!
Ian Lockaby (Postdoc, 2022) has two forthcoming chapbooks. Ian won the Omnidawn Chapbook Contest for his manuscript, Defensible Space? If A Crow. The chapbook will be published by Omnidawn Publishing in Fall 2024. His other chapbook, A Seam of Electricity, will be published by Ghost Proposal.
Ariel Francisco published work in BOMB Magazine, SEPIA Journal, North American Review, Latino Book Review, The Islandia Journal, The Massachusetts Review, and Bear Review. Ariel was invited to read for the Be Well Reading Series to celebrate Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month with ELJ Editions and Redacted Books. He will also be reading at the British Virgin Islands Literary Festival this November. Last but not least, Ariel recently signed a contract for his next poetry collection, All the Places We Love Have Been Left in Ruins, with Burrow Press set to be published in fall 2024.
Maurice Ruffin (Assistant Professor) attended a month-long Black Rock Senegal residency in Dakar. This residency program was founded by Kehinde Wiley, the artist most famous for painting Barack Obama’s presidential portrait. Maurice was one of 15 artists-in-residence selected for 2023-24. In separate news, Maurice’s The Ones Who Don’t Say They Love You has been selected by the Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana as one of two books by Louisiana authors to represent the state at the 2023 National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. His collection will be part of the Library of Congress’s Center for the Book’s Roadmap to Reading at the National Book Festival (The Advocate, July 7). Last but not least, Maurice will receive the Louisiana Writer Award at the end of October. You can listen to an interview with Maurice from July.
Michael Bibler and Maurice Ruffin were both interviewed for a short documentary produced in France about John Kennedy Toole's novel Confederacy of Dunces. The title is "À La Nouvelle-Orléans, La Conjuration Heureuse des Imbéciles" (the section from about 2:30-16:45).
David An (MFA 2023, 2023-24 Postdoc) won the Sarabande Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction with his thesis collection which he just defended last May! God-disease is a collection of five short stories that explores liminality as a mode of existence. The prize includes a $2,000 cash award, publication of the winning manuscript, and a standard royalty contract. David publishes under the name an chang joon.
Alison Grifa Ismaili (Senior Instructor)’s character sketch titled “François the Algerian” has received an Honorable Mention in Craft magazine's Character Sketch Challenge. Her flash fiction story titled "Twitter What? Twitter Who?" has won the George Dila Memorial Flash Fiction Contest at 3rd Wednesday literary journal and is scheduled for publication in the fall issue.
Casey O'Banion (Instructor) published his debut novel “Chinese New Year" based in Baton Rouge through TBP Press. It was reviewed in Kirkus Magazine, and the audiobook is coming out soon. Casey had a book reading this September at Blue Cypress Books in New Orleans.
Henry Goldkamp (Instructor) had several poetry publications in the most recent issues of Indiana Review (two poems), VOLT (three poems), Mid-American Review (one poem), Accelerants (Action Books Poetry Film Feature; two poetry videos), and DIAGRAM (two poems, with Adele Elise Williams).
Irina Shport (Associate Professor) published a first-authored article on regional and individual variation in production of American English diphthongs in the Proceedings of the 20th International Congress of Phonetics Sciences. The paper was presented last August.
Graduate Student Accomplishments
Erin Little published work in Olney Magazine and Crab Creek Review. Erin was also announced as the 2023 Poetry Chapbook winner by Chestnut Review for chapbook, Personal Injury. Her debut chapbook, described as "crucial, painful, and innermost," will be available later this year. An interview with Erin discussing writing about and into trauma was published in Chestnut Review in October.
Taylor Thompson (M.A. 2023) started this Fall as a Visiting Lecturer of English with Specialization in Rhetoric, Writing, and Digital Media Studies at Northern Arizona University while completing her PhD at LSU.
Seohye Kwon (Ph.D. candidate) was selected as one of the LSU representatives of the 2023 SEC Emerging Scholars program. She will receive an increase in her graduate assistantship stipend for one year and join students from across the SEC at the University of Arkansas this October for the multi-day 2023 SEC Emerging Scholars Program and Career Preparation Workshop. Seohye also published a book review of Judgment and Mercy by Martin J. Siegel titled "Irving Robert Kaufman's American Dream.” She has received a Korean Honor Scholarship from the Korean government, an award given to outstanding students of Korean heritage to encourage high achievement of academic performance and the development of leadership qualities for their future professional careers.
Nuha Fariha (MFA candidate) published her first poetry collection, God Mornings Tiger Nights, with Game Over Books in August 2023. This collection is “an ode to the enduring spirit of the Bengal tiger and a love letter to an immigrant's journey.”
Sunny Rosen (MFA candidate) received a Best of the Net nomination for a poem published with Taco Bell Quarterly. She published a book review with Current Magazine on Alba de Céspedes’s 1952 novel Forbidden Notebook. Sunny was also received a scholarship in the summer to attend the Convivio Writer’s Conference in Umbria, Italy.
Tyler Sheldon (MFA candidate) published three poems in Slant, Last Stanza Poetry Journal, and The Write Bridge Zine. He gave two readings of his poetry in Lafayette and Grand Coteau, Louisiana.
Azharuddin (PhD candidate) presented a paper titled “Towards a Flawed Model'--Negative Judgment and the Work of Art in the Age of Digital Reproduction” at the Troubling Universalisms: Politics and Aesthetics in Critical Theory symposium (University of Amsterdam, June 2023). He was awarded a travel grant to present this symposium paper.
How the New LSU Mystery Project Collaborative is Drawing a Crowd
While people’s fascination with mystery drives research and the human quest for knowledge, few researchers study mystery itself as a shared thread across academic disciplines. Enter Michelle Zerba and Chris Barrett, both professors in the LSU Department of English. They’re spearheading LSU’s Mystery Project Collaborative with $10,000 in support from the LSU Provost Fund for Innovation in Research.
From mystery cults in the Mediterranean Bronze Age, to cognitive neuroscience and
artificial intelligence, the Mystery Project Collaborative seeks to explore, from
multidisciplinary perspectives, how mystery motivates humans into action and discovery.
More than 100 LSU faculty, staff and students from across the university are already
actively participating in the project.