The concept of literary citizenship has been coming up in English circles lately. Cathy Day, a leader on the subject, teaches a class on it at neighboring Ball State. Donna Steiner wrote an energizing piece for Hippocampus Magazine on what literary citizenship means in both theoretical and practical terms. Here at Taylor, the English department has been working to build a deeper sense of literary community, to develop opportunities for readers and writers who will always spend much of their time working in solitude. Now there are more ways than ever to engage in literary citizenship here–to, as Steiner says, “…find ways of participating in the network of readers, writers, publishers, literary journals, libraries, and booksellers” and “…seek a balance between what you want out of the literary world and what you can contribute to [it].”
Here’s a list of ideas for 2014-15. Some are general; some are related to the relationship between art and faith that is so important to many of us; and some reference our campus and department very specifically.
- Come to Tuesdays@2, an informal time to share new work or read a passage from a favorite book. Invite friends. (Note: the 2014-15 meeting may not happen at 2:00…or even on Tuesdays. Stay tuned.)
- Plan to attend the English Major picnic in the fall. It happens every year in late September. Look for a notice right here on the blog.
- Plan to attend the second annual Tri-Campus Writers Retreat (Sept 12-14), a weekend retreat hosted by the Taylor English department which combines creative writing students and faculty from Indiana Wesleyan, Anderson, and Taylor Universities, at the John XXIII Retreat Center in Hartford City (creative writing majors get priority, as space is limited).
- Prepare your best work (creative or scholarly) to submit to the 2015 Making Literature Conference, an undergraduate conference that also features four nationally recognized keynote speakers and a new Saturday exhibitor’s hall, which will include magazines and journals, literary organizations, publishers, and a book sale.
- Ask how you can help during Making Lit 2015. Invite friends from other colleges; read the work of our guests ahead of time; buy their books.
- Prepare your best work to submit to Parnassus 2015. Work at Parnassus by taking ENG 300. Come to the Parnassus release party in the spring.
- Read and discuss the work in Parnassus 2014. Free copies are always available in Reade Center 210; give one to a friend.
- Research, read, and submit to journals that consider undergraduate work. Let us know if something is accepted.
- Ask about submitting to and attending area undergraduate conferences. Our majors have recently presented, for example, at Cedarville’s conference sponsored by Alpha Kappa Delta, a chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honor Society.
- Read our department blog, comment on posts of interest to you, and promote it on social media. Check out the variety of links on the right sidebar.
- Support Taylor English alumni who have recently published work, and expect our support as you begin publishing.
- Blog about the books you’re reading, what you’re writing, or your journey of art and faith. Read literary blogs, including your peers’, and comment on them.
- Follow us on Twitter at TaylorU_English. Tweet at us, RT us, and ask friends to follow. The literary conversation is better when it includes more voices.
- Post, respond to posts, and discuss at our open Facebook group.
- Apply to work as a tutor at the Writing Center, helping peers learn and grow as writers and getting better yourself. To teach is to learn.
- Read the excellent selection of national literary periodicals that our library subscribes to. If you find one you like, tell Dan Bowell, our University Librarian, that you appreciated it.
- Read content from art and faith publications online, such as:
- Come to the English dept and grab a free copy Books & Culture every other month; we always have extras and they are for you. Let us know which scholarly articles or creative works you enjoyed, and how they relate to your own work.
- Get some friends together and make a road trip to a great bookstore. Check out Indy Reads Books (Indianapolis), Hyde Brothers Booksellers (Fort Wayne), The Unorganized Bookstore (Marion), or White Rabbit Books (Muncie).
- Ask about a summer internship at a journal or literary organization.
- Attend a weekend workshop at the Indiana Writers Center; consider becoming a member at the student rate.
- Check out the schedules and plan to attend one of the literary events at other Indiana universities, including:
What have we forgotten? Leave a comment.