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Visiting Writers & Artists
Benedictine University at Springfield

AY 2013-2014

js Tom Montgomery Fate

Tom Montgomery Fate is the author of five books of nonfiction, including Beyond the White Noise (1997), a collection of essays; Steady and Trembling (2005), a spiritual memoir; and Cabin Fever (2011), a nature memoir. His essays have appeared in The Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe, The Baltimore Sun, Orion, Iowa Review, Fourth Genre, Riverteeth, Sojourners, Christian Century, and many other journals and anthologies, and they regularly air on National Public Radio and Chicago Public Radio. A graduate of the Nonfiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa and of Chicago Theological Seminary, he is currently a professor of English at College of DuPage. He and his wife, Carol, have three children.

AY 2012-2013

js Valerie Jean Johnson

Valerie Jean Johnson is the Managing Editor of Poetry Magazine. A Chicago-based writer and director, her most recent stage work was 2011’s “All Your Paths in a Single Pocket,” a collaborative performance inspired by and sourced from Anna Kamienska’s “Notebooks” as translated by Clare Cavanagh . She is the recipient of the 2002 KC/ACTF National 10-minute Play Award and the Dad’s Garage Theatre’s 8½ x 11 Playwrighting Residency. A graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, she was a contributing performance writer with New City from 2006-2011, served as a production intern at Richard Foreman's Ontological-Hysteric Theatre in NYC, and has trained with Goat Island, SITI Company, Chicago Dramatists, and Perishable Theatre.

js Jason Lee Brown

Jason Lee Brown teaches writing at Eastern Illinois University and is a contributing editor to River Styx. He has received awards from the Illinois Arts Council, Academy of American Poets, and the Illinois Press Association.

js Allison Joseph

Allison Joseph is the author of What Keeps Us Here (Ampersand, 1992), Soul Train (Carnegie Mellon, 1997), In Every Seam (Pittsburgh, 1997), Imitation of Life (Carnegie Mellon, 2003) and Worldy Pleasures (Word Press, 2004). Honors include the John C. Zacharis First Book Prize, fellowships from the Bread Loaf and Sewanee Writers Conferences, and an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Poetry. She is editor Crab Orchard Review and director of the Young Writers Workshop, an annual summer residential creative writing workshop for high school writers. She holds the Judge Williams Holmes Cook Endowed Professorship and is director of the MFA rogram in Creative Writing at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

js Jon Tribble

Jon Tribble is the editor of Crab Orchard Review and the series editor of the Crab Orchard Review Series in Poetry published by Southern Illinois University Press. He is the recipient of a 2003 Artist Fellowship Award in Poetry from the Illinois Arts Council, and his poems have appeared in journals and anthologies, including Ploughshares, Poetry, Crazyhorse, Quarterly West, and The Jazz Poetry Anthology. His works was selected as the 2001 winner of the Campbell Corner Poetry Prize from Sarah lawrence College. He teaches creative writing and literature and directs undergraduate and graduate students in internships and independent studies in editing and literary publishing for the Department of English at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

js Colette

Born in Tunisia, Colette grew up in France before moving to America to begin her art career in New York City. Art critics have credited Colette’s innovative street performances in the 1970s with bringing public attention to the avant-garde art form. Additionally, Colette’s multimedia installations in Manhattan, Berlin, and Rome conveyed decisive attention to the genre. Colette has been widely recognized for her influence on Pop culture, including manifestations in the personas of Madonna and Lady Gaga. Colette’s work has taken on many themes, from mythological archetypes to dramatic fantasies to celebrations of the feminine and the divine. She is well known for the elaborate fabric environments she creates, and her installation in the Brinkerhoff Mansion on the Benedictine campus included live models and a transformative tribute to Laboratoire Lumiere.

AY 2011-2012

js Jodee Stanley

Quiddity is delighted to welcome Jodee Stanley as the featured presenter for Quiddity’s first-ever Midwestern Gothic Costume Ball.  From Sherwood Anderson to contemporary writers such as Dan Chaon, Cathy Day, Mary Grimm, and Michael Czyniejewski, Midwestern authors have explored the darkness that lies beneath the placid exterior of an often dismissed part of America.   Stanley will discuss how the prairie landscape and traditionally Midwestern character traits, including politeness, stoicism, and a wariness of the unknown, combine with traditional Gothic literary elements such as psychological horror and the grotesque to create a rarely-discussed subgenre of fiction, Midwest Gothic. 

Editor of Ninth Letter, the award-winning literary/arts journal at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Stanley’s fiction, nonfiction, and book reviews have appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Cincinnati Review, Mississippi Review, 580 Split, Hobart, Future Fire, The Smoking Poet, and several other publications. She is currently co-editing an anthology of Midwest Gothic fiction with fellow weird-tales fanatic Brian Kornell.

Guest Blogger

doetsch photo Joshua Doetsch

Quiddity guest blogger, scrivnomancer, and magician Joshua Alan Doetsch presently resides in Montreal, where he writes for a video gaming company.  Previous addresses have included a gate in Norway and a house of magic in northern Illinois.  (We know about the gate because that’s where we used to mail his subscription to Quiddity, and amid the bustling involvedness of mail-sorting and -prep, we took pleasure in the simplicity of his address: Doetsch, Gate, Oslo.)  We pictured him perched there, his beloved black fedora and coat-flaps a raven’s crest and wings. 

Even without a gate for an address, it’s difficult to picture Doetsch any other way.  This is a man to whom sugar gliders flock and zombie geese conjure.  (We would not believe this about him either had we not seen it ourselves.)  Amid all of this, he still writes fiction: his novel, Strangeness in the Proportion (forthcoming), won the White Wolf Novel Contest, and his short fiction has been anthologized and Pushcart-nominated.

His thoughts and scrivnomancing neither belong to Quiddity, nor are they refuted or endorsed by us.  They are our guests, and we are happy to house them here, in all their quip and quiddity

AY 2010-2011

Emma Bartholomew

Born in London, Emma Bartholomew earned a MSc in Creative Writing at the University of Edinburgh where she will return to work on her PhD, focusing on poetry and cartography. Her work has been published in various literary magazines in the UK and the USA, and her first chapbook is forthcoming from Forest Publications (2011). Bartholomew’s poetry explores themes of travel and landscape as well as philosophical perceptions of intimacy and “the metaphysics of the everyday.” Recently, her writing has centered on questions of place and the complications it can incur: a broken landscape, troublesome journeys, or a juxtaposition of history and presence. Her latest work examines poetry’s link with cartography.

Of her study, Bartholomew writes, “My research [includes] academic support from philosophy (Husserl’s concept of Lebenswelt, or “life-world,” may prove to be a very interesting link to explain how we structure perceptions of our worlds, which is relevant to structuring poetry and identifying place) to geography (comparing the topography of a map to the type and blank spaces in a poem). Maps and poems [each] create worlds. I aim to draw a connection between them to show the two creative acts as equivalent to each other, despite using different mediums.”

When she is not writing, Bartholomew teaches poetry to adolescents and young adults and accrues extensive late fees from a plethora of libraries.

Mylène Dressler

Born in The Hague, Mylène Dressler began her literary studies after a career as a professional ballet dancer. Her novel, The Medusa Tree, was praised as “haunting” and “splendid” by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Olen Butler, and she soon followed it with The Deadwood Beetle, named by the Christian Science Monitor as one of its Best Books of 2001; then in 2004 came The Floodmakers, her comic hybrid of play and novel. Having traveled widely, Dressler’s novels and stories have been translated into French, Dutch and Turkish. She has been a faculty member or a visiting writer at the University of Texas at Austin, the National Autonomous University of Chiapas, the University of Groningen, Rice University, and the University of St. Thomas, among others. Honors and awards include the Fulbright Fellowship, the Paisano Fellowship in Fiction, and the Fellowship in Writing from the McCullers Center in Columbus, Georgia. She makes her home in Texas and in the canyon country of southern Utah, where she lives with her traveling companions, her husband and two border collies.

metcalf Allan Metcalf

Having earned his PhD in English from UC Berkeley, Linguist Allan Metcalf is a popular writer and humorist surrounding the English language, having as much fun employing the American dialect in his works as he does studying it. Metcalf’s most recent book, OK: The Improbable Story of America’s Greatest Word (Oxford University, 2010), is featured in episode 4-4. OK explores the evolution of the term OK, which began life as a joke, became popularized as a fad, and then withstood the whims of trend to become both ubiquitous and highly influential.

In addition to his most recent publication, Metcalf’s expertise in the study of language has resulted in the following titles, each published by Houghton Mifflin: Presidential Voices: Speaking Styles from George Washington to George W. Bush (2004), Predicting New Words: The Secrets of Their Success (2002), How We Talk: American Regional English Today (2000), The World in So Many Words (1999), and America in So Many Words: Words That Have Shaped America (1997). He has consulted for numerous dictionaries and served as an executive board member for the American Dialect Society. A professor of English at MacMurray College, he is also the Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs.  

Osterhuber Self-Portrait Magda Osterhuber

Croatian painter Magda Osterhuber grew up in Dolnja Dubrava, from which her family had to flee after being blacklisted during the guerilla war raging between the Croatian Army and the Partisans in the 1940s. Narrowly escaping Tito’s Massacre at Bleiburg, Slovenia, she fled to the United States, where she traveled by train from New Orleans to Springfield, eventually becoming a graduate of the former Springfield Junior College under the tutelage of Mother Alphonse. Of her mentor, Oterhuber writes, “[S]he became for me one of those unforgettable teachers who recognize you and teach with the kind of deep insight into their subject that illuminates life itself.” Osterhuber went on to earn her MFA in painting from the University of Iowa, and her thesis, The Onus of Existence, was hand-printed by Doyle Moore (The Finial Press, 1960). She has exhibited in numerous places and continues to paint; she also writes poetry. Of her work, Osterhuber writes, “My creative work is a kind of remembering, and at the same time, an attention to what is.”

David Bertaina

An assistant professor of comparative religion, poet and translator David Bertaina earned his doctorate in Semitic languages and literatures from The Catholic University of America. He taught at California State University before joining the faculty at the University of Illinois. His areas of interest include the intellectual, social and religious history of the late antique and medieval Middle East. Bertaina is specifically interested in medieval encounters between Muslims and Christians, especially in Arabic and Syriac dialogue literature and how these texts framed the construction of identity during the Umayyad and Abbasid Empires. In addition to his poetry, he has published articles and book chapters and is presently preparing a manuscript for a book titled Christian and Muslim Dialogues: Identity and Religious Encounter from the Qur’an to the Abbasid Period.

Tracy Zeman

Tracy Zeman is a poet from the Midwest, and her most recent work explores that terrain. She’s interested in how the human environment mingles with the natural environment and how those two worlds coalesce. Tracy earned her BA from DePaul University and her MFA from George Mason University in Virginia. Presently, she works for Girls on the Run of Central Illinois, a nonprofit prevention program for preteen girls. She also teaches writing and interdisciplinary research at University of Illinois. Her work has appeared in a number of literary journals and in the spring of 2011, she will be a resident at the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology on the northwest coast of Oregon.

AY 2009-2010

A.D. Carson

Novelist, essayist, hip-hop artist, and poet A.D. Carson earned a BA in education and creative writing from Millikin University and an MA in English from the University of Illinois. A recipient of the Grace Patton Conant Award for Literary Creation, he presently works as an educator. His latest work, Cold, is a multimedia novel that stems from his passion for and interest in blended media, a topic about which Carson frequently presents and also conducts workshops. Cold is forthcoming from Mayhaven.

Carson was recently tapped to contribute a chapter in the academic text Jay-Z: Essays on Hop Hop’s Philosopher King.  Edited by Julius Bailey and Cornel West, the book examines Jay-Z through the lens of culture studies addressing such topics as socially responsible hip-hop and upward mobility in the African-American community. After his initial visit to campus, Carson was recruited as Quiddity’s 2010-2011 Writer-in-Residence and will continue in that position for the 2011-2012 academic year, teaching courses in blended media and the poetics of hip-hop.

His interview appears in Q 3.1; the author and artist was also featured on Quiddity's public-radio program.

Janice N. Harrington

Janice N. Harrington's first book of poetry, Even the Hollow My Body Made is Gone (2007), won the A. Poulin Jr. Poetry Prize from BOA Editions and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. She is also the winner of a 2007 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship for Poetry and a 2009 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award for emerging women writers. Her children's books, The Chicken Chasing Queen of Lamar County (2007) and Going North (2004), both from Farrar, Straus and Giroux, have won many awards and citations, including a listing among TIME Magazine's top 10 children's books of 2007 and the Ezra Jack Keats Award from the New York Public Library in 2005.

Harrington grew up in Alabama and Nebraska, and both those settings, especially rural Alabama, figure largely in her writing. Her poetry appears regularly in American literary magazines. Presently a creative-writing teacher, she has worked as a public librarian and as a professional storyteller, telling stories at festivals around the country, including the National Storytelling Festival. (janiceharrington.com)

Jeannie Zeck

Jeannie Zeck is an Associate Professor of English at MacMurray College, specializing in African American literature, women’s literature, and theater. She has conducted extensive research on August Wilson’s Decalogue, and as a result, MacMurray became the first college in the nation to offer a course on Wilson’s ten-play cycle. “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants” discusses the influence of visual artist Romare Bearden’s collages of African American life on August Wilson’s award-winning drama.

Wesley McNeese

Wesley McNeese is a physician, minister, and poet whose most recent book of nonfiction, Can We Do That?, addresses questions about sex and sexuality from both a clinical and biblical perspective. McNeese is the executive assistant to the dean for diversity at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and president of the Ministerial Alliance of Springfield and Vicinity. He completed his residency at Northwestern University School of Medicine in 1990, and he earned his medical degree from Southern Illinois University in 1986. He became a paramedic with the US Air Force in the late 1970s after serving in Vietnam (1968-69). Born and raised in East St. Louis, McNeese’s accomplishments are acknowledged in Eugene Redmond’s anthologized poem “We’re Tight, Soul-Tight—Like Lincolnites,” along with other esteemed natives of East St. Louis—including Miles Davis, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and Barbara Ann Teer.

rneginsky Rosina Neginsky

Born in St. Petersburg and educated in Paris, Rosina Neginsky is an associate professor of European literature at the University of Illinois. Her works include Zinaida Vengerova: In Search of Beauty—A Literary Ambassador between East and West (Peter Lang, first ed. 2004, second ed. 2006), and three books of poetry: Juggler (University Press of the South, 2009), Under the Light of the Moon (Slovo-Word Publishing House, 2002), and Pliaski nad obryvom: stikhotvoreniia (Effect Publishing, 1999). She has published numerous articles on European writers and poets.

AY 2008-2009

braver Adam Braver

Adam Braver is the author of Mr. Lincoln’s Wars (HarperCollins, 2003), Divine Sarah (HarperCollins, 2004), Crows Over the Wheatfield (HarperCollins, 2006), and November 22, 1963 (Tin House, 2008). He holds an MFA from Goddard College and teaches creative writing at Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island, and at the New York State Summer Writers Institute.

“[Adam] Braver is a terrific writer, an observer of the most acute details; throughout [November 22, 1963], he traces the subtle interactions of his characters as they collide and move apart. . . . Braver stays away from much of the principal action [of Kennedy’s assassination], focusing on the edges, the periphery. . . . It's a risky choice, but it pays off because, 45 years later, the only way to see this story afresh may be to observe it on purely human terms.” —David L. Ulin, book editor of the Los Angeles Times

Adam Braver writes “with a careful eye on Lincoln scholarship, beginning each story with a Lincoln quotation, while simultaneously breaking many of the rules of traditional story-telling. For starters, it is hard to pin down the precise genre of his daring and fascinating first book, Mr. Lincoln's Wars.” —Dan Guillory, for Illinois Heritage (23)

His fiction and an interview appear in Q 1.2; the author was also featured on Quiddity's public-radio program.

Dan Guillory

Dan Guillory, a PhD in American literature from Tulane University, was appointed Professor Emeritus of English at Millikin University in 2004. His post-doctoral studies were at Amherst College, City University of New York, University of Chicago, Sheffield University (England), University of Minnesota. Awards and fellowships include a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship; the National Endowment for the Humanities, a National Humanities Institute Fellowship, and a Fulbright Senior Lecturer Award (Gabon, Africa). A native of New Orleans, Guillory is an essayist and poet with eight books, including, most recently, The Lincoln Poems (Mayhaven, 2008) and People and Places in the Land of Lincoln (Mayhaven, forthcoming).

An interview with the writer was featured on Quiddity's public-radio program.

John Knoepfle

John Knoepfle is the author of over a dozen books and the editor of many more. His recent books include prayer against famine and other irish poems (BkMk Press, University of Missouri-Kansas City, 2003) and I Look Around for My Life (Burning Daylight, 2008). He is Professor Emeritus of Literature at the University of Illinois Springfield campus. His awards include fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as the Mark Twain Award for Contributions to Midwestern Literature from the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature, Author of the Year from the Illinois Association of Teachers of English, and the Illinois Literary Heritage Award from the Illinois Center for the Book.

ramos Sacha Newley

Based in New York and Lyme Regis, Sacha Newley's works are a part of the permanent collection at The National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC at the Smithsonian, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and the Lincoln College Museum in Lincoln, Illinois. Newley wirtes, "I amnot interested [painting's] conceptual possibilities. I have noe guiding idea, but move from painting to painting by inner necessity, experiencing each as a scene in anfolding narrative whose ultimate end is unknown to me.

His artwork is featured in Q 2.1.

ramos Peter Ramos

Pushcart-Prize nominee Peter Ramos’s most recent book of poetry is Please Do Not Feed the Ghost. His other collections of poetry include Watching Late-Night Hitchcock & Other Poems and the award-winning Short Waves. His poetry has also appeared in many journals, including Indiana Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Verse, The Chattahoochee Review, and Poet Lore.

Ramos holds a Ph.D. in English from the State University of New York at Buffalo, as well as an M.F.A. in creative writing from George Mason University. He is an Assistant Professor of English at Buffalo State in New York, where he teaches nineteenth- and twentieth-century American literature within a cross-cultural context. His scholarly work centers on contemporary criticism in early to Modern American writing; scholarly publications include Mandorla, Verse, The Oxford American, Lagniappe, and Rust Talks.

“Peter Ramos conducts a kind of brilliant looking-back, at once both fierce and tender. . . . Several of the poems have the charged quality of still-lifes suddenly zapped back to life, to action. . . . Ramos shows intelligent restraint when handling nostalgic material, rendering these poems larger than just his life, which enables them to touch, inform and enter ours. Yet this restraint in way inhibits the passion of this visually and aurally pleasing work . . .” —Kathleen Lynch, author of Hinge (2006), winner of the Black Zinnias Press National Poetry Book Competition.

His poetry appears in Q 2.1; the poet was also featured in an interview on Quiddity's public-radio program.

blackmon Douglas A. Blackmon

The Wall Street Journal’s Atlanta Bureau Chief Douglas A. Blackmon has written extensively about the American quandary of race, exploring the integration of schools during his childhood in a Mississippi Delta farm town, lost episodes of the Civil Rights movement, and, repeatedly, the dilemma of how a contemporary society should grapple with a troubled past. Many of his stories in The Wall Street Journal have explored the interplay of wealth, corporate conduct, and racial segregation.

Blackmon’s Pulitzer Prize winning book, Slavery by Another Name, an exerpt of which appeared in Q 1.2, reveals for the first time the use of slave labor by dozens of U.S. corporations and commercial interests in coal mines, timber camps, factories and farms in cities and states across the South, beginning after the Civil War and continuing until the beginning of World War II. New York University Pulitzer Prize winning historian David Levering Lewis says the book reveals “an America holocaust that dare not speak its name, a rivetingly written, terrifying history of six decades of racial degradation in the service of white supremacy” Bill Cosby recently called the book “the most important work of history written in a long time.”

Mr. Blackmon’s stories or the work of his bureau have been nominated by the Journal for the Pulitzer Prize three times, including for coverage of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Florida hurricanes in 2004 and for his stories in 2001examining the use of slave labor by U.S. corporations in the early 20th century.

de la Roche Roberta Senechal de la Roche

A professor at Washington and Lee University, Roberta Senechal de la Roche received her Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. Her book, In Lincoln’s Shadow, is considered a provocative and definitive work on the 1908 race riot in Springfield and has won awards for both superior historical achievement and human-rights scholarship, including the Gustavus Myers Center Award for the Study of Human Rights and the Illinois State Historical Society Superior Achievement Award.

Senechal de la Roche has published several theoretical works on lynching, rioting, and terrorism and has presented extensively—from Amsterdam, Budapest, and Paris to Krakow—on the subject of collective violence.

AY 2007-2008


Tyehimba Jess

Tyehimba Jess’ first book of poetry, leadbelly, is a winner of the 2004 National Poetry Series. Jess received a literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2004 and was a 2004-5 Winter Fellow at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. He won the 2001 Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Poetry Award, an Illinois Arts Council Artist Fellowship in Poetry, and the 2001 Chicago Sun-Times Poetry Award. His poetry was featured on Quiddity's public-radio program.


James Loewen

Best known for Lies My Teacher Told Me, winner of the American Book Award, James Loewen was a professor of race relations at the University of Vermont for twenty years after teaching at Tougaloo College in Mississippi. He has been called as an expert witness in over fifty court cases involving civil, voting, and employment rights. James Loewen has earned a number of awards, not only for his literary works, but also for his achievements as a sociologist.

His most recent book, Sundown Towns, was named a Distinguished Book of 2005 by the Gustavus Myers Foundation. Other awards include the First Annual Spivack Award of the American Sociological Association for "sociological research applied to the field of intergroup relations," and the Oliver Cromwell Cox Award for Distinguished Anti-Racist Scholarship. He is also Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians.

Additional books include the co-authored Mississippi: Conflict and Change, winner of the Lillian Smith Award for Best Southern Nonfiction, and The Mississippi Chinese: Between Black and White, Social Science in the Courtroom, and The Truth about Columbus. Loewen lives and writes in Washington, DC.

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