in this issue

1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9

News & Events

English Expo a Success

Eclectic Release Party

Undergrad Conference

Bridging Distances, One Classroom at a Time

Toto Pulls Curtain on Hipchen

People News

Prof. Reinhard Retiring

In Memoriam: Dr. James W. Mathews

Paul Guest Wins Whiting

English Graduate Chooses a Masters Program

National Magazine Publishes Larrew

Kendra Parker Accepted for Ph.D. Program

Student Poets Garner National Acclaim

Students Share Their Conference Experiences

Student Work Accepted at National Conference

Hultquist Joins Faculty

In Every Issue

Job Spotlight on Amy Lavender

Cheers

Course Descriptions

Summer 2008

Fall 2008

 

 

In Memoriam: Dr. James W. Mathews

   

Dr. James W. Mathews, chair emeritus of the English department, died Saturday, March 1, 2008. He was 82.

Dr. Mathews came to West Georgia as professor of English and chair of the Humanities Division in 1960. In 1973 he was named chair of the English department, a position he held until his retirement in 1992. During his final years as chair, he hired the present senior members of the department. His continuing impact on the department is also evidenced by the James W. Mathews Fund, an endowment he generously established several years ago to support English department activities; the James W. Mathews Award, given in his honor for the best graduate paper written during the academic year; and of course the work of the many alumni who benefited from his influence during his 32 years of teaching at West Georgia.

During all the years he chaired the university’s largest department, Jim was also one of its most productive members. He had an active and ongoing research agenda before we began to use the phrase as commonly as we do now. His work on the literary history of New England, and particularly the Transcendentalists, had an impact on the broader scholarly community through his publications in learned journals, but it also enriched the experience of students in his own classes and the broader university community through public lectures he often gave. He was an estimable force on several fronts in the greater Carrollton community, particularly in leadership roles at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church and the Carrollton Rotary Club. When time came to write the official history of the University, Jim was

 

called upon to do it. It would be hard to imagine anyone else. He was also a passionate and, according to the late Jim Dahl, an impressively hard-working gardener.

For some of us, there are vivid, more personal memories of Jim. I for example remember a statement he made on the first performance evaluation he wrote about my work: “In the classroom you are not gimmicky but effective.” He wrote the same thing—“not gimmicky, but effective”—on my second evaluation. In fact, Jim noted that I was “not gimmicky, but effective” on all five of the annual evaluations he wrote on my work. Since he had the department’s only computer in those days, I suspect there was cutting and pasting involved from one year to the next. I think he was sincere, though, and I’m even grateful if he did cut and paste. After all, had he thought about it he might just have easily have written: “You’re dull, but it seems to be working for you.”

Jim did his work quietly, managing meanwhile a faculty that was sometimes not so quiet and showing strong support for individual work and student-centered activities such as the annual production of Eclectic. For those of us who were fortunate enough to work with him and to enjoy the hospitality he and his gracious wife Liz extended when they opened their home to us, he became something more than a friend. He became a significant image of what it means to work in this profession—what it means to work with words (the slippery medium in which we wrest meaning out of the space between our fanciest dreams and the visceral grunt) and most of all, what it means to try to teach others that work. As both a model and practitioner in the trade, James W. Mathews was, to borrow a phrase, not gimmicky but highly effective.

—Randy Hendricks


Paul Guest Wins Whiting Award,
Signs Book Deals

 

Collins, has published several of former poet laureate Robert Haas’ collections, including this year’s National Book Award winner, Time and Materials). Ecco will publish Paul’s next collection of poetry, My Index of Slightly Horrifying Knowledge, this fall, and his memoir, One More Theory About Happiness, in 2009.

And the second visit to New York? That was to sign and finalize those contracts.

—Jonette Larrew

Professor Paul Guest has flown to New York twice since becoming part of the English faculty here at UWG. First, in October, The Whiting Foundation flew Guest and his family to New York for their annual award ceremony, where they presented him with the Library of America Volume Collected Poetry & Prose by Wallace Stevens, with the front plate inscribed to him as one of this year’s winners of the prestigious Whiting Foundation Award. Instead of a bookmark, they inserted a check for $25,000 in its pages, the first half of the financial portion of his award. They sent another $25,000 in January.

While the Whiting is the first award of its magnitude that Guest has won, he is no stranger to poetry prizes. Professor Guest is the author of three prize-winning books of poetry: The Resurrection of the Body and the Ruin of the World, Exit Interview and Notes for My Body Double. At the Whiting Award Ceremony, Paul’s work drew the attention of literary agent Betsy Lerner, who contacted him in December. Since then, several publishers have expressed interest in publishing Paul’s next two books, and Paul has signed with Ecco Books. (Ecco, an imprint of Harper-