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‘Cat in the Stack: Brenda Shaughnessy

By Daniella Snyder

Cat in the Stacks logo or header

I’m Daniella Snyder, a graduate student at Villanova University, and your ‘Cat in Falvey Library’s Stacks. I’ll be posting about academics–from research to study habits and everything in between–and how the Falvey Memorial Library can play a large role in your success here on campus!

Brenda Shaughnessy Headshot

Source: PoetryFoundation.org

This week, Falvey would have hosted poet Brenda Shaughnessy for a public reading in Speakers’ Corner as part of the English Department’s annual Literary Festival. While we cannot be there in person to hear Shaughnessy read, we can still appreciate her work and learn more about her. This week, my stack is filled with her poetry.

Brenda Shaughnessy is the author of five poetry collections, including The Octopus Museum (2019, Knopf); So Much Synth (2016, Copper Canyon Press); Our Andromeda (2012), which was a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Award, The International Griffin Prize, and the PEN Open Book Award. 

Her work has appeared in Best American Poetry, Harpers, The New York Times, The New Yorker, O Magazine, Paris Review, Poetry Magazine, and elsewhere.

Recent collaborative projects include writing a libretto for a Mass commissioned by Trinity Church Wall Street for composer Paola Prestini and a poem-essay for the exhibition catalog for Toba Khedoori’s solo retrospective show at LACMA. 

A 2013 Guggenheim Foundation Fellow, Shaughnessy is an Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at Rutgers University-Newark. She lives in Verona, New Jersey, with her family, according to her website.

Shaughnessy’s work is known for its ability to twin opposites: her poems are both playful and erotic, lyrical and funny, formal and strange. Reviewing Human Dark with Sugar, poet Cate Peebles noted that “Shaughnessy draws attention to the contradiction of being made up of so many parts while appearing to be one single body.”

In the New Yorker, Hilton Als said of her book, Our Andromeda: “it further establishes Shaughnessy’s particular genius, which is utterly poetic, but essayistic in scope, encompassing ideas about astronomy, illness, bodies, the family, ‘normalcy,’ home.”

Hilton Als’ description of Our Andromeda, and the mention of illness, bodies, the family, normalcy, and home, sounds like Shaughnessy’s poetry may help us work through our current moment.

Want to read Our Andromeda, but cannot access the collection online? Watch this 2013 video from the Chicago Humanities Festival, in which Shaughnessy reads a fair amount of her poetry from the collection.

If you want to stay connected with Brenda Shaughnessy, I recommend following her on Twitter (@brendashaughnes). Like many other authors, artists, and musicians, she shared that she will be posting about the books getting her through these uncertain times:

A Tweet by Brenda Shaughnessy, described in paragraph above. "I'm going to post about the books getting me through. #1: How is Jenny Offill such a genius? First page of Weather and I can barely turn to the second because it is so perfect and luminous and luscious I don't want it to be over, ever."

Here’s the page she’s referencing:

The first page of Weather by Jenny Offill.

While it is certainly disappointing that we will not be able to see Shaughnessy in person, I hope this brief overview offers a chance to get to know one of our Lit Fest authors a little better.

 


Daniella Snyder Headshot

Daniella Snyder is a graduate assistant in the Communication & Marketing department at Falvey Memorial Library, and a graduate student in the English department. This week, she’s reading Call Me By Your Name, a book that was recommended to her by the VU Book Club (@vubookclub).

 


 


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The Global(Half)SmackDown: Bolsonaro’s response to Covid-19 in Brazil

Dr. Tim Horner’s Global(Half)SmackDown for Monday, March 30, is available via Zoom (Click Here).

In keeping with the current focus on Covid-19, this week’s G(H)SD tackles Jair Bolsonaro’s response to the Corona virus in Brazil. Dr. Horner’s presentation touches on the “magical thinking” underlying Bolsonaro’s response (or lack there of) to the pandemic.


Nate GosweilerNate Gosweiler is a graduate assistant for Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication department. He is currently watching new Netflix series to avoid the stress of finishing half-watched series.


 


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Friday Outlook: Working From Home

Downtown Phoenixville—this is the view just a short distance from where I am working from home.

This quiet scene is Bridge Street, a place normally filled with couples arm in arm and families pushing strollers. I am eager to see those same faces return to the theaters, restaurants, and stores that make “The ‘Ville” one of America’s most vibrant small towns.

Until then, along with Falvey’s librarians and staff, I am home working to support students and faculty taking classes from their homes around the world.

What’s your personal #FridayOutlook? We want to see the view from where you are! Send it along to shawn.proctor@villanova.edu or message it (@villanovalibrary on Instagram and @FalveyLibrary on Twitter.)


Shawn Proctor

Shawn Proctor, MFA, is communications and marketing program manager at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 


 

 


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If you have books on loan and are worried about returning them, don’t stress.

""

We recognize the University closure and travel restrictions will prevent many students and faculty from returning loaned books by their due dates.

Here is what you need to know:

  • The Library has stopped assessing overdue fines on Falvey materials.
  • Books checked out from the Falvey collection, Interlibrary Loan, or E-ZBorrow should be held by library patrons until such time as the University returns to normal operations.
  • Overdue books will not affect seniors’ ability to graduate.

Other questions?

Contact the Falvey Service Desk at circ@villanova.edu


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Remote Discoveries: Catching up on Lit Fest

Hey, Wildcats,

In recent weeks most of us have revisited the uncomfortable FOMO (the fear of missing out), of seeing the taken-for-granted suddenly become absent, realizing the preciousness of “the normal.”

In no way does this downplay the much greater worries and pains that surround this crisis – and these are very real things that will affect millions of human beings in ways we would hope not to imagine. Yet, the small losses, notably those connections between people in lively, real, and present conversations leave a palpable absence in our lives.


Catching up on a Canceled Lit Fest Event

When I looked through library events that had to be canceled this semester, I am reminded that there were numerous small things that we missed out on. On March 24, Bryan Washington’s Literary Festival book reading and discussion on his new novel, Memorial, would have taken place in Speakers’ Corner. Although I was unfamiliar with Washington’s work prior to writing this blog post, a deeper dive through his essays available online as well as his previous book talks, showed me what we are all missing out on.

For this week’s Remote Discoveries blog, I will provide some links to Bryan Washington’s work and talks. To preface these links, Washington’s work does contain explicit content and he does not shy away from the expletive-prone speech of everyday conversation, nor does he shy away from topics that make some uncomfortable.

That being said, I believe that many people would thoroughly enjoy Washington’s work, regardless of whether it was encountered on-campus or discovered remotely.


Some of Bryan Washington’s Work

One of Washington’s first essays, View From the Football Field; or, What Happens When the Game is Over, presents a poignant description of playing football, and all the (un)importance it has on communities, friendships, family, and race. Writing on his personal experience playing football in a Texas suburb, Washington shows how the game harbored various meanings, and what it stood to mean for people in different times of their lives.

In our own library stacks, we have Washington’s first book, Lot, a New York Times Critics’ Top Book of 2019. The book is a coming of age story for a boy in Houston, and his experiences of his neighborhood, family, friends, and own sexuality. I will certainly be getting a copy of this book once some of the strain is taken off Amazon.

Finally, here is a YouTube link to his book talk about “Lot” in 2019 at the coffee shop, Politics and Prose in Washington D.C.. Hearing Washington speak about the influences of his life and work is interesting, and it is wonderful to hear the work read in his own voice with enthralling delivery.


Nate GosweilerNate Gosweiler is a graduate assistant for Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication department. This week he will be catching up on some leisure reading in order to avoid necessary reading. That certainly won’t be regretted later…

 


 


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How many great women have you read?

By Daniella Snyder

Cat in the Stacks Logo

As Women’s History Month comes to a close, I’m curious to know: how many women authors have you read? I scoured the Library’s (online) stacks and compiled a list of some of my favorite women authors and their most famous works. Let us know how many you’ve read on social media (@villanovalibrary on Instagram and @FalveyLibrary on Twitter), and let us know what authors you would have had on your list!

The cover of "Beloved"

 

Toni Morrison, Beloved

Morrison tells a harrowing tale of slavery and its lasting impact through fragments and flashbacks. Beloved is based on the true story of Margaret Garner. This novel, like the rest of Morrison’s work, is known for its beautiful language and intense imagery.

 

 

 

The cover of "To The Lighthouse"

 

Virginia Woolf, To The Lighthouse

Written by Woolf in 1927, To The Lighthouse centers on the Ramsay family between the years 1910 and 1920. Woolf, a mother figure of Modernism, focuses on philosophical introspection, thoughts and observations, subjectivity, the nature of art, and the concept of perception in this novel.

 

 

The cover of "Pride and Prejudice"

 

Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice is Jane Austen’s famous romantic novel of manners, written in 1813. Austen’s novel has consistently appeared near the top lists of “most-loved books” among literary scholars and the reading public for decades and is one of the most popular novels in English literature.

 

 

The cover of "The Color Purple"

Alice Walker, The Color Purple

The Color Purple is a 1982 epistolary novel by Alice Walker, which won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction. The story focuses on the life of black women in the southern United States in the 1930s. The novel has been a consistent target of censorship and sits on the American Library Association’s list of the 100 most frequently challenged books because of the explicit content.

 

 

The cover of "Jane Eyre"

Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre was written in 1847 and follows the experiences of the titular heroine throughout her growth to adulthood and budding romance. The novel revolutionized prose fiction by being the first to focus on its protagonist’s moral and spiritual development through a first-person perspective.

 

 

The cover of "Their Eyes Were Watching God"

 

Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God

Zora Neale Hurston wrote Their Eyes Were Watching God in 1937. The novel is considered a classic Harlem Renaissance work. Hurston explores protagonist Janie Crawford’s life as she develops from a teenager to a full-grown woman in Florida in the early twentieth century. The novel was initially poorly received but is now considered one of the most influential works of African-American and women’s literature, and TIME included the novel in its list of the 100 best English language novels since 1923.

 

The cover of "The Bell Jar"

 

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

The Bell Jar is the only novel Sylvia Plath wrote in her short life. It’s considered semi-autobiographical, because the protagonist’s descent into mental illness parallels Plath’s own experiences. Plath committed suicide only a month after the novel’s publication.

 

 

The cover of "all about love"

 

bell hooks, All About Love: New Visions

I added this book to the list because 1) I love bell hooks, and 2) I think this is a book that every woman (and human!) should read. Combining personal anecdotes, psychology, and philosophical ideas, hooks discusses a different aspect of romantic love in each chapter, with the ultimate goal of making us more open to giving and receiving love. In All About Love: New Visions, hooks presents a view of love in modern society that goes unmatched by any other writer.

 


Daniella Snyder Headshot

Daniella Snyder is a graduate student in the English department and a graduate assistant in the Communication & Marketing department at Falvey Memorial Library. This week, she’s been catching up on movies, TV, and books, including the book Followers by Megan Angelo, the Hulu adaptation of Little Fires Everywhere, and the movie Troop Zero.

 


 


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Recognize the Work of Villanova Seniors: Falvey Scholar Award Nominations Are Still Being Accepted

The 2019 Falvey Scholar Award Winners.

There’s still time to nominate Villanova seniors for Falvey Scholar Awards! Awards are given each spring to individual or group projects of seniors who have completed exemplary scholarship.

Although all University events are canceled for the remainder of the spring semester, the committee will highlight the 2020 award winners in an alternative format. The deadline for faculty nominations has been extended until Friday, April 3.

Please contact libraryevents@villanova.edu for additional information. Faculty can nominate seniors here. Once nominated, students will be asked to apply in order to be considered for the award using a link on the same page.

View past winner entries in the Villanova University Digital Library.


Kallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Memorial Library. 

 

 


 


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Global(Half) SmackDown: Iran, Covid-19, Conspiracy

Global Half Smack Down Title Card

Dr. Tim Horner’s Global(Half)SmackDown for Monday, March 23, is available via Zoom (Click Here).

Today’s topic is part of the ongoing geo-political response to the Covid-19 pandemic, touching on multiple nation’s attempts to blame the pandemic on foreign powers. Some politicians in the U.S., China, and Iran, are beginning to lay responsibility for the virus’s spread on foreign nations as negligence or even intention.


Nate GosweilerNate Gosweiler is a graduate assistant for Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication department. He is currently suffocating under the growing weight of his newly-created twitter feed. It. Never. Stops…!

 


 


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Photo Friday: Reading is Not Canceled

Students Reading in Old Falvey

Just a reminder, no matter whether you’re wrapped up in blankets with your favorite story, sussing out the deep meanings in St. Augustine’s Confessions for your class, or studying a textbook in Old Falvey (as seen here), reading is not canceled.

So, after you text to check in with your friends and family, try self-isolating with your favorite book this weekend.

 


Shawn Proctor

Shawn Proctor, MFA, Communication and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library, is currently reading Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (audiobook version, via the Libby app.)

 

 


 


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Remote Discoveries: The Global SmackDown Zooms Forward

Hello, Wildcats,

I hope those reading this are healthy, safe, and have found some sense of relief. I can only imagine the concern and uncertainty you may be feeling at this moment. I myself have been coming to terms with how my daily life will change during these trying times. Moreover, I know many of you are going through the difficult transition of attending college from places you never expected when you “went away to college.”

Yet, there is still much going on through Falvey Memorial Library. This ongoing “Remote Discoveries” blog will highlight some of the ongoing resources and events continuing through this transition. Although the recent closure of Villanova’s campus means the Library is physically closed, remote resources and virtual events are still going on.

Falvey Memorial Library, and the wonderful creators and thinkers that we support, are committed to continuing their efforts as we transition to virtual platforms. Even though we are not at Falvey, we are still connected as a community.


The GlobalSmackdown Zooms Forward

Screenshot of Dr. Horner's Zoom presentation

Tim Horner’s, DPhil, GlobalSmackDown recently made the transition to a virtual format through Zoom, condensing the 23-minute presentation to a fleet 11 and a half minutes. The Smackdown’s move from IRL to online ensures that we can all stay up to date on global issues. For those unfamiliar with Dr. Horner’s work, you can find a collection of his abbreviated presentations on the Falvey Memorial Library YouTube channel.

The new Global(Half)SmackDown will be available each Monday in virtual format. Click here (this will direct your browser to a Villanova.zoom.us page) to view the G(H)SD from March 16 regarding the protests in Mexico on International Women’s Day. You can find future G(H)SDs posted here on the Library blog, as well as on our social media channels: Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.


The Importance of the GlobalSmackDown

“We are seeing the lines between domestic policy and foreign policy disappearing, I think COVID-19 could be a way showing people how interconnected local ‘American’ issues are with global ones,” Dr. Horner says.

At this time, news may seem overwhelming. Many localities and communities in the US are being affected in some way by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the entire Villanova campus and community. With so much changing so quickly at home, developments across the global may seem inconsequential. Yet it is important to remember that the injustices and conflicts across the globe will not cease because of COVID-19; if anything, they will continue at a higher register.

I spoke with Dr. Horner over the phone to discuss the GlobalSmackDown and what it means during this distressing moment. A portion of his response is quoted below.

“I think it’s important for people to not just live life thinking solely of COVID-19. These things that are happening around the world are still happening. My hope, the silver lining in all of this, is that Americans realize how interconnected we are, that this virus has transgressed all our efforts to make us feel that we are in an American bubble.

“If there is a tipping point in this, and if there is something that it can change in us, COVID-19 may be that one thing that went under the radar and served as a wake-up call to a generation. That we are globalized, and we are not isolated. That could be an amazing turnaround if that happens, that in this distressing moment we realized how connected we are.”

 


Nate GosweilerNate Gosweiler is a graduate assistant for Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication department. He is currently suffocating under the growing weight of his newly-created twitter feed. It. Never. Stops…!


 


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Last Modified: March 19, 2020