English at the 2016 Academic Excellence Conference

Memory, Identity, Meaning: A Memoir Reading Memoir, a subgenre of creative nonfiction, has come to be known as the “fourth genre” of creative writing. In combining true stories with creative narrative techniques, memoir contains both fact and fiction. Writer and theorist Patricia Hampl has said that, in memoir, “Memory impulsively reaches out its arms and embraces imagination” and for this reason, the genre has courted both tremendous popularity and significant controversy. For this performance, three students will read their memoir pieces and a discussion of each students writing and revision process will follow. The purpose of this presentation is to showcase the achievements of students within Dr. Kirsti Sandy’s Theory and Practice of Memoir course offered here at Keene State College.

Autumn Minery: These Stories Make a Storyteller is a memoir focusing on the development of a young writer whose family background, and strong connections to literature from the earliest years of her life, helps to shape her as an individual as well as help her explore the reasons behind her career choice and love for sharing her life with others through writing.

Katelyn Franco: I Will Pay You to Fire Me: My Life as a Custodian is a memoir that explores the inner workings of a job that most of the population views poorly and shows the reader the job and the person behind it from a whole different perspective.

Ossian, Johnson, and Wordsworth: Authors and Authenticity

John White: James Macpherson published “The Poems of Ossian” in 1760 as part of Fragments of Ancient Poetry, Collected in the Highlands of Scotland, and Translated From the Gaelic or Erse Language to much fanfare and popular acclaim. Even in Macpherson’s day, there were critics who disputed his claims to authenticity, notably Samuel Johnson, who said that Macpherson’s works were forgeries. This presentation contextualizes the idea of forgery and literary fraud within the framework of post-Romantic theories of authorship and originality as well as the editing practices of the late 18th century. Scholarship on Macpherson remains sharply divided on questions of plagiarism, forgery, and literary merit, though it is united on his influence and fame throughout Europe in the early nineteenth century. Revisiting the Ossian controversy in light of recent scholarship allows us to understand the complex reactions of major writers like Samuel Johnson and William Wordsworth in this case.

 Tooth Decay Dreams: Nicole Danish, Randii Elie, Brianna Hankel

Tooth Decay Dreams is the new collaboration of spoken word poetry presented by The Alive Poets Society slam poetry team. There is a myth that when one dreams about teeth decaying—missing—rotting it means there is regret for one’s actions or words. The slam team members are no exception to these immense feelings which is why we chose to use these themes as a framework for our individual pieces. Because it is impossible to live without regret, we hope that in writing and performing poetry we are able to process and cope better. Regret can be devastatingly isolating which is why we created these pieces—as a way of connecting people through similar human experiences and emotions.

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