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News 2016-2017

January 27, 2017

Sarah Albritton Visits Engl 475: Oral History and Narrative

Sara Albritton and English 475 Students

(Sarah Albritton and the English 475 Class)

Local artist and entrepreneur Sarah Albritton (pictured on the left) visited Dr. Susan Roach's course, Engl 475: Oral History and Narrative. Ms. Albritton was helping the class put together an oral history of Louisiana Tech University as it approaches the 125th anniversary of its founding in 2019. The students are from left to right: Kenneth West, Paxton Liotta, Julie Vanchiere, Gayle Newman, Alexandra Milford, and Emily Byrnes.  Dr. Reggie Owens (pictured on the right) has also been a guest of the class to contribute from his experience.

Dr. Reggie Owens(Dr. Reggie Owens)


March 29, 2016

Sigma Tau Delta Students Present Papers at National Conference

Two graduate students and four undergraduate English majors at Louisiana Tech University, represented the Tech Rho Gamma Chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, and presented their scholarship for the Sigma Tau Delta International Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Their papers were selected from many submissions from chapters of the English honorary society from across the country. Graduate students and their presentations were Alana Crump, “Women Writers in A Room of One’s Own” and Rachel Burroughs,“Point of No Return.” Undergraduates presenting were Hannah Gissendanner, “Sexual Perversion and the Home in McTeague”; Amber Jurgensen, “Nobility and Identity in She Stoops to Conquer”; Dawson Shannon, “Courtly Love and Marriage”; and Taylor Parker, “Do as Men Do: Women at “Home” in Shakespeare.”

sigma galaParker’s paper on Shakespeare won second place in "The Bard Award" an award category for Shakespeare papers created this year to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death. She will also present her paper during the 10th Annual Shakespeare Festival hosted by the Rho Gamma Chapter of Sigma Tau Delta on April 20 in the George T. Madison Hall Shakespeare Garden in the courtyard. Dr. Nicole DeFee and Dr. Scott Levin serve as co-advisors for the honor society. Dr. DeFee, who accompanied them to the conference, said, "The six students who presented at the conference this year represent some of the best of what not only our English department has to offer, but also what Louisiana Tech University as a whole has to offer. These papers illustrate the hard work and dedication of these students. Their presentations were professional and their work illustrates what's to come for the next generation of scholarship. While I know the students were proud and honored to be there, the honor was also mine to have been a part of this conference with them."

bulletinAmber Jurgensen, who had served as the Southern Region Student Representative for the national fraternity, ended her tenure in the position. She also received an award for creating the Louisiana Tech chapter’s display board showing chapter activities and projects. The board competition raised funds for a library for the Ruth House, a shelter for women in crisis. 

Sigma Tau Delta students who presented papers at the 2016 Sigma Tau Delta Conference with their faculty co-advisor, Nicole DeFee (bottom left); students left to right (Dawson Shannon, Amber Jurgensen Alana Crump, Hannah Gissendanner, Taylor Parker, and Rachel Burroughs).

Award winning display board for the Southern Region, prepared by Amber Jurgensen.




November 1, 2014


H. J. “Tony” Sachs
English Seminar Room
George T. Madison Hall 223
Sigma Tau Delta 

Dr. Sachs

Saturday, November 1, 2014
10 a.m.
Louisiana Tech University
Ruston, Louisiana

Hyman Jacob “Tony” Sachs taught at Tech from September 1929 through May 1972. Appointed Head of the English Department on June 7, 1954, he held that title until reaching the mandatory retirement age of 65. Growing up in Chicago, he received his Bachelor of Philosophy and Masters degrees from the University of Chicago. His honors include Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, and Sigma Tau Delta. When he was finishing his master’s degree in 1929, his department head asked if he would be interested in a college teaching position in Ruston, Louisiana. She told him that the President of Louisiana Polytechnic Institute, Dr. George W. Bond, also a graduate of the University of Chicago, had asked her to recommend someone who wanted to come to the Deep South “and make a difference.” The 25-year-old Jewish man who had never been outside Chicago’s city limits found the challenge impossible to refuse, so he accepted the offer and came to Ruston in fall 1929. During his years at Tech, he earned his Ph.D. in 1938 from George Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee. His doctoral dissertation was on the teaching of vocabulary.

At Louisiana Tech, he built a faculty of 16 members with Ph.D.’s (out of a total of 25) by encouraging academic freedom and making sure that the professors taught at least one section of their favorite subjects each semester. Delivering dynamic lectures, he taught all the English courses, most notably the American novel and Shakespeare. His publications include numerous articles and four books: Readings for College WritersA Workbook for Writers5,000 Useful Words, and Practical English Workbook.

Dr. Sachs loved sports, serving on the Athletic Committee for 30 years. A much sought-after public speaker, he never shied away from controversial topics such as race relations and war. Celebrated as a superior professor, administrator, and citizen of Ruston, he spent his last years in Shreveport, where he died November 13, 1983.

Download the program here

ladybook cover

The Louisiana Tech University Department of English supported by the George E. Pankey Eminent Scholar Chair in English


Cleopatra Mathis 

(Dartmouth College Frederick S. Beebe Professor in the Art of Writing)

Thurs., October 23 at 4 p.m. in GTM 223: Sigma Tau Delta members, English majors, and students interested in creative writing are invited. Her poems have appeared widely in anthologies, textbooks, magazines, and journals. Her awards include two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, three Pushcart Prizes, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Academy of American Poets Lavin Award, the 2001 Jane Kenyon Award for Poetry and a Robert Frost Resident Poet Award. A native of Ruston, Mathis served as director of creative writing at Dartmouth College from 1982-1997 and 2004-2009. For info: http://www.cleopatramathis.com

September 26, 2014

Banned Book Week


Banned Book Week

Banned Books Read Out
Sigma Tau Delta once again celebrates the right to read during Banned Books Week. The 2014 celebration of Banned Books Week will be held from September 21-27. As part of this week, Sigma Tau Delta will present the Banned Books Read Out on Friday, September 26, 2014. Join us in the Shakespeare Garden in the GTM Courtyard 12:00 p.m. — 2:00 p.m. There will be a dramatic reading contest 1:30-2:00 p.m. Feel free to share your favorite banned book with us. 

Press Releases:

April 2015
Poet Darrell Bourque will speak about and read from his book of poems, Megan’s Guitar and Other Poems from Acadierecently published by University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press.  His public reading followed by a book signing is set for 6:30-7:30 p.m. George T. Madison Hall Auditorium, Room 105, located on Railroad Avenue on the Louisiana Tech campus in Ruston.  He will have an informal talk from 4-4:45 p.m. with Sigma Tau Delta English honorary society members and English majors in Madison Hall 223. Students interested in creative writing may also attend.  The reading is sponsored by the Louisiana Tech University Department of English with support from the George E. Pankey Eminent Scholar Chair in English. The reading is open to the public at no charge.

The new collection of poetry is a reflection of contemporary life in Acadiana in Louisiana and tells the story of the journey of the Acadians from the Canadian Maritimes and the various ways they made their way to Louisiana. The book is divided into three sections: the first in mixed forms mostly about contemporary Acadie in Louisiana, a bridge sec­tion, and then a twenty-seven sonnet sequence featuring principal characters and historical figures of the eighteenth century deportation experience.

Former poet laureate Julie Kane says of Megan’s Guitar: “Darrell Bourque writes about what is sacred to him: the history of his French Acadian ancestors, his memories of deceased family elders, the Louisiana landscape that formed the backdrop of their lives, and the cultural rituals (from country horse-race betting to turtle soup making) that bound the generations together. In the poem “Finding the Entrance to the Grotto,” he describes how “a gap we fall upon opens, lets us in.” So, too, do the covers of this luminous book fall open, letting us journey into the realm of art, music, dreams, and the enduring human spirit.”

Darrell Bourque, who lives in rural St. Landry Parish, served as Louisiana Poet Laureate in 2007-2008 and from 2009-2011.  His poetry collections include Call and Response and In Ordinary Light, New and Selected Poems, The Doors Between Us, and The Blue Boat. He is professor emeritus in English at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette where he served as the first Friends of the Humanities Honor Professor.

2 Photos:   Darrell Bourque and book cover

April 2015

Bourque Flyer

April 2015

Genaro Smith Group Reading Flyer

March 2015

Riveria Flyer

March 2015
A Mississippi native currently residing in McKinney, Texas, R. Flowers Rivera, an award-winning poet, will speak about and read her poetry at Louisiana Tech on March 24.  Her public reading followed by a book signing is set for 6:30-7:30 p.m. in George T. Madison Hall Auditorium, Room 105, located on Railroad Avenue on the Louisiana Tech campus in Ruston.  Before the public reading, she will have an informal talk from 4-4:45 p.m. with Sigma Tau Delta English honorary society, the Poetry Society, and English majors in Madison Hall 223. Students interested in creative writing may also attend.  The reading is sponsored by the Louisiana Tech University Department of English and is open to the public at no charge.

Rivera will read from her two recent poetry collections. Troubling Accents (2013), Rivera’s debut poetry collection, received a nomination from the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters and was selected by the Texas Association of Authors as its 2014 Poetry Book of the Year. This book focused on Rivera's experience growing up in Mississippi and her various identities of wife, daughter, Catholic, etc. Her second collection, Heathen (2015), has been selected by poet and literary activist E. Ethelbert Miller as the winner of the 2015 Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award, established by Lotus Press to recognize an outstanding book-length manuscript by an African-American poet.  About her remix of classical and biblical myths in her poems, Rivera states:  “Most people have had some exposure to mythology, usually in high school, and it’s either The Odyssey or The IliadI became lost in the stories in middle school, and they stayed with me all these years. However, once I was older I began to question why Zeus’s wife, Hera, got a bad rap when her husband was the one running around, or why all the gods assumed Hephaestus would just drop everything and make whatever they wanted—whenever they wanted—as if he had no life of his own. I just wanted a new way to explore these myths through the lenses of race, gender, and Southern culture.” 

Dr. Rivera completed her Ph.D. in English, specializing in African American literature and creative writing at Binghamton University, and an M.A. in English at Hollins University, in addition to an M.S. at Georgia State University and a B.S. at the University of Georgia. Rivera was awarded the 2009 Leo Love Merit Scholarship in Poetry in association with the Taos Summer Writers Conference. Her short story, “The Iron Bars,” won the 1999 Peregrine Prize, and she has been a finalist for many awards including the Gary Snyder Memorial Award, the Paumanok Award, the Crab Orchard Series, and the Gival Poetry Prize as well as garnering nominations for Pushcarts. Rivera has been anthologized in Mischief, Caprice & Other Poetic Strategies and included in a book on poetics titled The Rhythm Method, Razzmatazz and Poetry. She has been published in journals such as African American ReviewColumbia, Evergreen Chronicles, Beloit Poetry Journal, Feminist Studies, Obsidian, The Southern Review, and UCity Review.

Rivera has presented readings across the U.S. in states including Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Texas, and Washington. For additional information about R. Flowers Rivera and her poetry, visit http://promethea.com; to hear her read, visit: http://promethea.com/media-press.html

 Submitted Photo:  R. Flowers Rivers

R. Flowers Rivera’s Troubling Accents is an impressive act of storytelling and at times ventriloquism. With a compelling mix of tenderness and ambivalence, yearning and loss, the poems embrace ‘brutal and beautiful’ human experiences and histories, returning often to the subjectivity of black Southerners, women in particular. The insights these poems offer are grounded in Rivera’s evocative images, her diction that weds the vernacular and the formal, and her sustained attention to voice/persona. The subjects and scenes of the poems vary widely and wildly—flirtation at a funeral, the silence in a surrounding one member’s death [complicated by] AIDS, domestic violence, conflicted love and sexuality, the indomitable Bessie Smith and

more. What remains constant throughout the collection is Rivera’s gift for upending expectations and exposing each moment’s façade.

—Shara McCallum, Director of the Stadler Center for Poetry and author

of Song of Thieves and The Water Between Us

January 2015

Centenary Poets flyer

January 2015

Dr. Dolliann Margaret Hurtig, Associate Professor of French at Louisiana Tech University, received the title Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques de France in a formal ceremony officiated by the Consul General of France, Grégor Trumel on Jan. 21. The chevalier (knight) award is given for outstanding work in promoting the French language and culture and for contributions of exceptional value to the profession as a French language educator.  The Cooperation Attaché for Cultural, Academic, and University Mission, Raymond Hinz accompanied the Consul General.

According to their website <www.frenchacademicpalms.org>, the French Academic Palms (L’Ordre des Palmes académiques)  is an award given by the Ministry of French National Education  for “those who have rendered eminent service to French education and have contributed actively to the prestige of French culture  … this esteemed distinction acknowledges their merits, talents, and exemplary activities.” Napoléon I established the Palmes Académiques as a title as early as 1808 to acknowledge the outstanding achievements of members of the University. Napoléon III made the Palmes Académiques a formal decoration in 1866. The Palmes Académiques remains the oldest non-military decoration in France.

After welcoming remarks by the Director of the School of Literature and Language, Dr. Susan Roach and the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Dr. Don Kaczvinksy, the French Consul General from the New Orleans consulate, Grégor Trumel, decorated Dr. Dolliann Hurtig with the Palmes Académiques insignia, a silver laurel wreath medallion with a purple ribbon, the official color of the Palmes Académiques. Dr. Hurtig, in an address to the audience, expressed her thanks and acknowledged the organizations and the leaders she cooperates with at the state, national, and local levels.

Now in her 29th year at Louisiana Tech, Dr. Hurtig has recently edited and contributed to the book Allons au cinéma: Promoting French through films. The book, published by the American Association of Teachers of French housed on the campus of the University of Southern Illinois at Carbondale, is suitable for a university course on Francophone film.  She also serves as Dual Enrollment Coordinator for French at Louisiana Tech and for 19 year has been advisor for the National French Honor Society, Pi Delta Phi.  She represents Louisiana Tech on CODOFIL and assists students with scholarship and assistantship applications. Nationally, she co-chairs the National Commission on Cinema of the American Association of Teachers of French, and is producing a second volume on cinema to be published January 2016.  Locally, Dr. Hurtig is a member of the American Association of University Women, educators and retired educators of the Grambling and Ruston communities.


Photo caption:  (Left to right) Consul General Gregor Trumel (right) awards the title of Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques de France to Dr. Dolliann Hurtig, as Cultural Attaché  Raymond Hinz observes.

January 2015

April C. Honaker, an instructor of English in Louisiana Tech University's School of Literature and Language, will see two of her poems published in the coming months. "The Way She Carries Us" will be published in volume 13 of Mom Egg Review, and "Louisiana" will soon appear in Southern Voice, an online publication of Deep South Magazine

Mom Egg Review is an annual literary journal by and about mothers and motherhood.  The journal explores the experience of motherhood from diverse perspectives. According to editor Marjorie Tesser, "Mom Egg Review tells important stories ignored or marginalized by other publications, and nurtures exciting literary talents." The upcoming issue will be launched at a reading in New York City this spring. 

Deep South is an online magazine covering the food, travel, culture, arts and literature of the South. Their mission is to connect the Southern states — and Southerners to each other — through their stories. Honaker's poem "Louisiana" fits this theme by depicting a love for our state, despite its flaws and questionable reputation.

January 2015

Two award-winning Shreveport poets, Ashley Mace Havird and David Havird, will speak about and read their poetry at Louisiana Tech.  Their public readings followed by a book signing are set for 5:30-6:30 p.m. in George T. Madison Hall Auditorium, Room 105, located on Railroad Avenue on the Louisiana Tech campus in Ruston.  Before the public readings, they will have an informal talk from 4-4:45 p.m. with Sigma Tau Delta English honorary society, the Poetry Society, and English majors in Madison Hall 223. Students interested in creative writing may also attend.  The readings are sponsored by the Louisiana Tech University Department of English with support from the George E. Pankey Eminent Scholar Chair in English. The readings are open to the public at no charge.

Ashley Mace Havird’s book of poems, The Garden of the Fugitives (Texas Review Press, 2014), won the 2013 X. J. Kennedy Prize. Her chapbook, Dirt Eaters (2009), won the South Carolina Poetry Initiative Series Prize; and a second chapbook, Sleeping with Animals (2013), was published by Yellow Flag Press of Lafayette, LA. Her poems and short stories have appeared in many journals including Shenandoah, Southern Poetry Review, The Southern Review, and The Virginia Quarterly Review, as well as in anthologies such as The Southern Poetry Anthology, IV: Louisiana (Texas Review Press, 2011) and Hard Lines: Rough South Poetry (University of South Carolina Press, forthcoming in 2015). In 2002 she was awarded a Louisiana Division of the Arts Fellowship in Literature. She teaches at the Renzi Education and Art Center in Shreveport, Louisiana.

David Havird is the author of two collections: Map Home (Texas Review P, 2013) and Penelope’s Design (Texas Review P, 2010), which won the 2009 Robert Phillips Poetry Chapbook Prize. He broke into print with a poem in The New Yorker in 1975. Since then his poems have appeared in many journals, Agni, Poetry, Sewanee Review, Yale Review, among others, online at Poetry Daily, and in anthologies, including The Southern Poetry Anthology, IV: Louisiana and Hard Lines: Rough South Poetry (forthcoming). He studied at the University of South Carolina under the poet and novelist James Dickey, about whom he has published several articles (including an essay memoir, “In and Out of Class with James Dickey,” in the Virginia Quarterly Review), and at the University of Virginia. Since 1988 he has taught as a Professor of English at Centenary College of Louisiana.

October 2014

Genaro SmithThursday, October 16, 2014: 6:00 p.m. The Lincoln Parish Library will host a fall Poetry Night with local author and poet, Instructor Genaro Kỳ Lý Smith. This event will feature readings and discussion from the author’s book, The Land Baron’s Sun: The Story of Ly Loc and His Seven Wives, which is set to be released on October 28, 2014.

Genaro Kỳ Lý Smith was born in Nha Trang, Vietnam, and he earned a bachelor of arts in English from California State University, Northridge and an M.A. and M.F.A. in creative writing from McNeese State University in Lake Charles, LA. His works have been published in numerous literary journals and magazines. He has been teaching literature, composition, and creative writing at Louisiana Tech University since 1999.



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