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Community Engagement

“Expanding the Audience for Literature”

Dr. Kallet

The Department of English sponsors a wide variety of outreach programs that provide both formal and informal instruction to the greater Knoxville community on topics related to literature and writing.

Many of these efforts are made possible in part through the generous support of the John C. Hodges Better English Fund, established by Professor John C. Hodges before his death in 1967, to enhance the offerings of the department. Many are also co-sponsored by other departments and programs on campus, by community-based institutions such as the Knoxville Museum of Art and the Knoxville Writers’ Guild, and by local public schools.

The V. Carolyn Martin Summer Stipends

An annual program that has been underway for almost two decades, these fellowships pay part of the tuition fees of high school and college teachers who wish to attend summer sessions and either work for advanced degrees in English or otherwise increase their knowledge and expertise. These awards are made only for courses taken for graduate credit. Applications should be mailed to the director of Graduate Studies before February 15 each year.

The Creative Writing Visiting Writers Series

This series sponsors regular visits by distinguished creative writers. The public is invited to these readings, and the writers often visit schools and other community sites as well. Poets and fiction writers who have visited UT since 1980 include Gloria Naylor, Alan Cheuse, Sharon Olds, Robert Hass, C.K. Williams, Mary Oliver, Lynn Freed, Denise Levertov, William Stafford, William Matthews, Louise Gluck, Lucy Ferriss, David Ray, Judy Ray, Robert Bly, Louis Simpson, Al Young, Li-Young Lee, Tess Gallagher, Alice Friman, Garrett Hongo, Clayton Eshleman, Carolyn Forche, Diane Wakoski, X.J. Kennedy, W.D. Snodgrass, Jeanne McDonald, Fred Brown, Don Williams, Chris Hebert, Bobbie Ann Mason, Terrence Hayes, Elizabeth Gilbert, Yusef Komunyakaa, Marge Piercy, Alice Friman, Natalie Bakopoulos, Adam Johnson, Adam Zagajewski, and David Madden.

Other Engagement

Faculty members and students in the Department of English perform extensive community outreach and public service. Many, for example, have lead discussions of literary works or given public readings at schools, bookstores, places of worship, and other community venues.

Many have also been active in the Knoxville Writers’ Guild, an organization of local authors that provides a forum for information, support, and sharing among writers and that seeks to promote writing and creativity in the wider community through education, publication, and sponsorship of writing-related public events.