Archive for March, 2010

Don’t Miss One of America’s Best Poets

0 Commentsby   |  03.20.10  |  Announcements


Tonight: Tony Hoagland At McMurry

Award-winning poet and University of Houston prof Tony Hoagland will be on the campus of McMurry U. this Thursday and Friday, March 25-26.

Take our word for it. This guy is good. [See sample poem below]

Hoagland’s books of poetry are consistently personal and satirical, digging deep into the underbelly of the contemporary American dream. Defying expectations of what is “polite” enough to be poetry, Hoagland is to American poetry what a great Indie band is to the cookie cutter streaming of mainstream pop. This is a witty poet with an ironic edge, the sort of man who would entitle his third volume of poems What Narcissism Means to Me and write poems such as “Fred Had Watched a Lot of Kung Fu Episodes,” “Poem in Which I Make the Mistake of Comparing Billie Holiday to a Cosmic Washerwoman,” and “Hate Hotel.”

So what’s not to like? Head over to McMurry for the following free events:

Thurs., March 25 3 p.m. – Discussion on the craft of writing poetry (Garrison Campus Center Chapel)

Thurs., March 25 7:30 p.m. – Poetry Reading (Ryan Recital Hall: in Fine Arts Center fronting Sayles on south side of campus)

Friday, March 26 9 a.m. – Lecture: “Clown and Scalpel: The Poem as Social Critique” (Ryan Fine Arts Foyer)

Critics Say…

“It’s hard to imagine any aspect of contemporary American life that couldn’t make its way into the writing of Tony Hoagland or a word in common or formal usage he would shy away from. He is a poet of risk: he risks wild laughter in poems that are totally heartfelt, poems you want to read out loud to anyone who needs to know the score and even more so to those who think they know the score. The framework of his writing is immense, almost as large as the tarnished nation he wandered into under the star of poetry.” —Jackson Prize Citation

Sample Poem

A Color of the Sky

by Tony Hoagland

Windy today and I feel less than brilliant,
driving over the hills from work.
There are the dark parts on the road
when you pass through clumps of wood
and the bright spots where you have a view of the ocean,
but that doesn’t make the road an allegory.
I should call Marie and apologize
for being so boring at dinner last night,
but can I really promise not to be that way again?
And anyway, I’d rather watch the trees, tossing
in what certainly looks like sexual arousal.
Otherwise it’s spring, and everything looks frail;
the sky is baby blue, and the just-unfurling leaves
are full of infant chlorophyll,
the very tint of inexperience.
Last summer’s song is making a comeback on the radio,
and on the highway overpass,
the only metaphysical vandal in America has written
in big black spraypaint letters,
which makes us wonder if Time loves Memory back.
Last night I dreamed of X again.
She’s like a stain on my subconscious sheets.
Years ago she penetrated me
but though I scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed,
I never got her out,
but now I’m glad.
What I thought was an end turned out to be a middle.
What I thought was a brick wall turned out to be a tunnel.
What I thought was an injustice
turned out to be a color of the sky.
Outside the youth center, between the liquor store
and the police station,
a little dogwood tree is losing its mind;
overflowing with blossomfoam,
like a sudsy mug of beer;
like a bride ripping off her clothes,
dropping snow white petals to the ground in clouds,
so Nature’s wastefulness seems quietly obscene.
It’s been doing that all week:
making beauty,
and throwing it away,
and making more.

Tony Hoagland, “A Color of the Sky” from What Narcissism Means to Me. Copyright © 2003 by Tony Hoagland. Reprinted with the permission of Graywolf Press, St. Paul, Minnesota,

Last Department Chapel of the Semester

0 Commentsby   |  03.12.10  |  Announcements, Department Chapel

Zorba Chapel

This will be the last Chapel for this semester.  Devotional thoughts will be led by Dr. Steven Weathers and the ENGL 499 class.

Putting Google to the Test in Translation

0 Commentsby   |  03.09.10  |  Language Tools

Have you ever wondered about using translation machines for your foreign language classes?  You’d better know what you’re doing (grammatically speaking)!

While these are certainly useful tools for helping you understand a website or a page written in another language, they are not able to produce something you would want to turn in.  As the examples from the New York Times article show, it will certainly be easy for your instructors to differentiate between original work and a machine translation.  See the article at:

Putting Google to the Test in Translations.

Spain’s Cultural Ambassadors Program

0 Commentsby   |  03.03.10  |  Uncategorized

Each year, the Embassy of Spain recruits up to 1,200 junior and senior university students to participate in their nine month “Cultural Ambassador” program.  In exchange for sharing your knowledge of the English language and American culture for 12-16 hours in a K-12 classroom environment (under the supervision of a teacher), they pay a monthly stipend (approximately €700) and provide full medical insurance.  Among other things, it is a great opportunity to further your skills in Spanish, and travel a bit through Spain and the rest of Europe.

For further information and application, visit their website here.

Spanish Chapel


0 Commentsby   |  03.02.10  |  Chapel

Hey Everyone!

We will be having our weekly Spanish Chapel this week on Wednesday in Admin 103.

You don’t have to be fluent in Spanish – come if you are interested in worshiping in Spanish!


Faculty Spotlight: Writer in Residence, Albert Haley

0 Commentsby   |  03.01.10  |  Faculty Spotlight



Duncan, Oklahoma

Grew Up In: Oklahoma, Colorado, Wyoming and Alaska

Education: B.A. Economics, Yale University; MFA Creative Writing, U. of Houston

Short Stories: The Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Cosmopolitan, and various journals

Books: Home Ground (short story collection), Exotic (novel)

Awards: John Irving First Novel Prize, Rattle Magazine Poetry Prize, James Culp Distinguished Prof. of English 2008-11

Recent Publication: “Take Nothing For the Journey Except a Staff: Teaching Fiction Workshop,” chapter in The Word in the English Classroom, ACU Press 2009.

Spouse: Joyce Haley teaches advertising classes in the JMC Department

Child: Coleman Haley is a middle schooler at Abilene Christian Schools, an omnivorous reader and a fan of multi-syllabic rare words

What Others Have Said About Albert Haley’s Work

HOME GROUND: Stories of Two Families and the Land

“It accumulates through self-contained narratives an ambitious near-novel rich in meaning…”  The New York Times

“…the best fiction we have about contemporary Alaska.”  Larry McMurtry

“I think Home Ground is terrifc.” Raymond Carver


Exotic takes off like a rocket.” L.A. Times

“It’s easy to see oneself in this novel…. Exchanges between the newly married pair echoed through my mind like conversations out of my own bedroom, laying bare forgotten pains.”  The Oakland Press

“Read as a fable of two fallible mortals who say no to some things and yes to others, Exotic is as sweet and satisfying as a papaya peeled and presented by the one you love.”  L.A. Herald Examiner

In the Beginning

On the porch of Wm. Faukner's house, Oxford, MS

On the porch of Wm. Faukner's house, Oxford, MS 2006

When Al and  Joyce Haley arrived at ACU in the fall of 1997, William Jefferson Clinton was embarking upon his second term as president. Princess Diana had died after being pursued by papparazi into a fatal Paris tunnel. Consumer Reports again opined that there had never been more reliable cars made than those bearing the Toyota badge.

In the world of American publishing three of the best novels Al has ever read appeared that year: Don DeLillo’s Underworld, American Pastoral by Philip Roth, and The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. At the movies the buzz was that director James Cameron had squandered a hundred million dollars on a romantic film that was bound to be a box office bust. Come December, Titanic would prove the cynics wrong.

As for Abilene there was no Cinemark movie multiplex or Old Navy. On the ACU campus plays were performed in the dark, grim echo chamber of Sewell Theater and, if students wanted to jog around campus, they took their chances navigating bumpy grass and dodging gopher holes; the Lumsford Trail wasn’t even yet a rumor. As for technology, student cell phones were as rare as West Texas rain. In the English Department computer writing labs Al noted instructions at each station telling students how to use the mouse.

Flash ahead a decade and a bit more and we’re well into the 21st Century. Much has changed at ACU and all of it is for the better as Al states in the brief interview that appears below.

AH No3Q & A With Al Haley

What the best thing that’s happened for you in your time at ACU? That’s easy. It’s been having the opportunity to help build undergrad creative writing to the level where we now have three different genre workshops each year (poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction) and that the students coming out of the workshops regularly see their work recognized in national and regional contests. Just since 2002 our students have won 9 firsts and 13 seconds. Nothing gets me more excited than having students produce excellent writing and seeing others validate it for them.

As the Culp Professor what are you currently working on? I’m revising a novel with the working title of Evangel. It’s about four couples living in the suburbs who get together every Sunday night to share what’s happening in their lives and pray. The drama is that miraculous things seem to be happening to each of them when no one else is around. “Evangel,” by the way is the old way of referring to the four gospels collectively.

Do you have anything else you plan to write in the short term? Yes. I’ve written a few poems about extra-biblical moments in the life of Jesus. I’d like to write enough of these poems to have a whole book. My intention is to focus on the humanity of Christ which I think is often overlooked. At times he must have been dusty and had blisters on his feet. We read about his baptism by John in the river Jordan, but what was it like when Jesus had to take an ordinary bath?

How do you go about writing something? It begins at 5:30 a.m. with a cup of coffee while everyone else in the house is asleep. I almost always write about something I’ve already been going over in my mind. I may have a few notes at hand, too. I write pretty quickly on my trusty Dell laptop. A thousand words an hour? I’m not very conscious of what the exact words are that I’m writing. It’s only when I’m revising that I see some things and I’m surprised and think, hey, that’s pretty good, did I write that? More often I’m horrified—Oh no, how could I have gone off on such a self-indulgent, cliché tangent? Thank heavens for the delete key.

What are some inspirations for your work? For me it starts with Ernest Hemingway, all of whose books I’ve read and continue to read. Hemingway shows me how to activate the reader’s senses to make him or her feel like they are walking around in the story. That’s the effect I strive for, a sort of virtual reality in prose. I also love how the Russians (Dostoevsky, Tolstoy) wrestle explicitly with what the world means. My other inspiration comes from music. I love the grand passions of classical music. I’ve also absorbed the rhythms and the impolite attitude of rock ‘n’ roll. I like for my fiction and poetry style to be energetic and urgent as if I’ve got the reader by the lapels and I’m saying, hey, you’ve got to hear these words.

Tell us about the most recent book you read. I have to single out And Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris because it just really wowed me. This 2008 novel is narrated by an anonymous “we” who tells the stories of various white collar workers at a Chicago advertising agency as layoffs are starting to affect everyone. It’s a bit like The Office, including some of the crazy things people do at work, but it has a hundred times more pathos. You realize how wounded all these people are and that the folks at work function as family. It’s just a masterful first novel. I’m happy to say it was recommended to me by one of my former students.

What are you really like? Honestly, I”m an extremely shy person. That’s why for the first four decades of my life I never imagined myself standing in front of 15-20 people, opening my mouth and telling everyone what to do. Because of my introversion I long ago fled to writing. I think of a Hemingway quote: “The writer must write what he has to say, not speak it.” When I wrote, I was free to be anyone I wanted; I could communicate in the boldest fashion possible. Obviously, I had to change my ways once I decided to become a professor. Without the help of God I don’t think I could even have done it. These days I still enjoy my time alone, but I now know what I was missing when I sequestered myself all those years and tried to avoid having much contact with people. And I have to say I really enjoy being around students–because of their energy and special perspective and because they don’t have their minds made up about everything.

What do you think is the most important thing in the Bible? For me it has to be love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul and love your neighbor as yourself, but…  Lately, I’ve become enamored of Jesus’ final words at the end of the Gospel of Matthew. Not the “go ye into all the world,” but the absolutely final statement: I am with you until the end of the world. This is what I’ve seized upon, the idea that Jesus in the form of the Holy Spirit is actually with me. Invisible but present. Whatever I’m going through, I can’t claim to be abandoned because he’s so close I can reach out and touch him.

French chapel


0 Commentsby   |  03.01.10  |  Chapel

All students are welcome to French Chapel on Tuesdays at 11:00 am, in the AD building, room 133 (whether you study or speak French or not it will be a great experience!). Yann Opsitch French Instructor

Project Coordinator Needed in Dallas

0 Commentsby   |  03.01.10  |  Announcements, Job & Volunteer Opportunities

Amanda Musick is looking to hire 2 Project Coordinators.

If you are interested, email Amanda Musick at

The job is in North Dallas (in the Farmers Branch area)

Here is the job description:

Akorbi Language Consulting, headquartered in Dallas, Texas, is a rapidly growing trusted provider of foreign language translation, interpretation, language and cultural training, localization, and technology solutions.

Akorbi is certified as ISO 9001:2000 for quality assurance and also certified as a woman-owned business (WBE and 8a). Akorbi also operates from additional locations including Bangalore, Buenos Aires, Houston, Hyderabad and Medellin to cater to global customers. Akorbi serves a variety of Fortune 1000 companies, high profile non-profit organizations and the public sector.

Akorbi Language Consulting is the recipient of many business awards and recognitions, some of them include Woman-Owned Business Enterprise of the year by the NCTRCA. Mayor’s Entrepreneur Award at the Fort Worth Entrepreneur Expo and the Microentrepreneur of the Year by Wachovia and ACCION Texas.

We are looking for a production coordinator with the following:


  • Highly effective communication skills both written and verbal
  • Proven ability to manage multiple tasks and juggle priorities
  • Intermediate computer skills: Microsoft Office Suite, Outlook, Adobe, QuickBooks Organization skills
  • Ability to handle a high volume of emails and organize by tasks/projects
  • Time management
  • Ability to manage long term and short term priorities
  • Ability to understand and work with margins, estimates and invoices


  • Experience with project or production coordination
  • 4 year degree in a related field (for ex: business management, advertising, translations)
  • Experience in translation industry preferred
  • Bilingual Preferred (Preferred language: Spanish, Chinese, German, Hindi, Urdu or Korean language skills)
  • Proven performance in a fast pace environment
  • Ability to perform in a high stress position

Daily Responsibilities

  • Creating estimates and entering invoices
  • Matching skilled contractors with job requirements in the language and translation field
  • Recruiting and hiring of contract language professionals (mainly via email and phone screens)
  • Coordinating in-house teams for projects
  • Coordinating activities between corporate offices in Texas and the offshore staff
  • Managing relationships with vendors
  • Clarify project expectations with clients
  • Answering emails related to projects: ability to handle a high volume of emails in the inbox and organize them by task/project
  • On-time delivery of final projects

This position is a high volume, deadline driven, multi-tasking position that interfaces with external vendors and language professionals and the internal departments within the company. It requires attention to detail, superior organizational skills and the ability to communicate effectively with all stakeholders. Stress levels can be high during peak periods. This is a perfect position for someone looking to use their organizational and communication skills to have a positive impact on the operation.

Culture: high energy, team oriented, multi-tasking, positive, “get it done” attitude

Dress code: Business Casuals

Pay Range: $30,000 – $36,000 base

Hiring Organization:

Amanda Musick

Akorbi Language Consulting

An ISO-9001 certified company

4100 Spring Valley Rd, Suite 203, Dallas, TX 75244
(w) 214-736-8358 | (f) 214-594-5908 | (c) 214-938-5810

Services: Translations | Interpretation | Localization | Staffing | Technology Solutions
Locations: Dallas | Houston | Buenos Aires | | Medellin | Bangalore | Hyderabad

Have questions?
Check out our blog at

Celebrating National Foreign Language Week


0 Commentsby   |  03.01.10  |  Uncategorized

Abilene Reporter News guest columnist Dr. Joe Alcorta is professor of Spanish at Harding-Simmons University.  Below are his comments on National Foreign Language Week.

Access article here