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2501 N. Blackwelder Oklahoma City, OK 73106-1493
Oklahoma City University
English Department ph 405/208-5127 fax 405/208-5870 www.okcu.edu/english
We hope you enjoy The Open Road, newsletter of the English Department at Oklahoma City University. If you haven’t con- tacted us, please write, fax, or e-mail – we’d love to know where the open road has taken you.
Open Road Staff
Editor Carole Smith
Associate Editor Ted Stoller
Copy Editor Maggie Warren
Staff Writer Keating Donahoe
Chair Marsha Keller, M.A.
Elaine Smokewood, Ph.D. Terry Phelps, Ph.D. Abigail Keegan, Ph.D. Mitzi McGuire, Ph.D. Salwa Khoddam, Ph.D. Brooke Hessler, Ph.D. Regina Bennett, Ph.D. Harbour Winn, Ph.D.
BrieAnn Johnson, President of Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society
Sigma Tau Delta ins Big at Conferences
2005 Chapter Awards: Outstanding Chapter and Outstanding Website Awards. Individual Awards: Avery Thompson, Junior Scholarship; Donna Gregory, Senior Scholarship; Jennifer Luckenbill, Study-Abroad Scholarship; Dr. Terry Phelps, Outstanding Regional Sponsor.
2006 Individual Awards: Donna Gregory and Kassy Nicholson, Isabel Sparks, President's Writing Awards for screenplays; Aharen Richardson and Edwin Stockton, Jr., Outstanding Individual Website, Elva Bell McLin Senior Scholarship, and Best Convention Theme Essay.
N o n a. - P r o f i t O r g . U . S . P o s t a g e P A I D P e r m i t N o . 3 4 O k l C i t y , O K
In Memoriam: Val Thiessen, Ph.D.
Valor E. Thiessen, 87, Edmond, Oklahoma, died July 7, 2005. Dr. Thiessen taught English literature at Oklahoma City University for 33 years and creative writing at Rose State College. Many of his short stories and mysteries have been published. He will be missed by all who knew him and worked with him.
Afoot and light hearted I take to the open road, Healthy, free, the world before me, The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.
“ I f o n l y t h e s e s t o n e s c o u l d s p e a k , ” I w o u l d t h i n k t o m y s e l f a s I w a l k e d a l o n g t h e historic buildings, bridges, and cob- bled streets of Oxford and Cambridge. Before I had completed this thought, I would be hit, just round the corner, by a stream of sounds and sights of the city centre (downtown area) round the corner, inviting me to an Elgar festival or a Baroque Extravaganza, free (or “pay what you like”) lunchtime chamber recitals, coffee or “cream tea” (4 p.m.) piano or violin concerts, evensongs at King's College Chapel in Oxford, international film festivals, a Shakespearean play performed in a college garden or chapel, covered markets, Indian restaurants, fish and chips, pubs, and tea houses, the most famous being “Alice's Shop” (after the Oxonian Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland). make my pilgrimage. Entering one of these older colleges seems like entering an inner sanctum. There are several gates to go through from the public street to destinations on the campus grounds. The outermost gates – low, wooden – are always guarded by solemn-faced, yet courteous, porters, clad in black suits, with white shirts and bowler hats. This gate is open during most of the day for visitors, but at 6 p.m., when the college clock towers begin chiming, the porters rush to close the gates on the public and put up a “No Admission” sign. A smaller gate is left open for students until 11 p.m.; thereafter, a student must use a key (or an electronic card) on one of the gates to enter. Strolling into the campus of these colleges is a memo- rable experience. The silence is astounding in the clois- ters and the gardens, broken only by the occasional buzzing of huge black bees circling the proverbial English roses. It is then that I feel honored and privileged to be in the presence of the spirits of our literary past, to breathe the very air they breathed, to walk the same garden paths they walked as they were composing their golden poetry. It is still a magical moment for me to hear a guide, point- ing to a small window surrounded by ivy and saying, “These were Byron's rooms” or “This was Milton's room, there right above that porch.” I strain my eyes, hoping to see an apparition of a face behind the windows. Crossing the green quads, dotted with statues, sun dials, and sculptures of grotesque faces leering from the roofs of surrounding buildings, college students head to the dining hall for meals; the older the college, the more impressive is its dining hall. The walls are often decorated with the college founders' coats of arms and badges and magnificent portraits of notable graduates; for example, there are huge portraits of Henry VIII, as well as Sir Isaac Newton and Lord Francis Bacon, presiding over the Cambridge Trinity College dining hall. The professors dine there, too, but on a dais at the end of the hall right under the portrait of Henry VIII, served by waiters in black attire. Alcoholic drinks are available to everyone. Students also have access to some of the rare book and manuscript collections housed in Oxford and Cambridge libraries, the Mecca for all scholars. The Bodleian Library in Oxford is the most dramatic. Founded in 1610 (an early part of it was built in 1315), it houses early medieval manu- scripts of Chaucer and other early authors as well a copy of every book that has been published in the world. No book can be removed from it, and none but students and scholars are allowed to use it. Yes, there are computers to use, and most of the library's holdings are online. Yet it is a weird experience to be using modern technology at the Bodleian under the watchful eyes of huge statues of famous scholars, presiding like gods and goddesses on the roofs outside. Old creaky stairs lead to Duke Humfrey's library, which houses the manuscripts, with sixteenth-century benches still intact. The Cambridge University Library, famous for its eerie tower, is more modern with computer Studying at Oxford and Cambridge: Professors, Picnics, and Punting By Salwa Khoddam But for me, it is to the ancient but splendid gray or golden-stoned build- ings, the thirty-nine Oxford and thir- ty-five Cambridge colleges with the “dreaming spires,” medieval, renais- sance or gothic in appearance, that I
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