Department News and Events

Activities and events within the department afford LLP students the opportunity to explore creative aspects of language, literature and philosophy beyond the classroom.  Events include publications, conferences, informal reading groups, spoken word events, public lectures, drama and film screenings. To learn more about LLP events, feel free to reach out to the department: Contact Us.  We look forward to seeing you there!

ars poetica group

I Want to Write 2016 A Success
What's Next? Publication, of Course!

I WANT TO WRITE 2016 was a two-day poetry extravaganza held during poetry month in April at Tennessee State University.  This year's event featured BRUCE GEORGE, co-Founder of HBO's Def Poetry Jam. The annual festival features Poetry Writing and Spoken Word Workshops; this year we also had our first film screening hosted by poetry and mass communication students. Films were multimedia interpretations of student poetry; watch those shorts by clicking here: Ars Poeticas. IW2W Attendees are encouraged to submit their I Want to Write inspired poetry for publication by visiting the conference website: I Want to Write Poetry Conference.


Congrats to Dr. Michelle Wise who recently defended her dissertation!

Dr. Michelle Wise’s areas of specialties are Film Studies, Victorian Literature; Interdisciplinary pursuits include Gothic Studies, Comics and Graphic Novels, Women’s and Gender Studies, and Children’s Literature. Her dissertation, “I am a Monster, Just Like She Said”: Monstrous Lesbians in Contemporary Gothic Film," is a close analysis of a handful selected films including Sister My Sister (1994), Monster (2003), and Black Swan (2010). She argues that these films are problematic because they depict lesbians as psychotic, monstrous, and socially disruptive.  She recently presented a paper at the National American Culture Association/Popular Culture Association in Seattle, WA. The department congratulates Dr. Wise for this noteworthy achievement, and we look forward to seeing future scholarship. In the meantime, learn more about Dr. Wise and her research interests on her faculty page. 

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studentwinner2 Three Tigers win 2016 LLP Trivia Contest
LLP would like to congratulate the three winners of the 2016 LLP Trivia Challenge: Cameron Fagon, Chloe Petty, and Sequena Snips (pictured left to right) are the winners of this year's contest.  The trio won a series of prizes that included movie tickets and gift cards for their timely responses about film, popular culture and literature. Way to go! 

Nights of Dan Curtis

Kudos to Dr. Jeff Thompson on his most recent publication:
Nights of Dan Curtis:  The Television Epics of the Dark Shadows Auteur--Horror, Western, and War.  

The book is his third and final in a series about Dan Curtis, award-winning producer, director, and creator of the Dark Shadows series. The book provides an overview of all four dozen of Curtis's productions and features over 100 photographs. Thompson has been with the English Department since 1985, and writes about education, film, TV, comic books and pop culture.  The Department salutes him in this latest publication. Learn more about Dr. Thompson by visiting his faculty page.

Graphic Novel Panel

LLP Hosted Comic-Con Panel During Comics and Graphic Novel Class  

On Thursday, April 14, Prof. Michelle Wise hosted a Comic-Con style Q & A panel with several faculty members from our department as well as other departments. Students were exposed to scholars and academics who love the genre. Some of our faculty members have published or presented in the area and discussed their research.  Topics included DC vs Marvel, the role of comics within our culture, Comics-to-Film, Manga/Anime, and so on. 

Teen Vogue

LLP Instructors Making an Impact

Two English instructors were given honorable mention in a recent Teen Vogue article written by TSU alum

Pupil to Professional Featured Guest Speaker Cassandra Holdsclaw

Students met with local Human Resource manager and TSU alum Cassandra Holdsclaw to discuss what they should be doing to prepare for their careers after graduation.  The theme for the discussion was: "Invest In Yourself."  Students learned tips for finding mentors, securing letters of recommendation, making strategic extracurricular choices, and extracting useful workplace skills from their classes.  The next "Pupil to Professional" workshop will be held on April 15th, in the WRITE Studio. Dr. Morgan-Curtis will explore how to ensure that your skills are transferable, and will walk attendees through the online portfolio process.  Learn more and register by clicking here: Pupil to Professional. 

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TSU Book Club Hosts Book Discussion for Visiting Author James McBride

The TSU book club will host a discussion regarding James McBride's The Color of Water, Friday, April 22, 2p, Training Room 1, at the Downtown campus. This event is a prelude to McBride's visit later this summer. For more information, contact Dr. Jill Anderson.

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TSU Students Participate in Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon

More than a dozen students enrolled in English courses participated in the University's Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon at the main library on March 25. The event was held in recognition of Women's History Month.  Librarians at TSU and Vanderbilt hosted the program to improve coverage of notable TSU female alumni. More than two dozen pages were edited in an effort to heighten the representation of women on Wikipedia. Dr. Samantha Morgan-Curtis incorporated the activity in her Research Writing and Honor's Senior Thesis Courses. "We are excited to offer our students an opportunity to see how these skill sets function outside the classroom," said Morgan-Curtis. Learn more about the event by clicking here: TSU Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon. 

Dr. Shafer

Congrats to Dr. Philip Shafer who Recently Defended his Dissertation! 

Dr. Shafer's area of expertise is in Children's/Young Adult Literature and Linguistics.  His dissertation,Transfiguration Maxima!: Harry Potter and the Complexities of Filmic Adaptation, centered on procedures of literary adaptation that recur across all eight of the Harry Potter films as they (re)cast J. K. Rowling’s novels into the medium of film.  His work constructs a model of some of the most frequent ways a film, as a multimodal form (visual, auditory, verbal), might (re)express the meanings constructed in a novel, a single-mode form of communication (verbal).  The department congratulates Dr. Shafer for this noteworthy achievement, and we look forward to seeing future scholarship in film studies.  In the meantime, learn more about Dr. Shafer and his research interests on his faculty page

Dr. Hayes  

Congrats to Dr. Jennifer Hayes in her Acceptance into the ELEVATE program!

Dr. Hayes is a 2016 fellow for the Elevate program, which is sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions (MSI). Participants will have the opportunity to further develop their skills through workshops that will cover academic writing, grant writing, teaching and mentoring. ELEVATE will further enrich participants’ learning by providing sessions geared towards helping early career MSI faculty of color navigate the professoriate. Sample sessions include: Balancing Faculty Work & Personal Life; Achieving Tenure and Promotion; Teaching Skill Development; Mentoring Skill Development; and Grant Writing 101. 

Chelsea Cash - Student Spotlight

Student Spotlight Initiative Launched!

LLP has launched a new initiative to celebrate the efforts of our majors and minors.  Periodically, we will highlight stellar LLP students who have found creative ways to achieve their academic and professional goals.  LLP Majors/Minors interested in being featured should complete the Spotlight submission form by clicking here: LLP Spotlight Submission Form. In the meantime, learn more about our current spotlight feature, Ms. Chelsea Cash, by clicking here: Student Spotlight

Kia Corthron Credit Bruce E. Rodgers/Hermitage Artist Retreat

Kia Corthron Taught Master Class at TSU!

Renowned playwright and novelist Kia Corthron taught a master class for Creative Writing students at TSU in February. The self-proclaimed "political writer" read from her new debut novel The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter. Learn more about her book in Elle .  TSU students and faculty asked questions about her career, purpose and and process in writing.  The overarching theme of her discussion: don't give up.  "Writer's Block is a Fallacy....just work through it!"  Learn more about the playwright by clicking here: Kia Corthron.

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TSU graduate and Pushcart Nominee Poetry Reading

TSU Graduate Tiana Clark will be reading her poetry this Sun, Feb 21, at 3 pm at the Scarritt-Bennett Center, 1008 19th Avenue South. Clark is a Pushcart Prize nominee and recent recipient of the 2015 Rattle Poetry Prize. Tiana graduated from Tennessee State University where she studied Africana and Women’s studies. She is a first-year MFA student in poetry at Vanderbilt University where she is the Writer In Residence for the East and Memorial houses, and a Poetry Reader for the Nashville Review, an online literary arts journal. Tiana serves on the board for a local non-profit literary center, The Porch Writer’s Collective. Learn more about her at

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A Salute to LLP Faculty Paving the Way with Recent Publications!

Dr. Cindy Murillo has been asked to contribute an essay on Paul Laurence Dunbar’s Poetic Naturalism to an American literature volume about Naturalism by a new Gale/Cengage Anthology.  This Anthology will be used widely throughout several universities and colleges in the United States. In addition to having several articles accepted for publication this Spring, Dr. Wendy Hennequin had a number of poems published in New Crops from Old Fields: Eight Medievalists Poets.  Dr. Luke Powers' poem "Jack's Girl," will appear in an upcoming addition of Tipton Poetry Journal.   Dr. Michelle Pinkard's poem "Dying Declarations," recently appeared in a Special CLA Journal, and she contributed a chapter to Critical Insights: Harlem Renaissance. Dr. Jennifer Hayes recently published a ten minute play, a critical review, and a chapter in A Critical Companion to Lynn Nottage. For more updates regarding faculty publications and events, visit their faculty pages

Student success building

Tiger Tutoring is back!

This semester, faculty members from the English department are working with Tiger Tutoring. Tutors will be available M-F 4:30-8pm in Room 202 of the Student Resource Center. This service is free to students. Tiger Tutoring is a great opportunity for students who need help with writing to receive immediate feedback from faculty.  Our writing tutors are equipped to help students at the University with various writing assignments and activities (within English department classes and beyond). They can assist the student at any stage of their writing process from brainstorming ideas to providing strategies for revision. For tutoring schedule and related information, visit the Tiger Tutoring Webpage

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27th Annual National African American Read-In Chain

LLP to host the Read-In this Sunday, Feb. 7, 3-4 p.m., Humanities 113. The Read-In is a significant part of Black History Month, and TSU joins with other colleges and universities, churches, libraries, community groups, bookstores, book clubs, neighborhood schools, and professional organizations who set aside the first Sunday in February  to participate in the chain.  The Read-In has been endorsed by the International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English.  Over a million readers of all ethnic groups in the United States, the West Indies, and African countries participate each year.  The goals are to celebrate African and African American literary art and to make literacy a traditional part of Black History Month activities.

Humanities Building

New Service Roles for LLP Faculty Member; English Majors

Congrats to Dr. Marc Mazzone, who was recently elected as the LLP Faculty Senator. The position begins in April.  Two English Majors will be interning for the department this semester as part of our professional internship program.  Alexis Brooks will manage departmental social media efforts; Jennifer Shafer will perform webmaster duties for Faculty Senate.  Learn more about them and their service by visiting the Student Success Page. 

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LLP Launches Professional Development Series: Pupil to Professional

Don't Wait Until You Graduate, 
let's begin mapping out your pathway to success now.  Pupil to Professional is a workshop series tailored to English and Liberal Arts majors.  It is sponsored by the LLP department, Career Development Center and the Write Studio.  The objective: to enhance career readiness, competitiveness, and development skills.  The first workshop is Friday, Jan. 29, 2:30p, Humanities 113. Seating is open, but limited.  Learn more and register by clicking here: Pupil to Professional.

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  LLP Film Club  Returns with  screening of  Selma

The next film screening is of the critically acclaimed  Selma  on Friday, Jan 29, 11a.m. - 2p.m.,  Humanities 113.  Snacks will be provided. This program is sponsored by LLP Film Pod, TSU Film Club, and the LLP Recruitment and Retention Committee: check out the LLP Event Calendar to see dates for future film screenings. Following the screening, several TSU students and LLP faculty members will participate in a lively discussion as moderated by Dr. Jennifer Hayes. For questions about Film Club activities, please contact Prof. Michelle Wise.

Legacies Unpacked

Legacies Unpacked: The Women of Schrader Acres in Poetry Published!

This poetry journal was inspired and sponsored by a Service Learning initiative.  In this semester-long engagement, TSU students enrolled in "Writing for Publication" interviewed residents and volunteers at the area David Jones Assisted Living Center.  Those interviews were molded into poetry by English Majors and into visual text by Art majors.  Students will perform their poetry for the residents of the Center at 2:30 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 2. Learn more about the project by visiting I Want to Write

TSU Students invited to State of the Word - Free with Early Registration

The Blair School of Music will welcome the 8th Annual State of the Word to Ingram Hall featuring the region’s top college and high school writers, poets, emcees and spoken word artists. Participating writers have received standing ovations at TEDxNashville, MNPS School Board, Leadership Nashville, and Child Advocacy Day. Among the performers this year, will be TSU's Soul Fire and Writers' Block.  The event begins at 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 5. Interested in attending for free, register by emailing Dr. Michelle Pinkard.  

  Student Newsletter Cover

Introducing LLP's First Virtual Newsletter - The Critical Approach!

The Critical Approach was a semester-long engagement for English majors and minors enrolled in Writing for Publication (Fall 2015). Their expressed goal was to create a newsletter that made fellow Tennessee State University students aware of the developments in Literature, Languages and Philosophy.  Let's celebrate their accomplishment by perusing the pages of the very first edition of The Critical Approach! Cheers! For more information about this project, visit our new Student Success page.

Ashley Northington

Check out the new Alumni Spotlight: Ashley Northington '05

Ashley Northington is the founder and director of DENOR Brands & Public Relations.  “I am a natural storyteller. I tell stories about others (and myself) for a living. I’m a writer, public relations professional, entrepreneur and public education advocate.”  Learn more about Northington by visiting our Alumni Spotlight page.

Soul Fire Poetry Organization cordially invites you to the  Be A Light! Rally

Are you tired of negative media stories attacking our school? Do you want to remove the shadow hanging over your institution? Join Soul Fire in the fight to defy stereotypes and the movement to reclaim our Tiger name. Bring your positivity, your talent, and your voice to an evening of poetry, conversation, music, dance and drama. Be a Light will feature Soul Fire poets, guest performers and an open mic.

Bring your light: 7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 13, at the Forum Auditorium.

LLP Faculty to Read Poetry in October's Lyrical Brew

Department Chair Lucas Powers and Professor Bob Bradley will read their original works in this month's Lyrical Brew.  The event starts at 7 p.m., Oct. 30, at Barnes and Noble Vanderbilt (2501 West End Ave, Nashville, Tennessee 37203).  You are cordially invited. 

Mural Project

Soul Fire Poets Creative Works Featured in Mural Project and Public Reading

A newly erected mural titled "To Love a City" embodies the larger revitalization occurring in the area and celebrates the thriving creative community in North Nashville. The mural stretches 380ft long by 6ft high and features original poetry from students of TSU's Soul Fire and Metro Nashville as interpreted by local artists. Congrats to Soul Fire poets who presented at the mural's unveiling in October.

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English Major wins 28th Annual Robert N. Murrell Oratorical Contest

Aaron I. Walker, a senior in the LLP Department, won first place in the upperclass division of this year's Robert N. Murrell Oratorical Contest.  Each year the oratorical contest is the first event of the university's week-long Homecoming celebration. This year, 34 students participated, with top competitors earning cash prizes. We salute Aaron for his stellar performance in this year's event.  Congrats!

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LLP Alum writes feature story in October's  Essence

Pick up your October copy of Essence today to read a fabulous cover story by our very own Bené Viera (Class '06). Viera is a passionate multimedia journalist, writer and blogger. She’s penned pieces for,, ESSENCE, VIBE, O, The Oprah Magazine,,,,,, Juicy magazine and others. As a reporter Bené has covered pop culture, entertainment, music, gender and race.  She has interviewed Diahann Carroll, Jessie Ware, Shonda Rhimes, Ron Isley, Nas, Kerry Washington, Spike Lee, Viola Davis, Brandy, J. Cole, Reverend Al Sharpton, Anita Hill and Tracy Martin, just to name a few. Learn more about Viera by visiting our Alumni Spotlight page, or go to

Spanish Artwork

LLP Launches Spanish Club: Spanish Table Talk

The first meeting was held on Sept. 25, and organizers plan to meet once a month.  Club initiatives include community service, dance classes, dinners, movie nights, scavenger hunts and much much more. For additional information, email

Film Club Icon

LLP Department Launches Film Club!

The TSU Film Club is a student-run organization composed of students and faculty members who are interested in film. The club's goals are to increase awareness of film and its role(s) in our contemporary lives. This includes, but is not limited to, aspects of storytelling, visual literacy, film as literature, film adaptation, film terminology, using film in the classroom, and genre conventions. "We we come to discuss, analyze, make, and geek out over films."  The group is hosting a film screening and discussion panel for The Babadook on Oct. 23.  For meeting dates and other concerns, contact organization founder Prof. Michelle Wise. 

Whitney Bradley Alumni Profile Image


The LLP Alumni Spotlight

Alumni spotlight  is part of a new departmental initiative to recognize the graduates who are blazing the trail for our students.  The current spotlight is on 2009 LLP graduate Whitney Bradley, who has garnered numerous accolades in education. To learn more about Ms. Bradley, check out the new  Alumni Spotlight  page. If you graduated with an LLP major or minor, please take a moment to complete the  Alumni Survey .  Questions regarding this initiative should be directed to  Dr. Michelle J. Pinkard , LLP Webmaster .


Sketches Cover Art

TSU's online literary magazine, is now online!

Sketches: The Online Creative Arts Journal of Tennessee State University  is an online open access journal published in Digital Scholarship @ Tennessee State University in collaborative partnership with the Department of Languages, Literature and Philosophy and the Tennessee State University Library.

Editor:   Elaine Anderson Phillips, Associate Professor, Department of Languages, Literature and Philosophy, Tennessee State University

 Tia Mitchell Teaching at TSU

Southern Word Returns to TSU!

Southern Word, an area organization committed to increasing literacy through poetry and spoken word, will send Poet lecturers to classrooms this year to teach the fundamentals poetic performance. "Students participating in spoken word programs report improvement in their reading and writing skills, increased self‐confidence, and a new sense of community among their peers and teachers. Educators report a clear rise in interest among students, a more youth‐driven learning environment, and evidence of greater social and academic confidence among students."

Soul Fire Group Photo

 "We Want Live Words!"

Soul Fire  Poetry Group and Workshop will return Fall 2015.  The first meeting will be held at 5 p.m., Weds., Sept. 9, Humanities 103 . This departmental organization meets once a week to hone poetry writing and performance skills, organize open mic performances, and to workshop their ideas.  It features a Poet Mentor from Southern Word, who helps students craft their skills. Learn more about their efforts by clicking here: Soul Fire Mini-Documentary.

*Check Out Spoken Word Performances by the Soul Fire Members and Friends.

Faculty Adviser: Dr. Michelle J. Pinkard


Our news develops over the school year as students and faculty participate in TSU activities, present at conferences, explore
through class activities, and much more. We hope you will check back frequently to see what we are doing! Please report news to LLP Webmaster Dr. Michelle J. Pinkard.