The Rovings and Ramblings of Reed English Majors

Eddings Summer Project Presentations

CW: Suicide mention

On Thursday, September 12, five English majors, Maya Nesbitt-Schnadt, Zia Pollis, Dan Primka, Kashaf Qureshi, and Ben Read, who had all received Eddings Grants for the summer, gave presentations on their projects at the Parker House. Each recipient received up to $3,000 to pursue the project of their choice of anything from academic to creative work. 

After some wining, dining, and even a little schmoozing with other students and English faculty, the party moved downstairs to the basement for the presentations, presided over by Michael Faletra. 

Ben Read (‘21) detailed his summer internship at Spokane Public Radio producing the show The Bookshelf, a half-hour program presenting serialized book readings read by the voices of Spokane. The most recent book was Jonathan Johnson’s memoir The Desk on the Sea.

Dan Primka (‘21) spent two weeks at Yale’s Beinecke Library digging through Eugene O’Neill’s archives for material on or surrounding his play The Iceman Cometh, a bar-room tragedy about the need to lie to oneself to live. Besides seeing how the play and O’Neill’s existential quandry developed throughout the various drafts, Primka tried to figure out why O’Neill delayed the publication of the work. Written in 1939 at the beginning of the Second World War, O’Neill locked copies of the manuscript in a safe until 1946. In letters to his publishers in 1940, O’Neill lamented that “the theatre has seemed to me about the most unimportant doll’s house on earth.” Later in an interview he said, “I have to get back to a sense of writing being worthwhile. In fact, I’d have to pretend.” O’Neill spent his last years facing his own pipedream and the uncertainty of the value of his life’s work. 

Kashaf Qureshi (‘20) stated that she “had the opportunity to research Martin Delrio, a Spanish-Dutch Jesuit Humanist scholar and theologian who lived from 1551-1608.” She was specifically looking at his Sacred Adages of the New and Old Testament, Part II in the Sabbe Library in Leuven, Belgium. Delrio’s work discussed passages from the Bible and gave various versions and explications of the adage. One example from Proverbs 19:25 read, “Flog a mocker, and the simple will be wise.” Delrio gives other versions of the adage such as one from Occumenius that reads, “Wise are those who are cautious due to another’s peril.” Kashaf also displayed a copy of the book for people to view afterwards. 

Zia Pollis (20’) went to the Northwest Undergraduate Conference on Literature in March and was selected to present on a creative nonfiction panel about writing space or place. Pollis wrote a beautiful personal essay on the culture of woodcutting and wood burning in Northern New Mexico. Pollis writes, “On the coldest nights, when the darkness seems a little too close to the windows, we burn cedar as a benediction, as a blessing. Something Dad will fill a fire shovel with hot coals and sprinkle copal and sage and cedar brush down upon them. He hotboxes the house with prayer smoke, coughing the cold breath of depression out of his body.”

Maya Nesbitt-Schnadt (20’) traveled to Dublin, Ireland to attend the Bloomsday Festival and follow in the footsteps of Leopold Bloom, the protagonist of James Joyce’s Ulysses. Joyce claimed that one could rebuild Dublin from his descriptions in Ulysses; Nesbitt-Schandt wanted to see how closely the city and its architecture aligned with Joyce’s text, but also how Joyce’s literary legacy and writing has shaped the city. She also explored how it felt to be a tourist specifically being a British tourist in Ireland. She complimented all of her travels with an essay and smaller free writes in the style of Joyce.

The Eddings Opportunity Grants are a wonderful resource for English majors to pursue a wide range of personal, academic, or career-related interests that are generally related to the department. The deadline for the fall semester is November 20th.

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