Saturday, February 23, 2013

the university in the city

Page 73 of Judith Rodin's book on urban universities (I was the first among Penn's faculty/staff to use the mortgage incentive plan to buy a house in West Philadelphia). I have *loved* living here the 15 years since, raising my kids here (this diverse & arts-lively part of the city has had such a positive effect on them) & finding myself involved in & learning about the concerns of the neighborhood - not to mention being able to walk or bike to work, and easily go back to campus at night to meet with students & attend their events.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

New York Times editorial on online courses

"The online revolution offers intriguing opportunities for broadening access to education. But, so far, the evidence shows that poorly designed courses can seriously shortchange the most vulnerable students." - NY Times editorial today. 

Yes, poorly designed courses (online or otherwise) are bad. Thank you.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Loudon Wainwright III

Loudon Wainwright visited the Kelly Writers House last night for our annual Blutt Singer-Songwriter Symposium, an event that included an interview conducted by Anthony DeCurtis. Here is a video clip of Loudon singing "White Wino," in response to Anthony's questions about Loudon's mother.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

travel grant

The Terry B. Heled Travel Grant at the Kelly Writers House


As a way of memorializing her mother, Terry B. Heled - and of honoring the students of her alma mater in gratitude for the encouragement her own research and writing received while she was at Penn - Mali Heled Kinberg (C'95) has created this endowed fund at the Kelly Writers House that, each summer, enables a student to travel for the purpose of conducting the research that will lead to a significant writing project.

the grant

The winner of the Heled Travel Grant will receive $2,000 toward the costs of summer travel, for a researched writing project requiring archives, facilities, people (e.g. those to be interviewed), materials, and/or terrain that can only be found at a travel destination or destinations. Applicants who can describe such resources in detail will be at an advantage. Think expansively.  Priority will be given to those proposing longer trips, especially travel beyond North America, but any travel plan -- to any place, of any length -- will receive serious consideration based on the quality of the project. Paddle down the Mississippi to study American literary history firsthand. Track down the surviving members of the "Ghost Army" of World War II to learn about alternative, theatrical warfare. Travel to Greece or Vienna or Japan to research and write about your linguistic roots.

The proposed research experience should lead specifically to a writing project of some kind. (Students researching topics in non-humanities subjects are welcome to apply, but note that the result of the research should be a significant and creative piece of writing.)

who is eligible?

Any currently matriculated University of Pennsylvania junior, sophomore or freshman is eligible.

after the summer

After the summertime travel, the Heled Grant recipient will present the results of his or her research in a program at the Kelly Writers House. The format of the session at the Writers House is wide open; the purpose of the event is to create a sense of excitement about students traveling for research as well as, of course, to give the winner of the grant a forum for showing off his or her achievement and telling the story of the trip.

how to apply

The deadline for all applications is Wednesday, March 6, 2013. Candidates should include:

* a cover letter giving a very brief summary of the project and a description of relevant experience (coursework as well as non-academic);
* a detailed two-page description of the project - the research trip and the proposed writing;
* an estimate of all costs associated with the trip;
* a current resume that includes, as an appendix, a complete list of relevant courses taken, heavily annotated to give descriptions of projects and papers prepared for each course;
* a writing sample, no longer than 15 pages.

Applications should be emailed to Mingo Reynolds at

3805 Locust Walk in 1953

This photograph was taken on May 29, 1953, on the 38th block of Locust Street in West Philadelphia. The photographer was looking east toward the center of the University of Pennsylvania. Today, from this vantage, one would see Locust Walk (not Street), and in the distance one would see the street go upward over the 38th Street pedestrian bridge. Along the right side of this view today one would see the edge of Harnwell House ("High Rise East") and then, further away, the front edge of the Class of 1920 Commons. The Samuel Sloan-designed house at 3805 Locust Walk - now the Kelly Writers House - is not visible here (as it is set back from the street), but near where we've placed a red dot is the street-side path that leads to the porch and front door of the house. For more information about this photograph, click here.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

64 Ashbery poems


Thursday, February 07, 2013

homecoming weekend celebration to mark the 15th anniversary of the Kelly Writers House

This is a video recording of the 15th anniversary celebration of the Kelly Writers House, held during homecoming weekend that year. Three of my own former students, and KWH's first Director, Kerry Sherin Wright, presented their work. But before they did that, I gave a high-speed talk on the founding of the Writers House three times in succession: first a "conservative" narrative of KWH, then a liberal narrative, and finally a radical narrative.

Conversation with Ken Lum

Sunday, February 03, 2013

tech apps for saving long-form nonfiction

This video is an excerpt from "pitch night" for our "Entrepreneurial Jounalism" class taught by Sam Apple. These two student presentations proposed new applications to address current trends and problems in long-form nonfiction writing and publishing. You can watch the complete video - with all the student pitches - here. This program was sponsored by our Creative Ventures program.