Cezarija Abartis

This week, we have the great pleasure to feature:

Cezarija Abartis

In her words:

Some of my favorite classic authors and books:

Homer, Euripides, Jane Austen, Chekhov’s stories and plays, James Joyce’s “The Dead,” Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front, Eric Ambler’s A Coffin for Dimitrios, Nabokov’s Lolita, Isaac Babel, Carson McCullers’ “The Ballad of the Sad Cafe,” Isaac Bashevis Singer, Bernard Malamud’s stories. And Shakespeare, always Shakespeare.

Some of my favorite contemporary authors:

I’m going to list titles of books. Jo Ann Beard’s The Boys of My Youth, Lucia Berlin’s A Manual for Cleaning Women, Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber, Ellen Currie’s Available Light, Denis Johnson’s Jesus’ Son, Thom Jones’ The Pugilist at Rest, Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John, Lorrie Moore’s Self Help, Grace Paley’s stories, Martin Cruz Smith’s Arkady Renko novels, Robert Stone’s Dog Soldiers, Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club, Stephanie Vaughn’s Sweet Talk. I will stop now. I expected this compiling to be tedious and effortful, but I find myself smiling as I recall these beautiful books and inspirations.

What I’m most proud of is my book on Shakespeare The Tragicomic Construction of Cymbeline and the Winter’s Tale  (Humanities Press) and my collection of short stories, Nice Girls and Other Stories (New Rivers Press). In a review on NewPages.com, Sima Rabinowitz writes, “These stories are as good the second time through as they are the first. Always, for me, a measure of success.”

Ursula K. Le Guin writes: “Covering the territory between memoir and fiction, these deft and accurate stories hava a rare honesty.”


A few of my hundred flashes published online:

“The Writer,” was chosen by Wigleaf Journal as one of the top 50 online flashes of 2011. Dan Chaon was the selecting editor. http://wigleaf.com/2012top501.htm

“Lost and Found,” New World Writing. Online. June 15, 2020


“Sisters.” matchbook. Online. February 2020


“Medea Imagines” Carmina. Online. December 2, 2019


“Stories for Second-Grade Teachers” Baltimore Review. Summer 2019


“Sleeping Beauty Is Not Well,” Bennington Review. Issue Four. Fall / Winter 2017, pp. 146-147. Also online: http://www.benningtonreview.org/cezarija-abartis

Current research interests:

I certainly value historical, biographical, political criticism, but I also value formal criticism. As a fiction writer, I study the structure of the work itself: character, setting, plot, theme, imagery. I’m interested in the formal characteristics of a work of art–how an author constructs a work to have an effect on our emotions, especially complex layered emotions (the pity and fear that Aristotle famously talked about in tragedy; the nobility and revenge that Euripides dramatizes in his plays).

Thank you so much for reading!!

Calling all English Department faculty, students, and alumni!!

Did you know that you can be featured on our blog page??

We absolutely love featuring our current students, faculty, and alumni!


  1. Have you recently been published? Let us know the details and we’ll put together a post. We’d also love to publish a post you wrote.
  2. Are you teaching a really compelling course? (The answer should be “yes” because ALL of you are teaching really compelling courses.) Write something about the course and send it our way. We love to read about what’s happening within the walls of Webster!
  3. Got a fun story to share? Please share it!! This can be about anything. Exciting happenings in your class. Fun summer getaways. A funny story your niece told you the other day. We love to get to know our professors and would love to have you share your stories!


  1. Have you written a really interesting paper recently? Send it to us! We’d love to publish it on the blog! We really enjoy seeing what students are doing within our classrooms!
  2. Do you have any fun side projects happening? We’d love to hear about it! We like featuring students’ projects because we like showcasing our amazing English Department talent!
  3. Are you writing a thesis or working a culminating project? Featuring something like this on our blog is beneficial because it may give inspiration to future students as they begin to think about their own culminating projects.


  1. Are you published (or soon to be published)? Send us a link and short write-up about your pieces and we’ll link your work to our blog. We know we have some amazing alumni and your work deserves to be featured!
  2. How about a story from when you were attending SCSU? We quite like taking trips down memory lane! Please feel free to share your stories with the blog!
  3. What are you up to these days? We feel very connected to all of our alumni and would greatly appreciate to hear how you are doing, what you are doing, and how the English Department helped prepare you for your current adventures.

Do you have other ideas for submissions? Please, send them our way! If we haven’t said it before, we love featuring faculty, students, and alumni!! Please consider writing something for the blog!

New faculty directions for St. Cloud’s teaching license program

Since 2018, the English Department’s new English Education professor, Dr. Michael Dando, has been mobilizing teaching license students with his culturally relevant pedagogy–recently recognized with one of this year’s Miller Scholar Awards, among St. Cloud State’s highest honors. Michael’s research explores how students engage youth culture and critical literacy development toward democratic and civic engagement. In particular, he studies how students and teachers use elements of hip-hop culture to interpret and cultivate central representations of self, community, and pro-social world views, and how teachers and students might enhance these learning environments to provide rich learning experiences that students will see as highly connected to formal tools and ideas. This work involves attending closely to the design of representations and tools within these academic spaces as well as the artifacts (both tangible and intangible) constructed by students.

Dr. Dando serves on the Executive Planning Committee for The Bias Inside Us Project at SCSU in partnership with the Smithsonian.

The Smithsonian Institution, committed to leading and encouraging civil dialogue on important issues facing our nation and the world, is preparing a community engagement project called The Bias Inside Us. Our goal is to help visitors understand and counter their implicit biases and build capacity in communities to convene dialogue that will increase empathy and create more inclusive schools, communities, and workplaces.

He also partners with Teachers College Columbia on the Remixing Wakanda Project.

In collaboration with professors Michael DandoJohn Jennings, and Dr. Nathan Holbert, the Re-mixing Wakanda project examines how youth from communities historically underrepresented and overlooked in the classroom, arts, and sciences might take this movement to create new representations of and for themselves through Afrofuturism, critical making, and design practices. This project aims to examine how young people communicate and articulate who they see themselves to be and why this matters, through an epistemological framework that questions and reimagines the present and past–seeing them as collections of objects, representations, and meanings that can be modified, mixed, and repurposed to imagine future societies and technologies that center people of color. It is through this interdisciplinary and sociocultural lens we re-imagine both STEAM and makerspaces that disrupt dominant notions of what can and should occur as well as dominant understandings of who belongs and can excel in these fields.

Recent article publications

  • Dando, M. (2017). We got next: Hip-hop pedagogy and the next generation of democratic education. Kappa Delta Pi Record53(1), 28-33.
  • Dando, M. B., Holbert, N., & Correa, I. (2019). Remixing Wakanda: Envisioning Critical Afrofuturist Design Pedagogies. In Proceedings of FabLearn 2019(pp. 156-159).
  • Holbert, N., Dando, M., & Correa, I. (2020). Afrofuturism as critical constructionist design: building futures from the past and present. Learning, Media and Technology, 1-17.
  • Holbert, N., Yoon, H., Brownell, C., Moffett, C., Dando, M., Correa, I., & Vasudevan, L. (2020). The Aesthetics of (Un) Charted Play: Negotiating Nostalgia and Digital Demons in an Era of “Post-Truth” Educational Research.

Interested in listening to Professor Dando?

Check out his podcast here!

If you are interested in hearing Professor Dando’s recent interview regarding his teaching on and research into popular culture and education, please click here.

Dr. Monica Pelaez – Accomplished Faculty and Author

SCSU professor Monica PelaezSt. Cloud State University is proud to have Dr. Pelaez as a faculty member. She is a Professor of English and holds degrees from Princeton and Brown. Her primary field is nineteenth-century American poetry, and she has published on the work of Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allan Poe, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.



Published Books

Lyrical Liberators CoverLyrical Liberators documents the work of abolitionist poets who spoke out against slavery during an era when it could mean risking one’s life. It draws on archival research to recover their poems from the periodicals where they originally appeared, and considers how they succeeded in rallying public opinion by relying on a genre that was in many respects more influential than any other at this time. This collection illustrates the numerous intersections across mid-nineteenth-century American literature, history, politics, religion, and media to offer an overview of the various discourses that shaped the seminal period leading up to the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery in 1865.

Consider supporting Dr. Pelaez by purchasing Lyrical Liberators here!

Courses Taught

Dr. Pelaez shares her expertise with undergraduate and graduate students through the various classes she teaches. She brings a breadth of knowledge to our students!

Her courses include

  1. Early American Literature through 1830 (ENGL 310) Considers the work of adventurers and colonists who wrote to edify and instruct English and American readers. Focuses on how Puritan divines directed their constituents in the ways of the godly. Includes readings in captivity narratives that detail local interactions with Native Americans, and addresses the role of slavery in early America. Examines the circumstances and texts that were integral to the American Revolution. The goal is to comprehend how the American literary tradition was initiated and what this tells us about the foundations of American culture.
  2. American Literature 1830-1900 (ENGL 311) Covers a range of 19th-century American texts, focusing in particular on how the literary formation and representation of self-reliance assumed importance in the face of rapid social and economic change. Considers how introspection and transcendentalism became dominant concerns in response to the destabilizing effects of secularization and industrialization. Addresses the sociocultural impact of the Civil War. Authors include Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry David Thoreau, Edgar Allan Poe, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Walt Whitman, and Emily Dickinson. Readings in various genres will offer a range of perspectives on a seminal period in American literary history.
  3. African American Literature (ENGL 216) Selections of literature by African American authors ranging from the 18th to the 20th century. Readings include lyrics, memoirs, essays, poems, short stories, and novels covering key movements in this literary tradition. Traces how the African American voice developed through different eras to build an awareness of the influences and motivations that informed these texts.
  4. Introduction to English Studies (ENGL 300) Selections of literary criticism, poetry, and fiction introducing key movements and genres in English Studies. Texts include essays by Michel Foucault and Virginia Woolf, fiction by James Joyce and Raymond Carver, and poetry by Robert Frost and Sylvia Plath. Traces the development of distinct literary movements and builds an awareness of the terminology that is used in the discipline.
  5. Literary Theory and Criticism (ENGL 402/502/602) Focuses on the concepts that apply to the writer’s creative process, the various purposes of literary art, form, and technique, and the responses that literature elicits. Selections cover key movements in the field.
  6. Introduction to Poetry (ENGL 481/581) Introductory survey of poetry ranging from the Elizabethan to the modern era. Develops an understanding of how and what poetry communicates by exploring distinct poetic movements and their corresponding terminology. Looks closely at formal elements of poetry, including meter and rhyme. Focus on poetic language and its thematic and structural evolution through the centuries in both England and America.
  7. Introduction to Graduate Studies in English (ENGL 606) Focuses on English research methods and the application of theories in the fields of literature, language, and writing. Selections of literary criticism, poetry, and fiction introduce key movements and genres.
  8. Seminar in American Literature of the Later Nineteenth Century (ENGL 611) Addresses the causes and repercussions of the American Civil War as reflected in literature of the era. Readings in a variety of genres that responded to wartime issues, including poems, short stories, speeches, and a novel. Covers sentimental and realist perspectives. Explores how some writers served political rhetoric while others challenged the status quo. Authors include Walt Whitman, Herman Melville, Emily Dickinson, Stephen Crane, and Ambrose Bierce.

For more information about any of these courses, please see the SCSU University Catalog.

List of Publications

  • Lyrical Liberators: The American Antislavery Movement in Verse, 1831-1865, Ohio University Press, 2018.
  • “‘A Love of Heaven and Virtue’: Why Longfellow Sentimentalizes Death,” Reconsidering Longfellow, ed. Christoph Irmscher and Robert Arbour, Farleigh-Dickinson University Press, 2014.
  • “The Sentimental Poe,” The Edgar Allan Poe Review 8.2, fall 2007.
  • “Reversing the Irreversible: Dickinson and the Sentimental Culture of Death,” Studies in Irreversibility: Texts and Contexts, ed. Benjamin Schreier, Cambridge Scholars Press, 2007.


Sarah Green Reads Poetry in Nebraska

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Professor Green reciting her poetry to a packed house in Nebraska.

“CHADRON – Sarah Green presented a poetry reading and conducted a guided poetry exercise and question and answer session for students Nov. 21 at the Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center” at Chadron State College (CSC College Relations). Congratulations, Sarah! Over 200 people attended the reading and the ensuing workshop had 30 students and faculty participating. Check out her anthology, Welcome to the Neighborhood, on Amazon or Ohio UP.


Dungeons & Desktops: 2nd Edition

Image result for dungeons and desktops 2nd edition barton

The Ultimate Book on Computer Role-Playing Games

We are pleased to announce the publication of the second edition of Dungeons and Desktops: The History of Computer Role-Playing Games. First published in 2008, this new 2019 edition features an upgrade to full-color images, over 200 additional pages, and expanded information about the educational potential of role-playing games. The book covers the “Dark Ages” of early mainframe CRPGs and MUDs all the way up to the latest big-budget games and indie titles. It’s available in softcover and hardcover versions. Read more about it at Taylor & Francis. It’s a must for anyone interested in studying, designing, or playing classic computer role-playing games like Ultima and Fallout. 

Matt was interviewed by WIRED Magazine’s Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast about the book and his YouTube channel, Matt Chat, back in June.

The cover art is by Robbie Sambat, who intended it as an homage to the classic Pool of Radiance artwork by Clyde Caldwell.

Lyrical Liberators: The American Antislavery Movement in Verse, 1831–1865

Cover of Lyrical Liberators

“A significant contribution to the scholarship on antislavery.”

SCSU Professor Monica Pelaez has authored a new anthology entitled Lyrical Liberators: The American Antislavery Movement in Verse, 1831–1865. Published by Ohio University Press, this book explores abolitionist poetry and “stands as a testimony to the power of a free press in the face of injustice.” From the publisher:

In Lyrical Liberators, Monica Pelaez draws on unprecedented archival research to recover these poems from the periodicals—Garrison’s Liberator, Frederick Douglass’s North Star, and six others—in which they originally appeared. The poems are arranged by theme over thirteen chapters, a number that represents the amendment that finally abolished slavery in 1865. The book collects and annotates works by critically acclaimed writers, commercially successful scribes, and minority voices including those of African Americans and women.

You can read more about the book at Ohio University Press.

Welcome to the Neighborhood: An Anthology of American Conexistence

Cover of Welcome to the Neighborhood

A Fabulous New Book by Sarah Green

Pre-order your copy of Welcome to the Neighborhood: An Anthology of American Coexistence to get it in time for the holidays. This anthology was edited by SCSU English professor Sarah Green.

“How to live with difference is a defining worry in contemporary America. In this enormously rich resource for the classroom and for anyone interested in reflecting on what it means to be American today, poets, fiction writers, and essayists, with open minds and nuance, ask what it means to be neighbors.”

Considered “exceptional and necessary” by Erica Dawson, author of When Rap Spoke Straight to God, Welcome to the Neighborhood is the perfect addition to your holiday reading queue. It’s currently $19.96 in paperback (20% off!). You can listen to an interview podcast Sarah did with about the anthology if you’d like more information about this collection.