English Department

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From the Chair

booksLehman College's Department of English offers undergraduates a major with four distinct areas of specialization: Literature, Creative Writing, Professional Writing, and Early Childhood Education. In addition, the Department provides a parallel set of choices for a minor as well as many courses every semester for those students seeking a pleasurable introduction to literature written in English and for those wishing to fulfill distribution requirements. There are, in addition, two graduate programs, both containing concentrations in Literature or Composition Studies, leading to an M.A. in English. Whatever your preferences, Departmental advisers are available to help students choose the program most appropriate for them.
—Dr. Walter Blanco

Please click on the Advising link for important advising information!

News and Announcements


English Department Writing Prizes are being reviewed! Winners will be notified via email by April 15!


Professor Grace Russo Bullaro of Lehman College and Elena Benelli, Lecturer in Italian Studies, at Concordia University, Montreal, Canada have produced a new volume of work, Shifting and Shaping a National Identity: Transnational Writers and Pluriculturalism in Italy Today.
Peter Carravetta of Stony Brook University called this new volume, "Insightful and challenging papers that raise to new levels the call to revise what are by now archaic ideas about the national literary canon, and nationalist conceptions grounded on univocal identity and colonialist ideas of legitimation, privilege and aesthetic value. Innovative takes on nomadic writing that challenge the logic of inclusion/exclusion, trans-lingual poetics that subvert the notion of a supposed primacy of the “mother tongue,” critiques of imagined communities that foster xenophobia and racisms, the thesis that hybridity may already exist at the core of a presumed authentic or monolithic origin of a people or a tradition, and enlightening perspectives on a re-politicization of literature.

Daniele Comberiati of the Université Libre de Bruxelles said,  “Grace Russo Bullaro’s essay about Italian identity is fundamental at a theoretical level, as her question, “Who can actually be defined as Italian in a post-globalized Italy?” is the impetus of the present study. Can we still accept the dichotomy of migrant vs. native? Is it still possible to think about a national literature and language? Elena Benelli’s essay retraces the foundations of Italian identity in literature, as a key frame to elaborate new notions of “Italianness.”


Professor Margot Mifflin's Bodies of Subversion: A Secret History of Women and Tattoo (PowerHouse Books, 1997, 2013), chronicles the history of tattooed women and women tattooists in Western culture from the early 1880s to the present.
The New York Times called it “perceptive and moving,” “resplendantly illustrated,” “delicious social history…” chronicles the history of tattooed women and women tattooists in Western culture from the early 1880s to the present. With 100 new photos (including Janis Joplin, Natasha Kai, and Margaret Cho) additional historical information, and a chapter on tattooing trends in the new millennium, the updated Bodies is virtually a new book. Of interest: new applications such as therapeutic tattoos used for women coming out of gangs, prisons, and situations of domestic abuse; the impact of reality shows on the industry; passages on a heavily tattooed Lutheran pastor, a performance artist covered with holocaust imagery, new artists from Virginia Elwood to cover artist Roxx, and Shelley Jackson’s “Skin” project.

Tyler T. Schmidt's Desegregating Desire: Race and Sexuality in Cold War American Literature. A study of race and sexuality and their interdependencies in American literature from 1945 to 1955, Desegregating Desire examines the varied strategies used by eight American poets and novelists to integrate sexuality into their respective depictions of desegregated places and emergent post–World War II identities. Focusing on both progressive and conventional forms of cross-race writing and interracial intimacy, the book is organized around four pairs of writers: Elizabeth Bishop and Zora Neale Hurston; Gwendolyn Brooks and Edwin Denby; Ann Petry and William Demby; and Jo Sinclair and Carl Offord.

Aligning close textual readings with the segregated histories and interracial artistic circles that informed these Cold War writers, this project identifies a desegregationist process. Tyler T. Schmidt argues that these writers recognize the importance of sexuality to social change and the importance of interracial relations to both public and domestic life. In analyzing more intimate spaces of desegregation shaped by regional, familial, and psychological upheavals after World War II, this project argues that “queer” desire—understood as same-sex and interracial desire—redirected American writing and helped shape the Cold War era’s integrationist politics.

The National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis awarded the Gradiva Award for Poetry to Lehman College Professor Salita Bryant for her prizewinning poem, “Anatomy Lesson: A Poem.”

The Gradiva Award for Poetry.
Salita Bryant's "Anatomy Lesson: A Poem.”

marioDr. Mario DiGangi receives 2012 Lehman College Distinguished Scholarship Award
Since joining the English Department in 1998, Mario DiGangi has published two monographs and over a dozen articles, and has edited editions of three Shakespeare plays (The Winter’s Tale, Romeo and Juliet, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream). He has remained at the forefront of the ever-changing world of Shakespeare scholarship, while at the same time broadening his perspective to include questions of queer theory and class distinctions, and extending his chronological range into the mid-seventeenth century. These strengths are all evident in the book he published in 2011, Sexual Types, which examines six different character types as they appear in early modern English drama: the sodomite, the lesbian, the narcissistic courtier, the citizen wife, the bawd, and the court favorite.
For a full list of 2012 Arts and Humanities Award winners, click here.

Jane K. Cleland is the author of four non-fiction books [most recently Business Writing for Results, from McGraw Hill], the multiple award-nominated and IMBA best selling Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery series [now eight strong, all from St. Martin’s Minotaur], short stories, [all published by Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine], and noir plays. Jane chairs the Wolfe Pack’s literary awards, granted in partnership with Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. She’s also the host of the Writer’s Room, a series of interviews with today’s bestselling crime fiction authors that appears on cable television and online.

Lillian Ann Slugocki is the author of THE BLUE HOURS, a new novel that is a sexual examination of a marriage and its discontents from the award-winning co-author of The Erotica Project. Lillian Ann Slugocki has created an award-winning body of work on women and sexuality, including fiction, non-fiction, plays, and monologues that have appeared Off-Broadway, on NPR and WBAI radio, and online at Salon.com. Her work has been reviewed in The New York Times, The Village Voice, Art in America and The New Yorker.

Sondra Perl Leads the Holocaust Educators Network

Sondra Perl, acclaimed teacher, author and professor of English at Lehman College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York scrutinizes the difficult subject matter of the Holocaust at www.thememoriallibrary.org. The Holocaust Educators Network (HEN) was created in 2006 by Sondra Perl and is a “must see” for all educators and those interested in social justice in their classroom, community and nation. Professor Perl is the author of On Austrian Soil: Teaching Those I Was Taught to Hate, Writing True: The Art and Craft of Creative Writing and Stepping On My Brother's Head and Other Secrets Your English Professor Never Told You: A College Reader.


Esmeralda Santiago and Billy Collins Visit Lehman

santiago billyAcclaimed author Esmeralda Santiago was the Lehman Lecture keynote speaker on March 21, 2012. Several classes at Lehman read Ms. Santiago's memoir When I Was Puerto Rican in anticipation of her talk.
On March 29 a crowd of 350 attendees kicked off National Poetry Month with former U.S. Poet Laureate and Distinguished Professor Billy Collins. Professor Collins read with Lehman Professors Salita Bryant, George Greene and Jason Koo. Click here for the Santiago podcast, video of Prof. Collins reading, and pictures from both events.

National Poetry Month Event with Billy Collins and John Balaban

annual poetry event



"A literary and art magazine written, edited and produced by students for students." We welcome all original poetry, fiction, and art. http://obscuralitmag.wordpress.com/about/


Spotlight on Research

Professor Walter BlancoProfessor Paula LoscoccoProfessor Salita BryantProfessor Tyler SchmidtProfessor Grace Bullaro

Professor Walter Blanco, Professor Paula Loscocco, Professor Salita Bryant, Professor Tyler Schmidt and Professor Grace Bullaro

View all news and announcements


Related Programs of interest to English Majors and Gradate students:


Please visit the City and Humanities page for 2015 events!


See The CUNY Institute for Irish-American Studies page for 2015 events.


The Student Voice of Lehman College, The Meridian


Obscura, Lehman College Literary and Arts magazine.


Lehman College Student Radio



Last modified: Mar 25, 2015

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