Category Archives: Reading / performance

AAUEC 2018 at the Mount

LAAUEC 2018 Annual Atlantic Undergraduate English Conferenceast weekend, the English Department at Mount Saint Vincent University welcomed students and faculty from eleven universities across the east coast for the Annual Atlantic Undergraduate English Conference (AAUEC), which showcases the academic papers and creative works of the region’s top English students. Founded here in 1981, this was the sixth time that the Mount has hosted the conference. Co-organized by Dr. Reina Green and Dr. Diane Piccitto along with conference assistants Katie O’Brien, Hope Tohme, and Sam VanNorden, the AAUEC 2018 was a resounding success!

Mount students at AAUEC welcome reception

Mount students at the welcome reception: Hope Tohme, Katie O’Brien, Rebecca Foster, and Courtney Francis

The conference began on Friday, March 2, in Seton Academic Centre with a Welcome Reception, where attendees participated in a lively round of icebreaker bingo – facilitated by English Society co-presidents Katie O’Brien and Hope Tohme – and heard a presentation by Formac Publishing to announce “Write to Win!” – a writing competition aimed at Atlantic Canadians 18-30 years old.

The afternoon included the first panel of the conference and was followed by ArtFest, held in the MSVU Art Gallery. Emceed by Alexia Major and Sam VanNordon (co-editors, with other MSVU students, of the Speakman Press), ArtFest featured short stories and poetry of participants and the work of special guests El Jones (MSVU’s Nancy’s Chair in Women’s Studies and poet and activist) and Chantelle Rideout (writer and MSVU English alumna), as well as a welcome address by Dr. Elizabeth Church (MSVU’s Vice-President Academic and Provost).

Day 2 – Saturday, March 3, was held in the Margaret Norrie McCain Centre, giving visitors a chance to spend time in the only building at a Canadian university to celebrate the achievements of women, highlighted in the Women’s Wall of Honour. The second day included four panels, covering topics such as ethics, bodies, politics, and trauma, and even involved one presenter from the Mount, Michelle Russell, Skyping in from Florida where she is training with the Canadian paddling team.

The afternoon ended in the Atrium with the Bad Poetry Reading, which was first begun by Dr. Chris Ferns (Professor Emeritus) in his days as an undergraduate and then initiated at the Mount in the 1980s, having since become an institution in the English Department. Dr. Ferns selected among the very worst poems written by published authors and emceed the event, charming the audience with his entertaining commentary over the course of the hour. Readers included past and current MSVU English students,  faculty members such as Professors Emeritus Dr. Susan Drain and Dr. Peter Schwenger, who performed memorable renditions of “Curfew Must Not Ring Tonight” and “The Tay Bridge Disaster,” respectively. Afterward, participants and volunteers celebrated the two-day conference with a closing-night banquet and dance party – with DJ extraordinaire Dr. Steven Bruhm (former MSVU English student and professor) in Rosaria’s Multi-Purpose Room.

Mount students at AAUEC 2018

Some of the Mount student volunteers. Front, left to right: Katie O’Brien, Nicole Martina, Alex Rudderham, Sidney Warren.  Back, left to right: Sarah Vallis, Darcy Eisan, Sam VanNorden, Megan Bruce, Hope Tohme

The conference was marked by a wonderful energy from beginning to end, creating a stimulating inter-university intellectual community for English students and faculty. See our earlier post here for a list of Mount presenters.

We would like to thank the more than 50 presenters who shared their work at the AAUEC 2018 and the faculty who accompanied students as well as our emcees, guest speakers, and DJ. Thank you also to the President’s Office and the Dean of Arts and Science for their very necessary financial support and to MSVU staff (Catering, Conference Services, Art Gallery, IT Services, Facilities, Communications, Marketing, and Recruitment, Research Office, Book Store, Print Shop, and Security). Finally, a very special thank you to our conference assistants, all of our volunteers, Tracy McDonald (English Department Administrative Assistant), as well as the entire English Department for their instrumental involvement and support over the last several months.

AAUEC dance

AAUEC dance


Dramatic reading of A Midsummer Night’s Dream

The English Department is hosting a reading of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream on Wednesday, November 15th at 4:30 in Seton 404. All students, staff, and faculty are welcome. If you’re interested in reading a role, small or large, contact Dr. Diane Piccitto, or just come to listen. Refreshments will be served.

Oberon, Titania and Puk with Fairies Dancing by William Blake

Oberon, Titania and Puck with Fairies Dancing c.1786 William Blake

Alan Syliboy visit, October 10

The English Department is pleased to present Alan Syliboy, author and illustrator of The Thundermaker. Dr. Syliboy is an internationally renowned Mi’kmaw painter, sculptor, filmmaker, musician, and social justice activist.

Tuesday, October 10
MSVU Aboriginal Student Centre

You can take a look at Syliboy’s art and listen to his music on his website:, which also links to his Facebook page. You can also find him on Twitter, @AlanSyliboy, where you can see a daily sample of his artwork.  This image, posted on October 3, comes from his drum series:

Alan Syliboy, drum series. posted on Oct. 3, 2017 @AlanSyliboy

Drum Series, from @AlanSyliboy, posted October 3, 2017.



Poetry Reading: Brian Bartlett

Poetry Reading / Q&A:  Poetry & Process

Brian Bartlett

MacDonald Room Reading Series 2017

All welcome. Open to the public. Free

Brian Bartlett Wanting the DayBrian Bartlett has published 7 collections of poetry, including The Watchmaker’s Table and The Afterlife of Trees, as well as a book of prose, Ringing Here & There: A Natural Calendar; he has twice won The Malahat Review Long Poem prize. He is currently editing the collected poems of Alden Nowlan with 3 new books forthcoming, including a second book of nature writing (from Gaspereau Press).

“reflective precision” . . . “a passionate worldview & joy in language”
(Canadian Literature; Arc)

Monday March 6
7:30 p.m.
Mount Saint Vincent University Library
EMF Centre, Main Floor
166 Bedford Highway

Campus map

poster [pdf]

Halifax Poet Laureate Rebecca Thomas at the Mount

Halifax Poet Laureate
Rebecca Thomas

Public Performance

Halifax Poet Laureate Rebecca Thomas

photo credit Javian Trotman

Wednesday, February 8, 2017, noon
MSVU Faculty Lounge Seton 404-405

Hosted by the Departments of English, History, Sociology and Anthropology, Women’s Studies,  and the Cultural Studies programme

Everyone welcome!

Bad Poetry Reading 2017

Bad poetry reading 2017

Lighten the winter blues and come to the
English Society Meet and Greet
Bad Poetry Reading
not your usual finger-snapping poetry evening
Wednesday, January 18
Seton 404

All welcome

The English Department began hosting an annual evening of bad poetry, organized by Dr. Chris Ferns, thirty years ago. It has become a much anticipated evening full of laughter at the expense of some of our most famous poets who have written some of the most dreadful poetry.

Come and join us to hear such classics as the “Ode on the Mammoth Cheese,” “The Mongrel,” and “The Bells,” the latter complete with a memorable chorus. Participation is also encouraged. If you would like to read a poem, let us know, and we will find one for you.



A Dramatic Reading: The Importance of Being Earnest

The Importance of Being EarnestThe English Department is hosting a dramatic reading of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest.

Wednesday, November 16
4:30 p.m.
Seton 404

All are welcome to attend or to participate (contact Dr. Diane Piccitto if you’d like to be assigned a part).


Cornelia Hoogland reading / talk Oct. 20

Cornelia Hoogland, Woods Wolf GirlThe MacDonald Room Reading Series kicks off this year with a reading and short talk by Cornelia Hoogland.  She will read from her poetry, “Woods Wolf Girl,” (2011) and will discuss her adaptation of it for the play “Red” (2013).

MacDonald Room
Mount Saint Vincent University Library
EMF Centre
Tuesday, October 20
7:30 p.m.

Free.  Open to the public.  All welcome.
We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council and Playwrights Guild of Canada.

Poster: C HOOGLAND MacDonald Rm Reading Oct 20 2015 [pdf]

Fall’s “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” … and a bumper crop of literary events

Colleen Murphy

murphy Governor General Award winning playwright Colleen Murphy will be reading at the Mount on Monday, September 28th, at 1:30 pm. in Seton 504.

Colleen Murphy is currently 2015-2017 the Lee Playwright in Residence at the University of Alberta, and is preparing a production of The December Man at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa in the runup to the commemoration of the Montreal Massacre on December 6th. The December Man (L’homme de décembre) won her the Governor General’s Award for Drama in English in 2007. Other plays include Armstrong’s War, Pig Girl, and The Piper.

Her visit here is funded by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Playwrights’ Guild of Canada.

Pier 21 Reads

edugyanEsi Edugyan

author of Half-Blood Blues, speaking on themes of immigration and Canadian identity
Thursday September 24: 10 am and Friday September 25: 7 pm

Lawrence Hill

author of The Book of Negroes, speaking on his new novel The Illegal, inspired by the survival stories of undocumented refugees around the world.
Thursday October 1: 7 pm

The Mount Art Gallery

Choral Reading of Howl

in conjunction with the Art Gallery’s current show “We are continually exposed to the flashbulb of death”: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg (1953-1996)

Saturday, 3 October at 7pm

“I SAW THE BEST MINDS OF MY GENERATION DESTROYED BY MADNESS, STARVING HYSTERICAL NAKED…” volunteers will perform a choral reading of Ginsberg’s poem Howl. Howl and Other Poems was published in San Francisco in 1956 and acquitted of obscenity shortly afterward. The reading will last about 25 minutes; please note adult content and language. Refreshments will be served.

After the reading, at 7:30 pm., John Shoesmith will lead an informal, half-hour tour of the exhibition. A librarian at the Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto, Shoesmith co-curated the exhibition with Barbara Fischer.

Keep an eye on bulletin boards and for other events at the Mount and in the community.