Places to Write: Lion & Bright

It’s essay-writing season!  If you’re looking for Places to Write off campus, our media assistant Kyle Cross has some suggestions for you. Today we have the second installment in the series, this one about Kyle’s visit to Lion & Bright. (We note again that Kyle has no affiliation with the places he’s writing about).

Places to Write: The Locality of Lion & Bright
by Kyle Cross

Located in the re-developed community of Halifax’s North End on Agricola Street, Lion & Bright is a spacious café and wine bar that serves both locally-roasted coffee and local food. I feel that the owners are too humble when they characterize their establishment as a café / wine bar; it is also a restaurant, a local grocery, an arts space, and a proper bar – a place where you can buy fresh produce, delicious coffee, a work of art, or a Screwdriver (a vodka orange, that is).

Because it’s so spacious, this café / bar/ restaurant has plenty of seating. You can claim a place on the long wooden bench, on a stool at the bar, or in a comfy leather chair on the perimeter of the room. Wherever you choose, you’ll have more than enough space to read, write, study, as well as eat and drink.

Need some coffee to fuel your writing? Lion & Bright serves North Mountain Coffee, which is roasted locally in Berwick, N.S.  Pictured below are Lion & Bright’s London Fog and North Mountain Peruvian Blend, an electrifying medium roast that will surely awaken your third eye. Looking for a unique caffeinated beverage to indulge in?  Try their Red Wine Hot Chocolate or Red Velvet Mocha, which I highly recommend! (Imagine an espresso infused with red velvet cake).

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And if you’re craving some protein while you’re working away on that end-of-term paper, you can take advantage of Lion & Bright’s kitchen and order one of their pulled-pork quesadillas; it’s to die for. Or if you want to shake off your nerves after studying for that accumulative exam you can head to the bar and order a Blueberry G, made with Tito’s Handmade Vodka, house-made blueberry juice, natural cane sugar, and carbonated club soda. Lion & Bright also has on tap various locally-brewed beer, and both local and imported wines are available.

The brick wall, elongated beams, fog lights, and exposed vents make Lion & Bright seem like an abandoned distillery or warehouse. In fact, its interior is inspired by European café culture, as one staff member tells me, where many cafés are situated in historic buildings that were once textile or flour mills, or other production plants and factories.

This place howls with creative energy. It also serves as an art gallery and hosts various events such as art exhibits, poetry readings, and musical and theatrical performances by local up-and-coming artists.

It goes without saying that Lion & Bright is a university student’s paradise, given that here you can seque from study time to social time. Glancing at others around me, I see groups of students and young professionals alike discussing their ideas with each other, drinking their beer while they either agree or disagree with the theories of their peers. If Karl Marx and Engels were alive today and living in Halifax, they would be at Lion & Bright arguing about and debating the specifics of The Communist Manifesto, trying to figure out how to unite the workers and intellectuals of the world, all while enjoying their locally-grown grub.

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You should experience the unique atmosphere of Lion & Bright, whether it’s to do school work, go out for dinner, or have a couple of drinks. You can even buy your groceries at the Local Source Market, which is attached to the café and belongs to the same owner. For information on Lion & Bright, visit their website: http://www.lionandbright.com/

 

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Our students shine at the Atlantic Undergraduate English Conference

2017 AAUEC presenters

Mount students at the AAUEC 2017

Each year, an English Department faculty committee selects among the best of our students’ work in literature and creative writing for presentation at the Annual Atlantic Undergraduate English Conference (AAUEC). This year’s conference was held at the University of PEI last weekend, March 3-5, when faculty and students from around the Atlantic region gathered to listen to and discuss various topics.

The following students were selected for the 2017 conference:

  • Katie O’Brien, “The Maternal Abject and ‘Passive Suffering’ as the Real Horror in Rosemary’s Baby
  • Kevin Smith, “A Picture Like a Poem: William Hogarth’s The Harlot’s Progress
  • Hope Tohme, “The Utter Unpredictability of Words: An Analysis of Translation and Transposition as it Pertains to Mary Stuart’s Casket Sonnets”
  • Sarah Vallis, “Polite Deference: Queen Elizabeth I’s tempering with gendered bodies and power”
  • Karlee Bustelli, “Flight”
  • Tuqqaasi Nuqingaq, “The Way the Earth Feels”

Congratulations to all of the English students who did such a great job of representing our department!

 

New Course Descriptions 2017-18

booklet launch 2017The new English and Writing course descriptions for 2017-2018 are now available! Our course booklet launch is on right now until 2 p.m. today.  Come to the fifth floor of Seton in the English Corner and grab a coffee and a booklet. Faculty advisors are standing by to help.

You can also find the course descriptions on our English Department website — click on “Course Guide 2017-18.”  Unfortunately, the website doesn’t come with snacks.

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]

Hands-on Research by English Honours Students

Our English Honours students have a rare opportunity to spend a year researching and writing in the manner of professional literary critics and theorists. Under the supervision of a professor, they select a topic, develop it through research, and write a substantial scholarly work. Last week, our current Honours students presented their research to the department in our annual Honours Colloquium.

Meet our 2016-17 Honours students:

Kyle Cross

Kyle Cross Honours 2016-17

My thesis explores John Gardner’s novel Grendel, which is an adaptation of Beowulf told from the monster’s perspective.  In my project, I employ postcolonial theory — mainly the theories of Edward Said and Homi K. Bhabha — to explore the ways in which Gardner portrays the relationship between the monster and the Danes.

Allyson Roussy

Allyson Roussy Honours 2016-17

With a focus on children’s literature, I am examining how structures of surveillance, specifically the panoptical structure, are used for the social conditioning and social control of children. I will be working with Mary Martha Sherwood’s The Fairchild Family, Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons, Elizabeth George Speare’s The Witch of Blackbird Pond, and Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time.

Alexandra Rudderham

Alexandra Rudderham Honours 2016-17

My thesis focuses exclusively on novels and short stories by Thomas King. A self-described “contemporary Native writer,” King blends written narratives with oral traditions. I am interested in his specific brand of interfusional storytelling: King creates an intentionally liminal space and deconstructs assumptions about the way stories are told and perceived. The novel Green Grass, Running Water, short stories “One Good Story, That One” and “Coyote Goes West” are a few of the texts I use to explore King’s methods of replicating the spoken voice through written narrative. In my research, I am considering authority and a possible capital-T “Truth” in storytelling.

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If you’re a Mount English student and think you might be interested in an Honours degree, speak to your faculty advisor or the Department Chair. You can find some information about our Honours program on our Course Guide webpage.

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!

Places to Write: Cabin Coffee

Essay-writing season is here, and if you’re looking for a place to write with just the right ambiance, our media assistant Kyle Cross has some suggestions for you. This is the first in Kyle’s series “Places to Write” in which he reviews local cafés. (We note that Kyle has no family or financial connections with the cafés he will be reviewing). If you’d like to suggest your own favorite places to write, let us know in the comments.

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Places to Write: Cabin Coffee
by Kyle Cross

Places to Write: Cabin Coffee

Just as the cafe’s logo suggests, Cabin Coffee makes you feel like you’re situated in a log cottage outside of civilization, completely removed from society, surrounded by powdery snow in the middle of January. However, it is, in fact, located in the heart of downtown Halifax at 1554 Hollis Street, across from Salter’s Gate Apartments. In many ways, it is an embodiment of the fusion of rustic and urban lifestyles, an embodiment that speaks to the city of Halifax itself: not so metropolitan as Toronto, not so rural as Summerville.

Places to Write: Cabin Coffee 2

In my introductory blog in this series, I suggest that readers and writers alike might want a warm and humble nook in which to write – somewhere they feel at home, without all the distractions, of course. Well, if you’re looking to get away from people and feel like you’re on the outskirts of town without leaving town, plant yourself in one of Cabin Coffee’s comfy, brown leather chairs; they will envelop you in love while you read, write, and drink copious amounts of coffee. As you can see, the log-constructed back wall shuts out the bustling downtown core, allowing you to focus intently on the work that sits in front of you, possibly taunting you saying, “You won’t have finished me by the time you leave this cabin.” If you take advantage of the stained wood to help block out the world, though, you will, indeed, tackle that work like a Japanese sumo wrestler.

My vegan and vegetarian friends, rejoice! The ‘moose’ on the sidewall of the Cabin is, in fact, fake; it is merely a decoration that adds to the whole rustic-like atmosphere of the cafe. This place gets cozier and cozier with every picture: a fireplace in the downtown core! Although the fireplace, too, is not real, as you focus on that seemingly overwhelming assignment, you will feel the imaginary fire sparking your ever-so-creative imagination – that is, if the coffee doesn’t do it for you. The fireplace will relax you as you write, and write, and write; it will settle your nerves while the coffee sets your mind ablaze.

Yes, that is a classic Coleman lantern pictured above. Like the fireplace, the lantern can be seen as another motif for the crackling imagination. What’s more, it adds to the feeling that you are sitting in not so much a downtown coffee shop as a cottage in, say, Summerville, Nova Scotia. Let the lantern guide you from the gauzy, wooded narrow path into the vast open field of your written work. You needn’t worry: the coffee will help you get to your destination.

Places to Write: Cabin Coffee 4

Although these red and green balloon animals seem festive enough to be in a National Lampoon movie, they do not merely ring in the holidays; they are representative of Cabin Coffee’s new beverage, their Picante Mocha, which is on for a limited time only. If this doesn’t fire up your imagination, you must be Jack Frost. And I must say that I was skeptical at first, but once I sipped the mocha a few times, I was hooked. The slight spice accentuated the chocolaty mocha quite nicely. If you plan on visiting Cabin Coffee, though, you must try their Costa Rican blend; it is a toasty medium roast that will inevitably set fire to your creative superpowers.

I highly recommend going to Cabin Coffee, whether it’s to write, read, study, or just sit and chat with your friends next to the fireplace. Opening hours are 6:30 am to 6:00 pm Monday to Friday; 7:30 am to 5:00 pm on Saturday; and 8:30 am to 5:00 pm on Sunday. Go experience being nestled in a cozy cottage in the middle of downtown Halifax.

Bad Poetry Reading 2017

Bad poetry reading 2017

Lighten the winter blues and come to the
English Society Meet and Greet
and
Bad Poetry Reading
not your usual finger-snapping poetry evening
Wednesday, January 18
Seton 404
4:30

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.

 

 

Career Services: Planning Your Future in the Present

kyle-career-servicesMany students don’t know about the free services offered by the Mount’s Career Planning office, which has just announced its Winter schedule of workshops and events. In fact, the first event of the term is scheduled for this Wednesday, January 11 and is specifically designed for B.A. students: a drop-in with an Arts faculty member in the Link to discuss career and academic planning.

Our student media assistant, Kyle Cross, decided to find out more about Career Services, so he booked a resume check-up and discovered some important facts about cover letters, resumes, and the importance of consulting with a career advisor as early as possible in your time at the Mount. Below is his report on the experience.


Career Services: Planning Your Future in the Present
–Kyle Cross

Last term, I went to the Mount’s Career Services for advice on my resume and cover letter. Jacob, the advisor who reviewed my materials, informed me that, unfortunately, I was the only Arts student with whom he had ever met. Needless to say, it looks like we Arts students need to be schooled in the domain of career planning.

If you’re in university, it is probably because, when you graduate, you want to be able to get a fulfilling job that pays relatively well. So imagine you’ve completed your degree; you’re ecstatic because you know you are on your way to becoming a teacher, an editor, a journalist, a lawyer. You’ve learned important skill sets, and you have the qualifications to pursue any number of potential careers. If you wait until after you graduate to plan your career, however, chances are you will have a difficult time finding a rewarding job in your field of expertise. Jacob also told me that most students he meets with are in their third and fourth year of their undergraduate degree. He explained to me that when students come to Career Services in their first and second year, they are 50% more likely to obtain a job in their field of study than are students who wait until their third and fourth year of their degree. The former students have a one- and two-year jump on the latter; they have more knowledge in career planning and looking for a job than do the latter.

kyle-career-2If you’re a Mount student, I strongly encourage you to book an appointment with an advisor at Career Services. Their office is in room 306 of the McCain Centre, but you must go to room 312 (pictured left) in order to book your appointment. In addition to reviewing resumes and cover letters, Career Services offers assistance in choosing a career, looking for a job in your field of interest, and finding out what, exactly, you can do with your degree. An advisor at Career Services will guide you through a successful job search and help you plan your career path.

The Review

I would like to take you through some things I learned during the review of my job application documents. I’ll start with the cover letter, which is what your potential future employer will first see, so it must be presentable. Jacob suggested that I write my cover letter in paragraph form – in particular, tri-paragraph form – similar to what might appear on a resume.

In the first paragraph, you should introduce yourself and your future plans; if you’re writing your Honours thesis in English, for instance, or majoring in Sociology, put that in your cover letter. In the second paragraph, you are selling yourself. Inform your future employer of your qualifications and technical skills, explaining why and how they are relevant to the job for which you are applying. Finally, in paragraph three, reiterate what is in your resume and provide the employer with your contact information.

Now, on to the resume. Jacob told me something that I didn’t know; he told me that, contrary to popular belief, the order of both your education credentials and work experience should not be in chronological order. Rather, they should be ordered in the form of most recent to oldest – reverse chronological order. The purpose of this format is to show your potential employer what you are now doing with your life or what you have done in the near past because this will be of most interest compared with things you did several years ago.

However, you should definitely include past experiences and jobs – whether part-time or full-time, short term or long term – on your resume. What’s more, you should also expand on your experiences to explain how what you learned and did there is pertinent to the skills you can offer in the present. For example, if you worked in the fast food or restaurant industry, you should emphasize that working in food services requires team-work, communication skills, and even sales skills. Even if you think your past work experiences don’t seem relevant for the particular job to which you are currently applying, you can still elaborate on the skills needed to work, for example, at McDonald’s to show that you did more than flip burgers.

In my resume, I had included a section entitled “Hobbies and Interests.” Do not – I repeat, do NOT – make this a heading in your resume. Instead, highlight your “Volunteer Experience” or your “Community Involvement,” which might consist of sports clubs you were involved with or extra-curricular activities in which you participated. There are technical skills associated with such activities, like team-building skills and an ability to work with others. Again, as you would with your job experiences and academic merits, put your most recent volunteer experiences and community involvement items at the top of your list.

One final note on the resume: put the heading for each section in boldface. So the headings “Education,” “Work Experience,” and “Community Involvement” should be typed in bold letters, just like so (but without the quotation marks).

Contact Career Planning Services

kyle-career-3-1Please, go to the Co-operative Education Centre, room 312 of the McCain, to book your one-on-one consultation with an advisor at Career Services. Do a job search, find out what’s available in your discipline of interest, create a realistic career plan that you can follow to pursue your goals! Go before your third year of university if possible. Career Services will help you get in touch with potential future employers, get your name heard, and get your foot in the door. You can e-mail Career Services at careerplanning@msvu.ca, and you can also reach them by phone at (902) 457-6139/6567. You can find out more about resume critiques, job postings, career fairs, and more on the Mount’s Career Planning Services website.  You can download their Winter schedule here.