Tag Archives: Chantelle Rideout

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


AAUEC 2018 starts today

Today the Mount welcomes English students from the Atlantic region for the Annual Atlantic Undergraduate English Conference. Students will be reading their academic papers and their creative work today and tomorrow and will be able to enjoy other events, such as the Friday ArtFest (with special guests El Jones and Mount alumna Chantelle Rideout) and Saturday’s always-comical Bad Poetry Reading and closing banquet and dance. The full program is available on the AAUEC website.

The University has published a story about the conference and a couple of the student presenters and volunteers, Samantha VanNorden and Alexia Major, which you can read here.

AAUEC 2018. msvu.ca

Samantha VanNorden and Alexia Major (from msvu.ca)

MSVU students presenting at the conference:

Rebecca Foster, “Howling for Love: Romance and Eroticism in Poetry by Allen Ginsberg”

Katie O’Brien, “‘It makes a goblin of the sun’: Fallen Women and the Male Gaze in Dante Gabriel’s ‘Jenny’ and Christina Rossetti’s ‘Goblin Market’”

Michelle Russell,  “Cross-Cultural Dressing: Clothing and Trauma in Fatty Legs and A Stranger at Home

Kenya Thompson,  “capturing slipping memories”

Hope Tohme, “Sasha Jensen’s Self-Objectification: A Refusal of the Male Gaze in Jean Rhys’s Good Morning, Midnight

Sam VanNorden,  “hanging red”

In addition, a team of student volunteers, including some alumnae, will help to make this event a great weekend for all.

Poetry reading Nov. 5

Poetry reading: Kate Cayley & Chantelle Rideout

The MacDonald Room Reading Series
Tuesday, November 5
7:30 p.m.
MacDonald Room, MSVU Library, Main Floor

All are welcome  —  free  —  open to the public

Kate CayleyKate Cayley‘s first collection of poetry, When This World Comes to an End, is published by Brick Books. She is the artistic director of Stranger Theatre and has co-created, directed and written eight plays with the company. She is a playwright-in-residence at Tarragon Theatre, and her first short story collection, How You Were Born, is forthcoming from Pedlar Press.

Chantelle Rideout We are pleased to welcome back to the Mount Chantelle Rideout, who earned her Honours English degree here before completing her Master’s in English and Creative Writing at the University of New Brunswick. Her first poetry collection, Sotto Voce, was published in February of this year with Frog Hollow Press, and her poetry has appeared in various literary journals including The Malahat Review and Room Magazine. She lives, writes, and teaches in Halifax.

MacDonald Rm. Reading Series Nov. 5 poster [pdf]

sponsors: Canada Council for the Arts; The League of Canadian Poets; Alexa McDonough Institute; MSVU Library; MSVU English Department

Guest Post: English grad Chantelle Rideout on becoming a writer

For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a writer. While going through old photos and books recently, I found this note I wrote when I was eight:

"Ambitions: to be a write or a Olympic figure skater"

[“Ambitions to be a writer, a Olympic figure skater”]

Granted, I was a little slow mastering indefinite articles, but I kind of can’t believe that today I am actually on my way to achieving one of those goals (my apologies to the abandoned pile of flesh-coloured tights and sequined skirts in my attic). It might sound a bit nostalgic, but I really think it was during my time at the Mount that I began to take my writing seriously.

When I first came to MSVU, I bounced around in a few different programs before I found my place. While making shoebox dioramas for a Child and Youth class, I ran into an old friend from high school who said she’d always thought I’d major in English and I realized, oh yeah, I’d always thought I would too. Somehow I had just forgotten. After (not much) deliberation, I switched majors again and, with a mad dash of intro English courses, I managed to catch up with everyone else in the program. By fourth year, I found myself writing a thesis on contemporary Canadian poetry while writing my own poetry in the Creative Writing course and something just clicked.

Up until then, I’d had no idea what I was going to do after I graduated. I had thought about applying to a Master’s program, but I just wasn’t sure what to focus on. My heart didn’t feel completely in it. Once I found out about the MA in Creative Writing, I knew it was exactly right for me. An MA in Creative Writing allows you to take both academic and creative courses, write a book-length creative thesis, and, unlike many MFA’s, qualifies you to continue on to a PhD if you choose. I chose to do my MA at University of New Brunswick (Fredericton), but many universities in Canada offer a similar program (a very detailed list can be found at http://www.wheretowrite.ca/).

I really enjoyed the hybridity of the program. I loved getting the opportunity to improve both my critical and creative writing. I got to take interesting, focused academic classes like Medieval Women Mystics, while also doing workshops in types of writing I hadn’t tried before, like play writing. I spent the first year of my program doing coursework and workshops and devoted the second year to the book-length poetry manuscript for my thesis.

One of my absolute favourite parts of the program was getting to work with the writers in residence. During my two years at UNB, award-winning poets John Barton and Sue Sinclair held the position. Working with poets of their stature was incredible and I learned so much. UNB also hosts a “poetry weekend” every fall and poets from all over Canada come for two full days of readings. Last year, I even got to sit down and talk about poetry with renowned Canadian poet Jan Zwicky at the event, something I had been dying to do since being introduced to her work in Clare Goulet’s class at the Mount.

Another aspect of the program that I really enjoyed was the experience working on literary journals. As a graduate student in English at UNB, you have the opportunity to work on QWERTY, the student-run magazine and The Fiddlehead, the oldest literary journal in Canada, which runs out of UNB. During my first year I got to be on the editorial boards and during my second year I got to be an editorial assistant for The Fiddlehead and a poetry editor for QWERTY. Getting that experience in publishing and seeing how litmags work from the inside was really great for me, especially as I was getting to the point where I was ready to start sending my poetry out into the world.

After graduating from UNB last Spring, I started sending out poems from my thesis to literary magazines. After getting several accepted to publications like The Malahat Review and Room Magazine (along with my share of rejection letters!), I sent the majority of the poems to Frog Hollow Press as a chapbook manuscript. And they accepted it! We worked together on some of the poems that still needed editing and then all of a sudden I was choosing typeface and cover art and paper type and all of these things I had never even thought of. I had more than one nightmare (WHAT IF I PICKED THE WRONG FONT?) but it has been an absolutely incredible experience.

Sotto Voce is a collection of poems that engage with music, philosophy, history, and literature. Learning about lyric scholarship from MSVU’s Clare Goulet and living the two antiphonally in the hybrid MA program really helped me forge the connections between the lyrical and the scholarly in my poems. I hoped that in writing a bit about how my chapbook came to be and what happened after my English degree at the Mount, I could answer some questions for anyone with similar considerations. And if anyone wants to ask me anything further, I’d be happy to talk more about it. My email is chantelle.rideout@gmail.com.

Sotto Voce cover
My chapbook is available for purchase online with Paypal at

—Chantelle Rideout