English Fest's 'Comma Sutra' continues this week
UW-Eau Claire students still have the chance to participate in the 12th annual English Fest today and Friday as students and faculty continue to analyze the roles of relationships and language found in literature.
The theme of the student-run festival this year is “Comma Sutra: Let Language Touch You,” which will explore issues of love, romance and sexuality in texts, according to the festival’s Web site.
Gloria Hochstein, assistant professor and senior lecturer in the English department, said the festival’s purpose is to allow students to celebrate language in different forms of literature.
She said English students presenting in the festival range from English 110 classes giving presentations on the book “Nickel and Dimed” to seniors presenting their capstone projects.
“(The festival) is a way for students to come together and celebrate their English studies and the language arts,” said Hochstein, who is acting as the faculty adviser for English Fest.
Freshman English 110 student Ben Collette said his group’s specific presentation will cover the issue of immigration.
“It’ll be fun to see what upper-level classes are presenting,” he said in reference to some of the capstone projects scheduled for the festival.
Hochstein said students chose this year’s theme. All literature deals with relationships in some form, she said.
“(The event’s theme) lets you think about text and language and how language touches us in our relationships,” she said.
Charles Baxter, the Minnesota-born author of the novels “The Feast of Love” and “The Soul Thief,” spoke Wednesday morning in Davies Theatre about the festival’s theme in his lecture “The Erotic in Literature.”
Baxter touched on the importance of passion in literature, saying it is a driving force behind nearly all stories.
“It’s hard to imagine great fiction without great passion,” he said.
Students who are not English majors are also invited to participate in the festival, Hochstein said. Festival events range from a gender and language discussion to a linguistics panel.
“Relationships, languages and connections aren’t limited to English majors,” Hochstein said. “These are universal topics.”
A complete program with all scheduled event times and locations can be found on the festival’s Web site, http://www.uwec.edu //engfest/.