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Spotlight: Graduate Students

Bob Volpicelli and Katie Owens, recent graduate student recipients of CALS funding, report on their successes.

Every year, the Center for American Literary Studies awards a number of grants and fellowships to various Penn State graduate students.

Robert Volpicelli

Robert Volpicelli photoRobert Volpicelli was awarded funding for graduate travel to a research collection. This award allowed him to travel to the Rosenbach Museum and Library in Philadelphia, home of Marianne Moore's letters, papers, and a reconstruction of the famous living room of her apartment in Greenwich Village. His research resulted in the article, “Against Things: the At-Home Objects of Marianne Moore,” forthcoming in Twentieth-Century Literature.

Katie Owens-Murphy

Katie Owens-Murphy photoWhile Volpicelli's award granted him the space to travel in order to better examine Marianne Moore's spaces, the award granted to Katie Owens-Murphy, the recipient of the 2012 Summer Graduate Fellowship, gave Owens-Murphy the gift of time. She was able to spend the summer finishing her dissertation project, “Lyrical Strategies: The Poetics of Fiction in the 20th Century American Novel.” She writes that the project "takes a comparative approach to genre by examining twentieth-century American novels in relation to the lyric, rather than the narrative, tradition. I argue that many novelists from this period abandon the defining characteristics of narrative fiction for rhetorical aims that we typically associate with lyric poetry-- structural repetition, rhythm, figurative meaning, dramatic personae, and apostrophe." Thanks to the Summer Graduate Fellowship, Owens-Murphy defended her dissertation in the early fall and is currently on the job market.