What I’m Working On: Emily Blair

In addition to keeping up with the EGO blog for the school year and this series this semester, I’m working on some other cool stuff too, which makes most sense to me in listicle form:

Poetry Performance and Panel Discussion at the Appalachian Studies Association Conference

I’m currently crafting 5-8 (?) poems and an introductory essay for a performance entitled “Voicing Appalachia: Poetry as Exploration of Liminal Appalachian Identities”, where I hope to work through my Appalachian identity growing up in Fort Chiswell, Virginia, alongside the between-identities of being “lower middle” class, queer, and otherwise not quite “Appalachian enough” or delineating from a traditional Appalachian narrative, as identified or recognized by both “insiders” and “outsiders” of the region. Additionally, I am participating in a panel discussion about outreach to first-generation Appalachian college students sponsored by Y’ALL,  Young Appalachian Leaders and Learners, a subset of ASA. The conference is held at Virginia Tech, my alma mater, this year, which makes it even more exciting.

Culminating Project: Mini-Chapbook

Like other people in my cohort, it’s culminating project season for me! I’m working toward a cohesive mini-chap of poetry about mothers, daughters, power relations between women, the body as liminal space, what houses are, lesbianism, silence… and probably several other things. These are poems that I began crafting in Professor Kiki Petrosino’s and Dr. Kristi Maxwell’s workshops, and I am beginning to see the relationships between works that were written months apart and intended to incite different emotional registers. After graduation, I hope to continue to craft the collection with other works and submit it as a chapbook for a first collection publication.
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Teaching English 102

In my second semester of teaching (ever), I decided to theme my 102 courses around community investments in diversity and inclusion. This theme will hopefully enable students to see how issues of diversity and inclusion (terms often used together, but with very different intonations), as well as accessibility, are at play in communities students are part of or identify with, and how those different investments are manifested in language and action. This seems like a huge challenge, but I am excited to see where the semester takes this course.

Time Management, Community Engagement, and General Okay-ness

While this category doesn’t have an easy series of steps, I am hoping to continue this semester (and always) to improve my overall well-being. I have resolved to keep my work life balance a bit more separate, as I am notorious for working when I have decided to take a day or weekend off, or even an afternoon. I would also like to become more active in different communities in Louisville, and hope that my work and teaching schedules are more conducive to such activities this semester (so many things seem to happen Thursday night, when I’ve always had class!). I am hoping this semester to do things well and let them speak for themselves as I move into not being a student for the first time in nearly twenty years (yowza!).

Emily Blair is a second-year M.A. student.

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