The Gong – Volume 1, Number 1 March 2017 – Shorter University

Message from Dr. O’Neal

Dr. Angela O'NealThe English novelist S.J. Watson writes, “It’s so difficult, isn’t it? To see what’s going on when you’re in the absolute middle of something? It’s only with hindsight we can see things for what they are.” These words resonate as we approach yet another midterm—that “middle of something” that can be a difficult time for students and faculty members alike to stay focused and committed to the work at hand.

Here in English, Modern Languages, and Liberal Arts, we are energized by the exciting events that will follow midterm and spring break:  an array of English Week activities, including the English Major Appreciation Luncheon, The Chimes Release Party, and a master class by poet Renee Emerson. We are also excited about an upcoming trip to The Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse to see The Canterbury Tales with Sigma Tau Delta. And not to mention registration for Fall 2017, which is just around the corner. Take a look at the banner at the top of the newsletter for a preview of the writing and literature classes coming up in the fall!

I pray that in the midst of a busy spring semester we will not forget to pause and reflect on the privilege we have to learn, teach, and serve one another at an institution that strives, above all, to bring God the glory—middles and all!

Dr. Angela C. O’Neal
Chair of English, Modern Languages & Liberal Arts
Associate Professor of English

Special Guests Bryan and Renee Emerson

Bryan Emerson graduated with an M.A. in worship leadership from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He currently works as a preauthorization reviewer for St. Bernards in Jonesboro, AR, and continues to write music and study theology in his spare time.

Renee Emerson is the author of Keeping Me Still (Winter Goose Publishing 2014) and Threshing Floor (Jacar Press 2016). She earned her MFA in poetry from Boston University, where she was also awarded the Academy of American Poets Prize in 2009. In 2016, she was awarded an Individual Artist Grant by the Arkansas Arts Council. Her poetry has been published in 32 Poems, Christianity and Literature, Indiana Review, Literary Mama, Southern Humanities Review, storySouth, and elsewhere; her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize on three occasions. Renee teaches online classes for Shorter University and The Poetry Barn, and she lives in Arkansas with her husband and three daughters.

Alumni News

Sarah SandidgeSarah Sandidge

“It’s already been nearly 10 months since I graduated from Shorter. I can hardly believe it’s been so long, because I still feel it was much more recently that I was frolicking on the front circle, trying to speak French, and reading the melancholy yearnings of the Romantic poets. Since then, I’ve had to enter what everyone so often calls the ‘real world’. Certainly, I pay bills for rent and utilities (not fun, that), and I have a typical 9-5 job as a Health and Safety Assistant at Pirelli Tire, LLC., but that to me is no more real than my time at Shorter. As a student, and particularly as an English major, I feel that I thought, lived, and breathed reality with every book that I read, every word that I wrote, and every relationship I made.

If there is one thing I learned in my heart as well as my head, it is, of course, to be responsible and embrace the “real world” but to never forget what is truly important, truly real: finding joy in whatever life has to offer, like a beautiful day in front of Sheffield Thompson, to always be willing to learn (even if it’s French and that is scarily difficult), and to search for the truth and beauty at the heart of things as relentlessly as any tortured writer. I’m looking at you, John Keats.”

Student News

Jessica LeeJessica Lee

Jessica Lee is a junior English major and professional writing minor. She studied journalism for two years at Georgia Highlands College before transferring to Shorter University to foster her love of literature and writing as an English Major. She grew up in the small town of Taylorsville, Ga and often spends her time at home practicing archery or doing nature photography around her family’s farm.

Jessica has a wide variety of literary interests, including history, fantasy, science fiction, poetry, mythology, and travel writing. Her academic interests are equally varied, ranging from forensic science to Native American cultures. When she isn’t reading or writing, she is an avid pop culture fan, often playing video games, reading comic books, and watching the latest action movie. After graduation, Jessica hopes to build her writing career and go into the field of screenwriting.

Featured Author

castle ruins among cliffs in IrelandSeamus Heaney (1939-2013)

Growing up in the turbulent time of the “Troubles” in Northern Ireland, Seamus Heaney’s poetry reflects both on ancient practice and modern conflict. Using both his knowledge of the Irish language and Old English, Heaney crafted lines of text dripping with emotion and raw imagery. Through careful practice of formal poetry formulas, the embracement of his heritage, and the need to connect his work with the rest of the world, Seamus Heaney has left a significant mark on world literature that will probably never be washed away.


From the Editor’s Desk

Hello English lovers!

I am your current editor of the esteemed Gong, and I am honored to provide you with information on everything language and literature in The Gong. On behalf of the Shorter University English department, we welcome you to the grand opening of The Gong’s brand new online form! It is our hope that this newsletter might inspire, elevate, and encourage anyone interested in English, language, and literature.


Sierra Renee Anderson




The Breakfast Club

Every Thursday and Friday at 8 a.m.
Rome Hall, Room 105

Join us for a literary morning to discuss books we are reading in class, enjoy lively discussion, and partake of food, fun and fellowship with your Shorter classmates.


English Week

Kids blowing bubbles at story time

March 21: 5 – 7 p.m.

Story Time!

Headed by Dr. Julia Pond, the Shorter University English department reaches out to the community by reading stories, making crafts, and having fun while promoting literacy in children. If you’d like to lend a helping hand, contact or

March 22
English Professor Appreciation Day

Make sure to give the professors and faculty in the English department a high five! They’ve earned it.

March 23: 6 – 7:30 p.m.
Chimes Release Celebration

Join us in the Price Learning Center for the release of the 102nd edition of The Chimes, Shorter University’s very own historic and prestigious literary magazine. Enjoy refreshments and see the amazing talent that this school and the surrounding community have to offer.

Game board with colorful playing pieces and a hand throwing dice



March 24: 6 – 8 p.m.
Game Night

Food, games, and literature. What more could an English fan ask for? More details will be posted in the future!


All Week Event

Photograph of old wood framed window / broken glassMarch 20 – 24: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Photo Fundraiser

Dr. Fabrice Poussin will be selling pieces from his very own original collection of published photographs. This fundraiser benefits not only the English Club, but also the entire English department so that we can continue to have so many fun events.

If you would like to volunteer to help run the booth, feel free to contact

Other Events

Canterbury Tales

On April 1st, Shorter students and faculty will travel to the Shakespeare Theater in Atlanta for a night of fun and laughter to see the Canterbury Tales.

A Hobbit Weekend

From April 7th to 9th, the English Club will watch a movie from The Hobbit trilogy each night from 7-9 p.m. There will be popcorn. There will be soda. And there will be hobbits!

Beauty and the Beast

Join the English Club March 17th to see the brand new live-action Beauty and the Beast for a truly magical experience.

  • 7 p.m.
  • Rome Cinemas
  • Purchase your own ticket