Willingham Live is an English department podcast in which a small group of faculty join with students in a roundtable discussion of a short or famous piece of literature, from the Anglo-Saxon “The Dream of the Rood” to Alan Moore’s Watchmen. The informal and intimate conversations spotlight the close student-faculty relationships and lively intellectual discussions which are hallmarks of the Mercer English major.
You can download the podcasts as Mp3 files or subscribe to Willingham Live on Apple's iTunes Music Store here (on the new page, click on the View in iTunes button to open iTunes and then click Subscribe Free to subscribe).
Medievalist Dr. Mary Raschko leads Shakespearian Dr. Deneen Senasi, Dr. Gary Richardson, Dr. Gordon Johnston, and Dr. Andrew Silver in a discussion of one of the first known Old English poems of faith, “Dream of the Rood”—a poetic account of the crucifixion as recounted by the cross itself. English majors Kyle Shook, a junior, and Rachel Bishop, a senior, join the faculty as they discuss the relationship between faith, nature, and Anglo Saxon masculinity, even while they help pluck a bug out of Dr. Richardson’s hair.
Dr. David Davis leads Southern historian Dr. Sarah Gardner, Southern religious historian Dr. Douglas Thompson, and English department regulars, Dr. Gordon Johnston and Dr. Andrew Silver, in a discussion of Natasha Tretheway’s “Pilgrimage,” an exploration of Southern memory amidst the confederate ghosts of Vicksburg. English majors Jacyln Crumbly, Charles Peterson, and Catherine Roe join in a discussion of subdivisions named after plantations, the myth of the lost cause, and why in the world Sherman never burned your town to the ground.
Dr. Andrew Silver leads a roundtable of Monica Kasson, Cameron Kunzelman, Sean Rayburn, Ross Hardy, and Lee Adcock—all students in Dr. Silver’s graphic novels course—in a discussion of Alan Moore’s graphic novel, Watchmen. This podcast refers briefly to the explicit language of the text.
Romanticist/Victorianist Dr. Jonathan Glance leads Dr. Mary Raschko, Dr. Andrew Silver, and English majors Jan Jones and Sean Rayburn, along with creative writing major Alicia Landrum, in a discussion of Percy Bysshe Shelley's anti-authoritarian poem “Ozymandias.” Shelley wrote the poem in a sonnet competition with his friend Horace Smith on the subject of Ramses II. The roundtable looks at Shelley's and Smith's sonnets side-by-side and explores why one is considered one of the greatest poems of the nineteenth century and why the other has been forgotten. They also discuss Shelley's expulsion from Oxford, his attempt to turn Ireland vegetarian, and his penchant for free love.
Dr. Andrew Silver leads a roundtable discussion of Emily Dickinson's poem, “I heard a Fly buzz—when I died—” by faculty and students. Faculty members Dr. Mary Raschko, Dr. Gary Richardson, and Dr. Jonathan Glance join students Alicia Landrum, Charles Peterson, and Christine Abdelmasih in exploring the spiritual and earthy elements of Dickinson's morbid poem.