Ouachita Baptist University senior Jason Curlin presented a paper March 21 at this year’s Sigma Tau Delta international English honor society conference held in Portland, Ore.
“Last year was my first time presenting at this conference,” said Curlin, an English major from Arkadelphia, Ark. “This year, as a second-timer, there was no stress whatsoever.” Curlin attended this year’s conference as Ouachtia’s Sigma Tau Delta chapter president.
Dr. Doug Sonheim, chair of OBU’s Department of English and Modern Foreign Languages described the conference as “an immersion in the world of books and literature.” Sonheim also serves as faculty co-sponsor of Sigma Tau Delta and as OBU’s Clarence and Bennie Sue Anthony Professor of Bible and Humanities. He went on to explain that presenting at this conference often strengthens students’ interest in leadership roles within the club, like Curlin’s participation as club president. “It’s a very stimulating and energetic place.”
Curlin’s paper, “Wishful Thinking,” explored writing from the perspective of insane persons. He based his literary approach to this subject on authors such as Stephen King and David Wong, who specialize in “horror stories,” he said.
“I also experiment with the aspects that the visual has on the reader,” said Curlin, citing the author of House of Leaves, Mark Z. Danielewki, as his inspiration for changing font styles, sizes and colors in his paper.
“Everything has to do with the book as the book,” he explained, “not just the content.” Because much of what Curlin was seeking to convey was expressed in print by varying the font, he had to explain to the audience after his oral presentation what they weren’t seeing. “What you can’t get in the written word that you can from spoken is like how soft you’re talking, or how loud or how dynamic. It’s a whole lot harder to convey that in writing.”
“We’re always pushing students to submit their work so they can go to the conference,” Sonheim said. “We’ve had an excellent record for the past 15 years of sending students.” Ouachita’s Sigma Tau Delta members have presented across the country in Portland, Ore.; Savannah, Ga.; San Antonio, Texas; St. Louis, Mo.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; New Orleans, La.; and Minneapolis, Minn.
For more information about this year’s Sigma Tau Delta conference and other club activities, contact Dr. Doug Sonheim at email@example.com or (870) 245-5554.
By Rachel Gregory