MFA Student James Summa Receives Grant


James SummaThe College of Saint Rose is proud to announce that one of our MFA students, James Summa, has received a Graduate Student Research Grant, which he will use to compile an anthology of World War I poetry by women. This project was inspired by work James completed in Dr. Cavanaugh’s Modernist Poetry class last fall. James has received a $500 cash stipend to assist him in his research. After this semester, James will have completed nine credits toward his MFA degree with a concentration in poetry. We had a chance to speak with James about his work and his experience at Saint Rose.

How did you become interested in WWI poetry written by women?
I love history, especially military history.  I’m drawn to the writing of people who have had such extreme experiences.  There has not been much poetry published by women about war, especially WWI, so the need was worth exploring.  Obviously, a woman’s perspective in general is essential.  Women were primarily noncombatants, but their view is invaluable and necessary for understanding the cost of this or any other war.


What are your goals for this project?
Compile and organize a collection of poetry by women about WWI that is as comprehensive as possible.  My intent is to include poetry in languages other than English and from all countries involved in the war.  To my knowledge this has never been done.


How did the Modernist Poetry class with Dr. Cavanaugh help you with this idea?
It provided me the opportunity to conceive and develop the project, as well as receive advice and encouragement from Dr. Cavanaugh.


Are anthologies something you have thought about working on for a while?
Not really.  It was just something I thought of for the class project.


Any other ideas for future projects?
Not now, but I’ll think of something.  I may consider doing similar projects for other wars.


Where does your inspiration come from?
Mostly my family; the past; memories; the complexity in mundane things; my own twisted mind and my perception of injustice in the world.


Any information you think other students would be interested in knowing?
Not everything is on the Internet or in databases.  Libraries, especially the interlibrary loan system, are great things.  An understanding of copyright law is very important.


Advice for students who may want to pursue a project like this?
Make sure the topic is something you enjoy and have passion for.  Don’t waste time; life is too short.  Get to work!


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