The CLAS Pub Hub provides students with opportunities to edit books, write blogs, and create other professional writing pieces. In 2018, English majors Cassandra Felten and Bryce Delaney worked with the center to publish a collection of poetry and prose by the late English professor Dr. Eileen Bender, entitled Dialogues with Myself. Felten and Delaney spent a year sifting through archives, revising manuscripts and designing the book. The college celebrated its release at the 2019 Bender Scholar-in-Residence Lecture, which was generously endowed by Eileen and her husband Harvey.
Dr. Bender was a titan in her field – an expert in American Literature, Women’s Studies, Ethinic and Minority Literature, and Literature for Children and Adolescents. She also was responsible for co-founding the Faculty Academy on Excellence in Teaching (FACET), an IU-wide community of instructors that fosters innovative teaching.
Felten and Delaney spent weeks visiting the IU South Bend archives where they read, photoscanned, and transcribed Benders work. Then they had to make all of the creative choices: how the book should be designed and what order best represented Bender’s creative career. They worked hard to have Dialogues with Myself ready for the Bender-Scholar-in-Residence lecture, given by former U.S. Ambassador Prudence Bushnell, so that they were able to present the book to Dr. Bender’s children.
The two-editor team ran into different hurdles while creating the book. Dr. Bender wrote multiple versions of many poems so that it was hard to tell which copy was the most realized version. For example, Felton and Delaney found 8 different drafts of the poem“It Will Be White” in the archives. Felten was in charge of deciphering which of these hand-edited copies was the most polished in order to ensure that Bender’s most complete works made it into the book.
“When you have looked at the same writing again and again for a year, you will grow attachments,” Felton said. “My favorite poem from Eileen’s collection is called ‘It Will Be White.’ It is a beautifully sad poem about lost love in the dead of a symbolic winter, so I already loved it from the very first reading.”
After this project, both Felten and Delaney are interested in pursuing more opportunities in the fields of publishing and creative writing.