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University Professor Leo Braudy spent his teen years nurtured by B-movies, comic books and rock 'n' roll. He writes about his experiences in 1950s Philadelphia in his new memoir <em>Trying to Be Cool</em>. Portrait by Philip Channing.

One Cool Cat

December 13, 2013

As a teenager growing up in 1950s Philadelphia, Leo Braudy’s free time revolved around hanging out with friends at the local soda shop, listening to rock ‘n’ roll, watching horror films and thinking about…

Romanticizing the violence of the 19th century American frontiersman as a route to individual freedom is dangerous, USC Dornsife doctoral student Alex Young warns in a prize-winning paper. Doing so can serve as a justification for violent and racist politics, he said.

A New Frontier

December 13, 2013

In Quentin Tarantino’s blood-spattered film Django Unchained, set in pre-Civil War America, the eponymous hero is a black slave who has suffered brutal treatment at the hands of his murderous former owners, the Brittle…

The latest collection of poems by award-winning poet Mark Irwin, associate professor in the Ph.D. Creative Writing and Literature program at USC Dornsife, "balances precision against an enchanting and tonic strangeness," said reviewer Peter Campion. Photo by Steve Cohn.

The Metaphysical House

December 10, 2013

Mark Irwin’s new collection of poems Large White House Speaking (New Issues Poetry and Prose) has been published to critical acclaim. This large white house isn’t what you may think. Irwin has built something…

Dana Johnson, Judith Freeman and Richard Rayner, all USC Dornsife writers and faculty members, share the same muse: the city of Los Angeles. Photos by Cody Pickens.

Los Angeles by the Book

October 22, 2013

It was the 1970s and Judith Freeman was living in Sun Valley, Idaho, a ski instructor and horse wrangler by day, an aspiring writer by night. She’d never set foot in Los Angeles, yet she knew instinctively she needed to…

From left: Frank Ticheli of USC Thornton School of Music, David St. John of USC Dornsife and John Alexander, artistic director of the 140-voice chorale and the Pacific Symphony, link hands and take a bow. They received an outpouring of emotion from the audience with three curtain calls at their premiere of <em>The Shore</em> at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Photo by Andy Templeton.

Shifting Sands

June 10, 2013

The poem begins playfully with a boy at the ocean’s shore.First the tide surprisesAs it slowly risesThen the watersOf a boy’s fearsDisappear What is left seemsPearled & litThe gleaming stones& the boy…

Sean Little, who graduated from USC Dornsife in 2006 with a bachelor's in English, was inspired by his professor and mentor Alice Echols to use his English degree in an innovative way. Little photo by Erica Christianson. Echols photo by Philip Channing.

Getting That First Job

May 23, 2013

As many children do, Sean Little dreamed of becoming a veterinarian. Then the Manhattan Beach native decided spending his days in the sunshine as a lifeguard was his calling. By the time he reached high school, he felt a tug…

David Treuer, professor of English in the Ph.D. in Creative Writing and Literature program, joined the faculty in Fall 2011. A Pushcart Prize winner, he has written five books of fiction and nonfiction. He’s interested in Native American literature, the 20th-century novel, modernism and creative writing. Illustration by Bill Sanderson.

Hire Purpose: David Treuer

May 7, 2013

Born to an Austrian Jewish father and American Indian mother, David Treuer is an Ojibwe Indian from Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota. His siblings range from a brother who has straight, jet black hair and dark…

USC Dornsife lecturer and poet Dana Gioia advises students, "Don’t limit yourself to thinking the only thing a poet can do is teach poetry.” Photo courtesy of Aspen Institute.

The Gioia of Poetry

February 19, 2013

“La Vie Bohème” may be romantic, but even poets need to eat. Solving that dilemma is something many artists don’t give ample consideration to early in their lives, said Dana Gioia, Judge Widney…

<em>Elsewhere, California</em>, a debut novel written by USC Dornsife’s Dana Johnson, examines assimilation, class and the complications of African American identity. Dana Johnson photo by Ben Pack.

Finding One’s Self in L.A.

July 19, 2012

As USC Dornsife’s Dana Johnson strolled through Echo Park, taking in the downtown Los Angeles skyline and Palm tree-lined lake, the characters, setting and plot of her first novel took shape. Johnson often hiked several…

Lee Crystal (MLS '12) shakes hands with Jim Kincaid (right), Aerol Arnold Chair in English and Professor of English, and chair of the MLS Faculty Board in USC Dornsife, after Crystal presented his research at the international symposium. Nita Kincaid looks on. Photo by Emily Loynachan.

USC Dornsife’s Master of Liberal Studies Program Hosts International Symposium

July 16, 2012

Under an umbrella in the Ronald Tutor Campus Center courtyard, students from USC Dornsife’s Master of Liberal Studies (MLS) program traded spirited ideas about Friedrich Nietzsche’s “God is Dead”…