This Week in English | Sept 5 – 10, 2017

Welcome to the first weekly bulletin of the English Department. We’ll use these bulletins in concert with the department website to communicate with faculty and graduate students about the cultural and administrative life of the department.

If you have an item you’d like to see included in a bulletin, please send it along to <> by 5pm on Friday. We’ll time most bulletins for Monday mornings.

Academic Calendar: Last Day to Drop with Refund, September 10

For those of you who advise students, please keep in mind that the last day to drop a class and receive a full refund is this coming Sunday, September 10. Students do not require a faculty signature to drop by this date. They should be aware of possible consequences to their particular financial aid package if they drop below 15 credits.

First Department Meeting of the Academic Year

The first department meeting of the new academic year is scheduled for Thursday afternoon at 2pm in Lord Hall 100. All members of the department are encouraged to attend. A meeting of the Peer Committee (which consists of tenured faculty) will follow directly after. Department business got underway on August 31 with a meeting of the Graduate Faculty followed by a well-attended “meet and greet” with faculty and graduate students.

Remembering Fiction Writer Elaine Ford

The novelist Elaine Ford passed away at her home in Topsham, Maine, on August 27, 2017. Neil Genzlinger’s obituary appeared in the Sunday edition of the New York Times. Born in New Jersey, Ford lived in Maine since 1985 and retired from the Creative Writing Faculty in our department in 2005. There’s a condolence card on Ellen’s desk that we encourage everyone to sign: we’ll send it to Ford’s husband, Arthur Boatin, late this week.

Enrollment Update & Syllabus Reminder

There are more than 2500 students enrolled in over 130 courses offered by the English Department this fall—no wonder we’re all feeling a little busier than usual! Nearly a thousand students are taking first year composition, 350 are in English 317, 200 are taking introductory creative writing, and nearly 200 more are in “core courses” for the English Major (all of which are running at or over capacity).

Please be sure to file an up-to-date copy of the syllabus you are teaching from at your earliest convenience (and no later than Friday, September 8). Having syllabi on file helps the department function efficiently in any number of ways, not least in supporting students who transfer to other universities and need to document their accomplishments while with us. Please submit syllabi to <> with a cc to <>.

New Writing Series Schedule

The New Writing Series opens its eighteenth season of literary programming at the University of Maine with a fiction reading on September 14. Here’s the line-up for the fall:

September 14 – Joanna Ruocco (fiction)
September 21 – Mark Tardi (poetry)October 5 – Claire Donato (poetry, digital humanities)
October 19 – Roy Kesey (fiction)
November 9 – Idra Novey (fiction)

All NWS events are held at 4:30pm on Thursday afternoons in the Allen & Sally Fernald APPE Space in 104 Stewart Commons. Visiting writers are introduced by English faculty members. All events are free and open to the public. Details about individual events will appear on the department website.

McGillicuddy Humanities Center Lecture by Damon Krukowski, September 28

Damon Krukowski is the author of The New Analog: Listening and Reconnecting in a Digital World and the host of Ways of Hearing, a six-part podcast produced for Radiotopia’s “Showcase” series. He will speak about his work in an event hosted by the McGillicuddy Humanities Center, directed by poet and English professor Jennifer Moxley.

King Chair Lecture by Nancie Atwell, October 25

Nancie Atwell was the winner of the inaugural Global Teacher Prize in 2015. She directs the Center for Teaching and Learning in Edgecomb, Maine. Atwell will speak on Wednesday, October 25, at 7pm in Minsky Recital Hall in an event hosted by Stephen E. King Chair of Literature Caroline BicksThis event has been postponed indefinitely.

Request for Help: Enhancing the Website 

If you notice an inaccuracy in our department website, or have an idea about how we can improve it in any way, please drop a note to <> with a cc to <>. We’re going to dedicate some serious attention to the site throughout the fall with the objective of making it a vital resource for faculty, students, potential students, and community members going forward.

Remembering Poet John Ashbery

The poet John Ashbery died on Sunday, September 3, at his home in Hudson, New York. The New York TimesThe Guardian, the PBS Newshour, The New Yorker, and many other news sources noted his passing. He was, at the time of his death at the age of 90, the most prominent contributor to The New American Poetry still active on the literary scene (Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Gary Snyder now share that distinction) and his work was of great importance to many of the writers who have participated in the New Writing Series and National Poetry Foundation conferences over the years. Though we asked more than once, we never succeeded in tempting Ashbery up to Orono. Now we’ll have to be content with his voluminous publications and the many sound recordings he made over the years, some of which are archived at PennSound. We’ll miss you, Ashes.