This Week in English | Nov 27 – Dec 3, 2017

Welcome to the twelfth installment of the English Department’s weekly bulletin. As we return from a welcome break we look ahead to two more weeks of instruction and then finals week. Please let us know how we can help as you head into the home stretch of the fall semester!

Celebrating the Poetry of John Ashbery this Thursday

Andrew Epstein, Professor and Chair for Graduate Studies at Florida State University, will give a talk on “Fence-Sitting Raised to the Level of an Esthetic Ideal: John Ashbery and the Poetics of Middle Age” this Thursday at 4:30pm in the usual New Writing Series venue (Stewart Commons 104). While still a graduate student in 1996, Professor Epstein presented a paper on Frank O’Hara and film in the NPF Conference on the Poetry & Poetics of the 1950s. He’s presented frequently at NPF conferences since and is the author of two studies of post-1945 poetry, Beautiful Enemies and Attention Equals Life, both from Oxford University Press. Candidates in the Master’s degree program are especially encouraged to attend Epstein’s presentation. His talk is co-sponsored by the English Department, the National Poetry Foundation, and the McGillicuddy Humanities Center (as part of their year-long exploration of “humanities approaches to aging across the ages).

We’ll be back in the same space at 8pm to hear recordings and live readings of Ashbery’s poems. If you’d like to participate in the evening event, please write to with a short list of the Ashbery poems (or other texts) you’d like to read. You’ll find a copy of his Collected Poems in the Wicks Reading Room.

Alex Terrell in Black Warrior Review

Second year Master’s degree candidate Alex Terrell has published her story “Black Dog” in the fall/winter issue of Black Warrior Review. She is also featured in their on-line series of “craft essays.” Describing the genesis of her character, Io, Terrell writes:

When characters speak to you, it is a moment of pure wonder. When I wrote characters before that did not resemble me, I was able to maintain a certain amount of psychic distance from them. I could be the creator without any regard for how these characters “made me look.” With Io I felt a great amount of responsibility to portray her as honestly as possible. When she spoke I listened.…I found a girl who stared into coffee shop windows at beautiful boys. I found a girl who struggled with her body’s changing and her sexuality’s manifesting. And then she entered the woods. And she messed her hair up. And she took out her weave. In a society where women are held to an impossible standard—particularly Black women by Black men—Io freed herself from these standards. She gave me hope that I, too, could surpass the cultural expectations of my community in favor of choice.

Black Warrior Review was established in 1974 by graduate students in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. It is the oldest continuously-run literary journal produced by graduate students in the United States. Congratulations to Alex upon joining esteemed company in BWR’s long tradition of discovering literary talent.

It’s All Happening this Friday

The Happenings Series, co-organized by MA candidates Brendan Allen and Kat DuBois, would like to invite you to their collaborative event this Friday, December 1st, featuring readings by Abbe Adent and Ryan Stovall, a musical performance by Cody Bursch, and visual art by Jessie Hardy. The Series is graciously hosted at the Franco-American Centre, located in Crossland Hall. Performances will start at 6:00 pm, and promise attendees snacks, good company, and the opportunity to contribute to their growing communal collage project. For more information, check out their Facebook event, look for their flyers around campus, or reach out to them at

Shakespeare, not Stirred

On Tuesday, December 5, Stephen E. King Chair in Literature Caroline Bicks will discuss “drinks and Shakespeare” over a four course meal, with Bard-inspired beverages, at Novios bistro in downtown Bangor. Reservations can be made by calling 207-945-5600 or visiting the restaurant’s Facebook page.

Grady Awards in Poetry & Fiction: Call for Submissions

Each year the English Department celebrates the accomplishments of writers at both the undergraduate and graduate levels through the Steve Grady Competition for Creative Writing. The contest is externally judged, usually by recent visitors to the New Writing Series. First prize winners receive $300, second prize winners $200. The deadline is February 2, 2018. Guidelines for submission are attached. If you have questions about the Awards, please direct them to or

Mark Your Calendars; or, A Party is the Opposite of a Department Meeting

The last meeting of the full department will take place on Thursday, December 7, at 2pm in the Hatlen Room. The CLAS Faculty meeting takes place that day in Wells at 3:15pm, so we’ll be brisk. Please send agenda items along to by end of day on Thursday, November 30. Tenured and tenure-stream faculty are expected to attend. All members of the department are welcome.

And we’re planning an end-of-semester party for Thursday, December 14, starting at 1pm. Drop by Ellen Manzo’s desk if you have ideas about how we can best eat, drink, and be merry.


Have a great week, everyone!

Steve Evans

English Department Chair


This Week in English 12 circulated to faculty, students, and friends of the department on Monday, November 27, 2017. If you would rather not receive these weekly bulletins, please reply with <unsubscribe> in your subject line.