This Week in English | March 19 – March 25, 2018

Mark Your Calendars for an Artful Week

We’re back from a too-brief break to an eventful week of verbal and visual art brought to campus by the English Department in partnership with the Honors College, the McGillicuddy Humanities Center, the King Chair, and the Franco-American Center.

Details below, but so that you can mark your calendars, here’s the rundown (links are to Facebook event pages):

The Happening Series features fiction, poetry, and visual art by UMaine students and faculty on Wednesday at 6pm in Crossland Hall.

On Thursday, the New Writing Series welcomes poets Julie Patton and Drew Gardner to campus for a performance at 4:30pm in Stewart Commons 104.

And on Friday, MA candidate Cody Bursch hosts “Hear This Sound,” featuring an improvisation session with Patton and Gardner at 2pm and a listening party at 7pm, both in Crossland Hall.

Margo Lukens Receives Broad Reach Fund Grant for Transformer Tales Project

The Broad Reach Fund of the Maine Community Foundation has awarded Professor Margaret (Margo) Lukens a grant in excess of $20,000 to support the publication of the inaugural volume of the Penobscot Transformer Tales, “They Remember Me Still.” Lukens is working on the project with Carol Dana and Conor Quinn. The grant will support transliteration work (to modern Penobscot notation), travel funding, honoraria for Penobscot language-keepers to read stories aloud for audio recording, and the purchase of copies of the volume for every Penobscot Nation household. Look for updates in future bulletins!

UMaine Alum Brian Carpenter Completes New Indigenous Subject Guide

Brian Carpenter, who took his Master’s Degree in English with a focus in Poetry & Poetics in 2005, is the now the Curator of Native American Materials at the American Philosophical Society. Brian began working at the APS Library in 2008 on a 6-year project to digitize and catalog all of the library’s audio recordings of indigenous languages of the Americas. He has worked with over 50 Native communities throughout North America to enhance their access to archival materials at the APS and receive their guidance on ways to improve the representation and uses of the collections. On March 15, Brian posted a blog entry announcing the completion of the project. Here’s how he described the resource he has spent the past thirty months designing and directing:

This new subject guide provides unprecedented coverage of the oldest and one of the largest archival collections of manuscripts, photographs, audio-visual recordings, and other documentary materials relating to the languages, cultures, and histories of Indigenous peoples of the Americas. These collections date from 1553 to 2017 and relate to over 500 different Indigenous cultures and languages.

This new resource, which took 2½ years to complete, was made possible thanks to a generous grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities. It replaces the previous Native American Subject Guide, which had been last updated in 1979, adds information for over 1000 linear feet of new archival material brought into the library in the intervening years, and includes a thorough overhaul of the methods by which the Indigenous-related collections are represented and described.

Portland Press Herald Story on Elaine Ford Collection

Staff writer Bob Keyes previewed the posthumous collection of Elaine Ford’s stories, This Time Might Be Different, in the Portland Press Herald on Sunday. Keyes writes of the collection:

The new book includes short stories about Maine that she tells with humor, irony and great respect for the truth, however difficult the truth might be to process. Most of the stories are set in Washington and Hancock counties. They tell of a woman who is thinking about leaving and never coming back, a man who is debating robbing the laundromat and other characters who face various life-changing dilemmas. She writes about mud season and late-winter snow, always telling her stories from the perspective of the people who have to shovel it.

The stories contain hallmarks of her writing: lean, unpretentious, funny, evocative of place and populated with people who live complicated lives and who wish to improve them, against hope.

As I mentioned in last week’s bulletin, a book launch is planned for Sunday, March 25, at 2pm at the Curtis Library in Brunswick.

The Happening Series This Wednesday at 6pm

Co-organizers and MA candidates Brendan Allen and Kat Dubois invite you a special Wednesday-evening installment of their monthly Happening Series (flyer attached). The evening will feature visual and verbal art by a recent graduate of the MA program, two undergraduates, and two members of the Creative Writing Faculty.

PRINTS and WORDS by JILL HUGHES, who is a recent graduate of the MA program and co-founder of the Happening Series

PAINTINGS by MARY MANLEY, double major in English and Studio Art



New Writing Series This Thursday at 4:30pm

Brief biographies of Julie Patton and Drew Gardner are included below. They will read in the New Writing Series at 4:30 on Thursday in the Allen & Sally Fernald APPE Space (Stewart Commons 104). Patton was the first poet to appear in the New Writing Series in the fall semester of 2001, just days after 9/11. It was one of the most remarkable events in the history of the Series and we’re delighted to welcome her back. Drew Gardner last appeared in the NWS in October of 2003. In addition to being a leading figure in the controversial Flarf movement, he is the founder of the Poetics Orchestra and a frequent collaborator with Patton. Patton and Gardner will pay a class visit to Honors 180: A Cultural Odyssey on Wednesday at 2pm in DPC 107. Members of the English Department are invited to sit in.

“Hear This Sound” on Friday at 2pm and 7pm

Organizer and host Cody Bursch invites you to participate in two events this Friday. He writes:

Come improvise with visiting performance poets, Julie Patton and Drew Gardner.

2:00 PM Improvisation Session (bring an instrument if you’d like, or just yourself! no prior music experience necessary!)

7:00 PM Presentation (come and listen to a recording of the improvisation and philosophize!)

Drew Gardner has taught poetry workshops at St. Mark’s Poetry Project and curated poetry series at Segue in NYC. He has reviewed poetry for Publishers Weekly and The Poetry Project Newsletter. His work has appeared in Poetry magazine, The Nation, and Postmodern American Poetry: A Norton Anthology. He is co-editor of the anthology Flarf, an Anthology of Flarf. His new 20th century poetry anthology, Ingenious Pleasures, will be published by University of New Mexico in 2018.

Julie Patton’s work has primarily appeared in live performance pieces. Her visualiterary communication has been captured in Best American Experimental Writing, Big Energy Poets: Ecopoetry Thinks Climate Change, What I Say, among other publications. She is the author of Notes for Some (Nominally) Awake (Portable Labs), A Garden Per Verse (or What Else do You Expect from Dirt?). New work is forthcoming in Letters to the Future: Black Women/Radical Writing (Kore Press). She has been honored with an 2018 Acker Award, a Foundation for Contemporary Art 2015 Grants to Artists Award, and more.

This event had its origins in research on Julie Patton that Bursch began last spring in a seminar I had the good fortune to lead on “The Poetry and Poetics of the 1990s,” which was linked to the national conference on the topic hosted by the National Poetry Foundation last summer at which Brendan Allen and Jill Hughes (mentioned above) were among the presenters.

Hope to see you at some of the events this week, everybody. And enjoy that extra hour of light each evening!


Steve Evans

English Department Chair

This Week in English 22 was circulated to faculty, students, and friends of the department on Monday, March 19, 2018. If you would rather not receive these weekly bulletins, please reply with <unsubscribe> in your subject line. Earlier installments are archived on our website.