This Week in English | April 23 – April 29, 2018

Capacity Audience for Inaugural King Chair Lecture by Patricia Wen

Provost Jeff Hecker, President Susan Hunter, and King Chair Caroline Bicks welcomed a capacity audience to Wells Conference Center on Friday for Patricia Wen’s talk on “Getting It Right: Investigative Journalism in a ‘Post-Truth’ Age.” Among the English faculty and students to pose questions to the editor of the Boston Globe’s renowned “Spotlight” series after the talk were Assistant Professor Luke Redington, Stephanie Alexander, Emily Norris, and Aliya Uteuova (who filed a story for the Maine Campus). English major Maddy Jackson assisted Professor Bicks in organizing the event and ran the slide show that accompanied Wen’s remarks.

Preview of The Open Field 

Editors Eric Arnold and Tyler O’Keefe are wrapping up work on this year’s edition of The Open Field, the student-run undergraduate literary magazine sponsored by the English Department. The issue will feature poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, an interview, and visual art by Stephanie Alexander, Lydia Balestra, Ibkale Bouziane, Austin Bragdon, Rachel Castonguay, Nick Dominique, Hannah Leigh Dyer, Matthew Hammond, Steven Hooke, Taylor Houdlette, Emma Hutchinson, Sam Johnson, Alika Katzenbach, Bria Lamonica, Emily Jane Lewis, Noah Loveless, Colleen Lucy, Eric Manley, Mary Manley, Cara Morgan, Nisha Patel, Katie Perry, Nola Prevost, Liam Reading, Nick Rotter-Weller, Katie Skvorak, Ryan Stovall, Rachael Turner, and Aliya Uteuova. We’ll let you know the moment that the cartons arrive in Neville Hall!

CLAS Awards Ceremony on Wednesday

The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences hosts its annual awards ceremony at 4pm on Wednesday, April 25, at the Buchanan Alumni House. Among the many causes for celebration will be Ryan Stovall’s reception of the Senior Recognition Award for English. The English Department hosts its own recognition ceremony the following Wednesday, May 2, at 4:30 in the Hill Auditorium. Students, family members, and friends are encouraged to attend.

New Writing Series Features MA Thesis Writers on Thursday

The poet Tessa Hathaway defended her Master’s thesis on April 18. Fiction writers Kristyn Gerow, Cody Bursch, Shelby Colburn, and Alex Terrell defend their theses on Monday (Gerow), Tuesday (Bursch), Wednesday (Colburn), and Friday (Terrell) of this week. And on Thursday at 4:30 in Stewart Commons 104, the New Writing Series hosts a special reading featuring excerpts from these recently completed works.

In other NWS news, Kathryn Rice’s photographs of poet Allison Cobb’s reading are now up on Flickr.

Jennifer Moxley on Poetry Foundation 

Poet Jennifer Moxley is the featured blogger at the Poetry Foundation today, musing about The Shame of Being Schooled as part of the Chicago-based organization’s celebration of National Poetry Month. Here’s an excerpt from about halfway through the piece:

Meaningfulness. That addictive magic that got most of us into this poetic racket in the first place. Somewhere along the way—in a classroom, a library, a theatre, a bar, or lying in the sun of an open field—a poem opened up a world of meaningfulness in our minds so seductive we fell under a spell. When the magic evaporated we went looking to recreate the experience. Could it be found in the university? Unlike many realms of American culture, which are boastfully anti-intellectual and openly hostile to things poetic, the university seems to promise a utopian company for those seeking a life of the mind.

Nisha Patel’s Postcard from Bulgaria

English major Nisha Patel is studying at the American University in Bulgaria this spring. She passes along these thoughts to those of us wrapping up the semester in Orono:

Just A World Full of People  

        It’s a lazy Tuesday. The sun shines in the late afternoon sky, people sprawl out on the grass, kids laugh and shout from their bikes, scooters and roller blades. It’s finally spring. There are elders walking about around the river, having conversations in a language that embodies a whole different world. I wonder what English sounds like to them. I wonder what they talk about. I’ve only picked up a few words, like “Da” (yes), “Ne” (no) and “Dobre” (okay). At least that’s been enough to get me through all my grocery shopping lately. (After I learned, of course, that nodding your head means “no” and shaking it side to side means “yes.” That took some getting used to.)

        I sit here on a bench and breathe. When I close my eyes, the river behind me turns into an ocean. An ocean in my backyard. I listen and think that, just like this ocean, I can do nothing but adapt to the constancy that is change.

        It’s April, I say to myself. Wow. I look back and think about how far I’ve come from my first steps here in the land of Bulgaria, when I first laid my eyes on the mountains. The mountains on all sides. The mountains that fill me with wonder every single day . . . the mountains that, sadly, some of the natives no longer seem to see.

            My steps in January . . . those were my baby steps. They were slow and I was scared. I’m still scared, but it’s okay now. I sit here and think about the people from all walks of life speaking all kinds of languages. They surround me in this moment . . . Bulgarian, Macedonian, Albanian, German, Romanian, Spanish, Polish, Latvian, Russian . . . English scattered somewhere in between.

        I am not here to share all the wild details of authentic food indulgences, 6 AM weekend flights and crazy metro adventures. I guess that’s because—in this moment—I feel that it’s all actually pretty simple. Though communicated through different languages and cultures, we are all the same people going through all the same emotions. And, I understand that Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria (my study abroad location) is a home to some and a foreign place to others, no different from Orono, Maine. Regardless of where or what it is to people, every place is something incredible. I may be one of few having the opportunity to study in another country, but I am here to tell you that whether you are at home or somewhere else, you don’t always have to wander far to experience a particular feeling. It’s all within, not out there. I am here to tell you that no matter where each of us are at any given moment, it’s true when they say that we are exactly where we are supposed to be. Open your eyes and see what you’ve long forgotten to see right there in front of you, like it’s the first time. And I promise that whatever you feel is exactly what I am feeling now, roughly 4,000 miles away.

Make the most of Shakespeare Day, everyone—and of the eventful week that awaits us!

Steve Evans

English Department Chair

This Week in English 27 was circulated to faculty, students, and friends of the department on Monday, April 23, 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.