This Week in English | October 1 – 7, 2018

New Writing Series Event Report

Last Thursday fiction writer Eugene Lim traveled in from New York to kick off the nineteenth year of New Writing Series programming hosted by the English Department and the Center for Poetry and Poetics (formerly the National Poetry Foundation). Lim was introduced by Greg Howard. He opened his set with a short piece called “How to Make a French Exit,” a humorous guide to leaving a party without saying goodbye. He then read an excerpt from his novel Dear Cyborgs before turning to a work in progress tentatively titled “No Machine Can Do It.” The reading was followed by a lively and sustained question and answer session led off by Professors Danielle Pafunda and Deborah Rogers. The audience of forty five was composed of professors, MA candidates, undergraduate majors, and a smattering of students from across the creative writing and literature curriculum. Audio, video, and photos of the event will be available on the department website before long. The next NWS event features fiction writer Jac Jemc. It takes place a week from Thursday, on October 11th, in the same venue (Allen & Sally Fernald APPE Space, Stewart Commons 104) and at the same time (4:30pm).

Departmental Business

The department’s standing committees are scheduled to meet today (Undergraduate Studies, chaired by Ben Friedlander) and tomorrow (Graduate Studies, chaired by Dylan Dryer). The department meets as a whole on Thursday at 2pm in the Hatlen Room (NV 406), to be followed by a meeting of the Peer Committee. Full-time faculty may expect a call for travel proposals early this week. At the meeting of the full department on Thursday, we will hear from the standing committees about the work envisioned for the year ahead. We will also leave time for a conversation about our department’s role in the Provost’s initiative on “first-year academic success.”

Graduate Faculty Spotlight

Faculty Spotlight is a new feature on the department website intended to keep current and prospective MA candidates updated on the research projects being conducted by members of our graduate faculty. The first installment focuses on Professor Sarah Harlan-Haughey, who has just returned to teaching (English 131 and English 551) after a sabbatical year. Her first-person account of two projects she’s pursuing was posted last week. English majors nearing graduation are invited to contact Dylan Dryer for more information about our graduate program and about graduate school more generally. The national application season opens in early November (when application deadlines begin) and concludes in mid-April (when admission decisions are finalized).

Storied: A Creative Writing Workshop Open to All

Pauline Bickford-Duane is the Stacks Supervisor at Fogler Library. She writes with this update:

Storied: Creative Writing Workshop meets Tuesdays at 6pm in the Writing Center (402 Neville Hall) and is open to UMaine students, faculty, and staff. We read our writing aloud and offer suggestions and constructive criticism. We also do writing prompts, so if you don’t have anything to share, just come to write and read! All writing levels and styles are welcome.

For more information, see our Facebook page or contact me by e-mail. The flyer is also attached.

A Quick Glimpse at Week Five Syllabi

This week in Elizabeth Neiman’s section of Foundations of Literary Analysis (Eng 170), students are reading Emily Fridlund’s novel History of Wolves. Fridlund read from her novel, then in proofs, in an April 2016 NWS event. It was later shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. In his section of English 170, Ben Friedlander is guiding students through a reading of Richard Adams’s Watership Down. In the Act of Interpretation (Eng 271), Caroline Bicks focuses this week on psychoanalytic approaches to Hamlet in a segment called “Hamlet on the Couch” (readings by Freud, Ernest Jones, Jacqueline Rose). Leonore Hildebrandt’s section of Reading Poems (Eng 222) is exploring figurative language, with Keats’s “To Autumn” and poems by Whitman and Dickinson serving to show “how compression works” to create layered meanings in poems. Students in William Yellow Robe, Jr.’s course on Multicultural Literature (Eng 243) continue their discussion of August Wilson’s play The Piano Lesson and take up his essay “The Ground on Which I Stand.” Dick Brucher’s course on American Plays of the Cold War Years (Eng 490) turns to Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes. Across multiple sections of first-year composition (Eng 101), teachers are wrapping up one-on-one conferences and readying for the week five calibration session this Friday.

As we round out the first third of the fall semester, I wish everyone the best in their endeavors to read widely and well, to write artfully and persuasively, and to learn patiently from all their encounters, in class and out.

Until next week,


This Week in English 32 was circulated to faculty, students, and friends of the department on Monday, October 1, 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.

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