This Week in English | October 22 – 28, 2018

We’ve come to the moment, in the thick of the fall semester, where we cast our eyes to the so-called “spring” (a cheerful euphemism for “dead of winter”) semester. This installment of the bulletin offers a preview of the upper-division offerings in spring, followed by the usual round of updates and announcements.

Preview of Spring 2019 as Enrollment Opens

The Office of Student Records opens enrollment for the spring 2019 semester to graduate students and seniors this week. English majors who have not done so already are strongly encouraged to contact their academic advisors to arrange a meeting to discuss their program of study and progress toward degree completion. Advisors are listed in the MaineStreet Student Center just below the “Enrollment Dates” box. The CLAS Advising and Academic Services Center has compiled a helpful guide to the advising and enrollment process.

The Department is offering six literature courses at the 300-level in the spring: Native American Literature (Eng 342) with William Yellow Robe; Nineteenth-Century American Literature (Eng 343) with Benjamin Friedlander; Medieval English Literature (Eng 351) with Sarah Harlan-Haughey, which satisfied both the pre-1800 and the British distribution requirement; Literature of the Postmodern Period (Eng 363) with Gregory Howard; a themes course (Eng 381) on “Wildlands or Woodlands?: The Wilderness in Literature and in Conservation” with Laura Cowan; and a genres course (Eng 382) focused on “Social Comedy: Comedy of Manners and Social Life” with Richard Brucher.

Students majoring in English are advised to complete at least two 400-level literature courses before graduating. In the spring, Carla Billitteri will lead the American Seminar (Eng 440) on “future visions” in contemporary African-American poetry, drama, and social criticism. Elizabeth Neiman will lead the British Seminar (Eng 459) on the topic of “Life Writing: Memorializing Love and Loss in the British Romantic Period and Today.” And Deborah Rogers will direct the Research Seminar in Literature (Eng 490), which satisfies both the pre-1800 and British distribution requirements.

The upper-division writing curriculum includes the Seminar in Writing Studies (Eng 301) with Luke Redington, which is organized into units on “Writing and Creativity,” “Writing and Politics,” and “Writing and Technology”; Topics in Writing and Research (Eng 402) with Ryan Dippre, which explores “Writing Development throughout the Lifespan”; intermediate creative writing workshops in fiction (Eng 307) and poetry (Eng 308) with Danielle Pafunda; and Advanced Fiction Writing (Eng 407) with Gregory Howard.

At the graduate-level, four seminars are being offered: a topics course with Dylan Dryer called “Policing Englishes” (Eng 529) that examines “prescriptivist” efforts to control what counts as “proper” English; a Gender and Literature course (Eng 549) with Benjamin Friedlander that is centered on poet Adrienne Rich and the assertion that “the personal is political” (this course substitutes for Eng 580 for Poetry & Poetics concentrators); “Growing Up Shakespeare” (Eng 553) with Caroline Bicks, which focuses on Shakespeare’s adolescent heroines and their afterlives; and Modern British Literature with Laura Cowan, which offers a cultural and historical approach to the canon of British Modernism.

For more detail on these and other courses, speak with your advisor, contact the instructor, and consult the course description pamphlet found on the department website.

Martin Riker in New Writing Series on Thursday

On Thursday, October 25, the New Writing Series hosts a reading by fiction writer Martin Riker, whose novel Samuel Johnson’s Eternal Return was published earlier this fall by Coffee House. The event will be hosted by our own Greg Howard, who recently took on the role of director of Creative Writing here at UMaine. For more details about the reading, please visit the event page. In other NWS news, photographs from Jac Jemc’s reading on October 11 are now online at the NWS Flickr page.

“Ending the Silence” Program on Thursday

Ending the Silence is a fifty-minute mental health presentation that helps young people learn early warning signs of mental illness and provides them with resources and tools to help themselves, friends, or family members who may be in need of support. The program will be put on by Betsy Rose, Publications Specialist at the Center for Poetry and Poetics (formerly the National Poetry Foundation) and President of Bangor NAMI as part of Deborah Roger’s course on American Short Fiction (Eng 245), where texts dealing with depression and suicide by Gilman, Chopin, and Cather are being discussed. As part of the presentation, Mae L’Heureux, Policy and Quality Assurance Manager at NAMI Maine, will discuss her own mental health challenges. This aspect of the program in particular helps dispel myths, instills a message of hope and recovery, and encourages students to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness. The event takes place at 11am on Thursday, October 25, in Little Hall 140.

Writer’s Night Event Report

First-year MA candidate Victoria (Tori) Hood helped organize a “writer’s night” at a local brewery last Thursday. Here’s her event report:

On October 18th the first Writer’s Night at Bangor Beer Co. started off with quite the bang! We had fifteen readers and twenty-five in attendance as we heard from many Master’s candidates here at the University of Maine including Morghen Tidd, Kat Dubois, Abbe Adent, Victoria Hood, Cassidy Marsh, Martin Conte, Matt Hammond, Kyle Manning, and Liz Northcote. Lecturer Jeremy Parker also read and the event was emceed by Master’s candidate Kaitlyn Hanson. The next Writer’s Night is being planned for one of the first few weeks in December at Bangor Beer Co. and more information will be released as it gets closer.

News from the Writing Center

Writing Center director Paige Mitchell shares this update:

On October 15th, University of Maine alumna Heather Webster brought her Medomak Valley high school tutors-in-training to their second semi-annual visit with our Writing Center. We had lively tutorials, discussions, and they finished by visiting Heather’s former advisor, Naomi Jacobs!

Naomi Jacobs Presents at Society for Utopian Studies Conference

Speaking of Naomi Jacobs, she will be on the UC Berkeley campus a week from Friday to present her paper “Pandora Worries About What She Is Doing: Le Guin and the Problem of Utopian Authority” on the panel “Revisiting the Works of Ursula Le Guin” at this year’s Utopian Studies Conference (full program here). LeGuin, who was born on October 21, 1929, died last January. She would have been eighty-nine yesterday.

Wicks Fellow Paul Eaton Presents at Western Literature Association

MA candidate and Wicks Fellow Paul Eaton will travel to St. Louis this week to present “Cinematic Enactment in Percival Everett’s God’s Country” on a panel at the Western Literature Association’s annual conference. Everett is being recognized with a Distinguished Achievement Award as part of the conference proceedings. As a Wicks Fellow, Eaton is pursuing a project centered on the poet Bill Corbett (NWS S’10), who passed away at the age of seventy-five in August.

Upcoming Events

This Wednesday, October 23, the McGillicuddy Humanities Center co-sponsors Richard Rubin’s talk on “World War I: The Most Jewish War in History?”

On October 30, the Stephen E. King Chair Lecture Series will host Leigh Gilmore for a talk on “Graphic Witness: Testimony, Confession, and the #MeToo Movement.” A conversation about the talk is planned for November 2 as part of the on-going UMaine / Orono High School collaboration (for details, see attached flyer).

On November 1, the English Department’s Faculty Research and Scholarship Presentation Series, curated by Elizabeth Neiman, will host Luke Redington for a talk on “Ethical Irony in the Metaphor of the Surgical Strike.”

On November 8, Danielle Pafunda reads in the New Writing Series.

On November 15, Meghan Dowling, Leonore Hildebrandt, and William S. Yellow Robe, Jr. will read from their work in the first of two events in the New Writing Series that will showcase the accomplishments of the creative writers who are teaching English 205 this fall.

On November 16, Dr. Vincent Sherry, Howard Nemerov Professor in the Humanities at Washington University in St. Louis, will deliver a lecture on “Modernism in Wartime: Avant-Gardes, Revolutions, Poetries” (flyer attached) as part of the McGillicuddy Humanities Center’s year-long symposium “War Without End: The Legacies of World War I.” Sherry’s visit is being organized by Laura Cowan.

Literary comings and goings: Poet Denise Levertov, who lived in Temple, Maine, for a time, was born on October 24, 1923. Geoffrey Chaucer died on October 24, 1400. Poet Sylvia Plath was born on October 27, 1932. She shared a birthday with Dylan Thomas (1914) and Maxine Hong Kingston (1940). On October 29, 1740, James Boswell, Scottish diarist and famed biographer of Samuel Johnson, was born. On October 30, 1871, French poet Paul Valéry was born. He held the inaugural chair in Poetics at the Collège de France from 1937 until his death in 1945. His essay Poetry and Abstract Thought is worth a look.


Warm best wishes as we head into week eight, everyone. The leaves may be “past peak,” but we’re just getting started, right?




This Week in English 35 was circulated to faculty, students, and friends of the department on Monday, October 22, 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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