This Week in English | January 28 – February 3, 2019

Poetry Out Loud Regional Finals

The first of two regional finals for this year’s Poetry Out Loud competition takes place at Hampden Academy tomorrow afternoon and I’m pleased to once again be serving as a judge for both this event and its southern counterpart in Westbrook on February 11. I was a semi-finalist judge in 2014 and 2016, and a judge for the finals in 2015, and I’ve discovered that along with helping to keep the English Department connected with high schools throughout the state, the program has the added virtue of bringing to my attention students who often enough go on to be future English majors at UMaine.  

Commemorating Two “Alums” of the New Writing Series

The prestigious Bollingen Prize for Poetry was awarded last week to Charles Bernstein, a long-time friend of the Center for Poetry and Poetics here at UMaine (formerly the National Poetry Foundation) who read in the New Writing Series in the spring of 2002 and was a keynote performer in the summer 2012 conference on the Poetry and Poetics of the 1980s. Bollingen Prize Director Nancy Kuhl, who read in the New Writing Series in the fall of 2008, remarks:

An open, pluralistic society requires literary arts and humanities if it is to flourish and we [at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale] affirm their vital role through our collections, exhibitions, scholarship, teaching and in the celebration and support of living poets with this award.

We are thrilled that the 2019 Bollingen Prize Judges have honored Charles Bernstein, a poet whose creative and critical work has for decades enlivened American poetry and poetics…. The poems in his latest book, Near/Miss, explore the very nature of poetry.

Both Benjamin Friedlander and Carla Billitteri worked closely with Bernstein as doctoral students when he was David Gray Professor of Poetry and Letters at the University at Buffalo, where he directed the Poetics Program.

Among recent recipients of the biennial award first given to Ezra Pound in 1949, Nathaniel Mackey (2015), Susan Howe (2011), Jay Wright (2005), and Robert Creeley (1999) have been featured in the UMaine New Writing Series and/or been keynotes in NPF summer conferences.

On a sadder note, the French poet Emmanuel Hocquard passed away this weekend at the age of 79. Hocquard read in the New Writing Series in the spring of 2006 along with his partner and collaborator Juliette Valéry, who presented on their joint project Format Américain  at the summer 2017 conference on the Poetry and Poetics of the 1990s. Hocquard’s tireless work as a translator of American poetry made him a contemporary of many NWS alums, from Bernstein and Michael Palmer (S’2005) to Bill Luoma (S’2004) and Jena Osman (S’2013). A French language obituary appeared in Le Monde yesterday. Jennifer Moxley posted some remembrances to her website yesterday as well. An alum who publishes online as Bridget Eileen reported on the April 2006 reading for The Maine Campus.

Looking Ahead: Please Mark Your Calendars

On January 31, the first department meeting of the semester is planned at 2pm in Neville 204. Full-time faculty are expected to attend; all members of the department are welcome.

On February 1, submissions for the Grady Awards in Creative Writing are due.

On February 5, Elizabeth Neiman will present in the WGS spring colloquium series at 12:30 in the Bangor Room. Her topic is “Reassessing Romantic Authorship: Minerva’s ‘Lady’ Authors & the Romantic Print Market.” Neiman’s book on the subject is due out from the University of Wales this spring.

On February 13, Italian American translator and refugee activist Pina Piccolo shares and discusses her work in a special Wednesday afternoon New Writing Series event hosted by Carla Billitteri and co-sponsored by the Honors College. The event will be held at 4:30pm in the Allen and Sally Fernald APPE Space, 104 Stewart Commons.

On February 28, poet, essayist, and editor Lynn Melnick reads in a New Writing Series event hosted by Jennifer Moxley. The event will be held at 4:30pm in the Allen and Sally Fernald APPE Space, 104 Stewart Commons.


This Week in English 45 was sent to faculty, students, and friends of the department on Monday, January 28, 2019. 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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