This Week in English | November 11 – 17, 2019

This week’s installment of the bulletin offers a preview of Thursday’s reading by an acclaimed international author, a glimpse into several classrooms, a profile of the first-place Millay Prize winner, and announcements of a range of events, including a workshop devoted to crafting a professional CV, a talk about decolonizing museum practices, and a birthday celebration for Emily Dickinson. If you have an item you’d like to see included in a future installment of the bulletin, please send it along. Student perspectives on the life of the department are especially welcome! 

Cristina Rivera Garza in New Writing Series on Thursday

Cristina Rivera Garza is the award-winning author of six novels, three collections of stories, five collections of poetry, and three non-fiction books. Originally written in Spanish, these works have been translated into English, French, Italian, Portuguese, Korean, and more. Born in Mexico in 1964, she has lived in the United States since 1989. She is Distinguished Professor in Hispanic Studies and Director of Creative Writing at the University of Houston.

The Taiga Syndrome was published in the United States last year by Dorothy, a Publishing Project, which was co-founded by Danielle Dutton (NWS S’11) and Martin Riker (NWS F’18.) In a starred review, Kirkus Reviews called the novel “an eerie, slippery gem of a book.”

Writing in the LA Review of Books, Ignacio M. Sánchez Prado says of Garza: “If one is looking for works that embody the seismic shifts in Mexican literature’s aesthetics and styles in the 21st century, Cristina Rivera Garza’s boldly experimental books are the place to start.”

Garza will read from and discuss her work in the fourth event of the twentieth-anniversary season of the UMaine New Writing Series on Thursday, November 14, at 4:30pm in the Allen and Sally Fernald APPE Space (Stewart Commons 104). Greg Howard will host and introduce. Free and open to the public.

A Glimpse into What Our Students And Colleagues Are Up To This Week

Students in Dr. Katie Swacha’s ENG 416/516: Technical Editing and Document Design are currently putting their classroom knowledge into practice by collaborating with community partners across the region on a variety of editing and design projects. Projects range from designing public service materials for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife; editing a grant for the Old Town Public Library; providing feedback on the Ronald McDonald House in Bangor website; and designing a bicentennial logo and web content for the Bangor Public Library, among other diverse projects. Over the past few weeks, students worked to initiate partnerships with organizations of their choosing and to set up a project that matches both their community partners’ needs and students’ goals. The students are now putting their proposed projects into action. Stayed tuned for examples of these students’ great work!

Students in Margo Lukens’s section of ENG 170: Foundations of Literary Analysis have been reading Mary Rowlandson’s captivity narrative “The Sovereignty and Goodness of God” in their study of narrative. Already beginning to wonder about the English Puritan motivations for publishing her story, they attended the November 7 lecture by Professor Lisa Brooks from Amherst College, where they heard about the Wabanaki role as protectors of their “beloved kin” and homeland in the 1675-1677 conflict known as King Philip’s War.

Engineering students in Elizabeth Payne’s, Jeremy Parker’s, and Brian Jansen’s sections of ENG 320: Technical Communication for Engineering are collaborating with Facilities Management Director Stewart Harvey and the Director of Sustainability Dan Dixon to develop proposals for the UMaine Foundation’s Green Loan Fund Project (GLF). The GLF supports faculty-, staff-, and student-led initiatives that “improve the sustainability of campus operations in creative and cost-effective ways.” To that end, student teams are investigating the feasibility of retrofitting old fluorescent lighting in Corbett and Dunn Halls with more efficient LED lighting. Criteria include a 5-year payback. To prepare for this project, students are also developing annotated bibliographies on engineering topics related to sustainability in higher education. 

Millay Prize Profile: Katherine Dubois

In the summer of 2009, Frank and Helene Crohn generously provided the National Poetry Foundation (now the Center for Poetry and Poetics) at the University of Maine with the means to establish the Edna St. Vincent Millay Prize for Poetry.

The Millay Prize seeks to reward achievement in poetry at a crucial, early stage in a writer’s development while commemorating the legacy of one of Maine’s best known and most loved poets, Edna St. Vincent Millay, who herself received the gift of an education at Vassar College in part through the generosity of Caroline B. Dow.

The external judge Kathleen Ossip selected “Signaling” by Katherine (Kat) Dubois for first place ($3000) in the 2019 Millay Prize competition, commending the manuscript for being “finely attuned to the nuanced signals of language and experience, with an enviable sense of the line and its measure.” 

Here’s a brief bio:

Kat Dubois is a poet, scholar, and horse-drawn carriage driver from northern Maine. She obtained her MA in poetry and poetics in 2019. Her scholarship, which she has presented at conferences both in the US and in France, explores the ways artistic communities impact the work created within them, seeking insights into how we can facilitate creatively generative spaces of our own. She recently co-edited a symposium on community, forthcoming in Paideuma. As of 2020, she will be pursuing an MFA at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

Starr Kelly to Discuss Decolonization of Museum Practices

Curator of Education at Abbe Museum, Starr Kelly will be speaking with Margo Lukens on Monday, November 18, about decolonizing museum practices. The event is part of this year’s theme of “Society, Colonization, and Decolonization.” Please contact the McGillicuddy Humanities Center for details. 

EGSA Offers CV Workshop Led by Luke Redington on November 21

The English Graduate Studies Association invites you to attend a two-hour CV workshop led by Luke Redington in the Coe Room, Memorial Union, on November 21, 2019 from 2 – 4pm. EGSA recommends that you bring along your CV, your unofficial transcript, and descriptions of any positions you are interested in applying for. 

Celebrating Dickinson’s Birthday on December 10

The 13th Annual Emily Dickinson Birthday Reading will be held at 4:30 pm on Tuesday, December 10 (her actual birthday!) in the University Bookstore. For more information and/or to volunteer to read, please contact event organizer Kathleen Ellis


This Week in English 68 was sent to faculty, students, and friends of the department on Tuesday, November 12, 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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