This Week in English | March 9-15, 2020

Sabrina Orah Mark Reads Today

The literary journal Thieves & Liars, co-edited by MA candidates Tori Hood and Martin Conte, and the Stephen E. King Chair of Literature are excited to announce that author Sabrina Orah Mark is visiting campus today, March 9. She led a writing workshop at 1pm and will give a public reading at 5:45 PM in DPC 107, followed by a pot-luck dinner in the Writing Center.

William Yellow Robe, Jr. to Receive Honorary Doctorate

The University of Montana announced on Friday that William Yellow Robe, Jr.  will receive an honorary doctorate at their commencement ceremony planned for May 9 of this year. Their commendation reads as follows:

Born in Poplar, Yellow Robe teaches as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Maine. He cultivated his writing and performing art skills at the University of Montana before launching a career as a skilled playwright, author, poet, educator and actor.

He is the recipient of numerous awards, and his creative works have brought an American Indian perspective and experience to many new audiences. His mentorship of young Native students and playwrights has boosted the prominence of American Indian theater in the United States. His plays include “The Star Quilter,” “Rez Politics,” “Sneaky,” “A Stray Dog” and “Mix Blood Seeds,” among many others.

Yellow Robe is a member of the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes.

Last fall, Yellow Robe staged his one-person performance “De-colonization is not a reality show” here at UMaine under the direction of Visiting Libra Professor Madeline Sayet. This spring he is teaching a section of English 205: Introduction to Creative Writing.

New Publication by Katie Swacha 

Katie Swacha, who joined the English Department this fall with a specialization in rhetoric and communication, has a new publication. The article is “Community-Engaged Research as Enmeshed Practice,” co-authored with Dr. Jennifer Bay (Purdue University), and published in a special issue of the Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning on “Community Impacts of Engaged Research, Teaching, and Practice.” The piece presents a model for community-engaged research that recognizes research participants’ most immediate human needs while also responding to pressures to gather hard data.

Good and Mad Discussion Hosted by Humanities Collaboration

The Orono High School/UMaine Humanities Collaboration will meet to discuss Rebeca Traister‘s book Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger on Tuesday, March 24th from 5 to 7pm in The Orono High School English Wing. Faculty, students and members of the community are all welcome! Please email Kirsten Jacobson or Jim Bulteel to let them know you’d like to join the gathering. Participants will receive a free copy of the book thanks to funding from the McGillicuddy Humanities Center and Orono High School. Refreshments will also be served.

This conversation will help prime folks for thinking about Rebecca Traister’s work in advance of her visit as this year’s featured speaker in the Stephen E. King Lecture Series. Here’s information about Traister’s speaking engagement at UMaine:

April 2nd, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., Collins Center for the Arts, FREE. The lecture will be followed by a book signing in partnership with The Briar Patch.

New York Times bestselling author and columnist Rebecca Traister is one of the leading journalists today working at the intersections of gender and culture. She is a writer-at-large for New York Magazine and the author of the books Big Girls Don’t Cry, All the Single Ladies, and Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger.

Michael Swacha to Present at Comparative Literature Conference

Michael Swacha will present his paper “Potentiality and Literary Form in Woolf’s To the Lighthouse” on the panel he organized on Literary Form and Potentiality for the American Comparative Literature Association’s annual conference planned for March 19-22 in Chicago. Fellow panelists will present on Franz Kafka, Paul Celan, and the Eneasroman (which I googled for you because I didn’t know either).

Take a Hike

This item from the Chronicle for Higher Education’s daily briefing of Monday, March 2, caught my eye, so I thought I’d share:

A study from Cornell University finds that when students spend as little as ten minutes a day outdoors in a natural setting, they feel happier and less stressed both physically and mentally.

When the students—15 to 30 years old— spent 10 to 50 minutes out in the natural world, their mood and focus improved. So did physiological markers like blood pressure and heart rate, the report said.

Heading outdoors every day apparently offers calming benefits to others as well. You may want to tell your co-workers, too, to take a hike.


The bulletin will be on hiatus during spring break and will resume on the 23rd. Readers are invited to contribute items by midday on Sunday, March 22. Safe travels everyone!


This Week in English 80 was sent to faculty, students, and friends of the department on Monday, March 9, 2020. 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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