This Week in English | February 22-28, 2021

English Department Facebook Group

Inspired by the number of alumni who have joined our informal Friday gatherings, and noting that many of them learned of the meetings via a particular Facebook group, we decided to create a new group for the Department as a whole and were pleased to welcome nearly a hundred members in the first week. The group is private, and posts are moderated. Students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of the department are all welcome to join. As an added enticement, group members are among the first people to see the beautiful cover of Caroline Bicks’s forthcoming study Cognition and Girlhood in Shakespeare’s World

Langston Hughes Project Programming through the CCA

All this week the CCA will be streaming Ask Your Mama: Twelve Moods for Jazz, starring the Ron McCurdy Quartet. And on Monday, March 1 at 7:30, the CCA will host a live Q&A with McCurdy emceed by Steve Evans. To register for the Q&A and for further details, please email Karen Cole at

The Langston Hughes Project is a multimedia concert performance of Langston Hughes’s kaleidoscopic jazz poem suite, Ask Your Mama—Hughes’s homage in verse and music to the struggle for artistic and social freedom at home and abroad at the beginning of the 1960s. Ask Your Mama is a twelve-part epic poem which Hughes scored with musical cues drawn from blues and Dixieland, gospel songs, boogie woogie, bebop and progressive jazz, Latin “cha cha” and Afro-Cuban mambo music, German lieder, Jewish liturgy, West Indian calypso, and African drumming — a creative masterwork left unperformed at his death.

This programming is part of Black History Month at UMaine.

Rescheduled: Scholar Speaks about Culture and Ecosystems of Care on Thursday

Dr. Kirk St. Amant, Professor and Eunice C. Williamson Endowed Chair of Technical Communication and the Director of the Center for Health and Medical Communication at Louisiana Tech University, will give a talk on Thursday, February 25 from 11:00-12:15 entitled  “Culture and Ecosystems of Care: A Framework for Understanding International Health and Medical Contexts.” 

The talk will discuss challenges and strategies for generating healthcare content that meets the needs and expectations of audiences from other cultures—a particularly timely topic given the global COVID-19 pandemic. 

All members of the campus community are invited to attend (Zoom link by request). The talk is also part of a special topics course in the English Department on “Communicating COVID,” and is generously sponsored by the Stephen E. King Chair in Literature, which supports innovative learning and the humanities on campus. Fun fact: Dr. St. Amant is originally from Maine!

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Lecture Thursday

Dr. JoAnn Fritsche was the first Director of Equal Opportunity and Women’s Development at the University of Maine. She will speak via Zoom about “A Legacy of Advocacy: A Reflection on the History of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the University of Maine” on Thursday, February 25, from 6–7pm EST.

Chance to Talk Informally with Rebecca Traister on Friday

Professor Caroline Bicks, the Stephen E. King Chair in Literature, writes to say that “there are a few slots left for the 20-person Zoom discussion on Friday, February 26, 12:30-1:30, with award-winning journalist Rebecca Traister, where she’ll be taking your questions about careers in journalism, and what it’s like to write about gender, culture and politics for a popular audience. This is not a formal talk. This is an opportunity for you to speak with Traister. Ideally, you should come with questions and know a bit about her work in advance.  If you would like to participate in this small-group event, please email me this week to reserve a spot.”

Traister is the author of three books, including the New York Times bestselling Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger, and All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation. She is also writer-at-large for New York Magazine, where she is regularly featured in The Cut. She is currently a resident of Aroostook county where her mother grew up. She spoke as part of the Stephen E. King Chair Lecture Series in October of 2020.

English Department Drop-By on Friday

The English Department hosts virtual drop-bys most Friday afternoons to talk informally about matters of mutual interest and to compare notes on the week that was. A nice mix of majors, minors, graduate students, professors, and alumni have joined the conversation from one week to the next and created a warm and generous online literary salon. We’ll gather again this Friday at 4pm and keep the space open until about 5:30 (Zoom link by request). Feel free to drop by for just a few minutes or to stay a spell: we welcome your good company!

Storied: A Student Writers’ Group

English major Camerin Seigars is leading an initiative to have the student creative writing group Storied receive University recognition and, with it, some access to funding. Hollie Adams has agreed to serve as faculty advisor. Undergraduates  interested in joining and/or serving as an officer of the organization are invited to signal their intention here

Covid Reminder

If you or people you know in the UMaine community have concerns about COVID-19 symptoms, close contact, or a positive test, call the COVID-19 info line at 207-581-2681 or fill out the online self-reporting form or email

This Week in English 94 was sent to faculty, students, and friends of the department on Monday, February 22, 2021. 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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