This Week in English | September 20-26, 2021

New Writing Series Resumes on September 30

We were celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the New Writing Series when the pandemic forced it into hiatus following Laird Hunt’s reading on March 5, 2020. (Hunt’s new novel, Zorrie, was longlisted for a National Book Award last week.)

On Thursday, September 30, the NWS resumes with an event featuring creative writing faculty members Hollie Adams, Greg Howard, and Jennifer Moxley reading from new work. The event begins at 4:30 in the IMRC APPE Space (Stewart Commons 104) and is free and open to the public. Other Thursday afternoon events in the fall will be announced in future bulletins: we anticipate offering a mix of live and hybrid (remote artists, live audience) events thanks to the technological capacities of the IMRC.

Moxley Long Poem in Subtropics

The new issue of Subtropics, the literary journal edited by David Leavitt (fiction) and Ange Mlinko (poetry) at the University of Florida, opens with a long poem by Jennifer Moxley that traces the lives of three women born in 1900: her grandmother, who was a portrait painter in El Paso; the actress, opera singer, and politician Helen Gahagan Douglas; and the Russian-born French writer Natalie Saurraute. An excerpt from “1900” was included in Brian Jansen’s profile of UMaine artists responding to the pandemic in March of this year. Moxley’s new book For The Good of All, Do Not Destroy the Birds was published on September 1.

Lattari Review in New York Times

Sarah Weinman included alum Katie Lattari’s new novel Dark Things I Adore in her “Crime and Mystery” roundup in Sunday’s New York Times Book Review. Weinman writes:

The spider web of revenge Lattari slowly spins threatens to dissolve at every conceivable turn, or transform into lurid melodrama. That it doesn’t, not once, is a testament to her careful and sinewy plotting, which reveals in chilling detail who gets to make art, and who gets subsumed in the process.

A Glimpse into First-Year Composition Courses

Interim Director of Composition Mary Plymale Larlee provides this welcome update about ENG 101 and 100 (Stretch):

Our College Composition program (which includes ENG 101 and ENG 100/106) has started the fall semester off well. We currently have 902 students enrolled across 45 sections of first year writing. Those sections are taught by 35 different instructors. This fall we welcomed a substantial cohort of adjuncts new to our program: Cara Lustgarten, Morgan Talty, Danielle Gabrielli, Bailey Edward, and Paul England. While new to our program, they bring with them nearly 40 years of collective teaching experience. This week this cohort of teachers are conferencing with their students individually over the first formal academic essays. Students used their essays to situate Dylan Dryer‘s threshold concept “1.4 Words Get Their Meaning from Other Words” with Chris Anson’s “The Pop Warner Chronicles: a case study in contextual adaptation and the transfer of writing ability” as a way to think through what it might take for a writer to adapt to specific languaging practices in order to meaningfully participate in a new discourse community.

Students Take Note: Center for Undergraduate Research Grants

The English Department encourages majors and minors to apply for a CUGR Research and Creative Activities Fellowship. These fellowships support up to $1,500 for a student to conduct faculty-mentored research. The deadline to apply is October 15, 2021 at 5:00 pm. A good first step is to contact a professor you’d like to work closely with on a sustained research project and see if they are able to act as your mentor. If you’re unsure whom to contact, you can always start with

The application materials can be found here. More information about the Center for Undergraduate Research (CUGR) and these fellowships can found on their website. Please submit your questions to

UMass Press Featured Titles

In their fall press release, the UMass Press called attention to two items that have been noted in previous bulletins:

The New Yorker ran an article on the preservation and ownership of Indigenous languages, and the piece focused on a new UMass Press title, “Still They Remember Me”: Penobscot Transformer Tales, Volume 1 and included interviews with the author team, Carol A. Dana, Margo Lukens, and Conor M. Quinn.

Josephine Donovan’s The Lexington Six: Lesbian and Gay Resistance in 1970s America was a finalist for the 2021 Lambda Literary Awards in the category of LGBTQ Nonfiction. The book was selected out of a pool of more than 1000 submissions from over 300 publishers.

This Week in English 106 was sent to students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of the department on Tuesday, September 21, 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. If you’re on Facebook, please consider joining the newly formed English Department Group.

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