This Week in English | February 7-13, 2022

New Cohort of McGillicuddy Undergraduate Research Fellows Named

In January, 2022, the McGillicuddy Humanities Center (MHC) welcomed four new undergraduate research fellows for the next two semesters: Benjamin Allen, April Messier, Tom Pinette and Sheralynn Robbins. This new cohort will join existing fellows Luke Miller, Sabrina Paetow, Stephanie Tillotson, and Heather Webb, who are finalizing their research this spring.

Three of the four new fellows are affiliated with the English Department:

Incoming fellow Benjamin Allen, an English and Philosophy major from Johnston, Rhode Island, will spend the next academic year exploring, “The Embodied Performance of Tourette’s Syndrome in Communication and the Academic Environment.” Allen will draw on his own lived experience, as well as contemporary scholarly research in the fields of disability studies, communication theory, intersectional theory, and performance theory, to examine how tic disorders, and specifically Tourette’s Syndrome (TS), are predominantly performative, and can irreversibly impact the phenomenal experience of those afflicted, especially as it relates to stressful situations in academia and the classroom experience. Allen will be advised by Carla Billitteri from the Department of English.

April Messier, an English major from Old Town, will spend her fellowship analyzing “The Power of Words: Tracing Poetry’s Roots in Magic.” Messier became interested in researching poetry’s roots in religious ritual and magical practice after learning about practices used during the Medieval period in a class with Dr. Sarah Harlan-Haughey. While Messier plans to gain insight from many disciplines and time periods, she will be doing a deep dive on the poet H.D.’s works. Her end product will be a prosimetrum piece (a poetic piece of writing combining prose and verse) that explores the common threads that surface in her research. She will be advised by Jennifer Moxley

The final member of the 2022 fellows cohort will be Sherralyn Robbins, an English major minoring in legal studies from Brewer, Maine. Robbins’ research proposal title, “You Write Like a Girl,” was inspired by a statement her own middle school teacher made after reviewing her writing. Throughout her time at UMaine, she has become increasingly interested in the gendered and linguistically biased structure of academia. For her fellowship, she hopes to examine the historical perspectives that brought about these standards, do a case study focusing on her own writing, and create dialogues between herself and female scholars of writing and gender studies. Paige Mitchell, lecturer in English and Director of the University of Maine Writing Center, will be advising Sher’s research. 

Poet Stuart Kestenbaum Hosted by Judaic Studies Tonight at 7pm

Join Judaic Studies for an evening with former Maine poet Laureate Stuart Kestenbaum. The author of six collections of poems, Kestenbaum has also published and taught widely on the craft of making and creativity. On Feb. 8 he will speak on the Jewish influences on his poetry. Former US poet laureate Ted Kooser has written “Stuart Kestenbaum writes the kind of poems I love to read, heartfelt responses to the privilege of having been given a life. No hidden agendas here, no theories to espouse, nothing but life, pure life, set down with craft and love.”

Reception to follow generously provided by Jewish Community Endowment Association. For questions contact Derek A. Michaud (207.581.3890).

First Storied Reading Takes Place

Finlee LeBouef, Rachel Ouellette, Marshall Feeney, Iris E LeCates, Katie Johnson, Lucca Hamina. Emerson Rinehart, Starla Straub, and Seamus Walden were among the readers at last Saturday evening’s inaugural student reading hosted by Storied, the creative writing club sponsored by the English Department. Iris LeCates emceed the event, which was held in The Writers’ Block (third floor Neville). The next reading is planned for March 5, 2022 at 5pm. The Writers’ Block is available to majors and minors throughout the day and provides a quiet space for reading and writing between classes.  

This Week in English 119  was sent to students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of the department on Tuesday, February 8, 2022. 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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