This Week in English | April 15-21, 2024

MA Student Symposium This Thursday Evening 

The English Graduate Student Association will host the annual spring symposium celebrating the creative and scholarly work of the department’s MA students this Thursday, April 18 from 5-8pm in the Writing Center (Neville 402). The full program can be consulted here. You can browse EGSA merch on Bonfire, featuring a haiku by second-year MA student Christopher Gardner. 


UMaine Faculty and Students Present at the 2024 Conference on College Composition and Communication

Faculty and graduate students from UMaine English were well represented at the 2024 Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) in Spokane, Washington from April 3rd through 6th. CCCC is the world’s largest professional organization for researching and teaching composition, from writing to new media.

  • Ryan Dippre presented with Yogesh Sinha (Ohio University) and Erin Workman (DePaul and a UMaine MA grad) in a session called “Stepping into Lifespan Writing Research.” The goal was to help people get oriented to LWR so that they could participate in it. 

  • Heather Falconer presented with colleagues from the University of Denver, Columbia University, and Curry College on a panel entitled, “On the Costs of Non-Compliance: Neurodivergent Writers Across Academic Contexts.” This panel examined the experiences of neurodivergent students with peer review, group work, and instructor expectations of writing across disciplines, as well as the neuroscience behind student struggle. 

  • Michelle Hoeckel-Neal had two presentations on the docket. “Orchestrating Proximity in Disparate Communications via Letter-Writing: A Grounded-Theory Approach” discussed an ethnographic grounded theory analysis using letters written by her grandparents in 1959, and “Approaches Toward Decolonizing the First-Year Writing Classroom” described an emerging decolonial framework for teaching that operates from within existing institutional structures while enacting pedagogical methodologies embedded in Indigenous economies of abundance (Fujikane). 

  • Mudiwa Mupotsa presented “Rememorying History and Agency: Dismantling Power Structures,” which explored the writing of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. This work examined the violent social structures that simultaneously thought her voice and stories were meaningless, and yet still actively and forcefully tries to silence her.

  • Eric Arnold participated in the Research Network Forum, which is dedicated to mentoring new and established researchers in rhetoric and composition studies. His research involves the use of iterative linear modeling (e.g. Crossley & Macnamara) to compute the strength of relationships between communicative success, Torrance creativity scores, and lexicogrammatical features (using the Biber MDA model) to measure the effect of an experimental curriculum involving student-led research facilitated by Results were interesting, and several alternative hypotheses were confirmed.

  • Dylan Morin’s research was presented via proxy (thanks snowpocalypse) by colleague Maddie Bruegger. “More than personal: An Abundance of History and Becoming Through Journaling” explored the personal journals of Willis Carter. Morin’s work was exploring what can be learned about identity through an individuals’ personal writing.

  • Maddie Bruegger (2023 Alum), who is now working on her PhD at the University of Texas – Austin, presented on some of her work from her UMaine MA thesis. “‘A Capsule of Memories’: Abundance of Social Media Sites as User Archive” explored the case study of Anya and her use of Instagram to chronicle and archive lived experience in both public and private ways.


ENG 215 Students Explore Writing in Communities

Students in ENG 215: Theories & Practices of Writing, taught this semester by Heather Falconer, are deep into their final project for the class: exploring writing in community spaces. Students have completed Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) training and are taking up fascinating projects like the perceptions and use of AI by creative writers, the use of writing to construct and preserve “family” on military bases, perceptions of safety within dating apps, and tattooing as a form of inscription and compositing process. Over the course of the semester, students have been introduced to the various directions work in writing studies can take (from pedagogical interventions to linguistics to public activism) and now have the opportunity to explore topics of their own interest and design.


English Major Gabriella Shetreet Writes in from Bulgaria

Zdravete (hello!) friends at UMaine,

A quick update from my experiences since January living in Blagoevgrad, on exchange at the American University in Bulgaria!

Although I spent the first month in Blagoevgrad bundled up from head to toe in the warmest clothing I owned, there were still numerous things to enjoy and explore in the town and the surrounding area. My Honors class, led by Professor Mimi Killinger, took a trip to the Rila Monastery, the largest and most famous monastery in Bulgaria. Founded by notorious hermit John of Rila in the 10th century, it hosts thousands of visitors each year. Luckily for our class, we went at the end of January— and although many people told us we were “insane” for going up to the mountains in the dead of winter, it paid off, as we were some of the only visitors there (besides the stray cats!).

Along with numerous new friends from around the world, AUBG brought those of us on exchange or Erasmus to small villages around Bulgaria to immerse us in its beautiful culture. One such trip was especially memorable, as we were able to make (and eat!) banitsa (a traditional pastry), dance, and make martenitsa together. Martenitsa are a special type of bracelet meant to symbolize good luck to the wearer, and the version we made can only be crafted with three people working together at the same time.

Bulgarian culture is steeped in bracelets equalling good luck, and the holiday of Baba Marta, which occurs on the first of March every year, is no different. Friends will gift each other white and red-stringed martenitsa, which the recipient would need to wear until they see either a flowering tree or a songbird— they would then hang their bracelet on the tree for good luck. With springtime, Blagoevgrad has finally seen some sun, and the days are spent working on homework outside with friends and lounging in the grass, watching the stray dogs and families from the town play. Although I have been lucky enough to travel to both Greece and Italy as well, Bulgaria has its fair share of beauty, culture, and education. 

While enjoying my classes, I have had the wonderful opportunity to lead a Graphic Novel Adaptation workshop as part of AUBG’s Writing Center, participated in a school-wide “Olympics” tournament in dodgeball (our team won in spirit), and attended the opera Carmen with friends in Sofia. Although there are only around thirty days left in my experience on exchange, I know I will cherish the memories and friends I’ve made here forever. 

Ciao for now,

Gabriella Shetreet


Open Field Launch Report

The Writing Center was filled to capacity on Thursday, April 11, for the rescheduled launch party of the student-edited undergraduate literary journal The Open Field. A representative sample of this year’s contributors took the podium after welcoming remarks by senior editor Paige McHatten and introductory remarks by Iris Loehr. Editors Finlee LeBouef and Brianna Lemarie were also on hand. Copies of the journal will be available in the English Department shortly. In the meanwhile, feel free to request one (or more) from Paige McHatten.


22nd Annual Poets/Speak! at Bangor Public Library on April 25 at 5pm

The English Department is a co-sponsor of the twenty-second annual Poets/Speak celebration hosted by Kathleen Ellis at the Bangor Public Library starting at 5pm on Thursday, APril 25th. A preliminary program can be consulted here. The event is free and open to the public. You are invited to come early to browse books, and enjoy live music and refreshments.


Jennifer Moxley to Read on MDI on April 30 

Jennifer Moxley will read in the “People—Nature—Art” series at the Wendell Gilley Museum in Southwest Harbor on Tuesday, April 30. The event is free but reservations are recommended. 

This will be an in-person event with special host Carl Little, but can also be attended online. The Museum will send a Zoom link to those who choose the online option when reserving space.There will be an artist reception at 6pm.

People-Nature-Art is a monthly series that brings artists, writers, carvers, and creative types of all kinds to the Gilley to explore how nature and art interact in their work, and how their art impacts their own approach to nature.



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