By Olivia Dunton, English
Coordinated by Dr. Steven Evans, an Associate Professor in the English department, the New Writing Series continually brings up-and-coming, as well as established writers, to the UMaine community. Evans has run the New Writing Series since 1999 and strives to bring new and exciting names to the schedule every semester. “It really is a kind of living community of authors,” Evans said of the event.
The New Writing Series is co-sponsored by the English department and the National Poetry Foundation and connects UMaine with an international community of writers. Over the course of almost 14 years, the series has hosted over one hundred readings, shedding light on imminent names in fiction, poetry, prose, translation and new media.
Carroll F. Terrell founded the National Poetry Foundation at UMaine in 1971, originally as a resource on Ezra Pound. Burton Hatlen, who helped to make it into the internationally renowned foundation that it is today, developed it further. The National Poetry Foundation’s presence at the university makes UMaine a distinctive authority on modern and contemporary poetry and enables the school to host events like the New Writing Series.
“I enjoy going because it gives me the opportunity to be involved in the literary community in an academic environment, with people who are going because they are passionate about the subject,” UMaine student Lisa Deszo said of the event.
The New Writing Series kicked off its yearly events on Sept. 19 with Tomas Dobozy, a self-described obsessive storyteller, who looks into his past to find inspiration. Dobozy, a short fiction writer, believed for a long time that his compulsive characters were normal.
“I grew up with them,” Dobozy said, in a post-reading question and answer session with the audience, “and I didn’t realize it wasn’t normal until quite recently.”
Dobozy incited both laughter and reverent silence. After the reading, he answered questions with a healthy mix of self-deprecation. It was a strong start to the fall semester lineup for the NWS.
This year’s New Writing Series has some exciting names, including the return of Jaap Blonk on Nov. 21, who last visited in the fall of 2011. Blonk is referred to as a “sound poet,” and is a potent combination of performance artist, composer and poet. The semester of readings will finish on Dec. 5 with Sara Wintz and Megan Kaminski. A new schedule of readings will go up for the spring semester. Readings typically take place on Thursdays at 5:30 p.m., at the Soderberg Auditorium in Jenness Hall.
For more information on the New Writing Series, visit the New Writing Series web page.