Steven R. Evans
Brian Kim Stefans & Rod Smith
Cultural Affairs and Distinguished Lecture Series
Project Abstract/ Summary
I am writing on behalf of the English Department and the National Poetry foundation to request the Committee's assistance in continuing the vibrant new series of poetry readings and residencies that \ile began with your aid last Spring. As you will recall, Burton Hatlen applied for funding last year with a proposal that stretched over three semesters. It is my understanding that the Committee, in approving the Spring portion of the prog¡am outlined, also was kind enough to invite our reapplication for funds to support the FaII 2000 and Spring 2001 semesters. At this time, then, we would like to request $7000 towards the continuation of the series in the Fall. As we enter the next phase of our programming, we are fortunate to be able to build on the momentum generated by the successful events of the past Spring, to which our Cultural Affairs grant contributed invaluably in helping us meet travel, accomodation, and publicity costs. A diverse audience of nearly 300 heard Amiri Baraka's reading on February 29,2000, and roughly 150 were present the following afternoon to hear his thoughts on politics and poetry. Mr. Baraka also paid a stirring ninety-minute visit to English 429/529, an ITV course on "The Poetry of the 1960s," and spent numerous hours in conversation with UMaine students during his four-day stay. Theodore Enslin was similarly generous with his time: his reading on February 6 drew an audience of roughly 75 people; nearly twice that number again heard him read the following day in INT 101, "The Performance Event." Mr. Enslin also met with students in an informal "conversation with the poet" and paid class visits to more than one creative writing workshop. Robert Creeley's extended visit to campus in mid-April was a highlight in our Spring programming. His reading before more than 100 people on April 18th was in many ways a deeply personal homage to Maine and to our University. Like Mr. Baraka, Mr. Creeley visited the "Poetry of the 1960s" ITV-course and paid numerous other class visits, including a session of my own seminar on poets of the immediate post-W"W2 years. On the final day of his residency, Mr. Creeley read and reminisced for nearly two hours before an attentive audience at Orono High School, where students from Old Town High School were also present. Both Mr. Enslin and Mr. Baraka returned to Orono in June as featured participants in a very successful conference called "The Opening of the Field: North American Poetry of the 1960s," hosted by the National Poetry Foundation and attended by nearly 200 scholars from around the country and the world. As we turn to the present semester, we have already been in contact with nine poets-- representing a wide diversity of voices--who are willing to visit UMaine during the Fall semester of 2000. The Libra Professorship diversity fund has already approved an earlier application for support and we expect to receive assistance as well from the English Department's Lloyd Elliott fund. If the Cultural Affairs Committee decides to continue its support, we will be able to realize our vision of bringing about an expansive, invigorating poetry series that witl serve both the University and the wider local community.
English Department, "Distinguished Visiting Poets Program" (2000). Cultural Affairs Distinguished Lecture Series. 82.