UMaine English

Grenfell Poetry Prizes for 2008

The University of Maine English Department is pleased to announce the winners of the 2008 Clarine Coffin Grenfell Poetry Prizes, judged by poet Annie Finch, director of the Stonecoast Brief Residency Master of Fine Arts at the University of Southern Maine.

Recipients of the prizes will be recognized at the English Department’s Honors & Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, April 30, at 3:30pm in the Arthur Hill Auditorium of Barrows Hall. For more information, contact the English Department at 207-581-3822.

First Prize (free verse)
Katie Lattari for “I Break Leaves in Brittle Mornings”

First Prize (traditional form)
Crystal McArthur for “Rebirth”

Second Prizes
Megan Soderberg for “Fluency”
Jessica Putnam for “Reality”

Third Prizes
Virginia Lee Sand for “An American Indian Woman”
Cassandra Lueneburg for “My First Kiss”

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Event Reports

Event Report – Julia Elliott

Fiction writer Julia Elliott read to an audience of approximately fifty people in the penultimate event of the spring 2008 New Writing Series on 10 April 2008. The event, introduced by David Kress, was recorded on digital videotape (vhs and dvd duplicates available soon) as well as both lo- and hi-end audio (thanks to Rebecca Griffin for the latter). A full set list follows the photo gallery below. For Kyle Kernan’s write-up in the Maine Campus, click here.


Julia Elliott reads her story “The Whipping”

The writer entertained questions after her reading

Julia Elliott entertains a question from the audience after her reading in the UMaine NWS in April 2008

Julia Elliott reads the name of one of two audience members who won copies of her band’s CD

Dave Kress and Julia Elliott

Dave Kress scours the cube: “No more questions?”


SET LIST (compiled by Katie Lattari)

* Introduction by Dave Kress
1) “The Whipping”
– originally published in the Georgia Review

1) How long did it take you to write “The Whipping”?
2) How much personal experience went into “The Whipping”?
3) Did you revise “The Whipping”?
4) Was it particularly difficult to write the prayer scenes in “The Whipping”?
5) What do you think is the most important aspect of the short story?
6) Did you place alliteration in your story on purpose?
7) Did you find it hard to get “The Whipping” published?
8] Could you tell us something about your CDs [Elliot’s band “Grey Egg“]?
9) I noticed the inclusion of incongruous tastes and smells in the story; do you include that in your writing on purpose, and continually?
10) Was there more of the Arthurian novel included in “The Whipping” originally?
11) What’s the rest of your writing like, compared with “The Whipping”?
12) What does “texture” mean to you in terms of writing?
13) What/ who do you read?


Next Up – Julia Elliott

Fiction writer Julia Elliott makes her first appearance in the UMaine New Writing Series on 10 April 2008 at 4:30pm in the Soderberg Auditorium (Jenness Hall). Like all NWS events, this one is free & open to the public (though seating is limited).

JULIA ELLIOTT’s fictions have appeared in Conjunctions, Tin House, The Georgia Review, Puerto del Sol, The Mississippi Review, 3rd Bed, Fence, Black Warrior Review, and other print and online publications.

An instructor in English and Women’s Studies at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, Elliott holds a PhD in English from the University of Georgia and an MFA in English from Penn State University.

Besides appearing as one of the dramatis personae in Paul West’s teaching memoir Master Class: Scenes from a Fiction Workshop (Harcourt, 2001), Elliott’s honors and awards include being published in Best American Fantasy 2007 (Plume Books); listed in “The Hugo Awards that Weren’t”; included in StorySouth’s Million Writer’s Award, Notable Stories of 2004 (“the top online short stories of 2004”); listed as “Notable Nonrequired Reading of 2002” in Dave Eggers’ series The Best American Nonrequired Reading; and receiving the Great American Novel Award in the Virginia Festival of the Book (Virginia Foundation for the Humanities & Tupelo Press, March 2003).

The event will be introduced by Assistant Professor of Creative Writing David Kress.


Listen to tracks from previous NWS events on UMaine’s iTunes U.
On Facebook? You’re invited to join the NWS group.
Keep track of NWS events via LibraryThing Local.
To learn more about the National Poetry Foundation, visit the new website.
For more about the English Department, which offers Master’s Degrees in Creative Writing and Poetry & Poetics, click here.

Event Reports

Event Report – Koeneke & Friedlander

Poets Rodney Koeneke and Benjamin Friedlander read to an audience of approximately fifty people in the New Writing Series on 4 April 2008. The event, introduced by Steve Evans, was recorded on digital videotape (vhs and dvd duplicates available soon) and, thanks to Rebecca Griffin, hi-end audio. Full set lists follow the photo gallery below.


Benjamin Friedlander addressing the NWS audience

Poet Benjamin Friedlander reads in the UM New Writing Series, April 2008

Rodney Koeneke introducing a poem

Poet Rodney Koeneke reads in the UM New Writing Series, April 2008

Koeneke dons his neo-Benshi garb

Koeneke dons his neo-Benshi garb

Koeneke and Friedlander entertaining questions from the audience

Poets Ben Friedlander and Rodney Koeneke entertain questions from the New Writing Series audience

(photos by Jennifer Moxley)

SET LISTS (compiled by Katie Lattari)

Benjamin Friedlander
– “It’s a pleasure to read for the home crowd…”
– Reads works in translation, originally in either German or Italian; then proceeds to his own poems
1) The Fox, the Cook, the Cock (translation)
2) Prayer of Exhortation or Encouragement (translation)
3) To Set Your Mind at Rest (translation)
4) Afternoon with Circus and Citadel (translation)
5) Brecht (translation)
6) History lesson
7) The Social Contract
8] Urban Renewal
9) Network News
10) Dictation
11) The Mind is a Bubble Sheet
12) The Emergency Broadcasting System
13) Dedication
14) Patriot Days
15) When a Cop Sees a Black Woman
16) Biological or Social Female Parent of a Child or Offspring and Its Poetry
17) Somebody Blew Up America
18] Hillary Duff
19) Fame
20) The Chinese Written Character is a Medium for Poetry
21) Beloved
22) Eliot
23) Me and My Gang
24) Charmed
25) Drew’s Old

Friedlander’s Commentary
– The poem “Hillary Duff” as his “statement on poetics”
– “Fame” is in memory of a friend; “may be my first FLARF elegy”
– “The Chinese Written Character is a Medium for Poetry”: “for Burt and Sylvester if only they were here”
– “Charmed” is a “Birthday Poem”: “My favorite thing about FLARF is the Birthday poems”

Rodney Koeneke
epigraph for this reading, derived from the sign of the University Inn: “Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face”

from Rouge State
1) #50 Summer Acrostic Hotshot
2) #39 How to Find Safe Passage
3) #21 Sweethearts of what rodeo?

from Musée Mechanique
4) Afterword
5) Use Dips to Initiate
6) Pizza Kitty
7) Chary as Gary
8] In Memory of My Feelings
9) The World is Loud
10) Europe. Memory. Squid Parts. Grace.
11) The Adorno Corollary

from “Etruria” (manuscript)
12) ben friedlander
13) Rules for Drinking 40s
14) chinoiserie
15) Etruria

Film/ poetry “neo-benshi” performance for Guru Dutt’s film Pyaasa (1957)

Koeneke’s Commentary
-On “The Adorno Corollary”: the poem is referencing Adorno’s famous statement about poetry after Auschwitz
-On “Ben Friedlander”: this is a birthday poem
-On “Etruria”: “FLARF, like soylent green, is people”

1) How do you use Google searches to help sculpt your [FLARF] poems?
2) (To Koeneke) Do you have any audio files of your poetry available anywhere?
3) For birthday poems, how/ what do you search? Is there a certain way you go about it?
4) How much FLARF do you write in comparison to non-FLARF poetry?
5) (To Koeneke): How long did it take you to write the “neo-benshi” piece?
6) (To Koeneke): Are you striving for persona-type poems?
7) Do you think writing can change things?
8] To Koeneke): You like performance—do you have any background in theatre?