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New Mini Grants | Summer 2017

$1,000 for “American Studies Lectures” – York County Community College, Kittery Point The grant will help support guest lecture events which enhance the YCCC’s new emphasis on American Studies under their Associate Degree Program in Liberal Studies. A number of accomplished speakers on relevant topics of American culture and history will make presentations during the 2017-18 academic… Read more

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book cover The Way We Live Now

Register for Winter Weekend 2018: “The Way We Live Now”

Join the MHC for its 21st annual Winter Weekend, March 9 – 10, 2018 at Bowdoin College. Join other literary enthusiasts for a deep dive into this classic novel, led by noted scholars and critics. Money, corruption, and greed are the chief themes of The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope, a satirical portrait of London society. Enter Augustus Melmotte, a financier… Read more

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Think & Drink Bangor 2017

Join us for a third season of Think & Drink in Bangor as we tackle policing in Maine, its intersection with race, and how our local experience connects with what we see across the rest of the United States. How does society define criminal behavior, and who is a criminal? What powers do we place in the hands of… Read more

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Register for the Schwartz Forum: “How Can We Know?”

Each fall at the Schwartz Forum we bring people together to wrestle with a big idea. Each time, we invite leaders from a range of relevant fields and devise a schedule for the day that is particularly appropriate to the topic at hand. The living question at the heart of the 2017 Forum invites active… Read more

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“Marguerite Zorach: An Art-Filled Life” at the Farnsworth

Marguerite Zorach—An Art-Filled Life is an exhibition that brings together sixty paintings and textiles by Marguerite Thompson Zorach made between 1910 and 1965. In highlighting her contributions as a modernist who helped changed the course of American art, the Farnsworth presents the full range of her skills and tells the story of her career as a… Read more

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Podcast | 20th Anniversary Winter Weekend

In this episode of Humanities on Demand we visit the 20th annual Winter Weekend, held March 10-11, 2017, at Bowdoin College. Read more

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Think and Drink table of participants

Madawaska Think & Drink, June 27

We’ve all had deep discussions with our friends while we’re out at dinner or relaxing after work—why not add a couple of experts to the mix and really take it up a notch? That’s the idea behind Think & Drink, a happy-hour series that sparks provocative conversations about big ideas. The series invites you to participate… Read more

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Podcast | Khaled Fahmy | Naguib Mahfouz and 20th Century Egyptian History

Khaled Fahmy is a Professor of History at the American University in Cairo. With a BA in Economics, an MA in Political Science from AUC and a DPhil in History from the University of Oxford, Fahmy taught for five years at Princeton University, then for eleven years at New York University before joining AUC in… Read more

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MHC Selects Book for “Route 1 Reads”

About Route One Reads Connecting the 2,369 miles of U.S. Route 1 from Ft. Kent, Maine, to Key West, Florida, the Route One Reads initiative is a partnership between 16 affiliate Centers for the Book to promote books that illuminate important aspects of their states or commonwealths for readers traveling the major and meandering highway…. Read more

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New Mini Grants | Spring 2017

$1,000 for “In It Together: Welcoming Diversity with Anne Sibley O’Brien” –Bowdoinham Community School, Bowdoinham Bowdoinham Community School will host author/educator Anne Sibley O’Brien who will facilitate a trio of events in September 2017 related to welcoming diversity — a school author visit, teacher/parent workshop, and community celebration with a shared read. This will kick off a year-long,… Read more

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Sharing the Poetry of Maine’s Unheard Voices

Gary Lawless, who was awarded the 2017 Constance H. Carlson Public Humanities Prize on March 24, has long worked to bring poetry and the creative process to the people of Maine. Over the next several months, follow Gary as his shares poetry from Mainers of all backgrounds. The poems will be released monthly in Notes from an Open… Read more

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Julia Walkling Retiring from the MHC

Talk with Julia Walkling for even a few minutes, and you’ll quickly have a sense of the depth of humanities experience, wisdom, humor, and kindness that is within the heart and soul of this MHC’s program officer. Julia has worked with the MHC since 1983, first as the project director of “Maine at Statehood: The… Read more

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Arts & Humanities Grants | Spring 2017

  $1,000 for “Center for Small Town Jewish Life Fall Shabbaton“– Colby College, Waterville The Center for Small Town Jewish Life at Colby College will host its Fall Shabbaton on November 3 -4, 2017. A weekend of art exploration, community building, and Jewish learning, the Shabbaton is an opportunity for people of all ages and backgrounds… Read more

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Podcast | Portland Street Artist Works with Buckfield Civil Rights Team

In this episode of Humanities on Demand, we visit Buckfield Junior-Senior High School. Supported by a grant from the Maine Humanities Council, their Civil Rights Team hosted Portland-based artist Pigeon for a discussion on identity, belonging, and street art. Read more

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Maine Humanities Council Receives $220,000 Grant from NEH

  For More Information: Hayden Anderson, Maine Humanities Council, 207-773-5051 April 3, 2017 PORTLAND, Maine – The Maine Humanities Council has been awarded a grant of $220,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities to support programming that will create opportunities for Mainers to discuss matters of critical civic importance. Literature & Public Life is… Read more

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2017 Major Grant Awards

  $5,000 for “Compassion, Connection and Community“– Maine Wabanaki-REACH, Stillwater This grant will support Maine Wabanaki-REACH promote Wabanaki self-determination through reconnection with the land and each other through activities that educate, engage and help mobilize intrinsic Wabanaki value systems based on compassion and connection. This project will also examine white-privilege, colonial institutions and find ways to… Read more

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Students create ‘We are Westbrook’ with street artist

Originally published on Keep Me Current on March 16, 2017. By Kate Gardner “The project was set up by the Maine Humanities Council, which awarded grants to eight schools so Pigeon could work with them.” Full article Read more

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Winter Weekend 2017

In Palace Walk, Naguib Mahfouz gives Arab literature a Dickensian portrait of a patriarch: 45-year-old Al-Sayyid Ahmad Abd Al-Jawad, father and husband, despot and lecher, a man who demands strict adherence to the tenets of Islam inside his home, though he is indiscreet and unfaithful to a great many of them outside. The story chronicles the… Read more

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What is a Criminal?

Originally published in the Portland Phoenix on March 5, 2017. By Tom Gillis “Titled “What Is a Criminal?”, the event was the first in a four-part series of panel discussions called “Policing, Protection, Community, and Trust in the 21st Century,” sponsored by the Maine Humanities Council and moderated by Samaa Abdurraqib of the Maine Coalition… Read more

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Hugh Manatee's BR Social Media

Hugh’s Book Registry

Hugh, like any good humanities mascot, loves Maine’s library programming. But he’s seen what it takes from the inside, too, especially with all those books. Each MHC Let’s Talk About It series needs book replacements—for damaged books or out-of-date books (or books that just don’t work with the series for which they were intended). And… Read more

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New Mini Grants | Winter 2017

$1,000 for “Chart of the North Atlantic“– Great Cranberry Historical Society, Great Cranberry Island With design assistance from Willoughby Hastings, Archivist Anne Grulich will research, compose text and mount an exhibition of Great Cranberry Island’s 19th Century maritime history centered around its collection of ten 1855-1877 nautical charts used by Captain Meltiah Richardson and his navigator spouse,… Read more

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Don’t Let Anyone Tell You the Humanities Aren’t Worth the Cost

This Maine Voices op-ed by MHC Executive Director Hayden Anderson appeared in the Portland Press Herald on March 4, 2017.   The National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities are again under fire in Washington, reportedly targeted for elimination in the Trump administration’s upcoming budget proposal. Let’s be clear: this move… Read more

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winter weekend poster

Winter Weekend 20th anniversary poster

  In honor of the 20th anniversary of Winter Weekend, we’re offering a limited edition 12″ x 15″ commemorative poster highlighting all the books we’ve read for the program. Order yours now for $20.     Read more

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Maine poet to be honored for giving voice to refugees, disabled and homeless

Originally published in the Bangor Daily News on February 15, 2017 By Beth Brogan, Staff Writer “In March, the Maine Humanities Council will honor Lawless, 65, for decades contributing to public humanities — bringing poetry and voice to refugee communities, veterans and developmentally disabled adults, among others — and bestow on him the 2017 Constance… Read more

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Looking Back on “Civil Rights Through Art & Law”

Portland’s Knack Factory has produced a series of videos on Civil Rights Through Art & Law, our summer 2016 partnership with the University of Maine School of Law and Portland Museum of Art. As part of  The 14th Amendment in American Life and Imagination, the MHC’s statewide programming that explored concepts of equality, citizenship, and… Read more

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Reza Jalali

Podcast | Demystifying Islam in “Palace Walk”

MHC Board Member Reza Jalali discusses the Winter Weekend 2017 text, Palace Walk, at Merrill Memorial Library in Yarmouth. A Muslim scholar, educator, and writer, he is the coordinator of multicultural student affairs at the University of Southern Maine and advises Muslim students at Bowdoin College. His most recent work includes the 2013 book Homesick Mosque and Other Stories… Read more

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Police car driving down a street

Think & Drink Portland: Policing

Join us for a fourth season of Think & Drink as we tackle policing in Maine, its intersection with race, and how our local experience connects with what we see across the rest of the United States. How does society define criminal behavior, and who is a criminal? What do we want from our police,… Read more

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Portland Seminar 2017

Register for 2017 Portland Seminar

  With Russia’s reemergence as a major actor on the world stage, this year’s Portland Seminar turns to great literature for a wider perspective on Russia’s past and the legacy of its Soviet era on the present. Two nonfiction works by Nobel laureates—Milosz’s The Captive Mind and Alexievitch’s newly translated Secondhand Time—investigate the appeal of… Read more

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Podcast | Reflecting on 20 Years of Winter Weekend

Listen to Winter Weekend founder and emcee Charles Calhoun reminisce about 20 years of Winter Weekend in our latest Humanities on Demand podcast. Read more

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The Trickle-Down of Winter Weekend

  By Diane Magras, Director of Development Claire Moriarty and Jim Bulteel, members of Orono High School’s English Department (with Erika Dixon, Amanda Johnston, Don Joseph, and Chris Luthin), are among a group of educators who have, in various combinations, attended Winter Weekend for the past 15 years. For years, I’ve heard about these teachers… Read more

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Maine State Music Theatre to Present Children’s Interactive Programs

Originally published on November 28, 2016 on Broadway World. “Maine State Music Theatre will present “Magic Time: A Program of Story and Song” – combining classic fairytale literature with contemporary musical adaptations – on Friday, February 24, 2017, at 10 AM and 3 PM at the Morrell Reading Room at Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick.”… Read more

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New Arts & Humanities Grants | November 2016

  $1,000 for “Acadian Coloring Book”– Greater Grand Isle Historical Society, Grand Isle The Acadian Coloring Book will focus on the home, family, and food in the daily life of Acadians from the 1930s to today. The Acadian Coloring Book will be approximately 48-52 pages in length. It will include a two-page introduction, forty two pages of… Read more

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“Race and Justice in America” Book Series

Contempt of Court: The Turn-of-the-Century Lynching That Launched A Hundred Years of Federalism  by Mark Curriden and Leroy Phillips, Jr. Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age by Kevin Boyle  The Contested Murder of Latasha Harlins by Brenda Stevenson Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by… Read more

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Gary Lawless

Maine Humanities Council honors poet Gary Lawless

Maine poet Gary Lawless will receive the 2017 Constance H. Carlson Public Humanities Prize from the Maine Humanities Council. A resident of Nobleboro, Lawless owns and operates Gulf of Maine Books in Brunswick with his wife Beth Leonard. He is the editor and publisher of Blackberry Books and has had sixteen collections of his poetry published in the… Read more

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Special conversation aims to unify people following divided election

Originally aired November 16, 2016 on Fox ABC Maine. “A big turnout for a special discussion Tuesday night, aiming to not only understand the path of our county, but to unify the citizens following a divided election.” Watch full coverage Read more

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New Mini Grants | November 2016

  $1,000 for “Welcoming and Safe Schools Youth Conference”– GLSEN Southern Maine, Portland The Welcoming and Safe Schools Youth Conference generates a safe and affirming place for middle and high school youth, along with their mentors and educators, to come together and share what they are doing in their schools and communities to increase understanding and… Read more

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Student in class

Students: Enter the Letters About Literature Contest

Letters About Literature is an annual, national reading and writing program organized by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. To enter, students in grades 4-12 write a letter to the author (living or dead) of their favorite book, poem, or short story and describe how that book moved or changed them…. Read more

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Think and Drink table of participants

On “Think & Drink,” especially in Bangor

  By Meghan Reedy, MHC Program Officer   It’s a simple idea, really, to orchestrate a conversation about some important topic, with a few drinks and some experts. The format is easy to outline. An audience assembles in a friendly, sociable space that serves drinks, and they settle in. A moderator introduces a small panel… Read more

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Think and Drink table of participants

Rockland Think & Drink, Dec. 8

In American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America, author Colin Woodard theorizes that the United States is composed of multiple “nations,” each with their own unique identity and customs.  Join our panelists as we discuss how to define community and membership within it, and how this idea of unique “nations” or groups… Read more

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Think and Drink audience

Think & Drink in Bangor, Rockland, and more

We’ve all had deep discussions with our friends while we’re out at night—why not add a couple of experts to the mix and really take it up a notch? That’s the idea behind Think & Drink, a happy-hour series in Bangor (Oct. 18, Nov. 15), Biddeford (Oct. 20), and Rockland (Dec. 5) that sparks provocative conversations about big ideas…. Read more

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Exhibit Explores the 14th Amendment

Originally published on centralmaine.com on September 15, 2016 “The exhibition, opening reception, and other associated programs are free and open to the public which is supported by the Maine Humanities Council through their broad and sure foundation program.” Full article Read more

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Veterans Book Group

Words and the Divide: A Veteran’s Experience Facilitating Veterans Book Group

In the Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln questions whether words have the power to give meaning to the world. He argues that the company assembled at a Gettysburg cemetery cannot consecrate the ground because “the brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.” He… Read more

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Podcast | Maine’s Civil Rights Teams

On Monday, May 23, 2016, over 500 students and teachers gathered at the Augusta Civic Center for the Civil Rights Team Project State Conference. Hosted by the Office of the Maine Attorney General, the conference was the first event of its kind since 2010. In addition to schools attending from across the state, the event… Read more

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Biddeford Think & Drink 2016

What does “equal citizenship” mean? In the face of economic disparities, displacement, and changing demographics, do all residents of Biddeford have an equal voice? Join our panelists as we discuss the traditional economy of Biddeford, gentrification, and more.   Moderator: Shay Stewart-Bouley, Executive Director, Community Change, Inc.       Panelists: Vassie Fowler, Community Builder, Community Partnership for Protecting… Read more

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How I Learned to Read the Odyssey

A colleague of mine once claimed that an epic poem is best understood as an extended meditation on a theme. I liked the idea and immediately tried to identify the themes of my favorites. Homer’s Iliad was easy: it’s an extended meditation on war. Virgil’s Aeneid can be read as an extended meditation on empire…. Read more

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Stories of Downeast Women Working for Equality and Enrichment of their Communities

Originally published on July 14, 2016 in the Bangor Daily News “In 1868, Congress passed the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing equality for all before the law. One central issue since that time has been the enfranchisement of women and their full participation and representation in politics—all the way to the highest office in… Read more

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Think and Drink poster

Think & Drink Bangor 2016

We’re psyched to get going with Think & Drink in Bangor! It may not get the amount of press that the 150th anniversary of the Civil War did, but this year is also the 150th anniversary–of the 14th Amendment, one of the “Reconstruction Amendments” that helped to reshape the United States’ political terrain. The 14th Amendment,… Read more

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poster of support in Chinatown post-9/11

Site Seeing: 9/11 Through Documentary Shorts

Following 9/11, artists, writers, historians, and the general public shared their responses through articles, novels, blog posts, films, performances, and other ways of expanding and contesting the accounts issued by political and military leaders. The result is known as “collective memory,”  the set of often-competing narratives that nonetheless bind us together in living through and… Read more

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“Violence and Belonging” Book Series

In examining the legacies of the Fourteenth Amendment for the nation’s literary history, this reading and discussion series looks at books that address issues of diversity, identity, and inequality in exploring how, for many Americans, the promise of citizenship falls short of their reality. Between the World And Me by Ta Nehisi Coates A Map… Read more

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New Mini Grants | August 2016

  $1,000 for “Third Thursday Talks Lecture Series”– Brick Store Museum, Kennebunk The Brick Store Museum’s Third Thursday Talks series features monthly lectures (on the third Thursday of every month at 5:30pm) given by area scholars on a variety of humanities subjects, year-round.   $1,000 for “2016 Annual Meeting ‘Into the Woods’ with Kate Braestrup”– Mahoosuc Land… Read more

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Maine Military & Community Network gathers in Augusta

On July 21, 2016, MHC Director of Programs Lizz Sinclair and Program Assistant Leah Kuehn attended the 6th Annual Maine Military & Community Network (MMCN) Conference in Augusta, where over 250 people gathered from across the state. Working together with Veterans and Service Members, the goal of MMCN is to raise awareness about challenges faced by Service Members… Read more

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Portland discussion to view equality via law, art

Originally published in the Forecaster on July 25, 2016 By Colin Ellis, Staff Writer “Maine Humanities Council, the state’s affiliate for the National Endowment for the Humanities, will facilitate a conversation to explore civil rights through both art and law at the Portland Museum of Art. Hayden Anderson, executive director of the MHC, said the… Read more

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Seeking Refuge

Podcast | Seeking Refuge: Understanding the Refugee and Asylum Process

In February 2016, the Maine Humanities Council held Seeking Refuge: Understanding the Refugee and Asylum Process, a free, public, panel discussion that broke down the process here in Maine. Discussion touched on the screening that determines who can come to the U.S., the policies and laws supporting the process, and the everyday logistics of refugees… Read more

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14th Forum

Podcast | The 14th Amendment: A Living Document

This is a recording of our public forum The 14th Amendment: A Living Document, held in partnership with the University of Maine School of Law on June 1, 2016, at Portland Public Library. The event was moderated by Danielle Conway, Dean of the University of Maine School of Law, and features guests Kenneth W. Mack, the… Read more

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Patrick Rael

Podcast | Patrick Rael | Eighty-Eight Years: The Long Death of Slavery in the United States

Patrick Rael, professor of history at Bowdoin College, discusses his latest book Eighty-Eight Years: The Long Death of Slavery in the United States, 1777-1865, which explores the Atlantic history of slavery to understand the exceptionally long period of time it took to end chattel bondage in America (you can read more about the project here)…. Read more

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How Maine did — and then didn’t — play a role in the 14th Amendment

Originally published on June 19, 2016 in the Bangor Daily News. by Patrick Rael “Patrick Rael is professor of history at Bowdoin College and a project scholar for the Maine Humanities Council. Throughout 2016, the Maine Humanities Council will offer ways for Mainers to talk with one another about equality and inclusiveness, in commemoration of… Read more

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Announcing 14th Amendment Arts & Humanities Grants | 2016

$1,000 for “Anything Helps God Bless”- Snowlion Repertory Company “Anything Helps God Bless” will explore the panhandler/median-strip controversy in Portland through actual interviews with sign-bearers, research into court rulings, documented public reaction to the controversy, and the ‘due process’ aspect of the 14th Amendment, woven together into a theater piece.   $1,000 for “Created Equal”- University of Maine at… Read more

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Isabel Alvarez-Borland

Podcast | Isabel Alvarez-Borland | Language as Theme in “One Hundred Years of Solitude”

Isabel Alvarez-Borland, Distinguished Professor of Arts and Humanities in the Department of Spanish at the College of the Holy Cross, examines of the role of language and identity in One Hundred Years of Solitude at Winter Weekend 2016. Her books include Cuban-American Literature of Exile: From Person to Persona (1999) and Discontinuidad y ruptura en Guillermo… Read more

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Sikh Captain America with students at the Civil Rights Team conference

Maine Voices: A Captain America for Civil Rights

Originally published in the Portland Press Herald on May 29, 2016 By Vishavjit Singh I flew from New York City to the Portland airport last Sunday for my first-ever trip to Maine. The first curious eyes I encountered upon arriving were not on my turbaned and bearded countenance, but on my checked piece of luggage,… Read more

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Civil Rights Team Project

Students discuss, celebrate civil rights

On Monday, May 23, 2016, over 500 students and teachers gathered at the Augusta Civic Center for the Civil Rights Team Project State Conference. Hosted by the Office of the Maine Attorney General, the conference was the first event of its kind since 2010. In addition to schools attending from across the state, the event… Read more

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Collaborative Summer Library Program logo

Summer reading outlook looks bright with Collaborative Summer Library Program

Beginning in June, libraries across Maine will be encouraging their patrons to read. This is particularly important for school-age kids to prevent the literacy backwards slide from months of no reading. But it’s also a means for library patrons to model to their own children and grandchildren or other kids in the community the importance of… Read more

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Album cover for Beyonce's Lemonade

Unpacking Beyonce’s Lemonade

From Melissa Harris-Perry to bell hooks, scholars, activists, and critics are weighing in on Beyonce’s Lemonade. Shay Stewart-Bouley (blogger at Black Girl In Maine) and Brittany Lewis (professor at Bowdoin College) will lead us in an analysis and discussion of the video album and its artistic, cultural, and political significance. Although video clips will screen… Read more

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Maine Calling

The 14th Amendment on MPBN Maine Calling

Originally aired on May 17, 2016 Join guests Kenneth W. Mack, Lawrence D. Biele Professor of Law and Affiliate Professor of History at Harvard University, and Patrick Rael, Professor of History at Bowdoin College, as they discuss the historical and contemporary significance of the 14th Amendment on MPBN Maine Calling. Passed 150 years ago, the 14th Amendment ensures… Read more

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The conversation about equality in Maine is just getting started

Originally published in the Bangor Daily News on May 15, 2016 By Hayden Anderson “Equality is a bedrock American value, yet somehow it feels like we’re not very good at it. From the founding to the present day, we have always talked pretty well about equality while falling well short of the ideal. It’s worth… Read more

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David Driskell

Civil Rights Through Art & Law

Join the Maine Humanities Council, the University of Maine School of Law, and the Portland Museum of Art on August 11 for an intimate conversation between artist David Driskell and lawyer Melvyn Zarr, facilitated by Danielle Conway, Dean of the Maine School of Law, on the civil rights movement as filtered through the lenses of… Read more

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– MHC Public Events, May, 2016 –

1. “The Zany, Majestic Bard”  May 5th, 2016 | 1:00pm | Pittsfield Community Theater, Pittsfield “The Zany, Majestic Bard” is a one-hour performance-lecture created and performed by David Greenham. This lively, fun, and educational performance will delight and surprise audiences of all ages. The program includes history, a brief guide on how to read and understand the… Read more

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Inspiring Maine Students with “The Abolitionists”

  By Brian Baldwin and Nicole Rancourt We knew that a match lay in our future. That was apparent from the first time we met. In the summer of 2014, the Maine Humanities Council was brainstorm­ing the ways in which it could more effectively bring its work to Maine’s students. The Civil Rights Team Project, a school-based… Read more

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Arts & Humanities Grants | April 2016

  $850 for “Art in Exodus at MECA”- Maine College of Art  MECA plans to hold its second annual Art in Exodus exhibition in its flagship Porteous Building June 1-24, 2016, in recognition of World Refugee Day, which takes place every year on June 20 and will be celebrated this year in Portland at King Middle School… Read more

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Susanne Moser

Podcast | Susanne Moser | The Hard Work of Hope: Sustenance in Times of Climate Change

Speaking at the Dorothy Schwartz Forum on Art, Science, and the Humanities on October 24, 2015,  Susanne Moser discusses the importance of hope in confronting climate change. Susanne’s work focuses on adaptation to climate change, vulnerability, resilience, climate change communication, social change, decision support and the interaction between scientists, policy-makers and the public. She is a geographer by… Read more

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Major Grants | 2016

  $4,500 for “Blood, Dust, and Mud”- The General Henry Knox Museum The General Henry Knox Museum is planning an exhibition, titled “Blood, Dust, and Mud” for the 2016 season. The exhibition will highlight the personal photographs of Beth Parks, an Army nurse who served from 1966-67 during the Vietnam War.   $3,000 for “Dawnland”-… Read more

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Thomas Tracy

Podcast | Thomas Tracy | Climate Change as a Moral Challenge

Speaking at the Dorothy Schwartz Forum on Art, Science, and the Humanities on October 24, 2015,  Thomas F. Tracy, Philipps Professor of Religious Studies at Bates College, discusses moral challenges in confronting climate change. Professor Tracy’s research focuses on issues in philosophy of religion and theology, and to a lesser degree, on topics in applied ethics, particularly… Read more

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Matthew Pettway

Podcast | Matthew Pettway | 100 Years of Solitude: Reading Through the Invisibility of Race

Matthew Pettway, Bates College, deconstructs the classic Latin American novel “100 Years of Solitude” through the lens of race at Winter Weekend on March 12, 2016. Matthew Pettway completed his doctorate in Hispanic Cultural Studies at Michigan State University in June 2010. Dr. Pettway joined the faculty at Bates College in August of the same year… Read more

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Shakespeare

Sites announced for “The Zany, Majestic Bard”

In 2016, the Maine Humanities Council and the Maine State Library will join forces to offer a touring program aimed at turning the most quarrelsome Shakespeare hater into a bold-faced fan! “The Zany, Majestic Bard” is a one-hour performance-lecture created and performed by David Greenham. This lively, fun, and educational performance will delight and surprise audiences of all… Read more

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Winter Weekend 2016

Reflections on Winter Weekend 2016

After attending my first Winter Weekend, I was admittedly a bit more tired than I normally am at the end of a standard work week. With my drive into the office the following Monday morning, and with the task of listening through the collected audio recordings of the weekend’s speakers, I began to reflect on… Read more

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Historical pamphlet on voting and 14th amendment

The 14th Amendment: A Living Document

This event is now full. If you would like to place your name on a waiting list, please contact Karen at info@mainehumanities.org or 773-5051. Join the Maine Humanities Council and the University of Maine School of Law for a conversation about the Fourteenth Amendment between Kenneth Mack (Harvard) and David Blight (Yale), moderated by Danielle… Read more

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Podcast | Allen Wells | The Banana Strike, La Violencia, and the Cuban Revolution’s Impact on García Márquez’ One Hundred Years of Solitude

A speaker at Winter Weekend 2016, Allen Wells discusses “Interpreting the Past through the Prism of the Present:  The Banana Strike, La Violencia, and the Cuban Revolution’s Impact on García Márquez’ One Hundred Years of Solitude”.  Allen Wells is the Roger Howell, Jr. Professor of History at Bowdoin College. His scholarship focuses on modern Mexican history,… Read more

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Esther Rojas and Marianella Rojas, Sudacas

Video | Sudacas | A Taste of Colombian Music

The band Sudacas, composed of Berklee College of Music students, performed a few songs and shared some background on Colombian rhythms and instrumentation on March 12, 2016, at Winter Weekend. Sudacas was founded by Marianella Rojas (Venezuela, voice and percussion), and Esther Rojas (Colombia, bass). The duet creates a fusion of traditional music from their native countries with… Read more

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Matthew Pettway

Video | Matthew Pettway | 100 Years of Solitude: Reading Through the Invisibility of Race

Matthew Pettway, Bates College, deconstructs the classic Latin American novel “100 Years of Solitude” through the lens of race at Winter Weekend on March 12, 2016. Matthew Pettway completed his doctorate in Hispanic Cultural Studies at Michigan State University in June 2010.  Dr. Pettway joined the faculty at Bates College in August of the same… Read more

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Ilan Stavans

Podcast | Ilan Stavans | One Hundred Years of Solitude: The Bible of Latin America

Professor Ilan Stavans gave the keynote talk at our Winter Weekend program on March 11, 2016. He is the Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College where his teaching interests include popular culture in Hispanic America, world Jewish writers, and the cultural history of the Spanish language.     Read more

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Ilan Stavans

Video | Ilan Stavans | 100 Years of Solitude: The Bible of Latin America

Professor Ilan Stavans, Amherst College, gave the keynote talk at our Winter Weekend program on March 11, 2016. Ilan Stavans, Amherst College, has taught courses on a wide array of topics such as Spanglish, Jorge Luis Borges, modern American poetry, Latin music,Don Quixote, Gabriel García Márquez, Modernismo, popular culture in Hispanic America, world Jewish writers,… Read more

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One Hundred Years of Solitude

Winter Weekend 2016

Widely acclaimed as a masterpiece of Latin American literature, One Hundred Years of Solitude is a classic example of magic realism that has inspired countless authors worldwide since its publication in 1967. (It helped García Márquez win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1982.) Within this text, García Márquez weaves a multi-generational story of the… Read more

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100 Years of Solitude book

Dinner in Macondo: Winter Weekend Recipes

One of the highlights of each year’s Winter Weekend is the Friday night meal evoking the culinary traditions of that year’s book. In 2016, we visited the mythical Colombian town of Macondo from Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude. Bowdoin College’s Dining Services put together a delicious feast of Colombian specialties, the recipes for which… Read more

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Think and Drink poster

Think & Drink 14th amendment

We’re psyched to get going with Think & Drink in 2016! It may not get the amount of press that the 150th anniversary of the Civil War did, but this year is also the 150th anniversary–of the 14th Amendment, one of the “Reconstruction Amendments” that helped to reshape the United States’ political terrain. The 14th Amendment,… Read more

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Alexis DesRoches

The Magic (and Influences) of Winter Weekend

By Diane Magras If you’re a Winter Weekend regular, you know Alexis DesRoches. And you may have seen her name in a New Yorker article about the Dickens Project. Alexis has been a Winter Weekend regular since 2004 and has taken the event as an inspiration to become involved with and create a great many… Read more

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Maine National History Day

Maine National History Day 2016 Call For Judges

Do you love history? Do you support dynamic hands-on projects for students? Then we are looking for you! Sign up now to be a judge for the 2016 Maine National History Day competition, to be held at the University of Maine, Orono, on Saturday, April 9. Whether you’ve been a judge for several years running… Read more

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New Mini Grants | February 2016

  $1,000 for “Adaptation in the Arts: Theory and Practice, An International Conference”- University of Maine at Farmington  This international conference, co-sponsored by the University of Maine at Farmington, USA, and the Université du Maine in Le Mans, France, will feature presentations on the theory and practice of adaptation in the arts. Areas of particular focus… Read more

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a stuffed manatee with a skull

What a Piece of Work is a Man-a-tee

The Hugh Manatees are back! Last year, we sent Hugh, our manatee mascot, to libraries all over the state (more than 40!), where he joined book groups, did some knitting, got up to hijinks in the stacks, and more. Take a look at what Hugh did in 2015. This year, Hugh is all about Shakespeare, in… Read more

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Magnus Chase

Heroes of children’s literature

Heroes are an essential part of our lives but are especially key to middle grade and young adult literature. They populate the books that kids read, a welcome friend in often wild adventures. (Among my favorites are the girl who defends her family and community from a fearsome creature out of Haitian folklore, and the… Read more

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Pulitzer Centennial Campfires Initiative

Pulitzer Prize Centennial Campfires Grant Winners

    $1,250 for “Bangor High School World Geography Symposium”- Bangor High School The Bangor High School World Geography Symposium will be held to create a forum for the exchange of ideas on geographic issues and challenges both within the State of Maine and across the world. Pulitzer crisis reporter Larry Price is invited to share… Read more

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Harland County. KY, 1946

Bananas, trains, and coal mines

  My knowledge of One Hundred Years of Solitude was limited before working at the MHC. Sure, I had heard of the novel and its author Gabriel García Márquez. I also knew that it was closely associated with a literary style called magical realism. But aside from that, I had to claim ignorance. The story… Read more

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Shakespeare

Shakespeare Was a Funny Man: A Program for Libraries

“The Zany, Majestic Bard” is a one-hour performance-lecture created and performed by David Greenham and offered to Maine’s libraries. This lively, fun, and educational performance will delight and surprise audiences of all ages. The program includes history, a brief guide on how to read and understand the text, the opportunity to hear some Shakespeare, and… Read more

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Reference This

Reference THIS! Episode 2

Join Nicole from MHC and Shannon from MSL as they explain the oh-so-intricate process of diving into your 2016 Collaborative Summer Library Programming Manual. Oh, the things you’ll learn! Episode 2: Finding your way through the CSLP manual   Read more

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Book, hand, and flag

Understanding the Refugee and Asylum Process

In this contentious election year, the refugee and asylum seeker process has been a hot topic in the news—and prey to plenty of misperceptions. Join us at Seeking Refuge: Understanding the Refugee and Asylum Process, a free panel discussion that breaks down the process here in Maine: the screening that determines who can come to the U.S.,… Read more

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Reference This

Reference THIS!

The MHC and the Maine State Library have joined forces to promote and support summer reading programs across the state. Shannon Schinagl, Emergent/Family Literacy and Children’s Services Consultant, and Nicole Rancourt, who heads library programing at MHC, are leading the charge. The catalyst for a new endeavor by the MHC and the Maine State Library was… Read more

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Coming On Home Soon

Hope in New Books, New Readers

Leah Kuehn, MHC Program Assistant, explores the titles of the latest  New Books, New Readers series   Hope, the newest series from New Books, New Readers, isn’t exactly what you’d expect from its title. It crawls into darkness and brings that darkness into the light for scrutiny. It begins with our understanding of the concept of hope,… Read more

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Reza Jalali

Podcast | Reza Jalali | Muslim in America

MHC Board Member Reza Jalali discusses the lives of Muslims in the U.S. and gives an overview of Islam, a faith practiced by many of our neighbors. This talk was recorded on December 16, 2015 at Portland Public Library. A Muslim scholar, educator, and writer, he is the coordinator of multicultural student affairs at the University… Read more

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Reference This

Reference THIS! Episode 1

Maine Humanities Council Program Officer, Nicole Rancourt and Maine State Library Early Literacy Consultant, Shannon Schinagl discuss the benefits of summer reading!   Episode 1: Why should I care about summer reading? Read more

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Gabe Ferris

Listen to Maine Student Read Award Winning Letter to Author

Gabriel Ferris, 13, of Waterville Junior High School, beat 21,713 national submissions to win first place in Level 2 of this year’s national Letters About Literature contest for his letter to Walter Isaacson, author of the biography Steve Jobs. Gabriel’s  letter poses a question highly relevant for modern culture: “Is excess a requirement for extreme success?… Read more

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MHCDoorstep

Doorsteps and the MHC

Doorsteps…the MHC sees a lot of those. The doorstep is where we wait for a few moments after a long car ride, our ears dulled from the hum of the road, and indulge in a stretch. A doorstep is where we kick off the snow from our boots. It’s the first place we walk before… Read more

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Allen Wells

Podcast | Allen Wells | Winter Weekend 2016 Preview: Gabriel García Márquez and One Hundred Years of Solitude

In this special “Humanities on Demand” we preview Winter Weekend 2016 with Allen Wells, Professor of History at Bowdoin College. Professor Wells discusses “The Writing of One Hundred Years of Solitude: Gabriel García Márquez, Colombia’s La Violencia, and the Cuban Revolution During the Cold War” This talk was recorded on October 2, 2015 at the Brunswick Inn Read more

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Artists in Maine make climate change personal

Published November, 1 2015 in the Portland Press Herald. Marina Schauffler, Ph.D., is a writer who runs Natural Choices.   ” ‘I sing now like the North American brown thrasher, who at one point in its song orchestrates four different notes: one grieves, another frets, a third prays, but a fourth celebrates.” GREG DELANTY, IN… Read more

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Winter Weekend

In Remembrance of Winter Weekends Past

  By Diane Magras Since 1999, Sharon Estell has attended Winter Weekend. She says she would have come to the first (in 1998) but she couldn’t get in—it was sold out at 100. But she’s what we call a regular, so I asked her at this last Winter Weekend to share her thoughts on the… Read more

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Maine's First Ship

New Infrastructure Grants | October 2015

$8,000 for “Beals Historical Society Lobster Boat Preservation Project”, Beals Historical Society, Beals The Beals Historical Society will construct a cold-storage building to house and display two historic lobster boats. Both boats provide a look into the evolution of lobster boat design, including the transition from oar-powered designs to the introduction of the internal combustion… Read more

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Beaver Dam Pond by Richard Estes

Communicating Climate Change: What Can I Do Next?

We asked the speakers at the 2015 Dorothy Schwartz Forum on Art, Science & the Humanities: Communicating Climate Change to share their thoughts on steps we could all take or resources to help us engage with the topic. Here’s what they said. Andrew Pershing Skeptical Science; a great source for information on the science behind climate… Read more

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Woman reading

Announcing the Winter and Spring Let’s Talk About It Libraries

The following libraries will be hosting a “Let’s Talk About It” series this winter and spring:   1. Roberta Morin at Albion Public Library  “Becoming an American: Struggles, Successes, Symbols” 2. Jackie Bennett at Bristol Area Library (New Harbor) “Crossing Over: Works by Contemporary American Indian Writers” 3. Janet Fricker at Brown Memorial Library (East… Read more

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Pulitzer Centennial Campfires Initiative

New Grants Available, $500 – $10,000, deadline Nov. 13

The Maine Humanities Council has received a grant of $34,300 from the Pulitzer Prize Centennial Campfires Initiative. The award will fund a special grant category for Maine-based organizations seeking to use Pulitzer Prize-winning writing, journalism, photography, drama, or music composition in their 2016 programming. The awards will range from $500 – $10,000. For more information… Read more

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Maine French Heritage Language Program

The MHC awarded a $5,000 Major Grant to this project to support consulting fees for teachers, cultural associates, and evaluation work as the program expanded in 2012-2013. If you spend time talking with a member of one of Maine’s Franco-American families, you’re likely to hear a story of past cultural loss. Depending on the generation… Read more

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Letters About Literature Winner To Meet Best-Selling Author At National Book Festival

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE For More Information: Leah Kuehn, Maine Humanities Council, 207-773-5051 WINSLOW—Gabriel Ferris, 14, of Waterville Junior High School, a national winner of the Letters About Literature contest, has been invited to the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C., an event organized by the Library of Congress, to meet Walter Isaacson, author of the… Read more

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New Community Outreach Grants | August 2015

$1,000 for “Poetry as a Force for Social Dialogue: A Panel Discussion”, Belfast Poetry Festival, Belfast Poet Elizabeth Gordan McKim will design and moderate a panel discussion on “Poetry as a Force for Social Dialogue” at the 2015 festival. McKim will also lead a workshop and participate as a featured reader in the showcase events…. Read more

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Potshot by Gerry Boyle

New “Mysteries by Maine Authors” Reading Series

The MHC, in collaboration with scholar Jeffrey Aronson and librarian consultants Linda Wohlforth of Shaw Public Library in Greenville and Jeanne Benedict of Henry D. Moore Library in Steuben, has developed a new Let’s Talk About It series! The “Mysteries by Maine Authors” series plunges into the gritty underbelly of Maine as seen through the eyes of its talented… Read more

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Robert Frost

Podcast | John Ward | Robert Frost: The Impossibility of Interpretation

In this episode of “Humanities on Demand,” we join John Ward at the McArthur Public Library in Biddeford for “Robert Frost: The Impossibility of Interpretation.” This talk was held on July 15, 2015 as a Taste of the Humanities event. Scholar John Ward, formerly of Centre College and Kenyon College, reads and discusses a selection… Read more

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New Community Outreach Grants | June 2015

$1000 for “Representing the Irish Troubles on Screen,” University of Southern Maine, Portland. Irish documentary film-maker Maurice Fitzpatrick will give a series of workshops at USM and other southern Maine colleges on feature and documentary films made about the Troubles in Northern Ireland (1969-1998). He will discuss the politics, aesthetics and ethics of these films,… Read more

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Local Legendary Janet Lyons Larissa Vigue Picard

Local & Legendary: Maine in the Civil War, 2013-2015

By Janet Lyons, Consulting Project Coordinator, Maine Humanities Council It’s all over except for the paperwork and the reflection. For two years Local & Legendary: Maine in the Civil War, the National Endowment for the Humanities grant funded program, engaged Maine communities in their Civil War history. Collaborative project teams comprised of libraries, historical organizations,… Read more

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Letters about literature, LAL

ME Student Wins National Letters About Literature Competition

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE For More Information: Leah Kuehn, Maine Humanities Council, 207-773-5051   June 22, 2015 WATERVILLE, Maine- Gabriel Ferris, 13, of Waterville Junior High School, beat 21,713 national submissions to win first place in Level 2 of the national Letters About Literature contest. He will receive $1000 for his letter to Walter Isaacson, author… Read more

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The Precipice book cover

Podcast | Paul Doiron | Murder on the Appalachian Trail

This episode is a recording of a talk held on June 11, 2015 at Gould Academy in Bethel, Maine. We join Paul Doiron as he discusses the ethics of fiction writing and his newest book, The Precipice, in the talk “Murder on the Appalachian Trail.” The Precipice is the sixth novel in a series following… Read more

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Hugh site 45 img 2

The Hugh Manatees in Rockland

Hugh’s 45th, and FINAL, mystery site was the Rockland Public Library! From the library: “Hugh made a new friend in the children’s room, did some work at the reference desk, took a selfie to show his love for the library and visited the ornamental grillwork and more.” To submit a guess, please post as a comment on… Read more

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Hugh Site 43 img 2

The Hugh Manatees in Machias

Hugh’s 43rd mystery site was the Machias Memorial High School Library! From the library: “Hugh has been sitting on our “New Books” shelf. Our town’s name is a Wabanaki word and it’s translation (Bad Little Falls) is the title of one of the books in Paul Doiron’s series about game warden Mike Bowditch which takes place here.”… Read more

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The Hugh Manatees in Windham

Hugh’s 44th mystery site was the Windham Public Library! Facebook Twitter  hashtag #HughManatees Instagram Pinterest Read more

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Local Legendary Rumford 12

Civil War Monologues in Rumford Conclude Local & Legendary Programs

By Janet Lyons, Maine Humanities Council’s Consulting Project Coordinator for Local & Legendary: Maine in the Civil War. Thanks to Nick Waugh for taking the photos. June 3 was a busy end-of-school-year evening in the Western Foothills Regional School District, yet an appreciative audience of parents, peers, faculty, and community members gathered in the auditorium at Mountain… Read more

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The Moving Panorama of Pilgrim’s Progress 3

On a Long-Lost American Masterpiece, and Why Public Museums Matter

Grants with legs: the MHC funded an Infrastructure Grant for the initial effort to restore the panorama and make a replica that could be shown to the public. The book described here is the latest step in the project. By Jessica Skwire Routhier, coauthor (with Kevin J. Avery and Thomas Hardiman, Jr.) of The Painters’ Panorama: Narrative, Art, and Faith… Read more

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Lily King

Podcast | Lily King | Euphoria

This episode of the Maine Humanities Council’s Humanities on Demand podcasts is a recording of a talk held on May 13th, 2015 at the Portland Public Library as part of their Brown Bag Lecture Series. We join Maine author Lily King as she discusses her book, “Euphoria.” She is introduced by Josh Bodwell of the… Read more

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Hugh Site 42 img 5

The Hugh Manatees in Bath

Hugh’s 42nd mystery site was the Patten Free Library in Bath! Facebook Twitter  hashtag #HughManatee Instagram Pinterest   Read more

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Inspired design Victoria Mansion 2

Inspired Design: Fabrics and Fashion at Victoria Mansion

Picture the sumptuous, elaborate decorations that you associate with Victorian-era architecture and design. Now, picture work by modern designers. These two worlds seem vastly separate—in materials, motives, and tastes. But a recent partnership between Victoria Mansion and the Maine College of Art’s [MECA] Textile and Fashion Design department proved that one era of art can… Read more

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Maine Indian Basketry exhibit

“Maine Indian Basketry” at Maine Fiberarts

Housed in what was once a 1840s bank, the Maine Fiberarts gallery in Topsham forms a beautiful setting for their current exhibition, “Maine Indian Basketry,” supported by the MHC through an Arts & Humanities grant and a Community Outreach grant. Executive Director Christine Macchi described this exhibition as a departure from the usual fiber artwork… Read more

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Filmmakers, authors, historian highlighting speaker series

This coverage of a Maine Humanities Council grant project was published May 21, 2015 on Fosters.com. “ALFRED – The Friends of Alfred Shaker Museum (FASM) and the Sanford-Springvale Historical Society are sponsoring a series of speakers on four Sunday afternoons during the coming tourist season. The guest speakers include two authors, a filmmaker and teacher,… Read more

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Local Legendary Livermore img_1413

Stepping Back in Time with the Washburns of Livermore

By Janet Lyons, Maine Humanities Council’s Consulting Project Coordinator for Local & Legendary: Maine in the Civil War Visitors to the Washburn-Norlands Living History Center may have felt like time travelers when they stepped out of their cars on the beautiful spring evening of Monday, May 18. Young men attired in 1860s garb directed community members… Read more

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Local Legendary Bethel img_1394

Drama and Song Mark Bethel’s Local & Legendary Finale

By Janet Lyons, Maine Humanities Council’s Consulting Project Coordinator for Local & Legendary: Maine in the Civil War Gould Academy’s Bingham Auditorium was full on Sunday afternoon, May 17, for the Final Celebration of Local and Legendary: Bethel in the Civil War. The celebration began with the singing of songs of the Civil War performed by… Read more

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Local Legendary Scarborough img_1378

Scarborough Students Highlight Local & Legendary Finale

By Larissa Vigue Picard, Director of Education, Maine Historical Society   Twenty students in teacher Jessica Kelly’s Gifted and Talented class at Scarborough Middle School spent the 2014-2015 school year learning about the Civil War–nationally, and at home in Scarborough–through photographs, artifacts, and volunteers at the Scarborough Historical Society; reading a graphic novel about the war… Read more

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The Hugh Manatees in Rockport

Hugh’s 41st mystery site was the Rockport Public Library! Facebook Twitter  hashtag #HughManatee Instagram Pinterest   Read more

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David Blight talk 1

“The Civil War in American Memory”: An Evening with David Blight

By Janet Lyons, Maine Humanities Council’s Consulting Project Coordinator for Local & Legendary: Maine in the Civil War Listen to the event podcast here. If historians were rock stars, Civil War scholar David Blight would top the Billboard charts. After three years of reading innumerable books and articles, as well as learning about Civil War history… Read more

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David Blight

Podcast | David Blight | The Civil War in American Memory

This episode is a recording of a talk held on May 7th, 2015 at the Portland Public Library as the culminating event in the three-year Local & Legendary: Maine in the Civil War project run by the Maine Humanities Council and Maine Historical Society with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. We join David Blight… Read more

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Hugh site 40 img 1

The Hugh Manatees in Newcastle

Hugh’s 40th mystery site was the Lincoln Academy library in Newcastle! Facebook Twitter  hashtag #HughManatee Instagram Pinterest   Read more

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The Hugh Manatees in Pittsfield

Hugh’s 39th Maine site was the Pittsfield Public Library!   Facebook Twitter  hashtag #HughManatees Instagram Pinterest   Read more

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New Community Outreach grants | May 2015

  $1,000 to “Micmac Warriors: Duty, Honor, and Culture,” Aroostook Band of Micmacs, Presque Isle Micmac Warriors is a photographic exhibit hosted by the Aroostook Band of Micmacs featuring tribal members who served in the United States military during the 20th and 21st centuries. As representatives of a long and proud warrior tradition within Micmac… Read more

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Gary Rainford

Podcast | Gary Rainford | Swan’s Island Poetry

Welcome to the Maine Humanities Council’s ‘Humanities on Demand’ podcast series. This episode is a recording of a poetry talk by Gary Rainford, part of the Portland Public Library’s Friday Local Authors Series. This talk was held on April 17th, 2015. Gary Rainford lives on Swan’s Island in Maine year-round with his wife and daughter…. Read more

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Stephanie Yuhl Winter Weekend

Podcast | Stephanie Yuhl | The Resonant Strings of Remembering: The Visual Culture of Faulkner’s Plantation South

This episode of the Maine Humanities Council’s ‘Humanities on Demand’ podcast series is a recording of Stephanie Yuhl’s talk, “The Resonant Strings of remembering: The Visual Culture of Faulkner’s Plantation South.” This was recorded at Bowdoin College on March 7, 2015, as part of Winter Weekend 2015 with Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom! Dr. Yuhl, a specialist in… Read more

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Feminist References from The Feminist Project

Emma Watson’s U.N. Speech Student Humanities Ambassador Abi Hopkin’s program, The Feminist Project, was inspired by actress Emma Watson’s speech on feminism at the United Nations on September 21, 2014. Books and Magazines Websites Everyday Feminism Feminist Majority Foundation Feminist.com Women Online Worldwide Woman Source The People Project Organizations He for She Wellesley Centers for Women… Read more

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John Matthews Winter Weekend 2015

Podcast | John Matthews | Absalom, Absalom!: A Story of Stories.

This episode of the Maine Humanities Council’s Humanities on Demand podcast series is a recording of John Matthews’s talk, “Absalom, Absalom!: A Story of Stories.” This talk was recorded at Bowdoin College on March 7, 2015, as part of Winter Weekend 2015 with William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom! Dr. Matthews is a Professor of English at… Read more

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“Reflections of the Civil War” in Pittsfield Draws 100

By Janet Lyons, Maine Humanities Council’s Consulting Project Coordinator for Local & Legendary: Maine in the Civil War Sunday, May 3, was a beautiful spring day in Pittsfield–a day for yard work and outdoor activities–yet about 100 community members gathered at the First Universalist Church forReflections of the Civil War: A Performative Celebration of Our Civil… Read more

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Hugh_site38_reveal

The Hugh Manatees in Hartland

Hugh’s 38th mystery site was the Hartland Public Library! Clues from the library: Hugh came to this library so he could work on his ‘tan’ while looking for an extremely large woodland creature in liquid form. Hugh likes a good Maine mystery and this is his favorite author. Don’t let his mild appearance fool you. Hugh… Read more

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Now Hiring Development and Communications Assistant

The application period is now over, thank you! DEVELOPMENT AND COMMUNICATIONS ASSISTANT PDF Download  GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF RESPONSIBILITIES The Maine Humanities Council (MHC) is a Portland-based nonprofit organization that serves the state of Maine. Our mission is to enrich the lives of people in Maine through literature, history, philosophy, and culture with programs, events, grants, and… Read more

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New Arts & Humanities grants | May 2015

$1,000 to “A Closer Perspective: Furthering Access to Native Culture,” Mahoosuc Arts Council, Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce, Bethel The Arts Council, in partnership with the Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce, will work to deepen community engagement in an on-going project to authenticate local native culture and provide community access to native arts and culture…. Read more

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The Feminist Project 2

“The Feminist Project” hits Machias

By Kate Webber Listen to the full event podcast here.  “If not me, then who? If not now, then when?” British actor Emma Watson asked this question in a speech she made in September, 2014 as the United Nations Women Global Goodwill Ambassador. Her words inspired many—perhaps no one more so than Machias Memorial High… Read more

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The Feminist Project 2

Podcast | The Feminist Project

This episode of the Maine Humanities Council’s Humanities on Demand podcast series is a recording of “The Feminist Project,” an event put on at the University of Maine at Machias on April 27th, 2015 as part of the Maine Humanities Council’s Student Humanities Ambassador program. “If not me, then who? If not now, then when?”… Read more

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Don_Dearborn

Podcast | Don Dearborn: How Darwin’s Mind Worked

  This episode of the Maine Humanities Council’s Humanities on Demand podcast series is a recording of the talk “How Darwin’s Mind Worked,” by Don Dearborn. His lecture was part of the first annual Dorothy Schwartz Forum on Art, Science, and the Humanities. It was held on November 15th, 2014, and focused on the topic… Read more

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Bernd Heinrich Why Darwin Matters

Podcast | Why Darwin Matters: A Q & A with Bernd Heinrich

  This episode of the Maine Humanities Council’s Humanities on Demand podcast series features a Q&A with biologist, writer, and runner Bernd Heinrich. The talk was recorded during the first annual Dorothy Schwartz Forum on Art, Science, and the Humanities, held on November 15th, 2014, at the University of New England’s Portland Campus. It focused… Read more

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Cedric Gael Bryant Winter Weekend 2015

Podcast | Cedric Gael Bryant | Reading Metaphor, Race, and the Problem of Knowing in “Absalom, Absalom!”

This episode of the Maine Humanities Council’s Humanities on Demand podcast series is a recording of Cedric Gael Bryant’s talk, “Reading Metaphor, Race, and the Problem of Knowing in Absalom, Absalom!.” This talk was recorded at Bowdoin College on March 7, 2015, as part of Winter Weekend 2015 with William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom! Dr. Bryant… Read more

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Soldier’s Heart Discussions in Pittsfield

By Janet Lyons, Maine Humanities Council’s Consulting Project Coordinator for Local & Legendary: Maine in the Civil War Jeff Sychterz, Assistant Professor of English at the University of Maine Augusta (Bangor campus), facilitated two energetic Local & Legendary: Maine in the Civil War discussions in Pittsfield this month. Community members, high schoolers at Maine Central Institute,… Read more

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Local & Legendary Book Discussions in Livermore

By Janet Lyons, Maine Humanities Council’s Consulting Project Coordinator for Local & Legendary: Maine in the Civil War Over the course of four weeks students in the “Our Hands on History” class at Spruce Mountain High School have participated in five book discussions. They began with two community wide book discussions at the Washburn-Norlands Living History… Read more

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Rumford Historical Society presents exhibit on local Civil War soldiers

Two members of the Rumford Historical Society on Wednesday presented their research on residents, including a nurse and a musician, who served in the Civil War. Society member Jane Peterson said she and member Nghia Ha spent weeks visiting libraries and historical societies throughout the state to get information. Their findings were uploaded to the… Read more

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National Library Week MHC staff

MHC Celebrates National Library Week!

April 12-18, 2015 is National Library Week! Our staff just had to celebrate, of course–Maine libraries are some of our best partners! We took a minute to think about what libraries mean in our lives, and we’d love to hear what they mean to you! Read more

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The Hugh Manatees in Waterville

Hugh’s 37th Maine mystery site was the Waterville Public Library! “Here’s Hugh posing with our Director, Sarah Sugden next to the building dedication plaque.  Ours is one of the earliest Carnegie Libraries in Maine.” Hints from the library: “In one, Hugh is next to our unofficial library mascot — Dobby. Dobby was rescued from a dusty storeroom… Read more

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The Hugh Manatees in Portland

Hugh’s 36th mystery location was the Brown Library at Maine Historical Society!   The clue: “It drives me in upon myself and to the fireside gleams. To pleasant books that crowd my shelf, and still more pleasant dreams” Facebook Twitter  hashtag #HughManatees Instagram Pinterest Read more

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Busy Local & Legendary Activity in Rumford

By Janet Lyons, Maine Humanities Council’s Consulting Project Coordinator for Local & Legendary: Maine in the Civil War The old saying “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb” did not apply to this year weather-wise, nor did it apply to the Rumford Local & Legendary team. The beginning of the month… Read more

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Angus King honors Donald Soctomah

Senator Angus King recognizes Donald Soctomah’s work

Donald Soctomah is the recipient of the 2015 Constance H. Carlson Public Humanities Prize. Mr. Soctomah serves as Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Indian Township in Maine. In that and other roles, he has worked to steward and protect native culture and lands through resource management, policy-making, teaching, and the promotion and… Read more

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William Faulkner Absalom Absalalom

Winter Weekend 2015

March 6 – 7, 2015, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine Of all the major Southern writers, none is so indelibly linked with the Civil War and its aftermath as the Nobel Prize-winning novelist William Faulkner, inventor and “sole proprietor” of Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi. In his greatest work, Absalom, Absalom!, he tells the story of the biracial family of… Read more

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The Hugh Manatees in Belfast

Hugh’s 35th mystery site was the Belfast Free Library! Here’s their director, Steve Norman, with one of their unpaid staff members.   From the library: “If there wasn’t so much snow out there behind the fairy, you would be able to see our lovely garden area, which is generously maintained by our local garden club.” Facebook Twitter  hashtag #HughManatees Instagram… Read more

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William Ferris

Podcast | William Ferris | Memory and Sense of Place: William Faulkner and the American South

This episode of the Maine Humanities Council’s ‘Humanities on Demand’ podcast series is a recording of William Ferris’s talk, “Memory and Sense of Place: William Faulkner and the American South.” This was recorded at Bowdoin College on March 6, 2015, as part of Winter Weekend 2015 with Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom! A widely recognized leader in Southern studies, African American music,… Read more

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Jason Read

Jason Read on Nostalgia in Mad Men

With its dapper suits, three martini lunches, and not a smartphone in sight, Mad Men is often understood to be a show about nostalgia, about a better workplace, if not a better life. Yet even the characters on the show who would seem to benefit most from these supposed good old days–the white men–fail to… Read more

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Charles Calhoun Winter Weekend

Podcast | Charles Calhoun | My Kinsman Thomas Sutpen: Reflections on the Southern Past

This episode of the Maine Humanities Council’s Humanities on Demand podcast series is a recording of Charles Calhoun’s talk, “My Kinsman Thomas Sutpen: Reflections on the Southern Past.” This talk was recorded at Bowdoin College on March 7, 2015, as part of Winter Weekend 2015 with William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom! Born in Louisiana, Charles Calhoun is… Read more

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Educating for the Future Through the Past

With schools increasing their focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, it may seem like the humanities have no place in today’s classroom. Kymberli Bryant, head of the Language Arts Department at Spruce Mountain High School, disagrees. Her students are active participants in the Local & Legendary: Maine in the Civil War project, jointly… Read more

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David Blight

David Blight to give lecture for Local & Legendary

David W. Blight will join the Maine Humanities Council and Maine Historical Society for an evening lecture on Thursday, May 7, 2015, at Portland Public Library’s Rines Auditorium, for the culminating public event in the three-year NEH-funded Local & Legendary: Maine the the Civil War program. Professor Blight is Class of 1954 Professor of American History at… Read more

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The Hugh Manatees in Winslow

Hugh Manatee’s 34th mystery visit took him to the Winslow Public Library! Fun fact from the library: “Our building was a roller skating rink in its former life.”   Facebook Twitter  hashtag #HughManatees Instagram Pinterest   Read more

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The Hugh Manatees in Bar Harbor

Hugh’s 33rd mystery visit was to the Jesup Memorial Library in Bar Harbor!   Facebook Twitter  hashtag #HughManatees Instagram Pinterest   Read more

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The Civil War Comes to Pittsfield

By Janet Lyons, Maine Humanities Council’s Consulting Project Coordinator for Local & Legendary: Maine in the Civil War Pittsfield kicked off their Local & Legendary: Pittsfield in the Civil War program with back to back programs on March 12. A substantial number of community members and Maine Central Institute students turned out for a book discussion at… Read more

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One Book, One Community–a Weekend in Scarborough

By Janet Lyons, Maine Humanities Council’s Consulting Project Coordinator for Local & Legendary: Maine in the Civil War The first weekend in March was sunny, with a taste of spring; at the Scarborough Public Library it was also all things Civil War. An author talk, three book discussions, and several fascinating speakers drew community members of… Read more

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New Arts & Humanities, Community Outreach Grants | March 2015

Arts & Humanities    $1,000 to “Arts On The Hill,” Coastal Mountains Land Trust, Camden Arts on the hill celebrates the synergy between art and the natural landscape in the setting of Coastal Mountains Land Trust’s Beech Hill preserve in Rockport, with the goals of inspiring creativity, engaging new audiences and demonstrating the value of… Read more

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The Hugh Manatees in Bridgton

Hugh’s 32nd mystery site was the Bridgton Public library! Facebook Twitter  hashtag #HughManatees Instagram Pinterest   Read more

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Local & Legendary: Bethel and Ambrose Bierce

By Janet Lyons, Maine Humanities Council’s Consulting Project Coordinator for Local & Legendary: Maine in the Civil War Starting in January, book lovers in Bethel braved the winter weather to meet monthly at the Bethel Library with facilitator Doug Rawlings to discuss Ambrose Bierce’s Civil War Stories, the town’s community read selection as part of the… Read more

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The Hugh Manatees in Falmouth

Hugh’s 30th site was the Falmouth Middle School Library! From the library: “Once upon a time, in a galaxy near to home, Hugh Manatee visited yet another library. He began his visit with a little view on the world of this one-room space – he shared tea and crumpets with Webster the library cat. While… Read more

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The Hugh Manatees in Carmel

Hugh’s 31st mystery site was the Simpson Memorial Library in Carmel! From the library: “Hugh arrived on a warm sunny day. He visited with Teddy Bo, one of the “locals bears” that live at the library. He enjoyed hanging out with Teddy and peaking out one of the front antique windows at the village. Hugh helped Abby pick out books in the Junior Nonfiction… Read more

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The Hugh Manatees in Dover-Foxcroft

Hugh’s 29th mystery site was the Muriel Philpot Watson Library at Foxcroft Academy!   From the library: “Hugh arrived, and was so happy to see green with all the snow we had he asked if he could hang out in the plants for a while.  I of course said yes, I do understand. Once Hugh… Read more

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Podcast Janet Browne

Podcast | Janet Browne: Darwin Revisited in the 21st Century

This episode of the Maine Humanities Council’s Humanities on Demand podcast series is a recording of the talk “Darwin Revisited in the 21st Century,” by Janet Browne. Her lecture was part of the first annual Dorothy Schwartz Forum on Art, Science, and the Humanities. It was held on November 15th, 2014, and focused on the… Read more

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Social Media Highlighted in Bangor Public Humanities Day Presentation

This January, the MHC joined the University of Maine Humanities Center for the Downtown Bangor Public Humanities Day. Staff member Kate Webber presented as part of the kickoff event, a Pecha Kucha style presentation with a wide range of humanities professionals and enthusiasts. Kate discussed her role managing the MHC’s social media platforms, posing the question: “How are we interacting with the humanities… Read more

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The Hugh Manatees in Falmouth

Hugh’s 28th site was the Falmouth Memorial Library! From the library: “The area around our front sign has several feet of snow around it, so Hugh stayed inside during his visit.  He did enjoy the telescope as you can see in the photo.  Then he spent some time in our Teen Area looking at Manga.”… Read more

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Last Days in Vietnam poster

Last Days in Vietnam

In April of 1975, the North Vietnamese Army was closing in on Saigon as South Vietnamese resistance was crumbling. Approximately 5,000 Americans remained with roughly 24 hours to get out. Their South Vietnamese allies, co-workers, and friends faced certain imprisonment and possible death if they remained behind, yet there was no official evacuation plan in place…. Read more

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Donald Soctomah Donald Soctomah rows a birch bark canoe with his son, also named Donald. The canoe was built based on a 21-foot Passamaquoddy canoe dating from 1850.

Committed to His Native Roots: Soctomah to Be Honored for Contributions

Executive Director Hayden Anderson was interviewed for an article in Indian Country Today highlighting Donald Soctomah, 2015 recipient of the Constance H. Carlson Prize. This is the Maine Humanities Council’s highest honor, and is awarded to an individual, institution, or group in recognition of exemplary contributions to public humanities in Maine. Here is an excerpt from Alysa… Read more

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The Hugh Manatees in Augusta

Hugh’s 27th mystery site was the Maine State Library in Augusta! Hugh was lucky enough to meet Maine’s new State Librarian, Jamie Ritter! Mr. Ritter showed Hugh the state library’s very busy calendar. Hugh also checked out a Civil War display with Shannon Schinagl!   Some highlights from Hugh’s visit: “Hugh learned how to use the 3-D printer…. Read more

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The Hugh Manatees in Acton

Hugh’s 26th mystery site was the Acton Public Library! From the library: “Our little one-room library used to be a one-room school house! We help carry the tradition of the Boston Post Cane, have a large, framed map of York County dated 1856 by J.L. Smith and Co. and George Washington hangs behind our circulation desk…. Read more

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The Hugh Manatees in Springvale

Hugh’s 25th mystery site was the Springvale Public Library! From the library:  “Cat In The Hat Winter Reading Program fun with Hugh!” Facebook Twitter  hashtag #HughManatees Instagram Pinterest   Read more

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The Hugh Manatees in Bangor

Hugh’s 24th visit was to the Beal College Library in Bangor! From the library: “Hugh has had a wonderful week! He helped students choose their new year resolutions (better late than never), learned about his digital footprint, helped with a new book display and read some books about Mexico in hopes of warming himself up against… Read more

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The Hugh Manatees in Mechanic Falls

Hugh’s 23rd visit was to the Mechanic Falls Public Library! From the library: “The murals in our children’s section were done by two sisters, Whitney and Hallie Frost who were 14 & 11 at the time in 2012. The inner room is painted like a castle and the outer area is a sort of forest with… Read more

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The Hugh Manatees in Hampden

Hugh’s 22nd site was the Edythe Dyer Community Library in Hampden! Fun fact: This library was a private home with an indoor swimming pool before it was a library.  The pool has been filled in and is now the Children’s department. Facebook Twitter  hashtag #HughManatees Instagram Pinterest   Read more

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The Hugh Manatees in Paris

Hugh’s 21st site was the Hamlin Memorial Library and Museum in Paris! Fun fact: “Our library and museum is housed in what used to be the county jail for Oxford county. The small model of the jail (our building!) that Hugh is next to in the first picture was a local child’s school project that they donated… Read more

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The Hugh Manatees in Carrabassett Valley

Hugh’s 19th site was the Carrabassett Valley Public Library!   Facebook Twitter  hashtag #HughManatees Instagram Pinterest Read more

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The Hugh Manatees in Harpswell

Hugh’s 20th site was the Cundy’s Harbor Library in Harpswell! Library hint: Hugh is reading a book that was written about Hoover the Seal, who was rescued here in this town in 1971. Facebook Twitter  hashtag #HughManatees Instagram Pinterest Read more

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The Hugh Manatees in South Berwick

Hugh’s 18th site was the South Berwick Public Library! From the library: “Hugh Manatee is checking out Easy biographies on Rosie the Riveter and Nelson Mandela, visiting the children’s play area, and being creative with the Get Creative winter display!”   Facebook Twitter  hashtag #HughManatees Instagram Pinterest Read more

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The Hugh Manatees in Brewer

Hugh’s 17th mystery site was the Brewer Public Library! Facebook Twitter  hashtag #HughManatees Instagram Pinterest Read more

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BOOK REVIEW| Nora Webster

Nora Webster takes place around Wexford, Ireland, an area I’m reasonably familiar with. (I kept a ‘Complete Road Atlas of Ireland’- like the Delorme Maine Gazetteer – open as I read; I like to try to visualize/imagine that way.) Taking place in the late 1960’s, I have no problem imagining that time (Nora’s older son… Read more

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Poets and Assassins

Announcing new play, “The Poets and the Assassin”

Maine Humanities Council, SPACE Gallery, and USM’s Center of Multicultural Affairs are delighted to present The Poets and The Assassin–Daughters of Iran in celebration of Women’s History Month. The play was written by MHC Board member Reza Jalali . Event information: March 12, 2015 | 6:00pm | SPACE Gallery, Portland Reza has provided the following summary of the play:  Although… Read more

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New Think & Drink series explores Disruption

Think & Drink is back! We were thrilled with the success of last year’s Networked World series and are excited to dive into our second round of happy-hour discussions. This year, we’ll explore—and practice—the theme of disruption: the idea that in many areas of our lives, technology or attitudes have started to disrupt the status quo in deep… Read more

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Maine National History Day 2015 Call For Judges

Do you love history? Do you support dynamic hands-on projects for students? Then we are looking for you! Sign up now to be a judge for the 2015 Maine National History Day competition, to be held at UMaine in Orono, on Saturday, March 28. Whether you’ve been a judge for several years running, or have… Read more

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Maine Humanities Council welcomes three leaders as new Board Members

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE For More Information: Hayden Anderson, Maine Humanities Council, 207-773-5051   February 2, 2015   PORTLAND, Maine – The Maine Humanities Council welcomed three new members to its Board of Directors. New additions include Victoria Bornheimer, a human resource professional; Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko, the director of the Abbe Museum; and Reza Jalali, the Coordinator… Read more

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The Hugh Manatees in Berwick

Hugh’s 16th site was the Berwick Public Library! Notes from the mystery library: “We photographed Hugh by our newly acquired antique clock that was built in Berwick by Abner Rogers, a memorial statue to our former director Sandy’s late husband who started our Friends group, our new 3D printer, our traincar shelving, a castle built and… Read more

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Local & Legendary Activities Ramp Up in Scarborough

By Janet Lyons, Maine Humanities Council’s Consulting Project Coordinator for Local & Legendary: Maine in the Civil War Sunday afternoon, January 24, was the kick-off for Scarborough’s Civil War-era Sunday film series. Bowdoin College Professor Patrick Rael presented “The Civil War in Film” to an appreciative audience of about 25 at the Scarborough Public Library. Rael… Read more

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The Hugh Manatees in South Thomaston

Hugh’s 15th mystery site was at the South Thomaston Public Library!  A clue to our location: Hugh visited the local historical society adjacent to our one room schoolhouse library near the ocean. Facebook Twitter  hashtag #HughManatees Instagram Pinterest Read more

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The Hugh Manatees in North Berwick

Hugh’s 14th location was the D.A. Hurd Library in North Berwick! Fun library fact: “Our children’s librarian said that the first children’s “room” was a 4’round table in the center of the library with books on it. We now have a wonderfully colorful and fun-filled room that holds a collection of 11,645 books, movies, magazines, toys, and audio… Read more

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Podcast Brock Clarke

Brock Clarke: “The Happiest People in the World”

This episode is a recording of a talk held on January 14, 2015, at the Portland Public Library as part of its Brown Bag Lecture Series. We join Maine author Brock Clarke as he discusses his newest book, The Happiest People in the World. As Bob Keyes of the Portland Press Herald stated in his introduction to the talk, “Last week’s terrorist attacks… Read more

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Midway Through Local & Legendary, Cohort 2

By Janet Lyons, Consulting Project Coordinator for Maine Humanties Council On the surface, January is a quiet month for our Local & Legendary teams, but the reality is that they are hard at work organizing events and working on their Maine Memory Network exhibits. The dedicated volunteers in Bethel, Jay/Livermore Falls, Pittsfield, the Rumford area, and… Read more

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Time for Learning: The Dorothy Schwartz Forum

By Jean Potucheck Originally published on November 19, 2014 in the blog “Stepping Into the Future: A retirement journal.” Last weekend, I attended a day-long interdisciplinary forum on “Why Darwin Matters” sponsored by the Maine Humanities Council. The program included presentations by historians, literature experts, biologists, and artists, along with a musical performance and an… Read more

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Donald Soctomah

Donald Soctomah honored at 2015 Public Humanities Prize Luncheon

2015 Prize Luncheon March 30, 2015 | 12:00pm | Richard E. Dyke Center at Husson University,  Bangor. During an awards luncheon on Monday, March 30, 2015, the MHC will present Donald Soctomah, tribal historian for the Passamaquoddy tribe, with the Constance H. Carlson Public Humanities Prize. The Prize honors an individual, institution, or group in recognition… Read more

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Successful launch of “Hooked”

January 22 was the launch of a brand-new MHC program, Hooked: A Critical Look At Shows We Love. About 40 people gathered at Guthries in Lewiston to discuss the theme of work in the show Breaking Bad with University of Southern Maine philosophy professor Jason Read. A group of avid fans led the discussion, all… Read more

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The Hugh Manatees in Presque Isle

Hugh’s 13th site was the Roland B. Andrews Library-Media Center at Presque Isle High School! Take a look at this map of all the participating libraries. Library hint:  “Hugh met some young patrons who showed him our painting by William Thon, then met a friend who took him tree climbing!  Afterward, they rested on our circulation desk. … Read more

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The world needs the humanities, and UMaine is responding

Originally published in the Bangor Daily News Jan. 21, 2015 By Liam Riordan, Special to the BDN For about two years, the University of Maine System has made headlines, almost always in the context of an economic crisis. There is no question that the global recession, increasing inequality and the still unclear possibilities of digital… Read more

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The Hugh Manatees in Caribou

Hugh was at the very creative Caribou Public Library! I think we’re all a little jealous of their cardboard cutouts. To submit a guess, please post as a comment on any of MHC’s social media sites. Correct responses will be entered into a raffle drawing for a set of books from MHC! This library got their city… Read more

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New Arts & Humanities, Community Outreach Grants | January 2015

Arts & Humanities   “Emma Lewis Coleman: Maine” $1,000 to Museums of Old York, York The Museums of Old York will present an exhibit of photographs by Emma Lewis Coleman (1853-1942) from the 1880s, including images of local tradespeople and historic buildings and landscapes. Picture Writing: In Island Voices $1,000 to Partners in Island Education,… Read more

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The Hugh Manatees in Orono

Hugh was at the Orono Public Library! Check out the map of all the participating libraries. Desk Clerk Alexis Dixon and Youth Services Librarian Louise Jolliffe in front of the donor wall. Hints from the library: “Our new library at 39 Pine Street was opened to the public in 9/9/2009.  The community raised funds to replace the prior facility, in… Read more

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The Hugh Manatees in Lincoln

Hugh’s ninth mystery site was the Lincoln Memorial Library! To see all the sites, check out this map of all the participating libraries. Facebook Twitter  hashtag #HughManatees Instagram Pinterest Read more

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The Hugh Manatees in New Gloucester

Hugh’s 11th visit was to the New Gloucester Public Library! Check out this map of all the participating libraries. Hugh with Baxter the Maine State Library cat! Here you’ll see Hugh checking out his travel plans, posing by an Ipcar painting, and helping a 4H group test their spaghetti and marshmallow bridges made by our 4Hers.  Everyone had to… Read more

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The Hugh Manatees in Sanford

Hugh’s 8th mystery location was the Louis B. Goodall Memorial Library in Sanford! Take a look at this map of all the participating libraries. Library hint: “The gentleman in the painting (the man our library is named after) believed in play as well as work…Hugh is doing just that…playing hard and reading hard.” Facebook Twitter  hashtag #HughManatees Instagram Pinterest Read more

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Hugh Manatees Chase Emerson Reveal

The Hugh Manatees in Deer Isle

Hugh was at the Chase Emerson Memorial Library in Deer Isle! Check out this map of all the participating libraries. Note from the library: “Here is a picture of Hugo bird watching out our window with a view of our fantastic cove. He spent the day searching for our resident great blue heron who has not ventured south… Read more

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The Hugh Manatees in Sullivan

Hugh was at the Frenchman’s Bay Library in Sullivan! Take a look at this map of all the participating libraries. Here is an interesting fact from Sullivan: “After a fire in 1959, this library moved to it’s present location. An old Jeep Cherokee was used to bring books to patrons who lived nearby. We continue this… Read more

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Last Local & Legendary Events of 2014

Originally posted in the Maine Historical Society Blog  December 19, 2014. By Janet Lyons As the year wound down, three Local & Legendary: Maine in the Civil War teams hosted major events related to their projects. On November 19 at the Rumford Public Library, about 60 Mountain Valley Middle School students gathered for the first culminating celebration… Read more

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New Major Grants | December 2014

Major Grants Maine is Home Profile Project $7,500 to Welcoming Maine, Portland Through the “Maine Is Home” profile project, Welcoming Maine will create five multimedia profile stories that will highlight positive cross-cultural relationships in the Lewiston/Auburn area. The project will bridge social boundaries between new Mainers and their native-born neighbors through interactive storytelling, thereby creating… Read more

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Maine Readers' Choice Award logo

Maine Readers’ Choice Award 2015 Long List

The Maine Readers’ Choice Award screening committee has spent months reading submitted titles (approximately 125 titles) for the 2015 award. Three Maine authors have made the list this year. The shortlist will be announced in March. Happy reading!! The books are not listed in any particular order. The 2015 Maine Readers’ Choice Award Long List The Wind is Not a… Read more

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The Hugh Manatees in Calais

Hugh was at the Washington County Community College Library! We’re going to take a break for the holidays, but look for the next mystery site in January! For a hint on future sites, take a look at this map of all the participating libraries. Facebook Twitter  hashtag #HughManatees Instagram Pinterest Read more

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Charles Calhoun Great Books

Charles Calhoun: Great Books

In this episode we join Charles Calhoun, author of the biography Longfellow: A Rediscovered Life and founder/emcee of Winter Weekend for a talk on great books. This is a recording of an event held on July 21, 2014 at the Thornton Oaks Retirement Community in Brunswick, Maine. Calhoun discusses the definition of a great book and… Read more

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John Ward Taste of the Humanities Tenants Harbor

Teach Me Now To Listen

By Diane Magras If you Google “flax-dam,” you’ll come up with Seamus Heaney. The resting place where raw flax softens isn’t a familiar word or image for many people, but for anyone who has read Seamus Heaney’s “Death of a Naturalist,” it’s a place vivid with slimy lines of bog plants and belching, bleating frogs…. Read more

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The Hugh Manatees in Cherryfield

Hugh was at the Cherryfield Free Public Library! For a hint on future sites, take a look at this map of all the participating libraries. Read more

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The Hugh Manatees in Auburn

Hugh at Auburn Public Library! For hints on future sites, take a look at this map of all the participating libraries. Facebook Twitter  hashtag #HughManatees Instagram Pinterest Read more

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Where's Hugh Lewiston

The Hugh Manatees in Lewiston

Hugh with the staff of the Lewiston Public Library! For hints on future sites, check out this map of all the participating libraries.     Read more

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Where's Hugh Steuben Reveal

The Hugh Manatees in Steuben

Hugh has been visiting the Henry D. Moore Library in Steuben, Maine! Keep an eye out for the next mystery location! A note from Jeanne Benedict, Library Director: “We sure loved having Hugh Manatee visit us!” Photos from Hugh’s visit:                 The Hugh Manatees are visiting libraries around the… Read more

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Actress Tamara Clark in the spring 2014 production at History Theatre in St. Paul, MN.

The Lonely Soldier: Women at War in Iraq

A Documentary play by Helen Benedict, produced by the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine (HHRC) and Directed by Jeri Pitcher A Project of the HHRC in partnership with UMA’s Veteran Achievement Project, with support from UMA, The Maine Arts Commission, the Maine Humanities Council, and veteran services organizations and veterans across Maine. The Lonely Soldier: Women… Read more

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Don Dearborn, evolutionary biologist from Bates College

A Successful Start: The First Annual Dorothy Schwartz Forum on Art, Science, & the Humanities

Anyone walking through the University of New England’s Portland campus on Saturday, November 15th, may have noticed an unusual number of Darwin bumper stickers on passing cars. A crowd of over 150 gathered to attend the Maine Humanities Council’s first annual Dorothy Schwartz Forum on Art, Science, and the Humanities. The day focused on an… Read more

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10-year old Nabiollah

Muslim Journeys in Portland: “Koran by Heart”

By Kate Webber Throughout the month of November, Portland Public Library hosted three film and discussion sessions as part of the MHC’s Muslim Journeys project. November 6th featured Koran By Heart, a 2011 documentary directed by Greg Barker (watch the full film here). It follows the lives of three children participating in an annual Koran… Read more

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Louise and Celeste at the Scarborough Library

To Uplift and to Empower: Q&A with the Scarborough Public Library

By Diane Magras Turn off busy Route 1 in Scarborough, and on a fast-moving side street you’ll find the Scarborough Public Library. The library building emerges past a small cattail-filled pond surrounded by trees, presenting a beautiful and welcoming exterior. This fall, I met Celeste Shinay, Program and Development Manager, and Louise Capizzo, Youth Services… Read more

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Hugh Manatees

Where are the Hugh Manatees in Maine?

Welcome to our Maine library challenge! Our goal was to highlight our partners and friends across the state. We shared photos on our social media pages, website, and e-newsletter to get our audience guessing, “Where are the Hugh Manatees in Maine?” See which libraries Hugh visited! Follow MHC on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. *Hugh was created by Gund* Read more

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Redeployment book cover

“Redeployment” wins National Book Award

The short story collection Redeployment by Iraq Veteran Phil Klay recently won the National Book Award for Fiction. His essay “After War, A Failure of Imagination” and his short stories are important for the work we are doing in our Veterans programming. His interview by Terry Gross on Fresh Air is worth listening to. About Redeployment (from Terry Gross’s introduction… Read more

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Christoph Irmscher

Podcast | Christoph Irmscher | Darwin and Agassiz: How Two Scientists Saw the Galapagos So Differently

This episode of the Maine Humanities Council’s ‘Humanities on Demand’ podcast series is a recording from the first annual Dorothy Schwartz Forum on Art, Science, and the Humanities. It was held on November 15th, 2014, and focused on the topic “Why Darwin Matters.” Christoph Irmscher is a biographer of Louis Agassiz, a contemporary opponent of Charles… Read more

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Local & Legendary Communities Choose Their Books

By Janet Lyons Originally posted on the Maine Historical Society blog on November 17, 2014. One component of the Local & Legendary: Maine in the Civil War grant is that communities come together to discuss books that are relevant to the Civil War. The intent is to get people talking about big ideas and making connections…. Read more

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Warming denial proves science under siege, much like the 17th century

Originally published in the Portland Press Herald, November 8, 2014. By Hayden Anderson The culture wars are back, and the stakes have never been higher. The front lines have shifted in 20-plus years: from art galleries and hip-hop lyrics to the nation’s textbooks, classrooms and public policy debates. What was once a skirmish about changing… Read more

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The Art of Dahlov Ipcar Book Cover

BOOK REVIEW | The Art of Dahlov Ipcar

One of the opening pages of Carl Little’s The Art of Dahlov Ipcar strikes the mood of the folktale world, tinged with the energy, magic, and power: a fox turns back its head, teeth bared, as partridges rise in gorgeous brown haste to fly in all directions (Fox Moon). This is one mood of Dahlov… Read more

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Rachel Carson Book Cover

BOOK REVIEW | Rachel Carson, Witness for Nature

Rachel Carson, perhaps best known for her groundbreaking book, Silent Spring, which exposed the dangers of chemicals like DDT, was a quiet and intensely private individual. Yet, coupled with these traits, Linda Lear’s biography, Rachel Carson: Witness for Nature, demonstrates that Carson possessed incredible strength and conviction. These characteristics ultimately led her to place herself under… Read more

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Shutter Island Book Cover

BOOK REVIEW | Shutter Island

This was a heart-racing, breath-taking psychological thriller, that I could not put down (truly). Forego the new movie, of the same name, and read this thriller about an asylum for the the criminally insane. It’s 1954, and U.S. Marshals Teddy Daniels and Chuck Aule have arrived on Shutter Island where a patient has gone missing…. Read more

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American Prometheus book cover

BOOK REVIEW | American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer

Just from its title one can deduce how complicated J. Robert Oppenheimer’s legacy is.  We all know him as the “Father of the Atomic Bomb”, but that oversimplifies this complex genius and the work he produced. Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin tackled a huge subject in Oppenheimer, and produced an engaging, comprehensive biography, one… Read more

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A Seed Is Sleepy Diana Hutts Aston

BOOK REVIEW | A Seed is Sleepy

Winter in Maine fuels a hunger for gardening that becomes nearly all-consuming by March. This can affect children, too, and A Seed is Sleepy—by Diana Hutts Aston, illustrated by Sylvia Long—can do much to alleviate it. Long’s pictures of familiar and unusual plants, from the bean to the date palm (an extinct plant brought back… Read more

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Eve Bunting So Far From the Sea

BOOK REVIEW | So Far From the Sea

Bunting is outstanding in her ability to create thoughtful stories that address hard topics with warmth and hope. It addresses this issue in the New Books, New Readers theme of Carrying the Past: What do we choose from our past to preserve as a family or cultural memory?  It is told in first person by… Read more

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Debby Irving

Debby Irving: Waking Up White

This episode is a recording of a talk held on September 10th, 2014 at the Portland Public Library as part of their Brown Bag Lecture Series. We join Debbie Irving as she discusses her book, Waking Up White. Debby Irving, Racial Justice Educator and Writer, and Shay Stewart-Bouley, Executive Director of Community Change, Inc., author… Read more

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Crime and Punishment

Winter Weekend 2014

March 7 – 8, 2014, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine Can murder be a moral act, leading to a social good? Do those who believe themselves to be of powerful moral capacity have the right to murder their fellow human beings to achieve such an aim? A positive answer to these questions leads Rodoin Raskolnikov to murder his… Read more

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Great Expectations

Winter Weekend 2013

On the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’s birth, the Maine Humanities Council is delighted to announce our first Dickens novel for Winter Weekend. Great Expectations, one of Dickens’s mature novels, is replete with his trademark colorful characters and biting criticism of society. This bildungsroman is a powerful and dramatic story from Dickens at his prime. From Pip himself,… Read more

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The Iliad

Winter Weekend 2012

To celebrate the 15th anniversary of Winter Weekend, the Maine Humanities Council returns to the epic poet with whom we started this popular series of public humanities programs in 1997. This time, we explore Homer’s The Iliad—the earliest surviving work in European literature and the foundational text of Greek civilization. The Iliad takes place over 51 days,… Read more

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The Red and the Black

Winter Weekend 2011

The text for Winter Weekend 2011 is Stendhal’s 1830 novel: The Red and the Black. Does a young intellectual from a provincial town have much of a chance in 19th century Parisian society? Stendhal’s psychological portrait of Julien Sorel and his love affairs mesh well with a satiric depiction of religious and society life. Read more

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Middlemarch

Winter Weekend 2010

George Eliot’s Middlemarch is an English masterpiece that follows the social and intellectual lives of very human characters in a small provincial town. Read more

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War and Peace

Winter Weekend 2009

The 12th annual Winter Weekend tackled Tolstoy’s War and Peace in the new translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. As in previous years, the program combined stimulating lectures by academic specialists, lively small-group discussions, and an opportunity to take part in a community of almost 150 readers from Maine and beyond. Participants were transported—by their reading… Read more

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Aeneid

Winter Weekend 2008

What is The Aeneid? An epic story of an ancient hero and his struggles with mortals and gods, a homage to the emperor Augustus, or an attempt to compete with Homer? The 2008 Winter Weekend explored these issues in-depth on March 7 and 8 at Bowdoin College in Brunswick to an audience of more than 150…. Read more

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Canterbury Tales

Winter Weekend 2007

Chaucer begins The Canterbury Tales with his famous evocation of “Aprill with his shoures sote” and some general remarks on the English proclivity to “goon on pilgrimages,” but the author quickly gets down to business. I’m going to tell you what they were wearing, he announces—“and eek in what array that they were inne” (line 41)—as he… Read more

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Swann's Way

Winter Weekend 2006

Our offering this year is Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust. We will be using the new translation by Lydia Davis. Not much “happens” in Proust: a young man (who may or may not be the author) grows up, falls in and out of love, meets some more or less interesting people in the upper reaches of French… Read more

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Don Quixote

Winter Weekend 2005

March 11-12, Bowdoin College, Brunswick Our offering was Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, in the translation by Edith Grossman. FELIPE III of Spain looked out the window one day and saw a young man laughing wildly. He’s either insane, the king remarked to a courtier, or he’s reading Don Quixote. The second half of the novel had… Read more

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The Magic Mountain

Winter Weekend 2004

March 12-13, 2004 Bowdoin College, Brunswick Set in an Alpine sanatorium in the years just before World War I, Mann’s masterpiece is both a traditional European novel and a Modernist gamble on what is to come. Blending social comedy with philosophical speculation, The Magic Mountain (1924) tells the story of a young man’s education – political, spiritual,… Read more

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Anna Karenina

Winter Weekend 2003

March 7-8, 2003, Bowdoin College, Brunswick An interdisciplinary symposium on one of the 19th century’s greatest novels, with special attention to small group discussion of the text. Anna Karenina tells two stories: the tragedy of a woman trapped in an unfulfilling marriage who takes a lover, and the happier story of an unfulfilled man who discovers… Read more

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Frankenstein

Winter Weekend 2002

March 1 – 2, 2002 Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine  Numerous commentators on the U.S. war in Afghanistan have reminded the public that the Taliban are our “Frankenstein’s monster” – a force we helped to create, only to see it turn against us. We have here one more example of what a powerful archetype the 21-year-old… Read more

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Beowulf

Winter Weekend 2001

BEOWULF AND THE NORSE MILLENNIUM Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Me. March 2-3, 2001Central text: the new Seamus Heaney translation of Beowulf Background reading: Lacey & Danziger’s The Year 1000: What Life Was Like at the Turn of the First Millennium The Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf is considered the foundational text for all poetry afterwards written in English…. Read more

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Moby Dick

Winter Weekend 2000

What is it, what nameless, inscrutable, unearthly thing is it; what cozening, hidden lord and master, and cruel, remorseless emperor commands me; that against all natural lovings and longings, I so keep pushing, and crowding and jamming myself on all the time? — Captain Ahab Melville’s great white whale haunts the American imagination. Since publication… Read more

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Dante's Inferno

Winter Weekend 1999

With the exception of Homer’s epics and The Bible, no other written work has had so deep an influence on the West as Dante’s Divine Comedy. Hundreds of translations and thousands of depictions by artists over the past 700 years attest to its imaginative power. Yet its best known part “The Inferno” poses many challenges to modern readers. Dante’s… Read more

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The Odyssey

Winter Weekend 1998

At the Council’s first Winter Weekend in March of 1998, Maine readers took a voyage through the pages of Homer’s Odyssey with Robert Fagles’ highly readable new translation of the epic poem. In addition to a general discussion of the work, scholars focused on Homeric Archaeology and the episodes in the poem depicting Odysseus in… Read more

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Anshe Sfard: Portland’s Forgotten Chassidic Synagogue

This article from the Maine Historical Society blog discusses one of the projects supported by the Maine Humanities Council’s grants program. The online exhibit “Anshe Sfard, Portland’s Early Chassidic Congregation” written by Susan Cummings-Lawrence can be found on the Maine Memory Network. Click here to read the article.    Read more

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Podcast Tim O'Brien

Rebroadcast: Tim O’Brien – Two Heads and the Things They Carried

In honor of the launch of Coming Home: A Reading Group for Combat Veterans, we are rebroadcasting an updated version of a talk by author and veteran Tim O’Brien. This was part of the Literature & Medicine program’s national conference, After Shock: Humanities Perspectives on Trauma, held on November 12 & 13, 2010 in Washington, D.C. Tim O’Brien has been… Read more

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Haruki Murakami Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki

BOOK REVIEW | Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

It’s not uncommon to lose track of your best friends in high school. New jobs, new lives, and sometimes even different colleges can do the trick. But most of us find comfort in the new. While we may connect with our best friends from the past at a later point, we come to these friendships… Read more

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Dean Bennett The Wilderness from Chamberlain Farm

BOOK REVIEW | The Wilderness from Chamberlain Farm

We read the series ‘Defining Wilderness, Defining Maine‘ a few years ago [during the Let’s Talk About It program]. Dean Bennett and his wife visited with us when we were discussing his book The Wilderness from Chamberlain Farm.  His visit led to greater insight of the area and led to a wonderful discussion with our participants’… Read more

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Erik Larson devil in the white city

BOOK REVIEW | The Devil and the White City

I enjoyed The Devil and the White City by Erik Larson in the ‘Gilded Age‘ [Let’s Talk About It] series . I was intrigued by the greed and corruption, and then the tenacity of the designers and builders in getting the project completed. This is a good example of ‘history repeating itself’. We can look… Read more

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Linda Hogan solar storms

BOOK REVIEW | Solar Storms

Linda Hogan’s Solar Storms was the final reading in the 2006 Literature & Medicine program at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. Hogan’s novel about a young woman’s quest to heal her broken spirit added an important perspective to a series of readings exploring how we heal and where healing comes from. Earlier readings focused on… Read more

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Siobhan Fallon you know when the men are gone

BOOK REVIEW | You Know When the Men Are Gone

Siobhan Fallon’s short story collection, You Know When the Men are Gone, explores the insulated world of Fort Hood and the little publicized life of army wives, the base’s primary inhabitants when the soldiers go overseas to fight. The stories focus on the particular stresses and intricate relationships among the women on the base. Although… Read more

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Jonathan Shay Odysseus in America

BOOK REVIEW | Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming

Jonathan Shay is a retired psychiatrist in the Department of Veterans Affairs in Boston; he has worked for more than twenty years to address the difficulties that Vietnam veterans have faced in re-integrating to American life. Odysseus in America is his follow-up to his groundbreaking book, Achilles in Vietnam. Throughout both works, Shay illuminates the… Read more

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Roddy Doyle woman who walked into doors

BOOK REVIEWS | The Woman Who Walked Into Doors

When Paula Spencer hears another woman in the Emergency Room say she walked into a door, she believes her completely, decides she must have been running chasing the kids. “I never once thought that I wasn’t the only one who’d been put there by her husband.” The Woman Who Walked Into Doors by Roddy Doyle… Read more

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Katherine Dunn Geek Love

BOOK REVIEW | Geek Love

Imagine growing up in a family in which your siblings include one with flippers instead of arms and legs, conjoined twins who share one body from the waist down, and one capable of telekinesis and removing physical pain from others. (The siblings who did not survive are preserved in jars and carefully tended by the… Read more

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Tracy Kidder mountains beyond mountains

BOOK REVIEW | Mountains Beyond Mountains

An exploration of contemporary morality: Tracy Kidder’s Mountains Beyond Mountains I don’t know Paul Farmer, but I’ll bet his favorite mantra is: “Just Say No To Authority!” Farmer is the physician activist who’s the subject of this book, subtitled: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World. Farmer would certainly… Read more

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Donald Hall Without

BOOK REVIEW | Without

One of the more arresting images in Donald Hall’s 1998 poetry collection, Without— written in memory of his late wife, the poet Jane Kenyon, who died of leukemia in 1995 at age 48 — shows up during a meditation on Kenyon’s chemotherapy treatments. In “The Ship Pounding,” one of 20 short poems in the collection,… Read more

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Alice Munro Runaway

BOOK REVIEW | Runaway

Runaway, a 2004 collection of short stories by Alice Munro, depicts people and situations rooted in real life who make imperfect choices with broad consequences, and, as in real life, nothing is ever simple. Its title story is a key component of Literature & Medicine’s new series for professionals who work with domestic violence. Staff and… Read more

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Sandy Phippen Sturge a Memoir

BOOK REVIEW | Sturge: A Memoir

Sturge: A Memoir, is a recent publication editing by Sandy Phippen (writer and former MHC Board member) about the life and times of Sturgis Haskins, the Maine State sailing champ who taught Norman Mailer how to sail and who helped start the Wilde-Stein Club at the University of Maine. As William David Barry of the… Read more

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William Faulkner Absalom Absalalom

BOOK REVIEW | Absalom, Absalom!

Warning: this is not an easy book to read. It combines all the excesses of Southern Gothic with every reader-bewildering tool of High Modernist craft (unstable chronology, unreliable narrators, shifting voices, contempt for conventional story-telling). Its enduring claim to fame is that it is to the 20th century novel what Moby-Dick is to the 19th:… Read more

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Colum McCann Transatlantic

BOOK REVIEW | TransAtlantic

I had seen one review of TransAtlantic that spoke of the story as being a bit unwieldy. I failed to see that. I found myself comfortable with the language and familiar with the locales, though I’ve never been to Missouri. New York, Maine, and Senator Mitchell came very easy to me. I greatly respect the… Read more

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Elizabeth Catton the Luminaries

BOOK REVIEW | The Luminaries

If you’re looking for something complex and engaging enough to distract you from a dreary winter, The Luminaries is a good bet. Winner of the 2013 Man Booker prize, this lengthy but quick-reading novel is set in the New Zealand goldfields in 1866. An almost intimidating (though wonderful) array of characters are fleshed out through… Read more

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Anne Michaels Fugitive Pieces

BOOK REVIEW | Fugitive Pieces

Jakob Beer, a Jewish child, is seven years old when Germany invades his native Poland. From his hiding place behind a cabinet’s wallpaper, Jakob escapes the fate of his parents, who are murdered before his eyes, and his 15-year-old sister Bella, who is been taken away. Hiding provides Jakob with his only means of survival…. Read more

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Erik Larson in the Garden of the Beasts

BOOK REVIEWS | In the Garden of the Beasts

Erik Larson’s In the Garden of the Beasts takes a look at Germany in 1933, six months after Hitler’s rise to power, through the eyes of an American Ambassador (and his family) upon his arrival in Berlin. The U.S. was supportive of Hitler’s efforts to bring Germany “back to stability,” not aware of – and… Read more

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Debra Dean Madonnas of Leningrad

BOOK REVIEWS | The Madonnas of Leningrad

The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean is a sensitive story about a woman who was once a young docent at the Hermitage, and is now elderly, living in America, and in the throes of encroaching Alzheimer’s disease. It portrays her intense appreciation of the museum’s art treasures, as she helps to pack them to… Read more

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Lura Beam A Maine Hamlet

BOOK REVIEW | A Maine Hamlet

For too long, you could only find it in secondhand stores or in well-worn copies in public libraries – the book that a generation of readers treasured as the most perceptive account of traditional life in Maine ever written. Originally published in 1957, Lura Beam’s A Maine Hamlet is now back in print, thanks to… Read more

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Roland Merullo Breakfast with Buddha

BOOK REVIEW | Breakfast with Buddha

This isn’t just another “guys on a road trip” tale. It’s an endearing story of a skeptical man who ends up with a monk as an unexpected traveling companion. The driver decides to show the holy man the real world by visiting some cultural landmarks and teaching him about some of the most basic American… Read more

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Bill Dedman_Paul Clark Newell Empty Mansions

BOOK REVIEW | Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune

Astor, Rockefeller, Carnegie–these are all names of enterprising early Americans that grace buildings and charitable trusts and innovations to this day. However, one contemporary had wealth that surpassed them all, but whose name has been lost to history. This book begins by detailing the life of W.A. Clark from self-made copper magnate to disgraced Senator,… Read more

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Christina Baker Kline Orphan Train

BOOK REVIEW | Orphan Train: A Novel

I love interesting characters who are also believable. I also enjoy historical fiction. Orphan Train had these three elements! Without giving the plot away,  I was absolutely stunned that I had never heard of the very real historical events portrayed in this book. It is a great read! Read more

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Scott McCloud Understanding Comics

BOOK REVIEW | Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art

A brilliantly written “textbook” on the craft of creating and reading graphic novels and comics. There is far more to comics than simply pictures and word bubbles, and McCloud addresses all of the complexities of this genre in an accessible, creative, and intelligent way. It’s a true eye-opener! Read more

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Edwidge Danticat Claire of the Sea Light

BOOK REVIEW | Claire of the Sea Light

Within an impoverished Haitian community, Claire, the motherless daughter of a fisherman, begins a story about loss and learning to survive. The people who touch both her and her parents expand the narrative into a broader story of grief and love, gangs, radio shows, school, and the powers of both wealth and poverty. Danticat’s signature… Read more

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Lauren Groff Monsters of Templeton

BOOK REVIEW | Monsters of Templeton

Willie Upton returns to her central New York hometown in disgrace as the town itself faces a period of change. It’s unclear whether either will pull out of their downward spiral. Groff combines the historical, mythical, and sentimental with a classic plot of family angst and discovery. Willie’s quest to find her biological father through… Read more

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Lafcadio Hearn Kwaidan

BOOK REVIEW | Kwaidan: Stories & Studies of Strange Things

An early western interpreter of Japanese culture and customs, Hearn (who lived in the late 1800s) wrote this collection of ghost and strange tales based on old Japanese tales told to him by his wife. Spirits, monsters, and strange creatures are part of Japanese folklore and have made their way to block prints, stories like… Read more

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BOOK REVIEW | Poacher’s Son

Paul is the editor of Down East Magazine and this is his first of four books about a fictitious Maine Game Warden named Mike Bowditch. Trespasser is next, Bad Little Falls, and Massacre Pond is his latest. Each follows Mike’s life and career in the Maine woods! Quick and easy read, not gender biased! Read more

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Anne Lamott Help, Thanks, Wow

BOOK REVIEW | Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers

Now who can resist a title like that? I certainly can’t. In this short (102 pages) book by one of my favorite spiritual yet down-to-earth authors, Anne Lamott, she distills all prayers into three short prayers, of one word (and syllable!) each. “Help” – when that’s all we can say while we are drowning. “Thanks”-… Read more

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Helene Wecker Golem and the Jinni

BOOK REVIEWS | The Golem and the Jinni

It’s a bit of a fairy tale/Jewish folklore/mythical piece that was intriguing, made you think about what does it mean to be human and how difficult it can be. Wecker is a great storyteller. Read more

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Gillian Flynn Gone Girl

BOOK REVIEWS | Gone Girl

Deceit, infidelity, suspicion . . . and that’s only the beginning. When Nick and Amy fall in love, they are the confident, handsome man and the beautiful, privileged young woman embracing in front of their Brooklyn Heights brownstone and sharing a laugh at the expense of less blissful couples. Eventually, their picture-perfect union falters: Amy grows… Read more

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Wiley Cash Land More Kind Than Home

BOOK REVIEWS | A Land More Kind Than Home

For a curious boy like Jess Hall, growing up in Marshall means trouble when you get caught spying on grown-ups. Adventurous and precocious, Jess is protective of his older brother, Christopher, a mute whom everyone calls Stump. Though their mother has warned them not to snoop, Stump can’t help sneaking a look at something he’s… Read more

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Kevin Powers Yellow Birds

BOOK REVIEW | The Yellow Birds

Amazon Reviewer Jon Foro wrote this about The Yellow Birds when it was selected as best debut novel (September 2012). “With The Yellow Birds, Kevin Powers introduces himself as a writer of prodigious talent and ambition. The novel opens in 2004, when two soldiers, 21-year-old Bartle and the teenaged Murphy, meet in boot camp on… Read more

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Barbara Goodbody sharing her beloved replica of the fox Antoine de Saint Exupery illustrated for The Little Prince, courtesy of the Saint Exupery family.

The Stories We Share. Episode 1: A Friendship and the Little Prince

By Diane Magras My work brings me in contact with fascinating people. I hear stories from them about their families, work experiences, and books or authors that have made a difference in their lives. Such stories have been valuable to me personally, broadening my own under- standing of the world, delighting me with new knowledge…. Read more

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The Call of Stories book cover

BOOK REVIEW | The Call of Stories by Robert Coles

This spring, I attended the annual Infant Mental Health of Maine conference to hear the keynote speaker, Vivian Gussin Paley, whose dedication to storytelling with kindergarten and preschool children has made her a legend as well as a MacArthur award recipient. Paley’s many books sold rapidly at this conference, but I also found on the… Read more

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Jeffrey Eugenides Middlesex

BOOK REVIEW | Middlesex

Jeffrey Eugenides’s bestseller is a literary family epic, picturing a slice of American history through three generations of a Greek-American family and a most unusual person born once as a girl, then later, as a boy. Read more

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McArthur Staff Photo 2014

Fostering a Culture of Community at the McArthur Public Library

By Diane Magras Like the books on their shelves, public libraries are full of character: suave and charming, warm and exciting, brilliant and quirky. Sometimes the specific type of character is due to a single librarian, but more often the library itself and the staff and patrons together make libraries what they are. To the… Read more

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Adam Johnson Orphan Master's Son

BOOK REVIEW | The Orphan Master’s Son

Taking place in North Korea, this fast-past literary novel shows the work of a government-sanctioned kidnapper and, amidst the grim horror of his daily life, the humanness within him. Read more

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Helen Simonson Major Pettigrew cover

BOOK REVIEW | Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand

This quick-moving romance with its many laugh-out-loud moments is a favorite light book for Anglophiles. The Major is devoted to all that is proper and thoroughly English, but things change when he finds friendship with a local Pakistani shopkeeper, to the consternation of their community. Read more

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Sheryl Sandberg Lean In cover

BOOK REVIEW | Lean In

David Richards writes of Sandberg’s book on women and leadership: “It then informed my remarks to the NEW Leadership group from University of Maine and I recommend it because it also became one of the textual bases for the inaugural Let’s Talk Local discussion held to great success with the female inmates at Somerset County… Read more

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Constance Carlson

Connie Carlson: A Memory from Nancy MacKnight

There are many firsts on Constance H. Carlson’s résumé. But her illustrious achievements and awards do not suggest the woman of wit and wisdom who was marvelous company. Connie was my cherished mentor when I first joined the Department of English at the University of Maine in 1972 and she was Dean of what was… Read more

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Howard Norman I Hate to Leave this Beautiful Place

BOOK REVIEW | I Hate to Leave this Beautiful Place

Howard Norman’s memoir is a revealing, introspective look back at some of the influential people and periods in the life of this wonderful, but low-key novelist. Recommended fiction from Howard Norman would include The Bird Artist, The Northern Lights, and What is Left the Daughter, all very quiet, but engaging tales set in Canada (Norman… Read more

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Misha Glenny the Balkans cover

BOOK REVIEW | The Balkans

The Balkans area of southeast Europe is synonymous with political dysfunction, and has contributed balkanization and balkanized to our vocabulary, for good reason. The book covers the period from 1804-2011 and the influence of the great powers on the many wars and nationalist movements in the region during that time. The chaos in the Balkans… Read more

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Marilynne Robinson Home cover

BOOK REVIEW | Home

I have just finished reading the novel, Home by Marilynne Robinson, winner of the Orange Prize, and a retelling of the story of her previous novel, Gilead, set in a small midwestern town of that name in the late 1950s.  Both of these feature the prodigal son, Jack, in his relationship to two families, and more… Read more

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Faulkner at Rowan Oak, 1962

Mississippi Comes to Maine: 18 Years of Winter Weekend

By Charles Calhoun Only two degrees of separation lie between me and William Faulkner — well, three, if you count the horse. In 1965, as an undergraduate at the University of Virginia, I took a course on literary biography from a young professor named Joseph Blotner. He was a brave man to teach such a… Read more

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Constance Carlson

Constance H. Carlson: A Portrait By Trish Riley

By Trish Riley The Maine Humanities Council is dedicated to sustaining the power of the humanities to enrich, enliven, and leaven our lives. The Constance Carlson Prize was named for a woman who exemplified and promoted that mission. Constance Hedin Carlson grew up on the grounds of Bangor’s mental health hospital where her father was… Read more

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Sound of a Wild Snail Eating cover

BOOK REVIEW | The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating

While Elisabeth Tova Bailey was bedridden with a serious autoimmune illness, a woodland snail living in a pot of flowers at her bedside provided her with both companionship and a connection to the larger world. Her book, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating, is based on the year that the snail shared with her,… Read more

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Kristen Case

The Other Public Humanities

By Kristen Case Among the conclusions frequently drawn about the heavily reported “crisis in the humanities” is that humanities departments are woefully out of touch—with today’s students, with the new economy, with the public at large. The argument is a familiar one. In response to a similar climate of hostility in the late 1980s and… Read more

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Donald Soctomah

Strong Candidates across the State

By Hayden Anderson The Maine Humanities Council created the Constance H. Carlson Public Humanities Prize in 1998, and since then we have awarded the prize five times, most recently in 2010. The Prize is the highest honor the Council bestows, awarded to recognize an individual or organization for exemplary work in the public humanities benefiting… Read more

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One Candle Eve Bunting

BOOK REVIEW | One Candle

Bunting is outstanding in her ability to create thoughtful stories that address hard topics with warmth and hope. It addresses this issue in the New Books, New Readers theme of Carrying the Past:  What do we choose from our past to preserve as a family or cultural memory?  It is told in first person by… Read more

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Paul Doiron

Paul Doiron: The Bone Orchard

This episode is a recording of a talk held on August 27th, 2014 at the Portland Public Library as part of their Brown Bag Lecture Series. We join Paul Doiron as he discusses his newest book, “The Bone Orchard.” Bestselling author Paul Doiron is the Editor Emeritus of Down East Magazine. He is a native… Read more

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Podcast Tim O'Brien

Rebroadcast: Tim O’Brien – Two Heads and the Things They Carried

In honor of the launch of Coming Home: A Reading Group for Combat Veterans, we are rebroadcasting an updated version of a talk by author and veteran Tim O’Brien. This was part of the Literature & Medicine program’s national conference, After Shock: Humanities Perspectives on Trauma, held on November 12 & 13, 2010 in Washington, D.C. Tim O’Brien has… Read more

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Podcast John Ward

Podcast | John Ward | Teach Me Now To Listen: A Retrospective on Seamus Heaney

In this episode we join John Ward at the Jackson Memorial Library in Tenant’s Harbor for “Teach Me Now to Listen: A Retrospective on Seamus Heaney.” This talk was held on  April 9, 2014 as a Taste of the Humanities event. Scholar John Ward, formerly of Centre College and Kenyon College, discusses the Irish poet… Read more

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‘That’s what it used to be like’: Oral history initiative preserves Maine fishing tales

This article by Beth Brogan on the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association appeared in the Bangor Daily News onJuly 13, 2014. It covers a project sponsored by the Maine Humanities Council grants program. . Read the article here.  Read more

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Waterville Out & Allied Youth Theater

By Kate Webber “This is the next crusade, I think,” Waterville student Allie Richards said as she prepared to go onstage. “We really need to have everyone be equal.” On Friday, June 20, the Waterville Opera House hosted the opening night of “Gays of Our Lives.” The play was written, directed, and performed by Waterville… Read more

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The Inspiration behind Think & Drink

By Gina Mitchell When we selected “In a Networked World” as the theme of this year’s Think + Drink series, we were determined to avoid a polarized debate of the benefits and drawbacks of the digital age. Digital networks and technology are inextricably woven into our contemporary lives, rendering questions about whether we might be better… Read more

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Letters About Literature 2014

By Gina Mitchell Each year, the MHC coordinates Maine’s part of the national Letters About Literature contest, in which students write a letter to an author (living or dead) explaining how they found meaning, inspiration, courage, or support through one of the author’s works. Letters from Maine students share powerful stories of using authors like… Read more

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MHC Awards Civil War Grant to Five Communities

By Kate Webber The Maine Humanities Council and Maine Historical Society are entering the final year of their partnership for the Local & Legendary: Maine in the Civil War grant, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The grants allow community partners to explore and share their local history while drawing connections to the… Read more

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Maine National History Day

By Kate Webber Maine National History Day is an annual event designed to promote critical thinking skills through project-based learning through the medium of historical research. On April 12, 2014, nearly 300 students between grades 6 and 12 traveled from across the state to the University of Maine campus in Orono. The winning teams and… Read more

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Podcast Ray Miller

Raymond Miller: An “Unhappy Wanderer” on the Streets of St. Petersburg: Raskolnikov as Superfluous Man

This talk was delivered on March 8th as part of Winter Weekend 2014, Crime and Punishment. In it, Raymond Miller discusses the phenomenon of the superfluous man in Russian literature, and the ways in which Crime and Punishment’s Raskolnikov does and does not fit with his predecessors in that category. Raymond Miller is recently retired… Read more

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News from Local and Legendary: A Discussion of Soldier’s Heart in Presque Isle

Last month, 28 people gathered to discuss Gary Paulsen’s Soldier’s Heart as a part of Local and Legendary, the Maine Humanities Council’s Civil War program presented in partnership with Maine Historical Society. The partners in Presque Isle were holding a series of book discussions open to the community. This night, with Soldier’s Heart as the… Read more

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Alex Steed

Truth in a Networked World

Blog post from Alex Steed, Bangor Daily News blogger, May 4, 2014. USM Philosophy Professor Jason Read and I will be panelists at Think + Drink: Truth in a Networked World at SPACE Gallery on Wednesday, May 7th. The event is organized by Maine Humanities Council. We had a long, meandering conversation about the topic at Sonny’s where… Read more

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Maine National History Day 2014

National History Day is an annual event designed to promote critical thinking skills through project-based learning—all of this, of course, happening through the medium of historical research. On April 12, 2014, nearly 300 students between grades 6 and 12 traveled to the University of Maine Orono campus from across the state. The winning teams and… Read more

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Podcast Julie Buckler

Julie Buckler: Dostoevsky’s St. Petersburg

Julie Buckler is Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures and Comparative Literature at Harvard University. She specializes in the cultural heritage of Imperial Russia. Buckler is author of The Literacy Lorgnette: Attending Opera in Imperial Russia and Mapping St. Petersburg: Imperial Text and Cityscape. Her new book project is titled Cultural Properties: The Afterlife of… Read more

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Podcast Gregory Freeze

Gregory Freeze: Dostoevsky and Russian Orthodoxy

In this talk, delivered on March 8th as part of Winter Weekend 2014, Gregory Freeze presents Dostoevsky and Russian Orthodoxy. Freeze is a professor of history at Brandeis, where he teaches courses on 19th and 20th-century Russian and German history. He is currently preparing two volumes, one a study of Church and Believers in Imperial… Read more

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Experience from Within: Literature & Medicine

By Kate Webber One evening a month, a group gathers for three hours to share a potluck dinner and a book discussion. These aren’t teachers, and they’re not meeting at their local library. They’re a group of medical professionals at the Togus Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center who have come to actively improve their professional abilities… Read more

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In Memoriam: Eileen Curran (1927-2013)

By Diane Magras Each July, Eileen Curran’s Waterville garden was in full bloom: pink lupine, white scabiosa, and golden gloriosa daisies. Other perennials wove between these plants, creating a 19th-century tapestry of color and texture, like the gardens that had created the concept of English Cottage gardening. It made perfect sense that such a garden would… Read more

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Bricks and Mortar for the Mind: Let’s Talk About It

By Kate Webber If you take Interstate 95 as far north as it goes, you’re just two hours south of St. Agatha. The town is seated on the shores of Long Lake and about as close to the New Brunswick border as it is to the nearest US town. In the middle of winter there aren’t… Read more

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Local and Legendary: Maine in the Civil War

By Janet Lyons The first shots of the Civil War were fired on April 12, 1861. Everyone thought the war would be over in three months. But it didn’t end until April 6, 1865. For four long years, brothers fought brothers; sons, husbands, and brothers went off to fight. Over 750,000 soldiers never returned home…. Read more

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Bringing the World in: The World in Your Library

By Nicole Rancourt In this age of increased interconnectedness, I often hear people express that the world feels smaller and smaller each day. Here in Maine, with our petite communities and their members’ wide ranges of interests and areas of expertise, the links between us sometimes feel so entwined it’s as though we are all… Read more

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The Lonely Fight exhibit, Frannie Peabody Center

The Lonely Fight

By Kate Webber Walking through the lobby of the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies, Katie Rutherford was a contrast to the powerful images she had compiled for “The Lonely Fight: A History of AIDS in Maine.” Her compassion and enthusiasm were apparent as she described the decades of this disease in Maine and the stories of… Read more

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A Mirror for Our Lives: New Books, New Readers

It was a snowy Monday night, but still a group of readers braved the cold and filtered into a room on the third floor of the Bangor Public Library. They were there for New Books, New Readers, a Maine Humanities Council program for adults who are not in the habit of reading. I was welcomed in as a guest and handed copies of the book; this is one place where everyone is encouraged to join in. Read more

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Remembering Deedee Schwartz (1938 – 2014)

I remember Deedee’s voice. Imbued with an undertone of warmth, it could rustle through the static of a phone call from the road, sparkle with energy during a conversation about a program, or flow with a hush amidst a talk fringed with sadness. It could also strike a firm, loud note, like a viola’s first bow stroke in a concerto, ringing out above other voices, the hum of the furnace, the rumble of traffic. It was a voice instantly recognizable that made people attend pay attention and, more often than not, smile. Read more

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Podcast Bill Todd

William Todd: Literature as a Profession in Dostoevsky’s Russia

Welcome to another of the Maine Humanities Council’s Humanities on Demand podcasts. Here, Professor William Todd gives a talk during Winter Weekend 2014 entitled Literature as a Profession in Dostoevsky’s Russia. Todd is Harry Tuchman Levin Professor of Literature at Harvard University, where he has taught Russian and Comparative Literature since 1988. His publications include… Read more

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Podcast Robin Miller

Robin Miller on Crime & Punishment: The Hum and Buzz of Implication

In this talk, delivered on March 7th as part of Winter Weekend 2014, Robin Feur Miller discusses Dostoevsky’s Crime & Punishment. She analyzes different readings of the novel and studies it through the lens of Dostoevsky’s own notebooks and letters. Miller is a professor of the humanities at Brandeis University. She teaches and studies the… Read more

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Podcast The Thinking Heart

Rebroadcast: The Thinking Heart

In this episode we revisit Martin Steingesser’s The Thinking Heart in honor of its inclusion in one of our recent grants. A 2013 grant brought the performance to Bates College, where it was very well received. Here we hear a recording made in 2009 of The Thinking Heart, A Performance in Two Voices with Cello by… Read more

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Teach Me How to Listen: A Retrospective on Seamus Heaney

By Diane Magras When I heard last August that poet Seamus Heaney had died, I couldn’t quite believe it. Yes, I knew he was elderly, but he was a poet who had been so inspiring for much of my life. I remember reading “Digging” as a teen and connecting at once to the pen in… Read more

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The Lonely Fight exhibit, Frannie Peabody Center

The Lonely Fight: A History of AIDS in Maine

  Katie Rutherford of the Frannie Peabody Center discusses the creation of ‘The Lonely Fight: a History of AIDS in Maine,’ from the first stages of research to the final reception. She shares the difficulties of tackling a tough subject and the responses that made it worthwhile. ‘The Lonely Fight’ ran from December 1-6, 2013… Read more

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Podcast Lillian Nayder

A change that did him good: Lillian Nayder on Dickens, Women, Violence, Cure

In his introduction to this lecture given on March 9, 2013, scholar Charles Calhoun states, “In our own lifetime, I think one of the major events in Dickens scholarship has been the appearance of a biography by our next speaker, Lillian Nayder. And that is The Other Dickens: A Life of Catherine Hogarth .” Lillian Nayder… Read more

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Podcast Rosemarie Bodenheimer

Rosemarie Bodenheimer: Class, Shame and Aspiration

This talk was given on March 9, 2013 at Bowdoin College as part of the 2013 Winter Weekend programming. Rosemarie Bodenheimer is an English professor at Boston College and author  of  Knowing Dickens.  In this podcast she states, “Great Expectations is Dickens’s most profound exploration of shame and its perverse effects on the psychology of its hero.” Bodenheimer explores… Read more

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Expectations and Inspiration at Winter Weekend

By Sabrina Nickerson My first experience as a Winter Weekender began with a package. Returning home from work one cold, gray winter afternoon last winter, I found a manila envelope bearing the logo of the Maine Humanities Council…and my name. I was overjoyed, as the contents of the parcel revealed my own shiny new volume… Read more

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Persepolis book cover

Muslim Journeys: A Let’s Talk About It series for libraries

For those of you who have heard about Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys and wanted to know more about this project, we thought we’d share what it’s all about. The Maine Humanities Council is a proud recipient of the Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys, and it’s a project we’re excited about taking to communities across the state. Read more

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Podcast Diane Sadoff

Great Expectations: Dianne Sadoff on the Dickens Legacy and its Cinematic Afterlife

Dianne Sadoff, Professor of English at Rutgers University and author of Victorian Vogue: British Novels on Screen, delivered this talk as part of the 2013 Winter Weekend programming. The talk was held on March 9, 2013 at Bowdoin College. In this podcast she sets Great Expectations in the context of Dickens’s rise to fame and… Read more

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In Memoriam: Judith Daniels

By Diane Magras On September 1, 2013, the Maine Humanities Council lost a board member and good friend, Judith Daniels of Union, Maine. An English major devoted to the works of Jane Austen, Judith was a wise voice at meetings, and a firm supporter of the Council’s work. She also knew how to push a… Read more

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Maine: Seen From Home and Afar

By Nicole Rancourt One of the wonderful things about Mainers is that we are not afraid to celebrate the countless treasures found within our borders. There are festivals throughout the state that highlight everything from apples to clams, from renaissance music to the blues.  We visit fairs that showcase each facet of agriculture peppered across… Read more

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On the Humanities and the Digital Age: a Personal Essay

By Gina Mitchell The Digital Age, with its new networks, technologies, and modes of communication, is alternatively posited as the future and the demise of the humanities. On one hand, its capabilities promise to aggrandize the humanities and its endeavors; online classrooms, E-publishing, virtual archives, and other developments can expand the reach and deepen the… Read more

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MHC’s Domestic Violence Initiative

By Lizz Sinclair What does A Streetcar Named Desire, a play written 47 years ago about a family in New Orleans, have to say to Mainers today? Quite a lot, it turns out. There has been a lot of debate about the value of the humanities in the press recently, with many questioning their relevance…. Read more

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Craving—and Finding—Community

By Nicole Rancourt Right after my high school graduation, I spent a year abroad as a member of Up With People. One of the high points of that year was staying with host families in each community we visited. In those homes, we learned about each town, city, and country in far deeper and more… Read more

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James Joyce’s Ulysses: Nothing to be Frightened Of

By Diane Magras Along with Finnegans Wake, James Joyce’s Ulysses has a reputation of being one of the most unreadable texts of 20th century literature. But on June 13, Professor Daniel Gunn (University of Maine at Farmington) took three scenes of this day-in-the-life-of-Leopold-Bloom to show “Why You Should Read Ulysses” in a Maine Humanities Council… Read more

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At the Thomas Nevola, MD Symposium on Spirituality and Health

By Lizz Sinclair Earlier this month, I led a workshop at the Thomas Nevola, MD Symposium on Spirituality and Health an annual conference focused on integrating medical and spiritual perspectives and resources in health, healing, and wellness (sponsored by the Thomas Nevola, MD Memorial Fund; Maine-Dartmouth Family Medicine Residency; and MaineGeneral Medical Center). This year’s… Read more

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Comings and Goings: Our Creative Economy

By Gina Mitchell If you have a passion for the humanities, you’ve probably discovered that there are tensions between the fields you love and the trends of the current economy. If you decide to pursue a career in the humanities in spite of this, you may be fortunate enough to work among people who feel… Read more

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Borders and Borderlands

By Diane Magras   One of the best-known Acadians nationwide is Evangeline, a character made famous by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s epic poem about the Acadian Expulsion. The National Endowment for the Humanities does important work through their grants, and here’s one example: the Maine Humanities Council’s Borders and Borderlands project, a highly competitive NEH grant… Read more

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Borders and Borderlands

One of the best-known Acadians nationwide is Evangeline, a character made famous by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s epic poem about the Acadian Expulsion. Read more

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Podcast Dickens

The Transatlantic Friendship: Charles Calhoun on Longfellow and Dickens

As part of Brunswick Downtown Association’s 2013 Longfellow Days series, Charles Calhoun, author of biography Longfellow: A Rediscovered Life, examined the friendship between Longfellow and Charles Dickens. In this podcast he discusses the writers’ correspondence, Dickens’ visit to The United States, and Longfellow’s to London. Mr. Calhoun spoke to an audience at Bowdoin College’s Moulton Union, on February… Read more

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A Valley in the Landscape

By Michael Brady I have been teaching in colleges and universities since 1977, first in Connecticut and for the past 28 years in Maine. While I have taught a number of undergraduate courses in sociology, gerontology, and a travel-based summer course on baseball and American Society, most of my work has been at the graduate… Read more

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A Love Letter to the Maine Humanities Council

By Sheila Jans Inspiring. Amazing. Incredible…. An endless ribbon of words would do nicely to describe my past eight years on the board of the Maine Humanities Council. But, if I really had to choose only one word to express what it was like to serve on one of the most outstanding boards in Maine… Read more

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On Literature & Medicine

By Abby Cutler For me, it’s always been about stories. But it hasn’t always been about patients. I didn’t grow up wanting to be a doctor. In high school and in college, I pursued my passions for writing, literature, and East Asian Studies. After graduation, I chose to chase a career in journalism and began… Read more

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Letters About Literature 2012

Letters About Literature is a national project sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress in partnership with the Maine Humanities Council. Support for this program is provided by the David Royte Fund and the Library of Congress. In Letters About Literature, students write to an author—living or dead—about how that… Read more

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In Memoriam: Carolyn Sloan

Books and ideas — those are at the heart of the Maine Humanities Council, where Carolyn Sloan worked since 2002. The creator of the Deep in a Book and Children and Nature trainings for parents and early childhood educators respectively, the brains behind the New Books, New Readers text selections, and a beloved facilitator for… Read more

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Visual Literacy for All Ages

By Libby Bischof “The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled. Each evening we see the sun set. We know that the earth is turning away from it. Yet the knowledge, the explanation, never quite fits the sight.” ― John Berger, Ways of Seeing   John Berger’s seminal text, Ways… Read more

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Let’s Talk Rural

Abandoned schools, unused buildings, sometimes just a basement: these are often the birthplaces of rural libraries. What a community might see as a useless structure can be a golden start for a book-centered community organization as long as a person with a vision is involved. Faye O’Leary Hafford did this in Allagash, creating a library… Read more

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Katahdin to Comic Books: Lynn Plourde Helps to Adapt a Classic Maine Tale

By Charles Thaxton For years, most fourth-graders in Maine could tell you the story of Donn Fendler, the twelve-year old who was stranded on Katahdin for more than a week with only his scouting skills and wits to keep him safe. For many, Fendler seemed like a real life version of Brian from Gary Paulsen’s… Read more

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Podcast Ann Kibbie

Ann Kibbie, On the Brink of the Grave: Early Stories of Blood Transfusion

Ann Kibbie, MHC board member and Associate Professor of English at Bowdoin College shares research from her latest project. Professor Kibbie focuses on the the medical and cultural history of transfusion before the twentieth century, from the ill-fated experiments of the late seventeenth century to the re-introduction of the practice in nineteenth-century England. The early… Read more

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Podcast Voices of Light

Voices of Light as performed by The Choral Art Society

Last month, Maine Humanities Council sponsored a performance of Richard Einhorn’s “Voices of Light” as a live soundtrack to Carl Theodore Dreyer’s silent film classic “The Passion of Joan of Arc.” This podcast features a clip from the performance, which took place on Sept. 29 at Hannaford Hall in Portland, and some comments on the… Read more

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Seeing Only Possibility: A Letter from the New Executive Director

By Hayden Anderson Until digging into my new work as Executive Director at the Maine Humanities Council, I’d never had the opportunity to meet anyone for whom a library is named. But at the end of my first week on the job, MHC Assistant Director Anne Schlitt and I traveled to the St. John Valley… Read more

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On the Care and Feeding of Teachers: Reflections on a Decade of TAH

By Charles Calhoun First, the food. It doesn’t have to be anything special. But it has to be nicely presented. It has to say you care. Second, the books. Great stacks of them. They smell so “new book” when you pull them from their cartons. They say: you’re back in college! Get to it! And… Read more

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A Scholar Abroad

By Liam Riordan Most college and university faculty probably share a goal of trying to figure out a way to spend a term living, teaching, and researching abroad. Thanks to support from a Fulbright Fellowship, the University of Maine, and a semester’s leave for my wife (who teaches English at Bangor High School), my family… Read more

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What It Means to Be a Mainer: Conversations Within Communities

Are Americans uncivil and unable to work together across areas of difference? Do all the complicated, nuanced issues of our society get reduced to sound bites or rhetoric? Not always, we think, and it’s not always necessary. The MHC is presenting What It Means to Be a Mainer: Conversations Within Communities, a new program that will… Read more

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On Site at the Dig: History Camp 2012

By Dennis D. Edmondson Archaeology projects are usually underfunded and working against a serious deadline, so the creative minds behind History Camp wondered if this might not be a great opportunity for our historically minded campers. Not every site will welcome school-aged students, but fortunately for us, Maine’s archaeology community showed enthusiasm for a collaboration…. Read more

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Podcast Tony Horowitz

Maine Festival of the Book Opening Night: Tony Horwitz on John Brown

Wonder what writers really think about? Get ready for a literary extravaganza! The Maine Festival of the Book, brought to you by Maine Reads, brings together writers and readers to enjoy readings, panel discussions, book signings and performances. With the exception of Opening Night and Youth Outreach, festival events are first-come, first-served with free, un-ticketed… Read more

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Podcast Joel Rosenthal

War, Peace, and Conflict Resolution: What Homer Has to Teach Us

This year’s Winter Weekend selection, Homer’s The Iliad, translated by Robert Fagles, takes place over 51 days, somewhere in the 9th or 10th year of the Trojan War. Amid a huge cast of memorable characters—and a crew of scheming Olympians sublimely indifferent to human suffering — three warriors stand out: the godlike and self-absorbed Achilles,… Read more

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Podcast Peter Aicher

Was There a Troy and Why Does It Matter?

This year’s Winter Weekend selection, Homer’s The Iliad, translated by Robert Fagles, takes place over 51 days, somewhere in the 9th or 10th year of the Trojan War. Amid a huge cast of memorable characters—and a crew of scheming Olympians sublimely indifferent to human suffering — three warriors stand out: the godlike and self-absorbed Achilles,… Read more

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A Note from the Executive Director

By Erik C. Jorgensen   Dear Friends, As many of you probably know by now, I have decided to leave my position at the Maine Humanities Council after 13 years here (including more than five years as its executive director), with my last day on June 30th. The primary reason for this was to respond… Read more

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A Tale of Three Biographies: Teaching American History

An important component of the MHC’s Teaching American History program—an in-depth series of seminars, institutes, and research sessions for Maine teachers to learn more about history through the stories of individuals—is the writing of an original biography. Each year since this program’s start in 2002, MHC staff and project scholars have been wowed by what… Read more

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Write It Out!

By David Richards For years, Julia Walkling tried to coax me into taking on the Somerset County Jail as part of my Maine Humanities Council book discussion circuit. Citing the decrepit Dickensian condition of the local house of correction, I fended off for as long as possible the persistent and persuasive director of the New… Read more

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Peaceable Stories II: The Journey Continues

By Anne Schlitt   “The online component was a very positive aspect of this training for me because it can be difficult for me to speak up in person.” – Peaceable Stories training participant Time was, education meant a teacher at the front of the class, students arrayed dutifully in their seats, taking notes (or passing… Read more

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May Sarton

2012 Grant Spotlight: May Sarton Centennial Celebration

Commemorating the 100th birthday of the acclaimed poet, novelist, and memoirist who lived and worked in Maine for the last 22 years of her life, the May Sarton Centennial Symposium took place from May 3–6, 2012, in York. It focused attention on May Sarton as a major literary voice, building awareness of Maine as a… Read more

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Podcast Caroline Alexander

Reading the Iliad in 2012

The 2012 Winter Weekend selection, Homer’s The Iliad, translated by Robert Fagles, takes place over 51 days, somewhere in the 9th or 10th year of the Trojan War. Amid a huge cast of memorable characters—and a crew of scheming Olympians sublimely indifferent to human suffering—three warriors stand out: the godlike and self-absorbed Achilles, the Tony… Read more

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A Gift of Innovation and Imagination: Reflecting on the Legacy of Victoria Bonebakker

By Thomas Lizotte “…she is a virtual tornado of imagination, productivity, and entrepreneurship, whose rallying cry from down the hall has always been, ‘Well, why wouldn’t that work?’” – Erik Jorgensen, former MHC Executive Director   Initial impressions of any organization are usually formed based on the first contact made with staff. Is it any wonder, then,… Read more

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Jim Melcher

What is the role of Margaret Chase Smith in Today’s American Politics?

In an encore performance, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine Farmington, Jim Melcher spoke to a class on the legacy of Senator Margaret Chase Smith. This talk was originially performed at the September 30, 2011 event The Politics of Conscience: Margaret Chase Smith and Today’s Political Climate at G.W. Hinckley, Hinckley,… Read more

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What do borders mean?

By Kathryn Olmstead What do borders mean? It is a provocative question that captured the imaginations of participants in two discussions sponsored by the Maine Humanities Council Sept. 16 and 17. Held in the border towns of Houlton and Frenchville, the discussions brought together residents of varied ages and walks of life from both Maine… Read more

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Opinion: On the 2011 Nobel Laureate in Literature

By Diane Magras Each year, I eagerly await the Nobel Laureate in Literature. Being an aficionado of things Swedish, including the language, I always listen to the first announcement made by Peter Englund, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, and watch the reaction of the largely-Swedish crowd of reporters. Like most other literary types, I… Read more

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Podcast Maine Festival of the Book

Maine Festival of the Book Opening Night: Stewart O’Nan and Julia Glass

Wonder what writers really think about? Get ready for a literary extravaganza! The Maine Festival of the Book, brought to you by Maine Reads brings together writers and readers to enjoy readings, panel discussions, book signings, and performances. With the exception of Opening Night and Youth Outreach, festival events are first-come, first-served, un-ticketed seating, and… Read more

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Reflecting on the 10th Anniversary of 9/11

By Diane Magras The tragic events of September 11, 2001 have evoked complicated responses from Americans and also the rest of the world. Now, ten years later, we are reflecting on how we at the Maine Humanities Council have responded. In summary, I think it is fair to say that we have tried to learn… Read more

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Opinion: Ideas, a Common Currency

By Diane Magras On August 14, the New York Times published an opinion piece by Neal Gabler about how big ideas area disappearing from our society due to, among other things, the rise of social media.  Gabler makes many interesting points, but early on writes, “If our ideas seem smaller nowadays, it’s not because we… Read more

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Coming to Language

By Bruce Span Coming to language was not easy for me. As a boy, the written word eluded me most of elementary school. I took third grade twice since my teacher discovered that I read from right to left, not left to right; breaking words into syllables seemed by then, and is still now, an impossible… Read more

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Podcast Adam Hochschild

To End all Wars with Adam Hochschild

As the opening event of the newly minted Mechaya Center, Director Jonathan Lee, invited Adam Hochschild to Maine to discuss new new book To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914 – 1918, where he focuses on the long-ignored moral drama of World War I critics, alongside its generals and heroes. This… Read more

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Podcast Christopher Corbett

From Far East to Old West: True Tales of the American Frontier

Wonder what writers really think about? Get ready for a literary extravaganza! The Maine Festival of the Book, brought to you by Maine Reads brings together writers and readers to enjoy readings, panel discussions, book signings, and performances. With the exception of Opening Night and Youth Outreach, festival events are first-come, first-served, un-ticketed seating, and… Read more

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Podcast Adrian Johns

The Crisis of Intellectual Property

The Center for Global Humanities is a public forum dedicated to the study of human destiny in the 21st century. Because new discoveries in science and technology are changing our understanding of human nature and raising burning questions about the future of our civilization, the Center uses the lenses of the humanities to provide insight… Read more

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Podcast Ted Gup

How The Great Depression Changed America

The Center for Global Humanities is a public forum dedicated to the study of human destiny in the 21st century. Because new discoveries in science and technology are changing our understanding of human nature and raising burning questions about the future of our civilization, the Center uses the lenses of the humanities to provide insight… Read more

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Podcast Charles Calhoun Red & Black

How To Lose Your Head When All About Are Keeping Theirs: Julien, Mathilde, and the Agony of Romanticism

The 2011 Winter Weekend selection, Stendhal’s The Red and the Black follows a young intellectual man from a provincial town who tries to make it in 19th century Paris. Stendhal’s psychological portrait of Julien Sorel and his love affairs mesh well with a satiric depiction of religious and society life. Charles Calhoun, independent scholar for… Read more

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Podcast Melissa Coleman

There and Back: The Journey to Write a Memoir

Wonder what writers really think about? Get ready for a literary extravaganza! The Maine Festival of the Book, brought to you by Maine Reads brings together writers and readers to enjoy readings, panel discussions, book signings, and performances. With the exception of Opening Night and Youth Outreach, festival events are first-come, first-served, un-ticketed seating, and… Read more

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Podcast David P. Barash

The Hare and the Tortoise: A General Biocultural Theory of Why People Have So Many Problems

The Center for Global Humanities is a public forum dedicated to the study of human destiny in the 21st century. Because new discoveries in science and technology are changing our understanding of human nature and raising burning questions about the future of our civilization, the Center uses the lenses of the humanities to provide insight… Read more

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Podcast Wrestling a Book

Wrestling a Book Into the World

Wonder what writers really think about? Get ready for a literary extravaganza! The Maine Festival of the Book, brought to you by Maine Reads brings together writers and readers to enjoy readings, panel discussions, book signings, and performances. With the exception of Opening Night and Youth Outreach, festival events are first-come, first-served, un-ticketed seating, and… Read more

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Taking Heart for Poetry

By Patricia O’Donnell What a pleasure it was to sit next to Shanna McNair on a rainy Wednesday last week in the Governor’s mansion in Augusta, and watch her father, Wesley McNair, be inaugurated as Maine’s 4th Poet Laureate. Wes has been my colleague in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Maine Farmington since we… Read more

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Podcast Beth Dewolfe

Desperate for Some Kindness: A History of Asking for Help in Hard Times

The Center for Global Humanities is a public forum dedicated to the study of human destiny in the 21st century. Because new discoveries in science and technology are changing our understanding of human nature and raising burning questions about the future of our civilization, the Center uses the lenses of the humanities to provide insight… Read more

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Great Maine Food

By Martina Duncan   Over 120 new friends, as well as long-time friends, of the Maine Humanities Council gathered on April 28th to celebrate  the re-release by Down East Books of “Good Maine Food,” a cookbook originally published in 1939 by renowned Maine author Kenneth Roberts and his niece and secretary, Marjorie Mosser. When Kenneth… Read more

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Spotlight on: St. John Valley

By Diane Magras The St. John Valley in Aroostook County is an area rich in history and culture. When I visited it two years ago for the second time in my life, I saw rural lawns mowed in straight rows, houses painted perfectly, and window boxes full of flowers. Fields of grass, clover, potatoes, and broccoli… Read more

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Honoring Joe Conforti

By Diane Magras The room was packed at USM’s Glickman Library on April 2, 2010, which was hardly a surprise: the MHC was honoring USM’s Distinguished University Professor Joseph Conforti with the Constance H. Carlson Public Humanities Prize. Joe is one of the top regional history scholars in New England, founder of USM’s American and New… Read more

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Writing for the Love of It

By Diane Magras Writers of all stamps and kinds—young adult fiction, historical nonfiction, personal essay, fantasy, poetry, and more—are visiting New Books, New Readers groups this winter in a program partially funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. The Visiting Writer program is showing adults who struggle to read what it means to be a… Read more

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Students and Civic Awareness

By Erik Jorgensen I was saddened to read yesterday what has become a perennial story –the increasing lack of awareness of civic issues among American students. Saddened, yes, but surprised only by the sense of crisis in the report. For after what seems like decades of breathless accounts of high school students who don’t know… Read more

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Podcast Mary Rice-DeFosse

Pens and Pistol Shots: Crimes of Passion in Stendhal’s France

The 2011 Winter Weekend selection, Stendhal’s The Red and the Black follows a young intellectual man from a provincial town who tries to make it in 19th century Paris. Stendhal’s psychological portrait of Julien Sorel and his love affairs mesh well with a satiric depiction of religious and society life. Mary Rice-DeFosse, Professor of French… Read more

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Podcast Theresa McBride

Intimate Matters: Sex and Social Class in Post-Revolutionary France

The 2011 Winter Weekend selection, Stendhal’s The Red and the Black follows a young intellectual man from a provincial town who tries to make it in 19th century Paris. Stendhal’s psychological portrait of Julien Sorel and his love affairs mesh well with a satiric depiction of religious and society life. Theresa McBride, Chair of the History… Read more

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Perspectives on East Asia Shine in Dover-Foxcroft

By Tom Lizotte, former chairman of the MHC board and a trustee at Foxcroft Academy   Five years ago, it would have been unthinkable for the Maine Humanities Council to produce a day-long forum on East Asia in Dover-Foxcroft. There would simply not have been an audience in my small town. That was before Foxcroft Academy, the… Read more

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Grants with Legs: The Children’s Puppet Workshop

By Diane Magras In the fall of 2010, the MHC awarded a $1,000 to Mayo Street Arts in Portland for “The Children’s Puppet Workshop,” teaching puppetry, reading, and creative writing to low-income youth from the Kennedy Park neighborhood, culminating in a performance and art exhibit. The first performances were in March, and now the puppets and… Read more

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The After Glow of After Shock

Victoria Bonebakker The crisis of health care! The disgraceful inadequacy of care for our veterans! Cut from these shrieking headlines and talk show sound bites to the scene of 170 health professionals, health professions students, scholars, and humanities council staff from 24 states, Canada and Argentina, mingling in an ornate Washington hotel lobby. Or imagine… Read more

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Teachers Learn as Scholars

By Diane Magras In 2009, at Livermore Falls High School, Susan St. Pierre was asked by her superintendent to participate in the Maine Humanities Council’s Teaching American History Through Biography program. And with a fellow social studies teacher and the librarian from her school, she entered an entirely new experience. “The TAH program has not… Read more

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Peace, Power & Choices—for young children and their teachers

By Denise Pendleton Walking into Jewett School in Bucksport where I facilitated a Born to Read Peaceable Stories training in October 2010, I felt both excitement and nervous anticipation. Here I was, co-creator of Peaceable Stories, having the first chance in three years of leading the session myself. But as always happens when I facilitate,… Read more

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Going Deep, Deep, Deep

By Carolyn Sloan Can you remember a favorite book that was read to you? What would be missing from your life if you had never been read to? Many parents in Maine have no memories of a childhood filled with picture books, fairy tales, or stories read aloud. Even with the best intentions for helping… Read more

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Pairing Power with Ideas

By Diane Magras It was icy, cloudy, and cold—a typical winter day. I stepped out of my car, stiff after the drive, with New Books, New Readers program director Julia Walkling. I was joining her on her annual site visit to Farmington, where New Books, New Readers has met regularly since 1993. As we walked… Read more

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Luke Merrithew as Henry Chandler in the docket during his trial for draft evasion.
PHOTO: TOM FOSTER

Experiencing History at the Game Loft

By Karin France The Maine Humanities Council awards grants ranging from $500 to $7,500 to nonprofit organizations throughout the state. Committed to the idea that even small grants can make a difference, the MHC offers a simple application process with rapid turnaround times and, excepting larger grants, rolling deadlines. In reviewing projects, the MHC prioritizes… Read more

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Building Community In a Small Town

St. Agatha is nestled beside a large lake, surrounded by undulating hills and farms. It is an intimate setting rich in history and culture. St. Agatha was once the seat of a convent, and locals credit the religious heritage still present in the community (through the active Daughters of Wisdom) for a work ethic unique to the Saint John Valley, in northern Maine, on the border of New Brunswick and Québec. This work ethic and awareness of community helped its residents pull together to raise significant funds for the local historical society, museum, and library. Read more

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Celebrating the Story of Claudette Colvin

By Diane Magras In February, the MHC funded a project at Portland’s King Middle School that narrated how an African American teenager took a big step for the Civil Rights movement in 1955. Fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin was riding the bus home from school, her mind full of the day’s lesson on Harriet Tubman and Sojurner Truth,… Read more

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Chosen Faith, Chosen Land, a book about the Shakers

Grants with Legs: Chosen Faith, Chosen Land

By Diane Magras It was a Sunday service at Chosen Land, the Shaker community near Sabbathday Lake in New Gloucester, that sparked broadcast journalist Jeannine Lauber’s interest in the history of the Shakers and their modern role in Maine. In the preface of her new book, Chosen Faith, Chosen Land: The Untold Story of America’s 21st Century… Read more

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Celebrating the Story of Claudette Colvin

In February, the MHC funded a project at Portland’s King Middle School that narrated how an African American teenager took a big step for the Civil Rights movement in 1955. Fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin was riding the bus home from school, her mind full of the day’s lesson on Harriet Tubman and Sojurner Truth, when she was asked to give up her seat to a white passenger. Colvin refused. When arrested, she courageously protested that her constitutional rights were being violated. This was nine months before Rosa Parks’ similar action made headlines. In his recent book Claudette Colvin: Twice Towards Justice, Phillip Hoose explores why Colvin’s story was not more publicized at the time and what her action truly meant. Hoose is currently a National Book Award finalist for this book. Read more

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Kate Braestrup

The Bad News and the Good News with Kate Braestrup

Kate Braestrup is a Unitarian-Universalist chaplain to the Maine Warden Service, joining the wardens as they search the wild lands and fresh waters of Maine for those who have lost their way, and offering comfort to those who wait for the ones they love to be rescued, or for their bodies to be recovered. Her… Read more

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Podcast Jonathan Shay

Learning About Combat Trauma From Homer’s Iliad with Dr. Jonathan Shay

Jonathan Shay, MD, PhD is a clinical psychiatrist whose treatment of combat trauma suffered by Vietnam veterans combined with his critical and imaginative interpretations of the ancient accounts of battle described in Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey are deepening our understanding of the effects of warfare on the individual. His book, Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma… Read more

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The Story of Us

By Annaliese Jakimides Give me your tired, your poor,/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,/The wretched refuse of your teeming shore./Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,/I lift my lamp beside the golden door! —inscribed on a plaque on the Statue of Liberty, from “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus   Fact: The majority of… Read more

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Let Me Tell You How Your Writing Has Moved Me

By Annaliese Jakimides For eighteen years, students from all over the country have been writing letters to writers, dead and alive. They have no expectation of an answer, although Cindy Duguay, a teacher in Maine’s RSU 52 (Green, Turner, and Leeds), says that often a student will ask whether a writer—living, of course—will read the… Read more

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Changing Worlds Through Words

By Diane Magras Good books hit hard. And especially when we’re young, books can hit really hard. Kids can draw out, tease out, or wrench out meaning from just about any book. I’ve seen this often as a Letters About Literature judge for Maine. I’ve been on a panel of judges for our state’s portion… Read more

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Honoring Action through Words, the David Royte Fund

By Annaliese Jakimides When Merle Nelson and her brother Paul Royte decided that the time had come to add another component to the legacy of their father, David Royte, there was absolutely no question what that would be. Not only did the siblings know that creating a trust supporting a Maine Humanities Council program was… Read more

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Discovering Ernie’s Ark

Carol Kontos In the dining room, six small oak tables are pushed together to form a big rectangle. Pitchers of ice water and drinking cups are set out to help deal with the heat. Twelve women sit around the table. Their conversation is animated. They talk about the people and the town as if they… Read more

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Podcast Gregory Gallant

Margaret Chase Smith and Cold War America

History Camp is a one week seminar for high school students who enjoy history. Each history camp theme is related to a Maine person, historical site, or event in United States history and may be offered in collaboration with a history-related organization. One of this year’s camps, titled “The Cold War, McCarthyism, and Margaret Chase… Read more

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Podcast Graphic novelist Nicole Chaison

There Are No New Stories: Nicole Chaison, Debra Spark and Elizabeth Searle

Wonder what writers really think about? Get ready for a literary extravaganza! The Maine Festival of the Book, brought to you by Maine Reads brings together writers and readers to enjoy readings, panel discussions, book signings, and performances. With the exception of Opening Night and Youth Outreach, festival events are first-come, first-served, un-ticketed seating, and… Read more

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Podcast Reawakening of Ayn Rand

The Reawakening of Ayn Rand, Anne C. Heller

Wonder what writers really think about? Get ready for a literary extravaganza! The Maine Festival of the Book, brought to you by Maine Reads brings together writers and readers to enjoy readings, panel discussions, book signings, and performances. With the exception of Opening Night and Youth Outreach, festival events are first-come, first-served, un-ticketed seating, and… Read more

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Podcast Rhea Côté Robbins

Franco-American Women’s Words in Maine, Rhea Cote Robbins

Wonder what writers really think about? Get ready for a literary extravaganza! The Maine Festival of the Book, brought to you by Maine Reads brings together writers and readers to enjoy readings, panel discussions, book signings, and performances.  With the exception of Opening Night and Youth Outreach, festival events are first-come, first-served, un-ticketed seating, and… Read more

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Podcast Diane Sadoff

The Reading Nation at Mid-Century: George Eliot’s Critics, Contemporaries, and Publishers

The Council’s annual Winter Weekend, a humanities seminar on a classic text, provides an opportunity for readers to confront, in a group setting, an important work of literature. Held at Bowdoin College in early March, the program begins with a Friday evening lecture and dinner (a gastronomic taste of the time and culture reflected in… Read more

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Charles Calhoun

Why Was There No British Revolution? The Political Economy of Middlemarch

The Council’s annual Winter Weekend, a humanities seminar on a classic text, provides an opportunity for readers to confront, in a group setting, an important work of literature. Held at Bowdoin College in early March, the program begins with a Friday evening lecture and dinner (a gastronomic taste of the time and culture reflected in… Read more

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Family Night at the Museum

By Denise Pendleton On a Friday evening in early November, nearly 150 Head Start children and their parents attended a Maine Humanities Council-sponsored Picturing America event at the Portland Museum of Art. When they arrived, they went on a treasure hunt that took them through museum galleries, dabbled in art activities in the museum’s education… Read more

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Podcast Amy A Kass

Sympathy, Love and Marriage: Effective Reform in Middlemarch

The Council’s annual Winter Weekend, a humanities seminar on a classic text, provides an opportunity for readers to confront, in a group setting, an important work of literature. Held at Bowdoin College in early March, the program begins with a Friday evening lecture and dinner (a gastronomic taste of the time and culture reflected in… Read more

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Real Life

Annaliese Jakimides I have been consciously in love with children’s books since I bought The Illustrated Treasury of Children’s Literature in 1957. I had saved every nickel, every dime, every quarter that came my way for two years, and The Treasury was the first book I ever owned. Although I couldn’t articulate a book’s transformative… Read more

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Lens on Cuba

By Annaliese Jakimides Scholars, students, teachers, and even a cashier on her day off gather in Portland to talk about Cuba—then and now—and look to the future. Prior to 1959, and Fidel Castro’s rise to power, Americans couldn’t get enough of Cuba—its pristine beaches, its seductive skylines, its cuisine, the enticing rhythms of salsa, rumba,… Read more

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People, Place, and Purpose: Let’s Talk About It provides just the right mix in Belfast

By Annaliese Jakimides Recently Belfast Free Library and writer, translator, scholar, and textile artist Sagaree Sengupta came together to provide a lively, packed series of discussions around the Maine Humanities Council’s Let’s Talk About It series “Across Cultures and Continents: Literature of the South Asian Experience.” Thirty-seven people showed up the first day—that’s packed—and even… Read more

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Podcast David Carey

Cuba and the United States

David Carey, Jr. is an associate professor of History and Women’s Studies at the University of Southern Maine. He holds a Ph.D. in Latin American Studies from Tulane University; his publications include Ojer taq tzijob’äl kichin ri Kaqchikela’ Winaqi’ (A History of the Kaqchikel People) (Q’anilsa Ediciones, 2004) and Engendering Mayan History: Mayan Women as… Read more

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Podcast Allen Wells

Colonial Legacies: Cuba and Latin America

Allen Wells, the Roger Howell, Jr. Professor of History at Bowdoin College, scholarship has focused on modern Mexican history, especially Yucatán. His most recent book is Tropical Zion: General Trujillo, FDR and the Jews of Sosúa. Professor Wells is the first in our series of podcasts from our December, 2009 event: Cuban Exceptionalism: Reflections on… Read more

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Reza Jalali

First Mainers and New Mainers: Dignity in Diversity

Listen to the inaugural event that launched the new minor of Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Studies at the University of Maine, Augusta. This program was hosted by the Director, Abraham Peck at the Michael Klahr Center in Augusta. The panel discussion: First Mainers and New Mainers was part of a project entitled The Dignity… Read more

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Podcast Tess Chakkalakal

The Politics of Zora Neale Hurston

Tess Chakkalakal, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and English at Bowdoin College, is the last in our series of podcasts from our October, 2009 event: Looking for Zora: The Many Lives of Zora Neale Hurston. This one day event explored the life and lasting work of Hurston, an anthropologist with a literary sensibility. Chakkalakal led… Read more

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Podcast Kate Miles

Seeing Green

Kate Miles, Associate Professor of Environmental Writing at Unity College, is the third in our series of podcasts from our October, 2009 event: Looking for Zora: The Many Lives of Zora Neale Hurston. This one day event explored the life and lasting work of Hurston, an anthropologist with a literary sensibility. Miles’ lecture, entitled, Seeing… Read more

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Podcast Cheryl Townsend Gilkes

Worlds in their Mouths

Cheryl Townsend Gilkes, the John D. and Catharine T. MacArthur Professor of Sociology and African-American Studies at Colby College, is the second in our series of podcasts from our October, 2009 event: Looking for Zora: The Many Lives of Zora Neale Hurston. This one day event explored the life and lasting work of Hurston, an… Read more

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Podcast Cedric Gael Bryant

Looking for and Finding Zora Neale Hurston

Cedric Gael Bryant, Lee Family Professor of English at Colby College, is the first in our series of podcasts from our October, 2009 event: Looking for Zora: The Many Lives of Zora Neale Hurston. This one day event explored the life and lasting work of Hurston, an anthropologist with a literary sensibility. Bryant’s lecture, entitled,… Read more

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Podcast Elizabeth Garber

Poets Writing Memoir: A Conversation with Elizabeth Garber and Dawn Potter

Denise Pendleton, Maine Humanities Council’s Program Director of Born To Read and poet, sat down at the Belfast Free Library with two of Maine’s best-known poets, Elizabeth Garber and Dawn Potter. In addition to reading from their memoirs, the poets spoke about why they turned to prose and how their poetry background has influenced their… Read more

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As Maine Grows

By David Greenham Maine is at an exciting moment in history, don’t you think? Our state is changing so rapidly and in so many ways, it’s nearly impossible to keep up with all the progress. There is population growth in southern Maine and on the coast. Clusters of businesses are springing up in our downtowns… Read more

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Looking for Zora: The Many Lives of Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Neal Hurston’s novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, published in 1937, has been required reading in high school English classes for at least 25 years, thanks in part to the efforts of Alice Walker to revive interest in Hurston’s work. But Hurston—a protean, shape-shifting figure; by turns anthropologist, novelist, dramatist, folklorist, and cultural critic—remains… Read more

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Power and Architecture in Rome: Augustus to Mussolini

Maine Humanities Council offered a scholar-led tour of Italy from March 20-28, 2009. Peter Aicher, Professor of Classics at the University of Southern Maine, led a trip that studied how past leaders used Rome’s urban design to project their political ambitions and cultural values of the period. Professor Aicher designed this ten-day tour to be… Read more

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“Is it a Rose Day?”

By Brita Zitin In 1996, the Retired Senior Volunteer Program placed an ad in the Kennebec Journal calling for people age 55 and over to read aloud in child care centers. The ad caught Rose Golden’s eye. Rose had retired from the newspaper business and moved from New Jersey to Maine the year before. She… Read more

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Podcast Richard Russo

That Old Cape Magic, Richard Russo

For the kick-off of the new season of the Portland Public Library’s brown-bag lunch series, Pulitzer Prize winning author, Richard Russo, came back to Portland to read from his new novel That Old Cape Magic. Despite being a Yankees fan, Russo lives in Coastal Maine. Here, Russo reads a colorful chapter of his newly released… Read more

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Annie Finch

Faculty Flash Reading

In the “flash reading” by Stonecoast MFA program faculty members, each writer gets three minutes in which to share his or her work before introducing the next writer in the queue. The flash reading from Stonecoast’s summer residency in July 2009 began with an introduction by director Annie Finch. Joan Connor started the reading with… Read more

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Podcast Brad Babson

Today’s Challenges on the Korean Peninsula

Brad Babson is a consultant on East Asia and global development issues. He served 26 years with the World Bank, most recently as Senior Advisor for the East Asia and Pacific Region, with assignments including Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam. He has published widely on topics related to East and Southeast Asia,… Read more

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Podcast Not Norman

Not Norman

Not Norman by Kelly Bennett, illustrated by Noah Z. Jones, is one of five books that Raising Readers included in an anthology of Maine stories for pediatricians to give to 5-year-olds. Noah Z. Jones lives in Maine, and recently read Not Norman aloud for the Born to Read program. You can find this book, or… Read more

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Podcast Love and Kisses

Love and Kisses

Love and Kisses by Sarah Wilson, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, is one of five books that Raising Readers included in an anthology of Maine stories for pediatricians to give to 5-year-olds. Melissa Sweet lives in Maine, and the Born to Read program recently visited her studio, where she read Love and Kisses aloud. You can… Read more

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Podcast Library Lion

Library Lion

Library Lion by Michelle Knudson, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes, is one of five books that Raising Readers included in an anthology of Maine stories for pediatricians to give to 5-year-olds. Kevin Hawkes lives in Maine, and the Born to Read program recently visited his studio, where he talked about Library Lion and read the first… Read more

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Podcast Donna Cassidy

Looking North

Donna Cassidy is Professor of American & New England Studies and Art History at the University of Southern Maine. Her most recent book, Marsden Hartley: Race, Region, and Nation, led to her current research on U.S. artists in Quebec and Atlantic Canada from 1890 to 1940. In this talk, co-sponsored by the Yarmouth and North… Read more

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Podcast in the Garden with Jane Austen

Jane Austen’s Gardens

Kim Wilson is the Wisconsin-based author of two books: Tea with Jane Austen and In the Garden with Jane Austen. Her presentation at the Maine Festival of the Book, “Jane Austen’s Gardens: Love in the Shrubbery,” was beautifully illustrated by a slide show. The images are not captured by this audio recording, but her comments… Read more

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Podcast the Body of This

The Craft of Writing: A Panel Discussion

Moderated by the publisher of Warren Machine Company, Ari Meil, this event was a discussion of why Maine provides such rich inspiration for writers, and what has brought the writers Lewis Robinson, Andrew McNabb, and Lisa Carey to their respective places in the literary world today. Lisa Carey is the author of Every Visible Thing,… Read more

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Podcast Maine Student Book Award

A Librarian’s Introduction to Rules

School librarian Connie Burns of South Portland is a steadfast supporter of the Maine Student Book Award program. Here, she presents the winning book from the 2006-07 school year: Rules (Scholastic, 2006) by Maine’s own Cynthia Lord. Part of the first chapter from the audiobook, performed by Jessica Almasy and published by Recorded Books, is… Read more

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Podcast the Well Dressed Ape

Meeting of the Apes

In this three-part episode, two particularly quick-witted and talkative apes, Hannah Holmes (The Well-Dressed Ape) and Bill Roorbach (Temple Stream), address their collisions with the rest of the natural world. Roorbach’s recent work has taken him into the woods and fields behind his own house, a primitive but not always private domain. Holmes has turned… Read more

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Podcast Ann Hood

Ann Hood

Ann Hood is the author, most recently, of The Knitting Circle and Comfort: A Journey Through Grief. Both new books deal with the loss of her 5-year old daughter, one through fiction and one through memoir. In this talk, she compares the two approaches and recalls episodes—both tragic and very, very funny—from her life. Hood… Read more

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Face to Face with Lincoln

By Charles Calhoun Abraham Lincoln never visited Maine—he got as close as Exeter, New Hampshire, where his son Robert went to school—but Maine played a crucial role in the early years of both the Republican Party and the Lincoln presidency. Hannibal Hamlin, an anti-slavery former Democrat from Paris Hill, became Lincoln’s first vice president in… Read more

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India and Pakistan: The History Behind the Headlines

By Brita Zitin When Charles Calhoun started planning a teacher symposium on India and Pakistan, “The History Behind the Headlines” seemed an appropriate tag line. Although the symposium was almost a year away, it was safe to assume that this volatile region would be in the news when it took place. In fact, violent attacks… Read more

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Podcast Angus King

Angus King: Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address

To close the Lincoln Bicentennial Symposium on March 21, 2009, former Maine Governor Angus King read Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address. He also shared some thoughts about Lincoln, whom he includes in his course on “Leaders and Leadership” at Bowdoin College. Governor King served two four-year terms as Maine’s independent 71st governor. He works as an… Read more

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Podcast Thomas J. Brown

The Afterlife of Abraham Lincoln

Thomas J. Brown is Associate Professor of History at the University of South Carolina, where he also serves as Associate Director of the Institute for Southern Studies. He is a Distinguished Lecturer with the Organization of American Historians. In this lecture, Brown examined the ways in which debates over regionalism, race relations and governmental power… Read more

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Podcast Elizabeth D. Leonard

In the Aftermath of the Lincoln Assassination

Elizabeth D. Leonard is the John J. and Cornelia V. Gibson Professor of History at Colby College, where she has taught since 1992. Leonard is the author of three books on the Civil War era, and she is under contract to write the biography of Joseph Holt, Lincoln’s judge advocate general. In this talk, she… Read more

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Podcast Bruce Chadwick

The Rise of Abraham Lincoln

Before he was the leader of a nation torn apart by a Civil War, Abraham Lincoln was a young man growing up during tumultuous times in Illinois. In the first presentation of the Lincoln Bicentennial Symposium, historian Bruce Chadwick explained Lincoln’s rise to power from his first unsuccessful race for the state legislature to his… Read more

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Podcast Jill Duson

Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

To open the Lincoln Bicentennial Symposium on March 21, 2009, Portland Mayor Jill Duson read Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Mayor Duson is the Director of Rehabilitation Services, Maine Department of Labor. She is serving her third term on the Portland City Council. She has also served one term on the School Committee, where she was elected… Read more

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Podcast James T. Morgan

Sarah Caldwell and Prokofiev’s War and Peace

James T. Morgan was a long-time friend and colleague at The Opera Company of Boston of the late Sarah Caldwell, the most innovative opera director of mid-20th-century America and the first woman to conduct at the Metropolitan Opera. He worked with Caldwell on a production of the War and Peace opera by Sergei Prokofiev (pictured… Read more

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Podcast Charles Calhoun 2

Tolstoy and the Broken Body

Charles Calhoun is an independent historian and biographer who is Scholar in Residence at the Maine Humanities Council. He is working on books about Longfellow and Whitman in Civil War Washington and on the history of horsemanship in North America. Born in Monroe, Louisiana, he studied history at the University of Virginia and law at… Read more

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Podcast Arts and Equity

Thin Blue Lines

Thin Blue Lines is a project of Portland’s Arts & Equity Initiative. The project brings local poets and photographers together with Portland police officers and detectives to create poems and photographs that increase the public’s knowledge and appreciation of police work. The first product of this collaboration was a calendar that was sold as a… Read more

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Podcast Sheila McCarthy i

Shall We Dance? A Close Reading

Sheila McCarthy is Associate Professor of Russian at Colby College. She has a B.A. in Russian from Emmanuel College, an M.A. from Harvard in Russian Area Studies, and a Ph.D. from Cornell University in Russian literature. She teaches 19th-century Russian literature in Russian and in English. Here, she performs a close reading of three dance… Read more

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Podcast Justin Weir

Love and War in War and Peace

Justin Weir is Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Harvard University. He received a B.A. in Russian from the University of Minnesota and his master’s and doctoral degree in Russian literature from Northwestern University. He is co-editor and co-translator of Eight Twentieth-Century Russian Plays (2000) and author of The Author as Hero: Self and… Read more

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Podcast Chris Bohjalian

Chris Bohjalian: Skeletons at the Feast

Chris Bohjalian is the author of eleven novels, including the New York Times bestsellers The Double Bind, Before You Know Kindness, The Law of Similars, and Midwives. Bohjalian won the New England Book Award in 2002. His work has been translated into 25 languages and has sold over three and a half million copies. He… Read more

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Podcast Patricia Smith

Patricia Smith: Blood Dazzler

Patricia Smith is a 2008 National Book Award Finalist for Blood Dazzler, also the basis of a forthcoming dance/theater performance with Urban Bush Women. Her other books of poetry are Teahouse of the Almighty, winner of the National Poetry Series, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and the Paterson Poetry Prize; Close to Death; Big Towns, Big… Read more

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Podcast Marilyn Nelson

Marilyn Nelson

Poet Marilyn Nelson is the author or translator of twelve books and three chapbooks. She has won numerous awards, including two Boston Globe—Horn Book Awards, and is a three-time National Book Award Finalist. From the American Library Association, her books have received Newbery, Coretta Scott King, and Michael L. Printz Honors. Other honors include two… Read more

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Podcast Suzanne Strempek Shea

Suzanne Strempek Shea

Suzanne Strempek Shea is the author of five novels: Selling the Lite of Heaven, Hoopi Shoopi Donna, Lily of the Valley, Around Again, and Becoming Finola. She has also written three memoirs, Songs From a Lead-lined Room, Shelf Life, and Sundays in America. Winner of the 2000 New England Book Award, which recognizes a literary… Read more

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Podcast Richard Hoffman

Stonecoast Faculty Flash Reading, Part 2

This episode is the continuation of the Stonecoast MFA Faculty “flash reading” from the winter residency in January 2009, in which each writer gets three minutes in which to share his or her work before introducing the next writer in the queue. The first reader is Richard Hoffman, who writes in multiple genres and here… Read more

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Podcast Jaed Coffin

Stonecoast Faculty Flash Reading, Part 1

One of the highlights of each 10-day residency in the Stonecoast MFA program is the “flash reading” by faculty members. Each writer gets three minutes in which to share his or her work before introducing the next writer in the queue. The flash reading from the winter residency in January 2009 began with Jaed Coffin… Read more

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Podcast Michael Steinberg

Michael Steinberg: Still Pitching

Michael Steinberg is a memoirist and the founding editor of the award-winning literary journal Fourth Genre: Explorations in Nonfiction. His latest book, Still Pitching, was chosen by ForeWord Magazine as the 2003 Small and Independent Press memoir/autobiography of the year. Other books include Peninsula: Essays and Memoirs from Michigan, The Fourth Genre: Contemporary Writers Of/On… Read more

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Podcast Gray Jacobik

Gray Jacobik: The Double Task

Gray Jacobik is author of three collections of poetry: The Double Task (University of Massachusetts Press), winner of the Juniper Prize, nominated for the James Laughlin Award and The Poet’s Prize; The Surface of Last Scattering (Texas Review Press), winner of the X. J. Kennedy Poetry Prize; and Brave Disguises (University of Pittsburgh Press), winner… Read more

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Podcast Rachel Sturman

India and Pakistan: The History Behind the Headlines

The goal of this day-long program was to provide an introduction to the complex web of politics, culture, and religion that has made South Asia both a volatile area and an emerging power. Rachel Sturman, Assistant Professor of History and Asian Studies at Bowdoin College, was the featured scholar. The recording is offered here in… Read more

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Podcast Colin Sargent

Colin Sargent

Colin Sargent is a playwright and author of three books of poetry. A graduate of the United States Naval Academy, he earned a Stonecoast MFA in creative writing and was awarded the Maine individual artist fellowship in literature. His screenplay “Montebello Ice” is under option at Gideon Films. Sargent is founding editor and publisher of… Read more

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Podcast Ying Chang Compestine

Revolution Is Not a Dinner Party

Another contender for a Maine Student Book Award in 2008-09 is Revolution Is Not a Dinner Party (Random House, 2007) by Ying Chang Compestine (pictured at right). This novel about life in China during the Cultural Revolution is based on the author’s own experiences. The first chapter from the audiobook, performed by Jodi Long and… Read more

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Podcast Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat

Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat

Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat by Lynne Jonell, illustrated by Jonathan Bean (Henry Holt, 2007), is intended for children ages 8-12, but its whimsy and wit broaden its appeal. The novel was chosen as one of School Library Journal’s Best Books of 2007, and now it’s a contender for a Maine Student Book Award… Read more

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Podcast David Richards

Landscapes of Poland Spring

David Richards earned his Ph.D. in History from the University of New Hampshire. His research for the 2006 book Poland Spring: A Tale of the Gilded Age (University Press of New England) forms the basis of this presentation at the Yarmouth Historical Society. Richards is the assistant director of the Margaret Chase Smith Library in… Read more

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Podcast Blaine House

Blaine House Oral History

The Blaine House is the Governor’s residence in Augusta, Maine. At the 175th anniversary celebration of this historic house on August 16, 2008, historian Jo Radner interviewed some of its former residents and staff. Phyllis H. Siebert was the Blaine House chef from 1972 until her retirement in 2001. Cass Longley-Leahy is one of James… Read more

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Podcast Cynthia Voigt

Children’s Authors at the Blue Hill Library

Maine is home to many children’s authors and illustrators. Fans are usually only fortunate enough to see one at a time, but in July 2008, three of the best-known—Cynthia Voigt, Ruth Freeman Swain, and Rebekah Raye—appeared together at the Blue Hill Library. In this recording, they are introduced by Brook Ewing Minner, the library’s Assistant… Read more

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Podcast Maine Student Book Award

A Librarian’s Introduction to Moon Runner

School librarian Connie Burns of South Portland is a steadfast supporter of the Maine Student Book Award program. She presents one of the books on the list of contenders from the 2006-07 school year: Moon Runner (Candlewick, 2005) by Carolyn Marsden (pictured at right). After Connie introduces the main character, Mina, then previews the story… Read more

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Fear, Civil Liberties, and the Rule of Law

The question of civil liberties is a heated one in the U.S. today, so the Council offered the opportunity for thoughtful public discussion of the issue. Part 1 of this two-part program, “Exploring the Context, Defining the Issues,” took place on October 17 and 18, 2008, in Portland and Bangor respectively. Joel Rosenthal, President of… Read more

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New Perspectives: Understanding and Addressing Conflict

By Martina Duncan Maine is a relatively safe place to live. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report for 2000, it ranked 46th among the states in total crime and 49th in violent crime. But break-ins and hold-ups aren’t the only manifestations of violence, and the conflicts that affect our tranquil towns can be all… Read more

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Between Right and Wrong

By Brita Zitin In 2000, the Maine Humanities Council and the Maine Department of Corrections wondered what it would take to get probationers to participate in reading and discussion groups. The Associate Commissioner for Adult Community Corrections, Nancy Bouchard, thought she could convince some probation officers (POs) to send their probationers to the groups if… Read more

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Supporting a Girls’ Point of View

By Brita Zitin There’s no mistaking this scene for a high school English class. The Camden Hills Regional High School students gathered on this summer Sunday wear shorts and tank tops; one shields her face from the sun with a straw hat. In lieu of a chalkboard, a lake sparkles behind them. The sticky remnants… Read more

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Podcast Eve LaPlante

Eve LaPlante: Salem Witch Judge

Samuel Sewall, the only judge to publicly repent his decision to condemn twenty people to death as witches in 1692, is the subject of Eve LaPlante’s new biography, Salem Witch Judge: The Life and Repentance of Samuel Sewall (HarperOne, 2007). LaPlante counts Sewall as her sixth great-grandfather, a family connection that gave her access to… Read more

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Podcast Daniel Pearl

Beyond the Clash of Civilizations

The 2008 Douglas M. Schair Memorial Lecture on Genocide and Human Rights was a dialogue for Muslim-Jewish understanding, presented in cooperation with the Islamic Society of Portland and the Jewish Community Alliance of Southern Maine. The featured speakers were Judea Pearl and Akbar Ahmed. Pearl, a computer scientist from Israel, and Ahmed, a social scientist… Read more

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Podcast Linda Greenlaw

Linda Greenlaw: All Fishermen Are Liars

Linda Greenlaw’s three books about life as a commercial fisherman—The Hungry Ocean (1999), The Lobster Chronicles (2002), and All Fishermen Are Liars (2004)—have climbed as high as #2 on the New York Times bestseller list. Her first novel, Slipknot, began a mystery series whose second installment is Fisherman’s Bend (2008). Before becoming a writer, Greenlaw… Read more

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Podcast the Devil of Great Island

The Devil of Great Island

Emerson ‘Tad’ Baker of York, Maine, is a former chair of the Maine Humanities Council. An author and Professor of History at Salem State College, he directs several archaelogical excavations in New England and also served, from 2002 until its premier in 2004, as a lead consulant for the Emmy-nominated PBS TV series, “Colonial House.”… Read more

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Podcast Patrick Rael

Vietnam in the Context of the American Way of War

Patrick Rael is Associate Professor of History at Bowdoin College. His areas of interest include antebellum America, Civil War and Reconstruction, and comparative slavery. Among other publications, he has edited a volume of scholarship on African-American Activism Before the Civil War (Routledge, 2008). In this talk, Rael places the Vietnam conflict in a continuum of… Read more

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Podcast Margaret Jane Mussey Sweat

Margaret Jane Mussey Sweat

Connie Burns is a school librarian in South Portland with a hidden passion: the lives of Victorian women. In pursuit of her passion, Burns researched Margaret Jane Mussey Sweat (1823-1908) for her Master’s thesis in the American and New England Studies program at the University of Southern Maine. Sweat is best remembered for her bequest… Read more

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Portland Portland Freedom Trail

First Anniversary of the Portland Freedom Trail

“Weaving History and Literature: the African American Oral and Written Tradition” brought five writers together to read from their work and discuss how African American history is revealed through storytelling and literature. The speakers were JerriAnne Boggis, founder and director of the Harriet Wilson Project; Kate Clifford Larson, biographer of Harriet Tubman; novelists Michael C…. Read more

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Podcast Annaliese Jakimides

Annaliese Jakimides and A Coastal Companion

A Coastal Companion: A Year in the Gulf of Maine, from Canada to Cape Cod (Tilbury House, 2008) is part field guide, part almanac; a celebration of the natural world that also highlights people who have chosen the Gulf of Maine as the setting for their life’s work. Poems by contemporary Maine poets open each… Read more

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Lizz Sinclair

Interview with Lizz Sinclair

  Created by the Maine Humanities Council, Literature & Medicine: Humanities at the Heart of Health Care® is a national award-winning reading and discussion program for health care professionals. The Maine Public Broadcasting Network’s Tom Porter interviewed Literature & Medicine Program Officer Lizz Sinclair when the Literature & Medicine anthology, Imagine What It’s Like, was… Read more

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Nalo Hopkinson

Nalo Hopkinson is one of the world’s best known fantasy and science fiction writers. She is the author of four novels (most recently The New Moon’s Arms, Warner, 2007) and numerous short stories, and editor or co-editor of several anthologies, including So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Visions of the Future (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2004). Hopkinson… Read more

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Podcast Deming-Alison-Hawthorne

Alison Hawthorne Deming

Alison Hawthorne Deming is the author of three books of poetry, three nonfiction books, and two limited-edition chapbooks. Her place-based writing has earned her fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown , the Arizona Commission on the Arts, and the Tucson/Pima Arts Council; as well as many… Read more

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Podcast Thanks-to-animals10-cover

A Conversation about “Thanks to the Animals”

When the Born to Read program selected books for its anti-bias initiative, Many Eyes, Many Voices, there was a distressing gap in the field of contenders: a suitable children’s book about Maine Native Americans. The few titles available were either too stereotypical or too distant—tales populated by warriors with headresses, or set amidst Plains buffalo… Read more

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Podcast Sleep Tight, Little Bear

Sleep Tight, Little Bear

Here is another story by Martin Waddell about Little Bear and Big Bear. It is read aloud by Rachel Davis, children’s librarian at the Thomas Memorial Library in Cape Elizabeth. Then Rachel shares two fingerplays. Text copyright 2005 by Martin Waddell. Illustrations copyright 2005 by Anita Jeram. Reproduced by permission of Candlewick Press, Inc., Somerville,… Read more

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Podcast you can do it sam

You Can Do It, Sam

Amy Hest’s third book about the bear named Sam is read aloud by Rachel Davis, children’s librarian at the Thomas Memorial Library in Cape Elizabeth. Rachel then teaches two fingerplays that you can do after you read the book. Text copyright 2003 by Amy Hest. Illustrations copyright 2003 by Anita Jeram. Reproduced by permission of… Read more

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Podcast Baby Brains

Baby Brains

Here’s a funny book by British author Simon James, read aloud by Rachel Davis, children’s librarian at the Thomas Memorial Library in Cape Elizabeth. After she reads the book, Rachel teaches a fingerplay called “The Baby Grows” and a poem called “Bend and Stretch.” Text and illustrations copyright 2004 by Simon James. Reproduced by permission… Read more

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Podcast Kiss Good Night

Kiss Good Night

This is the first book that author Amy Hest wrote about the bear named Sam, a character inspired by her own son, Sam. Here, the book is read aloud by Rachel Davis, children’s librarian at the Thomas Memorial Library in Cape Elizabeth. Rachel then teaches two fingerplays about kisses. Text and illustrations copyright 2004 by… Read more

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Charles Calhoun

Why Are Some Biographies So Good?

Charles Calhoun is Scholar in Residence at the Maine Humanities Council. He is the author of Longfellow: A Rediscovered Life (2004), A Small College in Maine: 200 Years of Bowdoin (1993), and the volume on Maine in the Compass American Guide Series (4th ed., 2005). Born in Monroe, Louisiana, he studied history at the University… Read more

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Podcast Nancy Riley

Family and Gender in Contemporary China

Nancy Riley is a professor of sociology at Bowdoin College whose work focuses on family, gender and population, and China. She has completed years of research in Dalian on the family lives of women factory workers, and taken groups of students (and one group of faculty) to Asia with the support of the Freeman Foundation…. Read more

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Podcast Miriam Colwell

Miriam Colwell

Miriam Colwell was born in Prospect Harbor in 1917 and still lives in the house built by her great-great-grandfather in 1817. She is the author of Wind Off the Water (1945), Day of the Trumpet (1947), and Young (1955). As a small town resident and long-time postmistress, she has watched change upon change wash over… Read more

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Podcast Robert Peter Tristram Coffin

Robert P. Tristram Coffin

The Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Robert P. Tristram Coffin (1892-1955) was a native Mainer, Bowdoin College graduate, and longtime Bowdoin faculty member. Though a popular writer and speaker in his time, his work is not widely known today. In this podcast episode, Kevin Belmonte, who recently completed a Master’s thesis on Coffin for the American and… Read more

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Podcast Helen Nearing

The Good Life of Helen K. Nearing

For her doctoral dissertation in American history, scholar Mimi Killinger researched the life of homesteader and writer Helen Nearing. Her dissertation became the biography The Good Life of Helen K. Nearing (University of Vermont Press, 2007). Here, Killinger uncovers the roots of her project at the Good Life Center in Harborside, Maine, and reads excerpts… Read more

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Podcast Neil Rolde

Neil Rolde

Neil Rolde’s 2006 book, Continental Liar from the State of Maine, is a biography of James G. Blaine, the Maine politician who dominated the American political stage from just before the Civil War and almost until the twentieth century. A former Maine politician himself, Rolde is a prize-winning historian and author of Unsettled Past, Unsettled… Read more

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Podcast Jeff Shaara

Jeff Shaara

The Steel Wave is the second novel in what will be a trilogy of World War II stories by Jeff Shaara, who has also written about the Civil War, the American Revolution, the Mexican War, and the first World War. Shaara is the son of the late Michael Shaara, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Killer… Read more

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Podcast Lewis Robinson

Lewis Robinson

Lewis Robinson is the author of Officer Friendly and Other Stories and the forthcoming novel Water Dogs, due out from Random House in January 2009. A graduate of Middlebury College and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he is the winner of a Whiting Writers’ Award and a PEN/Oakland-Josephine Miles Award. Here, he is introduced by fellow… Read more

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Podcast Shara McCallum

Shara McCallum

Shara McCallum is the author of two poetry collections, The Water Between Us (University of Pittsburgh, 1999, winner of the 1998 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize) and Song of Thieves (University of Pittsburgh, 2003). McCallum was born in Jamaica, where she lived until she was nine with Afro-Jamaican and Venezuelan parents. She directs the Stadler… Read more

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Ashley Bryan gives a presentation on his art, teaching, and children’s book illustration at the South Solon Meeting House, with his fresco mural painting in the background. (2007)
PHOTO: RICHARD GARRETT

Interview with Ashley Bryan

  Born and raised in New York City, Ashley Bryan is another author “from away” who has found a home in Maine. Folklorist, writer, illustrator and performer, Bryan draws on African myths and tales, his own and others’ experience, and his literary, artistic and thespian talents to create children’s books (enjoyed by adults, too) and… Read more

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Podcast Don't you feel well Sam?

Don’t You Feel Well, Sam?

Here is one of Amy Hest’s popular books about a bear named Sam, read aloud by Amy Hand, children’s librarian at the Camden Public Library. Text copyright 2002 by Amy Hest. Illustrations copyright 2002 by Anita Jeram. Reproduced by permission of Candlewick Press, Inc., Somerville, MA. We welcome your feedback on any of Amy Hand’s… Read more

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Podcast In the Rain With Baby Duck

In the Rain With Baby Duck

Amy Hest is the author of this book about a duck who learns to love the rain. Here is Amy Hand, children’s librarian at the Camden Public Library, reading the book aloud and sharing a rhyme and two songs. Text copyright 1995 by Amy Hest. Illustrations copyright 1995 by Jill Barton. Reproduced by permission of… Read more

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Podcast can't you sleep little bear

Can’t You Sleep, Little Bear?

Owl Babies is not the only bedtime book by Martin Waddell. He also wrote this book about a bear who cannot fall asleep. Amy Hand, children’s librarian at the Camden Public Library, reads the story aloud, then shares two rhymes and a song about the night sky. Text copyright 1988 by Martin Waddell. Illustrations copyright… Read more

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Podcast Andrew Walkling

Dido’s Lament: Virgilian Epic and 17th Century English Opera

Andrew Walkling is Dean’s Assistant Professor of Early Modern Studies at the State University of New York at Binghamton, where he teaches in the departments of art history, English, and theater and is affiliated with the faculties of history, music, and philosophy. He earned a Ph.D. in British history from Cornell. A Fellow of the… Read more

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Podcast Gary Lawless

Art for Justice: Using Writing to Create Social Change

Jennifer Hodsdon, a 2008 graduate of the Stonecoast program who now coordinates the Maine SpeakOut Project, led this discussion of some of the rewards and challenges that come from using writing as a transformative exercise to effect social change. The panelists were three Maine-based writer-activists—Gary Lawless (pictured at right), Cathy Plourde, and Chiara Liberatore—whose experiences… Read more

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Podcast Jody Fein

Peaceable Stories with Jody Fein

Storyteller Jody Fein visited the East End Community School in Portland on May 15, 2008, to tell stories to the Kindergarten, 1st Grade, and 2nd Grade. She selected the stories “Abiyoyo,” “Stone Soup,” and “The Wind and the Sun,” all of which tie into the Born to Read initiative Peaceable Stories. This event was part… Read more

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Podcast David Scott Kastan

Believing Shakespeare: Religion in Shakespeare’s World and in his Plays

David Scott Kastan is the Old Dominion Foundation Professor in the Humanities and Chair of the English Department at Columbia University. He specializes in 16th- and 17th-century literature and culture, Shakespeare, and the history of the book. He is the first American to serve as General Editor of the Arden Shakespeare, and he also served… Read more

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Podcast Alice Persons

Moon Pie Press

Three poets whose work has been published by the small, Maine-based Moon Pie Press, read together as part of the Portland Public Library’s Poetry Festival in April, 2008. Alice N. Persons, founder of Moon Pie Press, is a sometime English teacher and an adjunct instructor of business law at the University of Southern Maine. A… Read more

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Podcast John Ford in Focus,

Ford In Focus

Michael C. Connolly and Kevin Stoehr are the editors of John Ford in Focus, a collection of essays that offers a comprehensive examination of Ford’s life and career, revealing the frequent intersections between Ford’s personal life and artistic vision, including his roots in Portland. Stoehr is associate professor of humanities at Boston University and lives… Read more

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Podcast Patricia Hagge

Annie Finch and Patricia Hagge

Patricia Hagge and Annie Finch opened the library’s 2008 Poetry Festival with this reading. Hagge earned her MFA from the Stonecoast MFA program. She serves on the boards of SPACE Gallery and The Telling Room. Finch, who directs the Stonecoast program, is a professor of English at the University of Southern Maine. This reading was… Read more

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Podcast Victoria Mares-Hershey

How Did You Get Here?

Playwright Victoria Mares-Hershey’s “How Did You Get Here?” gives voice to Africans in Maine, during the period of slavery and beyond, by giving audiences a sense of their everyday lives. This reading of the play’s first act was recorded on March 21, 2008, at the Museum of African Culture on Brown Street in Portland. Museum… Read more

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Podcast Cowboy Baby

Cowboy Baby

This bedtime story by Sue Heap is set in the Wild West. As Rachel Davis, children’s librarian at the Thomas Memorial Library in Cape Elizabeth, reads the book aloud, you can follow along in your own copy or a copy borrowed from the library. Then, listen to some fingerplays about cowboys. Copyright 1998 by Sue… Read more

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Podcast Oliver Finds His Way

Oliver Finds His Way

While walking through the woods in autumn, Oliver chases a leaf and gets separated from his parents. This is the story of how he finds them again. It is read aloud by Rachel Davis, children’s librarian at the Thomas Memorial Library in Cape Elizabeth, who then shares two fingerplays about leaves. Text copyright 2002 by… Read more

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Podcast Only Joking, Laughed the Lobster!

Only Joking, Laughed the Lobster!

Colin West is a prolific British author who writes nonsense verse and humorous books, such as this one, about a lobster who takes his joking one step too far. Rachel Davis, children’s librarian at the Thomas Memorial Library in Cape Elizabeth, reads the book aloud and then teaches two fingerplays about the ocean. Copyright 1995… Read more

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Podcast Barbara Weiden Boyd

Translating Virgil

Barbara Weiden Boyd is the Henry Winkley Professor of Latin and Greek at Bowdoin College, where she has taught since 1980. She earned her Ph.D. at Michigan and has written extensively on Latin literature, notably two books on the poet Ovid. In recent years she has prepared a series of school texts and teachers’ guides… Read more

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Podcast Peter Aicher

The Rome of Augustus

Peter Aicher is Professor of Classics at the University of Southern Maine in Portland, where he frequently teaches courses on Homer and Virgil, in translation and in Greek and Latin. He combines these literary interests with a fascination with the city of Rome, which has resulted in several books and numerous articles and talks. He… Read more

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Podcast Michael C. J. Putnam

Virgil and History

Michael C. J. Putnam is MacMillan Professor of Classics and Professor of Comparative Literature at Brown University, where he has taught since 1961. Educated at Harvard, he has written 11 books on Latin literature and has edited four others. He is widely regarded as one of the leading interpreters of the work of Virgil. He… Read more

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Podcast Pamella Beliveau

Sharing Stories with Pamella Beliveau

Storyteller Pamella Beliveau has performed for children of all ages at libraries, schools, festivals and other children’s events throughout Maine and New England. She has created early childhood literacy programs at public libraries, done residency work at schools throughout the state, and been recognized by the Maine Arts Commission for her quality storytelling programs. Here,… Read more

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Podcast Cindy Williams GutiérrezPodcast Cindy Williams Gutiérrez

A Dialogue of Flower and Song

“A Dialogue of Flower and Song” is a one-act play written by Stonecoast student Cindy Williams Gutiérrez and performed here by Bridget Madden, Elsa Colón, Julie Manon, Luis Luque, and Kathleen Clancy. Gerardo Calderón of Grupo Condor provides live pre-Columbian music. The play re-imagines a 15th century Aztec literary event, drawing together three women poets… Read more

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Podcast Penelope Schwartz Robinson

Penelope Schwartz Robinson

Penelope Schwartz Robinson, a 2004 Stonecoast graduate in Creative Nonfiction, won the first Stonecoast Book Award for her essay collection Slippery Men. She received an honorarium and a publishing contract with New Rivers Press, a teaching press at Minnesota State University, Morehead. Slippery Men will be published and distributed nationally in the fall of 2008…. Read more

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Podcast Elizabeth Marshall Thomas

Elizabeth Marshall Thomas

Elizabeth Marshall Thomas was nineteen when her father took his family to live among the Bushmen of the Kalahari. Fifty years later, after a life of writing and study, Thomas returns to her experiences in The Old Way: A Story of the First People. She recalls life with the Bushmen, one of the last hunter-gatherer… Read more

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Podcast Martha Tod Dudman

Martha Tod Dudman

Martha Tod Dudman’s first novel, Black Olives, turns her unflinching candor and sharp wit on reconstructing the end of a love affair. Dudman is the author of the powerful memoirs Augusta, Gone (which was adapted into an award-winning Lifetime Television movie) and Expecting to Fly. A professional fundraiser, Dudman lives in Northeast Harbor with her… Read more

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Podcast Tayari Jones

Tayari Jones

Tayari Jones was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia where she spent most of her childhood with the exception of the one year she and her family spent in Nigeria, West Africa. As a visiting writer at Stonecoast, Jones read from her newer novel, The Untelling (Warner, 2005). Her debut novel, Leaving Atlanta (Warner, 2002),… Read more

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Podcast Charles Martin

Charles Martin

Charles Martin is a renowned poet and translator. He is the author of six poetry collections, three of which have been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. His verse translation of Ovid”s Metamorphoses received the 2004 Harold Morton Landon Translation Award from the Academy of American Poets. In 2005, the American Academy of Arts and Letters… Read more

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Podcast Vicky Smith

Introduction to Early Literacy

Vicky Smith is the former director and children’s librarian at the McArthur Public Library in Biddeford. She is now the editor of children’s book reviews for Kirkus. She has been active in the Public Library Association’s early literacy program, Every Child Ready to Read, as well as the Council’s own Born to Read program. Drawing… Read more

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Podcast Owl Babies

Owl Babies

In this picture book by Martin Waddell, illustrated by Patrick Benson, three baby owls whose mother has gone out into the night try to stay calm until she returns. As Vicky Smith, editor of children’s book reviews for Kirkus, reads the book aloud, you can follow along in your own copy or a copy borrowed… Read more

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Author Maria Testa

A Tale of Three Cities

Author Maria Testa combines readings from her book for young adults, Something About America, with discussion of events in Lewiston and Kosovo that inspired the story. This presentation took place at the Portland Public Library. We welcome your feedback on this Maria Testa reading. Read more

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Rachel Fister’s Blister

Rachel Fister’s Blister

Amy MacDonald is a children’s book author who lives in Maine. The Portland Stage Company Affiliate Artists have created staged readings of three of Amy’s picture books, with different actors playing different characters. With Amy’s permission, their performance of Rachel Fister’s Blister is available here. This performance took place at a Portland Stage Company Open… Read more

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Please, Malese!,

Please, Malese!

Amy MacDonald is a children’s book author who lives in Maine. The Portland Stage Company Affiliate Artists have created staged readings of three of Amy’s picture books, with different actors playing different characters. With Amy’s permission, their performance of Please, Malese!, a trickster tale from Haiti, is available here. This performance took place at a… Read more

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Little Beaver and the Echo

Little Beaver and the Echo

Amy MacDonald is a children’s book author who lives in Maine. The Portland Stage Company Affiliate Artists have created staged readings of three of Amy’s picture books, with different actors playing different characters. With Amy’s permission, their performance of her very first picture book, Little Beaver and the Echo, is available here. This performance took… Read more

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Podcast Hannah Holmes

Interview with Hannah Holmes

Hannah Holmes took a geology class at the University of Southern Maine that led to a career as a science writer, someone who turns the facts of science into stories, sometimes mysteries, with exciting plots and intriguing characters. She has toured the world for Discovery, making the complexities of science comprehensible, and scientists comprehensibly human… Read more

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Interview with Sara Corbett and Mike Paterniti

Two journalists in one Portland household—and both write for the New York Times Magazine. Mike Paterniti and Sara Corbett are often away, however, laying the groundwork for their articles and books. Sometimes alone, as when Paterniti was Driving Mr. Albert: A Trip Across America with Einstein’s Brain (Dell, 2000). (Read an excerpt from the book… Read more

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Podcast William Bushnell

William Bushnell

In addition to reading books, we like to read about books, but few people know what book reviewers really do or how they do it. William Bushnell has been a professional book reviewer and freelance writer for thirteen years. He has more than 1,350 published pieces in thirty magazines and newspapers. He is professionally affiliated… Read more

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Stonecoast MFA Logo

Flash Reading: Nonfiction and Drama

In this Stonecoast Faculty Flash Reading from January 2008, Tanya Maria Barrientos reads her essay “Se Habla Español,” published in Borderline Personalities: A New Generation of Latinas Dish On Sex, Sass & Cultural Shifting (HarperCollins, 2004). Then Michael Kimball performs a monologue from a short play in progress, entitled “Do You Know the Muffin Man?”… Read more

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Flash Reading: Fiction

One of the highlights of each 10-day residency in the Stonecoast MFA program is the “flash reading” by faculty members. Each writer gets three minutes in which to share his or her work before introducing the next writer in the queue. During the winter residency in January 2008, Joan Connor read her short short called… Read more

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Flash Reading: Poetry

One of the highlights of each 10-day residency in the Stonecoast MFA program is the “flash reading” by faculty members. Each writer gets three minutes in which to share his or her work before introducing the next writer in the queue. Here are five flash readings by Stonecoast poetry faculty, all recorded at the January… Read more

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The Place of Poetry

Maine poets Annie Finch and Baron Wormser led students and fellow Stonecoast faculty members in this wide-ranging conversation about the place of poetry. They based their discussion on two books: The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World by Lewis Hyde and The Song of the Earth by Jonathan Bate. This workshop took… Read more

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Podcast Sue Miller

Sue Miller

Sue Miller is the best-selling author of nine works of fiction, including The Good Mother and While I Was Gone, and the nonfiction book The Story of My Father. Her new book, The Senator’s Wife, revolves around the marriages of two women—a young mother and the wife of a promiscuous politician—who live side by side… Read more

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Podcast voici the valley

Voici the Valley: Introduction

The Voici the Valley Cultureway celebrates the places and culture of the St. John Valley, where the United States and Canada meet along the St. John River. The St. John Valley is found at the top of the state of Maine with the neighboring province of New Brunswick. Fondly called “The Valley,” this international region… Read more

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Podcast voici the valley 2

Voici the Valley – Alliances and Adversities: Shifting of Affairs

The complete Voici the Valley Audio Story (available here) includes a thorough historical account of the deportation of the Acadian people from the Maritime Provinces in 1755, the territorial disputes that ensued, and the eventual settlement of the Valley in 1785 by Acadian refugees. This brief excerpt explains how, in the wake of the 1842… Read more

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Podcast bagosse

Voici the Valley – Law of the Lands: Dividing the Valley

Governments on both sides of the international border that runs through the Valley have made laws to regulate the crossing of people and goods. This segment offers a glimpse of how current residents feel about these laws and how their forebears got around them during Prohibition. At right: bagosse, which is homebrew or moonshine, depicted… Read more

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Podcast Jaed Coffin

Jaed Coffin

Six years ago, at the age of twenty-one, Jaed Muncharoen Coffin left New England’s privileged Middlebury College to be ordained as a Buddhist monk in his mother’s native village of Panomsarakram—thus fulfilling a familial obligation. Part armchair travel, part coming-of-age story, his debut book A Chant to Soothe Wild Elephants (Da Capo Press, 2009) chronicles… Read more

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Podcast Veneta Masson

Clinician’s Guide to the Soul

A former public health nurse with many years’ experience, Veneta Masson, R.N., M.A., is also the author of three books. Though no longer in practice, Veneta continues to explore healing art. The title of her newest collection, Clinician’s Guide to the Soul, was also the title of her conference workshop. “As a family nurse practitioner,… Read more

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Podcast Rita Charon

Keynote Presentation by Rita Charon

Rita Charon, M.D., Ph.D., is Professor of Clinical Medicine at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University and the leader of the emerging field of Narrative Medicine. (Click here for a full bio.) As Director and Founder of Columbia’s Program in Narrative Medicine, she guides both aspiring and practicing health care professionals in… Read more

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Podcast voici the valley

Voici the Valley: Tales of Terrain: Shaping Land, Shaping People

This excerpt from the Voici the Valley Audio Story features Allagash resident Joe Kelly recalling his experiences as a logger and river driver in the time before the chain saw. You’ll also hear a French folk song about a river driver, performed by traditional singer Rachel LeBlanc. This recording is excerpted from the Voici the… Read more

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Podcast voici the valley

Voici the Valley – Character and Culture: Marking a Passage

This portion of the Audio Story delves into the rich cultural life of the valley, including its language, idioms, pronunciation, music, and the traditional arts. The region’s French heritage is manifest in interviews with artists and folklorists, as well as traditional singing and instrumental music. Agriculture and cuisine also make an appearance in this excerpt…. Read more

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Peacable Stories

By Brita Zitin For close to ten minutes, two-year-old Oscar* has been intently washing a baby doll in a plastic tub. Now it is Rachel’s turn, but Oscar is not ready to give up his washcloth. He splashes the lukewarm water and shouts, his face—not much larger than the doll’s—knotted with frustration. Before he can… Read more

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Stories in the Classroom

By Diane Magras Being in a classroom again, or, for some, for the first time, was a strange experience for many of the students. Scovia, from Sudan, said she felt like a little girl, though her passion for learning is anything but childish. Nyajany, from Somalia, had never been to school in her native country,… Read more

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Caring for the Caregiver: Perspectives on Literature and Medicine

By Annie Medeiros One of the first things you noticed when you walked into the former armory—the central gathering place at the Maine Humanities Council’s November 9-10 conference for health care professionals—was a large mobile of 1,001 hand-folded, multi-colored peace cranes. On each table, instead of Prozac pens and Diflucan mints, there were Gerber daisies… Read more

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Podcast Judy Schaefer

Writing Workshop with Judy Schaefer

Judy Schaefer, R.N.C., M.A., is a nationally recognized author, editor, lecturer, teacher, and advocate for patients as well as nurses. Her conference workshop was called “The Courage to Create: Finding Your Voice Through Writing.” If you have pen and paper handy while you listen, and pause the recording when Judy says to start writing, you… Read more

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Podcast Rafael Campo

“Fact” vs. “Truth” in Narrative of Illness

In this conference workshop, Rafael Campo, M.D., M.F.A., defines a “biocultural” narrative of the illness experience, in contrast to the restrictive biomedical narrative encountered in today’s health care setting. He explores how literary works by Frank O’Hara, Debra Spark, Abraham Verghese, and Veneta Masson issue an insistent invitation to share in diverse human experiences. Please… Read more

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Podcast Rafael Campo

Keynote Presentation by Rafael Campo

Rafael Campo, M.D., M.F.A., is a national award winning poet who is also a faculty member and practitioner of general internal medicine at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. (Click here for a full bio.) His newest collection of poetry, The Enemy, was published in April 2007. He is a recipient of… Read more

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Podcast Richard Ford

Interview with Richard Ford

Born in Mississippi, educated in Michigan and California, a sometime resident of Montana and New Orleans, his Pulitzer Prize-winning Independence Day set in New Jersey, Richard Ford now lives in Maine. And he writes about it: “Charity,” in Contemporary Maine Fiction (Down East Books, 2005), for example, is about people from away who see the… Read more

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Podcast Christina Baker Kline

Christina Baker Kline

Christina Baker Kline is a novelist, nonfiction writer, and editor. Her novels include Sweet Water and Desire Lines. Her essays, articles, and reviews have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Yale Review, Southern Living, Ms., Parents, and Family Life. Currently writer-in-residence at Fordham University, Kline lives in Montclair, New Jersey, with her… Read more

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Podcast David Greenham

Taxing Maine

Through different historical characters, humor, little known facts, and thought-provoking stories, Taxing Maine explores what taxes mean for Maine communities, the state government, the Maine landscape, and Mainers’ wallets. The performance, featuring David Greenham and Dennis A. Price from the Theater at Monmouth, encourages us to consider how history and a range of opinions and… Read more

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Podcast Jennifer Gilmore

Jennifer Gilmore

Spanning the first half of the twentieth century, Jennifer Gilmore’s Golden Country tells the intertwining stories of three immigrants seeking their fortunes. Gilmore’s reinvention of the Jewish American novel, captures the exuberance of the American dream while exposing its underbelly—disillusionment, greed, and the disaffection bred by success. It received a starred review from Publishers Weekly…. Read more

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The David Royte Fund

David L. Royte was the founder of The Labor Record of Maine, the AFL-CIO Building Trades Council newspaper. Upon his retirement in 1988, he remained the publisher, general manager, and owner of that publication. But his reading ranged far beyond his own paper. His daughter, Merle Nelson, recalls her father “always with a book in… Read more

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Podcast Joseph Wensink

Jack Burden and the Limits of Political Idealism

Joseph Wensink is a PhD candidate in English at Brandeis University, where he teaches writing. He has written on the links between intellectual history and the modern American novel, and is particularly interested in studying Warren’s Jack Burden as a failed idealist. In his talk, he offered a close reading of several passages from the… Read more

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Podcast Tricia Welsch

Filming American Politics

Tricia Welsch is Associate Professor of Film Studies at Bowdoin College. Welsch used clips to compare the 1949 film version of “All the King’s Men” starring Broderick Crawford and the 2006 re-make starring Sean Penn. Since those clips are protected by copyright, this excerpt from her talk includes only the background material she gave on… Read more

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Podcast Ray Arsenault

The Huey Long—Willie Stark Connection

Ray Arsenault is Professor of History at the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg. He spoke as part of the Organization of American Historians’ Distinguished Lecturer series, which honors major scholars who are also outstanding teachers. He is an expert on contemporary Southern politics, notably the phenomenon of the political demagogue. He discussed the… Read more

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Podcast Huey Long

Share Our Wealth

In 1934, Huey Long organized the Share-Our-Wealth Society, which advocated a populist program for redistributing wealth. In this April 1935 radio address, Long sharply criticized FDR and the New Deal and then sketched out his alternative program. (From the collection of Andy Lanset—used with permission.) Read more

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Podcast Masha Hamilton

Masha Hamilton

The Camel Bookmobile by Masha Hamilton is a tale about an American librarian, Fiona Sweeney, who leaves Brooklyn to work for a relief organization in Africa that sends books on the backs of camels to forgotten villages. Fiona’s intentions are entirely pure but, when the bookmobile causes a feud among the nomadic tribe it aims… Read more

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Podcast Bill Roorbach

Interview with Bill Roorbach

Bill Roorbach has written about a very personal part of Maine. Temple Stream (Dell, 2005) considers the stream that borders the fields below his house in Farmington; it won the nonfiction Maine Literary Award. His stories and novels deal with equally real and natural people. And he produces “teacherly tomes” on memoirs, essays, and Contemporary… Read more

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Podcast Richard Russo

Interview with Richard Russo

Richard Russo retired early from Colby College in order to write full-time. He has set several novels in New York and Pennsylvania, but given his fascination with decaying towns and their struggling inhabitants, he was bound to write of a Maine mill town sooner or later. Empire Falls (Knopf, 2001) won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize…. Read more

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Podcast Wesley McNair

Wesley McNair

The Council sponsored a poetry reading by Wesley McNair at the State Street Church in Portland during the Fall of 2002. He was introduced by fellow Maine writer Cathie Pelletier. McNair has a long-standing relationship with the Council. He has led workshops for Maine teachers about using poetry in the classroom, and he granted an… Read more

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Podcast Monica Wood

Interview with Monica Wood

Monica Wood learned her craft early, growing up in a family of Irish Canadian storytellers and ballad singers in Mexico, Maine. Her short stories and novels are well known; the latest is Any Bitter Thing (Chronicle, 2005). She also writes for writers, on her website and in works like The Pocket Muse (F & W… Read more

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Podcast Cathie Pelletier

Interview with Cathie Pelletier

Now living in Tennessee, Cathie Pelletier remains a very Maine writer. Born here and educated at the University of Maine, she speaks in her novels, including most recently Running the Bulls (University Press of New England, 2005) of northern Maine. Pelletier also writes screenplays, poetry, and short stories. Writing as K. C. McKinnon, she has… Read more

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Podcast Meredith Hall

Meredith Hall

Meredith Hall graduated from Bowdoin College at age forty-four and wrote her first piece, “Killing Chickens,” in 2002. Two years later, she won the $50,000 Gift of Freedom Award from A Room of Her Own Foundation. Her other honors include a Pushcart Prize and “notable essay” recognition in Best American Essays; she was also a… Read more

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Podcast Eric B. Martin

Eric B. Martin

Eric B. Martin wrote The Virgin’s Guide to Mexico from 2001-2006 in Mexico City and California. Raised in Maine, he was educated in Austin, Durham, and Quito, Ecuador. He has worked on vineyards, beer trucks, tobacco fields, and in homeless shelters. The recent recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, he is the author of the novels… Read more

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Podcast Elizabeth Edwards

Elizabeth Edwards

Elizabeth Edwards is originally from Pittsburgh and now lives in Kittery, Maine. She earned an M.A. in writing from the University of New Hampshire and has published poems in many journals including The Southern Review, Witness, The Antioch Review, The Carolina Quarterly, The Cream City Review, Sycamore Review, and The Florida Review. She was the… Read more

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Born to Read | Lisa Nadeau

Born to Read provides valuable early literacy experiences for children birth through age five through programs for the professionals who provide their care. Born to Read’s goal has always been to ensure that Maine children five and under are read to daily by a caring adult. To that end, Born to Read holds training sessions,… Read more

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New Books, New Readers | Houlton

New Books, New Readers partners with adult basic education and literacy volunteers to share a powerful humanities experience with adults just learning to read, beginning to read and speak English, or working to improve reading skills. Using children’s literature at a variety of reading levels, a scholar/facilitator leads discussions and ensures that every participant is… Read more

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MHC teacher programs

MHC teacher programs offer intense professional development in humanities topics for Maine teachers K through 12. From day-long seminars to week-long institutes and programs that meet frequently throughout the year, MHC teacher programs give educators the chance to think and work as scholars. This translates to tremendous learning for both them and their students. David… Read more

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Let’s Talk About It | Cornish

Since 1985, Let’s Talk About It has served a dual purpose in Maine: strengthening the state’s small libraries and their communities by bringing people together in open conversation around books. Scholars facilitate this free program and help create new series. Series are comprised of five topically grouped books that are loaned to program participants. Themes… Read more

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MHC Grants | Focus: Orono

The Maine Humanities Council began life in 1976 as a granting organization, redistributing funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities to nonprofits statewide. Since then, the MHC has expanded its work, creating and implementing the many programs described in this report. Since 1976, the MHC has invested more than $4,000,000 in grants to Maine… Read more

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30 Years: Taxing in Maine in 2006

“Hey, Governah, my taxes are wicked high!” This memorable line came early in Taxing Maine and showed audience members in 31 towns that this Theater of Ideas performance would have a light touch. Commissioned from the Theater at Monmouth’s David Greenham and Dennis Price for the MHC’s 30th anniversary, this story of Maine taxation explored… Read more

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Let’s Talk About It: Luring Maine Readers Out Of Our Living Rooms and Beyond Our Borders

By Brita Zitin Ten years ago, Oprah’s Book Club emerged as a major force in book publishing, pushing sales of its selected titles into the millions. The club raised thorny questions about celebrity culture, engaged many new readers, and enraged some seasoned ones, but its one irrefutable effect was to make book club culture more… Read more

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Quantifying the Power and Pleasure of Ideas

By Brita Zitin Literature & Medicine: Humanities at the Heart of Health Care® is a reading and discussion program for medical professionals that, as one participant writes, “renews the heart and soul of health care.” Program participants work in all aspects of patient care, and include nurses, physicians, support and allied staff, administrators, clergy, social… Read more

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Poetry Flourishes in a Maine Library

By Betsy Sholl Maine’s Poet Laureate Betsy Sholl facilitated the new poetry series in the Council’s free reading and discussion program, Let’s Talk About It, in Bridgton last summer. In honor of National Poetry Month, she has contributed this account of her experiences. On five Saturday mornings in July and August, I drove along Route… Read more

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Winter Weekend 2007: Chaucer

By Charles Calhoun Chaucer begins The Canterbury Tales with his famous evocation of “Aprill with his shoures sote” and some general remarks on the English proclivity to “goon on pilgrimages,” but the author quickly gets down to business. I’m going to tell you what they were wearing, he announces—“and eek in what array that they… Read more

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Taxing Maine: David Greenham

By Brita Zitin When you open the program for Taxing Maine and see pie charts and a glossary, you may suspect that this is no ordinary play. Less than five minutes into the performance, your suspicions will be confirmed as the actors inform you that “after the show, we’re going to ask what you think… Read more

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A Culture of Survival: Allen Sockabasin

By Brita Zitin In 1999, the Maine Humanities Council’s Born to Read program convened a committee of librarians and educators to select books for its new initiative, Many Eyes, Many Voices: Talking About Difference Through Children’s Literature. The committee’s mandate was to cull twelve picture books from the multitudes in print, striking a perfect balance… Read more

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Letters About Literature | Lacie Craven

Lacie Craven’s family owns and operates Wild Wind Farm on the coast of Maine, in Bucks Harbor. It’s a long way from there to the Florida hamlet where The Yearling is set, but Lacie has no trouble imagining a farm dotted with citrus trees rather than pines. Both are “wild country,” where families live off… Read more

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30 Years: Telling the Stories of Our State

By Brita Zitin Maine Humanities Council reading programs roam across the globe: Let’s Talk About It groups discuss Indian and Cuban literature; New Books, New Readers shares stories from Uganda, Mexico, and Haiti; and Born to Read distributes Chinese and African folktales to children. At the same time, programming at the Harriet P. Henry Center for… Read more

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A Letter from the Executive Director | Dorothy Schwartz

Dear Friends, The Maine Humanities Council brings people and ideas together to encourage a deeper understanding of ourselves and others, fostering wisdom in an age of information, providing context in a time of change. When asked to write my “swan song,” I immediately agreed. My mind quickly filled with images—of swan-boats in the Boston Public… Read more

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30 Years | The Maine Humanities Council One Year at a Time: A Few Highlights

1976 An experimental pilot program is succeeded by a new 501(c)3 organization—the Maine Council for the Humanities and Public Policy (MHC)—Maine’s affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). In its first 16 months of operation, MHC makes 42 grant awards totaling $216,950. Guidelines emphasize that a public policy issue involving scholars in the… Read more

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30 Years “The Local and the Particular”: Historical Inquiry for a changing Maine

By Brita Zitin The Maine Humanities Council supports dozens of programs each year—teacher institutes, grant funded projects, Let’s Talk About It book discussion series—with historical themes. In the past 30 years, three programs stand out as examples of this enduring priority: to connect history and community, past and present, through projects that reach out to… Read more

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Winter Weekend—Past and Beyond

By Charles Calhoun   Felipe III of Spain looked out the window one day and saw a young man laughing wildly. He’s either insane, the king remarked to a courtier, or he’s reading Don Quixote. The second half of the novel had recently been printed, and already Cervantes’s work had become not just another tale, but… Read more

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Poetry Comes to Life in Maine Libraries

On June 13 and 14, 2005, the Maine Humanities Council brought together twenty librarians from around the state at the Bangor Public Library. They gathered to learn ways of expanding poetry programs and services at their libraries, and to share their programming ideas, through Poetry in the Branches, a training created by Poets House and… Read more

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Barn Again! The Smithsonian and the MHC

By Trudy Hickey, Project Director, Barn Again This year the Maine Humanities Council did something it has never done before. From April to October, it brought one of the Smithsonian Institution’s traveling exhibits, Barn Again! Celebrating an American Icon, to Maine for a tour that visited three sites: the Saco Museum, the Musée culturel du… Read more

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The Heart of Language: Ashley Bryan

By Brita Zitin Ashley Bryan does not “recite” poems. Recitation implies monotony and rigidity; Ashley’s delivery is riveting and athletic, occasionally cathartic. Nor does he “read” them: he holds a book in one hand, shaking it occasionally and jabbing at the page with his other hand for emphasis, but he never looks at the printed… Read more

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Finding the Hero in History

By Diane Magras What is a hero, after all? Conventional wisdom tells us that history’s heroes are ordinary men and women thrust into circumstances that lead them to perform extraordinary feats. One person’s hero, however, may be another’s deadly enemy, as so often was the case during the Civil War. Historians now ask who these… Read more

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Civic Reflection

The Maine Humanities Council has offered Civic Reflection programs for both the general public and professional groups in Maine for the past three years. “Civic reflection” is the practice of reading and discussing short texts that raise fundamental questions about our life in community and the activities that nourish that life: giving, serving, associating and… Read more

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Exploration and Inspiration in Aroostook County

By Sheila Jans It must be at least four years since I attended the Midsummer celebration in New Sweden, a small community nestled in the rolling hills of northern Maine. In my mind’s eye, I still see children dancing with delicate flowers woven into their hair, dressed in traditional costumes. I still taste the delicious… Read more

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Born to Read Skowhegan

Born to Read serves the Maine Humanities Council’s youngest audiences—children up to age five—through the people who take care of them. With trainings for early childhood professionals and volunteer readers, Born to Read helps caregivers use books to provide children with the stimulating experiences needed to take advantage of the important birth-through-three period in every… Read more

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New Books, New Readers | Portland Adult Education

New Books, New Readers uses the standard technique of Maine Humanities Council literature-based programs: an MHC scholar facilitates the discussion of a text. Participants in this program are beginning readers, or just learning to read English. Their texts are illustrated children’s books with powerful stories that offer paths for serious discussion and thought. Community, a… Read more

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Maine Correctional Facilities Programs

The Maine Humanities Council’s programs in correctional facilities throughout the state serve people who often need the most help in learning about the power and pleasure of ideas. Reading and discussion programs enable troubled men, women, and young people to use literature as a source of new meaning and understanding in their lives. Humanities programs… Read more

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Literature & Medicine | Ellsworth

Literature & Medicine: Humanities at the Heart of Health Care is unique among programs serving health care professionals. In hospitals or other health care facility settings, it brings together people with very diverse roles within the world of medicine, in a setting where everyone is on equal footing, to discuss a reading that has resonance… Read more

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Teachers for a New Century

Teachers for a New Century offers content-based professional development programs for Maine teachers K-12 in a variety of humanities subjects. Topics in 2005 have included Watergate, Walt Whitman’s Civil War, Native Americans in Maine, and East Asian Studies. In addition to one-day programs throughout the school year, in 2005 the Council administered a residential Teaching… Read more

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Let’s Talk About It | Bristol Area Library

Let’s Talk About It is one of the Maine Humanities Council’s oldest programs, offered free to Maine libraries in partnership with the Maine State Library. This popular reading and discussion program makes a real difference, giving residents of communities both large and small the pleasure of gathering with neighbors to talk about good books and… Read more

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A Deep and Heartfelt Loss

By Dorothy Schwartz The Maine Humanities Council has just lost one of our greatest advocates and friends. Harriet Putnam Henry’s death on September 11, 2004, was met with sadness by many Mainers who understood the significance of her contributions to the civic life of our state. For me, Harriet’s death was a deep personal loss…. Read more

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Many Eyes, Many Voices visits Indian Township

By Brita Zitin Outside Indian Township School, the August morning hangs heavy and hot over Big Lake. Within the hallways, the air swells with a heady mix of disinfectant and anticipation. Teachers wielding staple guns, nametags, and clipboards decorate classrooms that will be filled with Passamaquoddy students just three days from now. Only in the… Read more

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In Memoriam: Harriet P. Henry

On September 11, 2004, Harriet P. Henry — Maine’s first female judge, civic leader, former MHC Chair, and a dear friend of literacy and reading — passed away. Harriet loved the Council and always thought of ways to help spread our work throughout the state. One of her last wishes was that any gifts made… Read more

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Summary of Programs, 2004

By Diane Magras New Books, New Readers In 2004, New Books, New Readers served 27 sites, offering 45 four-session series to over 600people. People who are first learning to read often find the process frustrating. Many experience dismissive attitudes from friends and families, which sometimes persuades them to give up. Through reading and discussion groups… Read more

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Caring About You, Not Just Your Cat Scan

Imagine doctors, nurses, hospital trustees, administrators, lab techs, and physicians’ assistants meeting to talk about a book or short story they had all just read and reflecting on what it meant to them as professionals engaged in health care. This scene has taken place in 25 of Maine’s 38 hospitals in recent years, involving more… Read more

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The Harriet P. Henry Center for the Book

A “Center for the Book” ought to be an extraordinary place, named for an extraordinary person. With that in mind, on April 28, 2003, the Maine Humanities Council named its home at 674 Brighton Avenue in Portland for the Honorable Harriet P. Henry, the first woman to serve as a judge in Maine and an… Read more

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The Long Life of a Monster Reflections on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

“You’re going to read what?” That was a question fielded by more than one participant in this year’s Humanities Winter Weekend, dedicated to the 19-year-old Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus. After a series of Very Important Books, what were we doing asking people to read so slight a volume – an… Read more

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The Humanities in Action | October 11, 2001

On October 11, 2001, one month after the tragedies of September 11, close to 1,000 citizens of Maine gathered in 64 sites (most of them libraries) around the state to reflect upon what had happened and to discuss with each other the impact of these events on our lives. It was the first in a… Read more

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‘Jalaato’ is Ice Cream: A Somali Alphabet for Maine

The 3,000 Somalis refugees who have settled in Maine – and their children who have grown up here – face the double challenge of learning to read and write English while preserving a sense of their own rich culture and language. With that in mind, the Maine Humanities Council was a major funder of a… Read more

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The Humanities Interview: Dr. Charles Alexander | Literature & Medicine

By Charles Calhoun Dr. Charles Alexander is an internist who divides his time between clinical practice and serving as medical director of the 54-bed Maine Coast Memorial Hospital in Ellsworth. He helped organize the first year of participation by his hospital last winter in the Maine Humanities Council’s project Literature & Medicine: Humanities at the… Read more

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