Wilson Scholar Talks About Her Personal Symposium Project

Robert Drinkwater Contributing Writer

   Symposium is right around the corner and that means many of the Wilson Scholars are preparing to present their research on that day, and Tegan Bradley, a junior at UMF is doing a project for symposium titled Hair: A Graphic Narrative.

   For this project, she is making a personal narrative in the form of a graphic novel about hair and how women modify their hair for others approval. “It’s about a woman’s feminine identity with hair,” said Bradley.

   When creating this graphic novel Bradley started with a twenty page rough draft. “It was important to get the words out,” said Bradley, “I had to choose out scenes and story board it.” Eventually her rough draft became fifty pages, “It took me three weeks for the first draft and two or three weeks to storyboard it,” said Bradley.

   Bradley hopes that in doing this project women will analyze their own relationship with their hair. Bradley also said that men and women will wear their hair in a way that society will say is normal. “I want women to take ownership of it,” said Bradley, “Not because it’s what everyone else wants.”

The Wilson Scholarship is for undergraduates and requires students do a research project independent of a class. Every Wilson scholar has a faculty advisor, and Bradley’s is English professor Sabine Klein. “I think it’s amazing,” said Klein, “Her artwork is really good. She is working consciously, it is verbal and visual at the same time.” Klein also mentioned that Bradley writes from  her own personal experience from shaving her head. “It tells a story well suited to the graphic narrative. It talks about how we look.”

   Klein stated that she hopes that this project will make people think about how looks are heavily gendered and she also hopes that people will look at the graphic novel as a genre, “It’s interesting exploring the graphic novel as a personal narrative,” said Klein.

   Bradley has expressed her excitement about the whole project, “You can’t just take a creative writing class and create a graphic novel,” said Bradley, “I’ve always wanted to do this.”

  Some of the other symposium projects include Hope Lash’s The Power of The Prostitute and The British Empire, Forest Meader’s What magma chambers can do fo you – a geologic study of the Twin Lakes Pluton, Colorado, and James Fox’s Snowpack Measurements and modeling in Temple Stream watershed.

   Symposium day will be held on April 24th. There will be no classes that day.

A Look Into Mainely Outdoors

A Look Into Mainely Outdoors

By Robert Drinkwater Contributing Writer


Mainely Outdoors recently had their first cross country skiing excursion. (Photo courtesy of Mainely Outdoors Facebook Page)

Mainely Outdoors offers a large variety of trips and activities throughout the year, as well as rental gear that can start any adventure: “we like to break down barriers, and we try to give them [students] the best experience possible,” said Joe Haggerty, a program supervisor at Mainely Outdoors,

   There are many trips that Mainely Outdoors will be hosting throughout this semester. “We have cross country skiing, usually every Saturday,” said Haggerty. In addition, the program also currently offers trips that focus on snowshoeing, ice skating and snow tubing. These events will occur until late March, or early April. “We also have the full moon excursions.” said Haggerty, “[during which] we like to hike a mountain when there is a full moon.” He also mentioned a possible trip to the anti gravity center, or a trampoline place in March.

   The program offers different trips and activities during each season. For instance, in the fall Mainely Outdoors offers trips for mountain biking, hiking and water sports such as white water rafting. During the winter, it offers cross country skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing. In the spring, it offers paddleboarding, overnight camping events and occasionally horseback riding. “We also play disc golf,” said Haggerty, “and rock climbing can be done at any time of the year, because it’s indoors.” he continued.

   Haggerty offered some examples of a few trips that he has been on with Mainely Outdoors, including an excursion to Acadia National Park. Haggerty also mentioned that the program is offers a series of trips the help broaden a participants skill set. The event series include trips that focus on cross country skiing, snowshoeing and mountain biking. “I’ve been co-leading the mountain biking series,” said Haggerty, “that’s probably my favorite series.”

   Sylvie Fenderson, a Mainely Outdoors employee, said that her favorite excursion was a service trip to the Maine Huts and Trails at Flagstaff Lake. “We got to spend some time in the hut and helped them stack wood, and on the way back we got a workout trudging through the snow,” said Fenderson, “the views were absolutely breathtaking.” Fenderson added, “I personally don’t think enough people take advantage of this program, we are doing awesome trips, all the time.”

   When it comes to students experiences with Mainely Outdoors, Haggerty said, “a lot of people say being out in nature is attractive to them, and it allows them to get away from the stress of homework.” Haggerty mentioned how these excursions a great way to meet new people – especially for freshmen, transfer or international students.

   Flor Villarreal, a Spanish TA from Argentina, has been on a number of trips with Mainely Outdoors. Her experience with the program began by learning how to rock climb. “That was the first time I participated in Mainely Outdoors trips.” said Villarreal, “it was amazing!”

   When describing her initial experience, Villarreal said, “Honestly, I was afraid, but the leaders of the trips were so nice, and the atmosphere in the group was so good.” This experience encouraged Villarreal to go on more of the trips that Mainely Outdoors offered, “I did something that I could never imagine: cross country skiing. I loved it!”

   While the trips themselves invoke joy for participants, Villarreal stated that it was the people who work at Mainely Outdoors that made her experience even better, “they encourage you to take advantage of the beauty of Maine, and they make the trips really fun.”

   Mainely Outdoors is located at 144 Quebec Street, Farmington, Maine. You can check out their upcoming trips on Mycampus under the UMF Events Calendar.

Profile on Visiting Writer Oliver de la Paz

By Robert Drinkwater Contributing Writer

    Oliver de la Paz, poet and College of the Holy Cross professor, is scheduled to come to UMF on March 7th and will read from his works at the Emery Performance Space as the first visiting writer of the spring semester.

   Despite living in Massachusetts, this is not de la Paz’s first time in Farmington. “I’ve visited Farmington about 11-12 years ago back when April Ossmann was the executive director of Alice James Books,” said de la Paz in an email interview. “I’ve also got a number of friends who teach and work in the area.”

   When it comes to inspiration for writing de la Paz said, “ I’m most inspired by what I am currently reading in terms of poetry. I write ‘dialogically’ or in dialogue with other works of art.”

   De la Paz mentioned that his poems will focus on one subject and paying close attention to something that someone may not notice. “For someone who wants to know about my poems and poetry I would describe it as obsessive and interested in closely looking at or regarding a subject,” de la Paz said. “I like to zoom in on things people don’t notice.”

   His children are also what inspires him to write. “Three of my children have special needs and two of them are on the autism spectrum,” de la Paz said. “I recently completed a book length collection of poems that is inspired by parenting and learning to understand what it means to be a parent of children on the spectrum.”

   De la Paz has been a lifelong writer, “I’ve been writing my entire life” said de la Paz, “ I became serious about writing poetry in my early twenties but had written poems at my leisure before then. When I took the work seriously I had applied to schools to apprentice with some notable writers including Alberto Ríos, Beckian Fritz Goldberg, and Norman Dubie at Arizona State University. That was back in the early 90’s.”

   When it comes to describing his poetry, de la Paz said, “Some days I describe my poetry as ‘a chore,’ others days I describe my poetry as ‘my lifeline.’”

   In terms of who has influenced him, de la Paz said, “My most pressing and important influence is often who I’m currently reading. Right now I’m reading a wonderful novel by Jon Pineda entitled ‘Let’s No One Get Hurt,’ I’m reading a new collection of poems by January Gil O’Neil entitled ‘Rewilding,’ and a book by Sarah Gambito entitled ‘Loves You.’”

   “In the past I was strongly influenced by the work of poet Larry Levis and Li Young Lee as well as my teachers whom I’ve mentioned,” de la Paz said, “And when I was starting out I was really strongly influenced by Sylvia Plath.”

   Creative Writing professor and Director of the Visiting Writers Series Jeffrey Thomson is also familiar with de la Paz’s work. “I’ve read his books and I knew him by reputation,” said Thomson. “He’s a good guy.”

   The Creative Writing program, along with The Writers Guild, sponsor the visiting writers events usually held in the Landing a couple of times per semester. They try to bring in six to seven writers per year.

   “People are doing exciting work in contemporary literature,” said Thomson.