Kathleen Ellis

Adjunct Lecturer (Honors, English)

B.A. University of California, Berkeley
M.L.S. University of Maine, Orono (Thesis: Translation of Five Latin-American Women Poets in Exile)

Primary areas of creative work and study include creative writing; American women’s literature; poetry translation (Spanish and Portuguese); 20th and 21st c. U.S. poetry; Latin- American poetry.

Secondary areas: environmental literature; literature of exile; women and war in fiction and poetry; immigrant issues in literature.

Recent publications include Narrow River to the North (poems/photos) and Outer-Body Travel (poems).

Poems have recently appeared in The Café Review, 3 Nations Anthology, and A Dangerous New World: Maine Voices on the Climate Crisis.

Special Event Coordination: Since 2003, Ellis has coordinated the annual POETS/SPEAK! reading at Bangor Public Library, which brings together the university’s literary community and students with the Bangor Area community. A major focus: community members and students reading poems in their native languages.

Ellis has also coordinated the annual Emily Dickinson Birthday Reading in the UMaine Bookstore since 2005 and the annual Edna St. Vincent Millay Birthday Reading at the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland since 2017.

Selected Awards & Achievements:

  • Recipient of poetry fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and Maine Arts Commission.
  • Co-editor, The Eloquent Edge: 15 Maine Women Writers.
  • Wrote script for the film documentary, Renascence: Edna St. Vincent Millay at 100, a project co-sponsored by Farnsworth Art Museum and Maine Humanities Council.
  • Poems from Ellis’ manuscript, Dear Darwin, were set to music and released as a Parma Recordings CD, which was nominated for a 2015 Grammy Award.
  • Recipient of Pablo Neruda poetry prize from Nimrod, and poetry awards from Carolina Quarterly and Southwest Review.
  • Her long poem suite “Circling Katahdin” was set to music by composer Jan Gilbert and performed by the UMaine chorus in 2005.

Why I teach in Honors: “The breadth and depth of interests and disciplines of Honors College students at Orono never cease to impress me. After teaching the two-year Civilizations series and numerous junior tutorials for seventeen years, I am continually enriched and renewed by the sophisticated level of inquiry and discussion.”

My philosophy for teaching in Honors: “I aim to provide an atmosphere in which students are welcome to try out their ideas and opinions without fear of reprisal in the group or by the preceptor. Due to the nature of many of the readings in Honors, the unimpeded, open expression of ideas is paramount to having a meaningful discussion about classic works which often challenge students to question and reconsider their political, religious, or ethnic backgrounds. While promoting free expression, the Honors precepts also offer an opportunity early in students’ college careers to learn how to negotiate an intellectual argument in small-group contexts. By seriously examining their own and peers’ ideas and opinions, writing intensively in response to texts and lectures, and participating in fervent discussion, students can use the small-group atmosphere to analyze and express their own evolving attitudes about significant issues and themes which have affected humankind since antiquity.”

Recent Honors Lectures:

  • If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho (HON 111)
  • Walt Whitman & Emily Dickinson (HON 211)
  • Frida Kahlo (HON 212)
  • Adrienne Rich (HON 212)