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May Gathering, 2014

Franco American programs annual gathering of writers and artists

Where: UMaine campus, Orono, Maine

When: May 16, 17, and 18, 2013

More information about registering, attending, and participating to follow soon.

Spring Symposium April 25-27, 2014

Save the date!

In and Out of Place: Finding Home in Franco America
Spring Symposium
April 25-27, 2014

“…I cannot write my native language and have no native home any more, and am amazed by that horrible homelessness all French-Canadians abroad in America have…. Someday, Madame, I shall write a French-Canadian novel, with the setting in New England, in French.”
– Jack Kerouac to journalist and critic Yvonne Le Maître, 1950

Symposium Description

In and Out of Place: Finding Home in Franco America is a symposium sponsored by the University of Maine Humanities Initiative and organized by the Franco-American Centre and Franco American Studies program. The symposium’s keynote speaker is Clark Blaise, a Canadian author, graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, founder of the post-graduate program in creative writing at Concordia
University, and past director of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. Blaise is the
author of twenty books.
The symposium will also feature readings from several acclaimed New England writers, discussions
on topics such as “Maine Franco Politics & Public Opinion,” “Cultural & Regional Identity in Historical
Context,” “Franco American Archives & Collections in New England,” and a screening of the film Le grand
Jack (Jack Kerouac’s Road: A Franco-American Odyssey), directed by Herménégilde Chiasson (1987), among other

May gathering, 2013

Dear friends,

May 17 is fast approaching! We are looking forward to seeing you all soon. We are excited for more meals and conversations, to hear what you’ve been up to, to share in all of our creativities.

We have already received responses from many of you who plan to participate in Walpole next month. So far, we will be joined by performers, novelists, researchers, teachers – faces both familiar and new.

Once again, our gathering will take place May 17, 18, and 19 at the UMaine Darling Marine Center in Walpole (

For those who haven’t responded, please let us know by APRIL 15 if you plan to join the gathering. In order to save a space for you at the Darling Center, we need to know if you want to reserve a room for Friday the 17th and/or Saturday the 18th.  We also need to give the Darling Center catering counts; please let us know what meals you will be sharing with us during the weekend (Saturday: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner; and Sunday: Breakfast)

We will begin Friday evening at 7PM with conversation and a screening of short films by Louise Bourque (  Friday will also be your time to sign up to read or present your work on Saturday. All day Saturday will be devoted to you and your work.  We will unwind Saturday evening with the music and conversation of a kitchen party, and wrap up Sunday morning with breakfast and a closing discussion.

The program is free for you. We will pay for room and board for all of you who would like to join us and we will not be asking for money at the event. However, we ask that you consider sending a donation to help make our gathering an annual event. This will be our third consecutive year, but without your donations it may be our final. We hope for many more.

All donations are tax-deductible and can be made through the Franco American Studies program website ( Click on the “give now” button near the top; we can be found under the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For more information, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with either of us.

Hope to hear from you.

Susan & Jake

Finding your Inner Moose

Ida LeClair will be signing copies of her new self-help humor book, “Finding Your Inner Moose: Ida LeClair’s Guide to Livin’ the Good Life,” (actually penned by Maine-based writer and performer Susan Poulin, the creative force behind the popular stage personality Ida LeClair) at the Franco American Centre on October 24, 2012 at 6pm.

Poulin’s character Ida, is a recently minted “Certified Maine Life Guide.” Ida is a lifelong resident of fictional Mahoosuc Mills, an impossible-to-find, but oh-so-familiar town in Western Maine, where she lives in a tidy and tastefully decorated double-wide with high school sweetheart Charlie and adorable dog Scamp. Most importantly, Ida is a daughter, sister, wife, and best friend who draws upon her experiences (as well as those of the noble and majestic moose) to offer practical and hilarious advice on relationships, physical fitness, stress, housecleaning, work, shopping, fun, and more. (If you are looking for impractical, woo-woo advice from a glammed-up, over-educated, fancy-schmancy life coach, just keep looking!)

In her book, readers will find sections such as: What Did I Do Wrong to Deserve this Turkey Gobbler Neck?; How Many Points in Cabbage Soup?; Feng Shui-ing the Double Wide; Slaying Energy Vampires; and Spousal Deafness. This book is 100 percent Ida, who, as her husband Charlie often says, “just loves giving advice to people, whether they ask for it or not!”

“Finding Your Inner Moose” is part of a developing relationship between Poulin and Islandport. Poulin’s weekly “Just Ask Ida” humor blog and podcast is now produced for Islandport web sites, and Islandport will lend marketing support to Poulin’s shows and events, as well as for her social media sites.

Poulin, once selected by Portland Magazine as one of the “Ten Most Intriguing People In Maine,” created the character Ida LeClair in 1997. Poulin has been a leader in bringing a female voice to New England storytelling and humor, a genre historically dominated by men such as “Bert and I” and Tim Sample. Poulin has produced five stage shows featuring Ida: “Ida: Woman Who Runs with the Moose,” “Ida’s Havin’ a Yard Sale,” “A Very Ida Christmas,” “The Moose in Me, the Moose in You,”  and her latest, “I Married an Alien.”

Yarmouth-based Islandport Press is a dynamic, award-winning publisher dedicated to stories rooted in the essence and sensibilities of New England. For more information, please visit


Spring 2013 FAS courses

Franco American Studies is offering two courses, both of which fulfill general education requirements.

FAS 120: People Places and Pasts

This class will explore the cultural geography of Franco America.  Together we will investigate how heritage links to place with particular emphasis on gender, class, and ethnicity.   It is run as a seminar, with no prerequisites or knowledge of French or the Franco American community required; this class fulfills the Population and Environment General Education requirement.

FAS 250: The Acadian Experience

This course gives a history of the Acadian peoples, from early settlement to today.  Taught on-line, fulfills Cultural Diversity general education requirement.



Franco American Studies
5742 Little Hall, Room 213
Orono, Maine 04469-5742
Phone: (207) 581-3791 | Fax: (207) 581- 1832
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469