The University of Maine at Presque Isle will host writer and UMPI alumna Alice Bolstridge for the launch of her new chapbook of poetry Chance & Choice on Thursday, Sept. 7 at 6 p.m., in the Campus Center. This event is free and the public is invited to attend; light refreshments will be served and attendees are encouraged to stop by early for a short social time starting at 5:45 p.m.
Bolstridge is a long-time educator with more than four decades of teaching at the Maine School of Science and Mathematics, University of Cincinnati, University of Maine in Orono, and Millinocket Elementary School. Born and raised in Portage, Maine, teaching and literature have been lifelong passions for her.
Bolstridge wanted to launch her chapbook, published by Finishing Line Press, with a reading, discussion and book signing at her alma mater. During this book launch, Bolstridge will also read from her book Oppression for the Heaven of It, a docu-fiction about living with a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia written in her pen name Moore Bowen, and other selected works.
“I dedicate this event to social workers,” Bolstridge said. “They were the most important care-givers in my son Alan Mountain’s life. They are the professionals who spend the most time with mental-health clients, get to know clients best, and provide the most compassionate care. To honor their service I donate all proceeds from book sales at this event to UMPI’s Bachelor of Social Work Scholarship.”
Oppression for the Heaven of It, which was published in 2013 by Journal of Experimental Fiction, is the winner of the 2013 Kenneth Patchen Innovative Writing Award. Harold Jaffe, the award’s judge, says the book “has the virtue of being frank and addresses an exiled condition—schizophrenia—from the subject position… The novel has heart, honesty, deep compassion, and addresses a mostly outlawed subject vividly and unselfishly.”
Bolstridge’s new chapbook has also received praise. According to Melissa Crowe, former UMPI faculty member, author of Girl Giant, and editor of Beloit Poetry Journal, Chance & Choice “illuminates crucial connections between the animal, the human, and the cosmic; in poem after poem… every living thing—tulip, robin, infant—is vulnerable to attack, but each also stands to spend its bright moment basking, enjoying its ‘brief sweet taste / of nectar’ – if it will.”
In addition to Chance & Choice and Oppression for the Heaven of It, Bolstridge has published more than 100 stories, poems, and essays in literary journals and anthologies. She was the Maine Senior College Network Poet Laureate for 2013. She also received the Passenger Poet Award in 1995 and is the winner of the Maine Writers and Publishers Poetry Contest in 2005 and 2011.
Dr. Bolstridge earned her Bachelor’s degree in English Education from UMPI, her Master’s degree in English at the University of Maine in Orono, and her Ph.D. in English Literature from Oklahoma State University.
She now resides in Presque Isle and has a son, a daughter, and three grandsons living in the area. In retirement, she is a teacher of senior education classes and a volunteer activist for peace and justice.
For more information about Bolstridge, visit these three websites: https://www.facebook.com/aliceandmoore/?fref=ts, http://alice1938.blogspot.com/, and https://www.facebook.com/alice.bolstridge. For more information about this book launch, contact the Office of Community and Media Relations at 207-768-9452 or firstname.lastname@example.org.