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This week’s edition!

Meet a Franco Author: Steven Riel

USM’s Lewiston Auburn College’s Franco-American Collection is hosting Steven Riel Franco Author/Poet, the third featured of the FAC’s fie Meet-A-Franco-Author program, on Monday, February 24, 7 p.m. in room 170, 51 Westminster Street, Lewiston. The public is invited and welcome to attend!

Writers in the program series, “Franco-America at the Interstice of Identities,” explore the conjunction of their Franco identity with another identity that is also important to them. 

Denis Ledoux, FAC Program Chair and Board Member, relates, “Steven Riel writes implicated poetry that features both his Franco heritage and his gay identity. His poems give voice to the Franco-American community of his childhood, its narrative of survival and assimilation, and its uncomfortable relationship to homosexuality. His work also honors and attends closely to the history and culture of both communities that have shaped him and continue to shape him.” 

A native of Massachusetts, Steven Riel received an A.B. in English from Georgetown University and an M.L.S. from Simmons College. He is the author of one full-length collection of poetry, “Fellow Odd Fellow” (Trio House, 2014), as well as three chapbooks, including most recently, “Postcard from P-towns,” which was selected as runner-up for the inaugural Robin Becker Chapbook Prize and published by Seven Kitchens Press.

Riel’s poems have appeared in several anthologies including, “Lives in Translation” by Soleil Press and in numerous periodicals, including “The Minnesota Review” and “International Poetry Review.” The Lambda Literary Foundation selected him as a 2016 Fellow. 

Poetry editor of “RFD Magazine” from 1987 to 1995, Riel currently serves as editor-in-chief of the Franco-American literary e-journal “Resonance.” He received MFA in poetry from New England College where he was the recipient of a Joel Oppenheimer Scholarship and was the 2005 Robert Fraser Distinguished Visiting Poet at Bucks County (PA) Community College. 

FAC Program Chair Denis Ledoux explains “Our Meet-A-Franco-Author programs depart from previous Franco-American Collection curatorial focus. With this series, the FAC steps into the creative present all the while continuing to maintain and enhance our role as keepers of Franco stories for future generations. We have built a Q&A session into this series so that the audience will have time to engage in conversation with Steven Riel about his experience as a Franco and as a gay man.”

The Meet-A-Franco-Author programs are free of charge, thanks to a generous grant from the Québec Delegation in Boston and are open to the public—Franco-Americans and Francophiles alike. Members of the FAC are invited to attend a pre-reading reception with the author at 5:30 p.m. in Room 170.  For information on becoming a member, contact the office at (207) 753-6545.

Ron Currie, Jr., Maine fiction writer, will present March 23.  David Vermette, historian, will speak on April 27.  Born in Massachusetts, Vermette has family roots in Brunswick, Maine.

All programs will be held on Mondays at 7 p.m. in Room 170 at Lewiston-Auburn College of the University of Southern Maine, 51Westminster Street, Lewiston. Public is welcome.

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