UMF New Commons Project spotlights Cheryl Savageau’s “DIRT ROAD HOME”

  • September 25, 2019

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UMF New Commons Project spotlights Cheryl Savageau’s “DIRT ROAD HOME”

Keynote by Cheryl Savageau—Poetry Reading, Oct. 16

FARMINGTON, ME  (September 24, 2019)
—The next topic for the New Commons Project is Cheryl Savageau’s “DIRT ROAD HOME,” a collection of poems that illuminate topics such as mixed ancestry, poverty, nature, and family, in words both tough and tender. An Abenaki poet, Savageau tells stories with her books and poetry about unrecognized women and the working class in Abenaki culture.

Born in Worcester, Massachusetts Savageau is a poet of Abenaki and French Canadian decent. She attended school at Clark University in Worcester where she later graduated and continued to study writing. She has been awarded Writer of the Year for her children’s book, “Muskrat Will Be Swimming,” and has also received multiple Fellowships in poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Artists Foundation.

The UMF New Commons events related to Cheryl Savageau’s DIRT ROAD HOME are free and open to the public and will run between October 3-30:

The New Commons Film Series: DAWNLAND
The New Commons Film Series presents the 2018 Emmy-nominated documentary DAWNLAND, a powerful exploration of the U.S. government’s forcible removal of Native American children from their homes. As recently as the 1970’s, one in four Native children nationwide were living in non-Native foster care, adoptive homes or boarding schools. Many children experienced devastating emotional and physical harm by adults who mistreated them and tried to erase their cultural identity. DAWNLAND provides a space for them to share their stories for the first time.
Thursday, Oct. 3, 7:30–9:30 p.m., Lincoln Auditorium, UMF Roberts Learning Center

Keynote Event: Cheryl Savageau, Poetry Reading
The New Commons Project proudly presents a poetry reading by Cheryl Savageau, author of the Pulitzer-nominated poetry collection DIRT ROAD HOME. Savageau’s poetry retells Abenaki stories, often focusing on the unrecognized lives of women and the working class. Her work is also enriched by the landscape and ecology of New England. In addition to DIRT ROAD HOME, she is the author of “Home Country” (1992), “Mother/Land” (2006) and the children’s book “Muskrat Will Be Swimming.”
Wednesday, Oct. 16, 11:45 a.m.–1 p.m., UMF Emery Community Arts Center

Sabine Klein, “Norridgewock: Massacre and Memory”
Join Dr. Klein, UMF associate professor of English, for a critical discussion of the deaths of approximately 80 Abenaki during a British massacre in Norridgewock, Maine in August 1724.
Friday, Oct. 23, 11:45 a.m.–1 p.m., UMF Emery Community Arts Center

The New Commons Project is a public humanities initiative of the University of Maine at Farmington, Maine’s public liberal arts college, in partnership with the Maine Humanities Council. It is made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The project’s 12 topics so far have been submitted by people from around the state and represent some of the principles and cultural values that fascinate Maine citizens.

To learn more about the New Commons Project, or to submit a nomination for the next round of selections to be announced in 2019, visit the website at:

Media Contact: Kristen Case, associate professor of English, 207-778-7239,



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Kristen Case

224 Main Street
Farmington   ME  04938