Poet, Writer, Archivist


Jefferson Navicky is the archivist for the Maine Women Writers Collection. He is the author of Antique Densities: Modern Parables & Other Experiments in Short Prose, as well as the story collection, The Paper Coast, and the poetic novel, The Book of Transparencies. He lives in Freeport with his wife, dog, cats, and chickens. 


The Offshore Islands Belong to Themselves: Ruth Moore & Her Poetry

Ruth Moore was one of Maine’s most beloved 20th century writers. Jefferson’s presentation includes highlights from the Ruth Moore collection at the Maine Women Writers Collection. This talk touches on some of her most well-known books as well as her often-neglected poetry. Jefferson will share a variety of Moore’s poems and invite audience participation. 

Elizabeth Coatsworth & Kate Barnes: Processing the Literary Archives of Mother & Daughter

Jefferson Navicky had the rare good fortune of processing the extensive archival papers of Elizabeth Coatsworth, one of the most accomplished children’s book authors and poets of the mid 20th century, as well as the papers of her daughter, Kate Barnes, Maine’s first Poet Laureate.

Together, their papers present an intimate glimpse into the makings of a matriarchal line of Maine writers. Jefferson will speak about his experience processing these collections, as well as present illustrative work from each writer, and provide historical and biographical context. 

A Day in the Life of Maine Women: Diaries of Everyday Life

The Maine Women Writers Collection has numerous diaries spanning the 19th and 20th century kept by Maine women across the state whose lives were remarkable in their unremarkableness. In the quotidian passing of their days – from weather to chores to historic moments – the accumulation gives shape and significance to their lives.

By sampling and discussing a selection of these diaries across time, we will all connect with the common struggles and small triumphs of what it’s like to be human and to live day by day. 

Community Support Coordinator, Lewiston Public Schools


James Ford is a public-school employee and a Black man of African descent who is tracing his lineage to the middle passage. As a former Restorative Practices Coordinator, Ford appreciates building relationships with peers, students, and families.

Ford is currently the Family and Community Support Coordinator for Lewiston Public Schools and is working with the Maine Education Association to create an Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee to address issues that impact educators of color and their students.


Relationships: How Important They Are Today

Pulling from his experience as Community Support Coordinator for Lewiston Public Schools, James Ford’s talk reminds us of the importance of slowing down, listening, and seeking connections with others, both personally and professionally.

Writer, Veteran


Cody is a writer based in the woods of Maine. After being discharged from the Marine Corps in 2016 with a Post-Traumatic Brain Injury, they came home to sort out their shattered life. Cody holds a B.A in English from the University of Southern Maine and is a graduate of the Stonecoast MFA program. They write and work passionately about post-military life and recovery to raise awareness on veteran’s issues. 


In Your Own Words

This presentation explores the importance of veterans telling their own stories—as a practice of personal healing and as an act of challenging how veterans are portrayed in popular culture.

Mower shares stories from their published work, explores how writers like Kurt Vonnegut and Tobias Wolff have dealt with post-military life, and examines how the entertainment industry, especially in the Vietnam era, began to control the narrative of the veteran.

Occupational Therapist, Writer, Teacher


Kelly is an Assistant Professor in the School of Occupational Therapy at Husson University in Bangor, Maine. His textbook on teaching healthcare students through stories, Narrative Lessons, was published in 2015 (ASH Leaf Publications). 

Cavanaugh Kelly has worked as an occupational therapist in various settings, as a journalist for over ten years at several New England newspapers, and as a fiction writer. He has published stories in several peer-reviewed literary magazines, including The Connecticut Review, Birmingham Arts Journal, Slice, MacGuffin, Red Wheelbarrow, and Barrier Islands Review, and others. 


Teaching Empathy Through Stories 

What is empathy? Is empathy a given trait, or something that can be improved upon? Can empathy be taught? Why is empathy important in healthcare? Can we teach healthcare workers to be more empathic through stories? What kinds of stories facilitate empathy?

Cultural Historian, Penobscot Nation


Carol Dana works to preserve, share, and teach Penobscot language and storytelling.

She was born in Bangor in 1952 and attended school on Indian Island until the fifth grade. She later attended college in Machias, got married in 1971, and had her first child in 1972 before moving to New York and working on Akwesasne Notes.

Dana returned to Maine to raise a family on Indian Island and started working on the Penobscot Dictionary in 1982. She currently works in the Cultural Historical Preservation Department for the Penobscot Nation. Available for speaking December - March 


Atlohkewe: Tell Me a Story 

Dana has researched 189 stories from the Folger library that were oral tradition stories told in winter. Dana’s talk also features stories from In Indian Tents by Abby Alger, Algonquian Legends of New England by Charles Godfrey Leland, Gluscabe the Liar and other Weird Tales by Horace P. Beck, and Silas T. Rand’s Legends of the Micmacs. Dana is winner of the Maine Humanities Council’s 2022 Constance H. Carlson Public Humanities Prize

Assistant Professor of Creative Writing, Colby College

Arisa White is an assistant professor of English and Creative Writing at Colby College and author of several poetry collections, which have been nominated for an NAACP Image Award, Lambda Literary Award, California Book Award, and Wheatley Book Award.

Published in March 2021, from Augury Books, her poetic memoir Who’s Your Daddy is a lyrical, genre-bending tale featuring a queer, Black, Guyanese American woman who, while seeking to define her own place in the world, negotiates an estranged relationship with her father. 


Who’s Your Daddy: Writing Collectively Through Personal Absence 

Learn about White’s seven-year writing journey that started when her mother asked, “Do you want to write your father in Guyana?” White began penning epistolary poems addressed to her father. The poems and prose became documents of her daily life, citations from books, quotations from artists and cultural thinkers, song lyrics, and reflections on White’s spiritual condition.

Feeling that this question of fatherhood wasn’t something she wanted to tackle alone, she hosted a call for submissions and community epistolary workshops for participants to write personal letters to distance, absent, or dead fathers, and patriarchal figures. The practice inspired White to write a poetic memoir that gives healing attention to the absences that shape our lives. 

Educator, Community Interpreter


Virginie Akimana is from Rwanda. She is currently an ESOL Instructor at Portland Adult Education and a Community Interpreter. Virginie has a Bachelors’ degree English-Literature, an MBA-IB (International Business), and a Post Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (PGCLTHE). She also holds an Executive Postgraduate Diploma in International Trade Policy and Trade Law. 

From 2009 to 2018 Virginie taught Communication Skills of English, Marketing Management, and other Business courses at the University of Rwanda. Since 2017, she has been an Acting Manager of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network in the Great Lakes region (UN SDSN GL). Her favorite color is green and she loves reading and traveling. 


Naivete, Me and My People

This presentation focuses on how naïveté can be a cultural sickness—how people can blindly believe it is okay to marginalize others in the name of culture and the other side accepts fate without deeply analyzing the situation.