LEWISTON — The Franco-American Collection will host local poet Susann Pelletier at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 25. Pelletier is the second featured writer of the FAC’s five Meet-A-Franco-Author programs being offered free to area Francophiles and lovers of reading in 2019-2020.

The program series is called Franco-America at the Interstice of Identities, and guest writers explore the conjunction of a Franco identity and another identity that is also important to them.

“Susann Pelletier writes implicated poetry that features both her Franco heritage and her social-action involvement,” said Franco-American Collection Program Chairman and board member Denis Ledoux.  “Her poems give voice to family and place in Franco-America, its narrative of immigration, labor and struggle to thrive.  Her work also honors and attends closely to a landscape, both imperiled and resilient, that continues to sustain us.”

“Her first poetry collection, ‘Immigrant Dream,’ is full of remarkable images of life in Lewiston and Auburn in a previous era when the mills and the shoe shops dominated the lives of her Franco ancestors,” according to Ledoux.

Pelletier’s poems have been published here and abroad in anthologies, literary journals, chapbooks and political and environmental magazines.  Her poems are a part of Francophone Studies college curricula and have been translated into French and Spanish.

Pelletier’s program will feature reading from her 2018 chapbook, “This Unheeded Eden,” which continues her focus on Franco life and on social action.


Her poems have also appeared most recently in the books, “Fierce with Reality,” “Literature on Aging” and “Heliotrope — French Heritage Women Create.”

With a BA from Bates College and an MS from Northwestern University, Pelletier has presented at conferences, political rallies, colleges and galleries and she has read at international poetry festivals in Canada and the U.S. In October 2019, Pelletier was visiting poet, along with Maine Poetry Out Loud state champion João Victor, co-hosting the Maine Poetry Express community event at Auburn Public Library.

Pelletier has worked as a college instructor, journalist, editorial consultant, writing specialist/tutor and co-editor of the monthly Maine Progressive.  A pacifist, Pelletier is committed to nonviolent social change and economic justice. A long-time volunteer with Maine People’s Alliance, she served on its board for a decade. She is on the board of LA Arts and coordinates its Arts in Education and Maine Writes programs.

Ledoux said, “Our Meet-A-Franco-Author programs depart from our previous curatorial focus. With this series, we at the FAC step 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 in a Q-and-A session into this series,” said Ledoux, “so that the audience will have time to engage in conversation with Susann Pelletier about her experience as a Franco, as a Franco writer and as an activist.”

The new Meet-A-Franco-Author programs are free due to a grant from the Québec Delegation in Boston and are open to the public. Members of the FAC are invited to attend a pre-reading reception with the author. For information on becoming a member, contact the office at 207-753-6545.

All programs are held at 7 p.m. Mondays in Room 170 at Lewiston-Auburn College of the University of Southern Maine. For the subsequent program, scheduled for Feb., 24, 2020, the FAC will present poet Stephen Riel, who hails from Massachusetts. Maine fiction writer Ron Currie Jr. will read on March 23, and historian David Vermette on April 27. Vermette was born in Massachusetts, but his parents and grandparents were from Brunswick.

Lewiston-Auburn College is on Westminster Street. For more information, contact Ledoux at Denis@thememoirnetwork.com or by phone at 207-353-5454.

On Monday, Nov. 25, at 7 p.m, Lewiston’s Franco-American Collection will host local poet, Susann Pelletier, the second featured writer of the FAC’s five Meet-A-Franco-Author programs being offered free in 2019-2020. Submitted photo

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