Kay L. Retzlaff

Staff Placeholder
Title Professor of English
Telephone (207) 262-7760

Belfast Hall, Room 218
UMA Bangor Campus


Introduction to All Things Retzlavian:

Kay Retzlaff grew up on a Nebraska farm. Her father’s grandparents emigrated from Frankfurt on Oder, Germany, to Nebraska in the 1880s. Her mother’s great grandparents came from Ireland a bit earlier than that.

As a child, Retzlaff attended a one-room country schoolhouse for kindergarten through second grade then moved to a two-room Lutheran-run school. She earned her B.A. in English, with a minor in history, as well as her M.A. in English, with an emphasis on writing and rhetoric, from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She earned her Ph.D. at the University of Maine in Orono where she wrote her dissertation on the medieval Irish epic Táin Bó Cuailgne. (This is often translated as “The Cattle Raid of Cooley.)

Dr. Retzlaff worked as a writer for 12 years in Washington, D.C., writing and editing various trade publications. She served as assistant press secretary for a U.S. senator from Kentucky. That’s how she met her husband. He was working as press secretary for the other senator from Kentucky. He’s a Kentucky boy, who was born in West Virginia. He claims he’s a child of Appalachia. They have been living in Maine since Labor Day 1993.

She is the author of two books, Ireland: Its Myths and Legends and Women of Mythology. She has edited a number of other works, her most recent being Winterport author and great cook Bich Nga Burrill’s Vietnam Memories: A Cookbook. Her article on Irish immigrants of Belfast, Maine, will appear in the Fall/Winter 2016 Maine History journal. She continues work on her book about the Irish in Belfast. Her short stories and poems have appeared in numerous small magazines and e-zines, including Plainsongs, Feile-Festa, The Prompt, Common Ground Review, among others.

Dr. Retzlaff spent summer of 2015 teaching World Literature at Chonnam National University, Gwangji, Korea.


B.A., University of Nebraska at Lincoln, 1976.
M.A., University of Nebraska at Lincoln, 1981.
Ph.D., University of Maine, 2004.