Rockland, Maine, Poet Laureate Joanna Hynde will host Kathleen Ellis,
Claire Millikin and Dave Morrison as they read from their recent
works starting at 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 8, at the Rockland Public
Library, 80 Union St., Rockland. For information call (207) 594-0310.
Poets from Kathleen Ellis’ Poetry Writing Workshops will present a
Round-Robin Reading starting at 1 p.m. Friday, Aug. 12, at the
Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine. For information call
The annual Tenants Harbor Poetry Reading will be held this year
starting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 18, at Odd Fellows Hall in
Tenants Harbor, Maine. For information contact Christopher Fahy.
Winthrop, Maine, is celebrating a public evening of poetry, 5-9 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 19. To participate, contact Claire Hersom, 36 Wings
Drive, Winthrop, ME 04364.
The 12th annual Belfast Poetry Festival will be held Oct. 14-15, 2016.
Maine's WERU 89.9 FM Writers Forum with host Ellie O'Leary airs at
11 a.m. the second Thursday of each month. Streaming archives.
The Maine Poetry Express
The Cafe Review
William Hathaway's Poetry Drawer. Not for the faint of art. "Given a
choice between lucky in love or with parking places, it’s startling how
many choose the latter."
Three Poems by Osip Mandelstam, translated by Alistair Noon.
Events overheard of & etc.
A Parallel Uni-Verse
Poetry from Maine, and worlds elsewhere
"It seems to be"
By X.Z. Shao
It seems to be
a quarry of broken concrete
crooked steel beards
pointing out in disorder
you will live in time
in it, a mansion
echoing your soft whisper
and your gait
in every mirror.
X.Z. Shao is a poet, philosopher and
teacher of English language and
creative writing at Xiamen University in
Xiamen, China. His blog is A Poetic
Voice from China.
"Apologize over soup,"
But this soup is a disappointment
Beef and Barley
in a can
With a label that it makes it look more appealing.
What happened to homemade soup?
No time to waste.
No time for simmering smells and aprons.
This country was founded on hopes and dreams.
Now it's founded on dollars
from a single street in America.
A wall of barriers
and injustice for all.
And it isn't climate change melting the ice caps.
It is a hot cloud of greed
Making its way across this spinning ball
about to lose control.
Teresa Lagrange of Portland, Maine, is a graphic artist.
"Apologize over soup"
By Teresa Lagrange
poems by and/or reviews of:
John Holt Willey
Gordon Theisen Nighthawks
When I was five, believed
He lived up there, and saw
By baby angels
Waiting to be born.
I told my mother:
"Before I was born I was an angel."
Mother asked, "Well, where are your wings?"
I said: "Stored in the attic."
Ted Bookey lives in Readfield, Maine, and is an organizer of the poetry
series at the Hallowell Gallery in Hallowell. His books include Lostalgia
and Language as a Second Language.
By Ted Bookey
Last year we fought where the Sang-kan flows,
this year it was Onion River Road.
We’ve washed our swords in the Eastern Sea,
grazed our horses on T’ien Shan’s snowy side.
A thousand miles are not enough for this war,
our armies grow old in their armor.
Husbandmen of slaughter, the Huns
have sown the yellow desert with our bones.
Long ago the Ch’in built the Great Wall,
now it’s the Han who light the signal-beacon.
All night long the flames flicker,
year in year out, the war goes on.
Bright swords flash, brave men fall and die,
riderless horses whinny at the sky.
Kites and crows pluck out the guts,
hang them high on the withered trees.
Soldiers smear their blood on the dry grass
while generals map the next campaign.
Wise men know winning a war
is no better than losing one.
Li Bai (701-762) was one of China's most revered poets of all time.
Half human, and half machine.
Oils running dry in this smoky scene.
Jackson Wilde is a short order cook, occasional
thrash drummer and near-dormant poet living in
By Jackson Wilde
Fighting South of the Wall.
Listen to the Chinese.
Eheu! How dangerous, how high! It would be easier to climb to Heaven
than to walk the Szechwan Road.
Since Ts’an Ts’ung and Yü Fu ruled the land, forty-eight thousand years had
gone by; and still no human foot had passed from Shu to the frontiers of
Ch’in. To the west across T’ai-po Shan there was a bird-track, by which one
could cross to the ridge of O-mi. But the earth of the hill crumbled and
So afterwards they made sky ladders and hanging bridges. Above, high
beacons of rock that turn back the chariot of the sun. Below, whirling
eddies that meet the waves of the current and drive them away. Even the
wings of the yellow cranes cannot carry them across, and the monkeys
grow weary of such climbing.
How the road curls in the pass of Green Mud!
With nine turns in a hundred steps it twists up the hills.
Clutching at Orion, passing the Well Star, I look up and gasp. Then beating
my breast sit and groan aloud.
I fear I shall never return from my westward wandering; the way is steep
and the rocks cannot be climbed.
Sometimes the voice of a bird calls among the ancient trees -- a male
calling to its wife, up and down through the woods. Sometimes a
nightingale sings to the moon, weary of empty hills.
It would be easier to climb to Heaven than to walk the Szechwan Road; and
those who hear the tale of it turn pale with fear.
Between the hill-tops and the sky there is not a cubit’s space. Withered
pine-trees hang leaning over precipitous walls.
Flying waterfalls and rolling torrents mingle their din. Beating the cliffs and
circling the rocks, they thunder in a thousand valleys.
Alas! O traveller, why did you come to so fearful a place? The Sword Gate
is high and jagged. If one man stood in the Pass, he could hold it against
The guardian of the Pass leaps like a wolf on all who are not his kinsmen.
In the daytime one hides from ravening tigers and in the night from long
serpents, that sharpen their fangs and lick blood, slaying men like grass.
They say the Embroidered City is a pleasant place, but I had rather be safe
For it would be easier to climb to Heaven than to walk the Szechwan Road.
I turn my body and gaze longingly toward the West.
Li Bai (701-762) was one of China's most revered poets of all time.
Hard Roads in Shu.
Listen to the Chinese.
All that’s amiss, stiff clutch, broken ankle,
inherent brain deficit, no cash to speak of
The truck bouncing down a muddy road
field mustard, raggedy yellow
nasty swerve to the left
I mean the absolute catastrophe
you are, the way rainwater drains
thru that field, pours into the road
cutting a graveled wedge
such that the road drops, clunk
ditch & tunnel bypassed
& where the road’s washed out
the sandy twist of your steering wheel
that squishy feeling
like you’re draining away, bereft,
or as it gathers in ditches, those ditches
cut in, puddle, wash out
altering how—no, make the road
disappear into the landscape
without trace, save
for crumpled beer cans
the story of your life ha
but the force of the rain—
where water sluices thru the road
becomes the road unloosens washes out
(actually it’s an arroyo—
the path water takes
become the most gradual)
can spread a brown foamy wave
down this canyon
eating the jagged berm
that’s what you need guard against
threat of lightning
I Ching trigram K’an, passion & danger
& the hexagram doubled K’an, the Abysmal
misfortune at the bottom
misfortune at the top
danger within danger
I mean, this froth you pursue
thoughts bouncing about
without scope, no dimension
the sense of unfolding
the truth of who you are
the balance of forces
split sense of yourself as other
as the person watching
the person watching
on the defensive, okay
the way you slur & slide
splash your way home
specific recognitions locating what else
but when & where this instance of “you” is
establishing here & there
points of insight, boundaries
that’s what you reflect from
cross examine, reflect on
a system of reference
that is self-consciousness
that’s what constitutes
in a fundamental way
who you are
distinguishes thinker from thought
knows the inside as out
puts you behind the wheel
(rather than under it)
you need to keep the show
going forward, get down the road
the needle bouncing back & forth
relate road truck & mud
negotiate your own difficult terrain
not simply opposed to
you need slow, know different
What you take & what you create
make happen, a murky swirl
I mean, odd isn’t it the dichotomy
between what you perceive & what “you” wants
inside all your thoughts
consequently dealing with garbage all day!
sexual fantasies, fatigue, skewed reactions
nothing of particular interest
even to you—the level of triviality
almost monstrous at times!
as if whatever motivated you
a paycheck, pain, pretty new friend
there’s no distinguishing—
water outside, water within
as if there were some corrective
& you could attain higher ground
as if desire could determine a life
as if desire weren’t already
determining your life!
you can’t get what you’re not open to give
those are intimately related
& when you start to let go
participate, however poorly
push yourself aside somehow
no point or purpose
the opposite of what motivates you
declare, nothing to declare
& it’s that conflict
you pushing you aside
Bruce Holsapple grew up in Dexter, Maine, and now lives in
Magdalena, N.M. His recent book of poems is Wayward Shadow.
By Bruce Holsapple
Plumb the depth of time
Sitting by shore of moving water
Deep in the crowded forest of memories
Dredging up the glorious past
That’s now soggy and devoid of life
Like the drowned beaver pulled from trap
Dead animal sell the pelt
Waste the meat, pocket the money
Honor the totem animal?
They snicker and laugh
Grandfather worked the wood camps
Other grandfather worked the mill
Three generations cut wood
Families worked the mills
The mills were our families
Always beside the rivers
Small towns surrounded by forest
Part Mic-Mac we’re born to water and trees
Worked twenty four hours sometimes
Keep the machines running, they got a sound
Then a sound came from New York and Boston
From Men wearing gray suits
Heard them snicker and laugh
It echoed up the eastern seaboard
Way up the rivers in Maine
Close the mills, Smokestacks crashed
Like trees we used to fell
Defaulted scam loans fill gray suits with cash
Broken contracts shattered lives
Bulls of Wall Street in the china shop called Maine
Hundred million dollar paper machines, sold for scrap
Politicians say service economy, tourism, retraining
They snicker and laugh
Send us to hamburger school, can’t wait
In season serve a hamburger to tourists, smile, Minimum Wage
Funny thing happened on the way to poverty
They increased our taxes
Saw some suicides too
Gray suits, fancy dresses at parties
Dancing to the wisdom of greed, didn’t save one mill
What got saved?
We live in the woods, cut firewood
Can’t afford to burn oil, heat with wood
Neighbors and friends buy the extra that’s cut
Sometime I see hard times in their eyes
Read between unspoken lines give them an extra half cord
They helped me plenty when I needed
Forty five year old tractor breaks down, Henry fixes it
We give him raspberries when they come in season
Bill visited gave me five fresh caught trout
When I raised pigs we shared the meat
Snowstorm, not even light yet
Kenney’s plowing my lower driveway
Must be five people give us deer meat, moose, wild turkey
Years ago I cut meat up for them, they remember
Let a neighbor graze his sheep my field
My bush hog broke down can’t afford to fix it
He bush hogs my other field, I’m thankful every gift
My wife sews beautiful quilts, gives them away, family
We make our own Christmas cards, send them
Give them away, she worked the mill once
Don’t have much money
All this giving made us all rich in the soul
We’re sewn together like my wife’s quilts
Not a writer but I know what’s real
It ain’t torn down mills or greed
John "Bubba" Campbell of Dedham, Maine, submitted this poem for Patricia Ranzoni's
anthology of writings recalling the paper mill in Bucksport, which was recently closed for
reasons not clear to those who worked there.
By John Campbell
Looking At Him
By Carolyn Gelland
She saw her own
image in his eyes
looking at him
not simply herself
but herself in him
by her star.
Carolyn Gelland lives in Wilton, Maine. Her
most recent book is Dream-Shuttle.
By Gus Peterson
for Leonard Nimoy
In a way, we all are.
Rising from the orbit of dreams,
we shower and warp
into the workday --
those stoic, calculated courses
we've gone before,
running the diagnostics
and procedure keeping
the vessel of us propelled,
one mission at a time,
through the space
of another week where
for an hour at least
we are entirely human --
fascinating in our love,
our rage, our sorrow
with its tears that fall
like shooting stars
across the lens
Gus Peterson lives in Randolph, Maine. His recent
collection is When the Poetry's Gone.
In the years before we died, we puttered
inside our houses while motorcycles
and leaf blowers roared and groaned in savage
rage and pain outside, and if our old black
Bakelite telephones, squatting silent
amidst motley clutter like abstract statues
of outsized toads, should ever jangle
as of old, startling dust motes into dance
in stale air, it would be only robot voices
calling to beg or scare us into giving up
our secret numbers. Land lines, our tablet-
thumbing grandchildren sneered, sounding
like land mines to worn-out ears. Ever more
we missed long-dead dear ones, and as we drift-
dozed in our recliner rockers we dreamt
of ecstatic embraces in paradise
and hanging out forever in infinite bliss
with those who’d always laughed at our jokes
and listened to our old stories, no matter
how often we told them. So imagine
our disappointment when the warmest friends
of our salad days greeted us with polite,
unsurprised indifference and turned back
to talk with their netherworld new friends
without bothering to introduce us.
If we stepped outside the crimson domes
to escape the almost unbearable heat
of the bonfires that sparkled across black
infinity, our sole eternal scenery,
cold immediately seemed to seize us.
Strange, because we had no bodies anymore,
or personalities, for that matter.
Nonetheless, this had to be the nicest place
since we’d always been the nicest people,
and everyone took turns either complaining
or saying, “It is what it is,” with a curt shrug.
Nevertheless, we’d arrived trailing thoughts
like clouds of exhaust smoke, and these grew
to become a single yearning that looked ever-
forward to a rewarding afterdeath.
William Hathaway in recent years moved from Surry, Maine,
to Gettysburg, Pa. His most recent collection in a long,
distinguished career is The Right No.
By William Hathaway
Puffs of light green leaves
rising along the ridges,
the measure of spring.
So many bluets
that your shoes cannot avoid
In the warming air
the horizon rolls and lifts
in billows of cloud.
10 June 2016
Farnham Blair lives in Blue Hill, Maine. His books include
Immanent Green: Poems and Peripheral Visions: Memoirs
of a Washington Childhood.
By Farnham Blair
X.Z. Shao is a poet, philosopher and
teacher of English language and
creative writing at Xiamen
University in Xiamen, China. His
blog is A Poetic Voice from China.
You can contact him on WeChat at
The weather ninety years and then some gone,
sun some squint their eyes against faded.
Of these two sisters one’s face alone,
for the last half-century, more or less,
recalls to its place on earth the other’s.
These brothers are yours. Their mischief is done,
down to the last of the iron-hooped chestnuts
lifting its blossoming branches high.
Together, still, they grin and turn
so as not to look the camera in the eye:
ten children in a light gone utterly dark.
Something about this one sets her apart.
There she sits, at your sister’s side,
as if, twelve years along, she’s already stunned
by reasoning, insofar as we are able,
on the obligations of this dark passage
bringing her to a kitchen table
and the appendectomy the doctor performs
in a frantic effort to save a life
some weeks after this picture is taken,
and resultant blood poisoning, of which she will die.
Rick Doyle lives in Bucksport, Maine, and practices law in Hancock
Carter Hill Schoolhouse, 1919
By Rick Doyle
A silent road leading
to a silent Mill.
The roads were alive
helping me in my
slumber. The loud roars
shouting through the
streets. Loud trucks up
til dusk til dawn.
A natural sound it felt
during the night. The
Mill has closed leaving
the truckers in Eternal
Michael Shaw is a high school student living in Bucksport,
Maine. This poem is set to appear in “STILL MILL: Poems,
Stories & Songs of Making Paper in Bucksport, Maine 1930 –
2014” soon to be released by North Country Press.
My Sleeping Street
By Michael Shaw II
We teeter on flight, fight, or tears, but from what,
for what? We believe in ghosts of those who never
lived. Ghosts hide in smoke; the smoke shifts; the
ghosts fly without rest. Is my ghost sadder while I’m
still alive? What’s the difference between a ghost
and a spirit? Is the ghost of the age scarier than
the spirit of the age? Answer me one more question:
are these the shadows of the things that Will be,
or are they shadows of things that May be, only?
James Smethurst is a graduate of the University of Southern Maine and now
teaches at the University of Massachusetts.
By James Smethurst
Sadness is emotional pain associated with, or characterized by
feelings of disadvantage, loss, despair, helplessness and sorrow.
An individual experiencing sadness may become quiet or lethargic,
and withdraw themselves from others. Crying is often an indication
We tunnel out of creases in the green-blue sky
toward sparkling treetops
on the curve of plantlit earth.
We hum across the photoverdant vineyards --
rose and hemlock, root-rich dirt
and birch, and leaf of pine.
Like green light burning in the stars --
We hum and hover treetop-high.
And then a glare of lights appears
And strobes along behind the pines --
Hollow, pale lights. Nonphotosynthesizable
light. In motion. On a dead black strip.
We tunnel to the hillside, where the light
is lumbering, propelled by
deep voltaic rage --
We make our slow descent --
we de-electrify its psyche,
which is like a lightning-thicket --
Its warlike loneliness bites at us --
The box stalls willingly. Its lights go dark.
-- All quiet on the blacktop strip.
The jackpines laugh, and we anesthetize
the power source and lift it
gently to ourself.
We calm its fear. We strip away its coverings.
We numb it. Scan. We scrape
and soothe. We drill, extract,
replace, insert and gouge. We warn:
Neglect of inner power
wrecks the outer life;
neglect of outer life will wreck
the inner power. We look
like devils to this bonsai mind.
We tag, reclothe and then return the lonely power
to its box. -- We overset the tangle
with a dream of blue-green light,
And while electric rage regenerates
itself, and lights the jackpines
shifting in the verdant, starlit breeze --
We tunnel out for home to try to learn
how psychic storms survive to power flesh
and consciousness boils from photosynthesis,
before the feeble body of our race winks out.
Jack Daw lives in Waldo County, Maine. His poems have appeared in
Asimov's Science Fiction, and elsewhere.
By Jack Daw