Some literary history from Maine
Books received
mostly from Maine
The 12th annual Belfast Poetry Festival will be held Oct. 14-15, 2016.

Maine's WERU 89.9 FM Writers Forum with host Nancy Tancredi airs at 11 a.m. the second Thursday of each month. Streaming archives.

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.
More reviews
Donald F. Mortland: Homage to a Modern Man of Letters
Robert Creeley: A Mainer at heart
C.F. Terrell: The most important figure in Maine letters you've never heard of.
Leo Connellan and Sandy Phippen talk on MPBN
Off Radar
On Radar
Edward Hopper on
More reviews
More reviews
Alistair Noon in English
Stephen King and Sandy Phippen talk on MPBN
Professor Mark Bruhn
reading from Wordsworth's Prelude
Carolyn Locke:
More on the Words:
An Interview with Poet Carolyn Locke
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,"
she said.
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:
Murray Carpenter
Cafe Review
Richard Grossinger
Tess Gerritsen
Steve Luttrell
Beatrix Gates
Peter Welch
Robert Chute
Stephen King
Bruce Holsapple
Sanford Phippen
Kenneth Frost
Carolyn Gelland
Lee Sharkey
Richard Sewell
Wesley McNair
Bruce Wallace
Kathie Fiveash
Carolyn Locke
Dave Morrison
Arthur Rimbaud
Glenn Cooper
Leonore Hildebrandt
Raymond Fowler
Larry Thomas
Thomas Lequin
Maureen Walsh
Teresa Lagrange
John Holt Willey
Edward Lorusso
Wesley McNair
George Danby
Lindy Hough
Gordon Theisen Nighthawks
Alfred DePew
Robert Stevens
Dirk Dunbar
Chris Peary
David Cappella
james lowe
Eleanor Mayo
Richard Foerster
Stuart Kestenbaum
Megan Grumbling
Alex Irvine
Take Heart
Jeanne Braham
Judith Robbins
Jennifer Wixson
Tenants Harbor
Chris Fahy
S Dorman

When I was five, believed
He lived up there, and saw
Benevolence surrounded
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
Fighting South of the Wall
By Li Bai Translation by Taylor Stoehr
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 Maine.
By Jackson Wilde
Fighting South of the Wall.
Listen to the Chinese.
The Szechwan Road (Hard Roads in Shu)
By Li Bai Translation by Arthur Waley
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 heroes[20] perished.

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[14] 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 ten thousand.

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 at home.

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,
without compensation—

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
bumpity bump
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
bodily awareness
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
insinuating itself
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.
Muddy Road
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.

Maine Real
By John Campbell
More --->
Looking At Him
By Carolyn Gelland
She saw her own
image in his eyes

looking at him

not simply herself
but herself in him


dazzled out
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
of night.

Gus Peterson lives in Randolph, Maine. His recent collection is When the Poetry's Gone.
Should we rescue the soft, powdery moth
gyrating in fluttery panic viciously gripped
by a wasp that rides crouched behind its head
like a tiny jockey made of shiny black majolica?
Or should we let nature, where nothing’s mean,
meaning petty according to Emerson,
take (or give, for that matter) its course,
as we’re wont to presume some choice
in the matter? Or should we just stomp on
both of them and march on? Why, you ask?
Because ugly’s ugly no matter what
direct object’s tacked on to a dangling what,
and once a stomp’s stomped what’s the use
of asking why? Or why ask if terror governs
in things so small? Shouldn’t we imagine
the moth’s frantic flapping and the wasp’s
fierce pincers not as fear and hunger
but just some buzzing in almost brainless
beings? What’s in minuscule black orbs
that pass for eyes but the tiniest glimmer
of a reflected world in which, if only we
could see in things so small, shadows
of ourselves are bending to observe
a casual horror, as we make our judgments
to do or not to do before moving on?

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
crushing innocence.


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.
Spring haiku
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 XZShaoXMU.
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 County.
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
I love reading the Sunday papers on a wet New Jersey
morning visiting family. In a story in the
a serpent, alleged green anaconda, was spotted
in Lake Hopatcong, dove, according to the press,
through the legs of a herpetologist troubleshooter,
Jersey crocodile hunter hustler, the snake a ghost,
maybe, of the Bertrand’s Island Amusement Park,
now coiled in the bowels of the luxury townhouses
covering where the Illions Monarch II Supreme carousel
once spun. But the spirit of Sussex and Morris counties
showed through in the crisis, “Reported Anaconda
Sighting in Lake Hopatcong Leaves Locals Defiant
in Face of Roving Reptile,” cried the headline in the
Sussex Herald, lacking a bit in concision, perhaps,
and leaving actual expression unsaid, to be filled
in: “Fuck you!” “No, fuck you and your snake, too!”

Back home in the Connecticut River Valley, the corn
cut down to a dirty yellow stubble, I walk on the bottom
of Lake Hitchcock, the water, glacial melt, gone, present
sight and memory glowing with headlines, filled with
the bright colors of the comics,
Prince Valiant, which
looks great while nothing is resolved; a coyote kit as real
as memory rushes the milkweed, then stops at the highway
just in time; the wooden roller coaster of Bertrand’s Island
hurtles, too; and a flying snake swims through waves of air.

James Smethurst is a graduate of the University of Southern Maine and now teaches at the University of Massachusetts.
Walking on Lake Hitchcock
By James Smethurst
ah mclean