Some literary history from Maine
Books received
Books from Maine (mostly)
Jennifer Wixson talks about her Sovereign Series novels on Writers Forum. Writers Forum is hosted by Ellie O'Leary and airs on WERU Radio at 10 a.m. the second Thursday of every month, featuring writers of Maine reading and talking about their works. 89.9 FM in Blue Hill, Maine. Streaming archives.

The Maine Poetry Express

The Cafe Review

Leonore Hildebrandt of Harrington, Maine, an editor for the Beloit Poetry Journal, talks about poetry and life in the river pine anthology of civic discourse.

Vox Audio offers CD recordings by Maine poets, including Lee Sharkey, Burt Hatlen, Jim Bishop, Timothy Wright, and others at more than fair prices. Check out the website here.
On poetry, reading & etc.
More book reviews
Comments and submissions of poems or short reviews of new Maine books are welcome for this site. Illustrations and images are also welcome. Please email or write Dana Wilde,474 Bangor Road, Troy ME 04987.
Donald F. Mortland
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 an MPBN video
Detritus No. 2
Giclee / Phil Poirier
A Parallel Uni-Verse
Poetry from Maine, and worlds elsewhere
The Mind Errant
Illustration by A.H. McLean
There are only a few of us here.
It's so quiet except for the sound
Of the silverware,
Hushed voices and Christmas music
There are white lights blinking
Off and on
In the big window out front.
We are all here for a reason.
Maybe you are new in town
Or your family is fighting
Over something so petty
You can't quite remember
What started it all
And you don't want to be there
Or maybe you didn't get invited at all.
Maybe your spouse died this past year.
Across from me sits a woman
With her little boy.
Whatever the reason
We are all here together
On this Christmas Eve
Eating chow mein, pork fried rice
And wontons
At the all you can eat buffet
Before we head out
Into the cold and silent night.

Maureen Walsh lives in Bangor, Maine.
Christmas at the Chinese Buffet
By Maureen Walsh
"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.
It’s no surprise they’ve gone,
emptied out of the skies
on this almost-to-the-equinox morning
when late summer sunlight
still penetrates the phlox, turning
rose and lavender petals incandescent.
No surprise they'd follow this light
while it lasts.
But all of them? None left
to answer the call of some lost soul
crying out in the darkness?
Or maybe that’s exactly where they are—
ministering wherever it’s impossible
to believe light can overcome dark.
Either way, it's upsetting
to think no one’s at home in heaven
and there's no way
to leave a call-back message.

Carolyn Locke lives in Troy, Maine. Her books are Not One Thing and Always This Falling.
All the Angels Are Out
from a sign on Route 1
By Carolyn Locke
He sat down next to a
Merchant Marine Officer who
just spent the afternoon of his first day ashore in months
sodomizing and beating up a
fourteen year old girl hustler
off the Embarcadero, but now would
self-righteously gouge out
the eyes of anyone who tried
for his money up on the bar,
although were he suddenly yanked
to police station, with the chicken
pointing him out, he’d be begging
for compassion if not outright
understanding, everyone’s
insight comprehending him, you know
the type, goes around telling
everyone his name’s Tokyo, heavily
tattooed and seething restrained
danger. He rushes to sea when
he can’t keep it together on land.

Leo Connellan (1928-2001) grew up in Rockland, Maine, and went on the become poet laureate of Connecticut. This poem is section IX of Crossing America, excerpted from Poetry Scores website.
Crossing America IX
By Leo Connellan
To see in the sky
at the center of the self
(every self)
(every center)
two golden spirals
in motion entwined
end into opening
each into other
eternal and mortal
the end the beginning
and the hill in the distance
the form, the relief
and the god descending
to cool delight
and the two golden spirals
in motion entwined.

This was to be a poem about the expansion
of human knowledge,
the paradoxical ongoing pregnancy of it,
the never-giving-birth,
an amazement, not monstrous.
This was to be a poem about certainty of scale,
how it turns,
and the wobbly little species, ours,
the tiny human mind,
backward travels, shrinking.
This was to be a poem about decentering a species,
a paradoxical process in which a speck explodes.
Then came the golden spirals,
and the god descending,
the cool and unexpected delight, the cry of wonder.

Shirley Glubka lives in Prospect, Maine. Her recent book is End into Opening.
The Cry
By Shirley Glubka

Living at one edge of my new homeland,
owning a shore of the Atlantic sea,
I rolled in waves across a space so grand

where Spain’s explorers set sail on command
because the queen was lured to find trade free,
living at the edge of a new homeland.

Indigenous folk, an unwary band,
greeted the sailors in their roaming spree
to live at the edge of a new homeland.

Mariners showed coins, glittering in hand,
shining sun-bright in exchange for a fee
to own certain the edge of new homelands.

Perhaps the sailors chose to see firsthand
and offered to make a convincing plea
to live at the edge of an island strand,

with no desire for any to disband
in the way adversaries tend to flee,
living at the edge of a new homeland
grasping a shore of the Atlantic sea.

George Chappell lives in Rockland, Maine. His collection of poems is A Fresh Footpath.
Living at one edge
By George Chappell
By Thomas R. Moore
Locals don't eat mussels.
Scarcer soft-shell clams

are sweeter, have no hidden
pearls to snap a tooth. Cruising

sailors like them steamed
in wine and garlic in the ketch's

cabin with gin and stormy tales.
Maybe it's the simplicity

of gathering that makes mussels
valueless to some, like easy love.

Thomas R. Moore lives in Brooksville, Maine. His recent collection is Chet Sawing, available, along with his first book The Bolt-Cutters, through
By Tom Sexton
A friend about to leave for Paris calls
and says, “money is a kind of song.”
I take a few bills out of my wallet and
put them face up on the kitchen table.
Washington’s lips are thin and pursed.
Jefferson could be a sphinx in a wig.
I smooth a few creases from the bills
but nothing happens. I wait in silence.
Outside the window, a Stellers Jay
tilts its crested head to look at me
then begins to sing its raucous song.

Tom Sexton lives in Anchorage, Alaska, and was poet laureate of that state from 1995 to 2003. He spends every other winter in his house in Eastport, Maine. His most recent collection of poems is I Think Again of Those Ancient Chinese Poets published by University of Alaska Press.
Shirley Glubka
Beatrix Gates
Peter Welch
Robert Chute
Stephen King
Bruce Holsapple
Sanford Phippen
Kenneth Frost
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

Cape Rosier. Land's end.
Numbing cold (goes without
saying). I'll be damned
if these winds (
are not having their way
with the ocean. Waves surging
back and back (not in)
against the tide I mean).
Never seen the likes of it, you?
This tidal pool shaking
under windflaws, one thing,
but waves rolling out
instead of forward what do you
make of it? As if, always there
for the shore, the sea today
is being loved in return.

Patricia Ranzoni lives in Bucksport, Maine. This poem is from her collection Hibernaculum and Other North-Natured Poems. Her most recent book is Bedding Vows,
(Old Norse for windows, before glass)
By Patricia Ranzoni
By Kenneth Frost
Does the jay know
the fieldmouse jigs
in the cat's eye
when his voice drags
through the sun's cataract
to smolder leaves
in the Mongolia
of losing autumn?

Blue fingers float,
dragging their ghosts
on the hayfield
to sunset.

Kenneth Frost taught at Columbia University and The New School, and lived in Wilton, Maine. His new collection is Coring the Moon published by Main Street Rag.
I was chattering about crop circles in cow pastures,
and in all seriousness she told me she’d seen a UFO

ten years ago in Maine’s dark sky. Odd, it took her so long
to tell me, sturdy sister that she is, who worries

about sunlight on her piano and listens to sheep sounds.
Born with a brown mark on her stomach,

she had radiation long before they knew about dosages,
but I think it’s possible she came from someplace else,

a place of glare and whiteness, one you couldn’t imagine
without closing your eyes. And she came with a language

that no one else spoke, and her rare and lovely words
worked their way into songs with the sounds of sky in her scores,

like geese flying south, a bellying on surfaces.
So to hear her say she’d seen a UFO, suggesting

that its roundness could create circles anywhere,
pinwheels in a field of oats in summertime Maine,

it was as if we were sisters after all. Aren’t we?

Anne Harding Woodworth lives in Washington, D.C. Her books include Herding, from which this poem is taken, Unattached Male and Spare Parts: A Novella in Verse, among others. She is a member of the Poetry Board at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington.
Crop Circles
By Anne Harding Woodworth
Here on the northern fringe, we welcome
warming trends. All summer we go basking in the nude,
happily reconciled, the wild-wood shores
a picture of harmonious play––reflective cloudscapes,
and the light so sweet––a mystery.
New kinds of birds are flocking to the islands—
along with new diseases, to be fair—
we watch and count. We listen
to migrations in the dead of night,
more likely to be avid than perturbed,
but now and then I train the lenses on the water
lapping at my doorstep.

Calamity can make us more vigorous,
alert, and compassionate. Or so they say.
Somewhere else the silvered fish,
who may not sin at all, are writhing
in the bright-bloodied water,
their fins cut off by men, for other men––
a heart-shock sure to prompt a moral outcry.
But eyes can easily be fooled. And acrid smells
may rise too slowly to be noticed––
the fish go belly-up, the bee hives slump,
and further complications rise, like water,
lapping at my doorstep.

If I were rich, I’d build a wall
around my place. Or move
up to the high-ground, the windy barrens,
good for flying kites. Summer is over,
and I wear boots day in day out.
I find myself staring at the roof line of my house.
On Sundays I try to make headway
with new techniques for relaxation.
It rains and rains. I’m reciting foreign prayers––
gibberish, my fears, much
like the swish of water
lapping at my doorstep.

Leonore Hildebrandt of Harrington, Maine, grew up in Germany. She is an editor for Beloit Poetry Journal and a member of the Flat Bay artists collective. Her new collection is The Next Unknown.
Three Waves
By Leonore Hildebrandt
Fort Lauderdale Beach
By Thomas Lequin
With a light smile on my face,
I walk the shores of Lauderdale
between the surf and beach.
The gulls screech at one another,
bullying for tidbits
washed ashore.

Overhead, the pelicans patrol,
fish unseen.

My slight smile turns to a full grin
as I see what is before me
and think of Maine’s
snow and cold.

Thomas Lequin lives in Starks, Maine.
CNN is on, but muted.
I’m listening again to a
Brahms violin concerto
and admiring the spines
of the books in my house.
I sip my beer, light another
cigarette, and lift my head
to see the spines of people
torn apart, torn like mediocre
poems and thrown in the trash.
I’m not sure, at first, if it’s
Gaza, Iraq, or Afghanistan,
and then I think of Vietnam
and the poem I shared about
a heron with today’s classes
and how it reminded me of
the boy who stood erect
on one leg in the minefield
outside my room in Saigon
thirty-four years ago as his
left foot danced in the dust.

A.H. McLean taught English for 36 years at Orono High School.
Music Lesson
By A.H. McLean
Autumn moon
The Peddler
By Gus Peterson
Did you peddle your papers?
A smile. An unblemished apple
on the nightstand beside him,
gleaming like a star.
Every day a new one
warming the void where once
life orbited a heart greater
than the sum of its mass.
He asks again, lifts his hand.
I take it. Yes, mom answers softly,
he’s about to go. The skin is so dry,
like paper. But this paper
is full, overflowing with text,
the marginalia of a three quarter
century tale with no regrets.
Last words transmit across the space
between parched lips and a young ear,
and I will forever wear the gravity
of that middle word and appreciate
the vendors of little things,
the handmade, the homespun,
my own two syllable star
pushing its small cart
from town to town
in this vast churning universe,
selling this little relic of life to you now.

Gus Peterson lives in Randolph, Maine. He has read his poems at the Harlow Gallery in Hallowell and appeared in August on the WERU Writers Forum.
Mersey Dances
By Arthur Haswell
Paintings in the Maritime Museum show this stretch of river
full of sailing ships coming in on the tide, sailors
jigging on deck at the sight of steeples, inns, blank
warehouses with doors waiting to close
on their cargo.

Looking up from the dockside I see descendents of clerks,
hornpipers, and porters gawping from French windows
where hoists once hung, at lancets cut to light
vaults for cotton, grain, palm oil,
and guano.

A low estuary sun limes their faces, silhouettes the sea-grey
destroyer sliding downriver, sheet steel blind,
shipping no movement save where the ocean's bluster
leads her white ensign
in a tango.

Arthur Haswell lives in Northumberland, England. This poem containing imagery from the Mersey River port on England’s west shore gives echoes of Maine’s maritime past and ancestry.
I have mixed feelings about a string of propane cars
creeping along the tracks behind my house. I love the
rumble, the whistle, but don’t want the tanks to blow
up. The song, the warning call at the crossing on
my street with no lights or bell as the trains crawl
north on a line will change with the rerouting of
the Vermonter here next year, so soon we will get
lights, bells, and gates as trains pass by at seventy
miles per hour, but maybe without the warning
whistle, now too inconvenient, just annoying poetry.

James Smethurst is a graduate of the University of Southern Maine and now teaches at the University of Massachusetts.
Train Whistle
By James Smethurst