3 Nations Anthology Will Be Here Any Day!

The 3 Nations Anthology is on its way from the printer this week. I am proud to say that McNaughton & Gunn, a woman-owned printing company which we used to print Off the Coast, also printed this anthology. CLMP, the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses recommends them, and with good reason. They do a wonderful job and their customer service is fabulous.

The cover image is a photocollage of local impressions, the bridge across the narrows from Lubec to Campobello Island, a blueberry barren, a map of Passamaquoddy Bay, a fish weir, and an image of the St. John River.

New England and Atlantic Canada share borders, boundaries, blood, and heritage. The land is disputed in places, in others the US and Canada share responsibility, and Tribal Lands reside as sovereign nations within their borders. The poems, essays, and short stories in this anthology explore the things that divide, the bridges between, and the intense love of this rugged region they hold in common.

The book contains essays, poems, and short stories from:

Michael R. Brown, Dennis A. Camire, Wendy Cannella, Barbara A. Chatterton, Daniel Crowfeather McIsaac, Frances Drabick, J. C. Elkin, Kathleen Ellis, Jéanpaul Ferro, Stephanie S. Gough, Jason Grundstrom-Whitney, Grey Held, Leonore Hildebrandt, Andrea Hill Suarez, Carol R. Hobbs, Paul Hostovsky, Robert P. Hunter, Cynthia Huntington, Sonja Johanson, Susan A. Johnson, J. Kates, Charles A. Kniffen, Michele Leavitt, Carl Little, Joyce M. Lorenson, Donna M. Loring, Frederick Lowe, Sharon Mack, Dr. Charles E. McGowan, Mark Melnicove, Rowan P. Miller, Caroline Misner, Sarah X Murphy, Susan Nisenbaum Becker, Ellie O’Leary, Fredda Paul, John Perrault, Patrick Pierce, Bruce Pratt, Patricia Ranzoni, Susan Reilly, Bunny Richards, John Rule, Cheryl A. Savageau, Catherine Schmitt, Lee Sharkey, Grace Sheridan, Karen Skolfield, Karin Spitfire, Elizabeth Sprague, Emma Suárez-Báez, David R. Surette, Jeri Theriault, Cindy Veach, Robert J. Ward, Danielle Woerner, and Leslie Wood.

The book received wonderful advance praise from Chris Benjamin, Managing Editor, Atlantic Books Today; Silver Atlantic Journalism Award winner, 2014; Patricia Smith,

author, Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah, winner of the 2014  Rebekah Bobbitt Prize, the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize (The Academy of  American Poets), and the Phillis Wheatley Award in Poetry; and Joseph Bruchac, winner of the Writer and Storyteller of the Year Awards from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas and founder of the Greenfield Review Literary Center.

From the opening pages of the 3 Nations Anthology, Elizabeth Sprague’s “This That This” emphatically announces a book pulsing with the heartbeat of the land. In these works of poetry, fiction and essay, disparate voices gain cohesion in their celebration and memory of specific land features: bodies of water, storms, animals, and in their ability to connect them to identity, ancestry and culture. The words herein embody this land and call readers home to it; we are compelled to follow.

—Chris Benjamin

… utterly vital missives from a world we all desperately need to know, the world where water aches an impossible blue, land lies nurtured and
unscarred, and a precipitous beauty startles from all corners… this long-
overdue collection is like pulling a deep, revivifying breath into the body.
And we’re reminded that the world conjured so faithfully in this work is
still there, where it’s always been, still waiting for us.

—Patricia Smith

In many ways, the 3 Nations Anthology is a breath of fresh air. The idea of bringing together Canadian, Native, and New England writers is, in itself, a refreshing change from the literary and cultural barriers that we all too often allow to come between us. The fact that this collection is so well-edited, blending new and more established, prose and poetry, is another reason for celebration. Each page is like turning a corner on one of those Maine seacoast roads and suddenly seeing an entirely new vista opening up in front of you. There are too many fine writers and memorable poems, essays, and stories for me to list in this brief comment. So let me just quote these lines from a piece by Dan Crowfeather McIsaac that catch the spirit of this collection: “My brothers and sisters, the walls are everywhere and they are very high indeed. But they are not too high if we work together. Come—give me your hand….”

—Joseph Bruchac

The book is now available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. In the coming weeks, there will be a series of readings, in Canada and around New England. As soon as the schedule is firmed up, I’ll post the dates.

The Cover Is An Invitation

The cover image for 3 Nations had its own story. Several years ago, I attended a show at the Tides Institute in Eastport, ME (the easternmost city in the US) and fell in love with the work of Canadian print artist. Lesson one: never fall in love with a single artwork when working on a cover. Lesson two: know when to walk away. It took me a while, I didn’t want to give up on the piece, but eventually I did (the piece was tangled in an estate). The book still needed a cover.

At Off the Coast, people sent me artwork and I would select an image and then design the cover with it. I had nothing for 3 Nations. So I went to work and did what designers do, I sketched and tinkered, and finally came up with a photocollage made with the bridge across the narrows from Lubec to Campobello Island, a blueberry barren, a map of Passamaquoddy Bay, a fish weir, and an image of the St. John River. Layer after layer, cut, altered, rendered, adjusted; the digital equivalent of cut and paste, paint and erase, the image came into view.

One of my web design instructors told me a website is a series of problems that need to be solved. I have learned that almost every project, from cover art to tinkering with the CSS on the epub, to learning the sometimes convoluted language of InDesign has all been a series of problems needing to be solved.

I like how it turned out. The “3” on the cover pops, and is reminiscent of a Passamaquoddy birchbark etching design. The design leads you into the book, upriver to the bridge and its crossing. The spine (some of the most valuable real estate on a book cover) will be visible on the shelf when crowded in with other books. The blurbs on the back attest to the fine work of the authors of 3 Nations and their magnificent voices and stories.

Arranging a Manuscript

WIN_20170330_15_53_44_Pro_LIPart alchemy, part hard work, and a big space to lay out all the pieces, this is how a manuscript comes together.

The deadline for submissions for the 3 Nations Anthology was March 15. In the ensuing weeks, the pieces were read and reread many times.

There are many ways to put a book like this together. Alphabetized by author, sorted by subject, or genre, all are valid constructions. I looked for the conversations between the pieces, to see where subject and tone collided or harmonized. At Off the Coast, every issue was produced this way.

WIN_20170330_14_44_18_Pro_LII carted the manuscript to the University of Maine Machias and spread everything out on tables in the art room on the second floor of Powers Hall. It was a wonderful, quiet place to work in. Before long, the manuscript was stretched out across thirty feet of table space. With a deep breath, I dove in and started reading, and sorting, and moving the pieces around. The physicality of this process is amazing. The words dance on the pages and you in turn, dance with the pages. It feels much like that scene in Fantasia with Wizard Mickey conducting and everything around you, the tables, the marble busts, the pages, the light itself swirling into something magical.

The manuscript developed neighborhoods, then regions, and finally with some shuffling of pieces, the order was set. Pretty much, I expected to receive one more piece of writing that had been promised. A single sheet of paper, with the title and author’s name stood in by proxy and held a place.

WIN_20170330_14_44_29_Pro_LIWhen I returned to my desk and started ordering the pieces in a computer file, there needed to be some more tweaks, and when the first draft was printed, a slight shuffle again. Through subsequent drafts and formats, this order has stayed the same.

Below is the line up, with a wonderful mix of poets and writers, from those being published for the first time to a Pulitzer Prize nominee.


WIN_20170330_15_52_28_Pro_LI (2)


Elizabeth Sprague, “This That This”

Danielle Woerner, “Super moon, rising”

David R. Surrette, “Acadian Archaeology”

Leonore Hildebrandt, “Terminal Moraine”

Cheryl Savageau, “The Green Quilt”

Stephanie S. Gough, “Borderline”

JD Rule, “Chance of Afternoon Showers”

J. Kates, “A Lake in the Woods”

Cheryl Savageau, “Water/Nebi”

Karen Skolfield, “Wait Five Minutes”

Donna M. Loring, “Tribal/State Relations in the State of Maine USA”

Rowan Miller, “A Forest Journey”

Lee Sharkey, “In the Wind”

Michele Leavitt, “Wood Lot in April”

Catherine Schmitt, “One Letter Away: A Word Ladder”

Charles McGowan, “Lost and Found Logs”

Cheryl Savageau, “What It Is For”

Bruce Pratt, “Le Barachois”

Leonore Hildebrandt, “On the Way”

Joyce Lorenson, “Agronomist, Meteorologist, Mechanic, Midwife”

Karen Skolfield, “Heirloom”

Emma Suárez-Báez, “A Price to Pay”

Jeri Theriault, “Names Properly”

Cindy Veach, “How a Community of Women”

David R. Surette, “Homecoming”

Jéanpaul Ferro, “The Abyssal Plains”

Dan Crowfeather McIsaac, “Over the Wall”

Chuck Kniffen, “Downeast Odyssey: a trilogy of ultra-short stories”

Michael R. Brown, “Names”

Frederick Lowe, Waverly and the C-Notes”

Carl Little, “Spring Pick-up”

Kathleen Ellis, “Taking Off the Plates”

John Perrault, “Wapizagonke”

Karin Spitfire, “Allegiance”

Barbara Chatterton, “Sweetfern”

Leslie Wood, “Storyteller”

Grey Held, “Hardware Store, Bar Harbor”

Susan Johnson, “The Hill”

Robert J. Ward, “The Descent into Harvey”

Michael R. Brown, “March Hill”

Patrick Gentry Pierce, “Hawk’s View”

Cynthia Huntington, “Bill”

Grace Sheridan, “After El Faro

Danielle Woerner, “Jazz trumpet wind”

David R. Surrette, “The Rosary”

Mark Melnicove, “Fact of Fate”

Wendy Cannella, “a mere geometry of light”

Bunny L. Richards, “Winter Madness”

Patricia Smith Ranzoni, “Facing Both East & West at the Same Time”

Frances Drabick, “My Mother and the Adze”

Caroline Misner, “They Could Be Stars”

Ellie O’Leary, “Welcome to Great Village”

Leonore Hildebrandt, “Thinking Potatoes”

Dennis Camire, “Observations on the Garden, Fourth of July”

Andrea Suarez Hill, “Smithy”

Sharon Mack, “Smelting”

J. C. Elkin, “Big Fish Story”

Susan Reilly, “Downeast One-upmanship”

Danielle Woerner, “June bugs hurtle by”

Carol Hobbs, “At the Supper Table”

Jason Grundstrom-Whitney, “Cedar, Sage, Sweetgrass”

Sonja Johanson, “Three Deer in Oquossoc”

Rob Hunter, “The Illuminati Owe Carl 57 Cents”

Paul Hostovsky, “Privilege”

Susan Johnson, “Falls Reversing”

Susan Nisenbaum Becker, “Borrowed Dust”

Fredda Paul, “Eli-kisi-kikuhut Cihpolakon”

Sarah Xerar Murphy, “Turtle Island Turtle Rattle”