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.

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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)

Contents:

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”

3 Nations Anthology Submission Deadline Today!

Wednesday, March 15

3 Nations Anthology, a collection of writings by Native American, Atlantic Canadian, and New England writers. The anthology will be a conversation among writers of both prose and poetry.

The goal for the 3 Nations Anthology is to produce a lasting work of literary merit highlighting the many talented writers and spoken word artists in this region and beyond. The project was conceived in a much more hopeful time. The increasingly nationalistic tone of the new administration makes this call for dialogue among neighboring nations all the more critical. We must keep communication open.

I am seeking works of short prose and poetry for this anthology which conveys what living here is like where 3 Nations exist close together; what we share and what keeps us apart. Send works that describe a life or an instant. Subject matter can be very broad, from borders and bridges, the water that flows around-under-through, the solid ground we stand on, the tides that alternately obscure and reveal, kinships, animosities, heritage, geography, dawn, dawn land, northern lights, moose meat stew, poutine, ployes, lobster, pollock, lumber, boat-building, pregnant cows, art, music, literature—anything that makes up life in this region where three nations share space, history, and the future.

Please don’t feel that this is a required list of topics or ideas. As the editor of the literary journal Off the Coast over the course of eight years I came to expect surprises and new ways of interpreting ideas and also to accommodate different viewpoints.

Short Prose: Fiction or non-fiction, 5,000 words or less, flash and micro works encouraged. A single work greater than 1,000wds, 1-2 pieces less than 1,000 wds. Previously published work is OK if you hold the copyright.

Poetry: 1-3 poems, any style or format, less than 50 lines preferred. Previously published work is OK if you hold the copyright.

Ephemera: Hand written notes, recipes, and other items are welcome. Send scanned high resolution images in jpg, tif, psd, or pdf format.

Include a brief bio and a statement about your work. Query if you are unsure whether your work falls within the guidelines.

Deadline (online and postmark): March 15, 2017

Please submit online: https://offthecoast.submittable.com/submit/74805/3-nations-anthology

Email: 3nationsanthology@gmail.com

Or mail to:

Valerie Lawson
PO Box 14
Robbinston, ME 04671

Resolute Bear Press

resolute bear-stumpResolute Bear began as a chunk of log on the side of the road in Pennsylvania. Most books come from a similar source.

Michael and I stopped at the road side stand of a chain saw carver on the way home from a trip to Pennsylvania Dutch country, where Michael had lived as a child. There was a whole row of bears and a few other different carvings waiting to be sold. The bears had been burned lightly with a blowtorch to make them black where the fur should be. The carver was spraying his creations with linseed oil to help them last longer. The smell of wood chips, singed wood, and the oil was heavy in the summer air.

Most of the carvings were happy little bears resolute bear-oiledwith wide-eyed grins. One lone bear with his mouth set in a non-committal way waitied to be convinced to lean into a frown or brighten up to a grin. His eyes were smaller than the others, too, making him slightly myopic looking.

Naturally, Michael and I would be drawn to the odd bear. We chatted with the man, made a deal, and the bear came home with us. We call the bear “Resolute.” For the record, almost everything in our yard had a name. There was Melba the Peach Tree, Red Auerbach the Maple, Nathaniel the Hawthorne, and the trio of potted Christmas Trees we rescued from Home Depot: Luke, Bruce, and Blue. In the front yard was Stanley, the Blue Spruce, for Stanley Kunitz, the famed gardener poet who also lived on the Cape.

resolute bear wrapped for homeThe bear settled in, if a bit oddly, on the front steps of our home on Buzzards Bay, MA, a place where you are more likely to see mermaids or sea horses, even pink flamingoes on front steps and in gardens. The bear looked more like he belonged at a summer camp.

Resolute must have known he was going to fetch up on the front porch of our present home in the tiny town of Robbinston Maine, the last Downeast town on Passamaquoddy Bay. He definitely looks more at home here. Resolute has kin here. We share our property with a lot of critters, among them an elusive Mama Black Bear.

Within a year of moving to Maine, we were presented with the opportunity of taking over the helm of the literary magazine, Off the Coast. We decided to create a press to go with the magazine and Resolute Bear Press was born. Off the Coast is now in the capable hands of Ally Talbot, who interned with us and then served on our Editorial team for six years.

Resolute_Bear_logo_white_bkgrd
The original Resolute Bear Press logo

The 3 Nations Anthology will be the first book produced by Resolute Bear Press. In honor of this change, I decided to give Resolute a new look. The original logo was a more literal representation of the chain saw carving. The new logo is more whimsical. Resolute is in the same pose, but sitting a little taller, holding a book, and finally, has begun to wear glasses. I hope you enjoy Resolute’s new look.

Stay tuned for more news about the 3 Nations Anthology. The deadline is this Wednesday, March 15.

3 Nations Anthology Update

I am excited that submissions are coming in for the 3 Nations Anthology! I have had a lot of computer troubles the last few weeks which has slowed down outreach and calls for submission. My computer was cleaned up, emails changed, and eventually I bought a new computer, and then had to have our router upgraded. Thankfully, everything is back and working now except for a couple of minor glitches synching some files.

Briefly, it felt like the universe was telling me not to do this project. The 3 Nations Anthology was conceived in a much more hopeful time. The increasingly nationalistic tone of the new administration makes this call for dialogue among neighboring nations all the more critical. We must keep communication open.

Last Sunday, the Portland Sun Journal published a poem I wrote after participating in a community project to build a birch bark canoe with Master Passamaquoddy artisan, David Moses Bridges. Over the course of two weeks, David coordinated a group of eager people at all skill levels to build an ocean-going birch bark canoe. It was a monumental undertaking as the cedar, birch bark, and spruce roots were fashioned using ancient methods into a canoe. David worked tirelessly and patiently taught everyone who needed instruction—this is how to form the bark, bend the ribs into place, how to join the pieces at the gunwales, carve the pegs to hold the pieces in place, lash them together with spruce roots, and seal the seams with a mix of pine pitch and bear fat.

The canoe, constructed in The Commons of the Cobscook Community Learning Center, slowly moved from a sheet of bark to a finished work as not just a vessel, but a work of art. It glowed in the center of the room with soft reflected light on the bark and the wood. The scent of spruce and the bark, and then the pine pitch and bear fat was intoxicating.

One day an expedition went out to gather more spruce roots, which became an opportunity to learn about gathering and prepping the roots. A lot of visitors stopped by during the two weeks. It was blueberry season, so someone dropped off a big bowl of wild Maine blueberries to snack on. One of the participants, a man from the Caribbean, made a batch of jerked porcupine stew. The locally renowned Grand Lake Stream style canoe builder Gump Miller checked in now and then and helped out.

When the canoe was finished, it was loaded onto a truck and driven to Sipayik where it would be launched. One of the builders said it was a strange feeling crossing so many streams along the way in a truck with a canoe on it. When the canoe arrived at Sipayik, it was blessed first at the Catholic Church in a dual ceremony with Elders and Catholic priests, and then at Split Rock by Passamaquoddy Chief Rick Doyle. The canoe was nudged into the waters of Passamaquoddy Bay where it made its maiden voyage. The canoe would be raffled off as a major fundraiser for the Save Passamaquoddy Bay organization, which works tirelessly to protect the bay.

A community was built in that room along with the canoe. This is what happens when people gather with purpose, when they are open, and when they work together. One of the builders said, “You could break this canoe in half and it would still float.” Though true, it is better to think of the canoe whole, to think of the people who built it, the people who shared the work of their hands to create it, and mostly David, for being the one who taught us so much and brought us all together.

We live in an area where we share many things. On either side of the border with Canada there are parks administered jointly by the US and Canada: Roosevelt-Campobello International Park (summer home of Franklin Roosevelt) and St. Croix Island (where Samuel Champlain landed and wintered in 1604).  Both countries claim Machias Seal Island, whose most famous inhabitants are a breeding colony of Atlantic Puffins, Razorbills, and Guillemots. The borders here are more like filters than walls.

Please send your submissions to the 3 Nations Anthology. The deadline is March 15. For complete guidelines click here and to submit your work visit: https://offthecoast.submittable.com/submit/74805/3-nations-anthology.

 

 

3 Nations Anthology- Submission Call

3 Nations Anthology, a collection of writings by Native American, Atlantic Canadian, and New England writers. The anthology will be a conversation among writers of both prose and poetry.

Seeking works of short prose and poetry for this anthology which conveys what living here is like where 3 Nations exist close together; what we share and what keeps us apart. Send works that describe a life or an instant. Subject matter can be very broad, from borders and bridges, the water that flows around-under-through, the solid ground we stand on, the tides that alternately obscure and reveal, kinships, animosities, heritage, geography, dawn, dawn land, northern lights, moose meat stew, poutine, ployes, lobster, pollock, lumber, boat-building, pregnant cows, art, music, literature—anything that makes up life in this region where three nations share space, history, and the future.

Short Prose: Fiction or non-fiction, 5,000 words or less, flash and micro works encouraged. A single work greater than 1,000wds, 1-2 pieces less than 1,000 wds. Previously published work is OK if you hold the copyright.

Poetry: 1-3 poems, any style or format, less than 50 lines preferred. Previously published work is OK if you hold the copyright.

Ephemera: Hand written notes, recipes, and other items are welcome. Send scanned high resolution images in jpg, tif, psd, or pdf format.

Include a brief bio and a statement about your work. Query if you are unsure whether your work falls within the guidelines.

Deadline (online and postmark): March 15, 2017

Please submit online: https://offthecoast.submittable.com/submit/74805/3-nations-anthology

Email: 3nationsanthology@gmail.com

Or mail to:

Valerie Lawson
PO Box 14
Robbinston, ME 04671

My partner, Michael Brown, and I moved to Maine ten years ago from diverse communities where Michael worked as a teacher and I as a tech in an inner city hospital. We chose the Passamaquoddy Bay area for its unique setting, the arts community, and the presence of the Passamaquoddy tribe and Canada.

We had been part of the literary and spoken word communities in the Boston area where we organized literary events for decades, and published five books between us. We participated in cultural exchanges between Massachusetts and Ireland celebrating the United Nations Decade Calling for a Culture of Peace, and traveled extensively reading, performing, and teaching workshops. Shortly after we arrived in Maine we took over the publication of the literary journal, Off the Coast.

I attended the Bachelor of College Studies program at the University of Maine Machias where I created an individualized Electronic Publishing concentration, which included Book Arts with Bernie Vinzani, publishing experience, and computer design and coding classes. It is my goal to create this anthology not just as my final project, but as a lasting work of literary merit highlighting the many talented writers and spoken word artists in the tribal lands, Maine, and Atlantic Canada.