Resolute Bear Press Releases Bear, Coyote, Raven by Jason Grundstrom-Whitney

Bear, Coyote, Raven welcomes the reader into their shape shifting world, where themes of environmental degradation, violence, and technological troubles explore what we have lost and suggest solutions: to connect with the web of being and those blessed in their own right. An old native epigram invites us to walk in the moccasins of others, to be in touch with the present, aware of the past, and to laugh at our missteps. The poet asks us to take the time to invest our energy and to explore this different way of being.

Jason Grundstrom-Whitney’s poetry has been featured recently in 3 Nations Anthology: Native, Canadian & New England Writers, the Lewiston Sun Journal, and the Underground Writers Association’s Anthology of Maine Poets. He has read at the Belfast Maine Poetry Festival, Longfellow Days at the Brunswick Public Library, the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor, Quiet City Books in Lewiston, the Harlow Gallery in Hallowell, and the Portland Public Library.  

Jason is a lifelong activist working for a number of causes including Native American rights, Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence survivors, Hospice and end of life care, homelessness, the environment and climate change, and bringing alternative medicine to allopathic medical thought.

A University of Southern Maine graduate and an LADC/LSW, Grundstrom-Whitney works as a Substance Abuse Counselor/Co-occurring Specialist at Riverview Psychiatric Hospital in Augusta. Past positions have included hospice social worker, school student assistance counselor, and Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Bagua, Xing Yi Quan, and meditation instructor.

Jason has studied with Thich Nhat Hanh, Joan Halifax, Ken Cohen, Shou-Yu Liang, Al Gardner, his Clan Mother Joan Dana, as well as his sister Brenda Lozada and numerous other Native Elders. He has been in recovery for 37 years and writes from his experiences hitchhiking around the U.S. for two and a half years learning from the many everyday masters across cultures he has met in his travels.  Jason is a husband, father, grandfather, and a Bear Clan member of the Passamaquoddy tribe.

The book has received advance praise: “In his impressive first book, Bear, Coyote, Raven, Jason Grundstrom-Whitney takes us deep into the mythic. These poems span many worlds from Deep Time to modern day powwows and move effortlessly between the sacred and irreverent, humor and awe, grief and resistance. This is storytelling at its best, poetry that sees so that we may see, songs that invite us into mystery, stories that heal,” Cheryl Savageau, nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and author of Mother/Land.


From Baron Wormser, former Maine Poet Laureate, “Playful, imaginative, respectful, insightful, droll, emotional, shrewd—these poems cast a spell that brings the reader into the very web of (the) earthly and beyond. The characters are classic Native figures—Bear, Coyote, Raven—that in his able hands take on very distinct lives. There are poem-stories in this book to live by and treasure, the old wisdom made new—a beautiful and real achievement.”

“This book is a dance of life, and Whitney’s words humble us with their beauty, sensibility, and ancient truth,” Claire Hersom, author, Drowning: A Poetic Memoir, from Moon Pie Press. Dr. Deborah Rosch Eifert noted, “Nothing is more urgently needed while we stand on the precipice of climate disaster than the spirit called forth in Bear, Coyote, Raven, and from Jay Franzel, organizer of the Bookey Reading series at the Harlow Gallery, “clearly Jason (Grundstrom) Whitney has spent a lot of time at all kinds of lonely crossroads—and come back full of blues and compassion and knowing, remembering, ‘a time when we walked together/for a short while.’” 

Resolute Bear Press published Off the Coast literary journal from 2008-2017. In 2018 they produced their first two books, The Martin Bormann Dog Care Book by Michael R. Brown and 3 Nations Anthology: Native, Canadian & New England Writers, edited by Valerie Lawson. 3 Nations Anthology won the Maine Literary Award for anthology and was selected by the Maine Humanities Council as one of the titles for their winter reading series in 2019. In 2020, the press will release Stories Our Grandmothers Told Us, a bilingual collection of stories in Passamaquoddy and English edited by Wayne Newell and Robert Leavitt. For more information about the press contact Valerie Lawson, 207-454-8026 or valerie.lawson@maine.edu.

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.