3 Nations Anthology Wins Maine Literary Award from Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance

3 Nations Anthology3 Nations Anthology: Native, Canadian & New England Writers, edited by Valerie Lawson from Resolute Bear Press received the 2018 Maine Literary Award for anthology on Thursday night at the Space Gallery in Portland.

The Maine Literary Awards is an annual competition sponsored and coordinated by the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. In 2018, 145 books were entered across the award’s categories.

3 Nations Anthology: Native, Canadian & New England Writers focuses on the northeast United States and Atlantic Canada, where people share borders, 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 the people hold in common.

Lawson says, “The anthology is a conversation across borders. There are no arguments here, no proselytizing, just neighbors writing about relationships, heritage, and the land they share. This book is about building bridges, not walls.”

In the coming weeks there will be readings from the anthology at the 14th Annual Books in Boothbay Summer Book Fair, Saturday, July 14; Brick Store Museum, Kennebunk, Thursday, July 19; Beyond the Sea Book Festival, Lincolnville, Saturday, July 21; Cultural Center of Cape Cod, Thursday, August 9, South Yarmouth, MA; Peavey Memorial Library, Eastport, Saturday, August 11; Sunbury Shores Arts & Nature Centre, St. Andrews, NB, Saturday, September 8; Abbe Museum, Bar Harbor, Thursday, September 13; and others as they are scheduled.

More information about 3 Nations Anthology, Resolute Bear Press,  and readings and events can be found at www.resolutebearpress.com or contact Valerie Lawson, valerie.lawson@maine.edu or 207-454-8026.

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, Read More…

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 a 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 Read More…

Arranging a Manuscript

Part 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.

I 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. Read More….

Resolute Bear Press

Resolute 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 with wide-eyed grins. One lone bear with his mouth set in a non-committal way waited 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. Read More…

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. Read More…

3 Nations Anthology- Submission Call

3 Nations Anthology, a collection of writings by Native American, 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. Read More…

On to New Things

Previously, this blog followed work in the Book Design and Publishing course I took at the University of Maine at Machias. This was the biggest project I worked on as an editor to date. It was a great project, bringing back to life a historic Maine book by Mary Agnes Tincker, a roman à clef novel of incidents in the life of Father John Bapst, who was tarred and feathered in Ellsworth Maine by a band of No-Nothings in 1854.

Since the book was finished other projects have occupied my time, including another issue of Off the Coast poetry journal. Right now, the fall issue is in process. With a quarterly journal the process is continuous. While poems pour in another issue is under production, while you read poems and make editorial selections, another issue is being marketed and sold. You pray the printer’s schedule matches dates when you will be at events. A couple of years ago we were disappointed to find an issue would be unavailable to take with us to the Massachusetts Poetry Festival. On our way out of town, the UPS truck flagged us down and there on the side of Route 1, that great road that stretches from just north of our house all the way to the Florida Keys, we transferred the boxes from the truck to the car and went happily on our way. Read More….

Weeks 3 & 4:Typography–The Thing and the Making of the Thing

Taking the 5 books we chose from the previous week, we were to comment on the aesthetic and practical considerations of our choices. After writing a short piece about each of the five, we selected one as our overall choice.

I chose The Children’s Blizzard by David Laskin. The book recounts the Great Blizzard of 1888, which swept across the Plains just as children were heading home from school. The morning of the storm had been unseasonably warm and many children did not wear coats, boots, hats, or mittens to school that day. This fine non-fiction book gives a wealth of background information and first hand accounts of this tragic event. The designer, along with the author, eases us into the story.

The design elements of this book are consistent on a micro and macro level. For the sample text, I used the opening chapter. The heading is in small caps. The chapter title, Deaprtures and Arrivals, is large and italicized; there is an urgency to the italics. To begin the chapter, there is an ornament where a drop cap would be placed. The angle of the ornament matches the path of the storm, pointing from northwest to southeast. The typeface is fairly heavy, serif, but also conveys a sense of space typical of the Great Plains. These ornaments, doubled, are also incorporated as section breaks.

The book, a trade paperback with an elaborate cutaway cover, is a very nice package. The Children’s Blizzard, though a rather grim slice of history, is a very attractive book with an evocative title. The design elements do not detract in any way and enhance the telling of the story. Read More…

Week 2: Typefaces, Balance, & Reading

This week we explored fonts and typefaces. We of coursed joked about using Comic Sans and Papyrus then got down to business. Prof. Bernie shared some pages from early printed manuscripts and the class began learning the history and vocabulary of type organized around the two main spacing elements, leading and kerning.

Our assignment this week was to pick 5 books and copy a double page spread with the beginning of a new chapter. We were to examine and comment on the effect of the type, ornaments, placement, and other items.

Picking five books proved to be agonizing. There are thousands of books in my home. Since grade school when I did my duty to keep Scholastic in business, I have been a collector (read that hoarder) of books. And a borrower of books as well. I also have a full deck of library cards, from every place I have lived and many places I have visited, because you never know, I might want to go back some day and visit my old friends waiting there on the shelves.

I also worked in a couple of bookstores, ostensibly for extra income, though in reality it turned out to be an easy way to maintain my habit. The bookseller’s discount puts expensive books within reach and the books you might pass up all of a sudden fit in your budget. And I wasn’t confined to what was on the shelves; I could always special order books, opening up a whole world of the written word, at my fingertips. I could own every book. Read More…