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Monthly Archives: July 2014

Summer in Maine, and a bird poem

blue bird

blue fence flowers
We’re in the full flush of summer here, where Maine gets some Deep South-type heat and humidity and lots of folks complain about it. (Would they rather shovel snow?) Heavy rains and hot sunny days are making everything green grow and burst into bloom. Before first light, a cacophony of birds breaks out in the neighborhood. I keep refilling the bird feeder, and my bird bath often has a waiting line. This poem is by Maine’s redoubtable George Van Deventer. It’s dedicated to my sister Charlotte, who has toiled for many years (as a volunteer) for the Audobon Society where she lives in Washington state, not that far from the Other Portland.

When birds die

Imagine a day without bird song.
The ear would wither
like leaves in December.

Song fills all there is about us:
chickadee, raven, barnyard hen,
heron deep and raspy.

Finch in a cage.
Song of the eye in
a falcon’s whistle.

Pigeons coo
off the hand that feeds them.
Crows rattle the air

in an acclamation of company.

When the mine bird dies
we hear the silence
of its song.

GEORGE VAN DEVENTER, July 2014

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About small presses and journals

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maine lighthouse photo

reading at the beach

Beach weather is here at last in Maine. After the harsh, protracted winter we had, we’re basking in it.
I’ve been thinking about small poetry presses and literary journals in Maine, and how hard/expensive it is to keep one going. Wonderful ones that are now defunct include Animus, from east to west, Monkey’s Fist and Wolf Moon Press Journal. Brave journals that persist: CafĂ© Review, Off the Coast, Beloit Poetry Journal, The New Guard Review, the Aurorean. (Forgive me if I am leaving any out.) Poetry presses in Maine that I know of: Alice James Books, North Country Press, Deerbrook Editions, Islandport Press. (And of course Moon Pie Press, going strong in year 11!) Talk about a labor of love. I’ve fantasized about having a journal, but it’s way too much work to juggle that and a press, and I’m happy to keep publishing poetry books now that I’ve finally figured out how to break even every year. I love doing it and am about to start working on book #80. Hope you will support small presses and journals by buying their books and magazines once in a while.