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Tag Archives: Bruce Spang

Finally – spring in New England, and National Poetry Month

daffodils_04

April is always full of poetry events. This year is no exception. I try to list all the ones involving Moon Pie Press poets on the website at http://www.moonpiepress.com. Here is a lovely poem about what sustains some of us through a long winter. It is by former Portland Poet Laureate Bruce Spang, whose latest book from Moon Pie Press is BOY AT THE SCREEN DOOR.

THE COLOR OF FAITH

Minus fifteen degrees, even the thermometer on the deck
recoils under its lid. Like a man with a Bible in a bombed out building,

I unearth a Johnny’s Selected Seed catalog
in the mail. Fields of Allstar Gourmet Lettuce,

mottled rows of purple and green, spread
beneath bare feet of a girl who slices one head

after another like the Queen in Wonderland.
I twist the space heater dial to high and flip

to Amaranthus, with its ropes of deep red,
fold the page; find a new Echinacea, Pallida

with long slender purple petals, fold it.
Colors splash on my lap, yellow tomatoes,

blue aster, pink poppies, and on page
sixty-eight, skins of peppers glistening

as brightly as the snow did this afternoon,
yet sliced open like hearts. Look, there is

Joe Pye Weed that releases a vanilla scent.
Smell it. Write it. Fill in the order form.

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Good books I read in 2014

books gifts

cat on books

I read 108 books in 2014. I’m not bragging – this is fewer than in many years. Fifteen of my favorite fiction books are listed below. As you can tell, my reading tastes are rather eclectic. Note that three writers on this list live in Maine: Monica Wood, Bill Roorbach and Bruce Spang. I write short reviews for some books on Goodreads. We are inundated with “best of” lists on the Internet and in print, but I find them useful. As always, I welcome your comments. May we all have time to read in 2015.

Alice Adams, The Last Lovely City (stories)
John O’Hara, Appointment in Samarra
Jennifer Dubois, Cartwheel
Richard Russo, Elsewhere
Max Berry, Lexicon
Monica Wood, When We Were the Kennedys
Kate Atkinson, Started Early, Took My Dog
Lee Smith, Guests On Earth
Susan Choi, The Foreign Student
Bruce Spang, The Deception of the Thrush
Bill Roorbach, Life Among Giants
Bill Roorbach, Summers with Juliet
Joseph O’Neill, The Dog
Stuart O’Nan, Songs for the Missing
James Lee Burke, The Wayfaring Stranger

Poets Laureate – dedication to poetry

lupines near Acadia June 2005
I want to sing the praises of poets laureate, many of whom are unpaid and work with little direction or support. Portland, Maine has a Poet Laureate program that is pretty new; there have been four so far: Martin Steingesser, Steve Luttrell, Bruce Spang and Marcia Brown, the current laureate. These poets are chosen for their long service to poetry – not just writing and publishing their work, but also teaching, running events, keeping a literary journal going for decades, showing up for others' readings, and generally promoting poetry in myriad ways. Each brings something unique to the post. Marcia's first big project was to put together, edit and publish an excellent anthology of poetry (loosely) based around Portland. Other towns in Maine have laureates, too, including Belfast.

On the state level, Maine has had wonderful poets laureate. Kate Barnes, Baron Wormser, Betsy Sholl and now Wes McNair have all served with distinction. Wes has organized the Maine Poetry Express readings all over the state involving many poets, and continues with the terrific Take Heart poetry feature in Maine newspapers. The latter has brought poetry into the daily lives of many readers who might not otherwise encounter it. (The poetry has been collected in the TAKE HEART anthology published by Down East.) I praise this not only because it contains the work of many Moon Pie Press poets. It's heartening to see so much creativity coming out of the laureate programs. I hope you will support events involving the city and state laureates.

Two anniversaries to celebrate

book cupcakes

hopper Two Lights painting

This month marks 30 years since I moved to Maine. In August 1983 I moved here from Boston to go to law school, and I’ve never left. I grew up in the Army and also moved around a lot as a young adult – attending college and grad school, for example, in California, Oregon and Wisconsin. I never thought I would stay in one place this long, but I feel very at home in Maine. I love the four seasons, the landscape, the ocean, the low crime and relative lack of traffic and congestion. And the people. So many creative and artistic types are Mainers or drawn to the state.
This month I am also celebrating ten years of Moon Pie Press, and the birth of 72 books of poetry. Last Saturday night we had a party, which included distinguished Moon Pie Press poets and supporters such as Bruce Spang, Mike Albert, Betsy Sholl, Baron Wormser, Steve Luttrell, Martin Steingesser, Marita O’Neill and Duff Plunkett, and many more. I enjoy finding and publishing quality poetry books so much. I hope to do it for at LEAST another ten years.
It has been a joy and a privilege to publish the fine work of so many poets from Maine and other places.