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Book Launch for Island Author Beth Rand’s “ABC Gulls”

savethedatebethrandDon’t miss the book launch for Beth Rand’s first children’s book, ABC Gulls (Islandport Press) on April 6, 2017 from 6:30-8:30 pm at Arabica on Commercial Street in Portland. All are invited, so bring your friends and family.

Beth described her path to publishing ABC Gulls in a Peaks Island Press article recently. Check it out if you haven’t read it yet.

Please come by boat, car, bike, or spaceship— like one of her seagulls— and congratulate the new author/illustrator yourself on her debut.


Written by Patricia Erikson, Peaks Island Press offers behind-the-scenes glimpses of a vibrant, literary community perched on Peaks Island, two miles off the coast of the beautiful and award-winning city of Portland, Maine. If you haven’t already, you may subscribe in the upper right corner at

Treat Yourself this Halloween to James Hayman’s “The Girl in the Glass”

The Girl in the Glass by James Hayman

The Girl in the Glass by James Hayman

Brittle leaves rattled around outside and scratched against the glass door of Longfellow Books in Portland. A group of bibliophiles, many of them writers themselves, listened to James Hayman channel Poe. This wasn’t poetry though, it was a reading from the latest in his murder mystery series set in Portland, Maine: The Girl in the Glass. Read the rest of this entry »

Where Munjoy Hill Memories Meet Masts of Tall Ships


Spanish Galleon Andalucia

 I have decided to watch the Tall Ships Parade of Sail from a corner of Portland most meaningful to me-Munjoy Hill. Here my Irish and French Canadian grandparents found a welcoming neighborhood to raise their two children. Here, a narrow strip of sand-East End Beach- fringes the toe of the Hill. I try to imagine the bathhouses and ugly wool bathing “suits” of my mother’s stories. With the legion of boats navigating the harbor today, I remember her stories of World War II war ships clogging the harbor and then disappearing during the blackout-curtained night.

From this lofty vantage point of Portland’s spine, it’s not hard to see why Lemuel Moody chose this as the site for building his Observatory, the multi-story wooden tower now one of Portland’s beloved historic landmarks.

Historic illustration of the Observatory

 This octagonal tower plays an important role in scenes from a manuscript that I’m editing this summer. My Jimmy Brackett middle grade reader tells the story of the Confederate Invasion of Portland Harbor in 1863. The Observatory hoisted flags to announce the approach of ships – carrying passengers and cargo – who were still approaching the harbor from many miles out to sea. I won’t divulge more of the drama around the caper of mistaken identities or the ship stealing that characterizes this novel. I will say that, unless you’re on board a boat, there’s no better place for viewing a Parade of Tall Ships or spotting Confederate pirates than Munjoy Hill and the top of the Portland Observatory. 

Ceiling of the Observatory’s dome

Frozen, Furious, but Not “Frilly”: Maine Writers Talk Back to LePage

“It’s not a protest, it’s a timely celebration (of poetry),” said Joshua Bodwell, Executive Director of Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance at a gathering of writers in Longfellow Square today.

Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance Director, Joshua Bodwell speaking with reporters

What made the the celebration timely was incoming Governor LePage’s stated exclusion of poetry from his inauguration today. Bodwell estimates that, at least since 1995, poetry has played a role in the State’s gubernatorial inaugural ceremony, mirroring  the practice at the presidential inauguration.

To help the crowd celebrate, Maine’s Poet Laureate Betsy Sholl stood at Longfellow’s feet and read a Wesley McNair poem. When asked by a reporter how she responded to LePage’s “no frills” ceremony, she replied “To talk about ‘no frills’ as though art were ‘frills’ is dangerous to the culture and to the arts.”

Another participant at the gathering, Portland’s Poet Laureate Steve Luttrell sharpened Sholl’s point further: “Maine has been dubbed an ‘unfriendly place to do business,’ it can ill afford to be ‘unfriendly to the arts.'” Given the role of cultural tourism in the Maine economy, I couldn’t agree more.

Writer Bill Nemitz gave Longfellow the last word for LePage today in his Press Herald article

“All are architects of Fate,

Working in these walls of Time;

Some with massive deeds and great,

Some with ornaments of rhyme.”

Betsy Sholl offers her view on the importance of the arts to Maine

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