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Place Called Maine

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What is it like to live and write in Maine? Wesley McNair, Maine's premier anthologist, asked authors who are new to Maine as well as natives to answer this question. They wax lyrical on everything from encounters with neighbors and wildlife to embracing Maine's rich natural landscape, and they take a philosophical look at the state of being in Maine. Among the authors included are Carolyn Chute, Richard Ford, Bill Roorbach, Richard Russo, and Monica Wood.

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24 Chapters

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I’m New Here

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from The Road Washes Out in Spring

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Baron Wormser

W e resolved to build our house ourselves. Though my wife had studied architecture for a time and was a capable designer, the world of practical carpentry was a mystery to us. We knew what a two-by-four was and what a hammer was, but we didn

 

Cold Spring Nights in Maine, Smelts, and the Language of Love

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Alice Bloom

 

Settling Twice

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Deborah Joy Corey

I n Penobscot, Maine, I often travel a stretch of road similar to the one that ran past my childhood home in New Brunswick, Canada. It wanders the same easy way through scattered country houses, a Baptist church, abandoned barns, and a general store. On the southward stretch, I pass the tiny rectangular field like the one where my older brother Dana was shot on Halloween night, when he was twelve.

In Bangor, Maine, there is a replica of the five-story brick mental hospital where my maternal grandmother died. It has stacked, barred windows identical to those one of her daughters would stand in years after her mother

 

“Why Don’t You Write a Book” from We Took to the Woods

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Edging Up on It from The Edge of Maine

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Geoffrey Wolff

We may reason to our heart

 

A Traveling Companion and Adams Hill from A Year in the Maine Woods

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Bernd Heinrich

A Traveling Companion

T he route from Burlington, Vermont, to my cabin is about 200 miles long. Most of the way you travel on Route 2, through the cities of Montpelier and St. Johnsbury, Vermont; through Lancaster and Gorham, New Hampshire, at the foot of the northern Presidentials; and then to Rumford, Maine, past the great Boise Cascade paper mill. When I smell the Rumford mill, I feel I

 

Neighborhood Deer

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Susan Hand Shetterly

I n 1535, Jacques Cartier and his crew, stuck for the winter in the New World, took the advice of a man who was most likely a Micmac, and made themselves a tea steeped in the sprays and bark of the northern white cedar, a pungent, resinous brew that saved them from death by scurvy. They called the tree

 

Of Moose and a Moose Hunter

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Franklin Burroughs

W hen I first moved to Maine, I think I must have assumed that moose were pretty well extinct here, like the wolf or the caribou or the Abenaki Indian. But we had scarcely been in our house a week when a neighbor called us over to see one. She had a milk cow, and a yearling moose had developed a sort of fixation on it. The moose would come to the feedlot every afternoon at dusk and lean against the fence, moving along it when the cow did, staying as close to her as possible. Spectators made it skittish, and it would roll its eyes at us nervously and edge away from the lot, but never very far. It was gangly and ungainly; it held its head high, and had a loose, disjointed, herky-jerky trot that made it look like a puppet on a string.

The young moose hung around for a couple of weeks, and it became a small ritual to walk over in the summer evenings and watch it. My neighbor, Virginia Foster, had reported it to the warden, and the warden told her not to worry: the yearling had probably been driven off by its mother when the time had come for her to calve again, and it was just looking for a surrogate. It would soon give up and wander away, he said, and he was right. But until that happened, I felt that Susan and I, at the beginning of our own quasi-rural existence, were seeing something from the absolute beginnings of all rural existence

 

Shitdiggers, Mudflats, and the Worm Men of Maine

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Bill Roorbach

H ard work,

 

from The Saltwater Farm and the Spleeny Yowun

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Sanford Phippen

I don

 

Dana Hamlin, from Temple

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George Dennison

Dana Hamlin

 

An Allagash Girlhood

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Cathie Pelletier

M y maternal ancestors, Bradfords and Diamonds, were among the Loyalists who left Boston after the American Revolution and went north to settle in Canada. It was the age of Wood, Wind, and Water and England needed white pine for the masts of her ships. There must have been excited talk in the public houses, or at church, or on the docks around Chaleur Bay about an abundance of virgin pine growing beyond the untouched hinterlands of the St. John River. In 1838, my great-great-great grandparents, Anna Diamond and John Gardner, were among those given grants to cut pine for the king

 

Autumn

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Richard Russo

T hough he never set foot in the state, my grandfather would have been a natural Mainer. When I was a boy, he was already in the autumn of his life, having survived two world wars, the Depression, and a daily existence too full of Duty (both secular and religious). Prematurely bald and rail thin from the malaria he

 

My Mexico

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Monica Wood

I n Mexico, Maine, where I grew up, you could not find a single Mexican. Originally named in sympathy with the Mexican revolutionists, my hometown retained not a shred of solidarity by the time I came along, unless you counted an aged jar of Tabasco sauce in the door of somebody

 

Big Jim

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Robert Kimber

I n the summer of 1955, the year my father quit his job with the Bankers Trust Company in New York City and bought Big Jim Pond Camps, the year, that is, when my father took a flier and did what he had always wanted to do, which was own and run a hunting and fishing camp in Maine, he discovered after just a couple of months at Big Jim that substantial as the place may have looked to the casual eye, it was as tender and vulnerable as a new-born baby, in need of constant coddling and attention if it were not to succumb to the heat, humidity, rot, rust, and decay of Maine summers, the crushing weight of winter snows, the rank growth of alders that kept marching, marching against this tiny beachhead of cleared land, threatening to engulf it if they were not constantly beaten back.

Take the main lodge, two stories high, built of full logs, nobody knew when exactly, but a long time ago, around the turn of the century. Downstairs: one big, open room, forty by twenty-two feet, the guests

 

Once More to the Lake

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E. B. White

O ne summer, along about 1904, my father rented a camp on a lake in Maine and took us all there for the month of August. We all got ringworm from some kittens and had to rub Pond

 

Logging Truck

ePub

Carolyn Chute

O l

 

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