Right before Christmas I have my mini Sabbatical. I embrace the
Advent season and its meaning mindfully, putting all that doesn't have
to do with spirituality, family and friends, and end of the semester
support for UMaine students in a procrastination pile until January.
With the new year well underway I discovered a real gem in this
collection: the premiere issue of Islandport Magazine. It is a
periodical of both beauty and substance: a celebration of time and
place in an era when so much print media is mindlessly generic and
Dean Lunt, publisher and editor-in-chief, is no stranger to
literary ventures. A lover of the printed word since boyhood, he
founded Islandport Press in 2000.
"...Islandport would be the country-folk music of regional
publishing. I wanted to publish books that told stories the way Merle
Haggard, Springsteen, Seger, or any of the great singer-songwriters
wrote lyrics. Authentic, unpretentious, well-written, engaging
stories of real people anyone could appreciate..."
After 16 years and almost 150 books Lunt launched his companion
The content, a blend of thoughtful author biography and
tantalizing short stories, is rich and satisfying. Some of the gems
you will discover in the premier issue are:
*a piece on Dahlov Ipcar looking back over ninety-nine years. At an
age where most of her peers are in assisted living or deceased,
despite maclear degeneration taking a toll on her vision, she is still
doing her amazing animal paintings.
*the very unusual ways in which Ardeanna Hamlin, author of Pink
Chimneys, Abbott's Reach, and The Havener Sisters, conducts historical
research. Hint: crafting as well as writing skills are involved.
(Amusing side story: back when I reviewed books for the Bangor Daily
News--before their free lance money dried up--Ardeanna wanted me to
review one of her books. My editor nixed that idea. My carefully
cultivated squeaky clean children's book reviewer image did not allow
me to discourse on any volumes involving brothels. Ardeanna was
amused and did not let that stand in the way of our friendship.)
*a behind the scenes look at comedian Susan Poulin, who conceived of
her stage persona, Ida LeClair, when she realized the women depicted
by male comedians did not at all represent those she encountered in
"Rather, according to Poulin, Maine women are smart, funny,
practical, and strong. And so she set out to develop a character who
would represent the women she knew, who could speak for them on stage--
a woman with moral fiber and strong values, quirky habits, and
(Recall back in 2013 I reviewed Poulin's Finding Your Inner Moose.
OMG! She has a second book out: The Sweet Life. I promise you are
going to read about it right here.)...
And there is so much more including a mystery set on an island where
people don't quite trust the cops, even ones who grew up with them.
However, what will probably grab you first is the photographs.
One of Amish youngsters playing in the snow blends particularity of
dress with universality of childhood joy. An old time lobsterman,
Lunt's grandfather, gazes at the camera with thinly veiled
impatience. He's got work to do. A snow blanketed 1954 Chrysler
seems impatient also--for one more spring out on the road.
Whether you're a Maine native, a transplant (like me), a summer
visitor, or someone who has never set foot in this amazing state yet,
you owe it to yourself to check out Islandport Magazine.
P. O. Box 10, 247 Portland Street
Yarmouth, Maine 04096
This is a magazine to savor and treasure, not skim and toss or recycle.
On a personal note, I am reminded of the time quite a few years ago
when my friend Kathryn Olmstead created Echoes. She was great with
magazine when I was great with child. Our babies have thrived
beautifully. I wish the same for Dean Lunt's fledgling periodical.
A great big shout out goes out to Kathryn Olmstead, Dean Lunt, and all
others who have the determination and chutzpah to make their literary
dreams come true!
Sent from my iPod