Books

new england literary news | NINA MACLAUGHLIN

A look at the things and the idea of Maine

The cover of E.B. White’s “One Man’s Meat” (left)

The cover of E.B. White’s “One Man’s Meat” (left)

A nod to E.B. White

“One Man’s Maine: Essays on a Love Affair’’ (Green Writers), a collection of essays by Jim Krosschell, nods to E.B. White in subject matter, title, and tone. Krosschell, who divides his time between Newton and Owls Head, Maine, examines “a world in which change is speeding up and place is shrinking down, even in Maine.”

Krosschell is both grump (lamenting that his nephew is chatting on his cellphone about a bathroom renovation while at the top of picturesque Beech Hill) and sage, understanding that the world moves; times shift; and there’s a balance to be sought between society, with all its screens and buzzes, and nature. He celebrates the slow pleasures to be found scraping moss off the roof and asks the big questions about what kind of world is being left behind to younger generations.

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Like Loren Eiseley, he is an open-hearted scientist, one wedded to facts and yet not afraid to use the word “miracle” or “mystery.” The 16 essays appear in pairs — the first in each couple looks at Maine’s natural icons, berries, lupine, loon, lobster, and the second grapples with wider concerns. It is a view that will help even those who feel they know the state to see it anew.

Poetry fest comes to Salem

The first weekend of May brings the ninth annual Massachusetts Poetry Festival to Salem, this year gathering an impressive list of local and national poets including Louise Glück, Eileen Myles, Rigoberto González, Ross Gay, Kazim Ali, and Tom Sleigh. Besides readings, the festival will include a number of workshops, including “Obsessions: Using Form to Tame the Wild Beast in Poetry”; “Channeling the Witches: Giving Voice to Historical Figures through Poetry”; and “Your Pictures as Poetry — Writing from Your Photo Stream.” There will be panel discussions, including the essential “Arrows Dipped in Honey: How Poetry Hurts a Wounded World into Healing” with Boston Poet Laureate Danielle Legros Georges, Richard Cambridge, Regie Gibson, Deborah Leipziger, and Leah Meryl Harmon. The festival also includes a small press and literary fair, poetry slams, and open-air readings, with more than 150 poets involved. A weekend admission pass is $20, and a fee of $10 allows you access to all of the workshops. For a full schedule, visit masspoetry.org.

Somerville poet’s collection

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The member-run Slate Roof Press, located in Greenfield, maintains a commitment to publishing work by Massachusetts and regional poets. It has recently published the winner of its Elyse Wolf Prize, a collection by Somerville poet Anna Warrock. “From the Other Room’’ wades into the waters of grief for a lost mother, a lost sister, for the “beloved dead,” as she notes in her dedication. Though suffused with sorrow, Warrock’s lines aren’t leaden. They move with the simplicity of haiku. Here, on the annual surprise of spring: “From misshapen bulbs, leaves push/ trough, and seeds, tiny black grit,/ put forth green, green.” At the center, the poems suggests how it is possible to become at home with loss. “I learned that to think again/ was not to betray what I had witnessed.”

Coming out

“Typewriters, Bombs, Jellyfish’’ by Tom McCarthy (New York Review Books)

“The Others’’ by Matthew Rohrer (Wave)

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“The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women’’by Kate Moore (Sourcebooks)

Pick of the week

Linda Foulsham at the Bennington Bookshop in Bennington, Vt., recommends “The Rules Do Not Apply’’ (Random House) by Ariel Levy: “When 38-year-old New Yorker writer Ariel Levy left for a reporting trip to Mongolia in 2012, she was pregnant, married, financially secure, and successful on her own terms. A month later, none of that was true. Levy shares the story of how she built an unconventional life and then watched it fall apart with astonishing speed. Levy reveals that she was raised to resist conventional rules — about work, love, and womanhood. She chronicles the adventure and heartbreak of being “a woman who is free to do whatever she chooses.” Her own story of resilience becomes an unforgettable portrait of the shifting forces in our culture, of what has changed — and what is eternal.”

Nina MacLaughlin is the author of “Hammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter.” She can be reached at nmaclaughlin@gmail.com.
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