The place where artists and writers with Maine connections are showcased.

Posts from the ‘Maine books’ category

Princess Watahwaso’s teepe, an Indian Island landmark, preserved by D-Day Medal of honor recipient Charles Norman Shay

In Charles Shay’s book, Project Omaha Beach, he recounts his Maine Indian Heritage as well as war experiences.

The following article and photos appeared in the BDN, By Robert F. Bukaty, May 23, 2014:

You can’t help but notice the large red and white wooden teepee just after you cross the bridge over the Penobscot River onto Indian Island. It’s been a landmark since 1947. But by 1988, when Charles Norman Shay acquired the property which includes the house he now lives in, the buildings were badly dilapidated.

Back then, Shay and his wife, Lilli, were living in Vienna, Austria. He had recently retired from his job with the International Atomic Energy Agency. The couple had decided they would move to the Penobscot reservation where Charles had spent most of his youth. For several summers they traveled to Maine to make repairs to their house. When their new home was finally made livable, they focused their attention on the 24-foot-wide, 30-foot-tall teepee.

Shay’s aunt Lucy Nicolar Poolaw, and her husband, Bruce Poolaw, a Kiowa Indian from Oklahoma, built the teepee. The Poolaws met while traveling the country as performers, portraying “Indians” singing and dancing at Wild West shows. When the stock market crashed in 1929, they moved to Indian Island.

The Poolaws built the structure to be a novelty shop and called it Princess Watahwaso’s Teepee — Lucy’s stage name. A workshop was later annexed to the teepee and local Penobscot women were hired to weave baskets on site, making it a must-see stop for tourists. (Penobscots never used teepees — that was Bruce Poolaw’s influence from the Great Plains.) Read more

Advertisements

Shay, a Pennobscot elder, writes about his experiences in WWII and Korea as a medic

My family and ancestors have lived, hunted and fished along Maine’s seacoast and in the valley of the Penobscot River since the Ice Age. Migrating between the coast and inland forests, they paddled bark canoes on rivers, across lakes and along salt-water bays, pausing to set up camp for a few weeks or months at a time. One of my forefathers was Chief Madockawando who camped seasonally at the headwaters of the Bagaduce (now called Walker Pond), just a few miles from Eggemoggin Reach. One of his daughters, my foremother Pidianiske, married young French military officer Jean-Vincent d’Abbadie, who was stationed at Fort Pentagoet toward the end of the 17th century.

This French colonial stronghold stood at a strategic location guarding the mouth of the Penobscot River. The marriage of Pidianiske and Jean-Vincent connected two families from opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Because his older brother died without children, Jean-Vincent inherited the family castle in Bearn and his father’s title of Baron de Saint-Castin. He and Pidianiske had many children together, including several daughters, one of whom had a son named Joseph Orono who led our Penobscot Indian nation with distinction as chief in the late 1700s. I also descend from John Neptune, a great hunter, shaman, and diplomat who led our tribe for many decades in the early 1800s. One of his many grandsons, Joseph Nicolar, served our people as a tribal representative to the Maine Legislature for several decades. A year before his death in 1894, Nicolar published an important book about the history of my people, titled “The Life and Traditions of the Red Man” (1893). The youngest of his three daughters, Florence, married a Penobscot named Leo Shay, and I am one of their seven children. Read more

Major book publisher, Polar Bear & Company in Central Maine

Polar Bear & Company has been printing quality books and art since 1997 in Solon, Central Maine.

Vision:

We strive to enhance the quality of life through literature and art.

Mission:

To give well-intentioned, creative people avenues for their words, wisdom, wit and other talents so they can reach individuals to make stronger communities.

Democracy flourishes when creativity is allowed freedom of expression.

We publish books and produce art to open one’s imagination and to inspire.

Read more

Maine books on the great outdoors

cover-2

Above the Gravel Bar

David Cook takes the reader on a birchbark canoe journey through the landscape in the context of Northeastern geological development and Indian prehistoric culture. On rivers, lakes, over carries, and through coastal routes, we follow the archaeological and historical record, informed by accounts of early explorers.

First attempted in the early twentieth century, the publication of these ancient canoe routes, in daily use for millennia, is finally accomplished and in its third edition, with translations of Indian place names, a thorough index, notes and bibliography, and a foreword by Penobscot tribal historian, James Eric Francis, Sr. The eminent anthropologist David Sanger, PhD, provides an introduction. Read more

Continental Liar From the State of Maine: James G. Blaine by Neil Rolde

continental-liar-from-the-state-of-maineIn 1884 Republican James G. Blaine came within 1,047 votes of becoming the President of the United States. This was the margin by which he lost New York State—and thus the election—to Grover Cleveland in what has been called “the dirtiest campaign in American history.”

Yet his career—arguably the most sensational of any American politician of the so-called Gilded Age—did not end there. He was twice U.S. secretary of state, credited with having started our country on the path to acting like a world power, a powerful speaker of the house in Congress, and a United States senator from his adopted State of Maine.

He was also, in the eyes of his opponents, “The Continental Liar From the State of Maine” or “Slippery Jim”—a sort of “amiable Tricky Dick Nixon,” as he’s been later called.

He was hated by certain members of his own party, yet loved by millions of others, including some of his enemies in the Democratic Party. The press called him “The Magnetic Man,” due to his charisma, and another nickname was the “Plumed Knight.” Blaine and his wife, the former Harriet Stanwood of Augusta, knew most of the important Americans of the time—Lincoln, Harrison, Garfield, Carnegie, Roosevelt, and many others. Read more

Maine In the World: Stories of Some of Those from Here Who Went Away


by Neil Rolde

From its earliest beginnings, the land that became Maine produced adventurous inhabitants who went outside its boundaries to do interesting things that sometimes made them famous or even infamous.

The inspiration for this book came from the tiny Pacific island of Kosrae in Micronesia, where Brewer native and Bangor Theological Seminary graduate the Reverend Galen Snow converted all of the natives to Christianity, and Portlander Harry Skillins left a record as a vicious pirate and who sired a line of descendants by native women. Read more

Maine books on politics and people

Real Political Tales: Short Stories by a Veteran Politician, by Neil Rolde

Neil Rolde's Political Tales

“If you’ve ever served in a state legislature, lobbied one, or just read about their activities in the newspaper and wondered what goes on behind the scenes, you’ll love this book! From page one I couldn’t put it down and I loved every word of Neil’s stories crafted from ‘behind the scenes’ in the Maine legislature,” wrote Congresswoman Chellie Pingree in the book. “The characters may be fictional, but thanks to Neil’s insights and knowledge, coupled with his wonderful writing style, they all came to life.”

  • On April 3rd at 6pm Neil will speak about Political Tales and answer questions during this first book signing at Sherman’s, 49 Exchange Street.
  • On April 21st at 6pm Neil will hold another book event reading/signing at the Harlow Gallery in Hallowell, just down the road from the Capitol.
  • Real Political Tales: Short Stories by a Veteran Politician is published by Maine’s Polar Bear & Company.

    Please click on the image to learn more about these upcoming book signings and future ones.


    neil p
    “The personal element is stronger in the affairs of legislative bodies than of any other branch of government, but it is a hard thing to convey in straight reporting. The public understanding of the legislative process is poorer as a result. As an experienced and influential legislator, with a great gift for storytelling, Neil Rolde is the ideal person to remedy this defect, and this volume of Political Tales delivers on that promise,” wrote U.S. House of Representative Barney Frank in the book. “The stories are educational and entertaining in equal measure, and people who read them will be better prepared to understand what goes on when legislators meet and transact important public business.”

    The tales can transport the reader into what the working lives of some lawmakers must be like as they are true to reality.

    “The short stories are fictional, to be sure, but they incorporate almost a quarter of a century working directly in State government and even more years involved in the politics of Maine. They bear out my extensive experience of the political scene from the inside, not as expressed by opinionated media nor by the average person seeing things from outside,” said Rolde.

    Neil Rolde, photo by Ramona du Houx

    Neil Rolde, photo by Ramona du Houx

    Mr. Rolde’s many years of public service include being an assistant to Governor Kenneth M. Curtis of Maine for six years and 16 years as an elected Representative in the Maine Legislature. He represented his district of York, Maine and became Majority Leader of the Maine House during the 107th legislature from 1975-77. He became the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in 1990 in an election bid against Bill Cohen.

    “The stories were engaging – reminding an insider of the ‘old days,’ and giving an outside observer a good sense of what truly goes on behind the scenes. It certainly brought me back to the days when I was sitting in one of those leather chairs, hearing the gavel come down and wondering what was about to happen next!” added Pingree.

    Anyone reading the stories should gain respect for our lawmakers and will be surprised by Rolde’s candid style.

    “They illustrate that our governments are made up of human beings – and in Maine at least, doing their level best to deal with the needs of the population at the lowest possible cost. It was said that we Maine legislators worked for a salary of three cents an hour,” said Rolde.

    One has to ask which stories reflect Neil’s own experiences?

    “All of them and none of them,” said Rolde. “They are fiction. Some contain actual events in which I participated but in different settings and circumstances. I have tried to cover the complexities of the two different positions I held in Augusta, first the administrative side working for the Governor in the Executive Department and then the legislative side as an elected State Representative. Also included are boards, commissions and non-profits, many on which I served, that help form the matrix of stability in the U.S. There are even references to Washington, D.C. and how it can and does interact with the States.”

    Rolde’s books are extensively researched and most involve the history of Maine and its people. The plight of Native Americans has been a reoccurring theme in Rolde’s life since his childhood and he helped Maine’s tribes while he worked in the Curtis administration. These experiences led him to write one of Maine’s definitive historic books: Unsettled Past, Unsettled Future: The Story of Maine Indians.

    Real Political Tales: Short Stories by a Veteran Politician also show us Neil’s wealth of knowledge, humor and wit.

    “All of this is part of the American political scene. Bashing the leaders we elect goes back to President George Washington, even though he was elected unanimously. Mud slinging is as American as apple pie,” said Rolde. “I once had a fantasy of introducing a bill requiring every American to serve at least one term in a government body. That might add a sense of reality and humanity to our governance. Alas, it is ‘an idea whose time hasn’t and will never come.’”

    Rolde has won awards for his books from the Maine Historical Society, the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, and the Maine Humanities Council.

    Real Political Tales: Short Stories by a Veteran Politician is Neil’s second fictional work.

    ——————————————————————————————————

    On Point: Voices and Values of the Young Elected Officials

    “In a time where slogans of a few words capture a position, and controversy swirls with each news cycle, On Point offers refreshing and timely insights from a new generation of young elected officials in the eternal struggle to build a more perfect union,” wrote Senator George J. Mitchell in his introduction to On Point: Voices and Values of the Young Elected Officials, by Jeff L. Thigpen.

    The author had that point in mind when he decided to write the book.

    “I wrote On Point because there’s an emerging group of principled leaders shaping a new era in American politics. It’s time we know them and why they were inspired to run for elected office, and how they are meeting the challenges of this time in history. Most importantly, it is time we hear their stories,” said Thigpen. Read more

    Unicycle: The Book of Fictitious Symmetry and Non-Random Truth

    Unicycle is the story of a book that unravels one of nature’s riddles with an alternative math.

    by Paul Cornell du Houx

    cover-1

    The history of scientific evidence confirms that nature is fundamentally asymmetric; it is increasingly certain that no pure symmetry will ever be found, even by our most sophisticated machines. Travel the reasons for this absence and discover nature’s balance anew.

    Explore the interconnected maze of consequences for civilization, religion, consciousness, and the soul. The plot takes a series of deductive steps from a single, narrow logical proof to unfold a new progressive rationalism, anchored in the nature of asymmetric change.

    Equal opportunity is discovered in the very foundations of matter, as an ethic to guide technological power and improve quality of life. The mathematical steps are expressed with mythological tales, which gain a realism of their own through the deductions. Nature comes to life in fiction in innovative ways, along with the characters who piece together the narrative by a river in Maine. Read more