Conversations from the Pointed Firs 2/3/23: Dean Lunt, Editor-in-Chief, Islandport Press on the writings of Ruth Moore

Host:Peter Neill
Producer: Trisha Badger
Music by Casey Neill

Conversations from the Pointed Firs is a monthly audio series with Maine-connected authors and artists discussing new books and creative projects that invoke the spirit of Maine, its history, its ecology, its culture, and its contribution to community and quality of life.

This month: Dean Lunt, Editor-in-Chief, Islandport Press on the writings of Ruth Moore.

Guest/s:
DEAN LUNT is founder and the editor-in-chief at Islandport Press, an award-winning publisher of books and other media that strives to tell stories that are rooted in the sensibilities of Maine and New England. An eighth-generation native of downeast Maine, Dean Lunt was born and raised in the island fishing village of Frenchboro. His ancestors arrived on Mount Desert Island in the late 1700s and many of them moved across the bay to settle Long Island in the early 1800s. In 1999, Lunt founded Islandport Press, an award-winning independent book publishing company that produces books with New England themes. The company published its first book, Hauling by Hand: The Life and Times of a Maine Island, in the spring of 2000. Lunt has edited dozens of books as is the author of Here for Generations: The Story of a Maine Bank and its City. Later this year he will release an anthology of Ruth Moore’s work for which he is writing a lengthy forward describing the ways in which their lives intersected, and the enduring importance of Moore’s work.

SAMAA ABDURRAQIB is the Executive Director of the Maine Humanities Council, a position she has held since 2021. Before MHC she taught in the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program for three years at Bowdoin College, teaching courses on Muslim memoir, Islam and feminism, and representations of violence against women in literature and film. Samaa left Bowdoin in 2013 and, after teaching a semester at the University of Southern Maine, left the academia to begin a career in Maine’s nonprofit world. From 2013 through 2015, Samaa joined the staff at the ACLU of Maine as a reproductive justice organizer. After that grant funded position ended, Samaa joined the staff at the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence, where she worked for five years supporting domestic violence advocates across the state through training, technical assistance, and policy work. Since March of 2021, Samaa has been working at the Maine Humanities Council and serves as the organization’s Executive Director. Samaa’s love of Maine’s natural landscape is what inspired her to shift careers and root herself in Maine. She tries to spend as much time as she can outside birdwatching, hiking, and kayaking. One of the most fulfilling roles Samaa has held is being a volunteer leader for Outdoor Afro, a national organization committed to (re)connecting Black people to the outdoors and connecting Black people to each other through the outdoors. Samaa received her PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s English Department in 2010. She is a published poet and nature writer.

About the host:
Peter Neill is founder and director of the World Ocean Observatory, a web-based place of exchange for information and educational services about the health of the ocean. In 1972, he founded Leete’s Island Books, a small publishing house specializing in literary reprints, the essay, photography, the environment, and profiles of indigenous healers and practitioners of complimentary medicine around the world. He holds a profound interest in Maine, its history, its people, its culture, and its contribution to community and quality of life.

Conversations from the Pointed Firs 1/6/23: Samaa Abdurraqib

Host:Peter Neill
Producer: Trisha Badger
Music by Casey Neill

Conversations from the Pointed Firs is a monthly audio series with Maine-connected authors and artists discussing new books and creative projects that invoke the spirit of Maine, its history, its ecology, its culture, and its contribution to community and quality of life.

This month: Samaa Abdurraqib

Guest/s:

SAMAA ABDURRAQIB is the Executive Director of the Maine Humanities Council, a position she has held since 2021. Before MHC she taught in the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program for three years at Bowdoin College, teaching courses on Muslim memoir, Islam and feminism, and representations of violence against women in literature and film. Samaa left Bowdoin in 2013 and, after teaching a semester at the University of Southern Maine, left the academia to begin a career in Maine’s nonprofit world. From 2013 through 2015, Samaa joined the staff at the ACLU of Maine as a reproductive justice organizer. After that grant funded position ended, Samaa joined the staff at the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence, where she worked for five years supporting domestic violence advocates across the state through training, technical assistance, and policy work. Since March of 2021, Samaa has been working at the Maine Humanities Council and serves as the organization’s Executive Director. Samaa’s love of Maine’s natural landscape is what inspired her to shift careers and root herself in Maine. She tries to spend as much time as she can outside birdwatching, hiking, and kayaking. One of the most fulfilling roles Samaa has held is being a volunteer leader for Outdoor Afro, a national organization committed to (re)connecting Black people to the outdoors and connecting Black people to each other through the outdoors. Samaa received her PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s English Department in 2010. She is a published poet and nature writer.

About the host:
Peter Neill is founder and director of the World Ocean Observatory, a web-based place of exchange for information and educational services about the health of the ocean. In 1972, he founded Leete’s Island Books, a small publishing house specializing in literary reprints, the essay, photography, the environment, and profiles of indigenous healers and practitioners of complimentary medicine around the world. He holds a profound interest in Maine, its history, its people, its culture, and its contribution to community and quality of life.

Conversations from the Pointed Firs 12/2/22: Stuart Kestenbaum

Host:Peter Neill
Producer: Trisha Badger
Music by Casey Neill

Conversations from the Pointed Firs is a monthly audio series with Maine-connected authors and artists discussing new books and creative projects that invoke the spirit of Maine, its history, its ecology, its culture, and its contribution to community and quality of life.

This month:

Our guest this month on Conversations from the Pointed Firs is Stuart Kestenbaum, arts innovator and poet.

Guest/s:
STUART KESTENBAUM is the author of six collections of poems, most recently Things Seem to Be Breaking (Deerbrook Editions 2021), and a collection of essays The View from Here (Brynmorgen Press). He was the host of the Maine Public Radio program Poems from Here and was the host/curator of the podcast Make/Time. He was the director of Haystack Mountain School of Crafts from 1988 until 2015. More recently, working with the Libra Foundation, he has designed and implemented a residency program for artists and writers called Monson Arts. Stuart Kestenbaum has written and spoken widely on craft making and creativity, and his poems and writing have appeared in numerous small press publications and magazines.

He served as Maine’s poet laureate from 2016-2021.

About the host:
Peter Neill is founder and director of the World Ocean Observatory, a web-based place of exchange for information and educational services about the health of the ocean. In 1972, he founded Leete’s Island Books, a small publishing house specializing in literary reprints, the essay, photography, the environment, and profiles of indigenous healers and practitioners of complimentary medicine around the world. He holds a profound interest in Maine, its history, its people, its culture, and its contribution to community and quality of life.

Conversations from the Pointed Firs 11/4/22: Maine Arts Commission

Host:Peter Neill
Producer: Trisha Badger
Music by Casey Neill

Conversations from the Pointed Firs is a monthly audio series with Maine-connected authors and artists discussing new books and creative projects that invoke the spirit of Maine, its history, its ecology, its culture, and its contribution to community and quality of life.

This month:

Our guests this month on Conversations from the Pointed Firs are David Hopkins and David Greenham of the Maine Arts Commission.

Guest/s:

DAVID GREENHAM is the executive director of the Maine Arts Commission. Prior to stepping to that post, he was the Associate Director of the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine, where he developed educational outreach programs, curated exhibits, and presented various HHRC programs to schools and communities throughout the state. In addition to his work at the Maine Arts Commission, David is an adjunct lecturer in drama at the University of Maine at Augusta and is a frequent contributor to the online Boston-based arts magazine The ArtsFuse. David is a member the boards of the New England Foundation for the Arts, the Cultural Alliance of Maine, the Friends of the Blaine House, and Ladder to the Moon/Amjambo Africa.

DAVID HOPKINS has served on boards for the Farnsworth Museum, Waterman’s Community Center on North Haven, and the North Haven Historical Society. He also served as commissioner of the Maine State Museum. In March of 2021 Governor Janet Mills appointed Hopkins chair of the Maine Arts Commission board. Born in Bangor, Maine, David grew up on North Haven Island then spent 30 years of his career at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He now owns and operates Hopkins Wharf Gallery on the island of North Haven in midcoast Maine, where he lives.

About the host:
Peter Neill is founder and director of the World Ocean Observatory, a web-based place of exchange for information and educational services about the health of the ocean. In 1972, he founded Leete’s Island Books, a small publishing house specializing in literary reprints, the essay, photography, the environment, and profiles of indigenous healers and practitioners of complimentary medicine around the world. He holds a profound interest in Maine, its history, its people, its culture, and its contribution to community and quality of life.

Conversations from the Pointed Firs 10/7/22: Jefferson Navicky

Host:Peter Neill
Producer: Trisha Badger
Music by Casey Neill

Conversations from the Pointed Firs is a monthly audio series with Maine-connected authors and artists discussing new books and creative projects that invoke the spirit of Maine, its history, its ecology, its culture, and its contribution to community and quality of life.

This month:
In this month’s edition of Conversations from the Pointed Firs, host Peter Neill and archivist Jefferson Navicky discuss the long history of women writers in Maine, their work well-known and sometimes forgotten, representing an essential contribution and expression of the unique place and creative spirit of Maine.

Jefferson is a former member of the editorial board of The Cafe Review, and is a long-time Poetry Out Loud judge throughout Maine. Jefferson is an author and a playwright; he has written three books: “Antique Densities: Modern Parables & Other Experiments in Short Prose” (2021), winner of the 2022 Maine Literary Book Award for Poetry, as well as the poetic novel “The Book of Transparencies” (2018) and the story collection, “The Paper Coast” (2018). His plays have been produced in the Boston Theater Marathon, multiple times in the Maine Playwrights Festival, and in small venues across New England. His ten-minute play, “One Master Appetite,” was included in Ten Best Ten-Minute Plays of 2015, published by Smith & Kraus, Inc. Jefferson has held residencies at the I-Park Foundation, Stonington Opera House, St. Luke’s Cathedral, and Hewnoaks.

Guest/s:
Jefferson Navicky, Author, poet, playwright, and archivist for the Maine Women Writers Collection.

About the host:
Peter Neill is founder and director of the World Ocean Observatory, a web-based place of exchange for information and educational services about the health of the ocean. In 1972, he founded Leete’s Island Books, a small publishing house specializing in literary reprints, the essay, photography, the environment, and profiles of indigenous healers and practitioners of complimentary medicine around the world. He holds a profound interest in Maine, its history, its people, its culture, and its contribution to community and quality of life.

Conversations from the Pointed Firs 9/2/22: Gibson Fay-LeBlanc

Host:Peter Neill
Producer: Trisha Badger
Music by Casey Neill

Conversations from the Pointed Firs is a monthly audio series with Maine-connected authors and artists discussing new books and creative projects that invoke the spirit of Maine, its history, its ecology, its culture, and its contribution to community and quality of life.

Our guest this month on Conversations from the Pointed Firs is Gibson Fay-LeBlanc, poet, fiction writer, teacher and non-profit leader. Gibson’s first collection of poems, “Death of a Ventriloquist”, won the Vassar Miller Prize and was featured by Poets & Writers as one of a dozen debut collections to watch. His second book, “Deke Dangle Dive” was published by CavanKerry Press in 2021. Gibson’s poems have appeared in magazines including The New Republic, Tin House, Narrative, Poetry Northwest, and Orion, and his prose in Kenyon Review online, Portland Magazine, and Slice. He has taught writing at conferences, schools and universities including Fordham, Haystack, and University of Southern Maine, and helped lead community arts organizations including The Telling Room, SPACE Gallery, and Hewnoaks Artist Colony. He currently serves as the Executive Director of the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance and lives in Portland with his family.

Guest/s:
Gibson Fay-LeBlanc, poet, fiction writer, teacher and non-profit leader
Maine Writers & Publishers AllianceGibson Fay-LeBlance
Maine Lit Fest 2022

About the host:
Peter Neill is founder and director of the World Ocean Observatory, a web-based place of exchange for information and educational services about the health of the ocean. In 1972, he founded Leete’s Island Books, a small publishing house specializing in literary reprints, the essay, photography, the environment, and profiles of indigenous healers and practitioners of complimentary medicine around the world. He holds a profound interest in Maine, its history, its people, its culture, and its contribution to community and quality of life.

Conversations from the Pointed Firs 8/5/22: A talk with author Kimberly Ridley

Host:Peter Neill
Producer: Trisha Badger
Music by Casey Neill

Conversations from the Pointed Firs is a monthly interview-style podcast wherein Peter Neill talks with authors and artists who live in Maine, work in Maine, or otherwise derive their creativity from the essence of Maine.

Host Peter Neill’s guest this month is Kimberly Ridley, science writer, essayist, and award-winning author, and resident of Brooklin, Maine. Her books for children include The Secret Pool and The Secret Bay, both illustrated by Rebekah Raye, Extreme Survivors: Animals That Time Forgot, and published this year, a new book of essays and historical renderings of natural things: Wild Designs: Nature’s Architects. Kim is an elegant writer, teacher and communicator of her affinity and sense of wonder of things observed in her own backyard in Maine. In this episode Kim and Peter discuss Kim’s many books, nature writing in general, the power of unstructured time for children, and the power present in close observations of our natural world.

-Nature Writing
-Children’s books
-Biomimicry
-Maine plants and animals
-Science

Guest:
Kimberly Ridley is a science writer, essayist, editor and children’s book author who has been writing about nature, science, health and the environment for more than 25 years. Her passion is “inciting wonder” by sharing her love of nature and science with children and adults. She does numerous author visits and has taught nonfiction-writing workshops in dozens of elementary schools in Maine and the northeast based on her books. In addition, she teaches nature writing workshops for families and adults and presents special talks and programs at libraries and other public venues around Maine.

About the host:
Peter Neill is founder and director of the World Ocean Observatory, a web-based place of exchange for information and educational services about the health of the ocean. In 1972, he founded Leete’s Island Books, a small publishing house specializing in literary reprints, the essay, photography, the environment, and profiles of indigenous healers and practitioners of complimentary medicine around the world. He holds a profound interest in Maine, its history, its people, its culture, and its contribution to community and quality of life.

Conversations from the Pointed Firs 7/1/22: An Interview with Rob McCall (Originally aired July 2021)

Host: Peter Neill
Producer: Trisha Badger
Music by Casey Neill

Conversations from the Pointed Firs is a monthly interview-style podcast wherein Peter Neill talks with authors and artists who live in Maine, work in Maine, or otherwise derive their creativity from the essence of Maine.

The guest for Friday, July 1st is Rob McCall, minister and musician and creator of the Awandajo Almanac heard here on WERU and circulated across Maine in various publications and through his most recent book, Some Glad Morning, Holding Hope in Apocalyptic Times. Rob and Peter will be discussing the tradition of Nature writing in Maine, the characteristics of the genre, and the various methodologies and principles that underlie this special means by which to evoke and understand the natural world that surrounds us. This episode is a rebroadcast from July 2, 2021—the third episode of our then-new podcast.

-Nature Writing
-Poetry
-Spirit of Place
-Exploring and Enjoying the Outdoors

About the host:
Peter Neill is founder and director of the World Ocean Observatory, a web-based place of exchange for information and educational services about the health of the ocean. In 1972, he founded Leete’s Island Books, a small publishing house specializing in literary reprints, the essay, photography, the environment, and profiles of indigenous healers and practitioners of complimentary medicine around the world. He holds a profound interest in Maine, its history, its people, its culture, and its contribution to community and quality of life.