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Whose Port This Is, I Think I Know: PPL & Local Poetry in October

posted: , by Elizabeth Hartsig
tags: Programs & Events | Recommended Reads | Adults | Seniors | Art & Culture
A picture of Megan Grumbling reading one of her poems aloud at the library.

Portland poet Megan Grumbling at the Port City Poems reading.

Last Tuesday, October 7, a group of local poets drew a crowd of 91 to the Rines Auditorium. Anita Clearfield, Wil Gibson, Megan Grumbling, Claire Hersom, Annaliese Jakimides, Michele Leavitt, John McVeigh, Edward J. Rielly, Betsy Sholl, David Stankiewicz, Sally Woolf-Wade, and Anna Bat-Chai Wrobel read from their poetry. They were introduced by Marcia F. Brown, Portland Poet Laureate and editor of the anthology Port City Poems. It was an evening full of thoughtfulness and humor, celebrating Portland but also touching on other themes.

For those of you who couldn’t be there, I took notes.

Ed Rielly read his poem, “The Sea Dogs Come Out of the Corn.” The poet muses at a baseball game. “ ‘Is this heaven?’  I ask my wife, joking…‘No, it’s Portland, Maine.’ ” One of Wil Gibson’s poems was written as a love letter to Portland. “I miss your freckles,” Wil Gibson read aloud (addressing spurned Illinois, a former home) “but Portland, she is different. She is the most amazing, attentive lover…I have the scratches on my back to prove it.”

An image of Sally Woolf-Wade reading a poem out loud in front of an audience.

Sally Woolf-Wade read poetry on island life.

Other images of Portland rose, as sweetly and sharply, out of the readings. Megan Grumbling’s poem, “Landing,” evoked the golden light caught in the curved windows of a staircase at the Portland Museum of Art, a place to return to in deep winter. One of Claire Hersom’s poems spoke to a favorite wharf-haunt: J’s Oyster Bar. John McVeigh paid homage to the horses that pulled the old engines (“The spokes of the wheel are a blur”) of the Portland Fire Department in 1912. Later, David Stankiewicz’s Saint Augustine-inspired poetry moved the audience from Bailey Island’s Cribstone Bridge to travels on the Downeaster: “If I sit very still, might the conductor overlook my transgression?”

Annaliese Jakimides reads her poetry in front of a seated crowd.

Annaliese Jakimides before the crowd.

The poetry that resonated could be both beautiful and stark, as in Michele Leavitt’s excerpt from a cycle of poems on Hepatitis C. Or the poems imparted unapologetic knowledge: what comes to us may come as a surprise. “Because,” Anita Clearfield noted, “what happiness have we ever had that we asked for?”

And there was laughter, as the poets touched on religion, on menopause imagined or real, on the Old Port…“At last I’m old and wrinkled, celibate and wise,” read Michele Leavitt, tongue-in-cheekily. “I keep trying to write these spiritual poems that won’t be obnoxious,” quipped Betsy Sholl. The evening ended more seriously, with Anna Bat-Chai Wrobel’s poem on Alexander Hamilton. “I am afraid to do as Alexander Hamilton did: predict the future.” Nonetheless, Wrobel noted: “I think I know which duel to fight.”

I walked home that night through the city, thinking of Wil Gibson’s words: “Portland: she is the family I always wanted.”

More poetry coming up in Portland and at PPL:

Port City Poems reader Megan Grumbling’s verse-in-spoken-opera “Persephone in the Late Anthropocene” will be performed (along with 2 other poetry-performance teams) live at Congress Square Park on Wednesday, October 15 at 6 p.m. Readers Wil Gibson and John McVeigh are both involved with Port Veritas, which organizes educational outreach and weekly poetry slams in Portland.  Wes McNair will speak on his new book of poetry, “The Lost Child,” at the Main Library on Friday, October 17.

You can also check out some of the library’s recent poetry additions!

We recommend: Eliza Griswold’s “I Am the Beggar of the World: Landays from Contemporary Afghanistan,” Patricia Lockwood’s “Motherland, Fatherland, Homelandsexuals,” a 2014 collection from James Baldwin , or the unstoppable Mary Oliver’s latest, “Blue Horses.” And just for fun? Try Poems That Make Grown Men Cry.


Professional Hockey History in Portland

posted: , by Abraham
tags: Adults | Teens | Kids & Families | Seniors | Art & Culture | Portland History

As the famous Stompin’ Tom Connors song goes, “the good old hockey game is the best game you can name,” and many local fans know this tune from our visits to our local arenas. Portland’s Cross Insurance Arena, the renamed and refurbished Cumberland County Civic Center, has been home to the Maine Mariners of yore (1977-1992), and currently the Portland Pirates (since 1993).  Years of exciting games and American Hockey League (AHL) Calder Cup Championships have been won by our local teams. With the start of the new 2014-15 season, here’s a salute to professional hockey in the Greater Portland area.

Ice hockey has been played in the Portland area for much longer than professional leagues have been here- especially in local colleges (notably the University of Maine and Bowdoin College), as well as unorganized pond hockey. Before the arrival of the Maine Mariners (1977), in the brand-new Civic Center, an influential team was filling the stands in Lewiston: The Maine Nordiques.

74mainor-program

In the early and mid-1970s, Portland didn’t have an ice arena large enough for a professional team. The Nordiques’ success prompted the game you see in the 2 Portland Public Library archival photos immediately below, taken on October 23, 1974. The Maine Nordiques (affiliated with the Québec Nordiques) took on the Flames- and won the game handily, 11-2, at Riverside Arena in the North Deering section of Portland. 1,200 fans were at that game, and in retrospect we can imagine the turnout helped inspire the idea of building a professional arena for a downtown team!

126841 10

Maine Nordiques vs. Atlantic Flames, at Riverside in Portland.

A bit of sports trivia in the photo below: the Flames forward being thwarted by the Nordiques’ defense is
Mike O’Connell, who later played for- and coached the Boston Bruins.

126841 8 O_Connell
The Maine Mariners, based in Portland, won 3 Calder Cup championships and many playoff wins, in their 15 seasons here. Their affliates included the Philadelphia Flyers, the New Jersey Devils, and the Boston Bruins. In the program below, you may notice the “black and gold,” from the Mariners’ latter parent NHL team. In 1993, the Bruins moved the franchise to Providence, Rhode Island.

Mariners Score

The two Library archival photos below are from the Maine Mariners’ first Calder Cup title.

1979 EX 05_12 15

The Maine Mariners celebrate their first Calder Cup, 1978.

1979 EX 05_12 6
Fortunately, Portland hockey fans didn’t have to wait long for a new team to play here in the city. Just a year after the Maine Mariners became the Providence Bruins, the Portland Pirates began in fall 1993.

Pirates Parchment
The Portland Pirates, originally affiliated with the NHL’s Washington Capitals flew out of the gates with their over-the-top home games and the Calder Cup, in 1994. Their current affiliate (after the Capitals, and the Buffalo Sabres) is the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes. The Pirates’ 2014-15 season begins this week.

Just below are some Library archival photos from the Calder Cup final in 1994. In 6 games, Portland defeated the Moncton Hawks.

1994 PH 05_30 19


Above photo: Todd Nelson of the Pirates sends one in, with the Hawks in pursuit.

Below: Pirates goalie Olaf Kolzig makes a stop on Dan Bylsma of the Hawks.
(More trivia: Bylsma went on to coach the Stanley Cup-winning Pittsburgh Penguins.)

1994 PH 05_30 12

 

1994 PH 05_30 9 SM
The Portland Pirates with the Calder Cup, on the ice on Free Street, and
(below) in front of Portland City Hall during the city’s festive parade and rally.

Press Herald June 2 1994 SM

Some Portland-area hockey memorabilia:
The Nordiques, the Mariners, the Pirates,
and regional NHL favorites- the Bruins.

IMG_0595 SM
 

 


Talking about Race

posted: , by Kim Simmons
tags: Programs & Events | Adults | Art & Culture | Government

On September 9th at 7pm, PPL will host “Tell Me the Truth: Exploring the Heart of Cross-Racial Conversations” -  FMI, click here.

Though conversation is a primary way human beings think together, fear of talking about race prevents us from using this critical tool. Shay and Debby will explore the common fears and pitfalls of cross-racial conversation that keep people isolated in their own racial groups, at the expense of personal, professional, and societal growth. They’ll also help audience members understand how interpersonal social patterns hinder organizations from living up to their own ideals for diversity.

Finally, Shay and Debby will offer suggestions to create racial justice habits that can move us from isolated events to sustainable connections.

- See more at: http://www.portlandlibrary.com/events/tell-truth-exploring-heart-cross-racial-conversations/#sthash.yhDlgLhx.dpuf

Shay Stewart-Bouley (black) and Debby Irving (white) as they talk about racism’s impact on their lives and how conversation has been instrumental in their own understanding of 21st century racial dynamics.

Though conversation is a primary way human beings think together, fear of talking about race prevents us from using this critical tool. Shay and Debby will explore the common fears and pitfalls of cross-racial conversation that keep people isolated in their own racial groups, at the expense of personal, professional, and societal growth. They’ll also help audience members understand how interpersonal social patterns hinder organizations from living up to their own ideals for diversity.

Finally, Shay and Debby will offer suggestions to create racial justice habits that can move us from isolated events to sustainable connections.

- See more at: http://www.portlandlibrary.com/events/tell-truth-exploring-heart-cross-racial-conversations/#sthash.yhDlgLhx.dpuf

Shay Stewart-Bouley (black) and Debby Irving (white) as they talk about racism’s impact on their lives and how conversation has been instrumental in their own understanding of 21st century racial dynamics.

Though conversation is a primary way human beings think together, fear of talking about race prevents us from using this critical tool. Shay and Debby will explore the common fears and pitfalls of cross-racial conversation that keep people isolated in their own racial groups, at the expense of personal, professional, and societal growth. They’ll also help audience members understand how interpersonal social patterns hinder organizations from living up to their own ideals for diversity.

Finally, Shay and Debby will offer suggestions to create racial justice habits that can move us from isolated events to sustainable connections.

- See more at: http://www.portlandlibrary.com/events/tell-truth-exploring-heart-cross-racial-conversations/#sthash.yhDlgLhx.dpuf

Shay Stewart-Bouley (black) and Debby Irving (white) as they talk about racism’s impact on their lives and how conversation has been instrumental in their own understanding of 21st century racial dynamics.

Though conversation is a primary way human beings think together, fear of talking about race prevents us from using this critical tool. Shay and Debby will explore the common fears and pitfalls of cross-racial conversation that keep people isolated in their own racial groups, at the expense of personal, professional, and societal growth. They’ll also help audience members understand how interpersonal social patterns hinder organizations from living up to their own ideals for diversity.

Finally, Shay and Debby will offer suggestions to create racial justice habits that can move us from isolated events to sustainable connections.

- See more at: http://www.portlandlibrary.com/events/tell-truth-exploring-heart-cross-racial-conversations/#sthash.yhDlgLhx.dpuf

Shay Stewart-Bouley (black) and Debby Irving (white) as they talk about racism’s impact on their lives and how conversation has been instrumental in their own understanding of 21st century racial dynamics.

Though conversation is a primary way human beings think together, fear of talking about race prevents us from using this critical tool. Shay and Debby will explore the common fears and pitfalls of cross-racial conversation that keep people isolated in their own racial groups, at the expense of personal, professional, and societal growth. They’ll also help audience members understand how interpersonal social patterns hinder organizations from living up to their own ideals for diversity.

Finally, Shay and Debby will offer suggestions to create racial justice habits that can move us from isolated events to sustainable connections.

- See more at: http://www.portlandlibrary.com/events/tell-truth-exploring-heart-cross-racial-conversations/#sthash.yhDlgLhx.dpuf

Shay Stewart-Bouley (black) and Debby Irving (white) as they talk about racism’s impact on their lives and how conversation has been instrumental in their own understanding of 21st century racial dynamics.

Though conversation is a primary way human beings think together, fear of talking about race prevents us from using this critical tool. Shay and Debby will explore the common fears and pitfalls of cross-racial conversation that keep people isolated in their own racial groups, at the expense of personal, professional, and societal growth. They’ll also help audience members understand how interpersonal social patterns hinder organizations from living up to their own ideals for diversity.

Finally, Shay and Debby will offer suggestions to create racial justice habits that can move us from isolated events to sustainable connections.

- See more at: http://www.portlandlibrary.com/events/tell-truth-exploring-heart-cross-racial-conversations/#sthash.yhDlgLhx.dpuf

Shay Stewart-Bouley (black) and Debby Irving (white) as they talk about racism’s impact on their lives and how conversation has been instrumental in their own understanding of 21st century racial dynamics.

Though conversation is a primary way human beings think together, fear of talking about race prevents us from using this critical tool. Shay and Debby will explore the common fears and pitfalls of cross-racial conversation that keep people isolated in their own racial groups, at the expense of personal, professional, and societal growth. They’ll also help audience members understand how interpersonal social patterns hinder organizations from living up to their own ideals for diversity.

Finally, Shay and Debby will offer suggestions to create racial justice habits that can move us from isolated events to sustainable connections.

- See more at: http://www.portlandlibrary.com/events/tell-truth-exploring-heart-cross-racial-conversations/#sthash.yhDlgLhx.dpuf

For many of us, talking about race feels difficult.  It is easy to make a mistake and many of us are uncomfortable being vulnerable in public conversations.  Yet, in 2014, it is relatively essential that we develop our capacity to understand race as an historical concept, to understand disparities in health, economics, etc. as they relate to race, and that we engage in conversations with those who identify as differently from us in term of race and ethnicity – to share our own racialized stories and to hear those of others.   We need to collectively address racism to uphold the core values of Democracy, and we can’t address racism without more easily talking about race.

Pew Research conducted a survey this week, examining individuals’ response to the death of Michael Brown and subsequent protest activity in Ferguson MO and found that there are “stark racial differences” in how the events are understood.

 

This difference in perception and response reveals rich opportunities for civil and curious conversation, yet such conversations can also be challenging.  We invite you to explore the Choose Civility collection, and recommended links and books to learn more about race and racism in the United States in preparation for our upcoming 9/9 program “Tell Me the Truth: Exploring the Heart of Cross-Racial Conversations”  (7:00pm, Rines Auditorium, Main Library)

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