In a year of special focus on reading women, it’s meaningful to hear this month that 17-year-old Malala Yousafzi has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2014 (shared with Kailash Satyarthi). Yousafzi’s memoir, “I Am Malala,” tells her incredible story as a passionate advocate for education for girls. Find it in print at PPL here, or check it out as an ebook!
A rich crop of other memoirs and essays are being published in the last months of 2014. As a City of Readers team member here at the library, I’m engaged with many of the conversations being sparked around new (and old) books. Some issues are timeless: is a writer-who-happens-to-be-a-woman a woman writer, or just…a writer? Authors Cheryl Strayed and Benjamin Moser tackle these and other ideas in a recent New York Times Book Review article, “Is This a Golden Age for Women Essayists?”
To help you celebrate the Golden Age, here are some of Portland Public Library’s own New Nonfiction releases. Click on the titles below for more info:
This list should stop somewhere…but it feels like a good thing that it could go on and on! Happy reading.
(For more recommendations, to ask questions, or to request books and other materials over the phone, please contact your branch, the Reader’s Advisory Desk at the Main Library at 871-1700 ext. 705, or the Reference Desk at the Main Library at 871-1700 ext. 725).
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.”
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 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.”
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.
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!
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.
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.
The two Library archival photos below are from the Maine Mariners’ first Calder Cup title.
The Maine Mariners celebrate their first Calder Cup, 1978.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
Some Portland-area hockey memorabilia: The Nordiques, the Mariners, the Pirates, and regional NHL favorites- the Bruins.