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It’s still 2014. We’re still reading good books.

posted: , by Elizabeth Hartsig
tags: Recommended Reads | Adults | Teens | Seniors | Art & Culture
An illustrated quotation that says "We realise the importance of our voices only when we are silenced."

A  pertinent quotation from “I Am Malala.”

A photograph of 17-year-old Malala Yousafzi.

Malala Yousafzi.

It’s still 2014. And we’re still reading good books. (Books that just happen to have been written by women: see my earlier report on the Vida Count and #readwomen2014 here).

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:

downloadThe opposite of loneliness Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meghan Daum, “The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion”

Lena Dunham, “Not That Kind of Girl”

Roxane Gay,  “Bad Feminist”

Amy Poehler, “Yes Please”

Marina Keegan, “The Opposite of Loneliness”

Interestingly…the only woman shortlisted for the National Book Award in Nonfiction this year is Roz Chast, for “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?”

If you hop on MaineCat with your PPL library card, you can request other hit essay collections from 2014:  Rebecca Solnit’s “Men Explain Things to Me,”  or Leslie Jamison’s “The Empathy Exams.” Pick them up at the PPL Branch of your choice.

things-that-are

The Year of Magical Thinkingmen we reaped

 

 

 

 

 

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me

 

 

Even more ideas for recent or classic essays/nonfiction/memoirs: Zadie Smith’s “Changing My Mind,” Sloane Crosley’s “How Did You Get This Number,” Elif Batuman’s “The Possessed,”  Nora Ephron’s “I Feel Bad About My Neck,” bell hooks’ “Appalachian Elegy,” Marilynne Robinson’s “When I Was a Child I Read Books,”  Rachel Maddow’s “Drift,” Jesmyn Ward’s “Men We Reaped,” Dorothy Allison’s “Two or Three Things I Know For Sure,” Arundhati Roy’s “The Cost of Living,” Maya Angelou’s “Mom & Me & Mom,” Katie Roiphe’s “In Praise of Messy Lives,” Joan Didion’s “The Year of Magical Thinking,” Jennifer Finney Boylan’s “She’s Not There,” Susan Sontag’s “Against Interpretation,” Anne Carson’s “Plainwater,” Jenny Lawson’s “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened,” Ntozake Shange’s “Lost in Language and Sound: Or, How I Found My Way to the Arts,” Annie Dillard’s “Teaching a Stone to Talk,” Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow,” Cheryl Strayed’s “Wild,” Alison Bechdel’s “Fun Home,” Amy Leach’s “Things That Are,” and Mindy Kaling’s  “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? And other concerns.”

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).


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
 

 

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