Women, water and words



We thank Bev McAloon for the “Maritime Women on Swan’s Island” exhibit now showing at the Burnt Coat Harbor Lighthouse. Her description of the exhibit provides a glimpse of how important women were and are to maritime life on our island: “If you thought that fishing industry and related occupations were only for men, you would be wrong. This exhibit by the Swan’s Island Historical Society will tell the true story – Swan’s Island women can be found in most every maritime occupation. The Maritime Women exhibit shows women who own and operate their own boats, work on the wharves, process the catch, hold fishing licenses – commercial and non-commercial – and work as sternmen through the long and demanding lobster fishing season. Some started fishing as young children and continue to fish today. Photos and stories tell the tale. The photographic record runs from the late 19th-century through the present day, and although we don’t have photos going back to Swan’s Island’s first European settlers, you can be sure that then, as now, there were maritime women on Swan’s Island!”

Gary Rainford enumerates the many ways we can get our hands on the latest Island Reader, Volume 12: “I have contributor copies. The library will have copies for sale at $12.99. Copies are available at www.islandverse.com. Plus, you can stop me anywhere on the island, as I’ll have copies in my truck.” Happy reading.

Speaking of books, women, the lighthouse and water, Swans Island has a lovely new friend and her name is Lee Reilly. As many of you know, Gary Rainford is the founder of Island Verse Story Lab, an unbridged Maine island-based literacy enterprise. One of Island Verse’s offerings is The Keeper’s House Writer Residency, an annual writing event. Residents for the writer residency are provided with a renovated apartment on the second floor of the Burnt Coat Harbor Light Station on Swans Island. The writing resident for 2018 is Lee Reilly. Reilly’s work has won recognition from Writers at Work, the Barbara Deming Fund, Hunger Mountain, the Ragdale Foundation, and other arts organizations. Recent flash pieces have been published in SmokeLong Quarterly, Apeiron Review, Flash Fiction Magazine and Quarter After Eight. She is the author of two nonfiction books, “Teaching Maggie” and “Women Living Single,” and is the recipient of numerous awards. Her writing is compelling, her presentation at the Swans Island library was masterful with its word painting, and her project during her residency is a must-read when published. Visit www.leereilly.com to learn more about this multi-dimensional and fascinating lady – and to get the scoop on her upcoming publications.

I extend a belated and heartfelt congratulations to two more high school graduates from Swans Island: Josiah Joy and Karter Whitman.  We know great things are in store for both of you.

Happy Birthday to Jackie L. May, Sarah Banks Turgeon, Lindsay Lee Staples, and Belva Staples.

If you have news to share, please email or call me by Sunday noon if you need it to be included in the following edition. E-mail me at kkhaller27@gmail.com or call me at 526-4488.