Framing Maine 3 – Paul Doiron and Kristen Lindquist with Monica Wood
“An Eye for Detail”
Readings by authors Paul Doiron and Kristen Lindquist
Featuring a Q&A with Monica Wood
On Thursday, November 8th, the Maine Studies Program at the University of Maine hosted writers Paul Doiron and Kristen Lindquist for the third event in the series Framing Maine: Conversations with Storytellers and Imagemakers from the Pine Tree State. They read from their respective works, including nearly two dozen of Kristen’s poems and three excerpts from Paul’s novels, accompanied by musicians Susan Ramsey (guitar and violin) and Ruth Fogg (cello).
Following their presentation, Paul and Kristen were interviewed onstage by their friend, bestselling author, memoirist and playwright Monica Wood. They talked about their work, discussed the writing craft, and described how Maine places, people and wildlife have influenced their writings.
Paul and Kristen, who happen to be married, are both heavily inspired by Maine’s wild places, although how that inspiration shapes their work differs considerably. Paul, Editor Emeritus of DownEast magazine, is best known for his popular series of mystery novels set in the rugged woods, waters and towns of Maine, where a rough and tumble young game warden named Mike Bowditch solves murders and other heinous crimes. For Bowditch, Maine is a place where danger lurks everywhere—in dense thickets, deep ravines, or frigid rapids—in the form of hardened backwoods criminals, wounded bears, or simply the unforgiving Maine weather.
For Kristen, nature is more friend than foe. She spends her time scouring the same woods and waters, but what she finds and describes in her poems are things of beauty, whether raw and untamed or delicate and fleeting. A monarch butterfly, a native flower, a migrating bird, or the sounds of downtown on a hot summer night all find themselves captured by her keen eye and ear. She, too, writes about dark trails after sunset, but instead of sensing danger in the deep shadows, she hears “thrush flutesongs and the last wild warbles of the wren,” while fireflies are “fairy lights to guide our way.”
Both Paul and Kristen write vivid descriptions of actual places, wild creatures, and real people from Maine. Their works are bolted together by strong frameworks of setting, drawing the reader into their world and the worlds of their characters. Their knowledge of these places comes from their own lifetimes of experience as Maine residents, and their countless hours spent stalking its wild places—Paul as an avid outdoorsman and registered Maine Guide, and Kristen as an active birder, naturalist and outdoor educator. They each have a deep well of knowledge about Maine as a place, and draw upon those wells in their writing.
Thank You to our Sponsors!
We are pleased to have the continuing support of Bangor Savings Bank for the second year of Framing Maine. In addition, we thank the following sponsors and partners: Cultural Affairs/Distinguished Lecture Series, Maine Folklife Center, McGillicuddy Humanities Center, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Stephen E. King Chair.
Click on this link to hear an interview with Paul, Kristen, and Maine Studies Director Kreg Ettenger on “Downtown with Rich Kimball.”
The following biographies of Paul, Kristen and Monica are drawn from their respective websites. Links to these and to other sources follow each individual biography.
Paul Doiron was born in Maine and grew up hunting and fishing in the wilds (at the time) of Scarborough. He is the author of the Mike Bowditch series of crime novels, including The Poacher’s Son, which won the the Barry Award and the Strand Critics Award for Best First Novel, and the Maine Literary Award for “Best Fiction of 2010.” His second book, Trespasser, won the Maine Literary Award, was an American Booksellers Association Indie Bestseller, and has been called a “masterpiece of high-octane narrative” by Booklist.
This string of awards and nominations continued over his next books in the series, including Bad Little Falls (nominee for RT Reviewers Choice Award and Maine Literary Award), Massacre Pond, (Indie Favorite, Bookscan Bestseller), The Bone Orchard (Best of Maine award from DownEast), The Precipice and Widowmaker (both LibraryReads selections), and his most recent book in the series, Stay Hidden (USA Today Bestseller). His novels have been translated into 11 languages, including Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Hungarian, and Finnish.
Reviewers have consistently praised Doiron for his compelling and realistic descriptions of Maine places and people in his novels. The New York Times praised Doiron’s “eye-popping scenes, idyllic and otherwise,” in his debut novel The Poacher’s Son. The Bangor Daily News was a bit more pointed: “What makes Doiron’s writing so engaging [are] his descriptions of the Maine rarely advertised by the state Department of Tourism or showcased in the glossy pages of Down East…. [T]he author takes readers into ‘the real Maine’ from their armchairs.”
Paul is Editor Emeritus of Down East: The Magazine of Maine, having served as Editor in Chief from 2005 to 2013. A native of Maine, he attended Yale University, where he graduated with a degree in English. He holds an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College. He is a former member of the Maine Arts Commission and current vice chair of the Maine Humanities Council. He is also a Registered Maine Guide specializing in fly fishing, and lives on a trout stream in coastal Maine with his wife Kristen Lindquist.
Paul’s website: http://www.pauldoiron.com/
May 2017 Interview in Yankee Magazine: https://newengland.com/yankee-magazine/living/profiles/maine-noir-yankee-interview/
Kristen Lindquist is a poet, naturalist, birder and educator. Her poetry and other writings have appeared in Down East, Maine Times, Bangor Metro, Northern Sky News, and Bangor Daily News, as well as various literary journals and anthologies. Her publications include the chapbook Invocation to the Birds (Oyster River Press, 2001), Transportation (Megunticook Press, 2011), which was a finalist for a Maine Literary Award, and Tourists in the Known World: New & Selected Poems (Megunticook Press, 2017).
Her work has received many awards, including the Bread Loaf Poetry Prize, the Red Fox Poetry Prize, the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance’s Penobscot Watershed Poetry Prize (2nd prize), and the 2014 Maine Postmark Poetry Contest (chosen by Gary Lawless). Her work has been read aloud by Maine Poet Laureate Stuart Kestenbaum on Maine Public Radio’s Poems from Here, and by Garrison Keillor on NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac.
Kristen has written a local natural history newspaper column for many years (read a recent column and find links to others here), and since 2009 has maintained a daily haiku blog, Book of Days. In addition to writing she also teaches, including adult education courses on Maine natural history and Maine poetry; she also has conducted day-long workshops on haiku at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.
An avid birder since childhood, Kristen served as the first female member of the Maine Bird Records Committee. She has led bird-watching outings for such organizations as Maine Audubon, Friends of Baxter State Park, Coastal Mountains Land Trust, Merryspring Nature Center, and the Acadia Birding Festival. She wrote the Knox County (and part of Waldo County) entries for Birdwatching in Maine: A Site Guide.
Kristen attended Middlebury College in Vermont and received her MFA in poetry from the University of Oregon. She worked many summers at the Bread Loaf Writers Conference. She currently serves on the Town of Camden’s Budget Committee, as chair of the Maine Community Foundation’s Knox County Fund, and as treasurer of West Bay Rotary. She also works as a bookkeeper (and blogger) at Camden Accommodations and a bookseller at Sherman’s Books. She lives in her hometown of Camden, Maine, with her husband, Paul Doiron, and their cat Rooney.
Kristen’s website: https://www.kristenlindquist.com/
Article and review by Dana Wilde in The Working Waterfront: http://www.islandinstitute.org/working-waterfront/natural-accuracy-kristen-lindquists-poetry
Monica Wood is the author of many critically praised and bestselling books, including her memoir of growing up in a Maine mill town, When We Were the Kennedys, as well as the novels Any Bitter Thing, Ernie’s Ark, and The One-in-a-Million Boy, and the play Papermaker. She lives in Portland with her husband, Dan. The following first-person biography is directly from Monica’s website, edited for length; copyright is by Gale Research.
I was born in Mexico, Maine, to a family of devout Irish Catholics, a family of paper mill workers. My father and mother’s parents came from Prince Edward Island in Canada, and brought with them the island tradition of storytelling. Although my sisters and I were the first generation in the family to go to college, I think of my background as a literary one. My father had a lilting island brogue and beautiful grammar; the notion that stories had to be told in a certain way was something I learned early. My grandfather used to sing long, melodramatic, novelistic ballads, another island tradition.
I strive to create characters who seem real, no matter how unusual their circumstances, and to make my readers care what happens to these characters as if they were looking after their own brothers and sisters. If I have any obsession as a writer, it is the notion of the power of our ‘first’ family, the family into which we were born: that collection of people who accompanied us, for better or worse, through the process of learning how to find our way into the world. Our first family remains with us, in ways both damaging and redeeming, through our entire lives. It is this family that must be alternately escaped from and returned to, over and over, in the family dance.
My hobbies are birds and music. I am an avid bird watcher and, for a period of several years, I was a singer on the local bar circuit. Nowadays I am content to ‘sit in’ occasionally with my brother’s country- western band. I also read every day; it’s a big part of my life as a writer. Most of my reading is contemporary, but every so often I take a foray back to the classics. I subscribe to many literary magazines, and I have a good collection of story anthologies and one-author collections. I also read novels, of course, and I like reading murder mysteries…when my own work is stuck. Mysteries are all about plot and can be instructive in surprising ways.
Monica’s website: http://www.monicawood.com/index.html
A 2014 article in the Portland Press Herald: https://www.pressherald.com/2014/05/11/monica_wood_keeps_it_close_to_home_/
The Flickr Album for Framing Maine 3 can be found here.
Framing Maine Supporters
Framing Maine is a series that brings well-known Maine artists, writers, musicians and others to the University of Maine campus to talk about their careers telling Maine’s stories. Each year we present two events, one in the fall and one in the spring, focusing on different individuals and creative genres.
Support for the series comes from Bangor Savings Bank, and from the University of Maine Cultural Affairs and Distinguished Lecture Series, the Clement and Linda McGillicuddy Humanities Center, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Maine Folklife Center, and the Stephen E. King Chair in Literature.
Those wishing to support Framing Maine events are invited to contact the Director of the Maine Studies program, Dr. Kreg Ettenger, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-581-1840. Gifts may also be made to the Maine Studies Program through the University of Maine Foundation website. Please note that many companies offer matching gifts to educational institutions such as the University of Maine; be sure to check with your HR representative or donor liaison.
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