The Portland Press Herald‘s Literary Map of Maine is a pretty cool place to spend a few minutes. Sure would be nice if it included some contemporary writers who don’t write autobiographical stuff about how hard it is to grow up in Maine. Also would be nice if it included writers who live in Maine but don’t necessarily write about it. Not just me, either;* the woods up here are crawling with writers, but there seems to be some idea (at least on the Press Herald‘s part, or the part of the people who consulted on the construction of the map) that if you’re not writing about lobstering or the history of Aroostook County, you’re not Maine enough to be in Maine. Perhaps I am in Maine but not of Maine.
Also, how does Edwin Arlington Robinson not make the list? Winner of the first Pulitzer Prize in poetry, the Bard of Gardiner doesn’t get on the map but…never mind. To name names would be churlish.
And what about Janwillem van de Wetering, who also set a few of his later books in Maine? But the list includes…never mind. Churlish.
Elaine Ford? Richard Ford? Heidi Julavits? Lew Robinson? John Crowley? Annie Proulx? Bern Porter? Nicholson Baker? Gerry Boyle? Betsy Sholl? et al.
You might look at the Waterboro Public Library’s Maine Writers Index for a real sense of just how rich literary culture is up here Down East. (But they don’t have me in their index, either. So the joke’s on me in the end…even so, I have ranted, and feel better.)
*The Press Herald hates me because I used to write for the Phoenix and would mention it when they did things that were embarrassing to themselves and the profession of journalism.**
**I am half-joking.