June 23, 2018
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Journal showcases poets, communities

By Aislinn Sarnacki, BDN Staff

The Narramissic Notebook is named after the river that flows between Orland and Bucksport, the literary journal’s domain. Full of Maine history, community stories and poetry, the journal’s 11th issue is available.
The issue includes more than 20 poems and 19 pictures, and the cover story focuses on East Maine Conference Seminary’s Class of 1910. Other pictures and stories include the Castine Road Clement family, Jane Myman Lash and Wasson’s coal business on the Bucksport waterfront.
Bucksport poet Pat Ranzoni and several other Maine poets submitted poems for publication.
The Narramissic Notebook Project, founded by Sharon Bray in 2001, is dedicated to preserving and sharing pictures, stories and poems from neighboring communities.
“I’m really into poetry, and I have a lot of friends that are poets, but also, all these people have these treasure-troves and pictures of their families,” Bray said. “One thing I hoped to do is work with historical societies and get them to talk more.”
The first eight issues of the journal had content from almost every historical society in the Bucksport area, including Bucksport, Orland, Holden, Penobscot and Castine. The Wilson Museum of Castine sometimes sends complete stories to be published in the journal.
“It’s really community-oriented. In the beginning, the poets were pretty much from close around here, and I took some liberties and said, ‘Look, this is my publication,’ and I invited other people,” Bray said.
Bray decides which historical and family stories to publish based on the material she can get her hands on and what people tell her they’re interested in reading and seeing.
“There’s absolutely no limit,” she said. “In one of the back issues, we did a thing on early baseball teams and the fact that now there’s a whole movement, just like there’s Civil War re-enactments, they’re re-enacting old baseball games. Often the content is things in history that relates to something that’s happening now.”
For example, when the bridge in Orland Village was replaced, Bray looked into the history of the bridge and included that story in the next issue.
She also is interested in stories and photos from families who have lived in the area for several generations. She seeks school pictures and family albums with photos from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, and encourages readers to lend pictures to the Narramissic Notebook along with the stories behind them.
Poets, writers and artists from throughout Maine who are familiar with the river area are encouraged to submit their work for consideration. Content, design and regular publication of the notebook will depend on community participation.
The literary journal usually prints a new issue each year.
Originally from Orland, Bray has a Bachelor of Arts degree in theater and a Master of Arts degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, but her work has revolved around community and literature. She has worked as a community organizer, women’s health educator and as a science writer for Boston University and Harvard Medical School.
She founded The Bucksport Enterprise, a weekly newspaper, and sold it after nine years to its current owner and editor Donald Houghton. And she recently returned to the newspaper to have the Narramissic Notebook issue 11 circulated as the center supplement in The Bucksport Enterprise’s Jan. 27 issue.
The Buck Memorial Library in Bucksport has copies of every edition.
Back issues are available by mail from Bray by calling 469-7308 or e-mailing mainebray@gmail.com. Copies of Narramissic Notebook issue 11 also are available by mail directly from the newspaper office at 469-6722 or theenterpr@aol.com. Expect to pay about $2 each for cover price plus mailing costs. Pricing varies for the other 10 issues.

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