Articles by Dana Wilde

Puckerbrush Review

Puckerbrush Review literary magazine marks another milestone

By Dana Wilde on Aug. 26, 2012, at 1:45 p.m.
PUCKERBRUSH REVIEW, Spring/Summer 2012; edited by Sanford Phippen; University of Maine English Department/Puckerbrush Press Inc., Orono; 144 pages, large format perfect bound, $10. The big literary news revealed in the summer 2012 issue of Puckerbrush Review, the longstanding central organ for UMaine-associated belles lettres and beyond, is that its editor …
The Iridium 33 satellite flashes in the sky over Athens, Greece, in June 2002. Iridium flares occur when the satellite's panels perfectly redirect solar or lunar light to an observer's eye on Earth. They can peak at about magnitude minus 8.4, much brighter to the eye than even Venus for a fleeting moment.

Sky lights, far and near

By Dana Wilde on Aug. 11, 2012, at 5:24 p.m.
At any given moment on any given evening, the stars and planets seem motionless up there. If you watch for a little while, they all together shift position westerly because the Earth is rotating, but none of them seems to move independently of the others. This is a trick of …
This view of Gale Crater on Mars shows the landing site that NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory will investigate. Gale Crater is 96 miles in diameter and holds a layered mountain rising about 3 miles above the crater floor. The rock in the landing area may be an ancient playa lake deposit, where the mission will  check for the presence of organic molecules, since these environments may have been habitable — able to support microbial life. The arrows point to possible destinations for the Curiosity rover.

The search for extraterrestrial life

By Dana Wilde on July 28, 2012, at 1:59 p.m.
  A couple of years ago the eminent theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking warned that a human encounter with intelligent extraterrestrial beings could be dangerous for us, sort of similar to the way Europeans were dangerous to ancient Native Americans, “which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans.” In …
Saturn looms behind its moon Titan.

The fascinations of Titan

By Dana Wilde on July 15, 2012, at 3:36 p.m.
Saturn’s moon Titan is so big that on a clear night you can actually see it with high-power binoculars, even though it’s around 800 million miles from us. It’s about 3,200 miles in diameter, bigger than the moon (2,160 miles), bigger even than Mercury (3,032 miles), and looks like a …
Saturn's rings cast shadows near the planet's equator as it approaches its equinox in August 2009.

Saturn and its disconcerting rings

By Dana Wilde on July 01, 2012, at 7:12 p.m.
The Cassini spacecraft has been orbiting around Saturn for about eight years, now, sending back strange pictures pretty much the whole time. There are weird pictures of the planet’s rings, pictures of Saturn backlit by the sun. Bizarre images of some kind of jets streaming from its moon Enceladus. Pictures …

Some new entries on Maine’s literary scene

By Dana Wilde on June 17, 2012, at 8:28 p.m.
The New Guard Literary Review, Vol. 2; Shanna McNair, editor and publisher; Portland, Maine, 2011; 336 pages, trade paperback, $22. It never ceases to amaze me how many writers there are, in contrast to how badly book sales are said to be doing nowadays. The second volume of the New …

Drug diversion suspected in NH hepatitis C cases

By HOLLY RAMER, The Associated Press on June 13, 2012, at 10:52 p.m.
  CONCORD, N.H. — An employee misusing drugs is the most likely cause of an outbreak of hepatitis C among patients who were treated at the Exeter Hospital’s cardiac catheterization lab, New Hampshire’s public health director said Wednesday. “Based on all the testing we’ve done, based on all the interviews …

Homespun personal experience shared in a little book

By Dana Wilde on June 10, 2012, at 7:58 p.m.
NOT IN A BOOK, poems by Ellen W. Richards, prints by Cynthia A. White; Pothole Press, Bangor, Maine, 2012; 28 pages, saddle stitched, $8. Ellen Richards and Cynthia White’s booklet with the obliquely oxymoronic title “Not in a Book” is a collection of well-expressed, homespun little poems on life’s simplest …
Violets bow to the bluets.

Spring reveals small faces in the grass

By Dana Wilde on June 03, 2012, at 8:54 p.m.
Once more, the slam-dance of spring is all around us. The green ones have come again from the other world. Again the violets are bowing to the bluets. The rose will soon be tearing off her skirt in the wordless exclamations of June. Red osier dogwood, hawthorn and chokecherry blossoms. …

An unwillingness to ride the herd: ‘The Right No: Poems’ by William Hathaway

By Dana Wilde on May 27, 2012, at 9:37 p.m.
THE RIGHT NO: POEMS by William Hathaway; Somondoco Press, Shepherdstown, W.Va., 2012; 104 pages, trade paperback, $15. William Hathaway’s house in Surry is empty and awaiting a buyer these days, since last year he fled Maine and its cramped winters for Pennsylvania. This move turned a commonly accepted wisdom on …
The sun sets on Mars.

Lost in space: The hope to walk around on Mars

By Dana Wilde on May 20, 2012, at 4:18 p.m.
Every so often in these pages I come staggering out of the woods with twigs in what’s left of my hair and caterpillars angling up my socks and my eyeballs dilated and aiming in different directions with notions of sinister household vehicles or what computer is trying to seize control …

Prominent Legion priest admits he fathered child

By Dana Wilde on May 15, 2012, at 9:07 p.m.
VATICAN CITY — The Legion of Christ religious order, still reeling from 2009 revelations that its late founder was a pedophile who fathered three children, was hit Tuesday by another scandal after its most well-known priest admitted he had fathered a child several years ago. The Rev. Thomas Williams, a …
Bluets by the driveway in Troy.

Notes on the 150th anniversary of Thoreau’s death

By Dana Wilde on May 06, 2012, at 4:04 p.m.
April was not as cruel this year as last (when by the 15th there were still 2 feet of snow in the Troy woods, if memory serves). This time winter almost kept us warm, comparatively, with no snow well into January and strange tangles of bare branches growing like botanical …

Self-portrait in a post-deconstructionist mirror: Ira Sadoff’s new collection of poems

By Dana Wilde on April 29, 2012, at 3:27 p.m.
“True Faith: Poems” by Ira Sadoff; BOA editions Ltd., Rochester, N.Y., 2012; 88 pages, trade paperback, $16. One of the above-ground strands of American poetry that bubbled out of the 1950s and turbulent ’60s was called “confessional.” It specialized in meditations (sometimes direct, sometimes oblique) on specific personal recollection, pain, …
NGC 1999, a reflection nebula, shines because the light from an embedded source illuminates its dust, in this case a bright, recently formed star, visible just to the left of center in this Hubble Space Telescope image from the constellation Orion.

The philosophy and science of putting clouds in focus

By Dana Wilde on April 22, 2012, at 1:19 p.m.
If you give your eyes a little while to get adjusted to the night sky, there soon starts to be more than just great sprays of lights. Here and there, when conditions are right — meaning when the sky is free of scud that gets in the way and of …
Even in a mild spring, the dogs of April stubbornly keep watch on the driveway, and the hope of an end to winter, in Troy.

The dogs of April

By Dana Wilde on April 08, 2012, at 4:44 p.m.
This is the time of year when winter does not want to let go of its grip, like a mean dog. When the sun is out and the wind is still, it feels like May. But if you speak too soon the wind bites you two months back to the …

Wilton poet offers essences of language and feeling

By Dana Wilde on April 01, 2012, at 4:41 p.m.
“Four-Alarm House: Poems” by Carolyn Gelland; Main Street Rag Publishing Co., Charlotte, N.C, 2012; 54 pages, trade paperback, $8. Carolyn Gelland’s new collection, “Four-Alarm House,” has a powerful sense of pith. Her approach to poetry is characterized by terseness of language, sharpness of imagery, and persistent hints of the metaphysical. …
Regulus. Dwarf galaxy Leo I is to the right.

Forces of nature

By Dana Wilde on March 24, 2012, at 5:42 p.m.
I remember looking up one night decades ago through broken clouds, with icy snow underfoot, and feeling afraid. The kind of fear that creeps along the back of your neck and clogs your throat. It was a star, one pin of light among thousands, unimaginably far away. Huge distances are …

A murder mystery from small-town western Maine

By Dana Wilde on March 18, 2012, at 5:49 p.m.
“Return to Sender” by Robert M. Chute; Just Write Books, Topsham, Maine, 2011; 154 pages, perfect bound, $19.95. Over in Wyman Falls, Maine, circa 1950, things are normally pretty quiet. In the summer, people enjoy Long Pond, which stretches across the northwestern border with Quebec. In the winter they hunker …

Amateur Naturalist: The Dog Star

By Dana Wilde on March 11, 2012, at 3:48 p.m.
You know Orion always comes up sideways. Throwing his leg up over the Dixmont hills he strides into the evening sky and by about 11 p.m. in winter you can see his dog behind him, too, with legs outstretched and a large bright star in its shoulder. Sirius, the star …