Articles by Dana Wilde

 
AMATEUR NATURALIST
Stars stream through the sky in a 38-minute exposure over Acadia National Park in 2008. Once you get your vision oriented, a lot of information starts streaming in from the night sky.

Messages in starlight

By Dana Wilde on Feb. 26, 2012, at 4:22 p.m.
Just a few points of orientation are enough to find your bearings among the roughly 6,000 stars your eye can pick out in a black sky, clear of city lights. About 300 of the brighter ones have names, such as Polaris, Sirius and Vega. The rest are known to astronomers …
BOOK REVIEW

The voices of a Camden naturalist

By Dana Wilde on Feb. 19, 2012, at 3:35 p.m.
TRANSPORTATION: POEMS by Kristen Lindquist; Megunticook Press, Camden, 2011; 60 pages, trade paperback, $12.95. Kristen Lindquist’s higher-profile persona is development director for the Coastal Mountains Land Trust in Camden, where she also lives, and then underneath that is her life as a seemingly ubiquitous midcoast birder and naturalist, which she …
AMATEUR NATURALIST
A map of North: Ursa Major, aka the Great Bear, aka the Big Dipper, aka the Plow.

Orienting yourself to the stars

By Dana Wilde on Feb. 12, 2012, at 4:50 p.m.
The key to stargazing is points of orientation. In the beginning, like for all beginnings, you take the simple points first, which in the case of stargazing is simply the brightest stars. There are two ways to use the bright stars, and like practically everything else in the universe, the …
BOOK REVIEW

The rock steady voice of a former Maine poet laureate

By Dana Wilde on Feb. 04, 2012, at 4:09 p.m.
“Impenitent Notes” by Baron Wormser; CavanKerry Press Ltd., Fort Lee, N.J., 2011; 96 pages, trade paperback, $16. Baron Wormser has been possibly the steadiest voice we’ve had over the last 30 years of poetry in Maine. He lives in Vermont now, but served as Maine poet laureate from 2000 to …
AMATEUR NATURALIST
This budding lilac bush in Hampden last week appears to think it is already spring. Is it a sign of global warming? Maybe. Only people who are conversant with all the facts can say for sure.

My theory of climatology and the driveway

By Dana Wilde on Jan. 29, 2012, at 5:13 p.m.
Two weeks later the snow was gone again. At least, gone from all of central Maine except our house in Troy, where before Friday’s rainsnow there was still an icy crust under the firs and spruces. As noted here before, it has snowed this winter, but the catch has been …
BOOK REVIEW

The truth about the nightclub music scene, in verse

By Dana Wilde on Jan. 22, 2012, at 8:28 p.m.
“Clubland, Second Edition: New and selected poems” by Dave Morrison; Fighting Cock Press/Lulu Press, 2011; 54 pages, trade paperback, $14.95. Dave Morrison’s poetic voice is unusual, at least for our corner of the world. His subject matter — recollections of the past, a favorite in creative writing programs for decades …
AMATEUR NATURALIST
Apple trees and a winter apparition weathering the bare part of January in Unity.

A dark and reckless winter

By Dana Wilde on Jan. 14, 2012, at 6:44 p.m.
Winter is a dark and reckless thing, even when it’s half asleep. By which I mean, of course, the lack of snow cover in most of Maine through the middle of last week. At my house in Troy, we’ve had disturbingly mixed feelings about this. In one way, we’ve felt …
AMATEUR NATURALIST
Thuban

The once and future pole star

By Dana Wilde on Jan. 01, 2012, at 7:42 p.m.
The great weight of winter is bearing down on us again. For younger readers this will be little more than an old guy’s grouchy personal mythology stinging their ears. But the more years you’ve lived through the apparently interminable stretch from December to March, the more the cold seems to …

A coming-of-age novel from midcoast Maine author

By Dana Wilde on Dec. 24, 2011, at 12:07 p.m.
‘Patch Scratching’ by Steven D. Powell; illustrated by Thomas Block; Maine Authors Publishing, Rockland, 2011; 288 pages, trade paperback, $14.95. Steven Powell’s first novel “Patch Scratching” is a coming-of-age story about a Maine coast teenager, Jed, who has spent his boyhood having a family cobbled together around him after being …
AMATEUR NATURALIST
Shepherd's purse in late November.

Winter frontiers

By Dana Wilde on Dec. 18, 2011, at 4:39 p.m.
The day before the November snowstorm, a few vestiges of summer dangled like bits of grass and twigs in autumn’s last spider webs. A lone yellow hawkweed, contracted against the cold, looked up out of the grass by the gravel walk. A little viney beast with tiny white blossoms and …

A Camden writer’s return to poetry

By Dana Wilde on Dec. 11, 2011, at 4:04 p.m.
A FRESH FOOTPATH: MY NEW LIFE IN POETRY by George S. Chappell; Pell Press, Rockport, 2011; 288 pages, trade paperback, $15. George Chappell’s “A Fresh Footpath” is a beginning and a culmination, simultaneously. It’s his first collection of poetry, assembled after a recent sojourn in the Master of Fine Arts …
AMATEUR NATURALIST
Two galaxies colliding about 220 million light-years from Earth toward the constellation Aquarius have formed the object NGC 7252, informally called by astronomers the Atoms-for-Peace galaxy because it reminds them of a drawing of an atom. NGC 7252 spans about 600,000 light-years.

When particles collide

By Dana Wilde on Dec. 04, 2011, at 9:34 p.m.
Everything is interacting. People are interacting with their cars and cats and jeejahs, with the woods, with each other. Mosquitoes are interacting with dragonflies. Blue jays with sunflower seeds. Roots with soils. Sunlight with raindrops. Moons with planets, planets with stars, stars with galaxies, and galaxies with more galaxies. The …

A literate, shotgun-blast thriller from the caves of the cybergeeks

By Dana Wilde on Nov. 26, 2011, at 5:37 p.m.
REAMDE by Neal Stephenson; William Morrow/HarperCollins Publishers, New York, 2011; 1,044 pages, hardcover, $35. “REAMDE” mentions Maine just once: At one point, one of the characters discards us as a possible venue for the bad guys’ next move. But if “The Bourne Identity,” the body count in “MacBeth,” William Gibson’s …
AMATEUR NATURALIST
Streaks of light on film: The real particles produced by the collision of a 6400 GeV sulphur ion with a gold target pass through a streamer chamber. Streamer chambers consist of a gas chamber through which a strong pulsed electric field is passed, creating sparks as a charged particle passes through it.

Models of behavior

By Dana Wilde on Nov. 20, 2011, at 10:04 a.m.
One of the easiest things to understand in chemistry is the model of an atom. An atom is like a mini solar system. It has a nucleus, which is like the sun, and electrons whirling around the nucleus, like planets. After this it gets complicated fast, and since I am …

Poetry readings from Tenants Harbor

By Dana Wilde on Nov. 13, 2011, at 4:33 p.m.
BRANCHING OUT: 15 YEARS OF TENANTS HARBOR POETRY READINGS; Limerock Books, Thomaston, Maine; 84 pages, trade paperback, $14. Generally I’m not a fan of verse anthologies, which provide little more than fleeting glimpses of any particular poet. But “Branching Out,” a selection of writings by five poets who gather every …
AMATEUR NATURALIST
A red-tailed bumble bee works New England asters this fall.

An old bee on the edge of the driveway

By Dana Wilde on Nov. 06, 2011, at 8:24 p.m.
Beside the driveway in late September, I stopped to watch a red-tailed bumble bee pore over some New England asters, bright purple-blue-rayed medallions in tight clusters. He was making his way over each blossom, methodically prodding each dusky orange central disk. He was working very slowly, gathering what nectar he …
BOOK REVIEW

Nice haiku imagery from Maine

By Dana Wilde on Nov. 06, 2011, at 7:23 p.m.
A scent of pine: A Maine Haiku Anthology; edited by Bruce Ross; Tancho Press, Bangor; 54 pages, trade paperback, $14.95. Haiku is a fun little poetic form to fool around with, and “a scent of pine” offers a look at the productions of 18 Mainers who express an affinity for …
AMATEUR NATURALIST
A blue jay steals food and shouts about it late in October.

Halloween morning

By Dana Wilde on Oct. 30, 2011, at 10:06 p.m.
I get out of bed and make coffee, then sit in front of the computer. I spend much of the morning complaining to two friends. They seem to understand what I say. They are a dying breed, and they live hundreds of miles away. Why do they listen to this …
A sumac in Unity.

Amateur Naturalist: Beauty of autumn sunlight creates new energy

By Dana Wilde on Oct. 22, 2011, at 12:54 p.m.
Botanoluminescence. From mid-September to mid-October hereabouts, sunlight slants in through birches, oaks and pines at angles unseen in any other time of year. In late afternoon the scarlet sumac and goldenrod skeletons and even stands of horseweed radiate energy that practically sets the day on fire. The angle of the …

The small magazine tradition sails along Down East

By Dana Wilde on Oct. 16, 2011, at 2:59 p.m.
OFF THE COAST: TAMING THE TIDES, VOL. XVII, SUMMER 2011 edited by Valerie Lawson and Michael Brown; Resolute Bear Press, Robbinston, Maine; 72 pages, trade paperback, $10. For the uninitiated, Off the Coast is one of Maine’s many independently edited and produced small literary magazines, a publishing tradition that reaches …