Monday, June 22, 2015

Gary Rainford

Gary Rainford is a Maine-Island-Poet. Gary lives on Swan's Island year-round with his wife and daughter. His poetry, shaped by tides and saltwater, is published in a wide range of literary magazines and university journals, including North Dakota Quarterly, Words and Images, Aurorean, Omphalos, and Kindred.

Salty Liquor, Gary's first book of poems, was published by North Country Press.

What are your ties to Maine?

My wife, Mimi, is from New Hampshire, but spent summers with her grandmother in Boothbay. Mimi loves the coast of Maine, and in the late 1990s we set out to find the right place to plant roots, work, and raise a family. In 2001 we moved to Swan's Island.  Our daughter, Meri, whose name in Finish means “of the sea” is an islander, and Swan's Island, the salt air, hard winters, and caring community, is our home.

What is your favorite thing about writing in Maine?

Nature and quiet. I grew up in a busy suburb 30 miles east of NYC, yet as a young person trying to find his place in the world, I needed to live closer to nature, to wild things—where my head feels uncluttered. Swan's Island, Maine, six miles off the coast and a 40 minute ferry run from the mainland, is quiet and wild. I love my life, here, my uncluttered writing life. 

What are the most important themes in your work?

The stories of nature, fatherhood, people, and the power of place.

Tell us about the book you will be signing at Books In Boothbay this year.

Salty Liquor is my first full length collection of poetry. These poems tell my stories about fatherhood, being a son whose mother is aging, Swan's Island, and discovery.    

What do you hope reader will discover in your latest book?

That poetry is as accessible as Facebook. That poetry is no different than people, everyday people, start your car and go to work people, and their stories. I want readers to discover the importance of finding their place in a world that's filled to the brim with joys, adversities, and everything in between.  That finding your place is a choice. 

What do you feel about the future of our local libraries?

Libraries are places where discoveries are made, and I feel the future of local libraries will continue being places where we make discoveries. We discover new books, friends, ideas, movies—you name it. The Swan's Island Library, where I live, is a community center.  Our library isn't only about books. It's also where artists exhibit their work, poets perform, clubs meet, island kids learn and play, and people congregate for coffee, WiFi, and fellowship. As long as libraries look to the future openly and with a willingness to evolve to meet the changing needs of people, then local libraries will thrive, and people will thrive.

Come meet Gary Rainford -- and dozens of other authors -- at Books in Boothbay on July 11!

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