Welcome, at long last, to our third issue of The Aroostook Review!                            Volume III:  Summer 2008


Our theme for this issue is “Heroes and Legends,” and I am sure you will be impressed with the content that has been selected by our editors and readers.  Much of Dustin Martin’s hard work was behind the scenes, writing emails and helping organize content, but we wouldn’t have such a fine issue to put up if he had not been so diligent.  My thanks to everyone who pitched in to help make this issue ready and thanks to our readers for being so patient.  I’m sure this issue is worth your wait.


I am especially pleased to have as Featured Poet, Michael Heffernan and to put a Spotlight on Poet, M. Kelly Lombardi. As a graduate student, I studied under the guidance of Michael Heffernan at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, and a couple of years ago Kelly signed up for one of the online poetry classes I teach at the University of Main at Fort Kent. Kelly was also a poetry reader for our last issue of AR.  Both of these poets have strong connections to Ireland, as is evident from their work. 


I am fortunate to have had contact with these two poets through email correspondence and ongoing conversations. I’m sure you will enjoy the conversation I had with Michael Heffernan, and the Spotlight on M. Kelly Lombardi, by Sharon Bray.  These poets fit the theme of our current issue well, for various reasons.  Feel free to drop us a line and let us know what you think.


In fact, a reader of our first issue of AR sent me a message telling me she enjoyed our content, and she asked me about the Cherokee heritage I had mentioned in the interview I held with Patricia Ranzoni.  She mentioned Cannon relatives, and wondered if we were, perhaps, related.  I had never thought to try to trace my heritage or to try to pin down that family “legend,” because much of our history was based on oral history and traditions.  However, I started looking through records on both sides of the family and I ran across a cousin who is doing DNA research. 


It turns out that a lot of research has been done on the Cannon heritage. My great, great grandfather did have a son who married a full-bloodied Cherokee woman, but this son was by his second wife—not the first, which would have been my great grandfather’s mother.  A bit hard to follow?  Well, all is not lost.  I’m still looking for more information, and there are a lot of gaps, but we do have DNA tests that link the Cannons to a couple of very violent Irish Kings. One of them is responsible for kidnapping the boy who would become St. Patrick.  Yes. Naill of the Nine Hostages.  The other is Conn of the Hundred Battles.  Cannon is one of the oldest Irish surnames, which I had known, but I can trace my heritage back to Ireland in several ways—on my mother’s side of the family, too.  I managed to lose the email from that reader when my computer died and I lost a lot of content that I hadn’t saved appropriately. It made me appreciate all that I had saved that much more.  It made me think of what others have lost to fires and floods. 


This year has certainly been a strange one for us in Fort Kent, Maine.  We have had a winter with record-breaking snowfall, we’ve undergone tremendous flooding during the thaw, and we suffered one of the rainiest summers—including an early summer microburst which uprooted several ancient trees in town.   I’m sure many people in this town could list a few of their own heroes and there are new stories to tell that will someday become part of the town lore.  This town is an amazing place to live.  That is for sure.  I grew up at the other end of the mountain range, in the foothills of South Carolina, so I am familiar with the way people will usually help one other out in times of need in small, rural areas.     


Our next issue (Summer 2009) will have as a theme “Burdens and Boons.”  This is a broad theme, and we look forward to seeing a new batch of submissions. 


We are on the lookout for book reviews and interviews for our non-fiction section.  Readers, feel free to send us information on books you would like to see reviewed and people you would like to see featured in an interview. Speaking of books, my first book of poetry, Glad Wilderness (Plain View Press, 2008) has just been released. If you have experience doing reviews and interviews, please let us know about that as well.  We may invite you to send a review or interview for possible publication.


And, now I’ll leave you to enjoy the content of this, our third issue.  Enjoy! 

—Chief Editor, Geraldine Cannon Becker