News Feature

Originally published in Castine Patriot, January 9, 2020
Decade of local voices in ‘From Home & Away’
Castine Writers Group launches first book

Writers read

Castine Writers Group member Rosemary Wyman reads from some of her work included in From here & Away: Castine Voices, a compilation of a decade’s worth of the group’s work.

Photo courtesy of Lance Burton

by Anne Berleant

After 10 years of sharing words both spoken and written among each other, the Castine Writers Group decided it was time to be published.

From Home & Away: Castine Voices, published in late 2019, brings together the fiction, poetry, non-fiction and art of current and former members in 139 pages.

The 2018 death of longstanding group member Kay Bailey provided the impetus for the book, and the volume is dedicated to her, said Peter Cooperdock, a group member of five years. (Cooperdock also writes the Outside Insights column for the Castine Patriot.)

“It took over a year,” he said. “It was a long process to figure out how to do it, find someone to print it—it’s self published—and coordinate [everything], and get the four other people to send things in. Some of them live far away.”

Four of five former members submitted content, along with current members Cooperdock, Johanna Sweet, Rosemary Wyman and Don Small.

“We each came up with 15 pages of writing and then we looked at them spread out on the dining room table,” Sweet recalled. Sweet did most of the editing, after the group arranged the 82 pieces of writing and art into what became five categories: Family, Friends, Lovers; Reflections; Journeys & Stories; Nature; and Beginnings and Endings.

A December 20 book launch, hosted by Compass Rose Books, in association with Castine Arts Association, drew close to 30 people to listen to readings from the volume, talk with the writers, and drink wine among literary folk.

“It was an exciting time, to be able to put my work, our work, in front of the public,” Wyman said. “It was a lovely launching. I’d never been launched before.”

Cooperdock echoed her reaction. “It was pretty awesome,” he said. “It was great to get a copy of the book and look at it [and think], Wow, it’s here.”

From Home & Away: Castine Voices is available at Compass Rose in Castine, Book Stacks in Bucksport and Blue Hill Books.