Neil Rolde to talk about his books in Portland, Maine, June 20th


The Constellation Gallery is pleased to announce a literary night of readings on Friday, June 20th from 6pm to 8pm, surrounded by art. Award winning author/statesman Neil Rolde will tell stories about his books and life. Each vignette will be inspired from a poem written and read by John Willey from his book Observed From a Skin Boat.

Having a story evolve from a poem is a new concept to engage people in the art of the written word.

“I’m looking forward to the evening,” said Rolde, a Maine renowned historian, former politician and, philanthropist. “I’ve never done anything like this before. It should be fun and it’s a unique way for people to understand the relevance of poetry and research.”

Most of Mr. Rolde’s books are extensively researched and involve the history of Maine and its people. The plight of Native Americans has been a reoccurring theme in Rolde’s life since his childhood and he helped Maine’s tribes while he worked in the Curtis administration. These experiences led him to write one of Maine’s definitive historic books: Unsettled Past, Unsettled Future: The Story of Maine Indians.

Rolde has won awards for his books from the Maine Historical Society, the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, and the Maine Humanities Council. John Holt Willey will read from his poetry book: Observed From a Skin Boat published by Moon Pie Press in 2013.

“I’m honored to be sharing the stage with such a renown author and historian. I have a great regard for Neil. I only hope my poems will be satisfactory,” said Willey. “I’ve often read my work but people don’t know how to respond other than sometimes clapping. I think having an author become inspired by them, giving them a personal context, is a great way to open the door of literature for people.”

Neil will probably be inspired to tell some stories from his upcoming book, Real Political Tales: Short Stories by a Veteran Politician to be published by Polar Bear & Company, as they are fresh in his mind.

“The short stories are fictional, to be sure, but they incorporate almost a quarter of a century working directly in State government and even more years involved in the politics of Maine. They bear out my extensive experience of the political scene from the inside, not as expressed by opinionated media nor by the average person seeing things from outside,” said Rolde.

Real Political Tales is Neil’s second fictional work.

“They illustrate that our governments are made up of human beings – and in Maine at least, doing their level best to deal with the needs of the population at the lowest possible cost. It was said that we Maine legislators worked for a salary of three cents an hour,” said Rolde.

This year the Constellation Gallery has swung open its doors wider to the community for more engagements of the arts hosting bands, poetry readings and other events.

“We’re a collective helping to build the creative economy of Portland by engaging the community with what we do at the gallery and through our art, our programs and community partnerships,” said Jos Ruks, President of the Maine Artist Collective. “We’re very pleased to host this event.”

The Maine Art Collective is Portland’s only gallery non-profit co-operative, and is structured democratically, so members can choose the leadership of the organization and participate with the running of the gallery and it’s educational programs with a board and bylaws.

More about Neil Rolde:

Mr. Rolde’s many years of public service include being an assistant to Governor Kenneth M. Curtis of Maine for six years and 16 years as an elected Representative in the Maine Legislature. He represented his district of York, Maine and became Majority Leader of the Maine House during the 107th legislature from 1975-77. He became the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in 1990 in an election bid against Bill Cohen.

Rolde grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts. He worked as a film writer before moving to Maine with his wife of fifty-two years, Carlotta Florsheim, to raise their family, in York.

Neil is very involved in his York community and remains politically active. He continues to serve as Chairman of the board of the Save our Shipyard nonprofit that successfully fought the potential cuts to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard proposed by the BRAC federal commission, twice.

Mr. Rolde has served on many State boards and commissions.

A list of Neil Rolde’s books:

1. Breckenridge Long: An American: An American Eichmann??? An Enquiry into the Character of the Man who Denied Visas to the Jews
2. Continental Liar from the State of Maine: James G. Blaine
3. Unsettled Past, Unsettled Future: The Story of Maine Indians
4. The Interrupted Forest A History of Maine’s Wildlands
5. Maine A Narrative History
6. Maine Downeast and Different an Illustrated History
7. An illustrated history of Maine
8. Your Money or Your Health: America’s Cruel, Bureaucratic, and Horrendously Expensive Health Care System How It Got That Way and What to Do About
9. Rio Grande Do Norte: The Story of Maine’s Partner State in Brazil What It’s Like, What Its past Has Been, and What Are Its Ties to Maine
10. The Baxters of Maine: Downeast Visionaries
11. So You Think You Know Maine
12. Maine in the World: Stories of Some of Those from Here Who Went Away
13. O. Murray Carr: A Novel
14. Sir William Pepperrell of Colonial New England

More about John Holt Willey

A 1952 graduate of Good Will Hinckley High School, John spent three years as a Marine at Camp Pendleton, Calif. In San Francisco, he worked as a writer and an investigator and earned his California investigation license. He opened his own private investigation agency in 1968.

He returned to Maine in 1977 and lived in Clinton, Boothbay, Mount Vernon, Belgrade and Waterville. John worked as a boat builder, and has helped build and restore homes, furniture, boats and pipe organs. He’s a cabinetmaker, mason, Hinckley board member, and loves being out on the water on his eighteen-foot sea kayak he built and launched in 1997.

John Holt Willey’s first poetry book: Observed From a Skin Boat was published by Moon Pie Press in 2013.

His next book, Winter Apprentice, is a memoir of apprenticeship at the Paul E. Luke boatyard on the coast of Maine and will be published by Polar Bear & Company,

For more information about the gallery and collective please go to:

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