Looking at an Island

The old pitcher sitting stolidly in its matching, sun-shadowed bowl commands the image, but a small but gently curving crack, barely perceptible, invites us to look at the larger picture–out, through the window to the fields beyond, to the slim line of the cemetery fence, to an expanse of ocean, and islands near and far. So too, a small island offers an invitation to look not just in but also out.

The Crack
Peter Ralston/Ralston Gallery


Where Edges Don’t Hold

Finalist, 2018 Maine Literary Award for Maine-themed non-fiction
(Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance)

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“I was captivated by so splendid a meditation on the islandness of land and sea, . . . on the cyclic and historic metamorphoses between the permanent and transient, malleable and immutable.”
David Lowenthal, author, The Past is a Foreign Country

“The individual essays [in Where Edges Don’t Hold] are gem-like constructions, engaging riffs on island ideas, events, lives. They are studies, yes, but also stories.”
Carl Little, in The Working Waterfront


Writing on Stone

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” Writing on Stone is . . . a must for anyone intrigued by islands and the particularly elusive quality of Maine islandness”
Linda Greenlaw, captain, islander, and author, The Hungry Ocean.

“This book is a tribute to things that survive, and the limits of how deeply human beings can mark geography”
Steven Mentz, author, At the Bottom of Shakespeare’s Ocean

“[Gillis] captures the ineffable quality of Maine’s islands through attention to the concrete and mundane in the islanders’ lives. . . ”
Laura Cowan, in Maine History

“Writing on Stone: Scenes from a Maine Island Life.”
(Review, Women’s Studies, Vol. 38, #4, 2009)

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