Linda Buckmaster has lived within a block of the Atlantic most of her life, growing up in “Space Coast” Florida during the Sixties and living in midcoast Maine for forty years. She is the former Atlantic and Gulf Editor of the commercial fishing magazine National Fisherman and former Poet Laureate of her small town of Belfast, Maine.
Her poetry, essay, and fiction have appeared in over forty journals. Two pieces were “Notable Essays” in Best American Essays 2013 and 2020. She has held residencies at Vermont Studios Center, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Cove Park and Moniack Mhor in Scotland, Landfall Trust in Newfoundland, and Obras Foundation in Portugal among others. Her hybrid memoir, Space Heart: A Memoir in Stages, was published by Burrow Press in 2018.
“I might have gone elsewhere and become a very different poet and person.”
~ John Haines, Living Off the Country. Essays on Poetry and Place.
Writing Career Decades
1970s: I moved to Maine and lived the back-to-the-land dream in Waldo County, where I fed a wood stove, canned tomatoes, raised a few recalcitrant sheep, did a lot of waitressing, had a baby, and wished I were a writer.
1980s: The single parent of a preschooler, I finished my undergraduate degree at the University of Maine. I published my first short stories in Puckerbrush Review, and moved into town—Belfast, population 5,000 at the time. I started work as Atlantic and Gulf Editor for National Fisherman magazine where I was for the next seven years.
1990s: I entered the Masters program in Communication Studies at my alma mater. It was there I learned about postmodernism, critical cultural studies and expanded my view of what was possible in writing. My thesis was a hybrid consisting of academic research, poetry, and the transcripts of personal narrative interviews. I married and was made a widow in this decade.
The Aughts: I began seriously writing poetry, a turn precipitated by the sudden death of my husband. I published three chapbooks of poetry and served as Belfast Poet Laureate. The first of my heavy traveling days began with a trip to Prague for a writer’s conference. Later, I traveled for six weeks alone in central and southern Mexico, documenting my journey in Momentitos. A Mexican Journey. At home, I worked in a women’s nonprofit and as an Adjunct in the University of Maine System.
The Teens: By now, I had finished my MFA in Creative Writing from the Stonecoast program of the University of Southern Maine and turned my focus to writing prose. Two of my pieces, “Becoming Memory” and “Caught Out,” were listed as Notable Essays in Best American Essays 2013 and 2020. In 2018, my hybrid memoir, Space Heart: A Memoir in Stages, was published by Burrow Press. My traveling ways expanded with national and international writing residencies. Unbeknownst to me, the beginnings of my next project about fishing communities of the North Atlantic Rim were bubbling up from my travels to Newfoundland and Scotland.
The 2020s: After cancelling and re-cancelling three trips to Scotland and two to Newfoundland, I stumbled through the pandemic, then suddenly caught fire. The result is the hybrid Elemental: A Miscellany of Salt Cod and Islands published in 2022 by Huntress Press.