Merrymeeting Bay: Writer and Photographer Celebrate Maine's Treasured Delta

Story posted July 27, 2006

Maine's Merrymeeting Bay is a place where two major rivers converge before emptying into the Gulf of Maine. Together, they create a tidal delta that is rich in aquatic life and steeped in cultural significance.

In a new book about the bay, "Confluence: Merrymeeting Bay" (Tilbury House, 2006), author and essayist Franklin Burroughs intermingles his rich narrative with photographer Heather Perry's color photographs to bring the natural and human history of the bay vividly to life.

The Author Reads

Frank Burroughs

In a 2001 recording at Bowdoin College, Burroughs reads the full text of his award-winning essay "Compression Wood," originally published in The American Scholar.

The book will be launched at the opening of an exhibition of Perry's photography from the book. The opening takes place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Friday, August 4, 2006, at Abracadabra Fine Arts Gallery, 11 Pleasant St., Brunswick.

Burroughs, Bowdoin's Harrison King McCann Professor of the English Language Emeritus, has lived upstream from Merrymeeting Bay for 37 years. In this collection of 19 new essays, he shares his intimate knowledge of the bay, gleaned from paddling its waters, hunting its marshes, and coming to know the people in and around the community.

It is knowledge, Burroughs says, acquired "more by osmosis than through research ... a web of narratives that unfold from small encounters with people, creatures, and landscapes."

Book cover

Burroughs taught at Bowdoin for 33 years, before retiring in 2002. He is a Pushcart Prize winner and author of the acclaimed books "Billy Watson's Crocker Sack," and "The River Home: A Return to the Carolina Low Country." His essays have appeared in many of the most important American journals, including The American Scholar, The Georgia Review, and Harper's Magazine.


Perry is a photographer whose work has appeared in numerous publications, including Ocean Navigator, Le Monde (Paris) and Georama Experiment (Greece). Her camera takes her soaring above Merrymeeting Bay and even under water, where she captures rare images of the freshwater eel.

Merrymeeting Bay continues to be the subject of intensive field studies by Bowdoin researchers who are conducting a long-term study of the ecology, history, and biodiversity of this important mid-coast region of Maine. To learn more about this work, visit the website of Bowdoin's Merrymeeting Bay/Kennebec Estuary Research Program.

For more information on the book launch, contact Abracadabra Fine Arts Gallery at 207-725-0386.

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