June Bookshelf: Motorcycles and Mergansers

Two very different milieux - one loud and flashy, the other naturally quiet. It's amazing how much there is to say about sea birds - in Hugh Hennedy's "Variations on a Natural Theme" [Hobblebush Books, $15.95], there are 111 pages of elegant poems about mergansers, eiders, gulls and, mostly, loons that Hennedy saw in Maine's Seal Cove. The poems, many of them having a haiku quality, are short meditations on nature's waterworld - ones that would be particularly satisfying to bird lovers, for anyone who finds peace in nature and for lovers of lyric poetry. Hennedy says of the birds: "They are beautiful, mostly untamed and have a long tradition in prophecy and omen-telling and deep associations with poetry." The Portsmouth resident taught English literature and writing at the University of New England and passed Seal Cove on his way to work every day. *** If you like Bike Week in Laconia, you'll love the new book straightforwardly titled "Laconia Motorcycle Week" [Arcadia Publishing, $19.99]. It documents the oldest national motorcycle rally in the United States (it started in 1916, when motorcycling had just begun) with historical images from the private collections of people who have played a major role in keeping the history of motorcycles and Bike Week alive. It shows the growth of the sport; since 1998 more than 300,000 people attended the annual event, all of them contributing to its good and not-so-good moments. Authors Charlie St. Clair and Jennifer Anderson have worked for the non-profit Laconia Motorcycle Week Association for more than a decided and have committed themselves to educating people about the community of bikers.
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