Frederick Lowe
The Singing Head by Maine writer Frederick Lowe

Frederick Lowe

Despite living in New Jersey during the cold months, Frederick Lowe is a poet with deep Maine roots. If family legend is true, his many-times great grandmother was a Penobscot woman who came to her wedding carrying an iron kettle, her most treasured possession. On firmer historical ground, Lowe has been a seasonal resident of Halls Mills, a tiny settlement in coastal Washington County, since 1973. Most of his writing is informed by the Maine landscape and its people. Going back a bit, Lowe published early poems in The Maine Times and then, later, in Off the CoastBeloit Poetry Journal, The Aputamkon Review, and the online All-Maine Review. He also publishes frequently in other regions of the country, in the United Kingdom, and Northern Ireland. He is a recent Pushcart Prize nominee.

Among favorite projects are collaborations with graphic artists. In the 1980s, Lowe collaborated with the painter/printmaker Richard Kirk Mills to produce Intimate Views From Away, a folio of prints and poem-prints covering the Downeast from Stonington to Lubec. The folio was exhibited in galleries in New York, Philadelphia, and at Maine Coast Artists (now the CCMA) in Rockport.

Lowe's most recent project is an artist’s book—Singing Head—completed in 2014 working with the artist Val Sivilli and the book “architect” Ulla Warchol. Singing Head illustrates in poems and accompanying images the 18 letters of the Scottish and Irish Gaelic “tree alphabet”—so called because the Gaelic letter-names are also the names of trees, a schema that likely dates back to druidic times. Singing Head is at least as much a celebration of trees as it is of Celtic heritage. Lowe points out that these simple, song-like poems were written in Halls Mills over the course of a single summer during which he explored the surrounding forest on foot and surveyed it from his window.

Portrait courtesy of John Schmidtberger (2014)