These three prose poems are taken from Jefferson Navicky’s upcoming book, Head of Island Beautification for the Rural Outlands, a novel in prose poems, exploring art and artmaking, the legacy of forebears, both absent and very present. Navicky’s work is luminous, surprising, and profound in its explorations.

The novel, which will come out from AC Books in March, focuses on William Harrison Brown (aka Bird) who returns to the island of his youth, and attempts to take his place in the long line of landscape painters in his family. Bird, however, paints with a 1961 Underwood typewriter. The book, as Navicky says, “is part history of grief, part exploration of ghosts and hauntings, part philosophy of landscape painting, and part meditation on the nature of islands.”

—Betsy Sholl, Maine Arts Journal Poetry Editor


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Joey Chernilla, Aquaneck Island, ink on paper, 2010.

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In addition to Head of Island Beautification for the Rural Outlands, Navicky is the author of Antique Densities: Modern Parables & Other Experiments in Short Prose, which won the 2022 Maine Literary Book Award for Poetry, as well as two other hybrid books. He is the archivist for the Maine Women Writers Collection.


Image at top: Alex Rheault, Typewriter, ink on paper, 2022.