Linda Buckmaster

marlene lopez

Linda Buckmaster has lived within a block of the Atlantic most of her life. Born in Miami, she grew up in Space Coast Florida and has been in Midcoast Maine for four decades. Former Poet Laureate of her small town of Belfast, Maine, her poetry, essay, and fiction have appeared in over thirty journals. One of her essays was a Notable Essay in Best American Essays 2013. She has been awarded writing residencies at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, Vermont Studios Center, Kezar Lake, Maine, Landfall Trust in Newfoundland, and Obras Foundation in Portugal. She is the author of Space Heart: A Memoir in Stages (Burrow Press).  In 1962, as John Glenn orbits the earth and sea turtles lay their eggs, as they have for millennia, on wild Florida beaches just miles from Cape Canaveral, eleven-year-old Linda Buckmaster becomes one of the first children to successfully undergo open-heart surgery. Encountering more of a problem than they anticipated, surgeons improvise a solution using Teflon, a material developed for the space industry. Through the eyes of an alcoholic rocket engineer’s daughter, Space Heart paints a picture of an era of endless optimism and television cowboys amid the looming Soviet threat. Combining prose poems, narrative memoir, and history, Buckmaster juxtaposes the natural world of Space Coast Florida in the 1950s and 60s with the cutting-edge technology of the early days of the space race.