The origin of Chapel Street Editions (CSE) goes back forty years to my association with David Folster, a well-known New Brunswick writer and founding President of the St. John River Society. We shared a mutual interest in advancing the appreciation of the natural and cultural heritage of the St. John River Valley. We worked on a plan for a regional publishing venture that did not come to fruition.

CSE has emerged from this history into the era of digital technology that makes possible the kind of small-scale, professional publishing we had in mind. If David Folster were still with us, he would be an ally of CSE. In a real sense, he is.

In 1997, David Folster published an essay titled, “I Am a St. John River Person,” in which he summed up his attachment to the landscape and cultural life of the region. CSE works with this same sense of place.

A vibrant cultural life rests on a strong attachment to place: this means a strong attachment to the land and all its communities of life, to the built environment, and to the ecological, social, and economic relationship of the settlements where we live.

The St. John River begins in the wilderness country of northern Maine and makes its way through the broad watershed region of western and central New Brunswick to the Bay of Fundy. The original people of the region call it Wolastoq – the bountiful river.

CSE is dedicated to a literature of place that advances an appreciation for not only our home region but for all of New Brunswick's natural regions and the cultural life of their human settlements.

 

– Keith Helmuth, Woodstock, N.B.

Old train bridge on the Saint John River above Woodstock. Photo by Brendan Helmuth