Anna Grimshaw, Emory University
In 1960, Bill Coperthwaite bought 300 acres of wilderness in Machiasport, Maine.
Influenced by the poetry of Emily Dickinson and by the back to the land movement of Scott and Helen Nearing, Bill Coperthwaite was committed to what he called“a handmade life.” For over fifty years until his death in 2013, he lived and worked in the forest. He was a builder of yurts, and a maker of spoons, bowls and chairs.
I met Bill Coperthwaite not long after I bought a house in Machiasport. He was, of course, well-known to local people, many of whom affectionately recalled childhood adventures of exploring and working in the woods with Bill. But he was also something of an international figure, drawing visitors to Dickinson’s Reach from different parts of the world.…