Franco American Women Writers and Editors
Franco American Women
Writers and Editors

Editor of Le F.A.R.O.G. Forum and Le FORUM

for 10 Years--September, 1986 to June, 1996

Statement by Rhea Cote Robbins, also, author of Wednesday's Child ,
winner of the Maine Chapbook Award

The result of my editing Le F.A.R.O.G. Forum and Le FORUM for ten years has given me deeper insight into my own culture. The more deeper treasure has been the recognition of my Franco-American woman's life. There is a way of voicing the culture in general; there is also voicing which happens for women separate from the general view. The picture of the general voice is one which describes the way life is lived by a group of people. What the voicing of the Franco-American woman presents is a view which enhances the larger picture. A detailed cut-away of the culture's finest attributes.

 For the Franco-Americans, we have long been present on the North American continent. First in Québec, and then in the U.S. Migration as a way of life, moving between the border. In the story of how the South, U.S., met the North, Québécois, the story is one of whole families migrating to the Northeast. Along with that migration, came the women and children with the men.

 During those years of editing, I had the opportunity to write and express my culture and to foster the writings of many people in the Franco-American culture. My final editor's note expresses my deep gratitude for the things which I have learned from the people of my culture.

Editor's Note:

 There are times when the pages of the book we are reading, are turned. In my life two of my children have left home to go live on their own and our youngest is very independent these days, being sixteen and mobile with a car of his own. This tells me my life is moving on.

This Le FORUM marks ten years of editing for me. You have been a very good readership. Very wise and very giving. I thank you for that. I have learned many things under your tutelage. Mostly, I have learned myself and to love my culture and my people. These are the things you learn when the lessons have been good. You learn yourself. My sojourn in the land of university was formed by three people and their words. One said, "Why else would you come to college, but to learn about life?" Another told me that to come to a university we train our sensibilities. The other, and the last, told me to be true to myself, no matter what.

This is the final Le FORUM for the year. In it, as usual there are the words which leave you wondering at the loveliness of people in story community. There are moments of epiphany and new-found friendship. Reconnections. Renewal of commitments. And remembering. New writers. New words. New ways. All of the people in this volume who have contributed of their time and their writing talents bring you a piece of themselves which they give to you. In return, you are a gift to them. This is the way of being Franco-American that I know. These are the people I know. This is the way of life which I will remember best.

Rhea Côté Robbins
Le FORUM, Spring 1996

Rhea Côté Robbins is the author of Wednesday's Child, the 1997 Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance Chapbook Award winner. She co-edited and designed I am Franco-American and Proud of It: Franco-American Women's Anthology. She is a contributor to Old Women's Wisdom, a multi-cultural anthology of women over eighty years old living in Aroostook County. Rhea served as editor for ten years of Le FORUM, a bilingual, socio-cultural journal. In addition, she has authored two bibliographies one for WBDC and the Leadership Development Project; the other is entitled Franco-American Health-Related Bibliography.

 In 1995 she was selected for the Steve Grady Endowment Fund for Creative Writing, First Prize, Poetry. Her essays, poetry, book reviews, and recipes have appeared in the following publications: Les Voix/Voices, Rafale, Stolen Island Review, Pucker Brush Review, ECHOES, Portland Magazine, WBDC Developments, Feminist Times, Le FORUM, Le F.A.R.O.G. Forum, Portland Sunday Telegram, Bangor Daily News, Brewer Register, Foxtail, Young Poets of America, Eating Between the Lines: A Maine Writer's Cookbook, Nos Histoires de l'Ile: Livre de cuisine, RSVP Recipes: Aroostook County, and L'Ouest Français et la Francophonie Nord-Américaine.

 Currently she edits several web pages, and an electronic magazine for Franco-American women, moé pi toé, at--

 She is working on a book of literary criticism on Grace Metalious, the author of Peyton Place who was a Franco-American woman writer. Forthcoming publication of her work will appear in River Revue/Review Rivière and Reflections on Maine.

Franco American Women Writers

A Franco-American woman's literary tradition exists, and a separate feminist criticism is needed to look at this literature. I need to look at the ways that Franco-American women's literature is unique unto itself. In order to do this, I will employ variant concepts of realism and sentimentalism to discuss Franco-American women's literature but more importantly, I will explore other components of criticism that can be incorporated to come to a deeper understanding of these ethnic women writers.

 As Raymond LePage states in a paper presented at MLA, 1982, entitled, "Realism and Feminism: Franco-American Women Writers of New England":

"Unfortunately, most literary to mention the literary output of the largest ethnic group living in New England.... Thus, a central piece in the region's literary mosaic is nearly always omitted".
The Franco-American woman writers that I will be discussing are: Corinne Rocheleau Rouleau, Camille Lessard-Bissonnette (nom de plume: Liane), and Grace Marie Antoinette Jeanne d'Arc de Repentigny Metalious. The reason I chose the first two of these women authors is because of the recent scholarly work which has been done on Corrine and Camille, presented in 1994 at a yearly conference held at Institut français, Assumption College which focuses on Franco-America. The directrice, Claire Quintal, writes of how Franco-American women have been over-shadowed and need to come into the light of the day:
La femme franco-américaine a toujours vécu dans l'ombre: dans l'ombre du clocher, dans l'ombre de la salle de classe, dans l'ombre de la salle de travail à l'usine, dans l'ombre du curé, dans l'ombre de son mari. Le moment était arrivé, nous semble-t-il, de l'en sortir pour étaler au grand jour son apport indispensable à la vie et à la survie de la Franco-Américainie.
I also chose Grace Metalious, who is of Franco-American heritage and better known for her popular works Peyton Place and Return To Peyton Place, but who also wrote two other works which deal primarily with issues surrounding Franco-American women. These books are entitled,The Tight White Collar and No Adam in Eden. (An excerpt from a paper read at a conference on Franco-American expression held in Bar Harbor, May 1996.)

Other Franco-American women Editors and writers from the 19th and 20th centuries:
Emma Dumas, (1857-1926), Mirbah, feuilleton en 1910-1912
Anne-Marie Duval-Thibault, (1862-1951), Les Deux Testaments, 1888
Alberte Gastonguay (1906-1978), La Jeune Franco-Américaine, 1933
Grace de Repentigny Metalious, (1924-1964)
Camille Lessard Bissonnette, (1883-1970), Canuck, 1936
Corinne Rocheleau Rouleau, (1881-1963), Françaises d'Amérique, 1915
Alice Lemieux, Poet
Charlotte U. Michaud, Journalist
Yvonne Le Maøitre, Journalist, (1876-1974)
Claire Quintal, Directrice of Institut Français, Editor of several books, Author, and Le Bulletin de la Fédération Féminine Franco-Am*ricaine
E.Annie Proulx, Heartsongs and Other Stories, Shipping News, Accordian Crimes, Close Range Wyoming Stories

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to Other Women Writers

Pages of interest on Grace Metalious:

Legacy Magazine of New Hampshire had carried the article "Legacy III: I Remember Grace Metalious"
 in their May of '96 issue.

This is a brief quote from the article by Lynne Snierson, noted sports writer:

I Remember Grace Metalious
 While covering sports all over the country for many years, people I encountered were amazed to meet someone reared in the small state of New Hampshire. They were positively fascinated to discover I had also grown up around the larger-than-life Grace Metalious.

    The woman who wrote Peyton Place back in the 1950s on a manual typewriter, perched on her dining room table in Gilmanton, was the friend and client of my father, the late Judge Bernard Snierson of Laconia. Grace and my dad were so close that even though she predeceased him by some 25 years, the Associated Press and USA Today identified him in the lead sentence of his obituary as her attorney, when he died in 1988.
Legacy III: I Remember Grace Metalious

Other links:

Locate the grave site of Grace by last name listing:
 Find A Grave by Name

 And listed with the New York Public Library's Books of the Century,
Under the category of
Popular Culture & Mass Entertainment , Peyton Place:

The New York Public Library: Centennial Exhibitions
Also, purchase the Books of the Century from NYPL

More Links on Grace Metalious

For articles which were first published in The Feminist Times:

The Feminist Times: Franco-American Women's Voices

Other books of interest:

No Place for Little Boys:
The Civil War Stories of a Maine Union Soldier

Edited by Melissa MacCrae and Maureen Bradford, Illustrated by David J. Priesing

 No Place for Little Boys, a civil war story described
by letters from Peleg Bradford, Jr.,
a Union soldier from Carmel,
Maine of the First Maine Heavy Artillery

 Click here to visit the web site or to order a copy:

 No Place for Little Boys: The Civil War Stories of a Maine Union Soldier

It Takes A Woman: Women Shaping Public Policy

Please also visit this incredible site:

The Muse:  Commissioned Poetry

The Gregg Shorthand© Fight Against Breast Cancer Pin

©Copyright Rhea Côté Robbins

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Date last revised:May 2023

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Rhea J. Côté Robbins is Director of The Franco-American Women's Institute.