Wednesday, April 16, 2014

National Poetry Month: Week 3

For the third week of our National Poetry Month showcase, Frank X Walker shares the poem "Ambiguity Over the Confederate Flag" from his book, TURN ME LOOSE (2013, pg. 4).

                  Ambiguity Over the Confederate Flag

                   In the old south        life was full of work
  we would sit on the veranda       from sunup to sundown

  look out over the horizon at       nothing but fields of cotton

                           the young       children
   who happily played behind       tried to pick their own weight

              while their mothers       by age 13 filled 500 lb sacks
      sang rapturous spirituals       and lived the blues

     those were good ol' days       for plantation owners
   not having to use the whip       sharecropping and extending debt
              was more civilized       was almost more profitable

                                   than slavery

About the Poem
This poem is a contrapuntal that can be read three different ways. It sets the stage for the dialogue that occurs throughout the book and reflects the intentional structure of the book that is reflected in the oppositional dynamics of the two songs "Dixie" and "Strange Fruit."

About the Poet
Frank X Walker is the 2013-2014 poet laureate of Kentucky. He is an associate professor of English at the University of Kentucky and the editor of Pluck! The Journal of Affrilachian Arts & Culture. A Lannan Literary Fellowship for Poetry recipient, he is the author of five collections of poetry, including Buffalo Dance: The Journey of York, which won the Lillian Smith Book Award, and Isaac Murphy: I Dedicate This Ride.

For more information about National Poetry month, visit For more poetry from the UGA Press, visit the poetry section of our website here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Short Takes

Gillian Hart argues, during a recent interview with KPFA 94.1's "Against the Grain," that the African National Congress's rule in South Africa has been disappointing to many since it began in 1994. Hart is the author of the new book, RETHINKING THE SOUTH AFRICAN CRISIS. Listen to the podcast here.

Kate Sweeney answered questions about her new book, AMERICAN AFTERLIFE, during a recent interview with WFAE 90.7's "Charlotte Talks." Listen to the podcast here. Also be sure to check-out her recent television interview with GPB's "On the Story." Watch the video here. (Sweeney's segment begins around the 15:00 mark.)

Patricia Vasquez gave a talk at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, DC on March 21 related to her new book, OIL SPARKS IN THE AMAZON. Oil & Gas Journal has a write-up about the event and Vasquez's book. Watch the video below to see the full talk or watch the webcast of the talk on the Wilson Center website.

Carmaletta M. Williams and John Edgar Tidwell discussed their book, MY DEAR BOY, on Channel 6 Lawrence's "The Not So Late Show." Watch the video here.

Los Angeles Review of Books calls Idra Novey's EXIT, CIVILIAN "imperative and timely."

The Santa Barbara Independent recommends Frank X Walker's TURN ME LOOSE as a must-read for National Poetry Month.

The Electronic Green Journal reviewed THE WORLD OF THE SALT MARSH, saying the author Charles Seabrook "makes an impassioned and impressive appeal in this book for the protection of the South Atlantic Bight."

Monday, April 14, 2014

In the News: Dr. Louis W. Sullivan and his new book, Breaking Ground

Dr. Louis W. Sullivan's unusual yet innovative stance on the Affordable Care Act has captured the attention of many healthcare journalists in recent weeks. Unlike most, Dr. Sullivan is one Republican that is a strong supporter of Obama's healthcare law. At the opening session of the Association of Health Care Journalists 2014 conference in Denver last month, Sullivan discussed his unique stance and talked about his experience with health care. The Huffington Post reported, "[Sullivan] noted that many of the major provisions of the Affordable Care Act are based on the reform proposals he and other Republicans crafted more than two decades ago." (Click here to read the full article.)

Sullivan also talked about his perspectives of the Affordable Care Act during his interview with WGBH News in Boston last week. 

Along with Dr. Sullivan's insights on current healthcare provisions, Sullivan also spoke about his experience with major healthcare issues from the past. Reuters quoted Sullivan's remarks of his experience with the HIV/AIDS Crisis at the 1990 International Conference on AIDS, "I wanted to have that conversation to try and establish a better relationship with AIDS groups." (Click here to read the full article.) Reuters noted the conflict between the George H.W. Bush Administration and AIDS groups that arose surrounding the healthcare issues of the time.

Other articles from the conference in Denver announced Dr. Sullivan's predictions and plans for the future. The St. Louis American quoted Sullivan who said:
We need to be sure that our population 50 years from now is educated and also has good health; and that population is going to be Latino, African American, Native American, as well as white, so from the standpoint of investing our future as a country, we need to be sure that all segments of our society are well-educated and also are healthy. (Click here to read the full article.)
Sullivan is working toward the goal of health awareness as Chairman of the Atlanta-based National Health Museum. Georgia Health News wrote that the museum "will have a global online network and digital information hub called the Cyber Museum, and a visitor center at Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park called the Experience Museum . . . [which] is expected to offer a series of self-guided journeys focused on life, health, and the human body." (Click here to read the full article.)

Following his speech at the opening session of the Association of Health Care Journalists 2014 conference, Dr. Sullivan signed copies of his new book, BREAKING GROUND, which reports on his life and involvement with medicine and healthcare.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

National Poetry Month: Week 2

Continuing the celebration of National Poetry Month, Coleman Barks shares the poem "Hummingbird Sleep" that inspired the title of his latest poetry collection, HUMMINGBIRD SLEEP (2013, pg. 79).

Hummingbird Sleep
A hummingbird sleeps among the wonders.
Close to dark, he settles on a roosting limb
and lowers his body temperature
to within a few degrees of the air's own.

As the bird descends into torpor,
he assumes his heroic sleep posture,
head back, tilted beak pointing to the sky,
angling steep, Quixotic, Crimean.

This noctivation, the ornithologist word for it,
is very like what bears do through the winter.
Hummingbirds live the deep drop every night.
You can yell in his face and shake the branch.

Nothing. Gone. Where? What does he dream of?
He dreams he is the great air itself, the substance
he swims in every day, and the rising light
coming back to be his astonishing body.

About the Poem
I am told that the science here is accurate, that hummingbirds do go into a hibernative state each night. The poem is meant to celebrate the "deep drop" we all do each night that restores and renews us. The word "Crimean" may seem strange here, and oddly taken out of the current news. It refers to Tennyson's poem, "The Charge of the Light Brigade," and the hopeless heroism of those raised swords charging the cannons of the Russian positions.

About the Poet
Coleman Barks is the best-selling translator of The Essential Rumi The Soul of Rumi, and Rumi: The Book of Love and author of numerous volumes of poetry including Winter Sky: New and Selected Poems, 1968-2008 (Georgia). He taught creative writing and American poetry in the English Department at the University of Georgia for thirty years and currently lives in Athens, Georgia.

For more information about National Poetry month, visit For more poetry from the UGA Press, visit the poetry section of our website here.