Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Coleman Barks Featured on New Tuatara CD

Coleman Barks is a poet who is widely known for his bestselling translations of Rumi, the thirteenth-century mystic poet. The Press recently published a career retrospective of Barks's own poetry, WINTER SKY: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS, 1968-2008. "Barks is a master of the complicated human poem," commented Robert Bly. "Some poets open their poems to what is Significant. Barks sets down the remarks that a waitress said to him one night in a late-night restaurant. There is a great unfolding of the world here."

Just released this month by Fast Horse Recordings is a new album from the band Tuatara, THE HERE AND THE GONE, featuring Barks reading from his poems and Rumi translations. The album is getting great early reviews including this one just published on Blogcritics Magazine.

The collaboration between Tuatara and Barks began in 1997 at a show in Athens, Georgia, when Barks read one of his poems while the band improvised backing music. Small guest appearances on two Tuatara albums followed. THE HERE AND THE GONE was recorded in Santa Fe with group founders Barrett Martin (former Screaming Trees drummer) and Peter Buck (R.E.M.) joined by such guests as Rahim Alhaj (Iraqi oud master), Scott McCaughey (R.E.M. backing guitarist), and Kai Riedl (UGA professor and musician).

Left: Coleman Barks by Anne Richmond Boston

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Georgia Writer's Hall of Fame Inductees Announced

Each year the University of Georgia Libraries selects two living and two deceased writers to be inducted into the Georgia Writer's Hall of Fame. This year the poets Coleman Barks and David Bottoms are being honored along with posthumous inductees Raymond Andrews and Robert Burch.

Barks has had a prolific career as a poet, professor of English, and translator of the thirteenth-century mystic poet Rumi. Barks's translations have been praised for restoring lyrical and poetic beauty to Rumi's work. The Rumi books have also become bestsellers admired by an international audience. The Press recently published Barks's WINTER SKY: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS, 1968-2008. Of Barks's poetry Mary Oliver commented, "Why do people read poems? For comfort and a sense of companionship, for encouragement, for the beauty of language, for energy placed on the page with a wish to give it away. Coleman Barks is one of the best." For more on Barks's work and upcoming appearances visit http://www.colemanbarks.com/.

The Press has also published the other three inductees. David Bottoms contributed text to OGLETHORPE'S DREAM: A PICTURE OF GEORGIA. Raymond Andrews's trilogy of novels APALACHEE RED, ROSIEBELLE LEE WILDCAT TENNESSEE, and BABY SWEET'S portray black life in the Deep South from the end of the First World War to the beginning of the 1960s. And Robert Burch's novels RENFROE'S CHRISTMAS, D.J.'S WORST ENEMY, and TYLER, WILKIN, AND SKEE are highly regarded works for young adults.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Short Takes

AN EVERGLADES PROVIDENCE, Jack E. Davis’s biography of Marjory Stoneman Douglas, gets advance praise in Library Journal: “Davis offers an impressive look at America during Douglas's lifetime and the growth of America's environmental movement. This outstanding volume is essential for environmental and history collections.”

Despite lamenting its scholarly rather than popular bent, PopMatters says of Jeanne Campbell Reesman’s forthcoming JACK LONDON’S RACIAL LIVES: “History seems to have dealt London a bad hand as he’s now best remembered as an adventure story writer meant for Boy Scouts and teen naturalists. Reesman knows better. Her detailed explications of London’s life and writings reveal the complicated and radical thought behind his fiction.”

A review in Rain Taxi engages and wrestles with Dawn Lundy Martin’s A GATHERING OF MATTER/A MATTER OF GATHERING, ultimately concluding that Martin “. . . certainly matches, sometimes even bests, our contemporary greats in lyricism and shift of wit, and has an undeniable talent for concretizing physical manifestations of the macabre. Deeper still, she has a love of place and history that, given full room, will provide good root for a future beyond grieving. . . . A GATHERING OF MATTER/A MATTER OF GATHERING does not raise new landscapes from the charred pain at its core, but it heralds a talented and terrifying voice, and this is bounty enough for now.”

The new American Historical Review commends three UGA Press books: ATLANTIC LOYALTIES (“reveals new insights into the meanings of colonialism and independence in North America”), ENTREPRENEURS IN THE SOUTHERN UPCOUNTRY (“Deeply researched…exemplifies much about what is best in local history”), and THE LEADER AND THE CROWD (“an impressive intellectual history”). Full reviews:

On “Morning Line,” a television show on Nashville’s CBS affiliate, TURTLES OF THE SOUTHEAST was described as “Everything you need to know about the 42 species of turtles and how to tell age and gender differences as well as what that blotch behind their eye means. An inspirational work for every reptile lover.”

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Founder of the Deep Ecology Movement Dies

Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess died on Wednesday at the age of 96. Naess was the founder of the deep ecology movement and a leading figure in modern environmental circles. He founded the journal Inquiry and authored many books, including LIFE’S PHILOSOPHY: REASON AND MEANING IN A DEEPER WORLD, which the Press published in the U.S. and recently issued in paperback.

In addition to his prolific academic career at the University of Oslo, Naess was an avid mountaineer who led the first expedition up Tirich Mir in Pakistan, among other accomplishments.

Left: Arne Naess
Right: Tirich Mir

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Monday, January 12, 2009

UGA Press Authors on New Letters on the Air

NPR’s nationally syndicated show New Letters on the Air opens 2009 with shows that feature appearances by several UGA Press poets:

January 9: Victoria Chang, author SALVINIA MOLESTA, discussed her poetry with New Letters editor Robert Stewart. Chang, who works as a business journalist, talked about mixing her "practical" business role with the imaginative role of a poet. Chang also discussed how being the daughter of Taiwanese immigrants has influenced her work.

January 30: In a conversation taped at a recent symposium, Cave Canem founders Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady talk about their goal of providing a safe space for African-American poets. They are joined by Nikki Finney, editor of THE RINGING EAR, as well as Opal Moore, Sean Hill, and Kyle Dargan.

February 6: Sean Hill, a native of Milledgeville, Georgia, is the author of the poetry collection BLOOD TIES AND BROWN LIQUOR. An homage to African-American life in the segregated South, the poems create a call and response across six generations of the fictional Silas Wright family. Hill discusses how he weaves history, fiction and his own family into this debut book.

Friday, January 09, 2009

UGA Press Author Helps Discover New Fish Species

University of Georgia researchers Byron Freeman and Mary Freeman have discovered a new species of fish in Georgia’s Flint River. Byron is coauthor of FISHES OF THE OKEFENOKEE SWAMP, which was recently reissued by the UGA Press. The Halloween darter, or Percina crypta, is a small striped fish that is very similar to the Blackbanded darter already known to exist in the area. But as the Freemans surveyed the river with a small group of ecologists the distinctive orange coloring unique to Halloween darters caught their attention and led to the discovery.

Mary works for the U.S. Geological Survey and the UGA Odum School of Ecology, and Byron is director of the Georgia Musuem of Natural History. Read more about their discovery in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution or on the UGA website. The research team on which the Freemans were working also included Noel Burkhead of the U.S. Geological Survey and Carrie Straight, a Ph.D. student at the UGA Odum School of Ecology.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Come See Us in Savannah

One of the highlights of Savannah's literary calendar is the annual Book Festival. In its second year, the festival will be held Friday, February 6, through Sunday, February 8, and will be located around historic Telfair Square. The UGA Press will have a book display at the festival; come by our booth (on Telfair Square at Barnard Street between York and State Streets) and check out our "Buy Two Books, Get One Free" special.

Several authors with books from the Press are on the festival schedule. Roy Blount Jr., author of CRACKERS, will deliver the keynote address at Trinity Church on Friday, February 6, at 5:30 p.m. On Saturday, February 7, the Press has a full slate of authors on the schedule. Constance Curry, contributor to DEEP IN OUR HEARTS and MISSISSIPPI WOMEN, will speak with Robert Zellner in the rotunda of the Telfair Academy at 11:00 a.m. Judith Ortiz Cofer, author of EL DELI LATINO and A LOVE STORY BEGINNING IN SPANISH, will read her poetry in the fellowship hall of Trinity Church at 1:00 p.m. Roy Blount Jr. will speak again, this time in the sculpture gallery in the Telfair Academy at 2:00 p.m. Food writer and local Savannahian Damon Lee Fowler, who wrote the foreword to our reissued edition of Mrs. S. R. Dull's SOUTHERN COOKING, will speak in the Neises Auditorium at the Jepson Center at 2:00 p.m. David Kirby, author of ULTRA-TALK and WHAT IS A BOOK? will read his poetry in the fellowship hall of Trinity Church at 2:00 p.m. Former Georgia Poet Laureate David Bottoms, author of OGLETHORPE'S DREAM, rounds out the schedule with a reading of his poetry in the fellowship hall of Trinity Church at 3:00 p.m.

The Press will be displaying all of these books plus an array of titles about Savannah, coastal ecology, Georgia history and culture, and more. Special features include a gathering of beautiful fine arts and decorative arts books that we're distributing for the Telfair Museum of Art.

Images (courtesy of the Savannah Book Festival):
Left: John Berendt at the 2008 festival.
Right: Author tent at the 2008 festival.