Friday, February 26, 2010

AN EVERGLADES PROVIDENCE wins Florida Book Award Gold Medal

Jack E. Davis, author of AN EVERGLADES PROVIDENCE, has just been announced as the winner of the Gold Medial in nonfiction for 2009 from the Florida Book Awards.

Details about the award and ceremonies to recognize award recipients in Tallahassee (March 24) and Orlando (April 8) can be found on the official 2009 Florida Book Awards press release.

Davis's book, part of the press series on Environmental History and the American South, charts the life of pioneering conservationist Marjory Stoneman Douglas and puts her efforts within the framework of the developing environmental movement in the United States. In the St. Petersburg Times, Jeff Klinkenberg said of the book, "Davis never met Douglas, but he has given her the serious biography she deserves, capturing her cantankerous personality and brilliant mind, while at the same time providing the historical context necessary to fully appreciate her amazing life. It's a tour de force."

Two other titles in the Environmental History and the American South series have been recognized with significant awards this month:

Shepard Krech III's SPIRITS OF THE AIR was given the James Mooney Award by the Southern Anthropological Society, which honors the best new book on the South or Southerners from an anthropological perspective.

Christine Keiner's THE OYSTER QUESTION has received honorable mention from the Organization of American Historians Frederick Jackson Turner Award committee, which recognizes the best first book on a significant phase of American history.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Short Takes

Florida Gulf Coast University has selected TRACKING DESIRE by Susan Cerulean for their First Year Reading Project, which will focus on developing a sense of ecological perspective. Incoming freshmen will read the book over the summer and discuss the issues it raises in their fall composition or first year humanities classes. A work of nonfiction, Cerulean's book charts both the natural history and biology of swallow-tailed kites and the author’s own encounters with this spectacular bird.

Jane Fulton Alt will discuss LOOK AND LEAVE in a segment on WTTW TV's Arts Across Illinois this weekend, airing Friday and again on Sunday. The show will also feature chef Rick Bayless, who features Alt's photographs in his restaurant.

The Asheville Times-Citizen lists WHAT VIRTUE THERE IS IN FIRE among the top 20 best-selling titles in western North Carolina; ForeWord reviews the book as a true crime title: "Depending upon whom you believe, Sam Hose was either a family-destroying killer or the innocent victim of a skewed and Southern brand of justice. . . .Author Arnold compiles prodigious research from both sides and chooses to let the reader decide, while still not letting history off the hook."

The NAACP Image Awards will be announced tomorrow (Friday, February 26): BLACK NATURE is one of five contenders for an NAACP Image Award for this year's most outstanding literary work in poetry. The winner for this award will be announced between 3 and 3:15 Pacific time during a pre-show ceremony that will be streamed live online. The live broadcast on Fox will include special awards given to Tyler Perry and Wyclef Jean as well as awards for best new artist and best actor in a drama series.

Style Weekly Richmond reviews Joshua Poteat's ILLUSTRATING THE MACHINE THAT MAKES THE WORLD: "The poems are a fearless and beautiful use of language, purely original and fiercely rooted in nature."

The Thomasville Times-Enterprise interviews Leon Neel and discusses THE ART OF MANAGING LONGLEAF; Neel, along with co-authors Paul Sutter and Albert G. Way, will appear at the Thomas County Historical Society this Sunday at 3 pm.

News this week demonstrates that the University of Georgia Press author roster includes both wild pig experts and vulture-baiting poets.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Wine, women and cadets at the SC Book Festival Feb. 27-28

Several UGA Press titles will be featured at this weekend's South Carolina Book Festival in Columbia.

After an opening night reception on Friday, the festival really gets going with presentations and signings at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center -- all free and open to the public -- from 9 am to 5:30 pm Saturday and 11:30 am to 5:00 pm on Sunday.

Presenters include cookbook authors Matt and Ted Lee, poets Kwame Dawes and Atsuro Riley, novelist Jill McCorkle, and many others; additional entertainments include music, films, and a chance to have books appraised by antiquarian book dealers.

Catch the following UGA Press books and authors at the festival:

David S. Shields
Shields, an expert on early American foodways, will discuss the work of the innovative early winemaker Nicholas Herbemont, who cultivated his grapes in the South Carolina piedmont during the early years of the American republic.

Saturday, 12:40-1:30 pm, Richland Meeting Room C
"Book Club Picks" with fiction writers Gerald Duff and Dale Neal

Sunday, 11:30 am-12:20 pm, Lexington Meeting Room A
"Books that Enlighten and Change" with media literacy expert Frank W. Baker and oceanographer Abby Sallenger

Alexander Macaulay
Macaulay presents his study of the recent history of The Citadel, which he approaches on the one hand as a trained historian and on the other as a former cadet who lived through some of the cultural changes at the institution that his book seeks to understand in a broader context.

Saturday, 2:00-2:50 pm, Congaree Meeting Room A&B
"Military Books and History" with novelist Charles McCain and journalist James Scott

Valinda Littlefield and Marjorie Julian Spruill
Editors Spruill and Littlefield launch the new volume of their three-volume series of biographical essays by historians that explore the lives and times of interesting South Carolina women.

Sunday, 11:30 am - 12:20 pm, Carolina Meeting Room
"South Carolina Women's History"

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Short Takes

New video from author and artist Marcus Wood includes footage of an enormous parchment petition, the Cape Coast Castle in Ghana, and a giant shoe: all artifacts and sites examined his new book on the visual language of emancipation, THE HORRIBLE GIFT OF FREEDOM.

ForeWord makes note of the forthcoming CORNBREAD NATION 5: "Topics cover a wide range, including gratitude, Fats Waller, and the mysterious origins of red velvet cake."

Creative Loafing highlights tonight's panel on GEORGIA WOMEN at the Decatur Public Library with a clip of Ma Rainey (profiled in Georgia Women, volume 2).

Several University of Georgia Press titles reviewed in the February Journal of Southern History, including OTHER SOUTHS, edited by Pippa Holloway -- "The volume prompts a rethinking of the place of the modem South in the nation in a way that the individual articles, when they first appeared, did not" -- and Melanie Benson's DISTURBING CALCULATIONS: "groundbreaking, carefully researched, and highly engaging."

New York Times Sunday Book Review on Hot Springs, the new novel from Flannery O'Connor Short Fiction winner Geoffrey Becker (BLACK ELVIS).

See Lori Ostlund (THE BIGNESS OF THE WORLD) read her story "All Boy" -- link from the Georgia Review blog post on her recent Sacramento reading with poet Robin Ekiss.

Now available:
Lester D. Langley
In this flagship volume of our United States in the Americas series, Langley gives a thoughtful account of the role the U.S. has played in the Western hemisphere, looking at relations with Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America from the late eighteenth century to the present. This new and extensively revised edition comes just as the series is nearing completion with the publication of BRAZIL AND THE UNITED STATES in the fall, and draws on the many nation-by-nation studies completed for the series.

A fond goodbye to Lucille Clifton

The amazing and irreplaceable poet Lucille Clifton died Saturday; see a thoughtful tribute from Elizabeth Alexander in the New Yorker.

To mark her passing, here is a passage from an interview Nicky Finney conducted with Clifton for the anthology THE RINGING EAR, published in 2007:

NF: I've been thinking a lot about the journey of your mother, Thelma Sayles. A poet in her own right, yes?

LC: Yes. Oh yes.

NF: It is my understanding that she wrote and read to you preciously and often.

LC: Yes, she recited poems to me. I've recited my mother's poems that she recited often to me. "Abu Ben Adam," "The House by the Side of the Road," Paul Laurence Dunbar, whom she loved. Paul Laurence Dunbar's and my birthday are the same date. Different years, of course. [laughs]. I would sit on my mother's lap until she died. I was twenty-one when she died. I never thought that was odd. Here is this big pregnant -- I was huge with my first child -- and she would rock me and recite Paul Laurence Dunbar and other poems.

NF: I don't know another Black woman poet who had a working poet for a mother. It sounds as though your mother's personal affection for language and for poetry prepared your ears for being a poet in this world. I see what she gave you as almost a second birth.

LC: Oh my. Oh, yes indeed. I hadn't thought about that. Yes, yes indeed. Absolutely. It was! It was. You know what is interesting too? My mother was a great numbers player, as were the other women in the neighborhood, and oddly enough, when I was a kid in elementary school, at lunch I would go home and go across the street tot the number runner's house and take calls on his phone for him. I bet there are a lot of women poets who went to college but never had this experience [laughs]. Her number was 254 and that was our address at one point. Well, when I went in for my kidney transplant, I knew I would be OK for two reasons: one, because my hospital number was 425, and the other was because my mother couldn't finish writing her poems. I have a poem called "Fury" about my mother burning her poems. And I knew she would not allow me to not be able to finish. I really do believe she guides me on not allowing me to not do my work. She was amazing -- I have a short story called "The Magic Mama"--a very short story. I think you're right. She did prepare me to hear the language, because to this day, I'm still a very aural person.

NF: Our anthology is entitled The Ringing Ear. The name is borrowed from Forrest Hamer's fine poem "Middle Ear." It's in here in the ear for us as poets isn't it? Poetry is so intimately a sound-based art.

LC: I really think people forget about sound in poetry. When I was at Columbia, I taught a course on hearing poems. My mother's poems were very traditional, iambic pentameter verse. I remember I would be writing a poem and my mother would say, "Ah, baby, that ain't no poem! Let me show you how to write a poem." . . . My father would recite the Bible. He knew the Bible very well, but my father couldn't write. Just hearing the language. I didn't purposely say, "I want to hear the tones!" Hearing and listening just became part of who I am.

NF: In the bones?

LC: Absolutely, in the bones.

Friday, February 12, 2010

THE OYSTER QUESTION receives OAH Turner Award honorable mention

Christine Keiner's multifaceted analysis of the decline of the Chesapeake Bay oyster industry, THE OYSTER QUESTION, has been given honorable mention by the 2010 Frederick Jackson Turner Award Committee.

The award, presented each year by the Organization of American Historians, commends an author's first book on some significant phase of American history; a list of past winners and honorable mention titles can be found here, and it's extremely congenial company. The winner of this year's prize will be announced at the organization's annual meeting in early April.

Keiner's book, part of the press's Environmental History and the American South series, argues that in contrast to the well-known argument for "the tragedy of the commons," Maryland's officials, scientists and oystermen were able to successfully sustain a regulated commons until a string of events in the 1980s with severe ecological impact.

The search for a workable solution to the oyster question is still very much at the forefront in Maryland; current news stories (Baltimore Sun, South Maryland News) are following the response to Governor Martin O'Malley's proposed Oyster Restoration and Aquaculture Development Plan, which would dramatically increase the habitat protected in state oyster sanctuaries and encourage aquaculture.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Short Takes

Geoffrey Becker (BLACK ELVIS) releases his new novel, Hot Springs, this week. Reviews in Elle and the LA Times.

The South Carolina Historical Society announced Marko Maunula's GUTEN TAG, Y'ALL as one of four finalists for the George C. Rogers, Jr. Award for the best book on South Carolina history in 2009, with Janet Hudson's Entangled by White Supremacy named as the winning title.

The Washington Post interviews poet Kyle Dargan about a new anthology of poems of urban Washington, Full Moon on K Street. His newest book, LOGORRHEA DEMENTIA, is forthcoming from Georgia in Fall 2010.

"Cottonmouths are not, in fact, aggressive toward humans. Either they don’t see you or you are in the way." Review of LIZARDS AND CROCODILIANS OF THE SOUTHEAST and SNAKES OF THE SOUTHEAST from Don Noble of Alabama Public Radio.

Review of Michael Martone's RACING IN PLACE from the Indiana Review.

Next week in Atlanta -- Georgia history, free and open to the public:
Thursday, February 18 at 7 pm
Georgia Center for the Book, Decatur Public Library
in association with the Georgia Association of Historians annual meeting
Discussion featuring editors Ann Short Chirhart and Kathleen Clark, and contributors Michelle Gillespie (speaking on Mary Gay) and Steve Goodson (speaking on "Ma" Rainey)

Saturday, February 20 at 4 pm
Auburn Avenue Research Library
Author LeeAnn Lands and a community discussion of questions of housing, gentrification and Atlanta neighborhoods.

Now available:
Edited by Philip Morgan
Ten multifaceted essays that contextualize and celebrate Gullah Geechee culture and its significance in the Atlantic world.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Short Takes

Christine Keiner details the root conflicts of Maryland's "hell on the half shell" in an interview on THE OYSTER QUESTION on WYPR's Maryland Morning. Listen here.

Atlanta Magazine on AFRICAN AMERICAN LIFE IN THE GEORGIA LOWCOUNTRY and RACE AND THE ATLANTA COTTON STATES EXPOSITION OF 1895 ("This is a fascinating slice of American history, written with deep insight and unusual grace.")

The American Historical Review on Adele Oltman's SACRED MISSION, WORLDLY AMBITION, which chronicles a movement she calls "Black Christian Nationalism" in 1920s and 30s Savannah: "a groundbreaking work...a compelling narrative for the concurrent lives of those African Americans who did not migrate [north] and who indeed, within a few short years, would provide the main force for a new transformative southern freedom movement. Every scholar who studies twentieth-century African American history and religion needs to read this book and to weigh Oltman's arguments."

Several University of Georgia Press books listed in Choice magazine's feature on Recent and Forthcoming African American Studies titles.

Now available:
Edited by Todd M. Schneider, Giff Beaton, Timothy S. Keyes, and Nathan A. Klaus

A comprehensive record of all free-ranging bird species known to be breeding in Georgia, based on an extensive collaborative survey conducted from 1996 to 2001 with private, public and individual effort. Each of the 182 species is profiled with a color photograph and distribution map, a graph showing population trends, and details of the bird's habitat and behaviors.