Puget Sound English Department

May 31, 2009

Asian American Writers’ Workshop

The Asian American Writers’ Workshop has been around since 1991. It’s based in New York City, and here’s its mission-statement:

“The Asian American Writers’ Workshop is a national not-for-profit arts organization devoted to the creating, publishing, developing and disseminating of creative writing by Asian Americans.”

. . .And here’s a link:


Looking (Way) Ahead To Homecoming

Filed under: Alumni News,Events on Campus — O. @ 9:28 pm

University-of-Puget-Sound-D86CCF8FIf you are among those whose weeks, months, schedules, and calendars fill up quickly, you may want to look ahead to the University of Puget Sound’s Homecoming.  Here are some basic details:

Event: Homecoming and Family Weekend
Host: University of Puget Sound
Start Time: Friday, October 9 at 10:00am
End Time: Saturday, October 10 at 9:00pm

Several reunions will occur as part of Homecoming, based on year of graduation, group- , major- , team-affiliation, and so on.

And here’s a link to the ALUMNI OFFICE for further details:


Elaine Showalter Surveys American Women’s Writing

Filed under: Literature — O. @ 7:16 pm


Elaine Showalter, Professor of English (Emerita) at Princeton University, recently published A Jury of Her Peers: American Women Writers from Anne Bradstreet to Annie Proulx (New York: Knopf, 2009).  As the title suggests, the book critically and chronologically surveys American women’s writing.  Showalter also recently appeared on C-SPAN’s Book TV, and here is a link to that program:


Eduardo Galeano Publishes New Book

Filed under: Activities off Campus,Literature — O. @ 1:09 am

eduardo-galeano-1 (pictured: Eduardo Galeano)

A few weeks ago, President Hugo Chavez caused quite a stir when he presented President Barack Obama with a copy of Eduardo Galeano’s book of history, Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent. Some commentators believed Obama should not have accepted the book, whereas Obama expressed doubt that accepting a copy of a book would affect strategic foreign policy.

Galeano has published a new book: Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone (Nation Books, 2009).  Following  is an excerpt from a starred review by Donna Seaman in Booklist, and the excerpt is taken from the amazon.com site, with gratitude. The selection from the review may give you some sense of what Galeano’s book is about.

“In his poetic nonfiction, Galeano performs the sort of extraordinary feats of compassion, artistry, and imagination achieved in fiction by his fellow visionary Latin American writers, especially Borges, García Márquez, and Bolaño. Galeano’s seminal works, most notably Memory of Fire (1988), have been enormously influential in both content and form, and now this historian of conscience, this humanely ironic commentator and dazzling storyteller, distills the entire wild pageant of human history into a radiant mosaic of pithy fables, essays, and portraits. Galeano circles the planet, tallying our triumphs and crimes from cave paintings to genocide, gathering myths, exposing lies, and reclaiming forgotten heroes. Origin stories are a favorite subject, both authentic and impishly improvised, as in ‘Origin of the World Trade Organization,’ in which Zeus chooses Hermes to be the god of trade ‘because he was the best liar.’  Galeano is particularly ardent in his parsing of the perpetual injustice and violence against women, the perversion of religion and the habit of war, the horrors of slavery, the evolution of science, and the pillaging of the earth. Themes and connecting patterns rise up like waves and carry forward flotillas of essays in this gorgeously fluid and caustic chronicle of the human condition.” —Donna Seaman

May 30, 2009

Book Expo In NYC–National Book Critics Circle on the Future of Reviewing

Filed under: Activities off Campus,Publishing,Writing & Rhetoric — O. @ 4:25 am

thread-bookThe Book Expo of America, formerly known as the American Booksellers’ Association Conference, is underway in New York City. For information, take a look at . . .


At this conference, the National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) is sponsoring a panel on the future of book-reviewing in an era when some relatively large cities will have no newspapers and when blogs are sponsored by corportations.  Panelists and issues include the following (courtesy of Jane Ciabattari, President of the NBCC):

“Ben Greenman (New Yorker, writer/reviewer)
Bethanne Patrick (PW blogger, Twitter and more)
David Nudo (Formerly New York Times, PW and Shelfari)
Otis Chandler (Goodreads CEO and founder)
Peter Kraus (seems like a brand new thought, syndicates reviews to
internet sites through his company, TacticCompany, formerly of Muze)
Moderated by John Reed, Books Editor, the Brooklyn Rail, NBCC board

Some of the questions:
**With the need to have a credible guide on the wilderness of the
internet, there is much
talk of the reassertion of the expert. But is it the same expert?

**Is user-generated content evolving too? Or, is it working fine the
way it is?

**Increasingly, there is no delineation between content and
advertising. Is it the Armageddon?Or can the review retain its
integrity? Or maybe establish a new integrity?

**There are plenty of things wrong with the model of reviewing
instituted by print media. Are there any elements that our panelists
look forward to leaving behind?

**Are networking sites the new magazine?

**How does editorial in a blog—process, result—compare to editorial in

A link to the NBCC: http://www.bookcritics.org/

(Thanks to Jane Ciabattari)

Poets Born in June–Including James Weldon Johnson

Filed under: Creative Writing,Literature — O. @ 2:56 am

james_weldon_johnson (pictured: James Weldon Johnson, professor, poet, novelist, diplomat, songwriter, civil-rights leader, among other things; writer of the African American “national anthem,” “Lift E’vry Voice”; his books of poetry include God’s Trombones. He once wrote a campaign-song for Theodore Roosevelt, and he later served as Ambassador to Venezuela. Something of a full life.)

So what  poets were born in June, when Summer begins to inscribe its images on the landscape, in the Northern Hemisphere, at least?  Well, they include Gwendolyn Brooks, Thomas Hardy, Paul Muldoon, Frank O’Hara, James Weldon Johnson, and the Pacific Northwest’s own David Wagoner, widely acclaimed poet and former editor of Poetry Northwest.

For a much fuller list, travel to the site,   http://junebirthdaysofpoets.wordpress.com/ .  And if your birthday is in June, and especially if you’re a poet, well then happy birthday to you, and may the writing go well.

May 29, 2009

Tacoma Arts Commission’s Site

Filed under: Activities off Campus — O. @ 2:34 pm

union (photo of Union Station, Tacoma,  reflected; courtesy Tacoma Arts Commission)

If you are in Tacoma this summer and interested in what’s happening with the arts over the next couple of months, you may wish to visit the Tacoma Arts Commission’s site:


Waiting for Godot–Twice!

Filed under: Activities off Campus,Literature — O. @ 12:09 am

samuel-beckett-paris-cafe (pictured at left: Samuel Beckett, waiting for a waiter to bring the check)

On both sides of the Atlantic, new productions of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot have been mounted.

In New York’s Studio 54 Theater, Nathan Lane, Bill Irwin, John Goodman, and John Glover constitute the cast, with Lane and Irwin as Vladimir and Estragon.  Anthony Page is the director.

In London’s West End (Theatre Royal Haymarket), Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen play Vladimir and Estragon,  and Sean Mathias directs.

Side-by-side reviews appear in The Week: The Best of the U.S. International Media (Volume 9, Issue 143), May 22, 2009, p. 232–www.theweek.com .

Plenty of other reviews appear online and in print, too.

May 27, 2009

Herman Wouk is 94

Filed under: Literature — O. @ 7:53 pm

woukNovelist Herman Wouk turned 94 today. He is best known for his Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel, The Caine Mutiny (1951), which was adapted to the cinema successfully.  He also author of The Winds of War and War and Remembrance.

Here is a link to more information about his life and work:


New York Times Best-Seller List–Fiction

Filed under: Literature,Publishing — O. @ 1:06 am
Below are the top ten titles on the New York Times’ best-seller list–in the “trade paperback fiction” category, as opposed to “hardcover fiction” and “mass-market paperback fiction.”  (The titles are annotated by the Times.) On the list is Jane Austen–well, sort of. Also on the list is a book of stories by Jhumpa Lahiri, and a collection of stories that won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction this year.   For the complete list–and other lists (including nonfiction and “advice”), please follow the link: http://www.nytimes.com/pages/books/bestseller/

* * *

#1 THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY, by Mary Ann Shaffer. (Dial, $14.) A journalist meets the island’s old Nazi-resisters.

2 THE SHACK, by William P. Young. (Windblown Media, $14.99.) A man whose daughter was abducted receives an invitation to an isolated shack, apparently from God. (†) First Chapter 52
3 VISION IN WHITE, by Nora Roberts. (Berkley, $16.) A wedding photographer finds romance with the brother of a bride-to-be; Book 1 in the Bride Quartet series. 3
4 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES, by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith. (Quirk, $12.95.) The classic story, retold with “ultraviolent zombie mayhem.” 7
5 ANGELS AND DEMONS, by Dan Brown. (Washington Square, $16.) A scholar tries to save the Vatican from the machinations of an underground society. 6
6 CITY OF THIEVES, by David Benioff. (Plume, $15.) Two men arrested in World War II Russia must complete a seemingly impossible task to save their lives. 7
7 OLIVE KITTERIDGE, by Elizabeth Strout. (Random House, $14.) A seventh-grade math teacher is the link in 13 stories set on the Maine coast; the winner of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. 4
8 UNACCUSTOMED EARTH, by Jhumpa Lahiri. (Vintage Contemporaries, $15.) Stories about the anxiety and transformation experienced by Bengali parents and their American children. First Chapter 6
9 LOVE THE ONE YOU’RE WITH, by Emily Giffin. (St. Martin’s Griffin, $13.95.) A woman’s happy marriage is shaken when she encounters an old boyfriend. 4
10* MY SISTER’S KEEPER, by Jodi Picoult. (Washington Square, $14.) A girl sues her parents after learning they want her to donate a kidney to her sibling.
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