Archive - August 2013

1
Review of Jon C. Halter (Venezuela 1966-68) Letters from the Sixties: College, Peace Corps, Marriage
2
Review of Bernard F. Blanche (Brazil 1965-67) Bonefish Bob: A Tribute
3
Review — Glimpses through the Forest by Jason Gray (Gabon 2002-04)
4
Peace Corps Writer 2013 Awards To Be Announced in Early September
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On CNN Rowland Scherman (HQ 1961-64) Photos of March on Washington
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Bob Shacochis (Eastern Caribbean 1975-76) Novel The Woman Who Lost Her Soul
7
New Novel by Kent Haruf (Turkey 1965-67)
8
Talking With Susan Kramer O’Neill about Calling New Delhi for Free
9
Call for Submissions from New Madrid, Winter 2014 Issue: The Great Hunger
10
Review of Lauri Anderson's (Nigeria 1965-67) From Moosehead to Misery Bay

Review of Jon C. Halter (Venezuela 1966-68) Letters from the Sixties: College, Peace Corps, Marriage

Letters from the Sixties: College, Peace Corps, Marriage by Jon C. Halter (Venezuela 1966-68) Self-published (available on Amazon.com) $9.99 308 pages 2013 Review by Barbara E. Joe (Honduras 2000-03) Having lived through the staid Fifties as they morphed into the tumultuous Sixties, I fully expected a wild ride, given the title of this book. Instead, these selected letters reveal a rather wholesome young man, Jon Halter, apparently a straight arrow throughout, someone whose most significant deviation from ordinary middle-class American life -and it did turn out to be significant-was joining the Peace Corps and marrying the Venezuelan sweetheart he met while in service. He is revealed as a conscientious son and faithful husband who saved his prolific college correspondence with his parents and, later, with his new wife, who was waiting alone in Venezuela for her visa to join him in the U.S. After the birth of their son, also . . .

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Review of Bernard F. Blanche (Brazil 1965-67) Bonefish Bob: A Tribute

Bonefish Bob: A Tribute by Bernard F. Blanche (Brazil 1965-67) Strategic Book Publishing and Rights Co. $13.97 (paperback) 160 pages 2011 Reviewed by Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras 1975-77) This is a book for the passionate fisherman, one who longs to fish eternally. It is also a testament to the life of a man who took solace on water and relished the challenge, Bonefish Bob Berger. The author met Bonefish Bob in Islamorada, Florida in 2004, when his subject was 70 years old and only two years shy of suicide, a death that forces survivors to second guess whether they could have done more. In the author’s case, he decided to write about Bonefish Bob’s life. This is a delicate obituary, a tribute to a man whom the author admired. Robert Edward Berger was born in 1934. He grew up in York, Maine where he developed a keen love for fishing. . . .

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Review — Glimpses through the Forest by Jason Gray (Gabon 2002-04)

Glimpses through the Forest: Memories of Gabon by Jason Gray (Gabon 2002-04) A Peace Corps Writers Book $14.95 288 pages 2013 Reviewed by Susi Wyss (Central African Republic 1990-92) Within the first few pages of his book, Glimpses through the Forest: Memories of Gabon, Jason Gray establishes at least one of the intended audiences for his book. “For any prospective Peace Corps Volunteers who might be reading this,” he writes, “I do feel that it is important to acknowledge that for all the excitement and frustrations of the actual work assignment, there are countless days and nights spent getting to know one’s neighbors, community, and new friends.” Reading that sentence, I couldn’t help wonder how successful the book was going to be in describing the Peace Corps experience to a would-be volunteer. Moreover, would there be other potential audiences for Gray’s memoir? As a Peace Corps Volunteer, Gray worked on . . .

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Peace Corps Writer 2013 Awards To Be Announced in Early September

To further fulfill its goals to encourage, recognize and promote Peace Corps writers, RPCV Writers & Readers, the newsletter that was the precursor of PeaceCorpsWriters.org and PeaceCorpsWorldwide.org, presented their first annual awards for outstanding writing in 1990. Awards have been given each year since then. When possible, they are presented at the RPCV Conference Awards Ceremony. The awards are: The Paul Cowan Non-Fiction Award FIRST GIVEN IN 1990, the Paul Cowan Non-Fiction Award was named to honor Paul Cowan, a Peace Corps Volunteer who served in Ecuador from 1966 to 1967. Cowan wrote The Making of An Un-American about his experiences as a Volunteer in Latin America in the ’60s. A longtime activist and political writer for The Village Voice, Cowan died of leukemia in 1988. The Maria Thomas Fiction Award THE MARIA THOMAS FICTION AWARD is named after the novelist Maria Thomas [Roberta Worrick (Ethiopia 1971–73)] who was the . . .

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Bob Shacochis (Eastern Caribbean 1975-76) Novel The Woman Who Lost Her Soul

Twenty years in the writing, we now have Bob Shacochis (Eastern Caribbean 1975-76) novel, The Woman Who Lost Her Soul, that spans five decades and three continents back-dropped by different wars. It is, his publisher, Grove Atlantic says, “his magnum opus.” They (the publisher) writes:”Shacochis builds a complex and disturbing story about America’s coming of age in a pre-9/11 world.” Shacochis, one of the RPCV’s finest writers, reaches “deeper, drawing on his extensive first hand experience as a war correspondent to illuminate the simmering political, cultural, and historical global struggle through riveting and richly layered fiction, presenting an intimate portrait of the catastrophic events that led up to the war on terror and the America we have become.” Bob will be reading and signing books as a series of book stores, colleges, and other sites in the coming months. I’ll try to keep you alerted. So to begin. In early . . .

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New Novel by Kent Haruf (Turkey 1965-67)

Benediction, a new new novel by Kent Haruf, was published in March and I missed the pub date. Here is some information on the book. Benediction By Kent Haruf (Turkey 1965–67) Knopf $25.95 (hardcover), $15.00 (paperback), $12.99 (Kindle) 272 pages 2013 An Amazon Best Book of the Month, March 2013: Kent Haruf writes about small towns and regular people, but don’t underestimate his ambition. He is writing about life, and to do that he has returned again and again–first with Plainsong, later with Eventide–to the small town of Holt, located on the eastern plains of Colorado. In Benediction, Haruf introduces us to Dad Lewis, a 77-year-old hardware store owner who has just been diagnosed with terminal cancer. The experience of reading Haruf is a slow burn, but as we meet the people who gather around Dad Lewis in his final days we begin to see that this is a book . . .

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Talking With Susan Kramer O’Neill about Calling New Delhi for Free

John Coyne interviews Susan O’Neill about her new collection of essays Calling New Delhi for Free (and other ephemeral truths of the 21st century) that has just been published by Peace Corps Writers. • Susan, let’s begin with some basic stuff: what is your educational background? I earned an RN at a now-defunct three-year nursing school, Holy Cross School of Nursing, in South Bend, IN. I signed up for the Army while I was a student, so I could help my parents pay the bill with my monthly Army stipend, and afterward, the Army trained me in the Operating Room specialty. Then they sent me to Vietnam (the basis for my short story collection, Don’t Mean Nothing). After that I amassed a degree in Journalism, over 10 years, graduating at last in 1984 from at the U of Maine at Orono. o Where did you serve as a PCV? I . . .

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Call for Submissions from New Madrid, Winter 2014 Issue: The Great Hunger

New Madrid is the national journal of the low-residency MFA program at Murray State University. It takes its name from the New Madrid seismic zone, which falls within the central Mississippi Valley and extends through western Kentucky. Between 1811 and 1812, four earthquakes with magnitudes greater than 7.0 struck this region, changing the course of the Mississippi River, creating Reelfoot Lake in Tennessee and ringing church bells as far away as Boston. The editor of the New Madrid Journal is Ann Neelon (Senegal 1978-79).  Ann is a graduate of the MFA program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and the author of the book Easter Vigil, which earned the Anhinga Prize for Poetry and our RPCV Writers and Readers Award. She has been a Wallace Stegner Fellow as well as a Jones Lecturer in Poetry at Stanford University. She is also the winner of an Al Smith Fellowship from the . . .

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Review of Lauri Anderson's (Nigeria 1965-67) From Moosehead to Misery Bay

From Moosehead to Misery Bay: or The Moose in the VW Bug by Lauri Anderson (Nigeria 1965–67) North Star Press $14.00 224 pages June 2013 Reviewed by Don Schlenger (Ethiopia 1966-68) FROM MOOSEHEAD TO MISERY BAY is a wonderful collection of tales both tall and, according to the author, mostly true. They recount his childhood and adolescence growing up in northern Maine at the southern edge of the great northern forest; his young adulthood overseas as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nigeria and later as a teacher in Micronesia and Turkey; and his life in academe at a small Finnish-American college in the upper peninsula of Michigan. There is very little of what could be called “mainstream” about the life Anderson describes, which makes the book all the more compelling and enjoyable, and there are more than a few “Are you KIDDING?” moments as well. Here are a few: Local . . .

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