Archive - July 28, 2009

1
Nepal RPCV Wins National Press Club Journalism Award
2
Givens Reviews The Mind Dancing, Poems by Tony Zurlo
3
Bachrach Reviews Ethiopian Novel Cutting For Stone
4
Who Stole Marjorie's Postcard? Part 10

Nepal RPCV Wins National Press Club Journalism Award

Marlena Hartz, who served in Nepal, and is a reporter for the Lubbock Avalanche Journal, won this year’s National Press Club’s Dennis Feldman Fellowship for Graduate Studies in Journalism. Marlena Hartz  of Lubbock, Texas, won a $5,000 stipend for graduate school. She is headed to the University of Denver, where she plans to study print and digital journalism. Hartz has previously won awards for stories in competition with much bigger papers. A narrative writer who knows how to tell a good story, she’s found a lot of stories in her small corner of the world. Her articles include the story of a local soldier wounded in Iraq and the revelation that the president of Texas Tech’s medical school spent thousands of dollars of university funds on travel for his wife.  As a Volunteer in Nepal, she said, she met people who she cannot forget and they inspired her to tell stories back home. “The recipe for successful journalism . . .

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Givens Reviews The Mind Dancing, Poems by Tony Zurlo

The Mind Dancing, poems by Tony Zurlo (Nigeria 1962-64) with Art and Chinese calligraphy by Vivian Lu was published in 2009 by Plain View Press, Austin, Texas, (80 pages, $14.95) This collection of poems is reviewed here by John Givens (Korea 1967-69)  A problem faces the poet who wishes to write about a culture not his own: how fully should you occupy its experiences and expectations? You can accept the advantages and limitations of being an outsider and describe what you observe objectively; or you can attempt to mimic the stance of an insider in order to generate a “truer” sense of what it feels like to be there. When the culture in question is China’s, with its ancient and well-known poetic forms and traditions, the task becomes like that faced by a translator: phrases characteristic of one language won’t have equivalencies in another. You can try for a literal word-for-word  . . .

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Bachrach Reviews Ethiopian Novel Cutting For Stone

John Coyne recently published an interview with Abraham Verghese, whose first novel, Cutting For Stone, was published this past winter. [http://peacecorpsworldwide.org/verghese/]  A well-regarded author of nonfiction and a graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, Verghese has a day job as a physician and a professor at Stanford University’s medical school.  Much of Cutting For Stone takes place in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, a rare setting for fiction. Verghese brings the unusual perspective of having been born, raised and educated in Addis, even starting his medical training there. He uses his familiarity with Addis life, but it is a rather precious slice of that life.  Verghese was born to Indian parents who taught in the private schools for the prosperous middle class and above, who lived nicely in a city where the vast majority struggled in poverty.  Verghese’s fictional Addis suggests that he didn’t often venture much beyond the circle of expatriates . . .

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Who Stole Marjorie's Postcard? Part 10

In 1965 Bob Gale, then running the Peace Corps Recruitment Office, traveled out to Ibadan, Nigeria, for a COS Conference. Gale had been a vice president at Carlton College and had developed the famous Peace Corps recruitment blitz [the most famous of all was the first in early October 1963 when teams of recruiters hit college campuses; these were mostly non-RPCVs as the first PCVs were just arriving back in the States. These all-out assaults on college campuses were very successful at recruiting Trainees. These early blitz teams were replaced by ’67 with teams of RPCVs working out of regional offices, and HQ non-PCV staff rarely traveled outside of Washington to recruit Volunteers.] Back in Nigeria, Gale arrived late in Ibadan from Washington and met up with a Nigeria APCD and headed for a local bar where he was the only white man having a drink. Then in walked another . . .

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