Archive - May 18, 2010

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Poetry and the Peace Corps Writer
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Carol Scott reviews Peter Hessler's Country Driving

Poetry and the Peace Corps Writer

The intense cross cultural experience of the Peace Corps has produced in many PCVs a deep well of sentiment that has found its way, perhaps too easily, into poetry. Fortunately, this intense experience has also been a rich source of material for many fine published poets including Charlie Smith (Micronesia 1968-70); Mark Brazaitis (Guatemala 1991-93); Philip Dacey (Nigeria 1964-66); Sandra Meek (Botswana 1989-91); Ann Neelon (Senegal 1978-79); Paul Violi (Nigeria 1966); Keith Carthwright (Senegal 1983-85); Susan Rich (Niger 1984-86); Lisa Chavez (Poland 1993-95); John Flynn (Moldova 1993-95); Margaret Szumowski (Zaire 1973-74, Ethiopia 1974-75); Virginia Gilbert (Korea 1971-73); Tony Zurlo (Nigeria 1962-64), and many others. Poets, I believe, have been best able to explain the values of the Peace Corps experience as it relates to writing. Margaret Szumowski, who served in Zaire and Ethiopia, puts it this way: I think the poet gains a great deal. She absorbs the sounds of . . .

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Carol Scott reviews Peter Hessler's Country Driving

Executive and world traveler Carol Scott (Ethiopia 1966-68) spent many years working and living in Southeast Asia. Her corporate experience in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Burma, Indonesia, and Vietnam, as well as visits to China, have brought her into contact with the Chinese diaspora in the business community. Here Carol reviews Peter Hessler’s newest — Country Driving. • Country Driving A Journey Through China from Farm to Factory by Peter Hessler (China Harpers 448 pages $27.99 February 2010 448pp $27.99 Reviewed by Carol Scott (Ethiopia 1966–68) COUNTRY DRIVING IS A VIEW OF CHINA through the windshields of a couple of cars rented from a couple of wacky car rental agencies, driven on new roads that have accelerated the movement of workers from country farms to the new economic zones. Auto accoutrements, like hitchhikers, the hilarious Chinese driving test, road building, statues of policemen along the highways, flat tires and speeding tickets tie together . . .

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