Archive - June 2010

1
Former Peace Corps Director Gearan Talks Up The Peace Corps At HWS
2
Bodeen's Novel Receives Great Review In BookPage
3
Writers From the Peace Corps: The Lost Generation, Part Thirteen
4
Politicis and Prose–Good Friends to Peace Corps Writers
5
Keep Cool
6
JFK'S Cow Palace Speech: What Did Kennedy Say?
7
Writers From the Peace Corps: The Lost Generation, Part Twelve
8
Book review: 'Cold Snap: Bulgaria Stories' by Cynthia Morrison Phoel
9
Writers From the Peace Corps: The Lost Generation, Part Eleven
10
Writers From the Peace Corps: The Lost Generation, Part Ten

Former Peace Corps Director Gearan Talks Up The Peace Corps At HWS

A profile of Hobart and William Smith Colleges President Mark Gearan was  featured on the front page of the Rochester Business Journal on June 14. The article covered Gearan’s career in politics beginning with the Dukakis campaign, followed by the Clinton administration and his tenure as Director of the Peace Corps. The article states that Gearan has brought large-scale initiatives to the colleges, (Hobart and William Smith Colleges) and leading them in strategic planning at five-year intervals and in the largest capital campaign of their history. Gearan’s 11-year tenure at HWS has been influenced, the article says, by his experience as head of the Peace Corps. He has helped the college adopt the ‘Peace Corps’ mission of “bringing the world home,” sharpening the school’s focus on studying abroad and encouraging 60 percent of students to do so. Once a recruiter, always a recruiter!

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Bodeen's Novel Receives Great Review In BookPage

In the June issue of the publication BookPage there is a great review by Heather Seggel of  S.A. Bodeen (Tanzania 1989-90) [Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen] YA novel, The Gardener which we reviewed recently our website.www.http://old.peacecorpsworldwide.org/?s=Bodeen Seggel writes, “Author S.A.Bodeen has laced this sci-fi-tinged page-turner with thoughtful commentary on world hunger, sustainability, biology and biomedical ethics, plus several high-speed chases and a believable budding romance, and the whole thing works like a charm….I stayed up late to find out how it all ended, and stayed up after that because The Gardener raised so many timely and pointed questions.”

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Writers From the Peace Corps: The Lost Generation, Part Thirteen

Travel Now, Write Later Anyone who has read The Sun Also Rises knows that this novel is also a wonderful travel book. Hemingway’s description of a bus trip to Spain is classic travel prose: “The road went along the summit of the Col and then dropped down, and the driver had to honk, and slow up, and turn out to avoid running into two donkeys that were sleeping in the road.” A trip like that in Spain in the 1920s is something most Volunteers can identify with today from their own overseas experiences. Paul Theroux, it is generally agreed, reinvented the art of travel writing with The Great Railway Bazaar, published in 1975. He returned the genre to the place it held when Mary Kingsley and Evelyn Waugh were crossing Africa and globe-trotting the world. Many Peace Corps writers have followed, most notably Mike Tidwell, Thurston Clarke, Jeffrey Tayler, Karen . . .

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Politicis and Prose–Good Friends to Peace Corps Writers

When the 25th Reunion of RPCVs took place in Washington, D.C. in 1986, I wanted a book store to  sell the books written by RPCVs. I contacted Carla Cohen at her relatively new bookstore, Politics and Prose, up on Connecticut Avenue, and asked Carla if she would set up a table and sell books under the tent on the Mall at our reunion. I was a nobody, our reunion was not important, but Carla loved the Peace Corps and she set up a table of books that I had recommended and featured Peace Corps writers for the very first time. Since then, Carla has always had a open door for Peace Corps writers. I have read in her famous book store, as as Norm Rush, Peter Hessler, Paul Theroux, Maureen Orth, Tony D’Souza and many, many others. Twice over the years I arranged Peace Corps readings at the store by Peace Corps writers. It always only . . .

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Keep Cool

by Jennifer B-C Seaver (Iran 1966–68) This essay was first published December 6, 2005 on the blog of PeaceCorpsWriters.org • DURING THE TWO YEARS THAT I SERVED in Iran as an English teacher in the 1960s, travel was strenuous, most routes, unpaved, and communications, almost impossible. People often showed up — or didn’t, even when they had written ahead to say they were coming. So, in September 1966, when Tom Dawson and David Osterberg failed to arrive in Rasht, Gilan, as planned, I was not particularly concerned. Tom had written that they planned to spend a night in Ardabil, then catch another bus down the scenic Astara road, which drops thousands of feet to the shores of the Caspian Sea and, if all went well, they’d arrive in Rasht by nightfall. The next day, we’d go on to our workshop in Isfahan. I had traveled that road earlier in the . . .

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JFK'S Cow Palace Speech: What Did Kennedy Say?

In a comment on the site the other day, my good friend Dick Irish wrote about the goals of the Peace Corps, saying, rightly, ” In 1961, the Cold War war was a freakin’ obsession in America. To push PC legislation through Congress, it was necessary to integrate intensive training of new recruits in the Theory and Practice, dare I write it[?], of Marxism-Leninism. In my PC training group we absorbed three hours per week on the subject. Thus could Shriver and Moyers go to the Hill and intimate that Volunteers – once in place overseas – would be personal bulwarks against the Red Menace.” Not being an scholar, but hanging around them, I thought it might be best to go back to what academics are fond of calling, ‘original sources’ so I dug up JFK’s Cow Palace Speech. This was a speech given a week before the election in the . . .

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Writers From the Peace Corps: The Lost Generation, Part Twelve

Expatriates and exiles Peace Corps writers are, at least for a while, expatriates and exiles from their culture, and from that experience they gain a new perspective, even a new vocabulary, as Richard Wiley recalls from living in Korea. “As I started to learn Korean I began to see that language skewed actual reality around, and as I got better at it I began to understand that it was possible to see everything differently. Reality is a product of language and culture, that’s what I learned.”      The experience is also intensely educational. The late novelist Maria Thomas said of her time in Ethiopia, “it was a great period of discovery. There was the discovery of an ancient world, an ancient culture, in which culture is so deep in people that it becomes a richness.” For all these writers, their Peace Corps years were a time to learn the rules . . .

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Book review: 'Cold Snap: Bulgaria Stories' by Cynthia Morrison Phoel

Cynthia Morrison Phoel’s (Bulgaria 1994-96) new book of stories, Cold Snap, has just been published with great reviews in Booklist and Foreward Magazine. Cindy is out of Boston and doing readings, interviews, and meeting up with Bulgarian RPCVs. First off is a trip to Chicago where on Friday she will be interviewed on Chicago Public Radio, and for the Chicago Tribune. Then there is a reading at a Bulgarian restaurant in Chi-town with RPCVs. The restaurant is called “Bulgaria.” Cindy will read, take questions, and sign books, and, oh, drink beer! You can learn more at: CAPCAfundraising@gmail.com Meanwhile read this great review of Cold Snap that appeared  in the Dallas Morning News over the weekend. It was written by Anne Morris, a Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News, and a member of the National / The Dallas Morning News Circle. It’s not unusual for a returning Peace Corps volunteer to write a book. So many have that it’s almost a subgenre. Cynthia Morrison Phoel’s . . .

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Writers From the Peace Corps: The Lost Generation, Part Eleven

The Great “Peace Corps Novel” Several former Volunteers have written novels that come directly from their own experiences. The first of these “Peace Corps novel” by a PCV is Lament for a Silver-Eyed Woman by Mary-Ann Tirone Smith. A third of that 1988 novel is set in Cameroon, where Smith served. In 1991 Richard Wiley published Festival for Three Thousand Maidens, a novel about a Peace Corps Volunteer in Korea – Wiley’s country of assignment. Leaving Losapas by Roland Merullo, also published in 1991, is about the life of a Volunteer in Micronesia where Merullo served. Marnie Mueller’s first novel, Green Fires: Assault on Eden, A Novel of the Ecuadorian Rain-Forest, published in 1994, is about a PCV who returns to Ecuador with her new husband. Other Peace Corps-centered novels are Craig Carozzi’s The Road to El Dorado (1997), Susana Herrera’s Mango Elephants in the Sun: How Life in an . . .

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Writers From the Peace Corps: The Lost Generation, Part Ten

The Peace Corps Volunteer as character From the first days of the agency, Peace Corps Volunteers have been rich characters for novels not written by PCVs. The first books about the Peace Corps were young adult novels. In 1963, Breaking the Bonds: A Novel about the Peace Corps, written by Sharen Spence, had a short introduction by Sargent Shriver and was dedicated to “All Peace Corps Volunteers serving the world with discipline, determination, endurance, and a rare idealism.” This novel is set in Nigeria. Then in 1965 came a series of young adult novels entitled Kathy Martin: Peace Corps Nurse, about a Volunteer in Africa. Another “nursing novel” for a YA audience was written by Rachel G. Payes and published by Avalon Books in 1967. In 1968 came the most popular of all “Peace Corps novels,” The Zinzin Road, by the very successful commercial novelist and political writer, Fletcher Knebel, . . .

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