Archive - June 2010

1
Writers From the Peace Corps: The Lost Generation, Part Two
2
Writers From the Peace Corps: The Lost Generation, Part One
3
Cold Snap: Bulgaria Stories by Cynthia Morrison Phoel

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

Peace Corps writers are like their predecessors in Paris in four ways. 1) Both groups wrote about, and explained to an American audience, the world of an expatriate. Hemingway wrote of Paris and Spain while Mark Brazaitis writes of Guatemala; Hemingway wrote of big game hunting in East Africa and Norm Rush writes of white racists in Southern Africa; Fitzgerald wrote of wealthy, bored Americans on the French Riviera and Simone Zelitch writes of survivors of the Holocaust leaving Hungary for Haifa. Other Peace Corps writers regularly find equally rewarding subject matter. Paul Theroux writes of Indians in Kenya in his first novel set in Africa; Richard Wiley about Korea and Koreans; P. F. Kluge about islands in the sun in the Pacific; and Mark Jacobs, who was a Volunteer in Paraguay and a foreign service officer in his Peace Corps country as well as Turkey and Spain, has written about . . .

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

In the 1920s Gertrude Stein coined the phrase “the lost generation.” It was repeated by Ernest Hemingway in The Sun Also Rises, his famous novel of Paris, and is often used to describe the intellectuals, poets, artists, and novelists who rejected the values of post World War I America. They relocated to Paris and quickly adopted a bohemian lifestyle of excessive drink, messy love affairs, and the creation of some of the finest American literature ever written.    We give this lost generation of American writers in Europe a prominent place in the landscape of 20th century American life and culture. They led the way in exploring themes of spiritual alienation, self-exile, and cultural criticism, leaving a distinct mark on our intellectual history. They expressed their critical response in innovative literary forms, challenged traditional assumptions about writing and self-expression, and paved the way for subsequent generations of avant-garde writers. Myth . . .

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Cold Snap: Bulgaria Stories by Cynthia Morrison Phoel

Cynthia Morrison Phoel’s (Bulgaria 1994-96) new collection Cold Snap is out, published this June by Southern Methodist University Press. In his review of the book on this website (which is also quoted on the flap copy of Cynthia’s book) Mark Brazaitis (Guatemala 1991-93) writes, “If Lorrie Moore had served as a Peace Corps voluneer in Bulgaria, she might have written Cold Snap.” Also on the flap copy, Paul Theroux (Malawi 1963-65) writes: “I am greatly impressed with Cold Snap, a look at Bulgarian life–family life, school life, frustration, even passion and desire. Cynthia Phoel writes from inside this culture, convincingly and with real insight.” Not bad praise from two great RPCV writers. Cynthia was stationed in a Bulgarian town not unlike the one in her stories. She holds degrees from Cornell and the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers and her stories have appeared in the Missouri Review, Gettyburg Review, and Harvard Review. . . .

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