Archive - February 2, 2011

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Review of Robert Klein's Being First
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Father of the PCV
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Peace Corps Poets at AWP Conference
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Ludlam/Hirschoff Plan to Save the Peace Corps
5
January 2011 Peace Corps Books

Review of Robert Klein's Being First

Being First: An Informal History of the Early Peace Corps by Robert Klein (Ghana 1961–63) Wheatmark, Inc $19.95 182 pages 2010 Reviewed by Kevin Lowther (Sierra Leone 1963–65) GHANA I — Peace Corps groups were Roman-numeraled in the early years  — began with 58 trainees at the University of California at Berkeley. It was July 1961, four months after President John F. Kennedy asked R. Sargent Shriver to establish the Peace Corps. The 58 guinea pigs and their trainers were all too aware that the experiment could rise or fall on the basis of their performance. “That challenge,” Robert Klein writes in Being First, “created a sense of uniqueness which has lasted through the years.” Fifty years, of course, and counting. Klein was a 32-year-old teacher in Harlem when he volunteered. Kennedy’s summons “added a moral dimension” to Klein’s “restless romanticized adventurism.” The group supposedly had been sifted through a . . .

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Father of the PCV

Charlie Putnam’s (Ecuador 1979-82) daughter went  into the Peace Corps this week. Charlie wrote to say that his daughter calls herself a “Peace Corps Brat.” Charlie met his wife in Ecuador in 1980. This “Peace Corps Putnam Brat went to stating in D.C. this last Monday.  The 20/20 stories on the murder of Kate Puzey, the sexual assaults of female volunteers and the interview of Chuck Ludlam and Paula Hirschoff have all aired as she, and her group, got ready to leave the U.S. Charlie wrote me, “a number of her friends called her before she left for Staging to ask if she had seen the 20/20 series. In a phone conversation with her mom and me last night our daughter reported that Aaron Williams had attended the Staging and met with the Trainees as part of their security briefing. My daughter didn’t remember exactly what Mr. Williams said, but reported that she was favorably impressed by him. . . .

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Peace Corps Poets at AWP Conference

A group of RPCV poets, gathered by Virginia Gilbert (Korea 1971-73), will have a panel discussion entitled,” Broadening the Poet’s Vision Through the Peace Corps Experience” at the 2011 Annual Conference of the Assocation of Writers & Writing Programs on February 2-5, 2011.  The panel is scheduled (subject to changes, of course) on Thursday from 1:30-2:45 in the Harding Room of the Marriott Wardman Park, (Mezzanine Level). Here are the details, if  you are attending the conference: R167. Broadening the Poet’s Vision Through the Peace Corps Experience. (Virginia Gilbert (Korea 1971-73); Sandra Meek (Botswana 1989-91); John Isles (Estonia 1992-94); Ann Neelon (Senagal 1978-79); Derick Burleson (Rwanda 1991-93). “How does a stint in the Peace Corps influence a writing life? This panel investigates the question of how living in a developing country as a volunteer contributes to the growth of a poetic voice. Five award-winning poets who served in Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe discuss . . .

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Ludlam/Hirschoff Plan to Save the Peace Corps

On July 24, 2009, Chuck Ludlam (Nepal 1968–70; Senegal 2005–07) and Paula Hirschoff (Senegal 2005-07) sent then Peace Corps Director-Designate Aaron Williams a “Plan to Strengthen and Expand the Peace Corps: Priorities for President Obama’s First Term.” Chuck and Paula wrote in their introduction: This Twenty Point Plan to strengthen and expand the Peace Corps — drafted over four years by a couple of two-time Volunteers and circulated widely for comment within the Returned PCV community — proposes an ambitious road map for President Obama and Peace Corps Director-Designate Aaron Williams and his leadership team. The Ludlam/Hirschoff Plan is attached as a PDF file for those of you who have not seen it or heard about it. Photo: Paula Hirschoff and Chuck Ludlam on 20/20

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January 2011 Peace Corps Books

Exploring Hong Kong: A Visitor’s Guide to Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, and the New Territories by Steven K. Bailey (Poland 1993–95) ThingsAsian Press $14.95 289 pages 2009 • The Insider’s Guide to the Peace Corps: What to Know Before You Go (2nd edition of So, You Want to Join the Peace Corps) by Dillon Banerjee (Cameroon 1994–96) Ten Speed Press $14.95 192 pages 2009 • One World:A Global Anthology of Short Stories Skye Brannon (Samoa 2004–06), contributor New Internationalist $16.95 192 pages 2009 • The Man Who Caught No Birds by Thomas Burns (Marshall Island 1976–78) CreateSpace $15.00 206 pages 2010 • Roman Proud, Wayward Widower by Tino Calabia (Peru 1963–65) AuthorHouse $15.49 360 pages December 2010 • Soldiers of God (graphic novel) by Kelly Clancy (Turkmenistan 2004-06) www.thedivinebanquet.com Sixta Comics $15.00 256 pages 2010 • A Year on the Bus by Dan Close (Ethiopia 1964–66) The Tamarac Press $15.00 . . .

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