Archive - March 2011

1
Review of Tino Calabia's (Peru 1963-65) Roman Proud, Wayward Widower
2
Review of David Howard Day's Memoir of India
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Noted RPCV writers register for Library of Congress Luncheon
4
New Poems by Jeff Fearnside (Kazakhstan 2002–04)
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Julie Gilgoff's (Nicaragua 2002–04) A Granddaughter's Rite of Passage
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Review of Murray Davis' The Family Goryachevix
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California RPCV Writers sell your books at the State Fair!
8
OnLine with NARA: More State Department electronic telegrams
9
Stan Meisler talks about the Peace Corps on YouTube–See It Now!
10
Coffee with Coyne

Review of Tino Calabia's (Peru 1963-65) Roman Proud, Wayward Widower

Roman Proud, Wayward Widower by Tino Calabia (Peru 1963–65) AuthorHouse $15.49 353 pages December 2010 Reviewed  by Bryant Wieneke (Niger 1974–76) UNLIKE MANY STORIES prompted by a Peace Corps Volunteer’s adventures, Roman Proud, Wayward Widower is about relationships. The primary focus of the novel is the emotional roller-coaster ride caused by the central character’s dalliances. Roman’s luck with beautiful women seems rather extraordinary — especially when there is so little description of him either by the author or other characters — but his affairs are detailed in vignettes that create empathy for him in both his incarnations: a young man searching for something he can’t quite understand, and a much older man figuring out what he wants. The novel opens with Roman, sixty-four years old and several years away from the death of his wife, pushing hard for a relationship with Nadia, a captivating Russian woman he met in Washington, . . .

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Review of David Howard Day's Memoir of India

Ruffling the Peacock’s Feathers by David Howard Day (Kenya 1965–1966, India 1967–68) Xlibris September 2010 402 pages Paperback $23.99, ebook $9.99 Reviewed by Tony D’Souza (Ivory Coast 2000–02, Madagascar 2002–03) RUFFLING THE PEACOCK’S FEATHERS, anthropologist David Howard Day’s memoir of his two years living in Saratpur, a north Indian village “on the broad Gangetic plain” during the late 1960s as a Peace Corps Volunteer, is a hefty tome, and touches on all the familiar experiences encountered by Vols in the field. Day recalls the heat and rigors of daily life, what it’s like to be under the microscope of a foreign culture little exposed to Westerners, the difficulties of dealing with cooks, rickshaw drivers, minor bureaucrats, and nosy neighbors, while at the same time making lasting friendships with a few select individuals who are often poorer and less educated than the upper class strivers who would impose themselves on him . . .

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Noted RPCV writers register for Library of Congress Luncheon

As many of you know, a Peace Corps Writers Luncheon will be held on Thursday, September 22, in the Library of Congress to celebrate the establishment of the Peace Corps Collection at the Library. The luncheon guests will include Peace Corps writers who have published books about their Peace Corps experience, and invited friends of our newsletter and websites who have supported us over the years. Because seating is limited, reservations must be made. Writers whose books qualify to be included in the Library of Congress Peace Corps Collection (click here for details) should contact Marian Haley Beil to R.S.V.P. no later than July 1, 2011 (or until the dining room reaches its capacity, whatever comes first). Marian will prepare a listing of those attending that will be posted at Peace Corps Worldwide>The 50th. Among the  ‘named’ writers (so far) who are planning to be in Washington, D.C. next September are: Geraldine . . .

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New Poems by Jeff Fearnside (Kazakhstan 2002–04)

Lake and Other Poems of Love in a Foreign Land by Jeff Fearnside (Kazakhstan 2002–04) Kent, Ohio: Standing Rock Cultural Arts $12.00 February 2011 Reviewed by Kenneth C. Wylie (Sierra Leone 1961–63) I LIKE THESE POEMS. Reading them the first time through I did not stop to think about the ways I might enjoy them, or perceive them, but found myself grabbed by their particulars, and of course the alien places in which they are set. Which is not to say that I immediately ‘enjoyed’ lines like this, you’re not to blame for the way people think or don’t here. I don’t always understand the culture but rather that I found this poet bringing me in. Though his narrative style is a little jarring, I came to enjoy his encounter with a strange culture — one he seems immersed in if not altogether comfortable in — that of Kazakhstan and its environs. He pulled me back to dim . . .

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Julie Gilgoff's (Nicaragua 2002–04) A Granddaughter's Rite of Passage

A Granddaughter’s Rite of Passage: Tales from the McCarthy Era by Julie Gilgoff (Nicaragua 2002–04) Allbook Books 176 pages 2010 Reviewed by Robert E. Hamilton (Ethiopia 1965–67) AN HOMAGE IS DEFINED AS “a show of respect to someone or something.”  In the feudal age, it was a declaration of fealty. Julie Gilgoff has written an homage, or tribute, to her grandfather, Max Gilgoff, and her father, Henry Gilgoff. The title makes reference to Max but the dedication is to Henry, “who continues to bring inspiration to those who loved him.” Research for the book occurred primarily after the death of Henry on July 30, 2006, of amyloidosis, which was just three days after Julie, a free-lance writer, returned from a research trip to Argentina. The family had always been very secretive regarding her grandfather Max’s life and work. This book chronicles her effort to uncover the truth about Max’s teaching . . .

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Review of Murray Davis' The Family Goryachevix

The Family Goryachevix by Murray Davis (Russia 1996–99) Fine Images Printing January 2010 $12.00 154 pages Reviewed by Sharon Dirlam (Russian Far East 1996–98) MURRAY DAVIS AND I began our Peace Corps training together in rural West Virginia because our two groups — his heading for Western Russia and mine heading for the Russian Far East — were unable to get visas. Five weeks into training, Russia finally came through and the two groups went our separate ways. Davis writes that he took a roundabout way to get to his assignment in Western Russia: traveling to China, crossing the border and boarding the Trans-Siberian train. One of his traveling companions was Sergei Goryachev, a friendly fellow from the town of Vladimir who seemed eager to have Davis meet his daughter Tanya. (In an explanatory email, Davis writes that he took some literary license with this part of the story: the . . .

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California RPCV Writers sell your books at the State Fair!

Thanks to the efforts of  Patti Garamendi (Ethiopia 1966–68), Assistant General Manager of the California Exposition & State Fair, RPCV writers living in California have been invited to sell their books at the Author’s Booth at the California State Fair in Sacramento this summer. The Fair, which runs from July 13th to July 31st, has a large Authors area with 6 stations where featured writers can sign and sell their books. This year one station will be dedicated to Peace Corps writers. The area, in the air-conditioned Counties Building, is in a busy location — and “right next to the cinnamon roll stand”! The Fair opens at noon on Monday through Thursday, and 10 am on Friday through Sunday, and has about 1 million visitors each year with 75% passing through this this building. The organizers would like to feature 14 Peace Corps writers — one on each day of the . . .

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OnLine with NARA: More State Department electronic telegrams

I have found more State Department telegrams mentioning Peace Corps and available online on the NARA website. I  originally had been able to locate only three.   Using “hunt and peck,” “try different combinations,” and, of course, “when all else fails, read the instructions,” I was able to locate this very valuable collection. I apologize for the earlier incomplete information.  Peace Corps is mentioned in 87 items that include State Department telegrams from 1973-1976 and Memos for the Record of conversations. They have been declassified and posted online on the NARA website.  The telegrams can be read online; the memos are in PDF format.  Some of the situations described in the telegrams involve the closing of country Peace Corps programs.  Peru is one such country. This is how the collection can be accessed: 1) Go to http://www.archives.gov 2) Choose “Research our Records” on the home page. 3) On the next . . .

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Stan Meisler talks about the Peace Corps on YouTube–See It Now!

Stanley Meisler, author of When the World Calls: The Inside Story of the Peace Corps and Its First Fifty Years, talks about the Peace Corps’ most and least supportive presidents. Not an institutional history, When the World Calls is the first complete and balanced look at the Peace Corps’s first fifty years. Revelatory and candid, Stanley Meisler’s engaging narrative exposes Washington infighting, presidential influence, and the Volunteers’ unique struggles abroad. Meisler deftly unpacks the complicated history with sharp analysis and memorable anecdotes, taking readers on a global trek starting with the historic first contingent of Volunteers to Ghana on August 30, 1961. The Peace Corps has served as an American emblem for world peace and friendship, yet few realize that it has sometimes tilted its agenda to meet the demands of the White House. Tracing its history through the past nine presidential administrations, Meisler discloses, for instance, how Lyndon Johns… . . .

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Coffee with Coyne

Novelist Patrick Breslin (Colombia 1963-65) who wrote the novel Interventions, published by Doubleday in 1980, and also wrote a development book published in 1987 for the Inter-American Foundation, the organization he retired from in Washington, D.C. Pat now lives with his wife in Kyiv, Ukraine, but he is briefly back in the States and he took a train out to my hometown in Pelham, New York, so we could have coffee and meet for the first time. He had been to see his older brother, a Jesuit priest, at nearby Fordham University, and I am close by that campus. Our conversation got me thinking of the short essay he wrote awhile back for Peace Corps Writers and I reread it again this afternoon and thought you might like to read it again, or for the first time. Patrick Breslin can write and he has something to say, and on this 50th year of the agency, it fits in well with what we are putting . . .

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