Archive - April 2011

1
The Peace Corps Volunteer as a Fictional Character
2
The Famous Peace Corps Book Lockers
3
Huntsville Times Article on Virginia Gilbert (Korea 1971-73)
4
Vietnam Journeys
5
The Peace Corps Slogan Lives On
6
An Actual Visit to View Peace Corps Records at the National Archives II in College Park, MD
7
Review of Roland Merullo's Revere Beach Elegy
8
The First 9 Peace Corps Projects
9
PCV Charged with Murder
10
Here are 10 thing you might not know about John Coyne!

The Peace Corps Volunteer as a Fictional Character

From the first days of the agency, Peace Corps Volunteers have been rich source for  “characters” in novels not written by RPCVs. The first books about “PCVs” were YAs, young adult novels, not serious fiction. In 1963, Breaking the Bonds: A Novel about the Peace Corps, written by Sharon Spencer, 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. 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. Written by a very successful commercial novelist and political writer, Fletcher Knebel, worked briefly as a . . .

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The Famous Peace Corps Book Lockers

[In the early days of the agency, PCVs were ‘equipped’ with a book locker when they went off to their sites. From what I have been able to find out, it was Eunice Shriver who came up with the idea of sending PCVs overseas with a box of books. Books for their own enjoyment and to use as ‘starter’ libraries in villages and towns in the developing world. By the mid-60s, however, these book lockers for Volunteers were discontinued, too expensive for the agency. However, in an early memo to PCVs, Sarge Shriver explained to the Volunteers what the book lockers were all about:] “We know you need books,” he wrote. “This Booklocker of paperbacks and other inexpensive publications is designed to meet that need. It includes classics and contemporary writing by both American and foreign authors, as well as titles on American history, politics, and social thought. There are also books on the area where you are . . .

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Huntsville Times Article on Virginia Gilbert (Korea 1971-73)

Huntsville poet describes Peace Corps influences during Washington, D.C., conference Thursday, April 21, 2011 By Ann Marie Martin The Huntsville Times The Peace Corps promises to give you “the toughest job you’ll ever love” helping people around the world. When you’re a poet, the Peace Corps also gives you experiences that can inspire your art for a lifetime. Acclaimed local poet Virginia Gilbert discussed how her time in the Peace Corps has fueled her writing during “Broadening the Poet’s Vision Through the Peace Corps Experience,” a panel presentation she led during the Association of Writers & Writing Programs’ 2011 Conference & Bookfair in Washington, D.C., in February. Gilbert, professor emeritus of English at Alabama A&M University, is the author of the poetry collection “That Other Brightness.” Her poems also have appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, The Seneca Review, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Now, The North American Review, Southern Poetry Review, New . . .

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Vietnam Journeys

The other day I received in the mail a beautiful coffee table size book, Vietnam Journeys, from the publish, Gail Fields. The photos for this lovely book were done (I believe) by her husband, Charles Fields, a first class photographer who is a member of the Photography Arts Collective, the Provincetown Art Association, and the American Society of Media Photographers. He is one serious photographer. However, we review and promote only PCV and RPCV and Peace Corps Staff writers and their books. What gives? Why am I getting this lovely book? Then I noticed that the text was done by Mary Ann Braggs, who lives in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and who is a journalist. She was in the Peace Corps from 1980-82, serving in Lobatse, Botswana and that qualifies Vietnam Journeys for a listing in our new books for April and an upcoming review on this site.

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The Peace Corps Slogan Lives On

[I found this following comment on a blog run by Adil Syed who lives in Pakistan. The blog item was written by Sharon Housley who manages marketing for FeedForAll http://www.feedforall.comsoftware for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing for NotePage http://www.notepage.net a wireless text messaging software company.] “Let’s take a look at slogans and how just a few words can say volumes. A slogan is a memorable phrase used in conjunction with a political, commercial, or religious advertisement. Slogans are used to convey a deeper meaning. Slogans can be used to elicit emotions, or the slogan might paint a visual image that implies something more. “When considering a slogan or a tagline, keep in mind your objectives. What image do you wish to portray? Slogans should be short, but not to the point of being pithy. Slogans should conjure positive images and distinguish the value your company . . .

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An Actual Visit to View Peace Corps Records at the National Archives II in College Park, MD

Washington DC is a morning town. It is just 8 am when the first shuttle from the National Archives I pulls out from Pennsylvania Ave and 7th Street NW and heads towards Archives II in College Park Md. Although there are many different ways to get to College Park, this free staff shuttle almost always has room for researchers, like me, and perhaps you. I like to be on that first bus because finding and reading Peace Corps public records can take all day. Besides, I like the drive through early morning traffic. We pass TV studios, Fox News nestled right next to C-Span (who knew?); pass Union Station; the fabled Gonzana High School; out NE Washington; pass historic Glenwood Cemetery into the Maryland suburbs; and then the University of Maryland. About forty minutes later, we turn off the apt named Adelphi Road into the circle drive of Archives II. The mission . . .

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Review of Roland Merullo's Revere Beach Elegy

Revere Beach Elegy: A Memoir of Home and Beyond by Roland Merullo ( Micronesia 1979–80) AJAR Contemporaries 213 pages 2011 $16.00 Reviewed by Leita Kaldi Davis (Senegal 1993–96) REVERE BEACH ELEGY is an autobiography of a painfully honest, and consequently endearing writer, Roland Merullo. It is not, however, “all about him.” Merullo reflects upon his myriad experiences in ways that hold a mirror to the reader’s own life stories and his or her own reactions to them. You don’t have to be Italian American (though I am) from an lower middle class enclave in Revere Beach, Massachusetts to empathize with Merullo’s childhood in an immigrant society with all the pressures that implies — “strictures of the old world and the promises and possibilities of the new.” When he is almost blinded by a baseball, his family believes that it was their prayers to St. Lucy that cured him, as they . . .

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The First 9 Peace Corps Projects

As we progress on events during this 50th year of the agency, here are a few of the historic “firsts.” The First Nine Projects Pakistan (East and West): Two pilot projects in agriculture, education, and community development are being undertaken–one in West, the other in East Pakistan. Peace Corps Volunteers will serve as junior instructors in Pakistan colleges; teach new farming methods and maintenance of improved farming implements; organize youth clubs; and work in hospitals. West Pakisan: Volunteers stationed in Lahore and Lyallpur will work on hospital staffs, on college faculties and staffs, and as members of agricultural extension teams. Volunteers to East Pakistan will be assigned to government ministries, a village development academy, and the faculty of a university. They will also help build a planned satellite city. Volunteers required: 30 Volunteers in West and 33 in East Pakistean. Training: Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado August 30–November 1, . . .

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PCV Charged with Murder

In the fall of 1964, just back from Ethiopia, and working for the Division of Volunteer Support at Peace Corps HQ, I met Peverley Dennett and Bill Kinsey during their Training at Syracuse University. Bill had been assigned to Malawi and Peppy [as Peverley was called] to Tanzania. In those early years groups were often staged together on college campuses, but that decision was later changed because too many PCVs from different projects were meeting up and falling in love. The Peace Corps might be the “greatest job you’ll ever love” but Washington didn’t want you “falling in love” during Training. Bill and Peverley were two young handsome kids just out of college. Bill, as I recall, had a bright smile, blond hair cut into a crew cut, an All-American looks. Peverley was sweet and shy and very pretty. They were the picture of what Peace Corps Volunteers were all about in those early days: . . .

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Here are 10 thing you might not know about John Coyne!

From the Journal News written by Karen Croke April 17, 2011 Meet Pelham author John Coyne Last Sunday, John Coyne had more than a passing interest in the Masters golf tournament. Yes, Charl Schwartzel won in a thrilling match, but for Coyne, the sense of history and mythology that surrounds the tournament, and the course where it’s played, Augusta National, hold a particular fascination. It’s the subject of Coyne’s latest book, The  Caddie Who Won the Masters. (Peace Corps Writers, 2011). Coyne says famed golfer Bobby Jones, who created Augusta and the Masters, had always hoped an amateur might one day win the championship. So, in Coyne’s novel, Tim Alexander, a Pelham golf pro, makes just such a run for the title and is helped on his quest by some supernatural forces – namely, a squad of departed golf stars, including Westchester native Gene Sarazen- who emerge, very “Field of . . .

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