Archive - May 2012

1
A Remarkable Golf Story–Whether you play or not!
2
Casey Frazee Tells of Her Successful Journey Since the Peace Corps
3
RPCV Writers Take Home Two 2012 IPPY Book Awards
4
What's With These Creative Writing Programs?
5
Barry Kitterman to read at Eastern Oregon University
6
Collin Tong (Thailand 1968-69) Honored by University of Redlands with Distinguished Alumni Service Award
7
The Power and the Glorious in the NYTIMES
8
Review of Travis Hellstrom's The Unofficial Peace Corps Handbook
9
Review of Christopher Conlon’s Lullaby for the Rain Girl
10
With Hemingway–Virtually

A Remarkable Golf Story–Whether you play or not!

Lost in the pages of golf  history is a remarkable story of an unknown municipal golf professional who won the 1955 U.S. Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco. Author Neil Sagebiel’s account of the courage and determination of Jack Fleck, who late on a Saturday afternoon came out of the pack to tie the legendary Ben Hogan, and then go on to defeat him in an 18-hole playoff, is dramatically recounted in The Longest Shot. It is a Cinderella story of a young professional from Iowa who against all odds wins the U.S. Open. It is also the bittersweet account of Ben Hogan’s last hurrah. Hogan in his day was the Tiger Wood of golf, unbeatable and unapproachable, a man who had overcome a terrible 1949 automobile accident to come back to golf. Nearing the end of his long career, Hogan was seeking his fifth Open championship. Jack . . .

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Casey Frazee Tells of Her Successful Journey Since the Peace Corps

[The Kate Puzey (Benin 2007-09) Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act was signed into law by President Obama on November 21, 2011. Named after Kate Puzey who was murdered after telling authorities about sexual abuse by a Peace Corps employee, the law requires the Peace Corps to improve Training to reduce risk of abuse and hire regional victims’ advocates, and protect whistle-blowers. Casey Frazee, who served in South Africa, and now works for the YWCA of Greater Cincinnati, wrote this blog for Cincinnati.com. It was Casey’s efforts, and her organization of RPCV women, First Response Action, that largely brought about the Kate Puzey Protection Act.] A Journey from Trauma to Triumph I am proof of the American dream. Not in the house-in-the-suburbs-two-point-five-kids-two-car-garage kind of way, but that I was so passionate about making something happen and I did it. In 2009, I was sexually assaulted as a Peace Corps Volunteer in . . .

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RPCV Writers Take Home Two 2012 IPPY Book Awards

The Independent Publisher Book Awards (the “IPPYs”) are intended to bring increased recognition to the thousands of exemplary independent, university, and self-published titles published each year. The awards are open to all members of the independent publishing industry, and to authors and publishers worldwide who produce books written in English and intended for the North American market. Since the inaugural contest in 1996, over 4,500 books have received IPPY Awards, and all the recognition, credibility, and increased sales that a book award can bring. Independent spirit and expertise comes from publishers of all sizes and budgets, and books are judged with that in mind. Entry for the 2012 IPPYs closed on March 15th. The results were announced last week. Among the winners was a Peace Corps Writers book: Peacemaker of the Year Answering Kennedy’s Call: Pioneering the Peace Corps in the Philippines edited by RPCVs who served in the Philippines . . .

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What's With These Creative Writing Programs?

Years ago I went to St. Louis University as a 17-year-old undergraduate to attend their Writer’s Institute and to prepare myself to be the next Great American Novelist. The Writer’s Institute was then one of the few ‘writing programs’ in the country. I never became the Great American Novelist, and in typical Jesuit logic the University closed down their wonderful Writer’s Institute in the 1960s, just when many colleges and universities across the country were emulating the great Iowa Writer MFA program. Teaching creative writing has now become a cash cow for higher education. I am not sure how many full-time and low-residency creative writing programs there are in the U.S. and around the world, but it must be in the thousands. What I find particularly amusing is not that there are so many programs (mostly for poets) but how they go about ‘selling’ themselves to would-be Great American Novelists. . . .

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Barry Kitterman to read at Eastern Oregon University

Barry Kitterman will read from his newest collection of short stories, From the San Joaquin, at 7:30 p.m. May 9 in Huber Auditorium in Badgley Hall, Room 102 at EOU. Copies of the author’s work will be available for purchase and signing following the reading presented by EOU’s Ars Poetica Lecture Series. The event is free and open to the public. Kitterman grew up in the small town of Ivanhoe in the San Joaquin Valley and received his undergraduate degree in English at the University of California at Berkeley. After spending two years in the Peace Corps in Belize, he completed the master of fine arts program at the University of Montana. Author Robert Garner McBrearty writes, “Kitterman’s stories are humorous and poignant, tender and touching in their memorable depiction of life in small-town California. He renders his characters so authentically and compassionately we feel we know their hopes and . . .

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Collin Tong (Thailand 1968-69) Honored by University of Redlands with Distinguished Alumni Service Award

The University of Redlands has named Collin Tong ( Thailand 1968-69) the recipient of its 2012 Distinguished Alumni Service Award for outstanding achievement in public service. Past recipients include the late U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher and CBS News White House correspondent Robert Pierpoint, both U of R alumni. President James R. Appleton will confer the award at a special Presidential convocation on Oct. 20, during Homecoming weekend. Collin is a Seattle-based freelance journalist and contributing writer for Crosscut Public Media and the New York Times. Collin is the coauthor of a forthcoming book, Profiles in Caregiving: Journeys with Alzheimer’s Disease.

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The Power and the Glorious in the NYTIMES

This morning’s NYTIMES  edition has a piece in the “Scene City” section about all the parties after the White House correspondents’ Association Dinner, including one at the French ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C. Bob Morris writes: “If the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner is a prom, as President Obama called it in his speech last Saturday night, then the mosh of parties here last weekend was something between Oscars Week and spring break. There were dozens around town, with old media companies like The New Yorker joined by new ones like The Huffington Post, each airlifting stars in to upgrade the glitter quota.” Here is our own Maureen Orth (Colombia 1964-66) with the Mayor New York Michael Bloomberg. Maureen is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair.

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Review of Travis Hellstrom's The Unofficial Peace Corps Handbook

The Unofficial Peace Corps Handbook by Travis Hellstrom (Mongolia 2008–11) Advance Humanity Publishing 2010 234 pages $15.95 paperback Review by Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras, 1975-77) HELLSTROM’S GUIDE IS OF THE MYSTICAL GENRE, much like Zen In the Art of Archery, for this is a book about acceptance. Unlike recent guides which outline application, training, service and homecoming, this book offers very few lists. It offers comfort. “The happiest Peace Corps Volunteers are the ones who make peace,” explains the author. Be forewarned that if you are concerned about our voracious appetite for paper and the disappearance of forests, the format might disturb you: it contains 97 blank pages (more than one third of the book). The blank pages are for volunteers to write on. Of the pages with print, many contain less than 20 lines like a poetry book. I imagine that the author’s intent is akin to poetry — . . .

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Review of Christopher Conlon’s Lullaby for the Rain Girl

Lullaby for the Rain Girl by Christopher Conlon (Botswana 1988–90) Dark Regions Press, 2012 $45.00 341 pages Reviewed by Leita Kaldi Davis (Senegal 1993–96) A GHOSTLY GIRL STANDS IN THE DRIVING RAIN without getting wet, facing a mist-shrouded clock tower whose hands are stuck at 4:20. Her mother jumped from that tower long ago, when she, the girl, was a mere blastocyst in her mother’s womb. Many years later she appears as a zombie-like being to her father, who’s ironically named Benjamin Fall. She tries to explain her presence. People like me are not people . . . but whatever we are we’re not ghosts. We’re not spirits. We’re fragments. Partials. Incompletions. If you can love me . . . really love me . . . I might be able to become complete. Ben had somehow conjured her through his own despair and need. He is a high school teacher . . .

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With Hemingway–Virtually

A dear friend, Carol Senese, emailed me a few months ago to say she was going to Cuba and would be visiting Finca Vigia, Hemingway’s home.  She also volunteered to send me some photos. We had been discussing Paul Hendrickson’s recent book Hemingway’s Boat, 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award finalist for biography as well as a New York Times best-seller. Hendrickson, like Carol and myself, had been students at St. Louis University. Carol decided she had to see Cuba after taking a class last winter in Naples, Florida on Cuban art and, as she wrote me, “became hooked.” This was not Carol’s first “art trip” overseas. Since 1995, she has been going with an art history professor from a college near where she lives in Louisville;  this time she convinced the professor and other students to go to Cuba, not for the fishing, but the art. They made arrangements with Carol Damien of Florida . . .

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