Saturday, November 18, 2017

St. Louis publisher loses 200,000 books in fire

Reedy Press, which publishes books on St. Louis and regional history, lost its warehouse in a five-alarm fire that consumed 200,000 books, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. It is hard to imagine a worse catastrophe for a book publisher to face. The article reports that the venerable Left Bank Books has offered to help with an event to support the publisher as it works to get back on its feet. 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

The Afterlives of Discarded books

This article in The Millions ("Books Out of Place"by Rajat Singh) is a lovely meditation on discarded books. The author mentions the reverence for books in the Hindu tradition. I was reminded about how Jews perform burial rites for a Torah scroll when it wears out and can no longer be used. Here in Kansas City, BooksKC has collection boxes that accept donations of used books that go to benefit Ability KC's programs for individuals with disabilities. What to do with books one can no longer keep can be an agonizing decision, especially if they are not pristine and popular. The Friends of the Kansas City Public Library also accepts donations of used books, as do several other charitable causes. But Singh's reflections about book spirit are poignant.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Linda Rodriguez speaks about plotting, based on her new book

This video features Linda Rodriguez speaking about plotting, in a talk based on her new book Plotting the Character-Driven Novel. Patrick Balester recorded her talk at a meeting of the Border Crimes chapter of Sisters in Crime earlier this year. 

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Interview with Houston Poet Laureate on NPR

Weekend Edition today aired an interview with Gwendolyn Zepeda, Houston's poet laureate, about her perspective on the flood and its aftermath. As a general rule, I've found that if you want to know what's going on someplace, talk to a poet there. Zepeda makes some good points.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Dictionary of regional English may suspend research

A great dictionary doesn't write itself--it takes a team of trained and committed researchers. The Dictionary of American Regional English is facing a possible end to its funding, and that will be a loss to an entire branch of linguistic knowledge. That will be a loss to everyone who cares about the dynamic and diverse ongoing evolution of the English language.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Thinking about Emma Lazarus

This All Things Considered piece from 2006 examines Emma Lazarus' place in American letters. Stephen Miller's denial of any standing for her poem "The New Colossus" yesterday since it was added to the statue many years after the statue was built made me remember how great this poem really is, whether it has any official standing or not.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Anita Velez-Mitchell Play Temple of Souls July 19-23

Anita Velez-Mitchell's play Temple of the Souls is being performed off-Broadway July 19-23! For more information, see the play's website. Anita was a contributor to the Scapegoat Press anthology Woven Voices.  From the website, what people are saying about the play:  “Temple of the Souls is a story of forbidden love set deep in the mystical forest of Puerto Rico. A tour guide leads visitors through sacred grounds into an a ancient cave inhabited by Taíno spirits, the indigenous people who once ruled the island. Two tourist are magically transported back in time to relive the story of star-crossed lovers, Guario, a young Taíno runaway, and Amada, the daughter of a Conquistador. They meet at the joyous San Juan Bautista Fiesta, which quickly turns into a carnival of danger as they face racism and greed. Their love is stronger than death and they escape to the top of El Yunque mountain, and the Temple of the Souls, where nightmares and dreams come true."