Blog Archives

Cynthia Huntington is a Finalist for a National Book Award

When the list of National Book Award nominees was revealed, I was pleased to see my old friend Cynthia Huntington nominated for her poetry book, Heavenly Bodies. Cynthia was a fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown for two years while I was Director there in the 70s. I have kept an eye on her work for some time.

Heavenly Bodies, by Cynthia Huntington

Published by the Southern Illinois University Press, Heavenly Bodies has been described as a blistering collection of lyric poems, which give an intimate view of the sexual revolution and rebellion in a time before the rise of feminism. Heavenly Bodies is a testament to the duality of sex, the twin seductiveness and horror of drug addiction, and the social, political, and personal dramas of America in the 1960s.

Echoing throughout are some of the most famous—and infamous—voices of the times: Joan Baez and Charles Manson, Frank Zappa and Betty Friedan. Jinns and aliens beckon while cities burn and revolutionaries thunder for change.

Cynthia Huntington is the author of four books of poetry, including The Radiant (winner of the Levis Prize), The Fish-Wife, and We Have Gone to the Beach, as well as a prose memoir, The Salt House. A former New Hampshire State Poet Laureate, she is professor of English at Dartmouth College, where she serves as senior faculty in creative writing. She served as chair of the poetry jury for the Pulitzer Prizes for 2006.

I congratulate Cynthia sincerely for her current achievement and look forward to reading Heavenly Bodies (and perhaps pass it on to John Case for his Monday morning poetry program.)

Composer Marvin Hamlisch dies at 68

 

Marvin Hamlisch, who composed the scores for dozens of movies including “The Sting” and won a Tony for “A Chorus Line,” has died in Los Angeles at 68.

The composer won every major award in his career, including three Academy Awards, four Emmys, a Tony and three Golden Globes. He composed more than 40 film scores, including “Sophie’s Choice,” `’Ordinary People” and “Take the Money and Run.” He won his third Oscar for his adaptation of Scott Joplin‘s music for “The Sting.” On Broadway, Hamlisch received the Pulitzer Prize for long-running favorite “The Chorus Line” and wrote “The Goodbye Girl” and “Sweet Smell of Success.”

Family spokesman Jason Lee said Hamlisch died Monday after a brief illness. Other details weren’t being released.

Hamlisch had been scheduled to fly to Nashville, Tennessee, this week to see a production of his hit musical “The Nutty Professor.”

 

I needed a Wednesday Night Laugh and found this:

 

Sometimes bloggers do poor research… especially conservative bloggers. Not that I am worried about the blog competition, but here’s a neat piece I found on The Fifth Column:

TPMDC

A conservative blogger’s recent attempt to sandbag Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist Connie Schultz proved to be an epic failure — and the only thing saving him from public embarrassment is Schultz’s own grace.

The story begins on July 9, says Schultz, when she received an email from the inquiring blogger, who promptly misspelled the name of the author, former columnist for the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, and winner of the 2004 Pulitzer for commentary:

Dear Ms. Shultz,We are doing an expose on journalists in the elite media who socialize with elected officials they are assigned to cover. We have found numerous photos of you with Sen. Sherrod Brown. In one of them, you appear to be hugging him.

Care to comment?

Uh oh, you might think. Soon she’ll have to defend herself from allegations of being overly cozy with a subject she reports on. Well — not quite.

On July 10, she replied with this:

Dear Mr. [Name Deleted]:I am surprised you did not find a photo of me kissing U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown so hard he passes out from lack of oxygen. He’s really cute.

He’s also my husband.

You know that, right?

Connie Schultz.

Brown and Schultz have been married since 2004, as even a cursory Google search or glance through either one’s Wikipedia page would show. She recounted the amusing tale on Facebook and noted that as of Tuesday she hadn’t received a response.

 

Natasha Trethewey is the new Poet Laureate of the United States

Trethewey, 46, is an English and creative writing professor at Emory University in Atlanta, named the 19th U.S. poet laureate Thursday by the Librarian of Congress.

The Pulitzer Prize winner is the nation’s first poet laureate to hail from the South since the initial one – Robert Penn Warren – in 1986. She is also Mississippi’s top poet and will be the first person to serve simultaneously as a state and U.S. laureate.

Winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for her book of poems, “Native Guard,”  Trethewey focused partly on history that was erased because it was never recorded. She wrote of the Louisiana Native Guard, a black Civil War regiment assigned to guard white Confederate soldiers held on Ship Island off Mississippi’s Gulf Coast.

The Confederate prisoners were later memorialized on the island, but not the black Union soldiers.

Here’s one of her poems: Providence.

Providence
by Natasha Trethewey
What's left is footage: the hours before
       Camille, 1969—hurricane
              parties, palm trees leaning
in the wind,
       fronds blown back,

a woman's hair. Then after:
       the vacant lots,
       boats washed ashore, a swamp

where graves had been. I recall

how we huddled all night in our small house,
       moving between rooms,
              emptying pots filled with rain.

The next day, our house—
       on its cinderblocks—seemed to float

       in the flooded yard: no foundationbeneath us, nothing I could see
       tying us 	to the land.
       In the water, our reflection
                                trembled,
disappeared
when I bent to touch it.

The story behind the image: Napalm girl at age 49…

Took this article from The Guardian. Read the whole thing HERE.

A clip:

 

She will always be naked after blobs of sticky napalm melted through her clothes and layers of skin like jellied lava.

She will always be a victim without a name.

It only took a second for Associated Press photographer Huynh Cong “Nick” Ut to snap the iconic black-and-white image 40 years ago. It communicated the horrors of the Vietnam War in a way words could never describe, helping to end one of the most divisive wars in American history.

But beneath the photo lies a lesser-known story. It’s the tale of a dying child brought together by chance with a young photographer. A moment captured in the chaos of war that would be both her savior and her curse on a journey to understand life’s plan for her.

“I really wanted to escape from that little girl,” says Kim Phuc, now 49. “But it seems to me that the picture didn’t let me go.”

—–

The whole story is a long and revealing one, and quite worth reading. We are all familiar with the Pulitzer Prize winning photograph, but the story of what came after is an important human one. Go HERE.

Stanley Kunitz remembered…

I was the Director of the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown (MA) in the late 70s, and one of the great men and women I worked for there was Center co-founder Stanley Kunitz.

The Pulitzer Prize winning poet, who died in 2006 at age 101, kept working as he got older. His last published poem was called “Touch Me”  and was written in 2005. As I was looking around the web, I found him doing a live reading at age 100 and felt so good hearing him again.

I used to visit with him as he worked on his beloved garden in P-Town. We’d talk about flowers and poets and just about anything. Stanley could always maintain a stimulating conversation.

Just imaging an artist of Kunitz’s stature maintaining his literary power right up to the end of his life gives me a great deal of optimism that we can all maintain our creativity in the face of an anti-creative world.

Here it is:

Thanks for the memory, Stanley.

Cartoon(ist) of the Week – David Horsey of the L.A. Times

Sorry this didn’t get up yesterday, but Elly and I went down to Frederick to catch The Artist. If you haven’t seen it yet, I recommend it highly… a beautiful and funny film.

Anyway, this week I’ve decided to do something I haven’t done in a while, and that is to focus on one editorial cartoonist – David Horsey.

David Horsey in the L. A. Times

The horror show…

– and –

Now I understand primaries…

– and –

It’s the economy, stupid!

– and –

Mitt loves to fire people…

– and –

He still doesn’t see what it takes…

Playwright Lanford Wilson Dies at 73…

Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Lanford Wilson has died of pneumonia complications at the Kindred St. Joseph Hospital in Wayne, N.J. Wilson lived in Sag Harbor, N.Y.

Wilson was one of the founders of the Circle Repertory Company, an off-Broadway repertory group where he premiered his plays. Known for such works as “The Hot l Baltimore” and Talley’s Folly“, he explored such themes as contemporary gay identity, youthful angst and the  modern lack of the usual social or ethical standards.

A number of Wilson’s plays reached Broadway, and he received three Tony nominations for best play. But today he is most closely associated with the off-off-Broadway scene. He won the Pulitzer for “Talley’s Folly.”

A revival production of “Burn This,” directed by Nicholas Martin, is set to open at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles on April 3.

David Broder, Political Journalist and Pundit, Dies at 81

Sorry to see this in the Washington Post this morning, but David Broder has died of complications from diabetes in Arlington Virginia this past Wednesday. He was 81 and considered by many to be the Dean of Washington Political Journalists. His last column appeared on February 6th.

Broder’s career spanned 11 Presidential administrations and he appeared on Meet The Press more than any other journalist, a record which is not likely to be beaten soon. He won a Pulitzer Prize for his commentaries on the Nixon re-election.

Farewell David Broder.