From #authors to #awardwinners!
Great reads, here. Check them out!
From #authors to #awardwinners!
Great reads, here. Check them out!
#MacArthur Foundation’s 25 Newest Fellows, 2022:
#Scientists, #Filmmakers, #Artists, #Sociologists, #Musicians, #Writers, #Activists and #Historians
The 2022 MacArthur Fellows are architects of new modes of activism, artistic practice, and citizen science. They are excavators uncovering what has been overlooked, undervalued, or poorly understood. They are archivists reminding us of what should survive.
Their work extends from the molecular level to the land beneath our feet to Earth’s orbital environment—offering new ways for us to understand the communities, systems, and social forces that shape our lives around the globe.
Director, MacArthur Fellows
“The MacArthur Fellowship is a $800,000, no-strings-attached award to extraordinarily talented and creative individuals as an investment in their potential….Since 1981, 1061 people have been named MacArthur Fellows….
“Nominees are brought to the Program’s attention through a constantly changing pool of invited external nominators chosen from as broad a range of fields and areas of interest as possible. They are encouraged to draw on their expertise, accomplishments, and breadth of experience to nominate the most creative people they know within their field and beyond….
“The MacArthur Fellows Program is intended to encourage people of outstanding talent to pursue their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations. In keeping with this purpose, the Foundation awards fellowships directly to individuals rather than through institutions. Recipients may be writers, scientists, artists, social scientists, humanists, teachers, entrepreneurs, or those in other fields, with or without institutional affiliations. They may use their fellowship to advance their expertise, engage in bold new work, or, if they wish, to change fields or alter the direction of their careers.
“Although nominees are reviewed for their achievements, the fellowship is not a lifetime achievement award, but rather an investment in a person’s originality, insight, and potential. Indeed, the purpose of the MacArthur Fellows Program is to enable recipients to exercise their own creative instincts for the benefit of human society.
“The Foundation does not require or expect specific products or reports from MacArthur Fellows and does not evaluate recipients’ creativity during the term of the fellowship. The MacArthur Fellowship is a “no strings attached” award in support of people, not projects. Each fellowship comes with a stipend of $800,000 to the recipient, paid out in equal quarterly installments over five years….”
“There are three criteria for selection of Fellows:
Meet the newest crop of very fortunate creative sorts, this year’s MacArthur Fellows, who will each receive $800,000/year spread over 5 years, to do WHATEVER THEY WANT!
For bios, specific info on each Fellow, and more about the Program and the Foundation, check out their website: https://www.macfound.org/programs/fellows/
Imagine: There are no outside or public applications or nominations. The process for selection is so secretive and unknown that very few people (no one outside the Foundation, supposedly) even knows who the nominating and selection committees’ members ARE each year!
In the Foundation’s favor, this year—for the FIRST time since I’ve been tracking it, which is many years—the female-appearing Fellows are exceeding the male-appearing Fellows: 9 seeming males, 16 seeming female and 1 nonbinary fellow. The Fellows process has been great on “diversity” and varying geographic locations for quite a while. This year, only about 5 appear to be Caucasian. You can check out the stats on their site any time.
Again, LOVE this! Here are mini-bios of each Fellow for 2022:
Jennifer Carlson of Tucson, AZ, is a sociologist who studies “the motivations, assumptions, and social forces that drive gun ownership and shape gun culture in the United States.”
Paul Chan of New York, NY, is an artist, “testing the capacity of art to make human experience available for critical reflection and to effect social change.”
Yejin Choi of the University of Washington is a computer scientist who uses, “natural language processing to develop artificial intelligence systems that can understand language and make inferences about the world.”
P. Gabrielle Foreman of Pennsylvania State University is a literary historian and digital humanist who specializes in “nineteenth-century collective Black organizing efforts through initiatives such as the Colored Conventions Project.”
Danna Freedman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a synthetic inorganic chemist, “creating novel molecular materials with unique properties directly relevant to quantum information technologies.”
Martha Gonzalez of Scripps College is a musician, scholar and artist/activist “strengthening cross-border ties and advancing participatory methods of artistic knowledge production in the service of social justice.”
Sky Hopinka of Bard College is an artist and filmmaker who combines “imagery and language in films and videos that offer new strategies of representation for the expression of Indigenous worldviews.”
June Huh of Princeton University is a mathematician who studies the “underlying connections between disparate areas of mathematics and proving long-standing mathematical conjectures.”
Moriba Jah of the University of Texas, Austin, is an astrodynamicist “envisioning transparent and collaborative solutions for creating a circular space economy that improves oversight of Earth’s orbital spheres.”
Jenna Jambeck of the University of Georgia is an environmental engineer “investigating the scale and pathways of plastic pollution and galvanizing efforts to address plastic waste.”
Monica Kim of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, is an historian who examines “the interplay between U.S. foreign policy, military intervention, processes of decolonization, and individual rights in regional settings around the globe.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer of SUNY-Syracuse is a plant ecologist, educator, and writer “articulating an alternative vision of environmental stewardship informed by traditional ecological knowledge.”
Priti Krishtel of the Initiative for Medicines, Access, and Knowledge (I-MAK) in Oakland, CA, is a health justice lawyer “exposing the inequities in the patent system to increase access to affordable, life-saving medications on a global scale.”
Joseph Drew Lanham of Clemson University is an ornithologist, naturalist and writer “creating a new model of conservation that combines conservation science with personal, historical, and cultural narratives of nature.”
Kiese Laymon of Rice University is a writer “bearing witness to the myriad forms of violence that mark the Black experience in formally inventive fiction and nonfiction.”
Reuben Jonathan Miller of the University of Chicago is a sociologist, criminologist and social worker who traces “the long-term consequences that incarceration and re-entry systems have on the lives of individuals and their families.”
Ikue Mori of New York, NY, is an electronic music composer and performer “transforming the use of percussion in improvisation and expanding the boundaries of machine-based music.”
Steven Prohira of the University of Kansas is a physicist “challenging conventional theories and engineering new tools to detect ultra-high energy subatomic particles that could hold clues to long-held mysteries of our universe.”
Tomeka Reid of Chicago, Ill., is a jazz cellist and composer “forging a unique jazz sound that draws from a range of musical traditions and expanding the expressive possibilities of the cello in improvised music.”
Loretta J. Ross of Smith College is a reproductive justice and human rights advocate “shaping a visionary paradigm linking social justice, human rights, and reproductive justice.”
Steven Ruggles of the University of Minnesota is an historical demographer “setting new standards in quantitative historical research by building the world’s largest publicly available database of population statistics.”
Tavares Strachan of New York, NY, and Nassau, The Bahamas, is an interdisciplinary conceptual artist “expanding the possibilities for what art can be and illuminating overlooked contributions of marginalized figures throughout history.”
Emily Wang of Yale University School of Medicine is a primary care physician and researcher who partners with “people recently released from prison to address their needs and the ways that incarceration influences chronic health conditions.”
Amanda Williams of Chicago, IL, is an artist and architect “reimagining public space to expose the complex ways that value, both cultural and economic, intersects with race in the built environment.”
Melanie Matchett Wood of Harvard University is a mathematician “addressing foundational questions in number theory from the perspective of arithmetic statistics.”
You can view ALL 1061 recipients of this “Genius Grant” (all the Fellows): https://www.macfound.org/fellows/search/all
“THE 2018 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD LONGLIST FOR #FICTION”
Read about the other #longlists released for the 2018 National Book Awards:
October 10: Finalists Announced
November 14: National Book Awards Ceremony and Benefit Dinner (Winners announced)
FMI, book covers, other years’ awards lists, to get tickets and more: http://www.nationalbook.org/nba2018.html#.W6FbVs5Kipo
2017 #Winners of the National #Book #Award: Kudos to these #Authors!
National Book Foundation, presenter of the National Book Award
from the story on NPR:
“[F]our writers emerged with one of the world’s most illustrious literary prizes, the National Book Award:
—Jesmyn Ward’s “Sing, Unburied, Sing,” won for fiction;
—Masha Gessen’s “The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia,” for nonfiction;
—Frank Bidart’s “Half-light: Collected Poems 1965-2016,” for poetry; and
—Robin Benway’s “Far from the Tree,” for young people’s literature.
“In addition to a bronze medal and statue, each winner receives $10,000 with the distinction. That said, the finalists don’t go home bereft — each author gets $1,000 and a bronze medal of their own.
“…Annie Proulx [is] the novelist who won the medal for distinguished contribution to American letters, the National Book Foundation’s slightly verbose name for their lifetime achievement award.”
2017 WINNERS and FINALISTS, National Book Award
Jesmyn Ward: Sing, Unburied, Sing = WINNER
Ward’s Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Jesmyn-Ward/e/B001JOW9NW/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_book_1
Ward’s Publisher Website: http://www.simonandschuster.com/authors/Jesmyn-Ward/547648874
Elliot Ackerman: Dark at the Crossing
Lisa Ko: The Leavers
Min Jin Lee: Pachinko
Carmen Maria Machado: Her Body and Other Parties: Stories
Masha Gessen; Photo: © Tanya Sazansky
Masha Gessen: The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia = WINNER
Gessen’s Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Masha-Gessen/e/B001H6MBXK/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_book_1
Gessen’s Publisher’s Website: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/authors/9953/masha-gessen
Erica Armstrong Dunbar: Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge
Frances FitzGerald: The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America
David Grann: Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI
Nancy MacLean: Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America
Frank Bidart; Photo from Sigrid Estrada
Frank Bidart: Half-light: Collected Poems 1965-2016 = WINNER
Bidart’s Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Frank-Bidart/e/B001H6W2N4/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_book_1
Bidart’s Publisher’s Website: https://us.macmillan.com/author/frankbidart
Leslie Harrison: The Book of Endings
Layli Long Soldier: WHEREAS
Shane McCrae: In the Language of My Captor
Danez Smith: Don’t Call Us Dead: Poems
Young People’s Literature
Robin Benway: Far from the Tree = WINNER
Benway’s Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Robin-Benway/e/B001JP7ZO4/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1
Benway’s Publisher’s Website: https://www.harpercollins.com/cr-115402/robin-benway
Elana K. Arnold: What Girls Are Made Of
Erika L. Sánchez: I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
Rita Williams-Garcia: Clayton Byrd Goes Underground
Ibi Zoboi: American Street
Newest #PoetLaureate for the #USA is Tracy K. Smith
[photo credit, from the article (link below): James Estrin/The New York Times]
USA’s Library of Congress has announced Tracy K. Smith as its newest national treasure, the country’s “poet laureate consultant in poetry,” the 22nd individual to hold that position.
A Pulitzer-Prize-winning poet (for her 2011 science-fiction-themed collection, Life on Mars, Smith, 45, who holds a BA from Harvard University and an M.F.A. (Master’s in Fine Arts) from Columbia, is the Director of the creative writing program at Princeton University.
Here is a great article about her life, current projects and past creative work:
Read and listen to some of her poetry and read more about her/all her writing:
World Poetry Day is March 21st, 2016: Celebrate Poetry Globally
To honor this day and #Women’s History Month, both, I’m reviewing and discussing some of the poems from one of my favorite poets and authors, fellow #feminist/#Buddhist Ursula K. Le Guin. Her latest collection, Late in the Day: Poems 2010-2014, is a delight.
Late in the Day: Poems 2010-2014, by Ursula K. Le Guin
Ursula K. Le Guin is my favorite writer. No contest. In fact, I wrote a review of another poetry collection early this year, which I enjoyed enormously: https://sallyember.com/2016/01/19/homage-to-and-review-of-ursula-k-le-guins-finding-my-elegy-new-and-selected-poems/ Some of the explanations of my connection to Le Guin are repeated from that post, below.
I have enjoyed, admired, appreciated, envied and learned from her novels, novellas, short stories, essays, and poetry for over forty years. She is about my mom’s age (in her early 80s, now) and still going strong. She is my idol, my mentor, and my role model. I also found out, after reading a recent collection, that she and I share not only a love of writing, speculative fiction, feminism, social justice, pacifism and environmentalism, but also, Buddhism and meditation. Frabjous day!
Poetry is meant to be read aloud. I enjoy reading poetry aloud as if I am the poet, wondering as I hear each word, line, idea, image, stanza, what the poet was imagining and how this exact turn of phrase came to capture it. Knowing how long many poets take to conjure the precise manner in which to describe and evoke every part of their intention, I want to savor it.
I do NOT read in that artificial, almost-questioning (upturned inflection on the end of lines), drawling almost-monotone that many poetry readers make the horrible mistake of using.
I read poetry aloud as if each poem is its own story, because this unique version of that story is interesting, new, and not mine. I use the line breaks and punctuation as suggestions to help me go with the poet’s flow. I smile, I laugh, I pause, I taste the words on my tongue.
Try it. You’ll like it!
In her introduction, Le Guin discusses the interdependent relationships among seemingly inanimate objects (whose apparent lack of sentience she and others challenge), places, humans, animals, life events and circumstances with eloquence and grace. As in all of her public writing and speeches, she has a way of turning things around with her verbal kaleidoscope to inspire us to see things from new perspectives with each turn. Her unique points of view become more accessible as one continues to read and ponder her body of work, which I’ve been doing for over forty years (she’s been writing for over 60).
This collection is divided into eight sections: Relations, Contemplations, Messengers, Four Lines, Works, Times, The Old Music and Envoi, but I couldn’t explain them or why some poems are in one but not another section. I was very impressed, though, with her poems about things, especially kitchen objects. Amazing.
Enough of all that explanatory stuff. You can get that elsewhere and any time. Let’s enjoy some of her poems!
I marked pages of this book with pieces of scrap paper so I’d remember which stanzas, poems, titles, lines caught my heart. Here are some, in no particular order. I sometimes annotate or explain. Find your own parts to love and for your own reasons.
Le Guin has many poems rooted (pun intended) in nature, and those in this collection follow that trend. She is also the child of two anthropologists and somewhat of a social and physical scientist herself. I love this opinion she expressed poetically and eloquently, from the introduction to this volume (excerpted from a speech she gave in May, 2014, at a conference that occurred at the University of California/Santa Cruz, “Anthropocene: Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet”), in which she explained her view of the relationship between poetry and science and why we need both:
Science describes accurately from outside, poetry describes accurately from inside. Science explicates, poetry implicates. Both celebrate what they describe. We need the languages of both science and poetry to save us from merely stockpiling endless “information” that fails to inform our ignorance or our irresponsibility.
By replacing unfounded, willful opinion, science can increase moral sensitivity; by demonstrating and performing aesthetic order or beauty, poetry can move minds to the sense of fellowship that prevents careless usage and exploitation of our fellow beings, waste and cruelty. (p. ix)
One of my favorites from this collection, Constellating, situates relationships between people as if between stars:
Mind draws the lines between the stars
that let the Eagle and the Swan
fly vast and bright and far
above the dark before the dawn.
Between two solitary minds
as far as Deneb from Altair,
love flings the unimaginable line
that marries fire to fire.
How beautifully she depicts that intangible bond humans create to connect us which is like nothing else, yet she finds the commonality in constellations.
In The Games, Le Guin manages to indicate our views on aging and reflecting on past accomplishments in a perfect metaphor:
The crowds that cheered me when I took the Gold,
who were they then? Where are they now?
It’s queer to think about. Do they know how
you look at the hurdles, long before you’re old,
and wonder how you ever ran that race?
I’m not sorry, now all’s said and done,
to lie here by myself with nowhere to run,
in quiet, in this immense dark place.
Definition, or, Seeing the Horse is the type of poem about poetry that I usually eschew. But, one stanza from it is so perfect I have to share it, here, because it perfectly captures the limitations of poetry:
Definition, or, Seeing the Horse
from iii. Judith’s Fear of Naming
To define’s not to confine,
words can’t reach so far.
Even the poet’s line can only hold
a moment of the uncontainable.
The horse runs free.
Le Guin has written many essays, books and articles about the art and craft of writing, but never have I read or heard her convey what she feels about being a writer so well as in this poem, My Job. She lyricizes about writing’s being something she first learned as a child (“I started out as a prentice”) and is still learning. My favorite of her sentiments are these:
from My Job
Sometimes the pay is terrible.
Sometimes it’s only fairy gold.
Then again sometimes the wages
are beyond imagination and desire.
I am glad to have worked for this company.
Two poems, side-by-side in this book (which cannot be an accident), show her wonderful deployment of language and imagery: Sea Hallowe’en and Between. In all of her poems, she demonstrates her mastery of many different poetic forms: rhyming and non-rhyming, exploding into free verse and staying within those more formally ruled for meter, line length, repetition and other constraints. She calls herself a “caperer,” in her essay about her poetic choices and learning to write in various forms in her Afterword, meaning, one who moves among all forms and free verse as she wishes. She also writes here about how a form can “give” her a poem. Fascinating stuff. Love to read about her process.
From Between, I especially admire this final couplet:
A winter wind just whispers where
two winter trees stand tense and bare.
And, from Sea Hallowe’en, who can’t love this whimsical phrasing that ends each of the stanzas?
west to the tide rising,
cold, cold and wild.
a ghost on a north wind blowing
wild, wild and cold.
At best, I am a mediocre poet, despite having been published and won poetry prizes at a younger age, having written songs that were performed, and including my poetry in my science-fiction books as if written by its protagonist, Clara (http://www.sallyember.com/Spanners for more information). I make no claims to being an actual poet if Ursula K. Le Guin is an example. I yield and bow to her and many others for entertaining, informing, inspiring and enlivening us with their use of words and images.
She writes and speaks often about the rewards of writing and art and the politics and capitalism that haunt the industry. This poetry collection is ended with a speech she gave on these topics. The final lines are very moving:
I’ve had a long career as a writer, and a good one, in good company. Here at the end of it, I don’t want to watch American literature get sold down the river. We who live by writing and publishing want and should demand our fair share of the proceeds, but the name of our beautiful reward isn’t profit. its name is freedom.
image from her website, photo ©by Marian Wood Kolisch
Thank you, Ursula, for sharing your deep and soulful moments with us all. May your contributions to our literary and emotional landscapes always be known as blessings while you still live and after you die, and may all beings benefit.
Find these poems, this and all her other work here: http://www.ursulakleguin.com
For more information about poetic forms and World Poetry Day:
Poetry adds moments of beauty to our everyday lives, connects our emotions in unique ways, and helps people everywhere express themselves in amazing ways. Poetry of all kinds is definitely something to celebrate, so join us in looking around the world for inspiration. In honor of World Poetry Day, we (The New Rivers Press) wanted to share with you some unique global poetry styles.
Ghazal: an ancient form of poetry dating back to 700 CE in the Arab lands, and later Persia. It is fairly intricate, but contains anywhere from 5 to 15 independent couplets that create a beautiful whole, all with lines of the same length, meter, or syllable count. It is an extremely well-known form in Iran, where the 14th-century Persian writer, Hafez, published his famous ghazal collection, the Divan of Hafez. For examples of ghazals and more detailed information, visit http://poets.org or The Ghazal Page.
Haiku: arguably one of the most well-known types of international poetry forms, this form comes from ancient Japan. It consists of three short lines with five, seven, and five syllables each. The subject of a haiku was originally restricted to nature and the seasons, but that later was opened up to many different subject matters. Some of the most famous Japanese haiku writers include Basho (the “saint of haiku” in Japan), Buson, and Issa. For more in-depth history of the haiku, check out Poetry through the Ages or Encyclopedia Brittanica.
Doha: another ancient form of poetry common in India. It is a 24-syllable couplet, typically in Hindi. The lines are split unevenly, with the first line having 13 syllables and the second having 11 syllables. It was made more famous by such poets as Kabir and Nanak at the end of the 15th century and beginning of the 16th century, as well as Goswami Tulsidas, whose work, Ramcharitmanas, is still famous among Hindus across northern India. To find out more about this and many other poetry forms, explore the book A Poet’s Glossary, by Edward Hirsch.
from The New Rivers Press‘ newsletter, Riverine, Volume 3, Issue 7, http://www.newriverspress.com/
Also, the Poetry Foundation has a great website and mobile phone app that can put almost any poem and poet right into your hands any time: http://www.poetryfoundation.org They also put out Poetry Magazine and a poetry podcast.
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