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Author Spotlight: Sam Hazo

​This week, we spoke with poet Sam Hazo on his inspirations behind his new book And the Time Is

HazoBMiniHow did you come up with the concept for this book?

The concept of the book was chronological….i.e., choosing what I considered the poems I wished to be judged by written between 1958 and 2013.

The book is essentially a testimony to your poetic endeavors and your growth as a writer – how have these identities evolved over the years for you?

I often keep returning to the same themes, but my perspective has changed my attitudes toward them over the years.

Is there a poem that you’re especially proud of? If yes, do you mind sharing the story behind it?

I favor one poem called “And the Time Is,” which is also the title of the book.  In the poem the time is always the present. The rhythm of the poem and the barely discernible rhymes hold the poem together.  I’ve never been able to do that since in a poem.

Are there any poets that you continually go back to for inspirations?

There are poets I do go back to, not so much for inspiration as for the pleasure of reading their words, i.e., Richard Wilbur, Linda Pastan, Robert Frost, Randall Jarrell and a number of foreign poets.

and-the-timeWhat helps you thrive as a poet?

Focusing on something that takes my full attention is what I (or any poet) thrive on.

Where do you usually write and what conditions help you with your writing process? 

I write whenever, wherever.

What are you working on right now?

I’ve just finished a book called THE FEAST OF ICARUS, Lyrical Reflections on a Myth.

Poetry picks!

It is often said that poems are simply words dipped in feelings. From soul-soothing proses to translated gems of history, we’ve decided to hand-pick three of our favorite poetry books for your pleasure this month!

And the Time Is

and-the-timeWith works that have appeared in the Hudson Review, Prairie Schooner, and the New York Times, this collection of poetry follows Samuel Hazo through his adventures in love, family, and life. What we love about Hazo is that he’s honest, raw, and nothing but human. Charmingly eloquent and painfully relatable, his poems speak of wisdom and maturity – cumulated from his persistent endeavors in living and writing.

Poets Translate Poets

poetsPoets Translate Poets originates from the perception that translators are among the most distinguished American and British poets. The collection features seventy-seven poets in twenty-five languages, representing the best of more than five hundred translated works originally published in the Hudson Review. However, the book is more than just a collection of world poetry – it offers readers an exploration into the art of poetry translation.

Chronicles of Majnun Layla & Selected Poems

chronicles-majnum-laylaWinner of the King Fahd Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies Translation of Arabic Literature Award 2013

The collection of texts brings together Qassim Haddad’s seminal work and a selection of his best poems. Reflective of Haddad’s rich Arab poetic heritage, the translation in this book introduces readers to a cultural mosaic that is profoundly and gracefully crafted through the lenses of literature.

Meet the Intern – Mavis

MavisTell us about yourself – hometown, major(s), nick name(s), fun fact(s), or anything you’d like to share!

Hello world, my name is Mavis. I grew up in Hong Kong, attended boarding school in Boston, and am now a junior at SU. I like words, so I’m currently double majoring in English and Textual Studies and Writing and Rhetoric. Something “fun” about me: I had six front teeth as a kid – my parents thought I was an alien.

Why did you apply for an internship with the Syracuse University Press?

I applied for the internship because real-life experiences in the publishing field have always meant a lot to me. Also, shadowing a marketing manager this past summer made me realize how multidimensional the field of marketing and “branding” is. So when an internship position like this opened up, I didn’t even hesitate to apply.

What do you do at work? Tell us about your weekly tasks or some of your ongoing projects.

Most of the time, I go to work not knowing what I’ll be having on my plate that day. There are days when I’m responsible for a book’s background research, so I dig up information about the author and everything that’s relevant to the book’s genre. There are also days when I’m responsible for updating the blog, so I contact specific authors for possible interviews and craft a variety of blog posts.

What have you learned so far that you honestly didn’t expect to?

Sending professional emails can be surprisingly nerve wracking at times. Since one of my tasks involves contacting different authors on behalf of the Press, I’m becoming increasingly aware of the importance of writing succinct and lean emails.

What’s your favorite part about the internship?

I think it’s really important to feel a little challenged in work environments in general, because it pushes you to build your confidence. That’s why I really like how I’m not treated as the “baby intern” here at the Press. I’m given tasks that involve thinking and flexibility but the office atmosphere also makes it easy for me to reach out for help.

How does this internship compare with/to your other internship(s) or work experience(s)?

I’ve had previous internship experiences with magazine and newspaper publications, so I’m not entirely new to the publishing field. But I would say this internship has taught me what marketing research truly entails – how and what it takes to gather enough information about a book, its author(s), and the genre it falls under. In some ways, it’s a lot of “behind the scenes” work.

What advice or insights do you have for prospective interns?

A marketing internship with the SU Press means you’ll get communicate with a diverse range of editors, authors and book publishers. You basically dive head first into the publishing field so there’s no time to be shy! If you’re willing to take up this challenge (and be humbled by it), then you’re suited for this job.

Meet the Intern – Jen

Me with my one true love in lifeTell us about yourself – hometown, major(s), nick name(s), fun fact(s), or anything you’d like to share!

Hi everyone! Friends just call me Jen. I’m a junior English and Textual Studies major with a minor in Political Science. I’m originally from Old Bridge, NJ. A fun fact about me is that I’m currently trying to learn how to play the guitar.

Why did you apply for an internship with the Syracuse University Press?

I applied for an internship with Syracuse University Press because I want to be able to work in publishing once I graduate. Due to the fact that I’m planning on graduating early, I do not have as much time to gain experience in publishing. Therefore, I jumped at the chance to be able to work at the Press.

What do you do at work? Tell us about your weekly tasks or some of your ongoing projects.

My work in the Acquisitions Departments involves but is not limited to filing away book manuscripts, writing rejections to aspiring authors’ proposals, and writing publication proposals. The most daunting task I’ve had by far would have to be the writing of publication proposals, which entails being able to concisely summarize a work within the span of a paragraph.

What have you learned so far that you honestly didn’t expect to?

I did not expect to learn the variety of publishing presses there are in the world, or how much work an author must have to go through in figuring out the best place to submit their book proposal. When I send out rejections to authors, I also tell them other publishers they could try submitting to where they may have better luck. The importance of this is where I sometimes feel a slight disconnect, because I don’t feel as much of a connection with an author via email. Often, I tend to remind myself that the author I am sending the rejection to may have just completed a project they have spent years of their life on. Feeling the weight of that when sending a rejection is not something I expected.

What’s your favorite part about the internship?

So far, I really enjoy the act of coming in to intern and reading what other writers have come to write and discover. I’ve found that we get a lot of really intriguing and interesting proposals, ones that I would not have expected would be sent to a university press. I find myself learning something knew everyday, and I am a fan of the acquisition of knowledge.

How does this internship compare with/to your other internship(s) or work experience(s)?

Interning for the Press, I’ve found that I feel like my work is more important and necessary. With my other internship experiences, I’ve often felt like I was doing a lot of busy work. Also, I’ve never had my own cubicle before, and I like it.

What advice or insights do you have for prospective interns?

If you are a fan of non-fiction or a fan of reading in general, then this is the best place for you. If you would like to intern in the Acquisitions Department and you are not one of the two things I just mentioned, then become one of those two things, and develop some writing skills too. Finally, apply early! Internships in general are hot commodities.

Author Spotlight: Joan Dean

JoanFitzPatrickDean

Joan FitzPatrick Dean is Curators Professor of English at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. She is the author of Riot and Great Anger: Stage Censorship in Twentieth-Century Ireland.

How and where did you get the inspiration for All Dressed Up?

My mother-in-law was a city-dweller. She lived all of her life in Newark, New Jersey. In her forties, after the death of her husband, she took up square dancing, an activity closely associated with rural America. On July 4, 1976, she appeared on national television in an elaborate square dancing costume on the deck of an aircraft carrier as part of the festivities that celebrated the bicentennial of the founding of America. Along with millions of others, I watched. I was even able to catch a glimpse of her. She was delighted to perform and her family and friends were thrilled to see her, but the possible irony of an often-chauvinistic urban-dweller appearing as a country girl wasn’t lost on me. When people get all dressed up they can do surprising things.

Like most people, I experienced pageantry from a young age.   Like many, I first became aware of pageantry when I participated in it. I participated in First Communion processions, parades, and Christmas pageants. I have home movies of these events where I can see myself in my First Communion dress, my Brownie beanie and uniform, and my Tin Soldier costume. I distinctly recall watching my blond, blue-eyed younger sister as the child selected to place a floral crown on a larger-than-life-sized statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary on May 1, 1957 before the assembled parishionners of St. Mary’s Church.   That remains my earliest and most vivid memory of envy.

In the broadest sense of the term, pageantry involves a display of an identity or affiliation. Pageantry is typically a public, open-air event, often free or at modest price, in which large numbers of participants hope to attract even larger numbers of viewers. Participants wear special, usually symbolic, clothing on select dates that are connected with holidays, annual observances, or anniversaries.

In my research there was another impetus to explore pageantry when I was working through the financial records for the Theatre of Ireland, which ended up in the P. S. O’Hegarty Collection at the University of Kansas. I knew how few people were attending some of these performances and began to ask myself if there wasn’t another way in which ordinary Irish people experienced “theatre.” Was there something like a Cirque du Soliel, a very popular, accessible theatrical genre, early in the twentieth century? And the answer was yes: pageantry.

all-dressed-up

For readers who might not be familiar with the Irish culture, what can you tell them about the Irish aesthetic standards?

Early in the twentieth century Irish historical pageantry shares with other visual idioms an impulse to draw on an older, sometimes ancient or pre-historic, but most important non-British, aesthetic.

It’s important to appreciate that the vogue of historical pageantry was not confined to Ireland. The 1939 World’s Fair in New York had a pageant, so did St. Louis for its centennial and hundreds of other towns and cities. In the early decades of the twentieth century, not least because of the expansion of the franchise, pageants hope to educate and inspire patriotism in the US and in Britain as well as in Ireland.

If you could tell us something surprisingly interesting about Irish pageantry and its history, what would it be?

The number of visual artists who, especially early in the twentieth century, were deeply involved pageant making and promotion: Austin Molloy, John P. Campbell, Micheál macLíammóir, Jack Morrow, and to a lesser extent people like Paul Henry, Harry Kernoff, Art O’Murnaghan, William Conor, Mabel Annesley, and a score of others. Ireland has produced more than its fair share of writers, but the visual artists are certainly less widely recognized.

In All Dressed Up, the notion of popularity is heavily embedded in your research? How does that concept of popularity compare with our contemporary understanding of it?

The cliché tells us that everyone loves a parade. As a kid I certainly did, particularly drum and bugle corps, although they carry a very different resonance in Ireland than they did in a small town in upstate New York. The operative aesthetic that cuts across time and place can be summarized in one word: epic. Think about the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games. In 2008, China celebrated four great inventions: paper, movable type, gunpowder, and the compass. Four years later, Danny Boyle (who directed Slumdog Millionaire) developed an extravaganza of British history, Isles of Wonder, in London for the Games; both aspired to stage a nation’s past and remain memorable for their epic scale. Several of the pageants I discuss drew enormous audiences, audiences that dwarf those drawn by many of the plays central to the canon of Irish drama; some were revived and even toured.

Tell us about the images you’ve chosen to use for the book – why did they stand out for you and what do they entail?

These images stood out because I could obtain permission to use them. Many of the images are exquisite, some are hilarious. I have a hundred more. Any chance we could discuss this on the phone? I have free long distance and can call at your convenience. I can’t type fast enough to do this question justice.

Can you tell us about the process of weaving in mythical elements and cultural references into a history book?

I’m not a historian, but All Dressed Up aspires to be theatre history. I hope the book also suggests how the Irish came to create and to understand their history in the twentieth century. Early in the twentieth century, the recourse was to mythical figures like Cuchulainn and Fionn. By the 1940s, the time frame of the Irish historical pageants had become a moving wall pressing toward the present: while in 1927 the pageants reached back to an ancient past and proscribed everything after 1800, those in the 1940s began in 1867 and moved right up to the present. By the 1990s, the story of Cuchulainn in the Tain as staged by Macnas is the story of Irish people killing other Irish people that resonates with the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

Plus, the relationship between myth and history moves in both directions in pageants: In the 1920s, myth could be historicized as when Fionn mac Cumhaill was described as “an undoubtedly historical personage,” but throughout the century, historical events, such as the Easter Rising, were mythologized in pageants.

How did your own Irish heritage contribute to the writing of this book?

Not at all or perhaps barely. I’m fourth generation and grew up in a place without a strong Irish tradition. There is a geographical connection is to SUP through western NY, where I grew up, and coincidentally between Syracuse and Penn Yan both in the Finger Lakes where my ancestors, the Finnegans and FitzPatricks, settled. I’m very conscious that mine is an Irish-American rather than an Irish heritage. My father never denied that an Irishman, Patrick Boyle, was his great-grandfather, but he only identified as German-American rather than Irish-American. My mother, a FitzPatrick from home (as they say), strongly identified as Irish-American. They both picked and chose; we all do. So did these pageants: they were always selective in constructing their sense of the Irish past.

I did see one of the pageants I discuss in detail in 1992 while on a Fulbright in Galway: the Macnas Tain. I went back the next night with my kids; it was the first “dramatic performance” that I took my daughters to see. I have wanted to write about it ever since. It just took me twenty-two years and 248 pages to really get to it.

What was the most enjoyable part about writing this book?

The research, especially discovering of connections with the visual arts—Irish Arts and Crafts in particular. I had a Fulbright lectureship Nancy, France in 1982-83 and have been fascinated by Art Nouveau, especially l’école de Nancy, ever since. I confess I didn’t see this connection when I started the project but slowly and very clearly it emerged in the programs, posters, photographs, and costume designs buried in the archives in Dublin, Galway, Belfast, Lawrence, Kansas, and Evanston, Illinois. The other pleasure was in seeing the parallels and analogues that surface in different visual cultures and theatrical idioms in France, Ireland, the US, etc. at about the same time. These pageants offered people the opportunity to perform their identities, the role as citizens. Often it’s the newest citizens who are most eager. I saw two St. Patrick’s Day parades in Galway, first in 1993 and then in 2012. The difference between the two was that in the second, a number of immigrant groups—the Poles, the Slovenians, the Brazilians, and so on—were there in number to display their affiliation with Ireland. It’s that festive, celebratory spirit that infused most of the pageants I discuss.

Beyond that, I thoroughly enjoyed working with archivists and librarians, who were unfailingly generous. I can’t overstated how helpful many of these archivists were in bringing an overlooked item to my attention or just by engaging with the material I was looking at.

What was the hardest part about writing this book?

Copyright permissions. The final one came from Katy O’Kennedy in Winston-Salem, North Carolina whom I located only because she has a presence (as “Chief Stink Buster” see http://www.linkedin.com/in/silveredgegear) on the web for Silver Edge Gear, the technology she developed that uses silver to prevent odors in athletic gear. In 1945 her father, Niel O’Kennedy, drew a cartoon about the Military Tattoo for the humor magazine Dublin Opinion that appears in the book. I’m delighted I found her and that she so generously gave me permission to include the image.

What are you working on now?

I have co-edited, with Jose Lanters, a collection of essays on non-realistic Irish theatre called Beyond Realism that will be available early in 2015. I have an essay on the performance pieces of Pat Kinevane coming out soon. One longer-range project returns to the Theatre of Ireland, the renegade company that competed with the Abbey between 1906 and 1913, and in particular at Maire nic Shiubhlaigh (Mary Walker).

All Hallow’s Read

Here at SU Press, we’d like to think of Halloween as more than just a weekend of candies and costumes – it’s another excuse for book-giving! Introducing “All Hallow’s Read” – a Halloween tradition that encourages you to give someone a scary book in honor of the festivities. Whether it’s a gothic novel from way back or a modern tale of zombies, there will always be a book out there ready to quench your thirst. If you’re as excited as we are to hop on the “All Hallow’s Read” bandwagon, here are two recommendations for you. You know what they say – a book is a present you can open again and again!

Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

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Allow someone to indulge in this classic Irish tale with our new critical edition. First published in the late 1800’s, it tells the story of a young woman’s susceptibility to the attentions of a female vampire named Carmilla. Beautifully written and charged with powerful rhetoric, the book is the answer for anyone who’s hunting for a timeless novel.

Beauty and the Beast by Arnold Arluke and Robert Bogdan

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From fairy tales to photography, nowhere is the complexity of human-animal relationship more apparent than in the creative arts. Arts illuminates the nature and significance of animals in modern, Western thought, capturing the complex but interesting union that has always existed between the animal kingdom and us. Packed with photo postcards and captivating stories, this book perfect for animal and history lovers!

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Eye Candy Friday: The “Harmonic Possibilities” of Art

The eighth annual issue of Stone Canoe showcases an intriguing collection of writing and visual arts from 70 contributors with ties to the Upstate New York region. Notable features include 40 pages of visual art, a photo essay on Saudi Arabia by Janice Levy, Bruce Smith’s interview with acclaimed poet Stephen Dunn, and a collection of written work that includes poetry, drama, fiction, creative nonfiction, and provocative essays on topics such as warfare, incarceration, music, and technology. Visit the Stone Canoe website for additional content, along with e-book versions of current and past issues.

Editor Robert Colley describes the eighth issue in the Editor’s Notes:

The classic definition of harmony (from the Greek harmonia) involves the joining together of dissimilar sounds in such a way as to demonstrate their inherent relatedness, thereby inducing a pleasurable reaction in the observer who discovers the connection. . . . In literature or art, heightened exposure to complex harmonic possibilities can involve a more intimate relationship with various kinds of unhappiness or injustice, but in the long run these encounters can provide a deeper satisfaction, one that accompanies a new awareness of how things ‘fit together’ in the world.

In honor of the recent release of Stone Canoe 8, we’ve compiled some of our favorite artwork from the journal.

cover

“Wishing Clint Eastwood” by Vykky Ebner (journal cover)

warlord

“Warlord” by Megan Biddle (winner of the 2014 Hedy and Michael Fawcett Prize for Visual Arts)

train in taos

“She Got on a Train in Taos” by Ron Throop

health of planet

“Health of the Planet #504″ by Steve Miller

violence and disbelief

“Violence and Disbelief” by Paul Weiner

star

“A Star in Waiting for its Gleam” by Walter Kopec

pathways for wandering ii

“Pathways for Wandering II” (detail) by Werner Sun

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