Literary Type — May 2005

A TV movie, based on Third Man Out, written by Dick Lipez (Ethiopia 1962–64) — who writes under the name of Richard Stevenson — was featured in The New York Times in the Business section on April 11th in an article on the new gay and lesbian television network.

In The Wall Street Journal’s weekend edition on March 25, a lead article on audio books featured Ask Not by Thurston Clarke (Tunisia 1968). The subject of the book, writes the Journal was, “How the famous 1961 inaugural speech of John F. Kennedy (‘Ask not what your country can do for you . . .’) affected the lives of the Americans who first heard it. The author, 14 years old at the time, says the president’s words inspired him to join the Peace Corps.”

There’s more talk about Ask Not. The Arts section of The New York Times carried an article on Tuesday, May 10, on Clarke’s book and another one written by Richard J. Tofel, entitled, Sounding the Trumpet: The Making of John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address being published in July. Tofel writes that the man who really wrote the speech was Theodore Sorensen. Sorensen, Kennedy’s policy adviser, legal counsel and chief speechwriter, steadfastly has maintained that Kennedy was the driving force behind the speech. (The speech, which can be read or listened to at www.jfklibrary.org, is thought by many scholars to be among the finest inaugural addresses in the nation’s history.) Sorensen tells the Times, “I’ve just simply refused to take credit when I didn’t deserve the credit.” According to Clarke, “the Sorensen material that Kennedy incorporated into his speech turns out to be largely a compilation of ideas and themes that Kennedy had been voicing throughout his adult life.” According to Thurston, Kennedy was not only the architect of the speech, but “its stonecutter and mason.”

Tony Zurlo (Nigeria 1964–66) had two poems “A Bouquet for One Lost in the Crusades” and “The Lady and Her Knight” published in the Spring/Summer issue of Writers Against War at the website WritersagainstWar.com. “A Bouquet” had been a finalist for a previous Dallas Poetry Community Contest.

Husband and wife team, Alex Klaits (Kyrgyz Republic 1995–97) and Gulchin Gulmamadova-Klaits have just published Love and War in Afghanistan, (Seven Stories Press) a unique collection of true stories of fourteen ordinary men and women living in Northern Afghanistan. These are tales of young lovers who elope against the wishes of their kin; a mullah whose wit is his only defense against his armed captors; a defector from the Soviet army; a woman who is forced to stand up to gangsters in Tajikistan. Among the praises for the book, Haleh Esfandiari, Director of the Middle East Program, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, writes on the blurb, “Alex Klaits and Gulchin Gulmamadova-Klaits have woven a beautiful, moving and haunting tapestry of individual lives in war-torn Afghanistan. This is a must-read for anyone who cares about and wants to grasp present-day Afghanistan.”

Laurel West Kessler (Eritrea 1964–66) has had her second published piece included in Portfolio North, an anthology of northern California writers. “The Bride Wore Red” is about the 1993 wedding of a former student from Laurel’s Peace Corps service. Her first published piece, “Leaving Eritrea” (about being evacuated during the Eritrea’s border war with Ethiopia) appeared in the Fall 1998 edition of WorldView. She and her husband, Wayne, are writing a book about the seven years they recently spent in Eritrea.

Karen Beatty (Thailand 1968–70) published “May the Circle Be Unbroken” in Eureka Literary Magazine, Volume 13, No. 1(Fall 2004). She also received a first prize award for her essay “So, Where Are You From?” in New England Writers Network (Spring 2004). In forthcoming issues, the literary magazines Snowy Egret and Writers Post Journal will publish, respectively, “Down the Brook” and “Why I Kissed the Carpet Guy.”
     Affiliated with John Jay College of the City University of New York, Dr. Beatty works in trauma response counseling and is writing a novel entitled Dodging Prayers and Bullets.

Ann Jansen is writing a homestudy course for elementary and secondary school children and is looking for poems about Africa to include in the lesson plans. While she has a for profit business, part of the profits from this project will be donated to a mission school in Lagos, Nigeria through www.AVSI.org. If you are interested, contact Ann at annjansen@cloudnet.com. She is not an RPCV.

Recently Katherine Jamieson (Guyana 1996–98) was awarded an Iowa Arts Fellowship to study in the University of Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program. Katherine was a student in the second Peace Corps Writers on-line writing workshop and has been published by Lonely Planet, Newsday and Lynx Eye. She is also the winner of the 2001 Peace Corps Experience Award for her short essay, “Telling Time.” Today Katherine is working on a collection of stories about her experiences in Guyana.

Scott Zesch (Kenya 1982–84), author of The Captured: A True Story of Abduction by Indians on the Texas Frontier is speaking at the Mid-Manhattan Library, 455 Fifth Ave. at 40th St., on Wednesday, June 1 at 6:30 P.M. The talk is about his efforts to follow the lives of nine children who were abducted and eventually adopted by Comanches or Apaches and finally returned to their parents. It focuses on their adaptation to Indian life and the problems they faced when they reentered their own culture.

In Vinnytsia, Ukraine, Alice Brew (Ukriane 2003–05) wrote and published an art book, Art Recipes, Cook Up Some Art With Things Around the Home, which is written in English and Ukrainian for children ages 3–10 but especially for children with disabilities. Alice worked at a Center for Severely Mentally Challenged Children — “Nadiya” (Hope). Once settled at home in Phoenix, Alice will sell the book as a fundraiser to support the Center.

The Spring 2005 issue of  Abroad View magazine features a “Closer Look” section that focuses on “The Peace Corps Experience,” and includes contributions from Jason Boog (Guatemala 2000–02), Harria Bostic II (Guinea 1988–90), Alyson M. Carr (Namibia 1998–2000), Tara Deubel (Burkina Faso 1997–99), Jennifer Helsea Fortin (PCV Bulgaria), Kara Garbe (Burkina Faso 2002–04), Jessi Flynn (Panama 2001–04), Matt Heller (Mongolia 1995–97), Amber Lancaster (Zimbabwe, PCV Morocco 2001 – ), Chris Laycock (PCV Bulgaria), Mark Lydon (Tanzania), Dan McLauglin (Slovakia 1999–2002), Deborah C. McNamara (Mali 1997–99), Mark Morrison (Panama), Colleen O'Dell (Turkmenistan 1996–98), Doug Reilly (Slovakia 1999–2001), Jason Sanford (Thailand 1994–96), Bob Shacochis (Eastern Caribbean 1975–76), Andrea Tehan (PCV Jamaica),
plus an interview with PC Director Mark Gearan (1995–99), and an excerpt from So You Want to Join the Peace Corps by Dillon Banerjee (Cameroon 1994–96).      
     Go to www.abroadviewmagazine.com/spring_05/05_spring_toc.html and click on "Click here for the entire Closer Look Section a 1 file" under “The Peace Corps Experience” to get a pdf of all the articles.