Literary Type: July 2008

Chris Delcher (El Salvador, 1998–2000) is looking for maps (and the volunteers who made them) to be featured in his upcoming book on mapping in the Peace Corps. Over the course of a year and a half, Volunteers have contributed many wonderful examples which have been posted to a growing online gallery at www.chrisdelcher.carbonmade.com. The project includes a wide variety of maps that range from simple hand drawn journal entries to fully digital projects and from all decades of Peace Corps service. If you are interested in submitting a map for the project please contact Chris Delcher at cddelcher@comcast.net. He is looking especially for maps from Asia.

    A 2008 Independent Publisher Book Award gold medal has been awarded to Ninebark Press for its inaugural publication, Deep Travel: Contemporary American Poets Abroad. This anthology brings together thirty-four contemporary American poets whose work has been significantly informed by international travel or by living abroad. Edited for Ninebark by Sandra Meek (Botswana 1989-91) the book includes poems by Pulitzer Prize-winners as well as mid-career and emerging writers. The award, known in the publishing industry as the IPPY, was formally presented at the 12th Annual IPPY Awards in Los Angeles on May 30th. The awards are given in each publishing genre; Deep Travel was awarded in the category of Anthologies. The press is especially interested in literature that crosses boundaries of genre, culture, and aesthetic. RPCV poets in the collections are: Derick Burleson (Rwanda 1991–93), John Isles (Estonia 1992–94), Susan Rich (Niger 1984–86) and Margaret Szumowski (Zaire 1973–74, Ethiopia 1974–75).

    John Flynn (Moldova 1993–95) has a new short story in the inaugural issue of Quiddity Journal, published out of Springfield College-Benedictine University in Illinois. The story, “The Four-Cent Tip” can be accessed online at www.sci.edu/quiddity. There is an audio version of the story also available on the site.
         John also has a short story online at Green Hills Literary Lantern out of Truman State University. Titled “Blow Out All The Candles” it’s about a honeymoon couple on the road during the ’50s when gasoline cost 19 cents per gallon. You can access it at ghll.truman.edu

    Hodding Carter IV (Kenya 1984–86) has a new book, Off the Deep End (Algonquin), about his life as a competitive swimmer. Carter, who’s grandfather was the Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper publisher of The Delta Democrat Times in Greenville, Mississippi, and his father, also a writer, was the State Department spokesman for President Jimmy Carter’s administration, is a contributing writer for Outside magazine and is the author of five nonfiction books. His article for Outside, on which this book is based, won a Lowell Thomas award from the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation.
         Carter had been an NCAA Division III All-American and national champion swimmer at Kenyon College. After graduating with a degree in English literature, he was accepted by the Peace Corps. Although his heart told him to go for the Olympic gold, his father made it clear that he would be keeping his promise to the Peace Corps.
         “My father had paid for my whole life up to this point and bankrolled those countless summer days when I swam five hours daily but did nothing else,” Carter writes. “I’d had only one real summer job my entire spoiled life, and my time had finally come to do something other than swim.” So he joined the Peace Corps.
         “I was a weak kid with a strong imagination, and I could feel the weight of the gold medals and hear the unreachable notes of our national anthem nearly every night before drifting off to sleep,” Carter writes in Off the Deep End.
         Carter is now back swimming competitivly and last December, he swam fast enough to rank second in the world in the 50 short-course meter freestyle and the 50 short-course meter butterfly for his age group (45–49). Off the Deep End is his account of a journey that he hopes will carry him to the 2012 Olympics.

    Peace Corps writer Vito Stagliano (Mauritania 1966–67), who worked at the U.S. Department of Energy including as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Analysis, and wrote on energy and security policy, died suddenly on January 5, 2008 at his home in Chicago.

    Here’s a Peace Corps writer success story. Sydney Kling (South Africa 2001–03) wrote and published Inside Outside: A Retiree’s Peace Corps Journal from South Africa and then she took the $12,000 she made from the sales (about 80,000 Rand) back to South Africa. As she wrote me, “Not very much on the scale of what others are doing but they were very appreciative and I was able to say that such and such person actually received the funds. I divided it among three different home-based volunteer care groups and was able to deposit the money in the local bank in the account of Bishop Henry for Hope for Africa.”

    Cliff Garstang (Korea 1976–78) published a short story, “The Nymph and the Woodsman,” in the Summer 2008 issue of Whitefish Review. Other stories by Cliff have recently appeared in Potomac Review and The Binnacle, and online in Storyglossia, Bound Off, The Hub, R-KV-RY, Monkeybicycle, Opium and Right Hand Pointing.

    George Rosen (Kenya 1968–70) a freelance writer, and author of Black Money, a mystery set in Kenya, is one of 39 visual artists in Massachusetts to receive grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. The unrestricted grant is for $7,500. Rosen submitted a short story to the MCC, set in Mexico, and he has been selected as a fellow in the fiction/creative nonfiction category. According to Rosen, “When you’re traveling, in particular living, outside the developed world, you’re constantly aware of . . . how people put their lives together. That’s always been extraordinarily exciting to me, and it’s enabled me to come back to the U.S. and come to our own life, and our own culture from the ground up without any kind of preconceptions.”

    In an article entitled “Books for your beach bag” in their July 8th issue, USAToday selected Phillip Margolin’s (Liberia 1966–67) Executive Privalege, a murder mystery involving the U.S. President, as their pick for a summer read in the “Thriller” category. Reviewer Carol Memmott wrote: “Sizzle factor: .38 Special hot. Sure, the novel’s premise is a tad far-fetched, but don’t we all love to fantasize about the dark and sordid secret lives of the people who run our government?”

    Photographer Bill Owens (Jamaica 1964–66) currently is showing work spanning his photo career that began in the 1970s at James Cohan Gallery in the hot Chelsea neighborhood of New York. The show runs through August 16th. Click for exhibition details.

    In the July issue of The Sun, a fine magazine published in Chapel Hill, Jeff Fearnside (Kazakhstan 200204) has an interview with writer and farmer Wendell Berry. Jeff lives in Bowling Green, Kentucky, near where Berry farms the old-fashioned way, using horses and producing much of his own food. It is an interesting interview on Berry’s life living close to nature. For example, he has published more than forty books, writing by hand in the daylight to reduce his reliance on electricity. He is famous for his 1987 essay, “Why I Am Not going to Buy a Computer,” published in Harper’s.
         Jeff, who has been a reporter, was the manager of the Edmund S. Muskie Graduate Fellowship Program in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan after his tour as a Peace Corps TEFL teacher in Kazakhstan. His short stories, poems, and essays have appeared in Aethlon, Isotope, Permafrost, Rock & Sing, and the anthology, Scent of Cedars: Promising Writing of the Pacific Northwest, Rosebud Magazine, and now The Sun.