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For thirty years, Margo Klass has created hand-crafted book forms. In the last decade she's turned her skills to making elegant and profound sculptures. She constructs box forms, icons, and altarpieces, and covers them in cloth or fine paper. Some have windows or skylights so shadow and light can collaborate. Then she gleans from the wide world found objects that she places in gorgeous juxtaposition. From this process come altarpieces and icons, tiny rooms and vast expanses that draw us into their worlds. Frank Soos spends time in each of these created spaces, and responds in miniature essays, pieces of brief prose no longer than a paragraph. The interplay between words and objects is startling, playful, thought-provoking, and emotionally complex. Reflection and refraction—we take in both words and images, and then our imaginations continue the transformations.
A collection of essays and occasional pieces on gambling, teaching, snakes, dogs, cars, hitchhiking, marriage and sophistication, memory and work, and a dozen other subjects. One essay announces that the two dollar bill can buy happiness and reports some resistance to this discovery. Another studies the art of life as ne'er-do-well, a sort of prequel to the "slacker" phenomenon, written and published in Austin, Texas. In yet another essay, everyone's first name is Philip, (except the comet). Certain liberties are taken with the form. Pieces originally appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, Oxford American, the Texas Observer, Connecticut Review, Apalachee Quarterly, and other newspapers, magazines, and anthologies.
In 2010, poet Katharine Coles sailed across the Drake Passage to spend a month at a tiny Antarctic science station under the auspices of the National Science Foundation's Antarctic Artists and Writers Program. The Earth Is Not Flat, the collection of poems written out of her adventure, invokes the vast land- and seascapes as well as the fauna - penguins, seals, whales, and scientists -she encountered along the way.
The first novel in John Domini's Naples trilogy, Earthquake I.D. appeared in spring '07. Set in a famously troubled and romantic Southern Italian seaport, following the next earthquake, the story combines family and social crises with an element of fantasy and pervasive humor. The novel won wide critical praise and was nominated for a Pulitzer and other prizes. Richard Ford, an earlier Pulitzer winner, called it "a wonderful novel of an old-fashioned sort...a rich feast." Steve Erickson, author of Zeroville, called Domini "a writer of the world, with a deft talent for negotiating the currents of our age."In April 2009, an Italian translation appeared, under the title Terremoto Napoletano. Again reviews have been strong.
When disgraced evolutionary biologist Dr. Claire Matthews is asked to accompany a group of leading scientists on a fact-finding expedition to Antarctica to investigate a tragic accident, she is naturally suspicious. Her checkered past and ongoing professional exile are more than enough to convince her that any offer made by the charismatic and scheming Dr. Ethan Hatcher merits serious skepticism. Despite her doubts, Claire cannot turn her back on close friend and colleague, Alan Whitehurst. Killed under mysterious circumstances weeks earlier with the members of the first expedition, Alan deserves better than an anonymous death in Earth's harshest and most unforgiving environment. While the expedition promises Claire an unwelcome reunion with an array of personal demons, it also presents her with a golden opportunity to resurrect a once-promising career. Proving the existence of S. iroquoisii, an ancient microscopic organism critical in the evolution of primitive man, would mean the culmination of her life's work, and a triumphant return for one of the scientific community's brightest prodigies. To earn her keep, Claire must determine the role S. iroquoisii played in the catastrophic accident that decimated the previous expedition, before her crew falls prey to a similar fate. Employing the latest in forensic investigation, Claire and a joint team of military and civilian personnel undertake the gruesome task of piecing together the events that led to the massive explosion that destroyed the previous research station. As a nightmare of unimaginable proportions begins to coalesce, Claire is drawn ever deeper into a maze of deception and savage violence. Pitted against a primordial foe they can scarcely fathom, Claire and her colleagues must battle the cold, each other, and the growing madness within themselves to survive the infinite polar night.
This collection of essays addresses both popular culture and academic discourse. Contributors sound a cautionary note about the dumbing down of our civilization and the lack of spiritual depth in mass culture, but as these essays show, there is a spark of imaginative critical thought still brewing. These essays address race, assimilation, American civilization, and broken dreams contrasted with elusive spaces for imagination in art, literature and community. We find ourselves divining madness in American values, and sanity in progressive ideals; as we find that things that sound too fair are fantastical indeed and some that smile have in their hearts millions of mischiefs.