A poetic ode to murdered journalist James Foley
In 2011, New Hampshire journalist James Foley was kidnapped in Libya and jailed for 44 days before being released. He disappeared in Syria on Thanksgiving Day 2012 and was beheaded by ISIS on August 19, 2014. Poet, executive director of Mass Poetry, and a close friend of Foley’s, Daniel Brock Johnson, has written a collection of poems that chronicles and honors Foley’s life and death. Shadow Act: An Elegy for Journalist James Foley (McSweeney) is a collection of weighty strength and tenderness that explores “absence, presence, and the glorious, alchemically eternal absence of existence.” A sad result. The book contains snippets of Foley’s biography (title of novel in progress, last voicemail, fragment of his letter hidden in a shoe: “Part of me wants to witness/end I want to report on what happens.”). This book unearths the lives and deaths of missing people simultaneously, identifying conversations that continue after death. In the memories, character sketches, folktales, and adventures he shared with his friends, Johnson also wrote about himself, his life here and now, and his children eating raspberries. “Sliced apples./Lemonade./This is our book/Days.” A white party tent, and “He was staring at us/As if he was seeing something we couldn’t see—” Proceeds from the book will go to the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation, which “advocates for the freedom of all Americans held hostage abroad and promotes the safety of journalists around the world.”
Boston-Based Artist Adapts Jamie Lee Curtis’ Film As Graphic Novel
When Oscar-winning actress Jamie Lee Curtis was 19, she had the idea for the story she wanted to tell about the turbulent relationship between humans and nature. Now, decades later, she has brought that story to life in both film and graphic novel form. “Mother Nature” (Titan Comics) is an environmental horror story adapted into a graphic novel by Boston-based artist Carl Stevens. Set in the Four Corners, the intersection of Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona, the story follows Nova, an activist who lost her father in a mining accident, and Cynthia, who shifts her focus to save the Cobalt Energy legacy. draw. From oil and uranium mining to water purification. Earth forces themselves become characters, wielding their own violence and revenge. Using pen, ink, and watercolor, Stevens expresses the subtleties of human emotion through subtle changes in facial expressions and postures. Splendor of the southwest sky. A transcendent Dineh vision. And then there’s the meat-ripping, bloody moment (hail pierces the skull, crushing the body between the accordions of the scissorlift). Stevens’ use of color, his extraordinary precision of touch, and his ability to move between the surreal, the monstrous, and the otherworldly are all about the natural world, what we extract from it, and what we leave behind. It makes Curtis’ story rich and engaging. life.
American Academy of Poets Names Two Regional Poets as Fellows for 2023
The American Academy of Poets recently appointed its 2023 Poet Laureate Fellow. Her 23 fellows from all over the United States are each awarded $50,000 to create programs that highlight and celebrate poetry in their communities. In New England, Oliver de la Paz of Worcester was named Fellow of the Year. De la Paz teaches at the University of the Holy Cross and his latest collection is Diaspora Sonnets (Liberite). He will work with the Worcester County Poetry Society to participate in the Rain Poetry Project, a public art installation that will be installed throughout the city. In Portsmouth, New Hampshire, award-winning poet Diane Lee Antigua was also named a Fellow. She will develop a ‘Bread & Poetry’ project in honor of the ‘Hoot Poetry Reading’ series and the ‘Esther Buffler Poet-in-Residence’ program founded by the former Poet Laureate of Portsmouth.
“still born” By Guadalupe Nettel, translated from Spanish by Rosalind Harvey (Bloomsbury)
“detail” By Ia Genberg, translated from Swedish by Kira Josefsson (harper beer)
“Prophet” By Helen Macdonald, Singh Brachet (Grove Atlantic)
Featured this week
Nancy Brown, RJ Julia Independent Booksellers, Madison, Connecticut, recommends Taxi from Another World by Charles S. Cockell (Harvard University). “The subtitle ‘A Conversation with a Driver About Life in Space’ says it all. A random short taxi ride to an airport or a conference is Everyman’s place of insight. Smart, funny, curious. Enthusiastic and perfectly human, no AI could have come up with these questions and observations about what might exist in the universe.”