Skip to main content

tv   Book TV  CSPAN  November 11, 2012 2:00pm-4:45pm EST

2:00 pm
they put him under tremendous pressure and kept asking him, when is america going to free the slaves? so he began making promises that emancipation was really just around the corner. it was imminent. we were waiting for opinions are ripened. none of this was really true, but it was in our interest ran to say that. oddly enough jefferson really did those are some of this radical feeling over there in france. before he left he's set down a plan and told people about it. he told thomas paine, william short, number of other abolitionists over there. ..
2:01 pm
>> we want to welcome everybody -- we want to welcome everybody to the 33rd annual american book awards sponsored by the four columbus foundation. we choose the name to indicate that as far as we know there's been 30,000 years of storytelling in north america. so the members of our board of directors are john macarthur fellow, recipient of the presidential medal. the current chancellor of the academy of american poets and
2:02 pm
finally, the current lawyer for the state of california. this will be cosponsored by the english department and the african-american studies department. and we are acknowledged their generosity for bringing up to this historical room. that everybody would be able to find it. it's like a landmark. the great poets of the road, great of the world. we want to welcome richard hudson, professor to preaching on behalf of this department. he was professor emeritus and a member of the affiliated faculty of the american studies program and interdisciplinary program that was key founder 25 years ago.
2:03 pm
he came to you see berkeley's english department in 1964 and retired in 2009. although he's continued teaching until this summer. his special interest has been american cultural history, especially from the civil war to world war one. he's now president of the western literature association will host 300 to 400 people in berkeley at the annual conference in october of 2013 and practices good luck with that. [laughter] >> i basically just want to say a word. you happen to be in the jewel room of an edge department. this department has, unlike
2:04 pm
other rooms in this campus, has total control of the room because it is a donation by an alum. they ask you to say a word about writing within the english department. and since i came here almost 50 years ago, there has been a great demand for riding horses from her students, undergraduate students as well as graduates defense and there have always been really distinguished writers in this department who are trying to meet and satisfy that demand. when i can, for instance, joe's team, miles, was a major poet at the time as well as a literary critic and novelist as well as a major literary critic. and that tradition of having great literary artists here has continued right down to today
2:05 pm
and it includes people like kingston and ishmael reed, who witnessed a great deal. ishmael was a fantastic teacher of creative writing. he actually got his students published and he also made an anthology of his students. my favorite story is that he read a number of columns at the mla, you know from the major professional organization of english departments, which he read columbus by wallace stevens and robert frost and t.s. eliot along with student poems and try to get the professors in the audience to tell who had written what. and they couldn't do it. [laughter] in any event, these professors i
2:06 pm
say of writing also teach courses in world literature is and in literary criticism. there is a formidable array of members of the english department now, with this demand on the part of students has gotten greater and greater. for instance, i'm using poetry here and that both said aristotle, talking about poetry as creative writing and so one. amongst prose writers, for instance, people who teach courses euratom carver, bharati mukherjee, lynn hitching in, victim chandra you may know because he wrote secret games that we were all astonished and where the department does and because he got a $10 million
2:07 pm
advance. but he's still teaching all these years and is still in very good spirits about that, and maybe even in better spirits now that that's behind him. as well as melanie abrams chandra. amongst poets, john sharp turkoman cease coca scum who is here, lynn hitching in, jeffrey g o'bryan, whose new book of poems i met robert hast, who you may know as a poet laureate of the states and also won a pulitzer prize for national book award a couple of years ago and is very, very popular teacher. besides that come with always had great visitors from around the world. this year, for instance, there is a woman poet from ireland, catherine walsh. i was very disturbed when she
2:08 pm
masini won the nobel prize because all the newspapers and so on, "the new york times" skip talking about he been at harvard. he been a berkeley long before harvard. so berkeley had this ability to recognize greatness long before harvard. [laughter] in any event, i just want to mention an interview but i just saw who talks about the fact that it's kind of an interview with him and a review of his new book pros, wildlife can do. he talks about the fact that the duty of the artist is to respond. and then he mentions the famous statement that poems cause nothing to happen. and he says the following.
2:09 pm
i think i'm quoting him literally. wordsworth read the german romantic poet. henry david thoreau red wordsworth very john mirer read here teddy roosevelt written your family have a national park system. this just reminds us of the old statement issued on it if you ever took in english cores that poets are still the unacknowledged legislators of the world. [applause]
2:10 pm
>> okay, thank you. can you hear me? professor nastier bch michael of african-american studies and not to the guys take a look at her, they hold and the race and educational policy at the university of california, berkeley. her program of research focused on issues of race, culture and schooling. she is the author of racialized identities and achievement for african-american youth, published by stanford university press in 2011. she's also published journals and received a teaching award from the african-american to develop an office of 2011 and strives to integrate scholarly work with commitment to
2:11 pm
community and engage scholarship we want to welcome her here and we want to extend our gratitude for the african american studies department cosponsor this awards ceremony. [applause] >> good afternoon. i'm really honored to welcome the law this afternoon on behalf of the african-american studies to 33 american book awards ceremony. when ishmael reid approached me about cosponsor the event today, i was really excited. to be perfectly honest, i was thrilled just to meet him as he is a legend in the african-american literary world and then had long been afraid to
2:12 pm
speak truth to power. but i was excited because he may or may not know the american book award was bestowed upon the former african-american studies faculty member, barbara christian, who is in fact one of my professors has an undergraduate juice but the brilliant color, but also a teacher cared deeply of african-american students and in many cases her legacy that i strive to enact the new department chair this year and african-american studies. that is the african-american studies has never been just about offering courses, writing about, publishing articles. our work here in the department and the university should be about transformation. transferring the critical consciousness, transfer means students to scholars and forming
2:13 pm
the knowledge in the field to support analyses of race even as the world around us gets more and more sophisticated and camouflaging race and racism in the name of being post-racial. but perhaps most importantly at its best, the african-american studies department has a responsibility to engage the broader community, leverage resources to make the world a more just and socially conscious place. that is one so honored to support this ban because the american book award places the center of contributions and doing so to institutions as praiseworthy to the human experiences that get marked as valuable. that usually political act. so i applaud the great work of authors chosen this year and once again welcome you to berkeley. i hope you enjoy the afternoon.
2:14 pm
[applause] >> we have one of the excellent writers with us today who will say a few words. we were pleasantly surprised he was able to make it. we told him to come out here. we don't have any money. we might even have to pass the hat after this. but we have not accepted a single corporate time. [applause] casillas gaskins books are prairie style and here his prose
2:15 pm
book is into and out of dislocation. he is the 2010 recipient of the stephen henderson award given by the african-american culture society. prairie style wanted to decimate american book award to the columbus foundation. yes a book coming out in 2013 and teachers here at the university of california berkeley. as we welcome to stage. [applause] >> good afternoon. as you heard ishmael say, imc so just come and i've been teaching
2:16 pm
since 2007. i teach creative writing. i teach poetry, essays. i teach a course that has become important to me and some of my students called ray's creative writing and distance. again, as you've heard earlier to talk about things you're not supposed to talk about. i'm honored to to be here before you, to be with you, to be among you. as ishmael said, i want to book award for my poetry book, prairie style. i have mired the foundation for many, many years before that, so it's incredibly coming deeply honored. i'm honored as well to be teaching here at berkeley. the place as you heard earlier has a huge history that i'm constantly and part of.
2:17 pm
gary snyder, june jordan, robert tonkin, cecil brown, jack spicer. my teacher, archie and thence was a teacher here in his teacher was josephine miles. i'd be remiss if i did not acknowledge the continuing presence of someone, maxed in kingston still among us. and i must say to you that it's a pleasure and i've taught a number of places with the term pleasure does not apply. [laughter] it is a pleasure to teach your with linda jini, brunning mukherjee, the term chandra, tom faulkner, but it's my students that brought us great joy over these last five years and a teaching here.
2:18 pm
they read the assignments. and they showed up in the office or conversation. and they work harder. they begun reading series, tape lace in the world and keep things going. bagram here to discern this afternoon. thank you. [applause] >> i want to assure you is -- introduce a dynamic young man. it's a good idea to keep some of the old water out and our
2:19 pm
chairperson is just an imam, the great playwright ali. this young man and had the new culture. as a major. at 2:00 in the morning that was the kind of dogged pursuit waking people up at 2:00 in the morning. for culture. who's the agile on the boots of school of the arts in san francisco. journalists and poetry and americana, black renaissance edited by our friend and a beautiful literary magazine under the auspices of new york
2:20 pm
university. he's appeared in trembley says, honk shuffleboard. he's a cultural arts program, new day jazz in his 12th year to some great radio programs broadcasting on pdu as university of california davis. he is presently writing a letter a composed by roscoe mitchell of the great chicago arts ensemble and is based on the life of the great poet, the greatest poet, not of his generation. and we'll be premiering in the spring of 2015. hot mark [applause] >> thank you very much.
2:21 pm
as ishmael said i am to share for the columbus foundation and it is a great honor and great pleasure to share this afternoon with you. we are very excited about winners at the american book award this year and pleased that we have so many here with us this afternoon. am i going to be getting to that in just a moment. but before we get into it, these last 12 have been momentous for the organization. about 12 months ago we had a very large-scale fundraiser at yoshi's in some cisco. david murray, really the preeminent composer of our time, along with how young, who sang blues with ishmael at piano, by
2:22 pm
the way. mayor baraka enteritis, also roscoe mitchell. jennie lynn was they are. many forms of contributors to the deepening of our literature and her experience and what we have come to understand about our country and living in it today. we continue what is going into a series of collaboration with the poetry center of san francisco state university and we began that effort with a symposium on the work and black surrealism of the united states and the cockman of africa. and we continue the same series this year with literature which brought together juan felipe
2:23 pm
herrera alejandro markey of, a boca word of the city of san francisco and cervantes u.s.a. poet at the seminal in the magazine monger. i should underline these points by emphasizing the fact that before the columbus foundation has always been on the frontlines of the dissemination and distribution of the literature. not only the american book award, the book distributor in our early years. i also want to point out the question of the crisis, particularly chicano literature in arizona and throughout the united states is an issue that has been ignored shamefully and disgracefully by the mainstream of american literary life.
2:24 pm
we don't play that game, so we brought them together to talk about it. we are going to continue those associations and collaboration with the poetry center at san francisco state and of course continue with the american book award. my colleague, carla brundage will be joining me at the podium tonight. but before we get to introducing her, i'd like to begin our awards ceremony with an extraordinary book from the university of texas, super black american in sonoma. and they staked out a unique territory by deciphering and interpreting the qualification of some of the representation
2:25 pm
and parallel to movement in the deepening of american democracy in regards to this the civil rights to the black power era and influence these images in best american popular culture, particular cinema and bring a non-a recent a black superhero, which will share a little bit more with you today. it is a great pleasure to welcome to the stage and presented with at the american book award for 2012. [applause] >> good afternoon, everyone.
2:26 pm
let me say first of all that i am very honored to be here. i want to thank just in as well as the board members and friends of the before columbus foundation. you hear people say and you hear them say i'm honored to be here. i'm just honored to be in the room. i'm critical to some type of cliché because i truly feel honored just to be here amongst some serious folk in the parlance -- [laughter] so one of the things are going to do. i'm actually going to come back again later, which means their
2:27 pm
response will be more scripted, which means i'm going to be reading. so what i'm going to do for my own kind of conversation about this is deviate a little bit from what i planned and try to mix it up in the conversational as well as scripted. one of the things i want to get into and once again, you know, i feel like i'm surrounded by poets and in many ways poets are -- they are very astute in the way language and meaning are communicated. in some ways i feel like i'm just a layperson when it comes to a poet, but i'm going to see how up to the task my readiness. that's one of the things i'll
2:28 pm
say before you started. i appreciate the word because in some ways it's other riders who are saying come on in. it's not a popularity contest and we appreciate that. i want to talk about superheroes. i don't know if you know this, that they are very political. one of the first superheroes to grab my attention, and some of these names may not be familiar with you because in all honesty i said i was going to write this book, people thought he was going to be a very short book. two, three of them, which actually there's a lot more. but there is little bit more than a handful, but they are not as small in numbers you might think. they certainly may be its purer. the same thing happened to me when i wrote my first book called black states imagined
2:29 pm
raised in science fiction films. i read a book about science fiction film and raised now is another one of those books where once had to be a pretty short book. anyway, so much for the critics. one of the first superheroes was called the falcon. and comes out to me as a 7-year-old because he had wings and he could fly. he was a black man that could fly. and then from there were adorned to the other black men who comply, dr. jay. and there's another one called air jordan. and i told this to a colleague of mine. he said well, those are the ones we know about. so there's some other black people find for a long time.
2:30 pm
but what the falcon, i was able to imagine myself as superhero. my socioeconomic environment come into the neighborhood bullies, demanding respect from a male peers and other pretty gross and make me feel so nervous. i later became captivated by the vasco player known for defining gravity and dunking writing his opponents face the spirit he dutifully try to imitate them as i'd seen dr. jay perform and dedicate virtually all of my free time to watching them practicing his basketball move. in other words i stop seeing in my basketball career to have what dr. jay had. nevertheless, i never forget about the falcon. it was my favorite flying black superhero. here's where we get into some cultural and ideological work. the idea of a black and white into the air, compelling
2:31 pm
tension, on an respect made a lasting impact on my imagination. the falcon also operated on the broader social level. that is the image of the falcon gliding across an urban skyline come to symbolize the unprecedented access and upward social mobility of many african-americans that were experiencing -- that african-americans experience in education and professional positions and hard-earned antidiscrimination laws and affirmative action. in a sense, black superheroes damnably fantastic representations of her dreams, desires and idealized projections for myself, there also is symbolic extension of america's shifting political to eat those and racial landscape. even though i'm in the parlance of the black rubber chapeau chronos man, i still enjoy seeing superheroes save the day
2:32 pm
in comics films a live-action television shows, cartoons and video games. the mature adult however does not take place without some degree of trepidation. when parents see me gleefully poking around in local, bookstore alongside children or catch me dragging my wife into the latest superhero film, i often detect a scornful glance at the tree feelings ranging from mild annoyance to awkward disdain for what they probably perceived as an adult still stuck in adolescence. nonetheless, i am not deterred by their embarrassment for me because i know the imaginative realms of representational schemes are black superheroes occupying comics, cartoons, et cetera are powerful visuals and a multiple meanings around a range of racial ideas and beliefs circulating in american society. certainly? featuring heroes like tarzan, the white savior present a black
2:33 pm
characters of subservient to my primitive or savage. moreover such examples open up a pandora's box of vexing social psychological questions about racial projection and reader identification characters that provoked -- promote racially insensitive images and ideas. yet by using the shoes of the point of analytical departure, dynamic and rich superhero universe, marvel comics becomes buried beneath amount of superficial critiques. either black superheroes are critiqued as i did read several stereotypes from americas, the past or uncritically fixed to the film craze as negative representations of blacks. what emerges from such nearsighted now face is an incomplete description of the fascinating and complex ideological give-and-take the
2:34 pm
black superheroes have with american culture. so that is the point of departure for me. and in many ways, similar to the mandate i think of him before columbus foundation is to be highly aware and sensitive to quality work and ideas that may be transgressive, that promote a certain type of critical analysis of america that initially may be overlooked. i think in the same, similar way, my work is taking on this notion of loch ness and how it is presented in popular culture and in particular and, books that has a transgressive and possibly even progressive reimagining of blackness. let's take for a moment that for
2:35 pm
the majority of american representation, has primarily dealt with loch ness is primitive, savage, slave, as butler, as made. i mean, we just had a movie called the help and we are in the 2000. so by now we have flying cars. i didn't see another main movie. but i digress. so you have all of these kind to conventional, generic representations of lack as a menu comes on the comic look around and have them in and women who can fly. you have a man called the black panther. that may be familiar to the people around this bay area here. i'm not sure.
2:36 pm
but there's a superhero called the black panther. the warrior prince, the king of the nation called wauconda is light-years ahead in terms of technology in terms of the west indies in many many ways the metaphor for the anti-colonial, anti-imperialist metaphor for african nation in terms of what they can create outside of colonialism. so in my mind, this is an alternative space to see images of black folk that really you don't see anywhere else. nowhere else. i don't see this type of galactic expression of likeness. i mean, there's not too many black space travelers.
2:37 pm
so sometimes i feel at the rather from another planet, too. but i digress. convention dictates the most rewarding approach to black racial formation and i'll try to go gracefully from here. the most rewarding approach to understanding contemporary black racial formation in america are black representation mass media sound in examining the grand social and political dramas that have defined american racial nations. to name a few, the great migration, jackie robinson and immigration at the major league is slowly come around to defend the civil rights movement, postindustrial movement, the cosby show, the ubiquitous presence of hip-hop in american culture and of course the first black residents have caught up on time or another center stage as racially defining political and cultural events in american
2:38 pm
history. admittedly it can socially significant event scum of the of superhero, black superheroes can easily be viewed as cultural trivia or an exercise in self-indulgence and on. yet, the current account to chart superbly revealed their respect concerning production in popular culture. that which appears the most mundane, innocuous everyday offers some of the most provocative and telling cultural and ideological information about a society. i continue sit in the case with various transformations that black superhero figures have reflected over the past 40 years and, books, television and film in black superheroes are not the disposable refuse of american pop culture. they serve as a source of potent racial meaning that a substance
2:39 pm
that residents are beyond the function and anticipated shelflife. so at that sad, i could go on for another two hours. to which i said, i hope that i've been able to convey my appreciation and also the substance of what i'm trying to communicate in my work is your appetite has been wedded in terms of thinking beyond what is commonly asserted. what is commonly asserted is that these superheroes are nothing more than the manifestation of white writers and industry.
2:40 pm
but the interesting part for me is that is because of let's say the black freedom movement in particular that had to be reimagined. but in 19 -- let's say for example, dirty three, if the artists or narrators of the central have a superhero called watermelon man. and the more watermelon he eats, the stronger he gets. and the higher he jumps. well, that would probably be doable in 1930s america, but to do that in 1969, that's a whole different kind of story. that means when you come with the watermelon in superhero schematics, more than likely someone would say you need to go back to the drawing board on this one. because right now, you know,
2:41 pm
detroit sun fire, the nation's on fire. so to think that you can present that, you need to imagine something different. so in my mind, that's a very critical point that speaks to the ways in which there are successes with the black freedom movement and reimagining who black people are unavailable, but, but also an ideological level. that impact is not just continued to black folks, it is something expressed i would say throughout american pop culture and society. thank you so much for having me. [applause]
2:42 pm
>> adilifu nama, thank you very much. before introducing my colleague, i'd like to say a few words about her executive director, pandora strives. he has really been the background of the report columbus foundation from the very beginning. in fact, without his commitment but how is the embodiment of the principles that have really feel disorganization and his tireless labors, we really wouldn't be here today. so i would like to extend my heartfelt things and also ask all of you to join me in thanking our executive director. [applause]
2:43 pm
>> carlo brundage has been writing and performing in the bay area for over two decades, part of the hip-hop generation. she graduated from college in 1989 and she has traveled across the country to oakland, where she began working with youth, using poetry is a form of social active. she published one book of poetry that speier, swallowing watermelon and has edited words upon the waters and open up to she's currently working on a memoir to sing a spirit to have them. which reflects on the year she spent teaching in rural zimbabwe on fulbright exchange.
2:44 pm
please join me in welcoming carlo brundage. [applause] >> i'm going to introduce the next two award. the translator's sister is about discovery, compassion and greece. recognized by the before columbus foundation. other translators, sister, jack foley says gunnar winegard the translator sister is poised on borders between memory and imagination. it shape shifts and shimmers, conjured. clinton says of a shared childhood. in times past the book is in
2:45 pm
homage in celebration of the brilliant literary sister, catherine washburn. the author causes a collage of memories, dream fragment, reflections on girlhood. not memoir, the poetic fiction. and her task to tango with her sister does not engage us in the philosophical question in memoriam. she does not tell us it's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. what she does is circle around her. comiskey and all sorts of angles, but never escaping it. her book is heartbreaking because it brings us to precisely the point of what a book cannot do to make her sister be again.
2:46 pm
and yet and yet from her book also does precisely what a boat can do, bring her brilliant taunt his sister before us in all her living glory. and the thickness of her mostly problematical absents, in mary weingarten's hand, catherine washburn turns out to be the most marvelous that can be imagined. a little bit about mary weingarten. mary weingarten grew up outside washington d.c. after graduating from university of chicago, she worked for several years in community arts in london and moved to san francisco, where she earned her m.a. in comparative literature. for translation of russian pilots have been published in magazines and in crossing centuries an anthology of russian poetry.
2:47 pm
her poems have appeared in 26 journals, journal 26. she has grown three children, teaches english at san francisco state university and is working on a new collection of poetry. she was in san francisco with her husband by jeff hoyle. please welcome, mary weingarten. [applause] >> congratulations. >> wow, it is great be here and it is really an enormous honor, clichés aside. you are right, but it's true.
2:48 pm
it's a cliché, in the name? i'm grateful to the before columbus foundation, to justin ishmael, to jack foley like us could could make it today and all of you for this award. i think all of you for coming this afternoon on this gorgeous day, with the arteries, thank you for coming. thanks to my family, my husband, two sons, daughter-in-law and another famine bursar cheering me on in my very late to mean writing career. it really means a lot to me. i also wish to thank and have a great debt of gratitude to my publisher, judith kerman to a trainee in it few moments. she took a chance to miss the publisher and was really willing to take a chance on this kind of strange first collection by an
2:49 pm
unknown, white haired poet. thanks to judith. i also have a debt beyond words to someone not present, my beloved sister, catherine washburn as carla mentioned, who is a superb writer, editor, translator and critic of poetry before her sudden death in march of 2000. she is in fact the co-author of this work. that makes plain that for a moment. the book is -- the translator sister is called home, but it is a cross genre work, and hybrid of prose and poetry, memoir and fiction, but actually it's written as a conversation with my sister. and my shock and great sorrow
2:50 pm
after her sudden death, i began rereading her various works and translations and i found myself responding in writing to various evocative lines and is encouraged, creating this poetic dialogue, which was not the only conversation i could have with her. and so this collection of vault. it is a collage of memories and dreams and so on, even a few jokes about our shared childhood in the reason coming-of-age and beyond. i've written the poem says fragments, so the book is not organized by chronology since coming in no, that is how memory works. but it is organized according to the text that my sister wrote or translated.
2:51 pm
so i'll briefly explain part 1 is called sister's apology and hear the lines of my sisters, which are in italics on the page come from the first shot or other unfinished novel called the translator's apology. i was actually published in the 90s. part 2 is called gm yesterday. you might recall the line, ghoulish and tomorrow in gm yesterday, but never jam today. both this book and alice are childhood favorites in this line in particular was one we used as a shorthand to describe her family's dynamics within michigan ice t. is the expression of our family. part. is entitled, into a site or verb
2:52 pm
at the root. the italicized lines come from various works of my sisters, including her profeminist introduction to the last poems of paul salon, published by north point in the 1980s and to her translations from various classical greek and modern european poets. so, since the book is a conversation as i said, i'll just read a few poems, but judith kerman, my publisher who is also a poet and translator and musician has agreed to read my sisters lines and other lines in italics. who agreed without stopping just five short poems. the first three are from part 1, the sister's apology is one from part two, jan yesterday and finally a poem from part series.
2:53 pm
>> the book you want. our last book. i can't find it. >> is no doubt some in the house. xanax scratch on the first chapter of her novel from a thin trail of breadcrumbs leading to a forest of empty pages. our conversation can begin their. i'll happily invent. >> the only happiness allowed in a fallen world. >> unless you come out from behind the trees of the dead. >> a sad pair of shadows, the company i keep. >> you see how i read and reread, scrutinizing her words. the pages you've left me dressed up now in italics.
2:54 pm
>> try to make sense of this story. >> and more fiction if you read it carefully will tell you how to live. >> who could know the ending. the shock of your son leaving. i was at home all evening, alone with the catcher in the next to me on the sofa. a balmy, march 9th. a full moon on the phone trying to book a flight to new york to see you. i checked the kitchen clock, thinking i would call you, but it was nearly midnight and kirkland. too late i said to the indifferent cat. >> a slender needle of coincidence. >> the next morning i am drinking tea with a phone call from her husband. >> finding the places in the universe where everything is folded upon itself. >> the wide. >> the wide. >> the wide in paris, can
2:55 pm
restore them again? summer trees in bloom? when you chew upon sion where you stayed with a was just a baby? full text for ice cream. peace -- of course for you. even at 17, how sophisticated you were with your non-diploma trillion savage creature handsome vietnamese penpal writing your side, literary letters and schoolboy french. 19 e. eight or 59, wearing black armbands, still morning james dean. you and aren't sneaking cigarettes, having dusty piles of movie magazines under the bed. >> live in the cold come well ordered house of adult experience. >> a decade bus between us.
2:56 pm
my student years in chicago, london for nearly a song returning to this country in 73, a year in the ozarks for a history class. i've done while sipping black century houses, communal flat, antiwar marches, street theater theater theater in ark, northern california. for the usual drugs and fanciful sex, while you were at home, respect about cambridge five, reading a homer in the original as your toddler snapped. >> one eyed young children, i sought consolation, language and the unholy joy it gives him a flattering coin. >> still free and childless, i did not know you're suffering. you're beautiful, firstborn son. only later did we learned the word autistic.
2:57 pm
when i get the picture books, mother goose said yes, it's jonah who will be 23 in the year 2000. who could imagine such a year? i don't want to squabble about what trilogy that very year, whether smoking or drinking did or did not cause your heart to stop without warning. >> capacity which slips all walks. >> curiously, i find myself lacking talking your house. you're an arab but cramped living room and gardens, your house, yet not your house and the way of altering houses. anc the telephone. a female voice, bold friend through spirit to have through states and can she have her telephone number?
2:58 pm
my reply a whopping plea, my sister is no longer alive. eissler the word of five or repeated the vowels constricting my throat. the lot i am too silent ease. i'm not saying dad gave my sister is dead. don't you know? avoid this word that begins and ends with the stark finite consummate, as flash of chain of land, the final d. from a door signed shad. disgraced come at jasper raft, cried and dried, defiled, dk, a decade. >> you shouldn't make jokes if it makes you so unhappy.
2:59 pm
>> and the last column. >> cancel never set eyes on you, and george at the curb of the race. >> conjugate. >> the hungry mouth never clasped yours. only die once and never again. >> wednesday promised paris in january, one or both of us failed to show up. >> my heart drank detained. i see your face in notion, staring out with some alaska but mine. >> waiting for a taste. [applause]
3:00 pm
.. >> justin says in this enormously important book, rob nixon lays out some of the most persuasive and highly onlial analyses to date on the problems, perils and confounding paradoxes surrounding the phenomena of global destruction caused by rising levels of fox
3:01 pm
toxicity in the world today. while it is no secret that the most technologically advanced nations on earth -- most especially in the west and most particularly the u.s -- are the primary culprits in perpetuating the phenomena of global warming. little has been done until now toward the unique role artists, particularly writer-activists, can have and have created in off setting the eminent catastrophes associated with it. beginning with lawrence summers' infamous quote outlining the logical necessity of the aforementioned advanced nations' capitalists to dump toxins into an underpolluted africa, nixon guides us through the surprising
3:02 pm
subterfuge of evasions, confrontations, revelations and disclosures surrounding various industries, corporations, governments, unions, villages, townships, preserves, rivers and mines that are the landscape of the most volatile, socially and politically-charged issues of our time. those involving the very survival of the planet on which we live drawing heavily on the work of rachel carson as well as ed said, nixon has created a singular, remarkably-rigorous and inventive style of literary criticism illuminating the work of write-activists both in america and around the world whose own powerfully-decisive work offer highly original solutions and perspectives on the daunting, often intimidating prospects of human extinction. in a culture where our perceptions of the world in which we live are increasingly
3:03 pm
mediated by rapid advances in communication technologies and their intended archives, nixon forwards the theory of slow violence; a violence that develops incrementally over time, time not immediately apparent or presentable by spectacle-driven media and broadcast technology. those trapped inside and outside this virtual membrane, paradox is lethal. among the many writer-activists discussed by nixon are camille dungy, the late ken sorrow, nobel peace prize winner -- [inaudible] and indra simha, author of "animals people."
3:04 pm
rachel carson, professor of english -- excuse me, rob is professor of establish, university of wisconsin madison. he's a frequent contributor to the new york times. i'd like to welcome rob nixon. [applause] [laughter] >> this next award goes to rob nixon. >> i should point out, actually, that mr. nixon, who wrote this extraordinary work, actually intended to be here, but i was going to drop dime on him. harvard told us that they told him but didn't. in other words, they just sort of led us on for a while. they said, oh, yeah, don't worry
3:05 pm
about it before columbus, we got it. then i spoke with rob nixon about a week ago. he said, no, they never got in touch with me. i really wanted to be there. so sometimes it was that play too -- maybe lawrence summers got in there. [laughter] they fired him though, right? now, one of the most extraordinary books to emerge over the last year, a collection of short stories, "american masculine" from chand ray. now, to be sure in the in the
3:06 pm
united states there's a tremendous amount of the inner life that rarely makes its way onto the pages of works of fiction. carcharacters often far too beguiling or complex to be held close, and this book is truly an exception to that. mr. ray holds a ph.d. in psychology from the university of alberta. his work has appeared in mcsweeny's, narrative magazine, story quarterly. and other publications. now, i should mention sherman alexei -- also an american book award winner -- had this to say about this extraordinary collection of stories, "american masculine," from chand ray. ray writes about small western
3:07 pm
towns and their residents in tough, poetic and beautiful ways. i recognize many of these people, and that's good. but i'm also surprised and stunned by many others, which is great. buy the book, read it tonight. you'll love it too, says sherman alexei, about this collection. it is truly an astonishing work, and this afternoon we have the great pleasure and honor of the author, chand ray, joining the stage for the ceremony. so, please, welcome chand ray. [applause]
3:08 pm
>> i'm thrilled that my brother joins me today, thanks for joining me. i'm surrounded by lovely women, my wife jennifer, my mom sandy and my grandmother katherine, who we call the great one. and guess what? i have three daughters. [laughter] one of my nine pink shirts. [laughter] i want to thank ishmael reed and all who have so consistently and profoundly shown us the better angels of our nature. gratitude calls forth love in us, from shakespeare: let us not admit impediment. love is not love which alters when it alteration finds. or martin luther king jr., hate
3:09 pm
cannot cast out hate, only love can do that. from vincent van go, the greatest work of art is to love someone. from elizabeth barrett browning, how do i love thee? let me count the ways. love cannot quench love. love is stronger than death. and from dell hooks, to return to love is to return to one another. i grew up in montana, a state where high school basketball was a thing as strong as family or work, and jonathan, a member of the crow nation, was the best basketball player in the state. he led a school of losing tradition into the state spotlight carrying the team and the community on his shoulders all the way to the state tournament where he averaged 41 points a game. he created legends that decades later are still spoken of in
3:10 pm
state basketball circles, and he did so with a fierceness that made me both fear and respect him. on the court, nothing was outside the realm of his skill; the jump shot, the sweeping left-handed finger roll, the deep fadeaway jumper. he could deliver what we all dreamed of and with a venom that said don't get in my way. my father became my brother and i's basketball coach, and we -- and he coached the crow nation at the northern cheyenne where my brother and i grew up. i was a year younger than jonathan, playing for an all-white school when our teams met in the divisional tournament and delivered us a crushing 17-point defeat. at the close of the third quarter with his team with a comfortable lead, he pulled up from one step in front of half court and shot a straight, clean jump shot. though the range of it was more than 20 feet behind the
3:11 pm
three-point line, his form remained tour. the audacity and power of it, the exquisite beauty hushed the crowd. common knowledge came to everyone, few people can even throw a basketball that far with any accuracy, let alone take a real shot with good form. as the ball was in midair, he turned, no longer watching the flight of the ball, and he began to walk back towards his team bench. the buzzer sounded, he put a fist in the air, and the shot swished into the net. [laughter] the crowd erupted. in the his will to even take such a shot, let alone make it, i was reminded of the surety and brilliance of so many native american heroes that had populated the landscape of my boyhood. marty round face and tim -- [inaudible] max spotted bear, elvis old bull, joe pretty paint and -- [inaudible] many of these young men died due
3:12 pm
to the violence that surrounded the alcohol and drug traffic on reservations, but their natural flow on the court inspired me toward the kind of boldness that gives artistry and freedom to any endeavor. such boldness is akin to passion. for these young men and for myself at that time our passion was basketball. but rather than creating in me my own intrepid response, it only emphasized how little i knew of bravery not just on the basketball court, but in life. he breathed a confidence i lacked. former at&t executive and social critic and friend of robert frost and e.b. white once said behind every great achievement is a dreamer of great dreams. behind every great achievement is a dreamer of great dreams. so when we think about the depth of the atrocity that our nation has experienced towards native americans and people of all different races, we listen to these words from martin luther
3:13 pm
king jr. who said to press sor will never willingly give up power. and who also said: when we love the oppressor, we bring about not only our own salvation, but the salvation of the oppressor. he embodied this idea. he and his team seemed to work as one as they played with fluidity and abandon. i began to look for this way of life as an athlete and as a person. the search brought me to people who lived life not through dominance, but through freedom of movement. and such people led me toward the experience of artistic living. one of the most to tent experiences of this came with the mentoring i received from my future wife's father. my wife jennifer and i were in our 20s, not just married -- not yet married when jennifer's father said something short, a sharp-edged comment to her mother. her father was the president of a large multi-national sports-oriented corporation. i hardly noticed the comment
3:14 pm
probably because of the uncontrolled nature of the way i'd priestly experienced conflict. for me, most revealed a simmering anger that went underground, taking a long time to disperse. i did not give her father's comment a second thought until sometime after dinner when he approached me as i relaxed on the couch. he had just finished speaking with his wife when he came to me. i want to ask your forgiveness for being rude to my wife. i could not imagine what he was talking about. i felt uncomfortable, tried to get him and me out of this awkward conversation as soon as i could. you don't have to ask me, i said. i don't ask forgiveness for your benefit, he answered. i ask in order to honor the relationship i share with my wife. in our family if one person hurts another, we not only ask forgiveness of the person who has been hurt, but also of anyone else who was present in order to restore the dignity of the one who was hurt.
3:15 pm
i began to see the possibilities of an artistic way of life free of the entrenched criticalness that usually accompanies such relationships. my own life was like a fortress compared to the open lifestyle jennifer's father espoused. i began to understand that much of my protectiveness, defensiveness and lack of will to reveal myself might continue to serve in future conflicts but would not lead me to more whole ways of experiencing the world. i also began to see the work of an artist requires a desire to honor relationships with others as sacred. in greenleaf's work, this takes the form of listening and understand, and only the one who seeks to honor the inherent dignity of other human beings is able to approach other people first by listening and trying to understand rather than by needing to be understood. the artist embodies the beauty and depth of the beloved oh equality through consolation or desolation rather than through approaching art by coercion,
3:16 pm
manipulation or dominance. just as true listening builds strength in other people, it follows that a lack of listening weakens people. in basketball to listen is to evoke chemistry and teamwork and unity and victory. in basketball the beloved others embodied in a collective engagement involving great cost, great responsibility and great opportunity. and now that my life has entered a place where the grace of basketball gives way to the power of the written word, i wonder again what it means to truly listen. when reading a great poem, for example, i find the beloved other embody in the heart and soul of the artist and given life on the page, a sort of covenant with humanity that is both vigorous and vital. for me the sacredness of this encounter occurs generally late at night when my three girls are asleep and the house has fallen quiet. often my wife and i sit together at the kitchen table, she reads to me or i read to her, we read the poem aloud.
3:17 pm
such as this one from gerard manly hopkins: the world is charged with the grandeur of god. it will flame out like shining from foil. it gathers to a greatness like the ooze of oil crushed. why then do men not now reckon his rod, generations have trod, have trod, have trod, and all is seared, bleared, smeared with toil. the soil is bare now, nor can foot feel being trod. what does it mean then to listen to art and to the artists of our nation and of our world? what does it mean to listen to elizabeth alexander and elizabeth barrett browning and charlotte baron today and tolstoy and dickens and all the artists who common deer the vessels of our dreams? in the half dark of the house, a light burning other my shoulder, i find myself asking this question, the same question
3:18 pm
asked by one of our national treasures, poet mary oliver, who said what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? i hear marie oliver's -- mary oliver's answer from her poem, "when death comes." i want to say all my life i was a bride married to amazement. [laughter] i was the bridegroom taking the world into my arms. in my waking dream, i see jonathan takes enemy like a war horse running strong and fierce. the question gives me pause to remember jonathan and his artistry and how he listened to something more. the answer drives me deeper into life. [applause]
3:19 pm
>>shann ray. [applause] thank you. the subject of race in american life has become increasingly mercurial in the age of obama leaving many writers utterly flummoxed. in stepping into that fray comes who's afraid of postblackness, what it means to be black now. from author and journalist and television host now tiew ray arguing from the center rather or than the margins, placing african-american culture on the very ax cease of american
3:20 pm
experience, to raise provocative and thoroughly engaging account of black identity in the 21st century is simultaneously challenging and affirmative. the result of prodigious research conducted firsthand, "who's afraid of post-blackness?" definitely navigates questions and conundrums of racial politics. the same racial politics and identity that have fraught american life with controversy and violence since our country's inception, if not decades really before. tu ray generously discusses rich personal testimony and detail alongside a chronicle of revelations from a constellation of african-american writers and
3:21 pm
artists, workers from all walks of life including many of today's preeminent intellectuals. too ray's courage to take risks is in evidence with each chapter as is his willingness to tackle issues that are often neglected, if not swept entirely under the rug. to be sure, in this book has met its own considerable share of controversies inspiring a wide range ofdivergent opinion and contentious argument from many of today's most prominent educators, writers, artists and intellectuals. but we at before columbus foundation strongly feel that this dialogue has been and will continue to be invaluable in american life.
3:22 pm
social, political, economic and otherwise. "who's afraid of post-blackness?" stands with albert murray's the omni americans and addison gayle's the black aesthetic as an important contribution to the exploration and interpretation of african-american art and identity. now, due ray because of his duties over at the network where he hosts the show "the cycle," was unable to join us this afternoon. however, he did write this note that he asked me to share with all of you. he writes to us: it's really such a tremendous honor to win the american book award. i'm sorry i can't be there to accept in person, but i have a daily show on msnbc which requires me to be in the new
3:23 pm
york. but that is no reflection on how exciting it is and how thankful i am about this. i think this award is apropos because my book is about what it means to be an american and how black americans are quintessential americans shaped by this country and shapers of it which in turn shape us further. we have at many turns felt it difficult to fully embrace americanness because america has felt like a rejecting lover attacking our bodies and our citizenship, our ability to participate in america in ways that underlined that we are not meant to be full americans. many black people i spoke to said they feel close to their
3:24 pm
city -- new york, oak lan, detroit -- oakland, detroit, etc. -- but feeling close to america still isn't quite possible for them even in the obama era. they've had their heart broken by america and don't want it broken again, so they put up a wall. but i'm urging them in this book to embrace america and americanness because we may be in a difficult marriage, but we are a family. and even though family can often be the source of pain, your family is part of your constitution. we are among the most crucial architects of america shaping it not just culturally and aesthetically and athletically, but legally. we forced america toward being
3:25 pm
as inclusive and democratic as it claimed it was, and through that we made america better. america still has a ways to go, but i am proud to be an american and to win an award called the american book award. thank you, aba. and that's from tiew ray this afternoon. [applause] carla brunldage. >> okay, arkansas den si, a chronicle of the amistad rebels.
3:26 pm
this book is particularly intriguing because it, um, is based on letters of the actual amistad rebels which kevin young came across, and the structure of the book is so beautiful because he interweaves the letters to create a story. sean hill writes: always an ambitious poet, kevin young's ambition genre wards the reader -- rewards the reader in his latest volume, arden si, a chronicle of the amistad rebels. the tale of the kidnapped africans who famously rebelled against their captors and found themselves landing in america that robert hayden wrote of in his classic obama "middle passage" and steven spielberg rendered sinmatically in his movie "amistad" is revivified and plumed here by young. in this very important book, the
3:27 pm
reader is engaged with the tragedy and the drama of this historic incident through young's deft exploration of the small human moments of the rebels' plight and inner lives. a major american voice, young has brought this considerable poetic prow wis to bear in this -- prowess to bear in this book at once elephant and playful, empathetic and energetic. this is an epic of a 9th century -- 19th century event for the 21st century. we should all be reading this book aloud to each other. um, kevin young's bio's in the program, and i think because -- [inaudible] is here to receive the award for kevin young, i'll just introduce him. congratulations. [applause]
3:28 pm
>> well, this is icing on top of icing, because now i get to pretend that i'm a poet. [laughter] and i met kevin several months ago, and i know that he really expresses his regrets for not being able to attend, but i'm going to read you what i have, what he gave me to read. this is kevin. thank you to the before columbus foundation for this honor. i'm sorry i cannot be there to accept in person. i've long admired the american book awards in their celebration of the variety and strength of american literature. i am particularly honored by the recognition of ardency, an epic poem about the amistad rebellion that takes up questions of faith, slavery, violence and the negro spirituals. in lieu of further thanks, i would like to offer one of the
3:29 pm
last poems in the book, "a benediction of sorts," so this is for me, once again, the icing upon icing. i get to say a poem. and it's called "choir." hopefully, i'll do it some justice. may the river remember you. may the road be your only cross. may you rise. may your sun, not the silence, take your hand. may the lost. may the mountain move to meet you. may the climb be quick. may the mountain. may the sea shut at last its door. may the moon. may the ash, not the snow. may the ground.
3:30 pm
swallow you whole and the sun. may the last be the first. may the lost. may the stars be once, be still. forget heaven. may you wake again with the rain. [applause] >> the next book to win an award award -- [speaking in native tongue]
3:31 pm
our nelson island stories. i practiced. [laughter] um, the tradition bearers of a country in western alaska are world leaders in indigenous knowledge, keepers of one of the world's great intellectual and spiritual heritages. these humble and unassuming elders always speak with kindness, generosity and profound intellectual depth. when i spoke to alice riordan, one of the translators, she told me she deeply felt this book was the voice of the elders and that she was just translating, um, this book. um, so she wanted, um, me to read this acceptance speech of
3:32 pm
hers. these humble and unassuming elders always speak with kindness, generosity and profound intellectual depth. they also speak the consciousness of the land and sea. this team initiated by the elders themselves have for the past dozen years or so produced a series of outstanding books that will only grow in importance as we keep looking to our bearers. as we realize the need to learn how to better live in this land. our nelson island stories begins with a simple idea to record the elders as they visit sites and talk about the places they grew up, hunted, fished, built camps and listened to the older people tell stories. the result is a model for the rest of america, the foundational beginning of our real education.
3:33 pm
um, alice and ann sent an acceptance speech because they are not here, um, today. both alice and i are deeply grateful for the honor you do us in naming our book for an american book award. in alaska this is an extraordinary event. never before have the men and women of southwest alaska been recognized nationally in such a meaningful way for the eloquence and beauty of their oratory. our book was spoken before it was written. it was the result of a decade of work with the people of nelson island where elders shared their stories for the sake of their younger generation. they did not tell us these stories because we asked questions, rather they taught us what they felt we needed to know. translation is an art revealing some of the things while others remain unsaid.
3:34 pm
thanks to alice's sensitivity, you as readers can feel the power of the elders' words. a young mother in her 30s, alice cares deeply about this work which she does not do for wealth or glory, but because of her passionate belief in the value of what the elders have to say. that you chose to honor this book is particularly meaningful to me. anthropology has changed so much since i first went to nelson island in my 20s and wrote my dissertation based on what i learn inside a few years. now in my 60s, elders are still teaching, and i'm still learning. most of all, we thank the elders for their generosity of spirit as they say, those who share are given another day. our book was a gift from the elders to readers of all ages. upic and non-upic alike thank you very much.
3:35 pm
accepting the award is tuna mcintire from the village of eke, alaska. he is a longtime friend, a wonderful dancer, singer and storyteller. thank you. [applause] [speaking in native tongue] our nelson island stories. [speaking in native tongue]
3:36 pm
[speaking in native tongue] >> the words of our elders. the true words of our elders. that ring true from the time immemorial. we listen to them. for true guidance. because they, they speak the truth. this is the book that was
3:37 pm
written by ann riordan, translated by alice riordan. ann riordan came to our region as an anthropologist to study our people. and like she said, she's still learning from our people. see, learning both both ways, and we learn from the people who come to us. let me say a few words from the book as well as from ann. ann wrote to me, and she said, chuna, mark is sending you a copy of the book, so you will know what the fuss is all about. [laughter] and then it would be so cool if you could speak the beautiful language that the real star of
3:38 pm
the show is. thank you both from the bottom of my heart. ann. and then i'd like to read a few passages from the book itself. this book is the tenth produced by the cec in our efforts to document upic traditions. not as arcane facts, but as knowledge systems continuing relevance in our rapidly-changing world. when elders gather to speak about their past, they carefully select subject matter. what is not said as often as
3:39 pm
significant as what is said, long and careful listening to these conversations provide unique perspectives on upic knowledge, relationships and language. elders guide their youth mainly by speaking to them. sharing knowledge with kindness and compassion. quote, we talk to you because we love you. unquote. elders do not dissociate themselves from observed changes in their home lan. homeland. they accept personal responsibility. [speaking in native tongue]
3:40 pm
all places in the wilderness have names. and it would not be complete for me in our way if i would not say a song of thank you. the song says thank you for my -- [inaudible] in ancient times we used to put ivory plugs on the bottom of our lips for beauty, both men and women. thank you for i see into the distance, says the song, for my nose -- [inaudible] all my beautiful necklaces, says the song. what the song is trying to tell us is that when we grow up, we receive ornaments of beauty,
3:41 pm
visual cues of responsibility. so we ought to be thankful for all the responsibilities bestowed upon us muck 34ubg. ♪ [speaking in native tongue] ♪ muck. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
3:42 pm
♪ ♪, you know, this song has no ending. we could be here all -- [laughter] i believe i was given ten minutes. ♪ ♪ >> thank you, elders. [applause]
3:43 pm
>> chun amc intire. [applause] i should mention for those not yet in the know, we do have a reception that will be following the award ceremonies this afternoon, and it is just down the hall here at wheeler. also for those who might have picked -- who may not have picked up a program, there are many here. just coming in, our board, what ha squat -- what hat squat ali is joining us, and he has
3:44 pm
generously offered to share some of his time to read about this extraordinary book, "the submission," by amy waldman. and before welcoming what ha squat onto the stage, i should say just a would be -- just a couple words about this book. in this extraordinary novel. culture in the united states does not often provide the space publicly, especially the space for grieving, you know? and can so in the wake of such extraordinary violence that takes place here and globally, often the confusion is sustained by the culture's inability to
3:45 pm
grieve or to find the space to grief, to understand and respond to our own emotions and intuitions about why we are experiencing what it is that has taken place. the "the sub commission" is a giant step towards creating that dialogue and that space. so desperately needed here. in america. and so with that said, i'd like to welcome wahajat ali to the stage, and amy waldman -- who could not be with us today -- also sent a message, which i will leave to you. please welcome playwright and board president of the before columbus foundation, wahajat ali. [applause] >> good afternoon. it seem like i'm tired.
3:46 pm
haven't slept. was on a plane, got delayed, left my wallet on the bart and then fortuitously found my wallet on the bart, and then came from the station up here as fast as i could and, thus, was delayed two hours. it's because that's what just happened. [laughter] but thank you both so much for being gracious -- thank you, justin, for that kind introduction. thank you so much for coming to the book awards. amy waldman is also a fantastic journalist, and this is a fantastic book that i strongly recommend people read. it was lost amidst the madness and chaos of the tenth anniversary of 9/11. that's when-released. -- when it was released. but thankfully and hopefully it's finding a large audience now. and this is amy's words, amy waldman. i want to express my appreciation to the before columbus foundation for sustaining this award for so long and for insisting that the best literature is not always or only the best known.
3:47 pm
i also want to thank the judges for recognizing my work. for a first-time novelist, it is especially great gratifying to receive an award bestowed by other writers, but it is also gratifying to share with so many other writers. a winner because i am in their company. nearly ten years ago i had the seed idea for "the submission." i believed that if a fictional story of a muslim-american who wins the competition for a 9/11 memorial, maybe i could begin to make sense in reality of post-9/11 america. one of the novel's preoccupations is what it mean to be an american, who is included in the definition and who excluded, especially in times of insecurity. i'm so pleased that this novel has won an award that defines american literature and so america in the most inclusive and thus the richest sense that recognizes that as a nation we are defined by our diversity. amy waldman's "the submission."
3:48 pm
[applause] and we will accept this on her behalf and e-mail her saying that there was a warm applause after her award. [laughter] justin, back to you. >> thank you, wahajat. we are now moving on to our lifetime achievement award, eugene b. redman, someone who i've known really all my life. and i was asked by our board to author some words as part of our honoring eugene's work, his
3:49 pm
life, and i'll share them with you as we welcome eugene b. redman this afternoon. eugene redman's poetry speaks with a rare authority, feeling and an undeniable sense of reality. radically sensual and rhythmically propull sieve, redman's work is one of embodied experience. and what an experience it has been. redman has truly lived, to borrow a word from the late master ted jones, the poem life. [laughter] that is to say one not in any way separate from the magic and mysteries of poetry itself. the man in the poem and redman are one.
3:50 pm
the complex arc and panorama of american history makes itself known throughout redman's work. as a scholar, eugene redman pioneered the field of african-american poetry with his ground breaking study "drum voices: the mission of afro-american poetry". a critical history. doing for poetry what irene sutherland had already achieved with her monumental work "the music of black americans," eugene redman charted the entire development of the art from its earliest forms to the present resetting the compass for the movement's trajectory. redman's invaluable study has provided urgent and necessary context for generations of americans.
3:51 pm
moreover, "drum voices: the mission of afro-american poetry," continues to provide much-needed clarity on the origins of sentiments expressed in the explosive era of black power, sentiments often misconstrued as new. that continue to creatively fuel the aspirations of succeeding generations of poets, writers, artists and intellectuals of every culture in america today, of every culture in america. today. as an organizer, redman has set a standard for diligence, discipline and the cultivation of academic freedom that is yet to be achieved with any consistency by many of his peers. over the decades his innumerable conferences, similar pose -- symposiums, workshops, performances, concerts and conventions have created lush
3:52 pm
and fertile ground for the creative explorations of america's leading artists in disciplines far beyond writing, including dance, music, film making, sculpture and many of the other visual arts with a special emphasis on dance which i'm sure mr. redman will share with you. in fact, the cross-pollination and the multiplicity of disciplines within african-american art has often been the hallmark of redman's most illustrious works. and the free play between the various forms of human expression within redman's body of work is, indeed, part of what is characterized its unique contribution which we honor today to american letters, an area in which he continues to innovate and inspire. the title of his major work of nonfiction, i mentioned, "drum voices," would later end itself to the journal redman has edited
3:53 pm
for now over ten -- two decades. it has since taken its rightful place alongside the leading african-american literary arts journals in our world today. growing in part out of the eugene b. redman writers' club, an organization through which he has mentored hundreds, hundreds of young writers, "drum voices review" has also sevenned as a visual account -- served as a visual accounting of the lives and the writers who fill its pages. displaying with each issue a vast aarea of redman's own personal archive of photography as well as photographs by many other notable literary figures including al youngment -- al young. please join me in orrining eugene redman for the lifetime achievement award from the
3:54 pm
before columbus foundation. eugene redman. [applause] >> well, thank you. >> that's him. [laughter] >> a friend of mine when -- it was actually here in berkeley, i looked up and asked, i asked him, why are they standing? he said -- [laughter] the drum book had just come out. why are they standing? he said, oh -- [laughter] it has something to do with you. [laughter] well, for my parents and their
3:55 pm
parents and your parents and their parents all the way back to before columbus, in gratitude i can never unlove you. cannot want -- to not want is to not exist, is to be demanded, is to be disembodied, is to be disimpersonned and float like an apparition into the nowhere. into the gray whim of limbo. and that is why i can never unlove you. why i can never dismantle my passion. why i can never decompose my
3:56 pm
desire. to reel in my cautious need is to be unclumsy in hyper posture. to be a curt garden; growthless. is to be made breathless by outside strictures and the noon sun like a drunken lizard. or slitherless drip on the echo of love. on the back of some nomadic breeze, on the coattail of sanity. and that is why i can never unlove you. why i can never unnotice the flames you forge, why i can
3:57 pm
never unloose my eyes from their aim. i can never unlove you, though i can relove you before another moon. i can never unneed you, though i can regrieve the night-stained caresses. i can never not want you, but i can recry the ancient is ocean. i can never unlove you; unlove you never. unlove you before columbus, ollie wilson, charles blackwell -- [laughter] mary mackey, ishmael reed. got a pain.
3:58 pm
norman brown and fam listically speaking, i can never unlove you. in addition to -- to borrow a phrase from alice walker, collaborating with the ancestors -- i will also be collaborating literally with some of the people that have intersected my life and whose lives i've intersected. things this is a lifetime a-- since this is a lifetime achievement award. a letter to the editor and a pipper in st. louis, the st. louis american, which coincidentally and maybe even ironically is the only african-american newspaper in the country edited by a european-american who is also a protege of mine. [laughter]
3:59 pm
he asked for some quotes, he asked for some quotes, and so i sent him some, you know, snippets, some thoughts, streams. and he put it in as a letter to the editor. [laughter] you know, feedback about the award. this was an e-mail to him edited. the other day third world literary guru ishmael reed, one of the founders of the before columbus foundation/american book award, phoned to tell me why i was being given the aba for lifetime achievement. and a collection of phone call and e-mail, by the way. congratulations on your latest impressive achievement. a 700-page special issue of drum
4:00 pm
voices review. and for training three generations of writers. hadn't seen it quite that way, but now that i think of it, as of december 1 this will be my 75th year in the breach and breadth in the forest of poetry. 75th year of straddling struggles through art and the art of raising good grief and hail. laugh. .. [laughter] ..
4:01 pm
ddr writers, it did over daughter treasure and other treasures. none of that could have dropped without buckets of coal and bucket of blood, and tambourines and holy rollers, baptists inside the entries whose biblical bilabial, semblance and forget years of road tracks and
4:02 pm
smokestacks, fluttering houses and killing floors, appearing mother who called my frog or mr. redman except when she was a little upset. [laughter] that was john henry. to jazz blue had big brothers, john brad henry junior and burnett among eight siblings and their grandmother who thought it would live to be 21 due to management and the faith of what folks. i did begin to this? into this life was we know that
4:03 pm
every new discipline comes on the hoses propelled, compelled the movement. i say that i put 50 and 75 cents words on my grandmothers with things before my lectures. i mean, advertisement to lack at women, the new curriculum of the hobbit. in 1969, just before i went to oberlin college, where i met holly wilson, i got a note from a black student at the state of sacramento.
4:04 pm
brother eugene, this is the most crucial plea that the black sacramento community has issued because they fear present in sacramento is vital to sacramento's the college, the black and their party, the black communications count so, every element of the black community. you are joining us in sacramento would be one more unifying greeting in this capital city, which will be the most vital ingredient needed for unifying black forces throughout the state of california. we have the most autonomous, ethnic studies program in the state on paper. this program isn't worth it unless it is properly stamped and direct is implemented.
4:05 pm
where students have veto power and hiring and firing staffs as you are made aware during our visit. yet this is workers without experienced it vice. he would be especially help of as an advisor. but really, all of those cuts somewhat peripheral. the community is important, sure. the political fame is important, sure. but what seemed as the most important thing, brother eugene, is for you to do your own thing, even though we expand on a small portion of it, wheatgrass how vitally important it is to the movement. we recognize your ability to
4:06 pm
connect so many various levels of the black community. we assure you can see the immediate results of your works connection in community the size of sacramento and i have a little note buyer comerford in poems like the one i started out with, the sisters really dig on the exultation's they received in your beautiful black artistry. twentysomething young scholars to be come a warriors the world. ishmael reid in the sacrament and l.a.
4:07 pm
but two years before it got a telegram, i met a man named henry dumas, spell but dumont's. 10 months later he was shot to death. and i assume that a lifetime award must include the fact that for more than 40 years i've been his literary executive. working with toni morrison walter loewen filled, the late james baldwin and of course someone and so many others. in a nutshell, henry dumont took a southern out ringing and his
4:08 pm
literary miss as he did levels of the same and interpenetrate a the dead and the living, the asheville and the material, d.c. will. something is called by others in a palm, the reverse heat think 777 military couple more in, maybe three. i tried to dash in 49 worried they tried to collect by way of his naming process.
4:09 pm
awake as they equate comics remain henry brought tank and two aren't. and i can't come in his runs current header and genoa. sweetwater in harlem. has the buffaloes and hearers is others font and cosmic arrows. coming forward from the time i met him and after having taken the job, a teenage freshman walks into my english composition class in 1977.
4:10 pm
one of the most early students have ever taught in a or asked among students. really to render william parker. [applause] >> already. i'm still trying to imagine his elegance, although i fear it will be a lifetime journey, but i'm in pursuit. so i'm going to take about three minutes. and this is a snapshot, a
4:11 pm
testimony to the life of eb redmond, who i believe is a gift to all of us, a teacher who embodies the nature of the creator and that he can see us. he then gives birth in like a good father, he nurtures to fruition. so both the example of that in two short pieces. the first is entitled america. it's an ego be in prison on the back of a coin and that calling be tossed into the sky, it will
4:12 pm
spin, that coin will flutter, but that eagle will never fly. henry dumas. [applause] we been see how that seed that was giving birth by eugene b. redman stiers to work of the mop instead of, rolling thunder's for henry dumas. i move in smoke. my footsteps are flames, my voice rolling thunder's peered at this moment in life, human
4:13 pm
skin and times by, i have read others, for leather high. i have been always. i have found myself a web. i launched myself an airborne see. no time has been or will be without me. i am kaizen to stone. look for me in the eye of son. my holy medals.
4:14 pm
and finally, back to dumont's -- dumont's, this form is entitled love song by henry demos. i have to adore the earth. the wind must have heard your voice once because it echoes in singh's psyche. the soil must've tasted the ones. the trees honored you with the gold and blush as he passed by. it has been trying to be learn
4:15 pm
your memory. i know why the desert burns with fever. it is wept too long without you. on hands and knees come at the ocean begs that the beaks of the falls at your feet. i have to adore the mirror. you have taught her well how to be beautiful. proverbs knight team -- eight team: 21. buildup others shelley referred thereof, could you need to create my brother. hot mark
4:16 pm
>> the author of more than 30 plays, i really been and shown the place at western salem, hustler and the black theater impresario and he's available. you can talk to him. you heard his sound now. one of his plays is titled, waiting to impel.
4:17 pm
serious, serious brother. keep listening, keep listening. we are winding down. they fixed it very for 10th street pack. we were mere students debating layer water and civil rights. great drama and women's layer, and all case big march in jfk's new frontier. the other america and catch 22 until billets raining on kennedy and dallas during the east st. louis of his life. what did he know? how did we get here quiet what
4:18 pm
kept us moving? who kept us moving? miles davis is one of the people who kept me moving. he and i went to the same high school as did one of the pioneers up on the hill. but for moral service, we couldn't get a spot on the sidewalk, not to mention trying to get a seat in lincoln high school, where he graduated in 1944 and was one of two teenagers of the black community at juilliard. that may be her record.
4:19 pm
i read a long poem of which all recite. trust up and came began a scenario climb up the tribal stairwell. greeks, radiant at the at the at the, spread like laughter or ethiopia's wings. more in its own percussive rise became the st. louis area.
4:20 pm
bore witness to the calm, the careless silence, the casket to tears, that death of the crew became the burden of an ancestor. hear y'all, the death of the two became the birth of an ancestor. and many of the newspapers that covered that memorial had headlines in kansas city, st. louis come the death of the crew do make a difference.
4:21 pm
1963 is one of them takes less time to read one than it does to explain. there's only 49 worried, 777, seven lines of seven word each. no word can have more than seven letters unless it is a foreign word. 777 created around our table in st. louis during one of our workshops at the culmination of the invention occurred. so continue the theme and of miles, two experts on it.
4:22 pm
one from st. louis, missouri. one from illinois and they faced each other across the mississippi river. many of the people, not area, african-american and others from mississippi and so the title of my forthcoming book, which is a fifty-year retrospect of my writing is arkin said he memoirs. 1962 to 2012. so coming up first as a playwright and poet who has been published in the hurston wright anthology and recently was first-place winner of a 10 minute playwriting contest. surely slumped and who is known
4:23 pm
as molly newman. [applause] >> miles, black and blue. in east boutique, no freeloaders were mike solow's trumpet lack of blue. state and souls and saxophones heard rest of the village vanguard. his muted horn, stating sketch me in indigo, but leave me to ask sharp.
4:24 pm
[applause] >> sharp, quick. darling boy, who is also president going on 26-year-old writer's club meets twice a month in st. louis also had among her dozens and dozens of quintana's, many in her upcoming book, her fourth book is not going to read. [applause] >> so what if miles saluted and buy something back sharing
4:25 pm
shoulders as he inhaled cosmic, cryptic notes and miracles formed dumond's mystic throw warren. spare out blue and green, flamingos catching the blue infusion off the access. [applause] and i had mentioned mary mackey earlier. i had the honor of selecting her brilliant work, sugar zone for
4:26 pm
the josephine mouse award, for about 12 years during the sacramental soul. i'm going to read two more. as you saw. i had one that i included in my nomination text of the award, but somehow i left it in the hotel room. well, you know, you don't get to be 75 without a few dents in meets. katherine dunn now was a major influence in my life and i still
4:27 pm
collaborate with her. i was her show for, confidant, bodyguard, translator and primary recruiter, one of them for the company she developed her she took up residence in the st. louis in 1967. so here is a quite thoughtless. with my name in the check -- she had one of the last -- read both sets of legs in the world. whatever moves meant in chicago, new york and paris and in her spiritual homes, back in east
4:28 pm
st. louis, with the bybee, books and then i'm home, which is on the campus of southern illinois university. and finally, vernon had harmed back whose honors english class i was mistakingly, accidentally put into, returning home to east st. louis from the marines, southeast asia and having had an operation for a wound on my left knee, i was late getting to enrolling in college. i was put into this honors english class. he said to me to word, you're going to have to drop because
4:29 pm
everybody in this class has been getting straight a's is the first time they started writing. five, six, seven years old. so i went back to the advisor and the teacher tell me how to drop the class. they said i've spoken with the advisor and had read the entire general education curriculum in the marines under the tutelage of some officers and a redheaded guy named john stanton. so this philosopher, the adviser said to me, go back and tell me this is an oral interview. because he and i had talked. so during the second class, he spoke in japanese than with him from midway to class because
4:30 pm
akamai been in japan for like a year. then he started in speaking in latin. i three years of latin in high school. last night that didn't include link and hide. that didn't even include the time i went to her home and cut her grass and got more latin. so he started talking in latin and so i responded to him. so i said the reiser said he would give me an oral interview. he said, we've read edifice. as it how do you spell at? [inaudible] [laughter] he went through all the stuff i'd already read because i was played. and once he told me how to pronounce it, then there's that
4:31 pm
literature. so he had a lecture over time, a speaking aid, where he would tell the story himself. i bless his soul, he died in note five. i was the last person to speak within. he had an aneurysm. he saved his life, i've got to go and repair the bathroom, the plumbing and then i've got to get this article ready for james. but he had this story, where he would tell the same story until a new and he said dust began the education. because you know, i taught in the streets of the st. louis and he taught me faulkner and stuff like that.
4:32 pm
but anyway, this is a palm for a good man from the south. but as you'll as you'll see from this one saw the, she moonlighted as a jazz dj. this is a european-american man in the 1560s. moonlighting as a jazz dj. he was edifice and there will, rolen and oliver, king arthur and fast no, chol sir and freddie mara, fluent in latin, lebanese and lit up like gaslight square in faulkner's fair. who held fast to steins, stands the line, link stints use --
4:33 pm
langston hughes and black homeboy miles, all blues. [applause] >> so that concludes the american book awards for this year for the before columbus foundation. but it's not the end of the party. i would like to encourage every to join us at the end of the hall. [inaudible] >> we should certainly do that indeed. but i do thank all the winners joined us and ishmael instructed to bring it onto the stage, those who won an award.
4:34 pm
[applause] for a photograph. i don't know who's going to take that. tennessee is going to take that. >> for more information about the american book awards, visit before columbus >> i want intensely journalistic , intensely journalistic because i must seek it out out what's going on these days, no missed things influencing yourself and everybody else.
4:35 pm
>> the world is a big place, the certainly the most powerful addressees are these huge corporations. corporations at goldman sachs, for instance. because i spent so much of my life in the developing world, places like africa, latin america and the middle east, just to give you a small example, i saw what happened when commodity futures were bought up by corporations that goldman sachs and the week, for instance, which it has in the last year, increased by 100%. i saw the human consequences of that. the children who are malnourished even in some cases died of starvation because they couldn't afford to keep.
4:36 pm
you know, the worst in both iraq and afghanistan are of popular support. for a handful of corporations, lockheed martin, northrop grumman, halliburton, they are immensely profitable, as war is for a certain tiny segment of the power and always has been. war is a racket. so i think that we unfortunately have created a world, where power has become centralized in the hands of a select group of corporations that are more powerful in the state itself, that it is up in the american political system, impossible to vote against the interest of goldman sachs. and unless we thwart that power, we are doomed because corporations, unfettered capitalism in 1944 caught a great transformation, turn
4:37 pm
everything into a commodity. in that sense, karl marx was right. unfettered capitalism is a force in human beads become commodities. the natural world becomes a commodity that you exploit until exhaustion or collapse and that's where the environmental crisis is intimately twinned with the crisis. if we don't somehow find a mechanism or a way to break the power of this corporations, they will trash -- continue to trash the ecosystem to a point at which life for hughes segments of the human species will be unsustainable. >> chris hedges, from new york city new york city, d.c. today's economic and political climate is somewhat resembling germany 1930s? >> well, noam chomsky, and i'm a great admirer of chomsky has made that compares sin. i think in some ways, yes. it's always difficult to make those historical analogies
4:38 pm
because one has to be very cognizant of the major differences including the massive war reparations, the defeat of world war i, the fact that germany had no real liberal democracy under its monarchy. but i think that there are some frightening similarities, the most important improvisation of the american working class. the disenfranchisement of working men and women. you know, used to be in this country going back to the 50s, into the 60s that you could work in an auto plant or still mail and make a salary that was supportive family family and a life device and send their kids to college and you have medical benefits and a pension plan and all of that is vanished. though we have thruster working class into the sector economy, low-wage economy, households.
4:39 pm
not only do people tend to work in the working class more than one job, but almost everybody in the house is working in order to keep afloat. that has been a devastating change. i think the rise of the christian right, as i argue an american fascist scum is directly linked to this despair because these economic dislocations spring with the distractions of communities, destruction of families, substance abuse, domestic abuse, other problems when families break down. people retreat from the reality-based world, which almost destroys them, almost has to strengthen into a non-reality based belief system and all totalitarian system or non-reality-based. a world of magic, historical inevitability, it would report god intervenes their behalf and the only way to bring these people back into a reality-based world is to bring franchise than
4:40 pm
within the economy. i think this is something we saw, that it was despair and all the great writers on totalitarianism, karl popper, fred stern gives despair as a starting point that brings people into these very freaky movements. i think that despair is prevalent within american society and very dangerous. >> in his 2005 book, lucy moses on the freeway, mr. hedges writes we watch impassively as the wealthy and the elite of the huge corporations rob us, ruby environment, defraud consumers and taxpayers in crete and exclusive american oligarchy diffuses wealth and political power. we watch passively because we believe we can enter the club. it is agreed that keeps a silent. cz nla, good afternoon. >> caller: i want to thank you for your thoughts and books. they are very deep and they
4:41 pm
really open many of our minds to very important concepts. you really try to present a live deep thought and object to reality. i was troubled however in the area when you talk about the middle east because you talk about your history in terms of knowing arabic and the people there. but i was wondering also if you had an equal knowledge of hebrew and the people on that side. >> well, i lived in jerusalem for two years. as a conscious decision because when i worked in the middle east to speak arabic and you have any hebrew words creep into your arabic could immediately linger in prison, although i have to say eventually in both iraq and iran producer in prison anyway
4:42 pm
or jail for brief periods of time. i have a great admiration and affection for israel. and i tank the parameters of the debate about the middle east and about the israeli palace to conflict in israel are far broader than they are in the united states. my opinions are not particularly controversial and servers on the among most of my friends are sort of art beyond themselves. but they are in the united states. the newspaper, for instance, the israeli newspaper has probably the best coverage of the palestinians if any paper in the country another's articles written by israel a jewish. danny rubinstein, a mere half, india must be. these are great, great journalists. and did israel credit.
4:43 pm
so i think that's a frustration for many of us middle east is that we saw possibilities in oslo and in the relationship between a soccer game and king hussein. i knew king hussein uncovered rypien. and with the assassination where lots advantage in israel after the united states has essentially become captive to really rapacious right-wing. for instance, the israeli foreign terror of the deer, lieberman who is openly called for the ethnic cleansing of israeli, arabs and palestinians was a bubble when i first got to jerusalem in 1988. for me it's really a debate about the health of the middle east and the help of the israeli state itself. i don't think that responding as
4:44 pm
historical injustice through the use of force and occupation is in the live for the state of israel itself. at the same time, of course adamantly opposed and there are those within the arab world to call for that is action of the state of israel. most states, including iran, spent a lot of time in pine ridge for historical injustices come up with to work out as we been wanting to an accommodation whereby both people can live in dignity. >> panelists include author melanie curt ptacek and joseph kim, one of the people profiled in her book, "escape from north korea" discussing experiences the north koreans have fled the country. this event is about an hour and 15


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on