Simon Van Booy’s latest novel The Illusion of Separateness released in summer 2013 is on the Amazon Bestseller list. He wrote a story for the Waldorf Astoria’s international ad campaign, please see link for more information. http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/11/05/the-making-of-waldorf-astorias-eccentric-new-ad-campaign-starring-olga-kurylenko/?_r=0
Valerie Eads received the Gillingham Prize (http://deremilitari.org/society/drm-prizes/) for an outstanding article in the field of medieval military history for her article “The Last Italian Expedition of Henry IV: Re-reading the Vita Mathildis of Donizone of Canossa,” published in the Journal of Medieval Military History 8 (2010) pp. 23-68.
During the 2013 summer, Ginny Mackenzie was a fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, an artist-in-residence program that is part of Sweet Briar College in Amherst, Virginia. She was invited to give readings from her novel, Sleeping with Gypsies at Sweet Briar’s Summer Writing Program and the University of Virginia. She also lead a workshop for the Writers’ Program at Sweet Briar. She finished her latest poetry manuscript at VCCA.
Bill Rednour’s autobiography is now available in kindle edition through amazon. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss/181-3014249-6118063?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=bill+rednour
Daniel Ricuitto’s article, “Heroes for Sale,” is published by CINEASTE magazine, winter edition. http://www.cineaste.com/ His book, The Depression Alphabet Primer with Jim Knipfel published by Gingko Press will be available in December 2013. http://www.gingkopress.com/04-pop/depression-alphabet.html
A number of Saul Zachary’s poems have been published in 2013. Below is a list. “Post Season,” Light Quarterly; “At The Bereavement Group,” Harp-Stings Poetry Journal and Icon; “Nights of Hurricane Sandy,” The New York Times; “Resenting the Young/Loathing the Old,” “Widower,” Icon; “The Edge,” Philadelphia Poets; “Going Places,” and “Blindsided,” Pegasus; “Little Ghosts,” Soundings East; “Walk-Up,” Mudfish 18.
Saul Zachary was Featured Poet at the Riverside Poets,Riverside Public Library.
"The Bathroom," (1977) by Bill Beckley was recently shown in a group show entitled, “And Those Who Were Seen Dancing Were Thought to Be Insane by Those Who Could Not Hear the Music” (F. Nietzsche) at Friedman Benda Gallery, NYC. An interview with Bill Beckley and Agatha Snow are posted by The Avant Garde Diaries. To listen to the interview, please click on the link.
For a review of the show, click on the link below
Istanbul Chronicles Part I: The Music of Beylikdüzü
by Edwin Rivera
Date posted: Friday, June 7, 2013 in CONSTRUCTION MAGAZINE
An outsider’s perspective on the protests in Turkey.
A moderately cool June evening in Beylikdüzü: beet-sugar air, sweet with promise, families hushing past laden with groceries, and the gentling sky above—an encouragement to lovers dead-set on a moonlit stroll. A slant dilapidated wagon, its bed heaped with watermelons, contributes to the fragrance in the air. The steep sidewalks are daunting, yet climbing is an Istanbul necessity: ascending yet another cobbled hill, heat swilling up through my lungs as I struggle to breathe, my girlfriend snatches my hand and steers us across the roadway, where no traffic light ever existed, and cars puncture the rill of romance by blasting out from the avenue quirks. After dodging near-death for maybe the dozenth time, we make our way along the level walk, where we stop to view the wide downward sweep of Istanbul proper, partially obscured by overhanging shrubs—those chains of glittering light once the pride of sultans and now the jealous object of developers and government officials and concerned citizenry alike. We stand there, chatting quietly, and aftertime, dazzled by the general atmosphere, I’m inspired to take her into my arms. A prune-faced man in a chuckling kamyonet swivels his head disapprovingly, as does another in a state-owned water truck. I think nothing of it. I hold her close enough to feel her heartbeat; I love her, and I want to show it. A pair of youngish guys in a Renault putter past and furrow their brows. So do two men in a Fiat. And still another in a battered Honda. I look a question at her and she shrugs apologetically—she’s already warned me about the reactions to public displays of affection. Stupidly, I didn’t believe her. In New York, we’d kissed for long hours in bar banquettes, the entrance mouths of subways, on park benches and in movie theatres. We’d thought nothing of our public caresses. Why would we? Besides, I’m American born, and used to having my own way. When I bend my lips toward hers now, another young guy in an Opel slows just before he passes us, hits the horn twice, and levels a murderous glare. Cowed, we release each other. I can feel my balls tightening with fear. Is he going to leap out of his car ? But the driver merely continues, and many more men fix their stern gazes upon us. I laugh nervously; my girlfriend hurries us along, back to the safety of home.
This is Istanbul in the summer of 2013.
Beylikdüzü, where we live, is a suburb outside of Istanbul, yet it is hardly like any suburb in the United States, with their acre-inch lawns and automaton housing and money malaise—this is an area studded with luxury towers, replete with tennis courts and fiberglass swimming pools, shopping malls drenched in sunlight, and supermarkets so large they could house a fleet of airships. Sprawled within these gated communities lies an educated class invested in the future of this expanding city, where the average citizen earns a mean monthly salary of 1,000 liras a month, approximately, in today’s currency, 530 U.S. dollars. The evident truth is that, as in New York and many other major cities across the United States, the poor and working classes live side by side with the more well-heeled. In attempts to alleviate this uncomfortable sense of proximity, developers instruct their architects to design sky-kissing edifices and their contractors to build taller fences, to install barbed wire and to hire security forces that are on active duty around the clock. The proliferation of steel and glass towers that muddle the cityscape can weary the eye. Good Lord how they build! Broad hulks of honeycombed concrete, strung with dead lights, lurk behind the shiny edifices, and the girders and spans of falsework share space with mounds of construction rubble. One wakes up to the cacophony of men at work with their high-power tools, gazes at the skyline gauzed in smoke, and hits the street to the machine-music of the busy blare of horns as vehicles, inevitably stalled in traffic, struggle to navigate one of the “seven hills” of Istanbul. La vida no es un carnaval, to contradict the great Celia Cruz. At intervals throughout the day, the call of the muezzin—a haunting sonority—can sound mournful to the outlander’s ear, an eloquent recitation seemingly intermixed with the seeds of sorrow, echoing across the city from loudspeakers posted to the minarets of the city’s mosques. The more secular of the native-born claim to no longer hear the ezan, woven as it is so seamlessly into the fabric of Turkish life. As a matter of fact, there are other directives, other calls, which many Turks find difficult to ignore, and that is why they are making their own passionate music, their own fruitful noise—loud enough to wake up the world.
As we all know, an astonishing number of people have taken to the streets, not only to air their discontent at the planned destruction of Gezi Park in Taksim Square—which was to be razed in order to make way for yet another shopping mall— (Istanbul alone already has more than a hundred), but as an expression of immense solidarity nationwide against one man, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). The torque responsible for this incredible burst of autoignition lay within the stubborn actions of the Prime Minister—a leader who has yet to refer to the plight of his people without sarcasm and insolence, and who has continually incited the populace against him by refusing to provide the lavender comfort an aching constituency requires from its ruler; instead, the people are lambasted, heaped with scorn, and ultimately enveloped in the painful and irritating haze that blooms from the muzzles of tear gas canisters.
What has coalesced is a unique movement in which all economic classes stand side by side in refutation of perceived governmental transgressions, such as the introduction of a new law that disallows the purchasing of alcoholic beverages from liquor stores after ten p.m., and the fact that Erdogan renamed ayran, a non-alcoholic yogurt-based refreshment, as the new national drink, displacing raki, the traditional liquor. So professors gather beside construction workers, mussel-merchants alongside restaurant chefs, men, women, children—all congealed by a single noble pursuit: the will to freedom and the bond of absolute unity that could trace its lineage all the way to the democratic ideals espoused by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the Father of Turkey; for this is a country that straddles east and west, a wraparound republic stitched and sleeved with equal parts Islamism and Kemalism (the secular ideology of Atatürk).
Turkey has had its fill of autocracy, and like a raging Bulgarian truck driver barreling through the neighborhoods of Istanbul, its burgeoning hatred for despotism is relearning to hone its passions. As the journalist Stephen Kinzer notes in his book, Crescent & Star: Turkey Between Two Worlds, referring to a time before the arrival of Atatürk and his founding of the Turkish Republic: “ … the Turkish people knew nothing but obedience. They had been taught since time immemorial that authority is something distant and irresistible, and that the role of the individual in society is submission and nothing more.” But what had been altered so irrevocably long ago has been altered once again, and the world has felt the keen edge of Turkey’s current despair.
I, too, have felt it, in addition to a growing bewilderment, a deep historical insecurity, and a dumbfounded sense of my own status as a haphazardly educated rico-pobre who just happens to have had the luck or possible misfortune of being born in the United States. All my reading doesn’t account for much in Turkey, my hurry-up anxiety to learn this and learn that: I can recall the poet and essayist Clive James plaintively stating that throughout fifty years of war and strife he read all the papers religiously and kept au currant and had all the facts at hand and still none of it did any good, the massacres continued unabated and the cities burned. Facts can hoist us up; but they can also make us feel helpless, slaves to actuality.
I was caught unprepared; I’d come to Istanbul expecting an unblushing flair of exoticism, the deluxe pleasures to be had at the tables of the meyhane, perhaps get pounded into hamburger meat by the brute clutches of the tellak on the tables of the Turkish bath houses. What I didn’t realize, however, was that I wouldn’t have the same time of it as a glide-through tourist with a fat checkbook and a blog. Eat, pray, love: that’s someone else’s story. I hate blogs and my bank account is nearly empty. I possess barely a handful of Turkish words; and so, like a man with his tongue excised, I’m forced to communicate with broken imitations and sometimes even outright dumbshow. However, this does offer its advantages. I’m not required to speak or participate as the man of action would. Instead, I’m afforded the privileged opportunity to play the silent witness as history unfolds, and, in the very few moments when the spirit strikes, to involve myself in the affairs of this country I’m growing, in my own awkward manner, to love.
A peculiar thing has been happening in Beylikdüzü. Every evening for the last five days, just after the competing spices of dinner begin to fade from the air, and the dishes are washed, and the rolled tobacco is smoked, the banging begins. The noise is distinct: a rapid metallic clatter, a clang-bang-clang that has its own measured logic, not unlike the chow-bell formerly used to summon ranch hands to supper, only it becomes more insistent aftertime, grows frenzied; and you see the people on their balconies as they bang on pots, they bang lids together, they bang against banisters and metal railings with brass and silver ashtrays, spoons and knives, clothes poles and iron rods, they bang on their radiators and thump the walls of their homes, and they’re below in the courtyards, they’re flowing over the streets and bridges, they pour out over the highways and bi-ways; and the lights in the windows of the apartment towers flash on and off as a symbol of solidarity, and then the shouts begin, the handclaps and high whistles (and one even expects to hear the small crack of fireworks at the conclusion of its tasseled trajectory), the noise increases, becomes enormous, and the slogans sent into the air are made all the more louder by the echo chamber created by the quadrant of towers, miraculous and moving amid the thump and clap and smash and bang: Tayyip istifa! (Tayyip resign!), Turkiye uyuma! (Turkey wake up, don’t’ sleep!), and, the most moving music of all, the children of Beylikdüzü stamping across the courtyard cobbles with their tiny feet, pumping their tiny arms, and with all the energy at childhood’s disposal screaming out: Her yer Taksim, her yer direnis! (Taksim everywhere, resistance everywhere!). The general din resounds with the frenetics of a fleet-foot parade, all bands and flyaway streamers and decked-out floats, and I’d twice become so swept up by the ruckus that I’d emerged onto the balcony myself to bang against the railing with a set of dull spoons, Turkiye uyuma!
Because it’s difficult not to be moved by this expression of unity. It didn’t take the whirling dervishes of Konya to rouse the people to action. How will all this end? As Turkey yaws between democracy and authoritarianism, Islamism and secular freedom, it is difficult to determine whether Erdogan will choose to deliver his people from the perils of capitalistic fervor and nonsecularism, or walk the high fine line of government “for the people and by the people,” a path that requires a cool and steady hand, ever-alert at the spinning keel, and always with an eye to the crash and bash of the boiling maelstrom below into which any country could so easily descend.
Thanks go to Merlin Ural, who provided me with invaluable assistance, and to Stephen Kinzer, whose lucid writing on the region has helped guide me through the thorny political life of Turkey.
TO VIEW PART II, please see link below title.
Istanbul Chronicle Part II: Superman Wears a Turkish Flag
posted July 8, 2013 in Construction Magazine
Edwin Rivera was born and raised in Bayonne, New Jersey. A former member of the United Steelworker’s Union, he’s held a variety of jobs, from working the production line in a mayonnaise factory to laboring as a dockman for an oil company. His work has been published in The Global City Review, Monkeybicycle, Pank, Folly, The White Whale Review, and Acentos Review, among others. In July 2011, he was a recipient of the Norman Mailer Fiction Fellowship. An excerpt of his novel-in-progress, Sun Street, Moon Street was recently published in Ping Pong. He earned his M.F.A. from the New School and currently teaches at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.