Editor’s note: In this week’s Poetry Corner, we feature the work of Robin Ekiss, a former Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, a recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Award for emerging women writers, and author of the book, “The Mansion of Happiness” (University of Georgia Press, VQR Poetry Series, November 2009). She lives in San Francisco.
The Opposite of the Body
Of the face in general, let me say it’s a house
built by men and lived in by their dreams.
Carolina De Robertis’ debut novel explores the bonds of motherly love through generations
Spanning centuries, continents and the deep and hidden layers of the heart, “The Invisible Mountain” captured my attention from the very first page. And being the type of person who forgets to eat when a superbly written and fascinating tome captures my imagination, during the course of devouring this book I inadvertently lost three pounds.
“The Invisible Mountain” is set in the enchanting world of 20th century Uruguay—a country continuously overshadowed by its larger South American siblings, Argentina and Brazil. A paradox of a nation, Uruguay struggles to grow up and stand on its own two feet amidst world wars, civil unrest and military juntas. But this novel is not about a nation. The unforgettable story is that of women. Mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts—interwoven by and through their womanhood and connected by an inexorable string unraveling through generations. The first novel written by Carolina De Robertis, “The Invisible Mountain” has a voice that is both eerie and mystifying in the best way possible, and filled with relatable characters that are guaranteed to strike an intimate chord within.
Kay Redfield Jamison’s latest read offers a haunting yet transformative look at the depths of ‘madness’
Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison’s new memoir “Nothing Was the Same” is a love story like no other: Two exceptional people, each doctors, each contending with a life-threatening illness.
Jamison is a professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, a researcher, a writer of books, a well-known authority in her field of psychology. At 17, Jamison was diagnosed with manic-depressive illness. She lived through mania, paralyzing depressions, and a mercifully failed suicide attempt; she wrote about this illness and its impact on her life in her moving memoir “An Unquiet Mind.” In her prologue to her new memoir “Nothing Was the Same” she tells us that manic depression is a kind of madness, that she was determined to “avoid perturbance” (such as falling in love). She believed she needed to “coddle” her brain and modify her life and thus her dreams. The renowned and charming scientist, Dr. Richard Wyatt fell in love with her and she with him; thus, a modified life and abandoned dreams were not in the cards for her. He became her husband and she enjoyed nearly 20 years with him until his sorrowful, inevitable death of Hodgkin’s disease.
Author Michael Meade on the importance of bringing the light into the dark—and vice versa
In case you just tuned in, things on Earth are looking a little rough around the edges—water and air pollution, poverty, endless wars, corporate hegemony, economic collapse. And the speed of destruction seems to be quickening. While some have decided that the ship is sinking, Michael Meade argues that we’re simply living in a dark time that calls for attention to dark knowledge. He says that this uncomfortable time provides exactly the conditions necessary for positive change to occur.
Michael Meade is a storyteller, author and scholar of mythology, anthropology and psychology who weaves together stories and ancient ideas to shed light on the current crises in ecology and culture. His books and audio CD’s include “The World Behind the World” and “The Light Inside Dark Times.” Meade is the founder of Mosaic Multicultural Foundation and he often works with at-risk youth, U.S. veterans returning from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and prisoners. On Friday, Nov. 13, Meade will be giving a presentation entitled The Light Inside Dark Times at 7 p.m. at the Pacific Cultural Center. On Saturday, Nov. 14, Meade will lead an intensive workshop, also at the PCC, entitled The Mythic Life: Accepting Fate, Finding a Destiny from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 and $85, respectively, and can be ordered online at mosaicvoices.org. GT recently spoke with Meade about current possibilities for change.