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Feb 14th
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Literature

A&E - Literature

A Search for the Good Life

A Search for the Good Life

Author Laura Fraser’s account of coming to terms with and then learning to love her place in the world
Being a woman, a writer and an avid traveler, I was intrigued by Laura Fraser’s new book, “All Over the Map.” Travel writing may sound glamorous, but it can be an exhausting and sometimes frightening job. Many of the world’s farthest flung corners, once you set foot in their squalid streets, no longer seem exotic but downright scary. On the other hand, being a travel writer presents a string of riveting sensory experiences that remain engrained on your memory far after the reality has faded into the past. But perhaps more than a focus on travel writing, Fraser’s book, dubbed a “coming of middle-age memoir” by Booklist, is a look into the life of an independent woman who is coming to terms with her internal struggle for excitement and security. In short, she wants to have someone to come home to.

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A&E - Literature

Solitary Confinement

Solitary Confinement

Pulitzer Prize-winning author pens poignant new novel
Literary maven Jane Smiley is no stranger to fame. She has published four works of non-fiction and 13 novels (including the critically acclaimed “A Thousand Acres” which I read in my American Authors class while studying English in college and promptly fell in love with her writing) in the time that many people take to decide where to travel for summer vacation.  Her latest literary foray is entitled, “Private Life,” an illuminating new novel that spans the life of an ordinary woman married to an extraordinary yet self-indulgent man. Or so she thinks. The 20th century has just dawned and Margaret Early, a native of St. Louis, Mo., blithely marries the man her mother chooses for her, and resigns herself to be a dutiful housewife. Her secretive new husband moves her to Northern California, where she endures two world wars, the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 and myriad personal tragedies. Little does she know of the trials and tribulations she will endure as the wife of a Navy captain that fancies himself a scientist of the highest degree. What begins as a marriage based on convenience and security turns into a prison sentence, and Smiley’s lyrical prose explores the life of one woman who lives a life she grows to loathe. To outside observers, Margaret’s existence seems charmed, but on the inside, turmoil and unhappiness threaten to disarm her will to live.

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A&E - Literature

Poetry Corner

Poetry Corner

Editor’s note: In this week’s Poetry Corner, we feature the work of D. A. Powell, the author of “Tea,” “Lunch,” and “Cocktails,” which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry. His most recent collection, “Chronic,” was also a finalist for the NBCC Award, and was named a best book of 2009 by Publishers Weekly, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and other publications, and won the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. He teaches at the University of San Francisco and lives in the Bay Area. The following selected poems, written by D. A. Powell are: “confessions of a teenage drama queen,” “early havoc,” and “he’s a maniac, maniac” from “Chronic,” © 2009. Reprinted with the permission of Graywolf Press, Minneapolis, Minn., graywolfpress.org.

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A&E - Literature

The Great Sierra Nevada Unconformity

The Great Sierra Nevada Unconformity

Daniel Arnold’s ‘Early Days in the Range of Light’ goes back in time to discover, firsthand, the early mountaineers
The premise is simple, the execution grand. Take nearly a dozen or so early pioneers of California mountaineering and tread in the echoes of their bootsteps. Follow them up the peaks that defined them, separated only by time itself. Sounds easy, right?

Almost forgot to mention: No Gore-tex, GPS or nylon ropes allowed. If these early mountaineers went solo, so shall you. If they had to roll their meager possessions up into a blanket and tie it off with an old rope as Clarence King did, then you too will leave your backpack at home. Like John Muir, you will chase away hunger with bread crusts and tea. As for maps … what maps? You will bed atop a layer of dead pine needles, shivering under the stars and storms without a tent. With the invention of DEET still decades away, mosquitoes will sing you to sleep. And you will come to know the Sierra like you have never known it before.

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A&E - Literature

Beautiful Mind

Beautiful Mind

Distinguished local poet, writer and translator Richard Kessler takes on some of the greats in poetry

The great American poet Robert Frost once said, “Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought, and the thought has found words.” Throughout the centuries, poets have churned emotions into flowing words of love, passion, hate, regret and every other human emotion one can name. One of the most famous yet elusive poets of the 20th century, Jorges Luis Borges from Argentina, preferred to explore the dark world of blindness, visions and dreams. But until now, many of Borges intriguing poems have remained unexplored by English speakers. Local translator (and poet and writer) Stephen Kessler has undertaken the monumental task of translating Borges’ works from Spanish into English and has therefore created two new masterpieces where poetry books are concerned—“The Sonnets” and “Poems of the Night.” GT recently caught up with Kessler prior to his poetry reading at Bookshop Santa Cruz to find out more about his compelling translations.

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Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of February 12

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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Pub Watch

Mega gastro pub-in-progress at the Old Sash Mill, plus the best pasta dish downtown

 

How do you know love is real?

When you feel the groove in your heart and you’re inspired to dance. Becca Bing, Boulder Creek, Teacher

 

Temple of Umami

Watsonville’s Miyuki is homestyle cooking, Japanese-style

 

How would you stop people from littering?

Teach them from the time that they’re small that it’s not an appropriate behavior. Juliet Jones, Santa Cruz, Claims Adjuster