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Apr 24th
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Literature

A&E - Literature

Of Pups & Poetry

Of Pups & Poetry

Robert Sward’s new collection spans a lifetime of dogs, loves, losses and poetry

When asked how his poetry has changed throughout his six-decade writing career, award-winning poet Robert Sward replies, “I haven’t changed. I’m still writing about dogs.”
Indeed, his recently released collection, “New and Selected Poems 1957-2011,” is animated with the various canine companions that have graced Sward’s life. And his voice throughout the collection remains relatively unchanged, with a plainspoken, natural language that draws on the American idiom—as well as a quirky sense of humor.

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A&E - Literature

Post-Modern Family

Post-Modern FamilyLocal author Thad Nodine views modern life in wry, compassionate 'Touch and Go'

There may be none so blind as those who will not see, as the old adage goes. But in Santa Cruz, author Thad Nodine's bracing debut novel, "Touch And Go" (Unbridled Books), there is also no one more perceptive than the blind narrator/protagonist, Kevin Layne. In a patchwork, largely dysfunctional, post-modern family related by need, not blood, on an ill-conceived cross-country road trip, blind Kevin is the one with the surest grasp on (and empathy for) the desires and compulsions that motivate the others' actions—motivations they often keep hidden, even from themselves.

It takes a certain amount of audacity—not to mention skill—for a sighted author to write an entire novel from a blind character's, er, viewpoint. For one thing, there are no elaborate visual descriptions to fall back on—interiors, city streets, the changing landscape on the road, not even the characters' faces. None of which daunts Nodine, who makes a vivid sensory feast out of everyday activities as Kevin relates his experience of the physical world. ("Footsteps spat across concrete at odd angles. A stroller nearly clipped me ... I blustered across alcoves as the heels of my Western boots echoed the recesses.") From Kevin's perspective, Nodine's descriptions of the other characters are so alive—the emotional pitch of voices, how a shoulder or elbow feels to the touch, a fleeting scent of perfume, or sweat, or chlorine, fidgety hands, intimate confessions—the reader may not even realize he doesn't know what they actually look like.

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A&E - Literature

The Poems of David Budbill

The Poems of David Budbill

Editor’s note:  In this week’s Poetry Corner we feature the work of David Budbill, who has had eight books of poetry published. He is also a playwright, novelist, gardener, blogger, children’s book author, and performance poet. Budbill’s honors include an Honorary Doctorate from New England College, an NEA fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He lives in the Vermont mountains with his wife, painter Lois Ebey.

You Ask Me Why
Li Po said,
You ask why I live
in these green mountains.

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A&E - Literature

The End of Capitalism as We Know It

The End of Capitalism as We Know It

Former Economic Hitman John Perkins discusses the role of economic violence in global capitalism and the need to change the system

Poverty is the worst form of violence.” Gandhi made this observation 50 years ago, when the modern art of economic violence was in its infancy. This form of control has since been perfected by Economic Hitmen (EHM) like John Perkins who have gone to countries like Panama and Iran to strong-arm governments into taking huge loans from financial institutions like The World Bank.

In the book, “Confessions of an Economic Hitman” (2004) Perkins revealed his spy-like lifestyle and how he was recruited to be chief economist for a consulting firm that served as surrogate for the National Security Administration (NSA). He realized the loans he was pushing caused poverty and not prosperity in developing nations, benefiting only the ruling class of those countries and the United States contractors hired to complete projects like building dams in South America. As the old story goes, the rich got richer. Perkins is the author of seven other books including “The World is As You Dream It” and his latest, “Hoodwinked,” which offers a blueprint for a new form of global economics.

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A&E - Literature

The Poems of Robert Sward

The Poems of Robert Sward

Editor’s note:  In this week’s Poetry Corner, we feature the work of Robert Sward who has taught at Cornell University, the Iowa Writers' Workshop and UC Santa Cruz. A Guggenheim Fellow, he was chosen by Lucile Clifton to receive a Villa Montalvo Literary Arts Award. His more than 20 books include: “Four Incarnations” (Coffee House Press), “Rosicrucian in the Basement,” “The Collected Poems,” and “God is in the Cracks” (Black Moss Press, Canada), now in its second printing. His latest, “New & Selected Poems,” 1957-2011, is about to be published by Red Hen Press.

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Best of Santa Cruz County 2014

The 2014 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll Come on in, and have a look around. There’s a lot to see—hundreds of winners selected by thousands of GT readers across Santa Cruz County. So if some of this looks familiar, it’s probably because you helped make it happen. But there are always new things to discover, too—you could go to a different winner or runner-up every day in the Food and Drink category alone, and you’d be booked just about until next year’s Best of Santa Cruz County issue comes out.

 

Something Essential Disappears

Lunar and solar eclipses follow one another. Lunar eclipses occur at full moons, and solar eclipses at new moons. Two weeks ago at the full moon we had the blood red moon—a total lunar eclipse (the next one is Oct. 8). On Monday night, April 28 (new moon), as the Sun, Moon and Earth align, a solar eclipse (Sun obscured) occurs. Eclipses signify something irrevocably is changed in our world. The Sun is our essential life force. Monday’s new moon, 9 degrees Taurus, is also an annular solar eclipse when the Moon moves centrally in front of the Sun, yet does not cover the Sun completely. The Sun's outer edges, still visible, form a “ring of fire” around the Moon.

 

Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of April 24

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Palate-Stretching 101

A wine education with Soif’s experts As a veteran of many weekend wine “seminars” at Soif, I have to confess that I’ve never known less (going in) and learned more (coming out) than I did last week at the Spanish Wine Tasting with ace rep Brian Greenwood. These are classy, casual events and it’s hard to imagine having this much flavor fun anywhere for $20.

 

Martin Ranch Winery

Sauvignon Blanc 2011 One of my favorite wines is Sauvignon Blanc, and this one made by Martin Ranch is particularly lovely. Bright, crisp and refreshing, it’s perfect to pair with fish and shellfish—and good for picnics as it has an easy screw-cap bottle. There’s nothing worse than setting down your blanket, pulling out your sandwiches—and then realizing you don’t have a corkscrew.

 

Foodie File: Red Apple Cafe

Breakfast takes center stage at Gracia Krakauer's Red Apple Cafe Before they moved to Aptos, Gracia and her husband Dan Krakauer would visit friends in Santa Cruz County and eat at the Red Apple Café all the time. Then they moved up here from Santa Monica five years ago, and bought the Aptos location (there’s a separate one in Watsonville) from the family who owned it for two decades.

 

How would you feel about a tech industry boom in Santa Cruz?

I feel like it would ruin the small old-town feeling of Santa Cruz. It wouldn’t be the same Surf City kind of vacation town that it is. Antoinette BennettSanta Cruz | Construction Management