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Jul 28th
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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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The Binding of Edmund McMillen

How a Santa Cruz designer created one of the most unlikely hits in video game history

 

Sun in Leo, Rosy Star, Venus and Uranus Retrograde

Three major celestial events occur this week. Wednesday, the Sun enters Leo, highlighting the heart center of everyone. Leo is a sign of deep sensitivity (along with Cancer). Wednesday is also the feast day of St. Mary Magdalene, one of the most misunderstood women in the Bible. Saturday, July 25, Venus turns stationary retrograde at 0 Virgo (progressed Regulus, the Law, Hall of Records). Venus retrogrades for 44 days and nights, forming one petal of a five-pointed rosy star (pentagram) in the sky (five retrogrades over eight years = star). Venus retrograde turns values upside down. Our usual sense of beauty, values, the real price of things, relationships—all turn into a bundle of confusion. We don’t seem to know anything. Luxury goods are mispriced, values are jumbled, we wonder who that person is we’re in relationship with. We don’t know where our money is or where it’s gone. Venus, in daily life, represents values (resources, money, possessions and quality of relationships). Venus retrograde asks, “What do I value?” Venus retrograde puts us in touch with what has changed and what is truly of value in our lives. Venus retrogrades from 0 Virgo to 14 degrees Leo (July 25-Sept. 6). Leo is about the self and our creativity, which is how we come to know and value ourselves. We “know ourselves through what we create.” In Venus (values) retrograde (inner focus) we will ask, “What are values (not just money and finances)? What are my values? What do I create? How do I value my creations? Do I value myself?” Sunday, Uranus—planet of all things new, revelatory and revolutionary—also retrogrades (from 20 to 16 degrees Aries) until the full moon of Christmas Day. Five months of Uranus retrograde. In July and continuing on through the following months we have many planets retrograding. Things therefore slow down. Everyone’s focus becomes subjective, hidden by veils and curtains. A time when inner reserves of strength are available. A time of protection.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of July 24

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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AJ’s Market

Local cult fave keeps getting bigger and better

 

What do you think of Bernie Sanders?

He’s what we need, more hardcore Democrats. Old-school, ’70s-style Democrats. Tony Dolan, Santa Cruz, Freelancer

 

Hunter Hill Vineyards & Winery

Calling all Merlot lovers—Hunter Hill has released its 2013 estate Merlot ($25)—and a superb one it is, too.

 

Turn Up the Beet

Golden beets with buffalo mozzarella, plus single-malt whiskies and award-winning local Chardonnays