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Sep 18th
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Literature

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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A&E - Literature

How Are You?

How Are You?

Robin Black’s short stories take a look at the poignant human experiences we all share
The ubiquitous greeting adopted by most Americans is, “Hi. How are you?” To which the expected response is “Fine, and you?” This exchange is made perhaps billions of times a day between everyone from bank tellers to co-workers to the man that comes to install the new dishwasher at your home. But does anyone really care? If a deviation to the usual response of, “Fine, how are you?” is indeed made, the robotic trance of the standard impersonal greeting is broken, revealing an uncertainty of what to say next. To say, “I’m terrible actually,” elicits a panicked state in the mind of the other party, who becomes unsure of whether to ask why, or simply say, “I’m sorry.” The thing is, it seems that few people want to hear how someone is really doing, and vice versa—few really admit that they are feeling anything besides, “Fine, thank you.”

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Catwalk on the Wild Side

Meet the artists and designers behind this year’s edition of FashionART, SantaCruz’s most outrageous fashion show

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Feeding Frenzy

Culinary journey ‘The Trip to Italy’ isn’t the foodie film you’d expect 

 

Watch List

From Google to the government to data brokers, why your privacy is now a thing of the past
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Sweet Treats

Local cannabis bakers win award for cookies

 

What fashion trends do you want to see, or not see?

Santa Cruz  |  High School Guidance Counselor

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Santa Clara Wine Trail

My memories of growing up in England include my mother pouring port after Sunday dinner—and sometimes a glass of sherry before dinner. My family didn’t drink much wine back then, but we certainly made up for it with the port and sherry.