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Editor's Page



English instructor Jeff Mann has written two award-winning chapbooks (small books of poetry), Flint Shards from Sussex and Mountain Fireflies. The first, an intense exploration of romantic loss and longing, won the First Annual Gival Press Chapbook Competition. It takes place in England, where the historic beauty of churches, castles, and gardens become the backdrop for Mann's grief over the love he left behind: "To yearn so deeply, so far from the object of that longing, is to leave your life, always to be where and when you are not."

Mountain Fireflies, winner of the Poetic Matrix Chapbook Series, centers on his life in Appalachia. Potentially mundane subjects like creecy greens and maple syrup become the lens through which Mann contemplates lessons of his Appalachian heritage, such as: "How to love mountains fiercer than any marriage. From the stuff of graves how to seed and coax birth after birth after birth, with shimmered syrup how to sweeten loss and the daily biscuit ."

Flint Shards is published by Gival Press, P.O. Box 3812, Arlington VA 22203. Mountain Fireflies is published by Poetic Matrix Press, P.O. Box 224, Yosemite CA 95389.

In her fourth collection of poetry, Alluvial, associate professor of English Katherine Soniat contemplates family and cultural ties as they are influenced, both literally and metaphorically, by the waterways of her childhood--Maryland's Chesapeake Bay and the tributaries of Louisiana. Just as rushing water keeps sediment continually in flux, Soniat's treatment of her subjects causes them to settle and shift continually in unexpected ways. As the book jacket explains, Alluvial "charts the course of the individual and collective histories influenced by the rich alluvium of culture and geography, ecology and autobiography." Poems that give voice to historical figures like Captain John Smith and Frederick Douglass are merged with those in which the poet remembers her mother or longs for a loved one.

The book is published by Bucknell University Press, 440 Forsgate Dr., Carnbury, NJ 08512.


Soniat cover


John McKelvey Jr. (M.S. plant pathology '41) recounts his unique career and shares the insights born of hindsight in his self-published memoir, Reflections: Living and Traveling in the 20th Century. McKelvey grew up in the farmlands of New York, studied plant pathology at Virginia Tech, and completed a Ph.D. in entomology at Cornell in 1945. He then joined the Rockefeller Foundation, where he served in various capacities for nearly 40 years. From Mexico to Latin America to Africa, McKelvey's work taught him many lessons about different cultures and the impact of administrative politics. "His enthusiasm carries and enlivens this account of an extraordinary life," notes one reviewer. Today, McKelvey has come full circle back to farming in New York.

The book is published by McKelvey, 102 Depot Rd., Richfield Springs, NY 13439.

Blending memoir and fiction, English instructor Simone Poirier-Bures creates the story of Nicole, a young girl growing up in the '50s in Halifax, Nova Scotia. As Poirier-Bures explains in the opening chapter, elements from her past--the 1955 Acadian festival, a stolen ring, the Sacred Heart Convent School-- form the building blocks, but the story she writes is also a fiction that belongs only to Nicole, her "imagined, constructed self." The result is a poignant exploration of what it means to come of age in a certain time and place in history and how it feels to look back from adulthood at a world that exists now only in memory.

The book is published by Pottersfield Press, 83 Leslie Rd., East Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia, Canada, B2Z 1P8, 800/646-2879.




The PMS Outlaws, the latest Elizabeth MacPherson novel by Sharyn McCrumb (M.A. English '85), finds Elizabeth in the Cherry Hill Psychiatric Hospital ("her family's Club Med") trying to cope with her husband Cameron's disappearance. In the meantime, her brother Bill moves his law practice into an old Virginia mansion, while his partner, A. P. Hill, finds herself drawn into the exploits of a rival lawyer turned fugitive. Will Cameron return from the North Atlantic? Will the PMS outlaws perpetrate their bizarre revenge on the wrong man? Combining her wit with a penchant for the outrageous, McCrumb weaves together several subplots, and readers will enjoy the unexpected twists and turns along the way.

The book is published by the Ballantine Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., 201 E. 50th St., New York, NY 10022.

PMS Outlaws

In the Company of Jesus: Characters in Mark's Gospel analyzes characters in the Gospel of Mark who seem to play minor roles but nevertheless have a significant impact on the narrative. Author Elizabeth Struthers Malbon, director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies and professor of religious studies, examines characters such as the 12 disciples, the women who followed Jesus, and the Jewish leaders. As she explains in the preface, "The richness of Markan characterization is in the interplay, comparisons, and contrasts between these characters and in their reaching out to the hearers/readers, both ancient and contemporary."

The book is published by Westminster John Knox Press, 100 Witherspoon St., Louisville, KY 40202-1396.

The Critical Response to John Steinback's The Grapes of Wrath, edited by Barbara A. Heavilin (M.A. English '70), documents the variety of ways critics have responded to Steinback's work since it was first published in 1939. While the novel immediately became a bestseller and earned critical praise, it also drew criticism, and today its place in American literature is increasingly uncertain. This compilation draws together reviews and scholarly articles to examine the changing impact of The Grapes of Wrath through time. It includes a previously published essay as well as a lengthy introductory overview of trends in Steinback scholarship by Heavilin, who is an associate professor of English at Taylor University.

The book is published by GreenwoodPublishing Group, P.O. Box 5007, Westport, CT 06881-5007, 800/225-5800.

Go, and Catch a Falling Star, written by communications professor Marshall Fishwick, traverses the landscape of popular culture through a wide range of topics. From laying out definitions of popular culture to considering the golden arches as an international symbol of Americana, Fishwick engages readers throughoutsometimes in celebration, sometimes in criticism, but always with an underlying respect for the people who make up the cultural forces he examines. "Popular culture is a wandering minstrel, a thing of shreds and patches. It is a complex mosaic, quilt, or collage. Like Proteus, it is always changing, taking on forms and shapes of its own," he writes. If so, the movement of the text aptly reflects the subject matter.

The book is published by Thomson Learning Custom Publishing, 5101 Madison Rd., Cincinnati, OH 45227,


Charles S. Phillips, P.E. (mining engineering '50) has written Construction Contract Administration to provide "a useful guide and reference to help owner and contractor personnel, students, and others associated with privately awarded construction contracts to achieve the often elusive goal of completing their contracts successfully (safely, on time, within budget, meeting design limits, and with no unresolved claims)." The book includes three sections: an overview of the elements of a contract, a review of the contract administration system, and four case studies designed to identify potential problems. Helpful appendices include a checklist for processing a project, a sample bid package, and a list of major construction industry associations.

The book is published by the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration, Inc., 8307 Shaffer Pkwy., Littleton, CO 80127, 303/973-9550.

From the movie War Games to the Y2K craze, the possibility of disaster arising from computer failures has been a recurrent theme. According to Michael P. Harden, Ph.D. (sociology '74), computer-related threats are more than the stuff of fiction or millennial madness. Harden's book, Information Security: A Guide to Protecting Your Information and Computer Systems from Hackers, explains how businesses can and should protect proprietary information such as trade secrets, patents pending, finances, and intellectual property. Harden outlines the strategies hackers use to destroy or corrupt information and gives tips for maintaining data security.

The book is published by Harden's company, CyberGuardian, Inc., 2730 Prosperity Ave., Suite 250, Fairfax, VA 22031, 703/289-4100.


In response to state-mandated changes in educational accountability, Maryland educators have been incorporating a new approach to evaluation known as performance-based assessment. As a pioneer in this process, Kathryn Anderson Alvestad (education '76), principal of Dowell Elementary School in southern Maryland, has learned a great deal about the roadblocks to success and maintains that the community needs to understand this system in order for it to work and that parents ideally should be actively involved. Developing Parent & Community Understanding of Performance-Based Assessment provides a step-by-step guide for building awareness about the benefits of performance-based assessment, encouraging participation in the community, and successfully meeting resistance along the way.

The book is published by Eye on Education, 6 Depot Way West, Larchmont, NY 10538, 914/833-0551.


When the book cover sports Elvis serenading a flock of pink flamingos, you know you're in for a special treat, and Garish Gardens Outlandish Lawns is just that. Author Mary Beth Roberts (communications '86) compiled this humorous look at the world of outlandish lawn ornaments with the help of her husband, photographer Ron Modra. Along with pink flamingos, the book features such quirky decorations as gargoyles, gnomes, and dancing sunflowers. Readers will also meet eccentrics such as the inventor of the pink flamingo himself and a woman who keeps more than 30 outfits for her cement lawn goose.

Roberts and Modra have also recently collaborated on two specialty dining cookbooks: Yo, Blacken This! Hell's Kitchen Meets the French Quarter at the Delta Grill and The Northwoods Table: Natural Cuisine Featuring Native Foods.

Yo, Blacken This! "features hot, flavorful dishes with attitude and punch" from the Delta Grill, a Cajun restaurant in New York City. Opened in 1997 by Chef Greg Tatis, the Delta Grill serves up Cajun favorites with the chef's own New York twist. Modra's full-page color photos are as mouth-watering as the meals. The Northwoods Table, another visual feast, features recipes unique to the northern U.S. and southern Canada. Roberts co-authored the book with Henry Sinkus, owner of the Pine Baron's restaurant in Manitowish Waters, Wis. "Northwoods meals are comfort foods; hot, hearty, and fulfilling," writes Roberts. The book includes Sinkus' recipes for indigenous foods such as venison, duck, pumpkin, and mushrooms.

All three books are published by Willow Creek Press, P.O. Box 147, Minocqua, WI 54548, 800/850-9453.