Posts Tagged ‘Cynthia Haven’

LitHub interviews Heyday’s Steve Wasserman on California’s indie publishing

Friday, October 8th, 2021
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At the helm

Corinne Segal profiles Heyday Books in the current LitHub, in a look at California’s independent publishing scene. I have reason to be grateful. Berkeley’s Heyday is now my publisher, too. Czesław Miłosz: A California Life will be out in a week or so. It’s a Q&A not only with Steve, but several of his staffers, too – Emmerich Anklam, Kalie Caetano, Marthine Satris, Gayle Wattawa. And all of them have a lot to say.

Segal writes: “When Heyday Books, an independent press founded in Berkeley in 1974, approached publisher Steve Wasserman with a job offer, ‘I still had the scent of night jasmine and a wee bit of the old Berkeley tear gas in my nostrils,’ as he recounted to UC Berkeley’s Linda Kinstler in an interview last year. It led him back to the city where he had grown up and taken part in some of the most important civic demonstrations of its past, including, notably, the movement to build People’s Park in 1969—and to an important addition to the independent publishing scene of the Bay Area.

Why did Steve, then editor at large for Yale University Press, make the move? We’ve already written about that here. Steve, of course, can speak for himself (we’ve written about his words about the current publishing scene here), but here’s what he says on this occasion:

“A lack of bureaucracy and freedom from corporate pressures are chief among the pleasures to be derived from independent status. Still, all of us—no matter where we find ourselves in the ecology of publishing—must endeavor to cultivate the means and nimbleness to cut through the noise of the culture and gain attention for deserving work. Curiously, though independent presses are often resource-poor, we are rich in imagination and this is a huge benefit and, indeed, an advantage.”

Asked what particular projects he’s jazzed about, he was kind enough to mention my own humble labors: “We have a few soon-to-debut fall titles that we’re excited to launch in the coming weeks, including Czesław Miłosz: A California Life, a book that explores the times and outlook of the Nobel Prize-winning poet who survived the bombing of Warsaw in World War II before embarking on a four-decade long exile as a California ex-pat. Author Cynthia Haven, who knew the poet personally, offers an account of his work and worldview that reveals how eerily prescient his insights continue to be, especially in light of the catastrophism of our times—from politics to climate breakdown.”

Read the whole thing over at LitHub here.

“I Say It Burns.” Poet/post-rock musician Grzegorz Kwiatkowski in conversation with Cynthia Haven on October 8. Be there!

Friday, September 24th, 2021
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His work is “powerfully necessary, unrelentingly direct.”

Grzegorz Kwiatkowski is fast becoming one of the most vital poetic voices from today’s Poland, with six volumes of acclaimed poetry and translated editions on the way. He is also celebrated as a musician: his internationally known post-rock band Trupa Trupa has been featured on NPR, The Guardian, Rolling Stone, and elsewhere.  At noon, on Friday, October 8, I’ll be having a zoom conversation with him, sponsored by CREEES (the Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies). The link to register is at the bottom of this page.

Kwiatkowski’s minimalist poems explore not only conflicted pasts of Eastern Europe – for example, the Nazi “Aktion T4” euthanasia program – but also the paradoxes of contemporary genocides. As he said, “I’m intrigued by the combination of ethics and aesthetics in one person, one life, one story.” His poems have been perceived as quasi-testimonies, provocative and lyrical utterances delivered by the dead.  

“My grandfather was a prisoner in Stutthof, the Nazi concentration camp east of what used to be the Free City of Danzig. Later he was forced to become a Wehrmacht soldier,” Kwiatkowski said. His poems also explore the paradoxes of contemporary genocides, for example in Rwanda.  “I am not a moralist – as the third generation, I am simply trying to understand what happened in the past and what is increasingly happening around me now.” 

Yale critic Richard Deming said that Kwiatkowski’s work “reveals that the unforgettable is also the undeniable. Is it beautiful? I say it is powerfully necessary, unrelentingly direct. I say it burns.”  

Kwiatkowski has hosted workshops at the University of Oxford, and lectured at the University of California (Berkeley), the University of Chicago, Johns Hopkins University, and others.  

This zoom discussion will be moderated by Cynthia L. Haven, a National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar. Her Czesław Miłosz: A California Life will be out with Heyday Books in October.

Register here: https://stanford.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_LxeMQGD0TR6axiTNg76L-g

Robert Harrison’s acclaimed “Entitled Opinions” radio show gets a makeover

Wednesday, October 18th, 2017
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Robert Harrison as DJ (photo: L.A. Cicero)

From Stanford Report:

Robert Harrison‘s radio show Entitled Opinions has devoted fans all over the world – from Australia to China, Mexico to Russia. One blogger called the intellectually powered interviews, broadcast from KZSU (90.1 FM) and available for free download on iTunes, “one of the most fascinating, engaging podcasts in any possible universe.”

The Rosina Pierotti Professor in Italian Literature, who is also an acclaimed author and regular contributor to the New York Review of Books, has recorded more than 200 conversations since 2005, featuring some of our era’s leading figures in literature, philosophy, science, and cultural history, including Richard Rorty, René Girard, Peter Sloterdijk, Shirley Hazzard, Orhan Pamuk, Colm Tóibin, Marilynne Robinson, Paul Ehrlich, Michel Serres, Hayden White, and Abraham Verghese. It also provides an international platform to Stanford faculty.

But until very recently, the website still used the ancient html format created for the French & Italian Department website, with its long, unmemorable URL. Searching for past shows was clumsy and often impossible. Visitors had to scroll down through a seemingly endless chronological list of past episodes to find what they were looking for.

Among the guests: Pamuk

Harrison was beginning to worry about how to ensure that the program remain available in the future – it’s goldmine for scholars, as well as average listeners who “don’t consider themselves observers or listeners, but full-blown participants in the conversation.”

Meanwhile, journalist Cynthia Haven, who works with Harrison on Stanford’s Another Look book club, was trying to make the high-caliber broadcasts available to an even wider audience. Together, they found solutions.

A generous donation from outgoing Stanford president John Hennessy helped fund a redesign for the website, making it more searchable and up-to-date, with a new URL anyone can remember: entitledopinions.stanford.edu . Moreover, the show has forged a new alliance with The Los Angeles Review of Books. The Entitled Opinions channel on the journal’s website is boosting each featured episode by thousands of viewers. The channel also offers summaries of the conversations – another first for the show.

Among the guests: Girard

“Robert Harrison’s interviews are always incisive, smart, interesting. We are so excited to have Entitled Opinions as a new channel at the Los Angeles Review of Books,” said Managing Editor Medaya Ocher. “He has a devoted following around the world but we wanted to make sure that these conversations reached an even broader public. We’ve loved listening to his show over years and it’s a privilege to host these exceptional interviews on our site.”

In another move to preserve Entitled Opinions, the university librarian is now archiving Entitled Opinions as an important part of Stanford’s cultural legacy and history, even as more episodes are being added.

What keeps Harrison going? His fans, he said. A young woman recently wrote, “I am finally getting my oxygen in the barren and orthodox land of Pakistan where lunacy rules and religious fundamentalism along with brutal patriarchy destroys all the critical and creative potential in every thinking person.”

Another listener added: “your show accompanied me through pretty stressful times of intense military and political conflicts in Israel, when heavy objects were falling from the sky on both sides of the border and people were saying pretty dreadful things about other people. … The shows certainly helped me remain sane.”

Said Harrison, “When you look at the whole archive, it’s a lifeline to a world of intellectual ideas.”

We’ve describe the genesis of the changes – but two essential names must be mentioned in its implementation: the heroic Vittoria Mollo, who worked tirelessly to get the new website up and running, and academic technology specialist Michael Widner, who effected the redesign.

Tomorrow: Meet the authors, and celebrate birthdays with Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Nabokov, and St. George

Friday, April 22nd, 2011
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“Cry God for Harry, England, and Saint George!”

Tomorrow, April 23, is William Shakespeare‘s birthday.  It’s also William Wordsworth‘s birthday, and Vladimir Nabokov‘s birthday – and St. George’s Day, to boot.

It’s also the 8th annual “A Company of Authors” celebration at the Stanford Humanities Center, an all-afternoon gig celebrating the variety, richness and importance of the books produced by the Stanford community.  (More on the event here.)

This year’s auspicious date is not entirely a coincidence.  George Orwell biographer Peter Stansky, who founded the event along with the late, lamented Associates of the Stanford University Libraries, was particularly pleased by the possibilities offered by the juxtaposition.

Peter will open the event by reading a poem by George Steiner about the wisdom of choosing one’s birthday – you see, it’s Steiner’s birthday, too.

The event was inspired by the Los Angeles Times Book Fair and the annual Humanities Center Book party.  There’s a difference, however: the books will be available for sale at a 10 percent discount.  The fête kicks off at 1 p.m., and it’s free at the Humanities Center on Santa Teresa, and the company will be excellent, if I do say so myself.

“It is open to all who wish to come and learn more about the authors’ thinking behind their work, would like to chat with the authors in the periods between sessions and have the opportunity to purchase their books,” he said.  It has another purpose – “and that we can all feel that somehow we are in the tradition of Shakespeare!”

Authors include:  Charlotte Jacobs, Henry Kaplan and the Story of Hodgkin’s Disease;

Birthday boy

Susan Krieger, Traveling Blind; William Kays, Letters from a Soldier; Gabriella Safran, Wandering Soul: The Dybbuk’s Creator: S. An-sky; Abbas Milani, Myth of the Great Satan and The Shah; Ian Morris, Why the West Rules—For Now; Karen Wigen, A Malleable Map; Elena Danielson, The Ethical Archivist; Jack Rakove, Revolutionaries; Karen Offen, Globalizing Feminisms; Myra Strober,  Interdisciplinary Conversations; Stina Katchadourian, The Lapp King’s Daughter; Dan Edelstein, The Enlightenment: A Genealogy; Herbert Lindenberger, Situating Opera: Period, Genre, Reception; Debra Satz, Why Some Things Shouldn’t Be for Sale.  And you guessed it, Humble Moi – Cynthia Haven for An Invisible Rope: Portraits of Czeslaw Milosz.

No RSVP needed

According to Peter, “Most importantly in my view, the books reflect the most important aspect of the University: the life of the mind which sometimes gets forgotten in the many day to day events that take place at Stanford. In my view, this event represents the essence of the University.”

It is also J.M.W. Turner‘s birthday as well as Shirley Temple‘s, which he doesn’t mention.  “Perhaps you can arrange for Shirl ey Temple to come,” he suggested to me.  Do you think?

Postscript:  I know, I know … Shakespeare’s birthday is conjecture, based on his April 26 christening.  Usually, in the 16th century, a birth was followed post haste by a christening in anticipation of instant death.  And, given that he died on April 23, and that April 23 was St. George’s day, and, after all, he did need a birthday – the world fixed on April 23rd.  Good enough for me.  Hope for you, too.  See you tomorrow.

Postscript on 4/23/2013  We mistakenly reported that Alexander Pushkin‘s birthday is on April 23.  Wrong!  It’s June 6, 1799 (what a pleasant way to usher in a new century!)  The error has been corrected.  Thank you, Tatiana Pahlen, for pointing it out to us.

Join me in NYC for the Czesław Miłosz Centenary!

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011
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There’s a swirl of events March 21-28 honoring the Czesław Miłosz centenary in New York City (and one event for Zbigniew Herbert).  Join me in celebrating, if you’re in town!  It’s certainly a rare event for me — at least a decade since I’ve been in New York at all, sedentary little West Coaster that I am.

I will be speaking at Columbia University (see poster at right) on the 28th and at the Brooklyn Central Library on the 27th.

Ann Kjellberg at Little Star has blogged about some of the other events here.

They include:

March 21 — 8 p.m., Kaufman Concert Hall, 92 Street Y: “A Celebration of Czesław Miłosz with Robert Hass, Adam Zagajewski and Clare Cavanagh

March 22 — 7 p.m., Music Building, Queens College: “A Centennial Celebration of the Work of Czesław Miłosz” — Clare Cavanagh, Robert Hass, Edward Hirsch, Adam Zagajewski

March 24 — 7 p.m., Poets House: “A Poet’s Prose: The Poetic Vision of Zbigniew Herbert,” Edward Hirsch, Charles Simic, Alissa Valles, Adam Zagajewski

March 27 — 1.30 p.m., Brooklyn Central Library, “An Invisible Rope: Portraits of Czesław Miłosz,” Cynthia Haven, Adam Zagajewski, Anna Frajlich, Elizabeth Valkenier and Zygmunt Malinowski

March 28 — 7 p.m., The Lindsay Rogers Room, Columbia University, “An Invisible Rope: Portraits of Czesław Miłosz,” Cynthia Haven, Anna Frajlich, Elizabeth Valkenier, Bogdana Carpenter, James Marcus, and Alan Timberlake