Marcello Di Cintio is a Canadian writer. He won the 2012 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing for his book Walls: Travels Along the Barricades. The award was handed out on March 6, 2013 at the Writers’ Trust of Canada’s annual Politics and the Pen in Ottawa. Marcello was born in Calgary, Alberta where he currently lives with his wife, Moonira, and son, Amedeo.
We met recently to discuss his literary pilgrimage to Iran, which he captured in his book, Poets and Pahlevans, a Journey into the Heart of Iran. Please listen here:
Rae Armantrout is an American poet generally associated with the Language poets. Armantrout was born in Vallejo, California but grew up in San Diego. She has published ten books of poetry and has also been featured in a number of major anthologies. Armantrout currently teaches at the University of California, San Diego, where she is Professor of Poetry and Poetics.
On March 11, 2010, Armantrout was awarded the 2009 National Book Critics Circle Award for her book of poetry Versed published by the Wesleyan University Press, which had also been nominated for the National Book Award. The book later earned the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Armantrout’s most recent collection, Just Saying, was published in February 2013. She is the recipient of numerous other awards for her poetry, including an award in poetry from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts in 2007 and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2008.
We met recently to discuss her poetry, William Carlos Williams, place, and how to be a literary tourist in San Diego. Please listen here:
(Boston, MA)— The Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) Board voted unanimously today to approve the designation of the Boston Literary Cultural District. This is the first Massachusetts Cultural District to focus specifically on one art form.
The effort to establish the district was led by GrubStreet Founder and Executive Director Eve Bridburg. GrubStreet’s headquarters are located in the district which runs from Copley Square to Downtown Boston and is also home to the Boston Athenaeum, Boston Public Library, and the annual Boston Book Festival.
“I’m thrilled to announce the designation of Boston’s second Cultural District,” said MCC Executive Director Anita Walker. “We recently celebrated the designation of the first 25 Massachusetts Cultural Districts and I’m delighted to add the Literary Cultural District to this extraordinary group of communities.”
A cultural district is a compact, walkable area of a community with a concentration of cultural facilities, activities, and assets. MCC’s Cultural Districts Initiative grew out of an economic stimulus bill passed by the Massachusetts Legislature in 2010.
It is designed to help communities attract artists and cultural enterprises, encourage business and job growth, expand tourism, preserve and reuse historic buildings, enhance property values, and foster local cultural development.
About the Boston Literary Cultural District
Shakespeare on the Common. A speakers’ forum featuring Alice Walker, or a book festival with Doris Kearns Goodwin. Walking tours that take you past Sylvia Plath’s apartment, just around the corner from Robert Frost’s residence, and Khalil Gibran’s….
All that, and more – poetry slams, writing workshops, readings, signings – can be found in Boston’s Literary Cultural District, the first such district in the country. From Washington Street to Exeter, from Beacon Hill to Boylston, Boston is crammed with literary happenings and history – probably more so than any other city in the country. Where else would you find an annual conference where aspiring novelists can meet literary agents who might be willing to peddle their work? Literary giants like David McCullough to Dennis Lehane? A vibrant community of writers and readers who partake of Boston’s rich literary life via readings, discussions groups, and other programs and events? An unparalleled literary heritage with a broad and diverse set of writers ranging from enslaved poet Phillis Wheatley to Henry David Thoreau, Anne Sexton, and Eugene O’Neill?
Hotels in the district offer literary tour packages. Restaurants like Carrie Nation offer themed literary menus. And institutions from the Boston Public Library to the Boston Athenaeum, Emerson College, Suffolk University, and GrubStreet have ongoing programs and events that cater to those who enjoy their relationship with the written word – or will develop one now that all things literary in Boston have been made more visible.
Most authors are born to be failures and the publisher knows it. He makes his living out of the few successes, and if he is indulgent with less successful writers, it is not only because there is always the possibility that today’s failure may become tomorrow’s best seller. Unless he has a genuine sympathy with the author’s problems, no one can hope to make an enduring success of publishing
- MICHAEL JOSEPH
To write books is easy, it requires only pen and ink and the ever-patient paper. To print books is a little more difficult, because genius so often rejoices in illegible handwriting. To read books is more difficult still, because of the tendency to go to sleep. But the most difficult task of all that a mortal man can embark on is to sell a book.
Another illusion, seldom entertained by competent authors, is that the publisher’s readers and others are waiting to plagarize their work. I think it may be said that the more worthless the manuscript, the greater the fear of plagarism.
SIR STANLEY UNWIN
A small publisher really should, if he can, stay away from fiction.
A small press is an attitude, a kind of anti-commerciality. The dollars come second, the talent and the quality of the writing come first. If the presses wanted to make money, they’d be out there selling cook books.
Gone today, here tomorrow
ALFRED KNOPF on book returns.
Great editors do not discover nor produce great authors; great authors create and produce great publishers.
The Green Ray (Le Rayon Vert) is a novel by Jules Verne published in 1882 and named after the optical phenomenon of the same name. The lead characters set off to find the green ray in Scotland, near Fair Island in the Orkneys (just as Verne himself did). After many thwarted attempts, due to clouds, flocks of birds and distant boat sails hiding the sun, the ray eventually becomes visible, but alas (or not), the protagonists, seeing love in each other’s eyes, ignore the horizon.
Green flashes and green rays are rare optical phenomena that occur shortly after sunset or before sunrise, when a green spot is visible for a short period of time above the sun, or a green ray shoots up from the sunset point. It is usually observed from a low altitude where there is an unobstructed view of the horizon, such as on the ocean. The idea in the novel that one can predict where and when to observe the green ray has no scientific basis.
Cited in Eric Rohmer’s 1986 film, the green ray is used as a central image providing meaning and guidance for the film’s troubled main character, Delphine. Verne’s book is discussed at length in the film as a “fairytale love story” whose protagonists are consumed in their search for the rare meteorological phenomenon. Believed to give a heightened perception to those who view it, one of the characters further explains that “when you see the green ray you can read your own feelings and others too.” Seizing this idea, Delphine uses her own search for the ‘rayon vert’ to help overcome her crippling fear of intimacy.
As happens so often with book lovers, serendipity (sadly not the late, lamented bookstore of the same name) was at hand during my recent visit to Los Angeles.
It showed up in a book (of course), a book that I’d bought at
Sam: Johnson’s Bookshop (highly recommended). During the day in question, I’d made a special trip to
Powell Library on the UCLA campus. I wanted to have a look at the ceiling of the dome
in the reading room. It has painted on it the imprints of 30-40, 15th and 16th century printers, the most famous of which is probably that of
Prior to this we’d been at the glorious Getty Museum, ostensibly to check out the
Research Library but, seeing as it was closed (one of the few days of the year that this is the case), to take in the great view,
the garden, the art,
and the temporary exhibitions (notably one called ‘Chivalry’ that presented some lovely illustrated manuscripts and
Book(s) of Hours.
From here we headed downtown for a browse through The Last Bookstore: ‘The Strand on the West Coast’. Big selection of books here
down. The building used to house a bank. The more collectible books are found in the old vault…a two volume set caught my eye: Vasari’s Lives of the Painters published by The Limited Editions Club. SIGNED by the printer and designer Giovanni Mardersteig on the colophon page. It only cost $40. I’ve seen some going for as much as $300. Needless to say it now sits on my bookshelf.
On the way out of town, in Pasadina, we visited the
Huntington Library, with its extraordinary ‘highlights’ exhibition featuring important editions of Newton, Shakespeare and Chaucer among others. Interesting how big some of these dudes’ handwriting was, especially
Jack London’s and
Henry Thoreau’s. Once through this we were treated to a whole wall full of different editions of The Origin of Species, and some lovely bird and animal
prints (notice how squared off the tails are..!). The Huntington is surrounded by some lovely gardens, including a Rose Garden which unfortunately, due no doubt both to the time of year and a water shortage, was a bit worse for wear. I sat for a time under a bower outside the coffee shop savouring a very potent double espresso.
About ten minutes drive from the Huntington you’ll find one of the great indie bookstores in California. Vromans has been in business since the 1890s providing a wonderfully wide selection of titles, sponsoring many high-profile author events, and giving back to the community. It’s located next to a theatre, and several blocks away from a very decent used bookstore, Book Alley.
Which brings us back to serendipity. That evening after all of this literary touristing, I sat down to read my Sam: Johnson acquisition, a history of the Ward Richie press. The foreword happens to have been written by one Lawrence Clark Powell, the guy they named the Library after (he was chief librarian there for many years). In it, he thanks Richie for getting him his first job…at Vromans.
Here first are a few quotes about the mighty notebook (notepad, writing pad, drawing pad, legal pad):
When Bugs Bunny walks into rehab, people are going to turn and look. People at rehab were stealing my hats and pens and notebooks and asking for autographs. I couldn’t concentrate on my problem. Eminem
When I was still in prep school – 14, 15 – I started keeping notebooks, journals. I started writing, almost like landscape drawing or life drawing. I never kept a diary, I never wrote about my day and what happened to me, but I described things. John Irving
I can’t predict how reading habits will change. But I will say that the greatest loss is the paper archive – no more a great stack of manuscripts, letters, and notebooks from a writer’s life, but only a tiny pile of disks, little plastic cookies where once were calligraphic marvels. Paul Theroux
When I’m in the field, when I’m working, I keep very careful notes. I wear big shirts with big breast pockets, and I carry in them two little spiral notebooks. Peter Matthiessen
Here second is a list of fine notebook purveyors:
3. Field Notes
6. Baron Fig
In a recent survey the following top 20 trends were identified by tourism officials as having major impacts on their Destination Marketing Organizations.
(The majority of these trends involve the collective impact of:
• The rapid adoption of smart technology
• Growing prominence of social media
• A result of first two forces – the changing expectations and requirements of customers)
- Social media’s prominence in reaching the travel market (e.g., Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Weibo).
- Mobile platforms and apps becoming the primary engagement platform for travelers.
- Customers increasingly seeking a personalized travel experience.
- Smart technology (e.g., phones, bag tags, and cards) creating new opportunities for innovative new services and processes.
- Travelers demanding more information, control, interaction, and personalization.
- Geotargeting and localization becoming more prevalent.
- Brand identity for destinations becoming more critical in terms of meeting planner perceptions about value and experience.
- Customers increasingly looking for a travel experience that allows them to experience a local’s way of life.
- Technology enabling faster decision-making by customers, thereby, increasing business to a destination.
- Consumers becoming increasingly comfortable with ordering products online.
- Hotel taxes increasingly vulnerable to alternative politically based projects.
- Big Data arriving for the tourism industry.
- The brand of a destination becoming a more important factor in travel decisions to consumers.
- Governments facing pressure to reduce or eliminate direct financial subsidies to the tourism sector.
- Short-stay trips and mini vacations becoming increasingly popular.
- More third-party information providers aggregating content about destinations.
- Peer-to-peer buyer influence driving customer purchases.
- Governments dealing with tourism from an integrated, multidepartmental perspective, focused on economic development.
- Customers increasingly going directly to suppliers for goods and services.
- Economic conditions continuing to be highly volatile, subject to global and regional shocks.