Poetry

It was wonderful to see the excitement surrounding Amanda Gorman’s remarkable poetry during yesterday’s inauguration. I wonder whether this will spur people to read more poetry – especially contemporary poetry – and support its publication?

Over the last few years, I’ve been reading much more poetry than ever before both for myself and as the editor of North Dakota Quarterly. I’m convinced that poetry speaks in unique ways to our contemporary situation. I has the capacity to be ambiguous, elusive, and shifting while also speaking significant and, at its best, profound truths to the world. It reminds me that being true shouldn’t be a watchword for a kind of desiccated empiricism or descriptive practices that value reportage over judgement, interpretation, and understanding. Despite recent calls to embrace “truth,” poetry makes clear that being true doesn’t mean being tidy or straightforward. Truth is messy and, in most cases, unclear.

Anyway, maybe we’re living in an age where poetry matters.

My colleagues and I post poetry regularly at the NDQ blog. You can check it out here.

If you like what you read in NDQit would be really great if you subscribed. Poets need venues for poetry to thrive and one way to make sure that the next generation of poets have places to publish, to be read, and to be discovered.

This week, I’ve be reading my way through the latest issue of Rattle, a poetry journal with an impressive circulation, some remarkable poetry, and an enviable track record. Check them out here.

I’m always excited to get a copy of the Beloit Poetry Journal and read through the remarkable collection of poets that it assembles each quarter. NDQ’s stablemate at the University of Nebraska Press is the wonderful Hotel Amerika, which always features provocative and new poetry.

Lately, I’ve been enjoying the poetry of Sun Ra (here’s a nice little essay on what they can be like) and I’m looking forward to getting a copy of Amiri Baraka and Larry Neal collection of Black poets published in 1968: Black Fire: An Anthology of Afro American Writing, which is currently published by a Black owned press, Black Classic Press. You can get a copy here. It’s worth remembering that Alain Locke’s classic anthology of African American literature, The New Negro: An Interpretation, that sought to capture the spirit of the Harlem Renaissance just as Baraka and Neal captured the anger and frustration of Blacks in New York though the Black Arts Movement.

In any event, I’m not trying to convince you to read any particular poetry or to subscribe or purchase any particular journal or collection. At the same time, I AM trying to encourage you to channel your admiration for Amanda Gorman into supporting poets and poetry more broadly. So please, at very least click on one of the links and maybe you’ll find something amazing to read. 

Public Domain Day NDQ Style

This year’s Public Domain Day was pretty exciting. It featured, among other things, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby which was published in 1925 and therefore entered the public domain on January 1. Hemingway’s In Our Time, John Dos Passos’s Manhattan Transfer and Edith Wharton’s The Writing of Fiction join a rather distinguished slate of new books. Jennifer Jenkins provides an expansive list here.

This annual injection of new material into the public domain impacts North Dakota Quarterly which produced four issues in 1925 that are now free from any copyright restrictions. This is particularly significant for the Quarterly because we don’t have individual author agreements dating to those years so have only been able to release the material via rather more restrictive “no derivatives” licenses for entire volumes.

In the 1920s, NDQ was edited by E.T. Towne who was dean of the business school at the University of North Dakota. The magazine mostly featured UND faculty contributions, but nevertheless took on issues of both regional and national interests. Most of the articles are non-fiction or reviews, but there was occasional poetry and fiction.

A quick scan of the 1925 issues reveals some interesting contributions.

The January 1925 (15.2) issue featured a survey of American magazines by UND librarian Alfred D. Keator. It is revealing how much the publishing landscape has changed, but also, in some odd ways, remained the same. While we’ve lost most of the high-volume, popular periodicals and lower volume “little magazines” such as NDQ always experienced significant turn over, it would seem that many of the mid-range, quality periodicals have held on over the last century.

The April 1925 (15.3) issue features a group of articles close to my own interest relating to the religious history of the state of North Dakota. Prominent among them is a piece by Edward P. Robertson which offers a retrospect on 20 years of the unique relationship between UND and Wesley College. Robertson was the president of Wesley College and together with Webster Merrifield negotiated the landmark agreement between the two institutions. If you want to learn more about my interest in this arrangement, check out this article that I just submitted. Another article with a disarmingly contemporary feel is the physicist Karl H. Fussler’s piece titled “The Oneness of Nature,” which was delivered as a convocation address at the University of Manitoba. Fussler departs UND several years later for the University of North Carolina. The Wikipedias tells me what his son, Herman H. Fussler, was a pathbreaking librarian primarily at the University of Chicago.

The May 1925 (15.4) issue includes at article by Lauriz Vold titled “The Supreme Court, Congress, and the Constitution” which sounds like it could appear in any number of quality publications these days. E.D. Schonberger’s poem “Fortitude,” written amid the Agricultural Depression of the 1920s, likewise resonates with our current situation. Since it’s in the public domain, I can publish it here without fear of legal action by Schonberger’s heirs or his ghost.

The Quarterly journal  University of North Dakota  v 15 1924 1925  Full View | HathiTrust Digital Library | HathiTrust D 2021 01 05 07 49 57

The final issue of 1925 is 16.1, which appeared in the November of that year. Like the previous years, there are quite a few articles the feel contemporary. For example H.E. French, Dean of the UND Medical School, wrote on “The Number and Distribution of Physicians in North Dakota.” His colleague John Sinclair, who taught anatomy, wrote on “Evolution—Fact or Theory” which must have had some significant currency in the aftermath of Scopes Trial. Finally, the issue included a short travelogue penned by Orin G. Libby who joined the “The Upper Missouri Historical Expedition of 1925” sponsored by the “Great Northern Railroad” (sic) and visited historical landmarks across the state.

North Dakota Quarterly 87.3/4 is out!

Over the last three years, I’ve been editor of the literary journal North Dakota Quarterly. Needless to say this work has nudged me well beyond my conventional comfort zone. I’ve had to try to wrap my head around not only the intricacies of managing an editorial board and expert genre editors but also develop a workflow with our publishing partners at the University of Nebraska Press.

In any event, this weekend I received my copies of issue 87.3/4. This is the last issue of the third volume that I have edited. It brings together over 300 pages of poetry, reviews, fiction, and essays, and I’m pretty happy with it. 

If you want a copy, you can subscribe here or buy a single copy. If you think you might want a copy, but aren’t quite sure check out our last issue which is available for free here or drop me an email and I’m happy enough to send (very quietly) along a digital version  for you to peruse (as long as you promise to at least consider supporting NDQ!)   IMG 5816

Old Wine in New Skins: The University of North Dakota and the Great War

A few years ago, when The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota was just starting and when I was feeling my way forward as the editor of North Dakota Quarterly, I produced a little book as much as a design study as anything: The University of North Dakota and the Great War. The book was a reprint of nine articles published in North Dakota Quarterly between 1916 and 1919 that deal with the Great War. I set the book in Doves type which has just been re-released at around the same time. 

This past fall a colleague in the Department of English here at UND asked me whether we had ever produced a print version of the book. I admitted that we had not. He then wondered whether it would be possible to do this for a class he’s teaching on the literature of World War I. 

Six weeks later, we’ve prepared a print version of the book. I’ll release it over at the NDQ blog later this week and cross post with The Digital Press then as well. 

To be honest, it’s not my best work. There are some inconsistencies in the table of contents that will haunt me for a while (O.G. Libby versus Orin G. Libby?). I decided this morning that these reflect the historical place of the book in my development as a designer and publisher. I don’t have as clever an explanation for why I had to quickly upload a corrected cover to Amazon and revise the Amazon product description yesterday afternoon (ideally this will be live by noon-ish today).  

Anyway, warts and all, it’s here and available for anyone who wants it for the low, low price of $7.

As a little inducement to purchase this little book, the money raised by this little volume will support both the mission of The Digital Press and it’s role as the financial and production backstop for North Dakota Quarterly. In 2021, NDQ will embark on a rather ambitious new project: a book series. While we’re still trying to work out some of the details, our current plan is for the books to be published under their own imprint from The Digital Press and distributed by the University of Nebraska Press, the publisher of NDQ. The Digital Press will support production and the proceeds will contribute to the financial viability of both NDQ and The Digital Press.  

Of course, the best way to support NDQ is to subscribe, but if you’re looking for a less serious commitment with a historical flavor, grab a copy of the University of North Dakota and the Great War. If you looking for something more poetic, consider buying a copy of Snichimal Vayuchil, which is an experimental poetry workshop in bats’i k’op, or Tsotsil Maya, where writers create poetry in their own mother language and Spanish, sharing their work as a form of what they call relational poetry. 

Download it here or buy it in paperback here.

UND and The Great War COVER SINGLE FINAL 01

Three Things from NDQ and The Digital Press

Publishing tends to be a case of “gradually, then suddenly” to appropriate Hemingway memorable line in The Sun Also Rises. One project has been gradually wending its way through production over the last 18 months and the other has been building for about 6 months and suddenly both are almost ready for release!

Thing The First

The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota is very happy to provide a preview of our next publication: Visualizing Votive Practice: Exploring Limestone and Terracotta Sculpture from Athienou-Malloura through 3D Models by Derek B. Counts, Erin Walcek Averett, Kevin Garstki, and Michael Toumazou.

VVP banner rev

As the dramatic cover suggests, this isn’t an ordinary book. The authors combine a thoughtful analysis of votive limestone and terracotta sculpture from the sanctuary of Malloura on Cyprus, a select catalogue of these objects, and integrated 3D images both embedded in the PDF and linked to Open Context, an dynamic (and archival) linked-data digital publishing platform. 

In other words, this book provides a window in the ancient sanctuary, votive practice, and a collection of sculpture documented through structured light scanning and made available as linked-open data. It will be available as a free, open access, peer-reviewed, monograph.

I know this is a mouthful, so perhaps the best way to understand this project is to go and download the introduction and a preview of the catalogue. To make full use of the 3D PDF technology, which allows you to interact with the 3D scan right on the page, you’ll need to download (for free) Adobe Acrobat Reader.

VVP cover final rev

Thing The Second

As readers of this blog know, I’m editor of the century-old literary journal, North Dakota Quarterly. Mostly, this involves corresponding with authors and making sure everything is ready for our publishing partner at the University of Nebraska Press. It’s tedious work most of the time, but I do get to hang out (via email) with inspiring and creative poets, writers, and artists which is its own kind of reward.  

The great thing about a journal with as much history at North Dakota Quarterly is that its past is a constant inspiration. For the cover 87.3/4, our designer at UNP decided to kick it olde skool with a design that would have looked at home on a cover of NDQ from the 1980s or 1990s.

The artwork on the cover is by Marco Hernandez, and it’s called Regando el Maiz y el Nopal. Issue 87.3/4 will also feature ten more prints from Hernandez as well as work from over 100 contributors.  

NDQ 87 3 4 cover

Page proofs are circulating now and are due back to my desk before the holidays and the issue will go to print in early December. With any luck, subscribers will have their copies before the holidays!

Thing the Third

One of the coolest things about being a publisher and editor is watching work that I’ve shepherded through the publication process get recognized in one way or another. Mostly, this comes in the form of citation or positive reviews. 

Sometimes, it comes in the way of downloads or sales. The forces that have to conspire to lead a book to sell well AND in significant quantities are complicated, and I suspect it mostly has to do with chance. One of the odd quirks of the current election is that all sorts of people are trying to understand the US Electoral College more clearly. This has resulted in a sharp spike in sales for Eric Burin’s edited volume, Picking the President: Understanding the Electoral College (2017). Earlier this week, it made it into the top-25 books in the category of Historical Essays. This is quite an achievement for a small press like ours with a limited marketing budget.

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If you want your copy, it’s on $8 on Amazon or from an independent bookseller.

Louise Glück’s Poetry, The Bakken and the Quarterly

It speaks volumes that a fly will overshadow the announcement of an American poet, Louise Elisabeth Glück, winning the Nobel Prize for literature.

If you don’t have some of her poetry on your shelf, I recommend it (for whatever that’s worth). A few years ago Farrar, Strauss and Giroux published an anthology of her work. Here are some of her poems as well. I also like the essay, “Against Sincerity”:

“…the source of art is experience, the end product truth, and the artist, surveying the actual, constantly intervenes and manages, lies and deletes, all in the service of truth.”

~

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the number of downloads that Kyle Conway’s edited volume, Sixty Years of Boom and Bust: The Impact of Oil in North Dakota, 1958-2018. It has already outperformed my expectations and continues to generate interest and excitement.

Kyle is also a great interview (and conversationalist). I did a little interview with him and posted it to the Digital Press blog. We discuss the book and the past and future of his Bakken research. As always he saves elevates my banal questions with his insightful responses. 

Read it here. Or download the book here, buy it on Amazon here, or get a copy from a small bookshop here.

~

Last but not least, I’ve posted the table of contents for the next issue of North Dakota Quarterly over at the NDQ blog. You can check it out here.

If you like it, you can download volume 85 for free or our latest issue 87.1/2 here.  

As you likely know, these days are particularly challenging for many cultural institutions, publishers, and little magazines. If you can, consider buying a book from a small presssubscribing to a literary journal (like our UNP stablemate, Hotel Amerika), or otherwise supporting the arts.

We are currently reading poetry and essay and are always reading fiction. You can submit something to us here. If you already subscribe, you should get receive your latest copy of NDQ in November. If you’d like to subscribe, please go here

Three Things Thursday: Poetry, Cities, and Teaching

For some reason, this week has an end of the semester vibe. Maybe it’s the midterm exams and the due date for the first major projects. Maybe it’s the convergence of a couple deadlines that has left me breathing a bit easier. Maybe it’s the onset of chilly weather. 

In any event, here’s a mid-semester three things Thursday

Thing the First

North Dakota Quarterly issue 87.3/4 went to our publishing partners at the University of Nebraska Press this morning. I’m as excited about this issue as any that I’ve had the pleasure of editing. First, it offers a particularly diverse range of poetry, fiction, essays, and reviews as well as a series of prints by artist Marco Hernandez. The issue also includes a piece of acoustic fiction from 80-year-old Richard Kostelanetz alongside work by some authors who are publishing for the very first time. Anyway, there are contributions from 103 writers in the issue and if you have the time and interest, I’d urge you to subscribe.

I will admit that this week, I felt a pang of anxiety when I got my paperback copy of Thomas Pynchon’s Against the Day. At comfortably over 1000 pages, I couldn’t help but wonder who had the time to read such a book. In fact, I decided that reading such a book would be an almost violently bourgeois act as it would simply flaunt the luxury of leisure time in a capitalist world where more and more people are struggling simply to get buy (much less have the time to read a book of 1000 pages!) . More than that, reading a book of this length is undemocratic in that its very length and density excludes other books, other voices, and other encounters. It is explicitly monopolistic in its immersive narrative and ponderous length.

If long novels represent the most undemocratic and bourgeois aspects of literature, then short stories, literary magazines, poetry, and novellas are the antidote. A single issue of even the most loosely edited literary magazine reveals, if nothing else, an outpouring of human diversity and creativity. The length of the works alone fits our distracted, overextended, and often-frantic world and reminds us that works that demand our attention for hours or days also require us to have that much attention to spare.

Do read novels, and even long ones, if you have the time, but also remember that quality fiction comes in all shapes, sizes, voices, and political commitments.

Thing the Second 

I’m getting excited about writing the next chapter in my start-stop book manuscript. Over the last few days I’ve been reading and thinking about the archaeology of contemporary American cities. I’ve been re-reading Laura McAtackney and Krysta Ryzewski edited volume, Contemporary Archaeology and the City: Creativity, Ruination, and Political Action (2017) and have noted their observation that despite the city representing the confluence of many elements of interest to archaeologists of the contemporary world, the city itself has yet to attract sustained attention. Shannon Lee Dawdy’s work Patina with it’s emphasis on post-Katrina New Orleans, appeared just a few months before McAtackney and Ryzewski’s book but it remains, as far as I know, the only book length treatment of the archaeology of the contemporary situation in any particular American city. Ryzewski’s work on Detroit is great, but so far limited to articles. An article or two by Laura Wilkie and Dan Hicks and April M. Beisaw’s piece in the McAtackney and Ryzewski volume deal with New York, and that appears to be about it. I suppose I’m excluding works like those by Larry Zimmerman and his collaborators on homelessness in Indianapolis and Paul Mullins work on urbanization and suburbanization in the same town, but Zimmerman’s work doesn’t foreground urbanism, per se, and Mullins’ work tends to have a bit more of a mid-20th century focus, which doesn’t take away from its significance, but puts it on the edge of what we might imagine to be the contemporary, post-industrial city. I suppose we could include more popular work: Christine A. Finn’s Artifacts: An Archaeologist’s Year in Silicon Valley (MIT 2001) and the awareness of the contemporary situation expressed in Adrian Praetzellis’s (and collaborators) work in Oakland, but it is not the emphasis of this work.

What’s enticing to me in particular is the overlap between work by environmental historians on particular cities (also here) and archaeologists of the contemporary world. This includes William Cronon’s masterful Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West (1991), Mike Davis’s City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles (1990), Andrew Hurley, Environmental Inequalities: Race, Class, and Industrial Pollution in Gary, Indiana, 1945–1980 (1996), Gray Brechin’s Imperial San Francisco: Urban Power, Earthly Ruin (2006), Greg Hise, Land of Sunshine: An Environmental History of Metropolitan Los Angeles (2005), and Matthew Kringle’s Emerald City : an Environmental History of Seattle (2008). My reading list overfloweth!

Thing the Third

This semester I’ve enjoy a tale of two classes. One of my classes is going great with an engaged and even enthusiastic gaggles of history majors and minors. While it is easy enough to credit this to the self-selected students enrolled, it hasn’t always been a great class. In fact, last semester, prior to The COVIDs, it was rough enough sledding that I was considering an emergency redesign after only one semester with my new plan. (You can read about it here).

My History 105 class, on the other hand, has been a bit of a shit-show. Not only has my approach to hybrid learning – where I meet with class in 3 40-minute chunks each week – shown somewhat wanting, but I need to consider the pace and flow of work each week to  make the course easier for students to manage in their week away from the classroom.

That’s right, I’m taking about workflow. WORKFLOW. We’re talking about workflow. 

I underestimated how much regularly class meetings shaped the flow of work in the course and how regular meetings structure due dates, work to set priorities and to reinforce expectations. 

Three Things Thursday: Ruins, Books, and the Quarterly

Things are a bit busier than usual these days, so I thought I’d share some of the stuff rattling in my office with a little Three Things Thursday.

Thing the First

I’m pretty sure that I won’t write it, but someone should really pull together a review essay on recent books about ruins. I’m hoping to finish a short review of Martin Devecka’s Broken Cities (2020), which I’ve drafted here, and a few weeks ago, I read and enjoyed Filipe Rojas’s The Pasts of Roman Anatolia (2019). I read and found useful parts of Simon Murray’s 2020 book, Performing Ruins, which stands at the intersection of archaeology, drama, and social critique. It wouldn’t be difficult to add Rodney Harrison and Colin Sterling new edited volume Deterritorializing the Future: Heritage in, of and after the Anthropocene (2020) or the massively collaborative Heritage Futures: Comparative Approaches to Natural and Cultural Heritage Practices (2020) volume to the list. Lynn Meskel’s  A Future in Ruins: UNESCO, World Heritage, and the Dream of Peace (2018) fits the theme on the basis of its title alone (I’ve blogged about it here) and Francisco Martínez’s and Patrick Laviolette’s book Repair, Brokenness, Breakthrough: Ethnographic Responses (Berghahn 2019) would fit into a larger conversation about ruins and ruination as well. Finally, Susan Stewart’s book, Ruin Lessons (2020) has been languishing on my “to read pile” for most of the year and I just need to suck it up and read it.

Obviously not all of these books consider ruins in the same way which perhaps makes a kind of comparative review a bit awkward. On the other hand, the range of different approaches to ruins could make a kind of oddly compelling essay in the right hands. 

Things the Second

It’s always great to get some media coverage for a book from The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota. This week the Williston Herald published a nice interview with Kyle Conway about Sixty Years of Boom and Bust: The Impact of Oil in North Dakota, 1958-2018. One thing that struck me about this article is that not only did it do more than just rely on the book’s press release, but it also — and perhaps more importantly — drove traffic to the book’s webpage. More than that, this traffic resulted in downloads. For an open access press like mine, downloads are a pretty precious commodity because they mean books are getting into people’s hands.

The Digital Press is also excited to announce that One Hundred Voices: Harrisburg’s Historic African American Community, 1850-1920 is now available from The Midtown Scholar Bookstore in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Proceeds from the books sold there will go to support the maintenance of the Commonwealth Monument. If you’re thinking about buying this remarkable little book, now is a great opportunity to buy it and make a difference.

Finally, over the past six months, Eric Burin’s edited volume, Picking the President: Understanding the Electoral College (2018) has become a surprise best seller for The Digital Press. Following on this success, Dr. Burin was invited to host one of Humanities ND’s “Brave Conversations” about the electoral college. The event is online and, frankly, a bit pricey at $50 for a non Humanities ND member, but I’m sure it’ll be worth it! You can check it out here.

Thing the Third

This time of year is, for the foreseeable future, NDQ time. This means I spend hours processing contributions to the Quarterly, organizing paperwork, and putting the volume into some semblance of order. I detailed my process here.

What makes this all tolerable is that I also get a chance to spend time again with our accepted submissions. This means re-reading the poetry, fiction, and essays that make their way into each issue of the Quarterly.

My excitement usually gets the better of me and I begin to share some of the content from the issue on the NDQ blog. This morning, I shared two of John Sibley Williams’ poems. Go and check them out here.

Three Things Thursday

Back-to-back weeks with Three Things Thursday! How crazy can it be here at the Archaeology of the Mediterranean World? 

With the semester looming and outstanding project piling up, I wanted to write some shorter things over the next few week, but when I sat down to 

Thing The First

Here’s a little piece that I wrote for NDQ’s blog that darts and dodges between the past and the present: 

Yesterday, I sent the last pieces for issue 87.3/4 out for copy editing ahead to get a bit of a jump on what will likely be a hectic fall semester here in North Dakota Quarterly-land. 

To celebrate, I had planned to make a short announcement that we would be observing the great European tradition of taking some time off in August to recharge and enjoy the last of the “frog days” of summer. Instead, I found myself reading back issue of North Dakota Quarterly and writing up a short blog post.

Last fall, we were really happy to publish a piece by Jim Sallis not only because it was a good story, but also because Sallis was a long-time contributor to NDQ from the early 1980s and had returned to the journal’s pages after over a decade away. We posted his story here with links to his other pieces in NDQ.

Issue 87.3/4 will include another such contributor, Priscilla Long. We’ve just accepted her short essay “Holy Shit!” and I can’t wait to share it with our readers in a few months. In the meantime, check out these past contributions by Long to the Quarterly starting in the mid-1980s. 

Her works not only touched me personally, but they also are more than just a little prescient. The first piece she published in NDQ 55.1 (1987). It’s listed in the table of contents as a story, but it clearly draws deeply on Long’s childhood on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It’s called: “Snapshots: The Eastern Shore of Maryland. Having grown up in Delaware, the Eastern Shore has always fascinated me. It was so rural compared to the suburban bustle of northern Delaware and so remote, but it also seemed so close. It was a reminder, maybe, that our past wasn’t really that far away. She alludes again to her childhood on an Eastern Shore farm in a 2002 essay from NDQ 69.1 (2002) titled “Writing as Farming” and, it’s hard to escape Long’s interest in character in her own work as motivating her essay in NDQ 59.3 (1991). Here she critiques Mavis Gallant’s “Overhead in a Balloon” through the lens of Chekhov’s “The Darling.”

In issue 56.1 (1986), she published a poem titled “The Return,” which could serve as an epigram to this post. The opening lines are lovely: 

This sleep will wash me back
to where I used to dream

In issue, 57.3 (1989), she published an essay (or maybe a story) called “Solitude” which speaks so obviously to our current condition that I’ll simply link to it. And in the next issue, published a story called “Old Man.” 

When an author returns to the Quarterly, it reminds me that people submit multiple pieces to the same journal over time (and with each piece endure the risk of rejection) because they feel a connection. And this makes literary journals more than just little magazines. At their best, journals like NDQ create a sense of community (or maybe even family) among their contributors and readers through a shared past that shapes a common present.

As Long wrote in “The Return”:

So I wait to wake
I hardly feel the coldness
of the deep. This night is not
as long as childhood was
As then, so now,

the earth is dreaming darkness
towards the blazing sun.

Thing The Second

I’ve never been a huge Truman Capote fan, but I can’t deny that he represents one of the most fascinating individuals of the 20th century literary scene and he is a key instigator of our 21st-century interest in true crime stories, podcasts, and television.

Capote appeared at the 1976 UND Writers Conference and read from his then recent work, but the long shadow of In Cold Blood still followed Capote and he inevitable responded to questions concerning its influence and morality.

The great thing is that you can watch Capote’s reading and his response to the audience in this digitized and newly released video from the UND Writers Conference archives. 

Check it out here.   

And special credit goes to current UND Writers Conference director, Crystal Alberts, who managed to get these videos digitized and, more importantly, did the footwork needed to get permission to release these videos. I can only imagine how much energy and persistence is necessary to get an author’s estate to approve the release of material like this.

Thing The Third

Over the last week, I’ve been working on some design and layout for book scheduled to appear this fall titled Visualizing Votive Practice edited by Derek Counts, Erin Averett, and Kevin Garstki. It is the first book from The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota that emphasizes “The Digital” over the traditional form of publishing and will bring together text and 3D images in a fairly convention PDF package that is nevertheless linked extensively to open data from around the web.

A key component (and partner) of this project is Open Context who integrated the ability to view and manipulate 3D images into their linked open data publishing platform. Linking to individual records in Open Context allowed the authors to have stable and persistent URLs for each artifact that they discuss in the book. Check it out here

Individuals seeking to reference these artifacts will be able to cite either the rather more conventional catalogue entry in the book or the stable URI provided by Open Context. It will also allow the reader to move from the linear presentation and arguments offered in the book to a more non-linear movement through the data through integrated hyperlinks.

Stay tuned for more on this project over the next few months!  

Three Thing Thursday: A Story, an Interview, and a Map

My grades were submitted on Monday, and I made the mistake of thinking that summer would begin now. Alas, the world had other plans with zoom meetings, deadlines, and an endless stream of emails from various administrative accounts across my university.

The good news is that despite the noise, there are plenty of fun things to keep my occupied this summer, and I thought that I’d share a few on an mid-May “Three Things Thursday”:

Thing the First

If you’re like me, you’ve already started to think about how to adapt your classes to another COVID-inflected semester in the fall. It seem highly likely that digital media are going to play a larger role in what you do in the classroom. 

The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota chatted a bit with Sebastian Heath about his recent edited volume DATAM: Digital Approaches to Teaching the Ancient MediterraneanYou can read the interview with Sebastian here. And you can download the a digital copy of the book, purchase it via Amazon, or from an independent bookstore

Another book that might help you think more broadly about teaching using digital approaches is Shawn Graham’s recently published Failing Gloriously and Other Essays. At a time when it is becoming more and more important that we act in a humane and understanding way toward our students and colleagues, Shawn’s book shines light on failure not as the prelude to triumph, but as a fundamental part of learning and empathy. We also had a long conversation with him that you can read here. You can download it for free here, buy it on Amazon here, or get a copy from an independent bookseller here.

Thing the Second

I’m pretty excited to have posted Shane Castle’s short story “Ursa” at the North Dakota Quarterly blog this morning. During my time as editor, it is one of my favorite stories. 

The thing that makes is so appealing is the ambiguity of it all. Is the story meant to be touching and heartfelt? Is it just an exercise in the absurd? Is it meant to be funny? All these things? 

There’s also something about the story that makes it feel appropriate for our current situation. The story reckons with the experience of coming out of hibernation, memories of our past, pre-COVID life, our efforts to stay connected over distance, and the awkwardness in how we engaged with others. In short, the story is so much of what unusual, non-commercial, and (broadly) experimental fiction can be. 

If you have a few minutes over lunch or while sipping an evening cocktail, give it a read.  

Thing the Third

The final thing this Thursday is a map prepared by a team led by my old buddy David Pettegrew. As I’ve mentioned on a previous Three Thing Thursday, he’s been leading an ambitious project, Digital Harrisburg, designed to create rich historical maps of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. This past week, we released yet another update to the maps of Harrisburg’s “Old Eighth Ward” which was an African American neighborhood destroyed to produce the state capital area. Check out the interactive maps here

Needless to say, this project has inspired me to think more critically and dynamically about my own community and how constructing data-rich maps can help us understand our community in the past, but as importantly, in the present.