Monday, December 10, 2012

What is "the Power of One?" THE POWER OF ONE: THE STORY OF THE BORDER ANGELS by Enrique Morones with Richard Griswold del Castillo | SDSU Press 2012

Ever been to a borderland? You know, that dry, volatile, and daunting space between Mexico and the United States. The stretch of miles that blurs both cultures into a hybrid of Mexican tradition and American customs. Well, activist Enrique Morones is on the front lines of this borderland fighting for a peaceful bridge between both worlds.

In 1986, Morones founded the non-profit organization, Border Angels which has saved thousands of immigrants from certain death while attempting to cross into the United States. Morones was born in San Diego, and with the help of thousands of volunteers he has become a presence of support for those struggling in this borderland. In The Power of One: The Story of the Border Angels's165 pages and with the help of Chicano historian, Richard Griswald del Castillo, Morones has been able to document his personal and public battles for social justice and for the protection of human rights. Mexican president Felipe Calderon personally awarded Morones in 2009 with Mexico's National Human Rights Award for his dedication and constant fight for justice.

Enrique Morones is an educated and passionate activist that has profoundly changed the lives of people on both sides of the border. His deep loyalty to his Mexican and American roots have motivated him to work hard and inspire others. Morones believes that there is power within every individual and that even one person has the capacity to make a profound impact.

Purchase you copy of The Power of One: The Story of the Border Angels from the SDSU Press and learn about the borderland through the eyes of the person that saves it!!

The back cover of this new SDSU Press volume appears there to your left--click it to enlarge and read more about THE POWER OF ONE.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Coroebus Triumphs: The Alliance of Sport and the Arts (edited by Susan J. Bandy)

The languid movements of an athlete are as fluid as the motions of a painter, or the feverish rush of a writer’s fingertips across their keyboard.  Coroebus Triumphs: The Alliance of Sport and the Arts is a collection of papers, which were presented during the summer of 1984, at what was referred to as The Coroebus Conference.  Scholars, athletes, and artists united in this singularly unique alliance of the arts and sports.
            The dalliance between the arts and sports is perhaps the longest known love affair, dating back centuries.  The ancient Greeks united the arts and sports what seems like a lifetime ago, yet the Coroebus Conference, and the papers that became the bold brain child of artists, scholars and sports enthusiasts, was a new sharing of knowledge and understanding of a beauty previously untouched upon.  Each party stroked the flame of interconnectedness between their given fields.
            Coroebus Triumphs:  The Alliance of Sport and the Arts is a reflection of the awe and knowledge that came from the fruit of those who met at the Coroebus Conference.  It offers the reader the opportunity to sink one’s toes into the convictions of sports and scholarly study, both in literature and the arts. Begin your own journey into the torrid affairs of the arts and sport by purchasing Coroebus Triumphs:  The Alliance of Sport And the Arts:

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Adventures of Four Trips to Antiquity By Everett Gee Jackson

All great books are meant to take us on an adventure, to places unknown, with people unknown, to a world unknown; Everett Gee Jackson does just this in his book Four Trips To Antiquity.  Although an artist by trade, Jackson manages to immerse us in the ruined lands of old:  Chichicastenango and Copan.  These are lands of such fruitful history and Jackson manages to bring to life societies long since dead. 
His true accounts and experiences pull us deep into a land of imagery and culture, wrapping our brains in hand drawn pictures of images we hardly knew existed; always urging us to grasp for more, want for more, beg for information that only his experiences could provide to us.  He adapts customs and traditions, held so dearly by certain people of the world, into words and images that we can understand through our senses.
Jackson provides image after image of statues, idols, monuments, caressing our minds, and beckoning us to follow him on an adventure through these exotic lands.  He is our tour guide, telling us when and where to step while recounting his own tales, and inviting us along for the ride.  His visual aids are our stepping-stones from this land to the very one he is enthusiastically describing to us and we have no choice but to jump in beside him.

His words ruminate in our brains as images flash by, pushing us further along on our voyage to a land we never even knew we wanted to visit:  Chichicastenango, to Copan.  We are children again, as we adventure by his side, thrust into adventure after adventure, each one causing a deep craving in us.  A craving for more, more knowledge, more visual imagery, more history, more adventure. 
With each new stepping-stone, Jackson thrusts us forward, toward beauty, toward the beautiful oblivion that only a true adventure can provide to us.  As we turn each page in a feverish rush, we see through Jackson’s eyes, the beauty of what once was but is no more.  These lands which now lay in ruin, are reimagined by Jackson for our own amusement.
            Jackson takes us back to a time and places where certain things mattered more, others mattered less, but one can finish reading his book and be certain that the time and place we have just visited is not our own.  We must thank him for that, for without him, we never would have made it there and back again, to this land so alien to us. 

For information about Popol Vuh (Jackson’s reason for adventuring) look no further:

Interested in an adventure of your own?:

You can find your own adventure with Everett here:

Monday, September 24, 2012

Spencer Dew's, Learning for Revolution: The Work of Kathy Acker, Brings this Feminist's Work Back to Life

Spencer Dew's Learning for Revolution: The Work of Kathy Acker is providing the public with a comprehensive insight into the work and theory of Kathy Acker. This experimental thinker's theories have not stopped making an impact in various facets of society. Kathy Acker broke the mold of the 'sophisticated scholar' through her provocative and controversial style. Spencer Dew's analysis of Acker does not limit itself to her narratives as he takes a dive into her essays and criticism as well as her teachings. This exploration of her work is crucial for a true understanding of Acker's message and perception of society.

Her scholarly work is not the only component under the microscope; Dew also uses aspects of her life and overall philosophies to take the reader into Acker's world. Dew writes: "Kathy Acker's broadly conceived political and ethical dreams-of a world less defined by inequality, hierarchy, oppression-are dreams which I share. As a scholar and writer, I am urgently concerned with questions of to what extent and through what means literature and art can bring about change of political structures, alter and construct communities, and redefine relations between human beings."
click to enlarge 

This feminist theorist is brought to life through Spencer Dew's Learning for Revolution: The Work of Kathy Acker! Make sure to pick up your SDSU Press copy today!

Monday, September 10, 2012

What is the Origin of Life? Who is Darwin? Wheeler's, "150 Years of Evolution" Will Explain!

In commemoration of Charles Darwin's 200th birthday San Diego State University gathered scholars from varying fields and injected life to Darwin's concept of evolution. The rich discussions scrutinized as well as affirmed Darwin's theories. These scholars brought their knowledge and diverse backgrounds  and applied them to Darwin's philosophies. The dig for the origin of life continued and was enriched by modern day thinkers. Whether Darwin's groundbreaking theories are flawed or not, he still remains one of the greatest thinkers to ever explore the origin of life. Editor, Mark Richard Wheeler, with aide of William A. Nericcio, has combined crucial studies on Darwin's theories with essays from the scholars that attended the SDSU event. Wheeler's, "150 Years of Evolution: Darwin's Impact on Contemporary Thought and Culture" is not limited to those schooled in Darwin's theories, it is a book open for those interested in a lively discussion of life.

Pick up your copy today and brush up on Darwin's theories! Click here!

Darwin: 150 Years of Evolutionary Thinking

Thursday, September 06, 2012

An Experimental Journey in Avant Garde Wizardry and Synthesis! All within Renato Barilli's Voyage to the End of the World (SDSU PRESS)

Renato Barilli accomplishes something wildly different and radically unexpected in his Italian translated work, Voyage to the End of the World. By combining extravagantly experimental poetry as well as deep rooted critical discussion, Barilli brilliantly blazes a spotlight on the Italian experimental poetry of the 1960's-70's in a theoretical context indebted to Saussure's concept of the linguistic sign and Freud's notion of pre-oedipal bliss. 

Voyage to the End of the World encapsulates the spirit of the poet through its discussion and inclusion of various forms of puns, visuality, neologisms, and the full range of devices that poets have relied on to expand the capabilities of expressive language for years! 

Experience a wicked rekindling of avant garde in Voyage to the End of the World, available through the SDSU Press!

And check out the explosive performance of Totino, an author of one of the works in Barilli's journey, below!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Is It All Over Now? "In Memoriam To Postmodernism: Essays on the Avant-Pop"

Postmodernism is dead. Or so say Avant-Popists. Or so said Avant-Popists close to twenty years ago. So, looking at it today, has Avant-Pop deflated and died as well? Or has it exploded, continuing to combat the fractured yet ironically monolithic technological medium that has us updating Facebook with pictures for our status, while Tweeting about our innermost superficial thoughts, on our way to buy an organic muffin trucked in from out of town, to be washed down with a strong cup of fair-trade coffee from caffeine giant Starbucks, before we head into the nearest stadium-style theater to watch the latest reboot of a multi-million dollar movie franchise based on a TV character made popular in the eighties from a comic book first published in the sixties?

Mark Amerika and Lance Olsen’s In Memoriam to Postmodernism: Essays on the Avant-Pop asked questions in 1995 that we just might be able to answer today. A collection of definitions, essays, and musings, ending with manifestos for the movement, In Memoriam’s organization serves to first explain the measuring tape and then present us with what is to be measured, allowing the reader to move fluidly from the issues of the early nineties to a consideration of what they mean today.

Amerika and Olsen begin the collection with a nod to the neophyte, a slow roll into the twists, turns, and dark alleys of Avant-Pop. Most appealing, and amusing, is the “Avant-Pop Quiz” and “Click Here for More Information” sections, where in the former the editors attempt to frame that which refuses to be hung, while providing a catch-all reading list in the latter.

After the introduction, velocity picks up and celebrated Avant-Pop writers and theorists take over. The table of contents is a media-drunk cavalcade marching in to tear the house down, including such notable names as SDSU’s Larry McCaffery, Harry Polkinhorn, and a wonderfully salacious piece of trans-media “Zipper-Bustin’ ” by Harold Jaffe; the revered (or Avant-Pop Reverend?) Ronald Sukenick; Eurudice; award-winning Japanese scholar Takayuki Tatsumi; and “[a manifesto of sorts]” by “major influence on the avant-set” Raymond Federman.

In Memorium to Postmodernism runs the gamut of topics: Curtis White examines cultural politics, Brooks Landon looks at the hypertextual novel and the future of publishing, Martin Schecter discusses generational divides (an issue swirling around the entire collection and even more poignant in 2012), David Blair dives into film and virtual worlds, and Michael Joyce scrutinizes the tenuous relationship between reading and meaning. A particularly favorite piece from the collection is Steven Shaviro’s “Strategies of Disappearance: or Why I Love Dean Martin.” And damnit, now I love Dino too. So will you. 

Lance Olsen brings the collection to a close, and puts forth a challenge to today’s readers, by forcing us to look at the “Alzheimer’s province in the United States of Amnesia…a pioneer consciousness that doesn’t like to look over its shoulder, check out the rearview mirror, environmentally, militarily, culturally, because objects back there are always larger than they appear.”

In the living age of hypertexts, the death of publishing, “Reality” T.V., YouTube, mash-ups (one of the new words now featured in the updated Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary), instantaneous American Idol voting, CNN’s reporters on the street, and political revolutions sparked by social media, Yeats’ beast is no longer slouching towards Bethlehem to be born. It’s already here and indulging itself at the Hyperconsumer Capitalist party (thanks for the image McCaffery…I’m officially frightened fecal-less).

In 1995, In Memoriam to Postmodernism: Essays on the Avant-Pop asked if we were ready to face the technologically fueled cultural Armageddon coming at us. With relationships between writer and reader, consumer and producer shifting and reversing so quickly we can’t tell who is who anymore, it’s time to look back at these questions so we can start answering them. That is, if we’ve got the stones to do it.



This isn't just an essay...
it’s a clinic and a reading list from Jonathan Lethem

Self-proclaimed epiphany addict and techno optimist Jason Silva...
on topics that would get Timothy Leary high

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

War, Yesterday and Today: Jean Norton Cru's War Books from SDSU Press

An insight into the grim truths of war.

Often we see glorified, action-packed depictions of war. Soldiers bravely charging the enemy, ducking behind cover skillfully and then eliminating the enemy with nothing more than a survivable wound to the arm. Brothers in arms, plowing their way deep into enemy lines, insulting each others' mothers with clever tidbits of military jargon.

Jean Norton Cru's War Books is break from this inaccurate portrayal. It delves into the dark horrors of real war. The disturbing, traumatic experiences of real men and women on the front lines of combat are explored through a study of World War I, one of the grizzliest wars to date. He goes on to persuade the reader to hate war, and gives a litany of reasons as to why it is not the solution to any conflict.
Cru describes varied ways in which war is misconstrued to those not participating it, through media and clinically official historical accounts, neither of which do the true horror justice.

"These testimonies will teach...that if people knew what the soldier learns at his baptism of fire, nobody would consent to a solution by force of arms." --Jean Norton Cru

This piece could make an excellent addition to the collection of any sociologist, anthropologist, political scientist, or anti-war advocate. 

Any study of modern combat and its effect on the men thrust into it could also benefit from a look at this edition. Though the war discussed in therein is World War I, the themes and messages conveyed are nothing short of universal, and are highly applicable to a modern conflict.

Buy it here. Buy it now!

Saturday, August 04, 2012

It’s Not Just a Sound Bite. Steinbeck’s Echo Gets Louder in "Homer from Salinas: John Steinbeck’s Enduring Voice for California" (and everyone else who’s listening)

I saw the news today. Oh boy. Apparently, depending on which of our presidential candidates you ask, the economic numbers tell different tales. (By the way, the numbers show unemployment rising from 8.2% in June to 8.3% in July). According to Mitt, ever the voice of the shrinking middle class (that voice, by the way, is coming from far above), the numbers are a “hammer blow” to the nation’s workers. And no, that’s not a cool sexual reference. If you ask our current man in the white house on the hill (also a voice coming from above…he is on a hill mind you), he states that things are getting better but “we’ve still got too many folks out there looking for work.” What is causing this, you may ask each candidate? Each one says it’s the other guy.

Thanks gents. You’ve made it perfectly clear that people are still getting screwed; it’s just a matter of lubricant. I’m impressed with both of your abilities to dilute into sound bites a problem more and more people are facing.

With election rhetoric heightening and finger pointing coming to that wonderful height of US politics known as “The other guys did it,” I can’t help but consider John Steinbeck and his oeuvre. Yes, I said it: the writer’s name that in my years of teaching high school English and university survey courses generally brought sighs of forced reverence and hidden questions of relevance. However, if you look closely at what this Californian covers, in an earnest desire to discover honesty in his words (and even some painful recognition of ethnic stereotyping and dubious characterization), what you’ll find are deep and fundamental questions of identity, ethnicity, poverty, and the exploitation of the dispossessed. You could easily flip a switch and have Steinbeck writing about our nation today.

And this kind of thoughtful consideration, this honest assessment, is exactly what you will find in Homer from Salinas: John Steinbeck’s Enduring Voice for California, deftly edited by Dr. William A. Nericcio and published by San Diego State University Press. From noted scholars, performers, artists, and photographers, this mélange of lectures, screenings, debates, discussions, and visual artifacts brings Steinbeck to the forefront of contemporary discussion. This “chaemera-like publication,” as Nericcio calls it in his introduction, compiles some of the most interesting moments from a Steinbeck celebration at San Diego State University in 2007. A celebration that took place right around the time the election season was ramping up before Obama’s first run at the office.

Questions about immigration, the economy, and the growing lower class (read impoverished, abused, taken advantage of) were all over the lips of politicians’ as much then as they are today. And in this volume of thoughtful analysis, creative response, and honest assessment, Steinbeck is given a modern day treatment that begs the question: has anything changed?

Nericcio’s collection is comprised of a beautiful mix of scholars, children’s writers, poets, and artists. The end result is an examination of the issues that plagued this nation in one of its worst economic and social times, that plagued it in 2007, and that sadly still plague it today. It proves that Steinbeck’s writings are an honest, if sometimes flawed, assessment of the “hammer blow” of “folks out there looking for work.” Echoes of this can still be heard today in the workers’ cries and the protestors’ chants, railing against the machine that’s running them over.

Homer from Salinas
is not simply a look at Steinbeck and California’s past; it is a look at the ever-changing, and troubled, United States. This is a thoughtful work that digs Steinbeck out of the dust bowl and work camps of The Great Depression and foresees him center stage in the debates of the Occupy movement and Minuteman radicalism of today’s Great Recession. It would be a welcome novelty if our political leaders could be as relevant and honest as Steinbeck and this collection.

Buy it today from SDSU Press. High school and university classrooms cannot afford to be deprived of the thoughtful debates that this collection ignites.