Washington State University emeritus professor and author Alex Kuo reads from his 2015 novel shanghai.shanghai.shanghai.
“The broad and beautiful Columbia lay before them, smooth and unruffled as a mirror … .
“About thirty miles above Point Vancouver the mountains again approach on both sides of the river, which is bordered by stupendous precipices, covered with the fir and the white cedar, and enlivened occasionally by beautiful cascades leaping from a great height, and sending up wreaths of vapor.” —Astoria
They saw in the water many of the serpent-kind,
wondrous sea-dragons exploring the waters,
such nicors as lie on the headlands,
who, in the mornings, often accomplish
sorrowful deeds on the sail-road,
serpents and wild-beasts.
So concludes the epic poem Beowulf. Speaking Old English, storytellers composed Beowulf extemporaneously and shared passages from person to person for thousands of years until they were written down sometime between the eighth and the eleventh centuries. Beowulf is very much a poem about animals, so it’s appropriate to translate its last word, “wilde-or,” as “wild-beasts,” though the … » More …
A whole genre of literature, that of the American working class during the Great Depression, has all but disappeared. Now a WSU professor and a Northwest novelist are bringing writer Robert Cantwell, a Washington native, and his most significant book, Land of Plenty, out of the mists of time.
Cantwell, one of the finest American writers of the 1930s, was admired by the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, says T.V. Reed, professor of English and American studies. His masterpiece is set in a Washington plywood factory and his characters are based on the workers he once toiled alongside.
Born in southwest … » More …
Temple University Press, 2013
Since Nathaniel Hawthorne famously complained about the “damned mob of scribbling women” in 1855, much has changed in American literary and popular culture, not least the nation’s racial demographics, which now include substantial numbers of Asian Americans, as well as other people of color. And yet, the significance of women’s popular fiction continues to be overlooked, if not derided outright, by many social and cultural … » More …
Washington’s Poet Laureate brings poetry to, and discovers it in, each of the state’s 39 counties
Although my parents lived in the same house in Richland, Washington—my hometown—for 50 years, they never stopped being proud, relentless Oregonians. But in 1989 Mother and Dad celebrated Washington’s centenary in a big way. They dreamed up one of those projects that makes sense to retired couples but bemuses their children: visiting and photographing all 39 Washington county courthouses. They were even written up in the Tri-City Herald for achieving their goal, and photographed paging through their album. A family friend rediscovered the newspaper clipping more than twenty years … » More …
A night at the Barnsley house on Monroe Street guaranteed that the guest would be entertained, enlightened, and well fed. For the couple of decades following his joining the English faculty at WSU in 1966, Alan and Edwina Barnsley hosted the liveliest salon in Pullman. Both were erudite and funny, full of wit and counsel. Dina died just last year, and Alan in 1986.
But Alan lives on as Gabriel Fielding, the pen name under which he wrote many marvelous novels. Three of those novels—Pretty Doll Houses, The Birthday King, and In the Time of Greenbloom—were released in digital form this August by Bloomsbury Publishing. … » More …
Turning Point Books, 2013
Baseball lends itself as metaphor like no other sport. Boxing might come close, but its inherent brutality and changing cultural tastes have removed it from the public’s awareness.
But baseball endures and permeates our culture, and even a non-fan can appreciate the sport’s dramatic interplay of quietude and adrenaline. In Love Reports to Spring Training, Linda Kittell exploits this richness through a deeply satisfying … » More …
Richard D. Fulton ’75 PhD and Peter H. Hoffenberg
Ashgate Publishing Company, 2013
Devotees of Victorian-era writers like Robert Louis Stevenson, Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and Joseph Conrad may well recognize the current of interest in Oceania, or the South Pacific, that runs through their stories.
During that period, from the 1830s to 1901, tales, photographs, travel books, and essays all fed and informed the … » More …