A Tribute to Native American Heritage

A Tribute to Native American Heritage

Richard Riviere at a workshop in Israel. This month is Native American Heritage Month, but unfortunately, the study of Native American history is neglected in most schools. Our students are given a day off to celebrate Columbus, who never stepped foot in North America and, according to a Washington Post article, he “committed atrocities against native peoples on the islands and decimated their populations.” To help supplement this educational gap and to help counter the white nationalist backlash from the election, Springwood Press and the West Street Art Center is sponsoring A Tribute to Native American Heritage this Saturday, November 19. 2 pm   Workshop – Playing the Native American Style Flute 3 pm   Native American Flute Performance by Heart Wind 4 pm   Founding of the Iroquois League by Jack Ramey  Jack Ramey, will talk about the first democracy on the American continent – the Iroquois League – and their influence on the drafting of the American constitution. To give insight into their matriarchal society and spiritual relation with nature, he will do a dramatic reading from his historical novel Turtle Island: A Dream of Peace. In the Native American Flute Workshop, Adam Riviere will give an introduction to playing Native American style flutes, its history from various tribes in North America, how and why they used it, and how to use it to create your own story, tradition, and music. Adam has studied more than 30 world instruments and does school programs from preschool to college level on music from the Middle East, West and Northern Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, Australia, and Native America. After the workshop, Adam and Richard Brooner of...
The Untold Story of the Kent State Massacre

The Untold Story of the Kent State Massacre

The Untold Story of the Kent State Massacre Screened at the KIVA, Kent State University, Sunday, May 3, 2015 This documentary features an interview with Nancy Rodgers about her experiences at Kent State where she was a math professor from 1968-78.  Rodgers had attended many of the protest rallies which were held outside her office and was at the burning of the ROTC building. The next Monday, she was a faculty observer at the Kent State shootings, which dramatically changed her life. After the shootings, she was one of four founders of the Kent Legal Defense Fund which raised money for the defense of the Kent 25. Because of her work with the Kent Legal Defense Fund, she because a target for the FBI, who wanted to discredit her because she was a professor trying to help the protestors. The FBI questioned people who knew her in her hometown and made her mother and others think she was a criminal. They told her sister to warn her that she was in danger if she didn’t stop what she was doing. They even threatened to kill her and dump her body in the river. The documentary was produced by Elizabeth Winters’ Media Writing class at Hanover College. Their goal was to shed light on government actions at Kent State as a lesson to young people today that they always have to be on their guard to protect our democracy from officials who would stifle public protest and overstep their authority in the name of public security. .. Before the screening at Kent State, Elizabeth Winters and Nancy Rodgers made the...
Fall of Rome

Fall of Rome

If you are, like me, a fan of historical fiction, and are intrigued by the period of Rome’s inevitable  slide into the hegemony of barbarian kingdoms, then you ought to have a look at Michael Curtis Ford’s In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex. Ford brings to life the career of Odoacer, the first barbarian King of Italy during the wars fought against Rome by allied Germanic armies in the mid fifth century AD. It’s a great read with fully realized historical characters like Orestes, a Germanic Roman General and father of the last emperor Romulus Augustus and the protagonist, Odoacer, half Hun, half Scyri, who fought his way to the top of Rome’s funeral pyre. The battle scenes are magnificent, rivaling perhaps (but certainly not outdoing) the great shield-wall battles of Bernard Cornwell’s Warlord and Saxon novels. Ford did quite a bit of research to make this novel come alive. In a Historical Note he tells his readers that perhaps no period of Rome’s history is so sparsely recorded as the 5th century CE. He relied heavily on Gibbon’s classic The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. The details he weaves into his plot are so convincingly drawn that the reader feels swept back in time living and breathing with the characters as they struggle to stay alive in a world of bloodshed and destruction. His recounting of a Roman legion’s setting up of a camp within a day’s time in order to lay siege to a city is a marvel. The story races along taking the reader back to the fall...
The Selected Poems of Wang Wei

The Selected Poems of Wang Wei

I was first introduced to the poems of Wang Wei by my friend and fellow poet, George Kalamaras, when he mentioned that Wang Wei was his favorite Chinese poet in a poetry reading at the Village Lights Bookstore.   George, who is the Poet Laureate of Indiana, also featured Wang Wei in one of his video blogs on A Gray Barn Rising, which he started to help “bring back to life those poets who are not as widely read as they should be.” Do yourself a favor, and pick up a copy of one of the many translations of Wang Wei’s poetry. George recommends Laughing Lost in the Mountains: Poems of Wang Wei, translated by Tony Barnstone, Willis Barnstone, and Xu Haixinet. But for my money, you cannot go wrong with David Hinton’s fine translations in The Selected Poems of Wang Wei. Wang Wei lived in the 8th century during the Tang Dynasty in China.  After an arduous education, he passed the difficult exams to became a prestigious scholar-official in the government with a reputation as a talented poet, painter, and musician.  Later in life he retired from his position to live alone in the mountains above the city, living a monk-like existence, practicing Cha’n (Zen) Buddhism, walking in the Way of the Tao, and continuing his poetry. His concise poems paint pictures of nature that evoke spiritual or metaphysical analogs to Taoist and Buddhist thought. Solitude and detachment became his great themes in his later years. In one of his most famous poems, “Deer Park,” a section from the cycle called Wheel-Rim River, emptiness, solitude, and tranquility are held...