Adrienne Rich: Teaching the walk

Prolific poet and feminist activist Adrienne Rich passed away last week on March 27.  Years ago as a freshman undergraduate, I attended by chance a poetry reading she was giving at my campus.  The reading was held in a large auditorium – large enough to hold maybe 500 attendees.  As I recall, the room was quite full.  In the midst of her reading, a young baby began crying – loudly.  Adrienne Rich read on, accompanied by the wails of the baby.  A number of attendees began craning their necks in growing annoyance.  Where was that baby?  Why didn’t the mother have the decency to get up and leave?  The nerve – we’re here to listen to poetry!

The baby continued crying, and more attendees were visibly looking this way and that, searching for that baby.  At last, a young woman, red-faced, stood up with the fussing baby – of course they were in the middle of the auditorium and in the middle of a very long row.  The mother began slowly inching her way down the long row, headed for the exit aisle, swaying from the weight of the wriggling and fussing baby in her arms.

While reciting, Adrienne Rich noticed the standing woman and her baby, and immediately stopped reading her poem.  Urgently, she said into her microphone:

“Stop!  Don’t leave!”

The atmosphere throughout the auditorium was electrified.  The anonymous young woman indeed stopped in her tracks, extremely shocked to be addressed directly by the famous poet.  We all stared dumbly at Adrienne Rich, who also seemed a bit embarrassed by her own outburst.

She explained earnestly, urgently, in words I will never forget:

“I mean, if you are leaving because of your baby, DON’T.  Because your baby isn’t bothering anyone.”

The audience was momentarily stunned.  Of course, the baby had been bothering quite a few attendees.  But in a second, Adrienne Rich had taught us all a vital lesson.  A split second later, the whole auditorium went wild with cheers and a standing ovation.

I remember this lesson frequently.  I certainly remembered it when I was a single parent struggling with my own crying baby at public events and lectures I desperately wanted to attend.  I thought of it again when I learned of Adrienne Rich’s death.  She really was a poet and feminist who talked the talk, walked the walk, and in surprising ways taught the walk to all of us who could listen, reflect, and understand.  Rest in peace, Adrienne Rich.

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From Poetry Everywhere (Public Television)

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Selected Books by Adrienne Rich in the Library:

  • Tonight no poetry will serve: Poems, 2007-2010
  • Telephone ringing in the labyrinth: Poems, 2004-2006
  • The School among the ruins: Poems, 2000-2004
  • The Fact of a doorframe: Selected Poems, 1950-2001
  • Arts of the possible: Essays and conversations
  • Midnight salvage:  Poems, 1995-1998
  • Dark fields of the republic: Poems, 1991-1995
  • An atlas of the difficult world: Poems, 1988-1991
  • Time’s power: Poems 1985-1988
  • Diving into the wreck: Poems, 1971-1972
  • What is found there: Notebooks on poetry and politics
  • Collected early poems: 1950-1970

Adrienne Rich – Selected Multimedia in the Library:

  • Spoken Word: American Poets (Audio CD:  Media Collection – Disc 008 016)
  • Readings & Conversations: Reading by Adrienne Rich (Video: Media Collection – VIDE 003 699)
  • Adrienne Rich (Audio CD:  Media Collection SOUN 000 367)
  • The Language of life: A festival of poets, with Bill Moyers (Video: Media Collection – VIDE 002 143)

Periodicals Archive Online – Digital Humanities & Social Sciences

I’ve just begun exploring in one of the Library’s newer tools, Periodicals Archive Online, from ProQuest/Chadwyck Healy.  It’s an index that leads to full-text articles in the arts, humanities, & social sciences.

One of the first things I noticed is that you can change the search interface to one of 6 different languages, including French (below), Spanish, German, Italian, and Portuguese – and of course the default is English.  This can make for a nice immersive experience for language students, and is also useful of course for researchers who prefer to search in one of these languages.  So, big bonus points from the beginning from me!

The next obvious question is what’s in here?  Here’s a useful list of titles that I found online at the ProQuest website – wow!  (Currently, the Library subscribes only to only some of the collections – see the title list for Collections 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 to know exactly what’s available.)

What breadth in terms of subject areas, in terms of international perspectives, languages, and in terms of years!

Broad subjects include art; drama; history; economics; folklore; literature, poetry, and literary studies; geography; religion; psychology; linguistics & psycholinguistics; education; African American studies; law; Cuban studies; music; anthropology; philosophy; sociology, women’s studies, and more.

International perspectives?  Cultural studies?  Race & ethnic studies?  I see Islamic studies in English and in German; African and African American titles; South Asian & Middle Eastern studies; many titles in French, German, and Spanish, with some in Dutch; Japanese religious studies; Latin American and peninsular Spanish studies; Korean and Chinese studies…

What about years?  This depends on the titles themselves, of course.  I do see some titles dating back to the 19th century, such as Geographische Zeitschrift (coverage in PAO from 1895 through 2000), Nederlands archief voor kerkgeschiedenis (1885-2000), Orientalistische Literaturzeitung (1898-2000), and Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society (1813-2000), to grab a few titles just at random.  Most journals seem solidly rooted in the 20th century, with the most recent coverage year apparently 2000.  The search interface does indicate you can search by date, with 1665 (!) being the first year listed through 2000.   Amazing!

I also definitely appreciate the built-in flexibility for researchers.  PAO lets you refine or filter your search results by language, by journal, date, and by subject.  Marked references can be exported into EndNote or other bibliographic management software packages.

TO test drive the index, I did some sample searching totally off the top of my head.  For starters, I did a search on medieval author Christine de Pisan (alternatively spelled Christine de Pizan), and found great articles in English and in French listed under both spellings.

Christine de Pisan

(No, Periodicals Archive Online does not seem to include images.  This illustration of Christine de Pisan “lecturing men” is courtesy of Wikipedia – love it!) But the index did very quickly find a number of focused and interesting full-text research articles that I wouldn’t have been able to easily find in any other single index, save for Quick Search.

Aside: Pisan was one of the earliest women writers to be able to support herself and her children through her prolific writings.  She was also a feminist, writing her ground-breaking Le Livre de la Cité des Dames in 1405 as a protest against the misogynistic leanings in the renowned Roman de la Rose.

Well, you can see I quickly got into source material of great interest to me – which is of course the job of any good index – to get you where you want to go.  Periodicals Archive Online is so flexible and so broad, it’s likely to include materials you’re interested in too.  Give it a try and see where it leads you!

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A Day without a Mexican

Standing on line at the café waiting for my morning coffee, CNN was doing a spot on A Day without a Mexican, Sergio Arau’s “mockumentary” satire from 2004.  Scripted like a sci-fi thriller, the film depicts the shocking story of Mexican & Mexican American people disappearing throughout California, leaving hordes of panicky white folks to deal with their own cooking, laundering, babysitting, gardening, and other responsibilities.

Trailer: A Day without a Mexican

The documentary makes its point with humor and some tragedy, and can serve as a useful tool for class discussions on the often difficult topics of immigration, race, economic refugees, and class privilege.  The Library owns A Day without A Mexican in both DVD and video formats.  Here are the details, along with other recent and classic DVDs and videos on the topic of Latin American immigration.

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A Day without a Mexican; dir. by Sergio Arau
“Presented in documentary fashion, this program shows what might happen, what adverse effects there would be, etc. if all Mexican Americans and Mexicans in the United States were to vanish.”
Parks Library–Media Center PARKS Media Center: Media Collection (Vide 003 462)

AbUSed:  THe Postville Raid; dir. by Luis Argueta
“The arrest of nearly 400 undocumented workers in Postville, Iowa, pushed the town to the brink of collapse and severed an economic lifeline to one of the poorest areas in the Western Hemisphere. These are stories in Guatemala and Iowa of the immigrants affected.”
Parks Library–Media Center PARKS Media Center: Media Collection (DVD 005 162)

 Trailer: AbUSed: The Postville Raid

Postville: When cultures collide; Iowa Public Television
“Tells the story of how a small Iowa town is dealing with multiculturalism. Postville, Iowa is where more than 300 Hasidic Jews, plus hundreds of Mexicans, Guatelmalans, Ukrainians and Russians have taken up residence in the last decade. Explores the struggles and rewards of the social and economic changes.”
Parks Library–Media Center PARKS Media Center: Media Collection (Vide 003 808)
Which Way Home (HBO Documentary Films); dir. Rebecca Cammisa
“A feature documentary that follows unaccompanied child migrants on their journey through Mexico as they try to reach the United States. We follow children like Olga and Freddy, 9-year old Hondurans, who are trying to reach their parents in the U.S. Children like Jose, a 10-year old El Salvadoran, who has been abandoned by smugglers and ends up alone in a Mexican detention center, and Kevin, a streetwise 14-year-old Honduran, whose mother hopes that he will reach the U.S.”  Parks Library–Media Center PARKS Media Center: Media Collection (Vide 003 792)

Trailer: Which Way Home


La Caminata / The journey; dir. by Jamie Meltzer
“Fed up with the mass migration of their community, the small Mexican town of Alberto creates a one-of-a-kind tourist attraction they call La Caminata, a simulated nighttime border crossing, complete with fake border patrol chasing balaclava-clad coyotes. The experience is a cross between adventure tourism and a way for participants, largely middle class Mexican tourists, to experience firsthand the hardships of the border crossing. La Caminata details the story of this unlikely attempt to save a small community, offering a powerful look at the effect of migration in home communities, and opening a view to the immigration debate on the other side.”
Parks Library–Media Center PARKS Media Center: Media Collection (Vide 006 793)

Children in No Man’s Land / Niños en tierra de nadie; dir. Anayansi Prado
“Relates “the story of Maria de Jesus (13) and her cousin Rene (12) as they attempt to cross the [Mexican-American Border Region] alone to reunite with their mothers in the Midwest. Focusing on minors crossing through the Sonora Desert area in Nogales, Arizona, this film explores every detail of these children’s journey as well as the journeys of other children we meet on the way.”
Parks Library–Media Center PARKS Media Center: Media Collection (Vide 003 787)

A Little Salsa on the Prairie: The Changing Character of Perry, Iowa
“Summary of the history of a rural Midwest community, particularly its industry, immigration and ethnicity. Includes the rise and fall of the railroad and emergence of meatpacking as its major employer in the 1960s; investigates and portrays changes in the economy, society, and physical environment that arose due to Latino immigration in the 1980s and 1990s.”  Parks Library–Media Center PARKS Media Center: Media Collection (Vide 003 389)

Trailer: A Little Salsa on the Prairie

Letters from the other side; dir. by Heather Courtney
“Heather Courtney’s film interweaves video letters carried across the U.S.-Mexico border by the film’s director with the personal stories of women left behind in post-NAFTA Mexico. The video letters provides a way for these women to communicate with both loved ones and strangers on the other side of the border, and illustrates an unjust truth – as an American Courtney can carry these video letters back and forth across a border that these women are not legally allowed to cross. Focusing on a side of the immigration story rarely told by the media or touched upon in the national debate, the film offers a fresh perspective, painting a complex portrait of families torn apart by economics, communities dying at the hands of globalization, and governments incapable or unwilling to do anything about it.”
Parks Library–Media Center PARKS Media Center: Media Collection (DVD 000 932)

De l’autre côté / From the other side; dir. by Chantal Akerman
“In images and interviews, this film examines the plight of poor Mexicans who try to emigrate to the United States illegally with the hope of a better life. U.S. attempts to stem the influx has forced immigrants to take dangerous routes to avoid detection, and many have died.”  In French, English, & Spanish, with English subtitles.  From renowned and prolific  Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman.
Parks Library–Media Center PARKS Media Center: Media Collection (Vide 006 494)

Del otro lado del cristal / On the other side of the glass (ICAIC)
“Documentary on “Operación Peter Pan,” during which thousands of Cuban children left Havana for Miami without their parents between 1960-1962.”  In Spanish, with English subtitles.  From the renowned Instituto Cubano de Arte e Industria Cinematográfica (ICAIC).
Parks Library–Media Center PARKS Media Center: Media Collection (Vide 003 389)

María Full of Grace; HBO Films, dir. Joshua Marston
“Maria, a poor Colombian teenager, is desperate to leave a soul-crushing job. She accepts an offer to transport packets of heroin – which she swallows – to the United States. The ruthless world of drug trafficking proves to be more than she bargained for.”  
Parks Library–Media Center PARKS Media Center: Media Collection (DVD 000 900)

[Trailer: María Full of Grace – now replaced by a playlist Motorcycle Diaries!]

Diarios de motocicleta / Motorcycle Diaries; dir. by Walter Salles
(Okay, this one does not fit our theme at all but I just noticed the Maria Full of Grace trailer has  been replaced by a video playlist that starts with a Motorcycle Diaries trailer.  Playlists – go figure!  You can skip ahead about 6 or 7 videos to view the Maria Full of Grace trailer, or enjoy viewing them all.  It’s quite an eclectic collection!  Just the same, we do own Motorcycle Diaries, which tells the tale of the young Ernesto “Che” Guevara who drives his motorcycle across Latin America, learning many life lessons and becoming politicized along the way.  Enjoy the beautiful music by Gustavo Santaolalla in this trailer! Hey, we own the cd of his soundtrack for the film as well:  Disc 004 205 in the Media Center!  Check it out!)
Parks Library–Media Center PARKS Media Center: Media Collection (DVD 001 134)

Fear and Learning at Hoover Elementary; dir. Laura Angélica Simón
“A documentary by Los Angeles teacher Laura Angelica Simón, exploring the impact of California’s Proposition 187 on the immigrant community. The subject is Hoover Street Elementary School, where Simón candidly explores the attitudes and emotions of teachers, students and parents, focusing on a ten year old Salvadorian girl.”
Parks Library–Media Center PARKS Media Center: Media Collection (Vide 002 738)

Trailer: El Norte

El Norte; dir. by Gregory Nava
The 1983 classic and still powerful film:  “Mayan Indian peasants are tired of being thought of as nothing more than manual laborers. They organize an effort to improve their lot in life, but are discovered by the Guatemalan army. After the army destroys their village and family, Enrique and Rosa, a teenage brother and sister, who barely escaped the massacre, decide they must flee to United States. After receiving clandestine help from friends and humorous advice from a veteran immigrant on strategies for traveling, they make their way by truck, bus and other means to Los Angeles, where they try to make a new life as young, uneducated, and illegal immigrants.”
Parks Library–Media Center PARKS Media Center: Media Collection (DVD 003 728)

Modern Language Association “Language Map”

One of the lesser-known resources offered by the Modern Language Association (MLA) is its Language Map. The Language Map mines data from the 2000 and 2005 US Census to give a detailed breakdown of which languages are spoken throughout the United States.

There are several ways to use this resource. One can click on “View the Map” to see an interactive map of the United States. There is a “zoom” tool which allows users to focus on a specific area of the U.S., and a drop down menu to select a language (the default is English). What is displayed is a color-coded graphic that shows the percentage of citizens that speak the language in question in any chosen area of the country. This information is taken from the 2000 U.S. Census.

To a lesser extent, information from the 2005 Census is used in the “Data Center” (accessible by clicking on “Create Detailed Tables” on the Language Map home page) as well as information from the 2000 Census to show demographic trends and changes in the thirty most commonly spoken languages. Using this tool, one can view as broad an area as the “Northeast” or as narrow an area as a zip-code range. The MLA also uses data collected from other its own surveys to make available informati0n on college enrollment in language courses. Survey dates range from 1958 – 2009.

An excellent resource for all kinds of information related to language demographics in the US!

New Year’s Resolution: Learn Quick Search!

If you’ve been at ISU for a while, you’ve probably noticed that the Library website no longer has a traditional library catalog.  Instead, there’s a new search tool called Quick Search at the top of the home page.  If you’re a faculty member, student, researcher or a member of the ISU community, the New Year is a good time to level up your Quick Search skills so you can get the most out of Quick Search, and also know when it’s best to use a different search tool.

Hey, it’s just a search box.  It can’t be that complicated!  

No, it’s not complicated if you’re searching for just anything – but for library research, that’s rarely the case.

Quick Search box

The first thing you need to know is that it’s really worth your time to use one or more of the 3 drop-down menus (shown above) that are located just below the search box.  The choices listed in these drop-down menus help you focus your search.  Why spend time plowing through thousands of results if they’re not what you need?

Quick Search & Drop-down menu #1

The second thing you need to know?  Quick Search lets you search far more than would a traditional library catalog.  We’ve opened up drop-down menu #1 here, so you can see all the types of materials you can find with this tool, including Articles, content located on the Library website, images, and a lot more.  That’s why it’s a good idea to always take a few seconds to focus your search.  Just type your search terms in the box, then choose the relevant selection(s) in one or more of the drop-down menus, then click the Search button.  You’ll have your focused results in a fraction of a second.

Third thing:  In general terms, Quick Search connects to various indexes and databases and allows you to search their contents seamlessly, without ever leaving Quick Search.  Nice!!  This can be a huge time saver.

But, if you’re doing research on race & ethnic studies topics, get ready for the shocking news!

Most subject-focused indexes that focus on race and ethnic studies research articles have NOT been “connected” with   Quick Search due to software incompatibilities.  Shocked: http://www.cs4fn.org/internet/therecipeforspam.phpThis means you’re probably not searching the best or most comprehensive collections of research articles in these subject areas. Yes, you may find some interesting articles and information, but you’ll definitely need to go directly to indexes like Black Studies Center, Bibliography of Native North Americans, Ethnic NewsWatch, Hispanic American Periodicals Index, Chicano Database, and others to make sure you’re choosing the best tools for a thorough, scholarly and comprehensive search.

It’s a good strategy to use Quick Search and subject-focused indexes to ensure you’re getting everything you may need.

Do start exploring the drop-down menus and some of the many fun features of Quick Search, such as creating your own account, tagging, and reviewing materials of interest.  It’s a great way to start the New Year!

Year’s end PDA ebooks : What did you buy?

I’ve blogged here before about the Library’s ebooks and our Patron-Driven Acquisition (PDA) program for ebooks.  We’ve set up a program that includes certain ebooks in Quick Search, the library discovery tool that replaced our traditional library catalog.  Users like you can discover these titles, and with just a few clicks, begin reading an ebook online – unaware that we don’t yet “own” it.  Well, after a few reads, the PDA program triggers the Library to buy that item.  Simple!

So, just as an fyi, below are just a few more of the great ebook titles in our areas of interest that have been acquired via our PDA program.  If you happened to trigger any of these acquisitions, thanks very much!

  • Antebellum Slave Narratives : Cultural and Political Expressions of Africa
  • Gay Rights and Moral Panic : The Origins of America’s Debate on Homosexuality
  • Feminism and War
  • Guide to Doing Statistics in Second Language Research Using SPSS
  • Language Curriculum Design
  • Political Communication in Asia
  • Routledge Contemporary China : Innovation in China : The Chinese Software Industry
  • Sexuality in World History
  • Ultimate Spanish Phrase Finder
  • Women, Science, and Technology : A Reader in Feminist Science Studies
  • Women Speaking Up : Getting and Using Turns in Workplace Meetings

An e-press? No! A press with an “e” at the end!

Ugly Duckling Presse has been making waves* in the world of literary translation during the last few years. Elena Fanailova’s The Russian Version (translated by Stephanie Sandler and Genya Turovskaya), published by UDP (and reviewed here), won the 2010 “Best Translated Book Award for Poetry.”** This book is part of UDP’s Eastern European Poets Series (EEPS), which the press started in 2003, and which now boasts a back catalog of 27 publications, many of which are bilingual editions, ranging from the iconic (an edition of new translations of poems by Osip Mandelstam) to the very new (recent MFA graduate Natalie Lyalin’s book Try a Little Time Travel). (The latter (reviewed here) isn’t translated, so I’m cheating a little bit, but Lyalin did emigrate to the United States from Russia, having grown up in Leningrad.) Oh, and then there’s a new translation of The Song of Igor’s Campaign. According to UDP, it is “one of the foundational works of Russian literature. In muscular, expressive language it describes the disastrous campaign of 1185 waged by Prince Igor of Chernigov against the pagan Polovtsians.”

Ugly Duckling Presse also has a “Lost Lit” series, described as being “dedicated to publishing neglected works of 20th century poetry, prose, and important & resonant works that fall outside those confines.” Lost Lit was initiated in 2006 and has far fewer titles than the EEPS series. However, of its nine titles published to date, six are translations (two French and two Spanish poetry volumes, one collection by an 11th Century Chinese poet, and an unclassifiable pamphlet by a German author).

Virtually all of the UDP books are owned by the Iowa State University Library. The best way to get an overview is to type Ugly Duckling Presse in the Quick Search box on the e-Library home page, and then select “everything but articles” from the first drop-down column, “with my exact phrase” in the second column, and “anywhere in the record” in the third. After you enter the search, you can use the “Refine Results” section on the left side of the screen to limit the results by language, topic, or author.

Although much of what UDP publishes is not translated material, it is one of the increasing number of smaller presses that are becoming “found in translation,” if you will.

*Among the waves UDP has been making is an Ugly Duckling Presse podcast, featuring UDP authors reading and being interviewed.

**This award is given by “Three Percent,” a “resource for international literature at the University of Rochester,” that is closely tied to another up-and-coming publisher of literature in translation, Open Letter Books, about which, more… soon.