Martha I. Chew Sánchez, Corridos in Migrant Memory (University of New
Mexico Press, 2005)
Corridos in Migrant Memory, a new book by Assistant Professor
of Global Studies Martha I.
Chew Sánchez, examines the role of traditional Mexican ballads in
shaping the cultural memories and identities of transnational Mexican groups. Corridos are
ballads particular to Mexican traditions that are used to analyze or recall
a particular political, cultural and natural event important to the communities
where they are performed. As part of the cultural memory, many of the most
popular corridos express the immigrant experience: exploitation,
surveillance and dehumanization stemming from racism and classism of the
host country. The corrido helps Mexican immigrants in the United
States to humanize, dignify and make sense of their transnational experiences
as racial minorities. These narrative songs, dating from the earliest colonial
times, recount the historical circumstances surrounding a model protagonist
whose history embodies the everyday experiences and values of the community.
The University of New Mexico Press states, "The everyday experiences
and cultural expressions of Mexican-Americans and Mexican immigrants have
not found their way into textbooks in Mexico or in the United States. Martha
Chew Sánchez's study provides a foundation upon which to build an
understanding of the corrido."
Brian Mann, Welcome to the Homeland (Random
Brian Mann, a reporter for University-based North
Country Public Radio, has published his first book, Welcome to
the Homeland, which the publisher describes as a “unique blend
of travelogue, political analysis, and family memoir.”
The book is, according to its publishers, an exploration of
how “Homelanders - Mann's name for the nation's 50 million rural
whites - have managed to dominate the conservative base of the Republican
Party, the Senate and the Supreme Court, and to use the Electoral College,
which favors small states, to their advantage. Ultimately, Homelanders
are fighting to create a new national culture, one rooted in the traditional
values of 19th-century America.”
Mann has covered rural America for 20 years, working for public
radio stations and networks from Alaska to New York State. His award-winning
stories appear regularly on NPR's "Morning Edition" and "All
Things Considered." In 2005, Mann won separate national and regional
Edward R. Murrow Awards: for coverage of the Iraq War and its impact on
small towns, and for his reporting on the rural heroin epidemic. He grew
up in rural Alaska and lives in the Adirondacks. In addition to working
as a reporter and editor for North Country Public Radio, he is a commentator
for Mountain Lake Public Television.
Brian Doe ’94 and Philip Harris, Waking God (Star
This self-published new work of speculative/science fiction is the first
of a proposed trilogy. Set in the near future, it takes the reader
on a fast- paced adventure from Boston to Italy, Poland, France, Malta,
the Azores and Mexico. The assassination of a pope, battles with
otherworldly beings, secret initiations, deep religious discussion and
the introduction of the Tarot Code help to create a different view of Christianity
which only the open-minded will appreciate. “We’re trying to
stimulate a new religious reformation,” Doe told a local newspaper
reporter, “to look at religious institutions that have outmoded themselves
(by getting) so far away from the teachings of those people that came to
born in Ogdensburg, N.Y., and grew up on the shores of the St. Lawrence River.
An English major at St. Lawrence, he is an English teacher in Malone, N.Y.
LuAnn Warner-Prokos ’82 et al., Study Skills Tool
Kit (Palm Tree Educational Press, 2003, 2006).
LuAnn Warner-Prokos ’82 is the principal author of this practical
handbook written by three teachers/administrators with a combined
52 years of experience at Saint Andrew’s Middle School, Boca Raton,
Fla. The handbook is aimed at students in grades four through nine
and presents a comprehensive study skills program in a colorful, creative,
user-friendly way. Sections cover such topics as identifying learning
styles, setting goals, concentration strategies, memory aids, time management
and preparing for tests. Addenda address life skills for social
success beyond the classroom, and hints on computer use and research. The
booklet has garnered strong testimonials from students, teachers and parents.
Chris Angus ’72, ed., Oswegatchie: A North
Country Books, 2006).
The Oswegatchie (the name is said to be a translation of a native word
for “black water”) is one of many rivers that drain the northern
Adirondacks, flowing in three branches from the rugged highlands to the
St. Lawrence Valley floor where, combined into one stem, it flows eventually—complete
with a 180-degree change of direction below Gouverneur—into the St.
Canton community activist Chris Angus (see “Coming Home,” St.
Lawrence, Winter 2006, p. 43) has compiled an anthology of varied essays
about the river and its watershed. Among contributors with Laurentian connections
are Professor Emeritus of English and prolific outdoors writer Paul Jamieson,
who still resides in Canton at age 103; Donald Morris, former professor of
psychology; poet Maurice Kenny, recipient of both a North Country Citation
and an honorary doctorate; University writer/editor and freelance writer Neal
Burdick ’72; and Angus himself. Angus has been published in several
newspaper and magazines, and is the author of Reflections from Canoe Country,
Images of America: St. Lawrence County (with Susan Woods)
and The Extraordinary Adirondack Journey of Clarence
Petty: Wilderness Guide, Pilot and Conservationist.
Bob Cowser Jr., Scorekeeping: Essays from Home (University of South
Carolina Press, 2006).
Flush with the success of his memoir Dream Season, about one
of his years with America’s oldest semi-professional football team,
which calls Watertown, N.Y., home, Associate Professor of English
Bob Cowser is back with a collection of 11 essays set in the places where
he lived before moving to Canton. Many of these have as their locus Martin,
Tenn., a small town where he did most of his growing up in the 1980s.
and family, buddies and incidents tie together seamlessly in
these fluid pieces. Not all of the images are pretty; murders
(including that of a little girl who was a friend in first
grade), executions and the downward spiral of small-town America as the
trains stop coming through and the interstate goes by somewhere else pervade
this volume, but Cowser handles these seeming inevitabilities, along with
little victories, with gentleness, subtle humor and hope. Ultimately,
he is writing not just about himself, but also about us.
Erik E. Esckilsen ’86, The Outside Groove (Houghton
“It was amazing how much more there was to racecar driving than
just driving around and around in circles” is the last sentence of
this novel. All the preceding ones portray how Casey LaPlante comes
to this conclusion. But there’s more going on here than meets
the eye: Casey is a teenage girl, the sister of a local stock-car hero
who decides she’d like a little attention too. This is a story of
her education, both as a racecar driver in a male-dominated world and as
an emerging adult. Action and suspense dominate this tale, which
Esckilsen, a talented and experienced writer (this is his third novel)
handles with skill as he navigates his story to its finish line.
Gregg Fedchak ’79, The Broccoli Eaters Bad
Apple Jack and Love Among the Tomatoes (Windstorm Creative,
If you want broad, ribald satire, these three novels are your
ticket. Fedchak, the son and son-in-law of former University employees
who lives in Boonville, N.Y., is an abstract painter and a writer whose short
fiction has appeared in several journals. He says his three novels (there
may be more to come) “straddle that broad and uncomfortable ground
between commercial/pop fiction and literary fiction, the sort of work New
York has a hard time swallowing because it can’t be easily categorized.” P.G.
Wodehouse, Evelyn Waugh and Don DeLillo are its literary ancestors. Among
the many matters Fedchak thoroughly and mercilessly lampoons are PR campaigns
(one of his lead characters is a publicist for a council that promotes broccoli
and Brussels sprouts), Christian radio, weather channels, health care and
mercy-killing, plant genetics, America’s cultural obsession with sex,
America’s cultural obsession with job performance … and so on. The
books come with study guides in case you think you won’t get what they’re
all about, which does require a willing suspension of disbelief.