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Talking Shop

Technically Speaking

I Remember Professor...

Good Teachers on Good Teaching

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A Win-Win-Win-Win Situation

Viggo Mortensen '80 Remembers

Laurentian Reviews

Alumni Accomplishments

Table of Contents

Laurentian Reviews
Spring 2003

David Thomas Lloyd ’75, The Everyday Apocalypse, Three Conditions Press, 2002.

David Lloyd, professor of English and director of the Creative Writing Program at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, N.Y., submitted the poems in this 34-page collection to the Maryland Poetry and Literary Society’s sixth annual chapbook contest, and came out a winner. One of the poems, “Sestina on an Everyday Apocalypse,” was also a co-winner of the Poetry Society of America’s 2000 Robert H. Winner Memorial Award.

The poems in this thin volume, writes poet W.D. Snodgrass, “address the fearful dilemmas, our common losses and triumphs, with an unforced wisdom at once convincing and beautiful.” Says Joyce S. Brown, a judge in the chapbook contest, “These poems form a unified work…no inexact or excess words keep the lines from moving crisply and colorfully through a cast of characters as varied as Frank Sinatra, Houdini, John Glenn and St. Peter.”

Professor Lloyd is the author of two books on writing from Wales. He suggests that the best way to obtain a copy of his chapbook is to e-mail Rosemary Klein, Three Conditions Press, at --Neal Burdick

Jane Hallock Combs ’52, The Color of Chartreuse, Etc., First Books Library, 2003.

People are often quite eclectic, if not eccentric. Jane Hallock Combs invites readers to visit a cast of true quirky characters in this new book. She presents a collection of “mostly non-fiction” essays with “a few stretchers” thrown in, she notes. Almost all of the stories are humorous, with some heart-warmers and tearjerkers for good measure. They have varied settings, from her hometown, Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., to Connecticut, upstate New York, Florida (where she raised three children and “the occasional rumpus”) and Kentucky.

Most of the essays have aired on the NPR station in Murray, Ky., and many have appeared in newspapers in Rochester, N.Y., St, Petersburg, Fla., and Atlanta. St. Lawrence is mentioned in the book a couple of times and her brother, Dave ’50, often.

Currently residing in Kentucky, Class Reporter Combs has raised three children and numerous animals; she has taught school, founded a small educational publishing company, and written for numerous newspapers and magazines. She has also written five books and hosts a radio program on her local NPR station, where most of the essays in this book originated.

Dorine Cornell Lord ’39, Sandbox to Mortarboard, Nicholas K. Burns Publishing, 2003.

This book’s subtitle, “Laughing All the Way,” sets the tone for life in Canton, where Dorine Cornell grew up, from the late 1920s through the Depression and into her undergraduate years at St. Lawrence. The lives of teachers, pastors, friends and neighbors, the lifeblood of any community, are recalled with love, nostalgia and, above all, humor.

This is an intimate portrayal of small-town America between the great wars of the 20th century. But this was also a college town. From her first day in kindergarten until her graduation from St. Lawrence, events occur involving not only Cantonians but also faculty such as the Gaineses, Sarah Plaisance and Charles Rebert and their families on “Mt. Olympus,” as some villagers called the University. Laurentian readers will also learn about places they came to know in the village, such as the old Town Hall, Kaplan’s Department Store and the Tick Tock.

“These recollections reflect the courage of our people during a time of deprivation, a courage even more triumphant because our sense of humor never failed us,” Dorine Lord says. Her personal recollections of both town and gown make an enjoyable read. --Neal Burdick ’72

Neil S. Forkey, Shaping the Upper Canadian Frontier: Environment, Society, and Culture in the Trent Valley, University of Calgary Press, 2003.

Neil Forkey, visiting assistant professor in Canadian studies and the First-Year Program, has written a book about Canada's Trent Valley in the 19th century that its publishers call “a microcosm for wider human and environmental changes throughout North America. Forkey makes a significant contribution to the growing body of work on Canadian environmental history,” the publishers state. “Themes of ethnicity and environment in the Trent Valley are brought into wider perspective with comparisons to other areas of contemporary settlement throughout the British Empire and North America.”

Forkey begins by placing his study within the literature of settler societies of Upper Canada and North America. The Trent Valley's geography, prehistory and Native peoples--the Huron and the Mississauga--are discussed alongside the Anglo-Celtic migrations and resettlement of the area. Four distinct case studies of environmental, social and cultural change are presented.

The book gives special attention to the life and nature writings of Catherine
Parr Traill; her descriptions of life and environmental changes in the valley illustrate Canadian attitudes about the natural world during the 19th century. --Macreena Doyle

Sid Sondergard, The Cabala of Pegasus: An Annotated Translation of Giordano Bruno's Cabala del cavallo Pegaseo (co-trans.), Yale University Press, 2002, and Sharpening Her Pen: Strategies of Rhetorical Violence by Early Modern English Women Writers, Susquehanna University Press, 2002.

It was a busy and productive year for Professor of English Sid Sondergard, who had two books published within months of each other in 2002.

The Cabala of Pegasus is a translation of the book by Italian philosopher Giordano Bruno and is accompanied by essays and commentary by Sondergard and his co-translator, Madison Sowell. Bruno published six philosophical dialogues while in England in 1583-85, including The Cabala of Pegasus. It consists of vernacular dialogues that turn on the identification of the noble Pegasus (the spirit of poetry) and the humble ass (the vehicle of divine revelation). In the interplay of these ideas, Bruno explores the nature of poetry, divine authority and secular learning, which had great influence on James Joyce and many other writers and artists from the Renaissance to the modern period. This first English translation contains both the English and Italian versions as well as annotations.

According to Sondergard, “The ‘kaballah’ is a system of erudite decoding of holy texts in order to uncover God’s revelations within them. We use the secularized spelling ‘cabala’ to signify a secularized conceptualization of the system--in Bruno's case, his disguising of his text’s meaning to hide it from those ‘unworthy’ to understand it.” “Pegasus” holds figurative meaning for the text, standing for the spirit of freethinking; “What could be more free than a flying horse?” Sondergard asks. “The book is a satire on British education because it cleverly makes fun of the British university system.”

Sharpening Her Pen is about six women writers from the 16th and 17th centuries who practiced rhetorical violence in their writing. Sondergard defines rhetorical violence as “the replication in language of the physical experience of pain: its causes, its consequences, its analogues in conflict and suffering, real and imagined. This replication may itself prove capable of producing the trauma of pain (by stirring the reader to actual violence, or by triggering an actual physical response in the reader), or it may function more figuratively, provoking an illusory sensation of pain (as in the empathetic sense it ‘hurts’ to read of another's agony), or summoning an individual's private and cultural memories of the experience of pain.”

The women Sondergard profiles range from the well-known Queen Elizabeth
to the virtually unknown Anne Dawriche. “I realized these women are important,” Sondergard said. “I wanted to show how they were still effectively able to show what was important to them when there wasn’t a market for women writers.”

The original manuscript looked at how both men and women use rhetorical violence in their writing, but “It dawned on me that it was actually more interesting that the women used this technique,” Sondergard says. --Jackie Roy ’04 and Macreena Doyle

Hugh Gunnison ’52, Hypnocounseling: An eclectic bridge between Milton Erickson and Carl Rogers, PCCS Books (Ross-on-Wye, Wales), 2003.

This book represents an attempt to blend the Utilization Approach of Erickson and the Person-Centered Approach of Rogers with brief solution-based therapy. Thus it becomes a catalyst and adjunct that can increase the effectiveness and efficiency of whatever primary therapy the professional might use.

In her foreword, Peggy Natiello reports that “Gunnison’s style is conversational and personal, filled with rich metaphors and examples of the theoretical points he is attempting to drive home. There are some very special reminders in this book about the sacredness of the therapeutic relationship, the exquisite respect for the person of the client, new discoveries in physics and their implications for the field of human development, and the privilege and responsibility of working in the field of counseling.”

Those discoveries in physics are part of a debt Gunnison says he owes his alma mater. “Years ago I took Physics for Dummies from Alfred Romer,” he says. “What I learned has caused me to apply the principles of physics to counseling.” Another former professor whom Gunnison, himself emeritus professor of education, credits is “Doc” Delmage ’32. “St. Lawrence has done a lot for me,” he says; “this book is a way of giving back.”` --Neal Burdick ’72

Peter J. Bailey, The Reluctant Film Art of Woody Allen, The University Press of Kentucky, 2001, paperback ed., 2003.

If you've ever wanted to reach right into the movie screen, shake one of Woody Allen's characters by the shirt collar, and say, "Snap out of it, bub," here's a book for you. Professor of English Peter Bailey offers a fascinating, crystalline analysis of one of the most vexing questions to dog three generations of Woody Allen characters: Is the fictional world of art--especially film art--more a help or a hindrance in our difficult lives?

Bailey demonstrated his gift for making sense of challenging contemporary literary art with Reading Stanley Elkin in the mid-80s. In The Reluctant Film Art of Woody Allen, he takes on a more readily accessible subject but does not hold back any of the tremendous critical insight at his command. The result is a book both for serious film buffs--that is, buffs of serious film (a subjective distinction taken up in this book)--and film scholars alike. This book makes watching his movies a more intellectually stimulating experience without killing the comic moments so abundant in them.

Bailey succeeds admirably with this book, mainly because he never puts Allen on a pedestal. The author is a fan, to be sure, as indicated by his generous praise for what Allen does well--and has done well at a pace of roughly one film a year since 1972. This book's thesis, however, delves more deeply into a particularly compelling set of questions at the core of most of Allen's films: What do they say about the role of art in our lives? Is it a redeeming social force or merely a pleasant diversion from life's suffering? Are Woody Allen's films art or merely pleasant, entertaining diversions?

Bailey combines his own convincing interpretations of Allen's film work with previously reported comments from Allen on these questions to show not only how equivocal Woody Allen movies are on the matter of art's benefits and costs, but how central a theme this equivocating is in those movies. To his great credit--and unlike many scholarly investigations of film and literary art--Bailey avoids overbearing suggestions that HIS interpretations are REALLY what Allen's films are all about. Rather, he has found a thread running through Allen's work that he holds up to the light--a light that has lingered too long on the personality of Woody Allen and the attending tabloid drama. This more illuminating thread--the vexed relationship of art to life and the difficulty of reconciling the two, both in art and in life--is of such enormous importance in the broader conversation of American popular culture that the absence of details on Allen's personal travails reads as a virtue in Bailey's book.

While Woody Allen fans will definitely find The Reluctant Film Art of Woody Allen most enjoyable and accessible, any moviegoer who has ever contemplated what distinguishes the cinematic good and bad from the ugly will find this book thought-provoking, perhaps at times profound. Ultimately, this is not a portrait of a filmmaker so much as the study of an intriguing film mind at work--and a snapshot of a possible film legend as a work-in-progress.
--Adapted from an unsigned review on

David R. Henderson, co-editor, Mementos, Artifacts, and Hallucinations From the Ethnographer's Tent, Routledge, 2002.

Visiting Assistant Professor of Music David Henderson’s new book of essays and stories has contributions from leading researchers in the fields of anthropology, ethnomusicology and folklore, as well as personal, imaginative accounts of ethnographic fieldwork that do not fit into a traditional scholarly context but are “a vital and engaging aspect of studying different cultures,” according to the publishers. Individual pieces vary from autobiographical accounts of ethnographers’ experiences in the field to fictional narratives. Henderson, the author of one of the 10 essays, has been on the faculty at St. Lawrence since 2001. --Macreena Doyle