- In Chant, a novella by SUNY Potsdam English Professor Rick Henry ’79 (Blaze Vox Books, 2008), seven characters live in a commune named “Monastery.” Along comes the eighth. All are nameless except for a letter of the alphabet: A-G. Clever, yes; remember the title, Chant. The good life is interrupted when a man lost at sea appears in the village. By a fluke he becomes leader of the group and brings love (actually, sex) to the monastery. The place is never the same again. Weird and experimental, Henry’s brief story is fetching, compelling. A reader may groan and sense some alignment with his characters, or the “chant” that is continuously mentioned: the beat of the heart. Henry manages to create a world in microcosm–the farm, the stable, the lobster industry and certainly the house: an old “hippie commune,” a college community or perhaps a forgotten village in a small country by the sea. This quick read of involvement and thought ends with a wish that it might not end, but it must – the reader knows. --Maurice Kenny
- A third book in the popular "Max and Pinky" series by Maxwell Eaton III '04 has been published. In The Mystery (Random House, 2008) pals Max and Pinky have "painted the barn a nice, classic shade of red. But the next morning it's pink! They paint it again, but the very next day it's plaid! Something weird is going on--weird and mysterious! The best buds will ask the silliest questions, make the nuttiest alarm system, and get stuck in all sorts of places while searching--whatever it takes to crack the case!" Eaton, an English and fine arts major, has written and illustrated all three books. --MD
- Laura Puccia Valtorta ’80 is the author of Social Security Disability Practice (Knowles Publishing, 2009). This is a complete guide for the lawyer who wants to begin a disability practice, a reference work for the lawyer who already works in the Social Security area, and an aid to family court practitioners and worker's compensation attorneys who need to know about interaction with Social Security benefits. The author practices law in Columbia, S.C.
- Retired journalist John S. McClenahen '63 has assembled Eight Mile: Selected Poems (iUniverse, 2008). This is his first book of poems, with topics ranging from the Cascades to Moscow, the Musée d'Orsay, imagination, moral certainty and Gerald Ford's funeral. McClenahen, who covered economics for Industry Week and IndustryWeek.com, says his topics “were shaped in major parts by the education I received and the people I met at St. Lawrence. The liberal arts continue to be sources of inspiration and intellectual challenge.” The first selection, “Sun Rising, Sails Filling,” memorializes his best college friend, the late Chris Kapp ’63. --MD and NSB
- Janice Brabaw ’01 has published her first collection of poetry Universe, Disturbed (Amazon.com, 2008, and through Brabaw's website, www.JaniceBrabaw.com). She writes, “Past the cliché rhyme patterns, past the hyperbolic diction, past the melodramatic voice [in journals from her teenage and college years], she discovered a collection of bittersweet, authentic poems that reflected her inner turmoil while struggling with depression, failed relationships, problems with friends and school, and establishing her own voice as a young writer.” Brabaw works in the television industry and lives in Brooklyn.
- On New Year's Eve 1971, "Pete Duel," star of TV's smash-hit Alias Smith & Jones, shot himself to death under his Hollywood Christmas tree. Peter Deuel, briefly a member of the Class of 1961 and Phi Sigma Kappa, was "loved by all." He arrived in Hollywood and began the long, muddy slog required of young male actors.
Vastly talented, but denied juicier roles, Deuel sank into depression. He also suffered from alcoholism, epilepsy, drug and pain-killer addiction, unnamed fears and a crushing work load. Paul Green in his excellent but evasive Pete Duel: A Biography (McFarland, 2007) fills in many blanks, extensively quoting Peter's SLU buddies who joined him in the Hollywood Rat Race.
Aspiring SLU thespians should read Deuel's bio to decide whether "getting into theater” is worth it. A long list of Hollywood suicides is weighty evidence and strong medicine. --Alexander Wallace ’58
- Peter Scott ’67 teaches school near Cleveland, Ohio, but he writes fiction set along the coast of Maine. Something in the Water (reviewed in the online St. Lawrence, Winter 2003) came first, and then its prequel, The Boy Who Came Walking Home. Now he is out with the sequel, Barter Island (Down East Books, 2007), giving us several generations in the lives of island residents. In the first (chronologically) of the trilogy, they cope with World War I and the flu pandemic of 1918; in the second, it’s an invasion of Nazi spies; in the latest, set in the 1960s, the invaders are hippies who threaten the islanders’ way of life. --NSB
- Stories, Food, Life (produced by North Country Public Radio [NCPR] and published by Adirondack Life, Inc., 2008) is a collection of North Country food stories, recipes, photographs, and cooking and preserving tips. It comes with a CD audio sampler of food and cooking stories from NCPR’s archives. The volume paints a portrait of family and community, food traditions and celebrations. More than 150 recipes are included, along with dozens of photographs from renowned regional photographer Nancie Battaglia.
- Alan Casline ’73 is the founder of Benevolent Bird Press in Delmar, N.Y. At one time the publisher of Rootdrinker magazine, he says the press “brings to readers the mostly local pleasure of writers and artists with a sense of place and purpose. The books combine elements of the modern desktop with craft from older times,” such as hand stitching. Among the press’s output are several small assemblages of Casline’s own short imagistic poems, and one of more narrative poems by North Country Public Radio Web manager Dale Hobson. --NSB
By Our Faculty
*Craig Professor of English Sidney Sondergard has published the first complete English translation of short stories by 18th-century Chinese writer Pu Songling. Strange Tales from Liaozhai (Jain Publishing, 2008) represents the first two volumes of a six-volume set featuring illustrations by Christopher Peterson '05, Megan Williams '07, Alexa Unser '08 and other artists.
*A new edition of A Companion Guide to 'The Crying of Lot 49' (University of Georgia Press, 2008) by Professor of English Kerry Grant expands Grant’s 1994 explanations of many of the allusions in Thomas Pynchon's most accessible novel.
*James DeFranza, professor of mathematics, computer science and statistics, is the co-author of
Introduction to Linear Algebra with Applications (McGraw Hill, 2008). "We imagined ourselves in class with our students, using accessible examples to motivate abstract concepts," he said. "Teaching at St. Lawrence has given me the opportunity to work closely with mathematics students, an experience that has helped shape this book." --MD