National Geographic is the publisher of a short, simply expressed
yet heartfelt memoir by Joseph Lemasolai Lekuton '91. Facing the
Lion: Growing Up Maasai on the African Savanna is a book of cultural
encounters as the author recounts growing up in a traditional nomadic
way of life in Kenya (where “facing the lion” is at once a metaphor
and a vivid memory), leaving home for the first time when he departed
to travel to St. Lawrence, and becoming a teacher at The Langley School
in northern Virginia.
The only one in his family to go to school, he
is torn between two ways of life, but learns to accommodate both of
them. Along the way he celebrates his tribal initiation by circumcision,
learns to play soccer and speak English, gets help when drought causes
his family to have too few cattle to pay his school bills, and adapts
to being a college student halfway around the world, in a climate unlike
any he'd known before. He recounts how former Kenya Program director
Paul Robinson made him acquainted with St. Lawrence, although at the
time he had absolutely no idea what, or where, it was.
remains actively involved in community development projects in rural
Kenya. Through his work with several non-profit organizations, he
has provided more than 100 nomadic children with education scholarships
and constructed a water system delivering clean water to a dozen villages
in northern Kenya . He is the youngest recipient of Kenya 's Order
of the Grand Warrior, given by the president for exemplary service
to the country. He returns to Kenya every summer, a Maasai tribesman
who has learned to navigate more than one world.
Esckilsen '86 has been a shoe salesman, cab driver, rock-n-roll
musician, world traverlere, journalist with bylines in Entertainment
the Boston Gobe , and a college teacher. Now he's added “novelist” to
Esckilsen's debut novel, The Last Mall Rat (Houghton
Mifflin, 2003), take a cinematic look at owning up to your mistakes
and standing by your friends. Set in a small, economically failing
New England town, it is the story of 15-year-old Mitch Grant, whose
family has been torn apart by his father's protests against the new
shopping mall. In need of cash but too young to get a job, he turns
to the Chair, a superslick shoe salesman who needs help with a brash
new venture. Things quickly spiral out of control as the tale portrays
a divided town mired in a big drama.
According to Booklist, “This
clever, believable first novel captures teen boredom and frustration,
while never evading the moral issues. Realistic dialogue and a keen
sense of what matters to teen will draw them to this quick read.”
Three Laurentians have brought out short collections of poetry recently:
Lloyd '75 is professor of English and director of the Creative
Writing Program at Le Moyne College in Syracuse , and a widely published
critic, editor and award-winning poet. His second volume of poetry, The
Gospel According to Frank (New American Press, 2003) is a sequence
of poems that merges elements of the public persona of Frank Sinatra
with Biblical and mythological representations of divinity. The reader
will find a sometimes startling, always successful blend of forms from
the Old and New Testaments (parables appear frequently), excerpts of
Sinatra songs, and material from books on Sinatra and his acquaintances. “Daring,
enjoyable, ironic,” says fellow poet Fred Chappell on the cover, true
enough when you consider the one in which Sinatra reads Emily Dickinson
while Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe fight in the next room.
Reamy Jansen '66 is the creator of the chapbook My Drive,
A Natural History (Cincinnati: Finishing Line Press, 2003),
which employs the metaphor of the journey to allow him to comment on
the passing scene and his passing life. Professor of English and Humanities
at Rockland Community College , Jansen is the 2003 winner of the SUNY
Chancellor's Award for Creativity and Scholarship, and the 2000 winner
of the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching. He is vice
president of the National Book Critics Circle and, saying that he writes “a
steady stream of reviews on anything that interests me, from Romanian
poetry to contemporary philosophy,” a contributing editor to The Bloomsbury Review
of Books. Of his time at St. Lawrence, he acknowledges the influence
of Professors Carlisle (history), Munson (music) and Holladay (art).
DeBaise '83 is the 19th poet to be represented in the New
Women's Voices Series being produced by Finishing Line Press. Of
a Feather (2003) also features the cover art of her sister, Manhattan
artist and reporter Colleen DeBaise '82. The collection tells a story
that moves from the red desert cliffs of Arizona to the woods, marshes
and caves of Central New York . Readers from the Syracuse area will
recognize much of the imagery in the poems; DeBaise teaches writing
and literature at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
there. Selections such as “River Morning” and “Roadside” reveal a remarkable
ability to observe and connect.
new anthropology textbook by St. Lawrence University Professor of Anthropology Richard J. Perry examines
the five "key concepts" that
form the basis of study in the discipline.
Five Key Concepts in Anthropological
Thinking (Prentice Hall, 2003) is being used as a textbook for
anthropology courses at colleges and universities across the country.
Rather than approaching topics from the relative views of individual
theorists, the book instead discusses the concepts of evolution, culture,
structure, function and relativism. Publishers describe it as "A
thought-provoking reference for anyone interested in learning about
Perry is the author of three other books, Western
Apache Heritage: People of the Mountain Corridor (1991), Apache
Reservation: Indigenous Peoples and the American State (1993)
and From Time Immemorial: Indigenous Peoples and State Systems (1997),
all from the University of Texas Press . Since joining the faculty
in 1971, he has been a co-director of the University's program of
study in Kenya , and recently returned from a research trip to Australia
for his next project, which will address the concepts and attribution
of human differences cross-culturally.
A St. Lawrence graduate who is a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Green
Bay is the co-author of a new textbook on public policy. Public
Policy: Politics, Analysis, and Alternatives (CQ Press, 2003)
is by Associate Professor of Political Science and Public Affairs Scott
R. Furlong '85 and his faculty colleague, Professor of Political Science
and Public Affairs and Herbert Fisk Johnson Professor of Environmental
Studies Michael E. Kraft.
According to the publishers, the book "offers a striking approach
to the country's most urgent policy challenges by integrating the study
of process, the concepts and methods of policy analysis, and the substance
of policy areas."
A government major at St. Lawrence, Furlong's areas of expertise are
regulatory policy and interest-group participation in the executive
branch. He has published articles in a number of journals including Public
Administration Review , The Journal of Public Administration,
Research and Theory , A dministrative Studies Quarterly and Policy
Studies Journal . He has been teaching the Public Policy course
at Green Bay for 10 years. He participated in the Washington , D.C.
, semester while a St. Lawrence undergraduate and was a member of the
government department honorary; he holds a master's degree and Ph.D.
from The American University.
A new book by Michael Bottini '76 compiles some of the award-winning
columns he's written for a Long Island newspaper for four years, on
the nature trails of the area. Bottini is the author of the column "South
Fork Outdoors" in the Southampton Press ; the column
recently won the New York Press Association's first-place award for
Best Outdoor Column. The compilation book is titled The Southampton
Press Trail Guide to the South Fork (Harbor Electronic Publishing,
2003). “It's a description of 40 different nature preserves on the
south fork of Long Island ,” says Bottini.
An environmental planner for the Group of South Fork, Bottini earned
his St. Lawrence degree in economics and studied in Vienna while a
University undergraduate, and was a member of the Outing Club and the
ski and swim teams. “My interest in ecology and natural history first
developed during my years at St. Lawrence,” Bottini says, specifically
crediting his roommate and eventual Outing Club President Jack Pigott
'76 and Professors Emeriti Cropper and Green. After St. Lawrence, he
became an Outward Bound instructor, earned a master's degree in wildlife
ecology from the University of British Columbia and was an adjunct
instructor at Southampton College .
Bottini maps and designs trails for the Group of South Fork, and plans
another book, on paddling in Long Island waters.
“When there's a monster in your room, you turn a light on.” That's
the premise behind The Monster, by Peter Kray '89. This is
an allegory about rational thought and how it applies to our health,
especially in a rapidly changing world of technology and medicine.
Kray is a ski writer, journalist and editor who identifies his wife,
Catherine Coghill '91, as “the inspiration for the book.” He asserts
that we need to take ownership over our own health by engaging in serious
research, and that many health problems can be overcome by consistent
exercise and a sensible diet of healthy foods, as opposed to reliance
on prescription drugs.
The book was written with children in mind (thus the “monster” metaphor),
but Kray reports that readers from kids to senor citizens have responded
favorably to it. Its interviews with people in all walks of life, from
those who are chronically ill to those who can't remember the last
time they had a cold, will appeal to a broad audience. For a nation
in the dark about its health, this book turns a light on.
With a title like Seventy Years on a Motorcyle: An Up-to-the-Hilt
Reminiscence by a College Literature Professor, you get some
idea of what to expect. That's about what this book delivers. Herbert
Foster Gunnison '42 is the retired professor/biker, and
this lively, engaging memoir moves thorugh complex interrelated ideas
with grace and ease. We read of his attempts to break the coast-to-coast
motorcycle speed record, and his 7,500-mile journey around the U.S.
to celebrate his 75 th birthday. He can be blunt one moment (“beautiful,
my ass,” in
response to news that some atomic scientists find nuclear explosions
beautiful), lyric the next, as when he describes “the song of a perfectly
tuned engine, aching with daylong joy as I watch the earth renew
its sweet mysterious self around me.”
Canton resident and hockey and football “honorary volunteer” Jake
Dillon has written a memoir of growing up with his brother through
the years of the Great Depression. Blasted Apes (privately published,
available from 1-800-280-7715) mentions the University and numerous Laurentians.
The book has been described as more cheerful than moody as it lives out
the dour days of the Depression.