Posts by Rachel Cooley
Apr 30, 2015 (9:31 am)
24 hours of community giving. One incredible chance to shape San Antonio’s future.
If you live S.A., then give S.A.
This year, Trinity University Press is proud to participate in The Big Give SA, a 24-hour online giving event in support of local nonprofits doing good work to make San Antonio awesome. The big day is next week on May 5th and we hope you will be a part of it with us.
Trinity University Press publishes important, internationally recognized, award-winning books intended for curious readers who are committed to lifelong learning in a variety of subjects. We are proud to do our part to bring San Antonio to the world, and the world to San Antonio. We hope you agree that we are an important part of the cultural scene in our city! From the San Antonio Book Festival to Fiesta, we’re an integral part of San Antonio and we’re proud to share our city with the world in books about our River Walk, artists, and food.
We can’t do it alone! We need readers and supporters like you. Book sales alone can’t support what we do, and many of the books we make available worldwide simply might not get published without your support.
Please consider supporting your friendly neighborhood book publishers for this amazing one day event! You can even fill out this form now, pledging to give on May 5th.
With the Big Give, it just takes a few seconds to make a difference in your community! Whether you support us or other nonprofit groups doing important work in San Antonio, we hope you will join us in making The Big Give SA one of the best in the country. Every gift helps more than you know, no matter how small or large.
Please make sure to share this message with your friends and family. Let’s tell everyone about this awesome day for nonprofits!
Feb 9, 2015 (10:20 am)
Beloved poet Gary Snyder and South African writer and scholar Julia Martin will discuss their decades-long friendship on March 4 at Trinity University. The evening celebrates their new book, Nobody Home: Writing, Buddhism, and Living in Places, which collects their many letters and musings.
As Snyder likes to say, it’s not over yet. He and Martin will continue their ongoing conversation on campus, exploring themes from the book such as ecological and gender politics; issues of community, bioregion, and place; Snyder’s priorities for writing; and core musings like suffering, old age, sickness, and death.
Please join us for this conversation and poetry reading at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 4.
Crossing the equator
curving over the Atlantic ocean space, south-north, west-east—
Cape Town and Table Mountain, Namaqualand, Kalahari—to Cape Mendocino, Shasta, Black Rock desert—Julia and I have tossed our paper airplane letters toward each other now for over thirty years, mostly swooping ok down
To compare our wild/tame female/male scholar/artist parent/wanderer tricks
with each other. All on the path of walking, writing and sitting.
I’ve learned so much from her. And I love this neo-Gondwanaland we share. It’s not over yet.
An evening with Gary Snyder and Julia Martin
March 4, 7:30–9 pm
Chapman Center | Great Hall | Trinity University
East Rosewood Avenue
San Antonio, Texas
Oct 9, 2014 (8:59 am)
Journalist and activist Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! spoke at Trinity University Oct. 7 as part of the Maverick Lecture Series. Goodman has received the Right Livelihood Award, sometimes termed the "Alternative Nobel Prize" for “developing an innovative model of truly independent grassroots political journalism that brings to millions of people the alternative voices that are often excluded by the mainstream media.” She spoke about the power of stories—how if we heard the perspective of a mother in Iraq, an uncle in Palestine, or a son in Israel, the space between us would grow smaller. The conversations about the issues would change, just as they have been changed by social movements addressing the economy, or equal rights, or the environment.
As a sociology and English double major, I couldn’t help thinking about the stories we tell and hear—as a culture, as an individual, as a writer—that influence our perspectives in significant ways. A single story can change how we think and feel about an issue, and how we talk about it or express our opinions to others. These stories can be found on independent media sites like Amy Goodman’s, in conversations, in travel, and most powerfully in literature. As Azar Nafisi said during her lecture at Trinity in March, where, if not in literature, do we learn to empathize with both the hero and the villain?
In 2006 Rebecca Solnit (author of The Encyclopedia of Trouble and Spaciousness) offered advice to graduates of the University of California, Berkeley: “The universe is made out of stories—go change them, tell them, bury them, give birth to them. A difficult task, but not an impossible one. Not if you remember, as readers and scholars might, that we are living in an impossible world already.” Though it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by societal issues and discouraged by endless debates that rarely reach conclusions or create change, I see telling stories as a source of hope, a place to start change from the bottom up.
Oct 7, 2014 (1:32 pm)
We’re always looking for authors who describe new ways to think about the craft of writing. As an experienced teacher, editor, and writer, Carter Wiseman, author of Writing Architecture, is just the person for the job. We asked him to share some matter-of-fact tips from his book, for architects and students of architecture—and for writers in any field or genre.
What challenges and fears do individuals face when beginning to write, and how can they overcome them?
Most people—including architects and architecture students—have a completely appropriate fear of writing. Our brains do not work in full sentences and paragraphs, so trying to clarify our random thoughts in a way that others can understand is not “natural.” However, simply spewing out whatever is on our minds is not likely to make much sense to others; we can’t expect them to read our minds. Organizing the mental chaos and expressing it clearly takes work, and most of us would prefer to avoid it.
How can architects develop their own writing style and tone?
People who write about architecture often worry about style and tone. They also worry about a related issue: audience. Insecure writers tend to think that using big words and convoluted sentences conveys an impression of profundity. It doesn’t. What it does convey is that the writer has not thought the subject through sufficiently to make a direct statement. That is why so many in the profession rely on “archispeak,” using words likemateriality, discourse, and intervention when they could say materials, debate, or action. The best writers always use simple English. Their style and tone emerge naturally from their choice of words. Hemingway didn’t set out to write the way he did. He wrote that way because of who he was. Writers should not try to be what they are not.
What must architects consider about the built world to write persuasively and clearly about it?
To write persuasively and clearly about the built world, architects need to identify at the outset what it is they want to say. Writing rarely leads to thinking; thinking often leads directly to writing. Is the goal of a project to keep the rain out, or to inspire? Both are valid, but the reader (client, patron, critic, voter) should have no doubt about which is which.
Why is clear writing important for architects specifically?
Clear writing is important to every profession, but especially to architecture. The reason is that the stakes are so high. Architects make things that last a long time, and if those things are designed in response to a murky program or unclear specifications, the impact will be felt for years. An architect friend of mine once said he thought the greatest challenge of bad writing in the profession was not the difficulty of being understood, but the danger of being misunderstood.
Why did you write the book and what do you hope readers will gain from it?
I wrote Writing Architecture to give students and practitioners—as well as users—of architecture some ways to appreciate the value of the art, and therefore to advance it. Most clients are not trained to read architectural documents, so a floor plan is likely to seem mysterious. If an architect can write a proposal that convinces the client to go beyond mere building to create something uplifting, civilization takes a step forward.
Oct 1, 2014 (12:41 pm)
October 4 marks World Animal Day, set aside to consider how animals enrich our lives and how we can be in a respectful relationship with them. The day was created in 1931 at a convention of ecologists in Florence, Italy, who wanted to draw attention to endangered species.
I’ll be thinking of the earth’s animals and the role of pets that have enriched my life and become members of my family. The connection between human and pet can mirror the connections between humans and the natural world.
As early as the second century, many Roman philosophers, Claudius Aelianus among them, were obsessed with documenting animal characteristics. The conclusions Aelian comes to in On the Nature of Animals are sometimes humorous, sometimes fanciful and disproven by modern science, and sometimes insightful. His book constitutes an early encyclopedia of animal behavior, affording unparalleled insight into what ancient Romans knew about and thought about animals—and about animal minds.
Below are some of the descriptions I found especially amusing and interesting. Many species Aelian catalogs are now endangered, according to the World Wildlife Foundation.
“Though they are without reason, animals do not bother one another and are frequently clement. I once heard this story: A hunter had a LEOPARD that he had found as a cub and raised since then, caring for it as he would a friend. He loved the leopard dearly. One day he brought it a kid to eat. The leopard had already eaten and was not hungry, so it left the kid alone. On the second day, though it needed to eat, it left the kid alone again. On the third day, even though it was plainly hungry—even its voice sounded hungry—the leopard did not harm the kid, for they had been together three days, and the kid was now its friend. The leopard ate another kid, though, that was brought to it. Yet men betray their brothers, their parents, their lifelong friends. We know of many examples.”
The Amur leopard is critically endangered.
“Indians and Libyans tell different stories about animals, based on what they have seen. In India, if an adult ELEPHANT is captured, it is usually very hard to tame and so bent on regaining its freedom that it becomes quite bloodthirsty, and if you try to tie it down it will only make the elephant angrier. The Indians try to placate such an elephant with nice food and treats, but the elephant will have none of it. So the Indians do this: they take an instrument called a skindapsus and play music, and the elephant listens, and in time its anger subsides and softens, and it takes notice of the food and eats. When this happens the elephant’s bonds are loosened, and it eats and eats and has no thought of running away, because elephants love music.”
The Sumatran elephant, Asian elephant, Borneo Pygmy elephant, Indian elephant, Sri Lankan elephant, and African elephant are all endangered or vulnerable species.
“The DOLPHIN is said to love its own kind, and here is proof. A dolphin was captured at Aenus, in Thrace, and wounded in the process. Smelling its blood, other dolphins came racing into the harbor and jumped around, subtly threatening the fishermen. The people of Aenus, frightened, freed the captive, and the other dolphins escorted it out of the harbor. People, on the other hand, will barely lift a finger to help a relative, man or woman, in need.”
The Ganges river dolphin, Hector’s dolphin, and Indus river dolphin are all endangered species.
Many of us can recognize the human-like emotion and intelligence in animals that Aelian notes. What animals have touched your life or reflect the qualities we ascribe to the human world?
May 2, 2014 (2:55 pm)
Game 6 Tonight! Trinity University alum and TU Press author Tim Derk reflects on his time as the Spurs Coyote mascot in his book Hi Mom, Send Sheep!, providing insider perspective on the Spurs as they gained national attention while staying true to their San Antonio fans. Derk, who was constantly inventing new antics to delight fans, was one of the most popular mascots in the NBA—until a massive stroke disrupted his life and career. Derk’s story is one of personal struggle with illness, wry anecdotes of the Coyote’s misadventures, and reflection on the support of the team and fans. Today he is the manager of mascot development for the Spurs, where he continues to be an integral part of the game experience, helping to build community and entertain millions of fans. For the playoffs this year, TU Press is proud to be a part of Spurs Nation. Go Spurs! Beats those Mavs!
Mar 19, 2014 (1:32 pm)
The San Antonio Book Festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 5 at the Central Library, the Southwest School of Art, and the Empire Theater. Presented by the San Antonio Public Library Foundation, the second annual festival will feature author readings and discussions, book signings, a book sale and exhibit, and more.
Trinity University Press will be at the festival to celebrate and connect readers with several of our authors. Barry Lopez will speak about nature writing in Home Ground and his new book, Outside; Mary Margaret McAllen will discuss the Mexican history in her recent book Maximilian and Carlota; and Char Miller will explore Texas water issues in his book On the Edge.
The festival, which aims to “unite readers and writers in a celebration of ideas, books, libraries and literary culture,” will cater to many literary interests, including poetry, fiction, history, and even cooking. Guests can enjoy cookbook demonstrations and eats from local food trucks. Trinity creative writing professor Jenny Browne will perform some of her poetry and read the winning entries from the festival’s high school fiction writing contest. A Literary Death Match—a humorous reading competition with four popular and emerging authors and three all-star judges—will take place in the evening.
Feb 11, 2014 (7:25 am)
On Tuesday, March 4, Trinity University Press will host Azar Nafisi, author of Reading Lolita in Tehran, in a discussion on human rights and women’s education in the Middle East, and on literature as a tool of social change.
Nafisi has argued not only for the importance of literature, both fiction and nonfiction, for its own sake, but also for how it creates connections between peoples and cultures. She asserts that reading can promote understanding and present cultural complexities without reducing a society to one feature of itself.
In a speech to Vanderbilt University in 2012, Nafisi said, “I was shocked to see that all of the country that, before I left the United States, had various cultures, histories and political systems, was now reduced to one aspect of it—religion, which was reduced to only one aspect of itself.”
Readers can explore Iranian culture, and not just its government, through Nafisi’s books and lectures, and through Iranian history and literature.
In an interview with the World Future Society, Nafisi said, “I was first introduced to America by Huck Finn. I want people to come to Iran through Ferdowsi, a poet. Perhaps I can help with this. Art and literature should not be bound by nationality.”
Learn more about Nafisi’s work and message at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, March 4, in the Stieren Theater on Trinity’s campus. Free and open to the public. Book signing and reception to follow. The event is in celebration of the Trinity University Press tenth anniversary and is made possible through funds from the Elbert and Esther Fertig DeCoursey Fund.
Jan 17, 2014 (10:46 am)
January 17, 2014, marks the centennial of poet William Stafford’s birth, and events across the world will celebrate his poetry and influence all year long. With many events in the Pacific Northwest, in Nevada and Arkansas, and even in Glasgow, Scotland, everyone can celebrate the life and works of this beloved poet.
The Friends of William Stafford seek to celebrate Stafford’s influence and the power and importance of the literary arts in our lives. Stafford actively looked for opportunities to see beauty in his life and work, always “listening for the next sound” and “rubbing words together until something sparked.” He followed a “golden thread” among the simple beauties in life and once said of his work, “I have woven a parachute out of everything broken.”
On what would have been Stafford’s 100th birthday, we can celebrate his life and work by striving to see the beauty he saw and by affirming the significance of the literary arts. We can can also celebrate by reading the compositions of this prolific writer, including The Osage Orange Tree, which gives insight into the nature of a young poet who worked through some of America’s hardest and most inspiring times. For more about Stafford’s life, see the works of his son, Kim Stafford, such as Early Morning: Remembering My Father, William Stafford and 100 Tricks Every Boy Can Do.
Dec 4, 2013 (1:16 pm)
For the curious child in your life: The Complete ArteKids Book Set
These five books allow children to explore art in English and Spanish, as well as shapes, colors, numbers, and animals, in a unique and engaging way. Featuring artwork from the San Antonio Museum of Art.
For your favorite archaeologist or armchair historian: Painters in Prehistory: Archaeology and Art of the Lower Pecos Canyonlands
Texas native or not, this book will interest those fascinated by culture with images of rock art and descriptions of the lives of ancient Rio Grande canyon dwellers. From basketry to botany, from warfare to shamanism, this book has something interesting for everyone.
For the nature-lover or writer: Home Ground: A Guide to the American Landscape
This visionary reference of the American landscape combines geography, literature, and folklore to thrill language-lovers and tree-huggers alike. Literary descriptions of our land and water forms, now available in a smaller, field guide edition.
For fans of poetry and the environment: The Ecopoetry Anthology
This poetry anthology celebrates the mysteries and wonders of nature and offers insights into the human experience with nature and the biological beauty that sustains us.
For those curious about ecology and philosophy: The Donald Culross Peattie Library
Nine reissued works by a celebrated mid-century naturalist contemplate plants and animals, the American landscape, and the history of trade goods. Any one of the Peattie books will excite friends and family interested in nature or the environment this holiday season.
For the foodie or relationship expert: Domesticity: A Gastronomic Interpretation of Love
This tour-de-force romp through the worlds of eating and eroticism will satisfy the food lover (and who doesn’t love eating at the holidays?) or the person in love. Shacochis muses on the relationship between heart and stomach, with essays and seventy-five recipes that nourish the senses and the soul.
Nov 15, 2013 (1:32 pm)
National Recycling Day is November 15 this year, and we at TU Press want you to do your part for the earth by reducing, reusing, and recycling, in that order. There are so many easy and convenient ways to reuse or recycle if you simply make the choice to do your part.
Check out America Recycles Day for events and to take a pledge to recycle more. Go to I Want To Be Recycled to learn about the recycling process, and Earth 911 for ideas about more things to reuse or recycle.
Recycling Day aims to increase awareness and education about recycling, but environmental conservation cannot just happen one day a year.
Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril argues for the moral importance of united and deliberate action to protect the environment, not only because it is right but because it is necessary for our survival. In the essay “Who We Really Are,” Thomas Friedman argues that environmental action also defines who were are as humans:
“Environmental law expert John Dernbach once remarked to me that in the final analysis, ‘the decisions Americans make about sustainable development are not technical decisions about peripheral matters, and they are not simply decisions about the environment. They are decisions about who we are, what we value, what kind of world we want to live in, and how we want to be remembered.’ We are the first generation of Americans in the Energy-Climate era. This is not about whales anymore. It’s about us. And what we do about the challenges of energy and climate, conservation and preservation, will tell our kids who we really are.”
Oct 30, 2013 (8:20 am)
The southern literary tradition includes spooky tales, often set in deserted plantation houses or among eerie trees covered in Spanish moss. From haunted mansions to vampires in New Orleans, celebrate Halloween by reading southern tales like Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice or gothic shorts from William Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor.
Check out some of the creepy stories in our Literary Cities series, including “The Haunted Library” by Margaret Wayt DeBolt and “The Gold Bug” by Edgar Allen Poe, that master of suspense.
In “The Haunted Library,” DeBolt tells the history of a house near a cemetery in Savannah, Georgia, haunted by the ghosts of past inhabitants. She writes: “A full moon shone in the windows, illuminating the room. As he glanced about his strange surroundings, he was startled to see a man—the man of the portrait, in uniform—now seated near him in a large leather armchair. The frame of the painting above him was empty. Then he realized in terror that the other elaborate frames were vacant as well, for the persons who had occupied them were now moving about the room.”
Got the willies yet?
Continue reading the hair-raising story in Literary Savannah, and have a well-read Halloween!
Oct 21, 2013 (1:54 pm)
Dorothy Stafford, teacher and widow of poet William Stafford, died last Thursday at the age of ninety-seven. We'd like to express our condolences to Dorothy’s friends and family, including son and TU Press author Kim Stafford.
Dorothy was an inspirational teacher in Lake Oswego, Oregon, the mother of four children, and supportive partner of William Stafford for fifty years. Born on a farm in Nebraska and raised in California, Dorothy accompanied her minister father to a camp for conscientious objectors in 1943 and there met William, a Kansas farm boy, who told his draft board that he learned not to kill in Sunday school and believed it still. The two went on a walk and married a year later.
In his poem "Passing Remark", Stafford described his wife lovingly as "a vivid girl from the mountains." His forthcoming book, The Osage Orange Tree, a short story of young love during the Great Depression, is dedicated to Dorothy.
Read more about Dorothy’s inspirational life on oregonlive.com.
Sep 30, 2013 (8:17 am)
In a recent blog post, TU Press author Char Miller comments on the relationship between humans and wildlife in what he calls “the summer of the bear.” Many have seen videos of bear shenanigans, including breaking into dumpsters and even bars in Colorado. Miller questions why we have been so fascinated with wildlife and looks at how one ancient philosopher, Claudius Aelianus, expressed his fascination in his playful and quirky book, On the Nature of Animals. Miller uses the TU Press edition, saying that it is "beautifully translated, carefully selected, helpfully annotated, and wryly introduced by Gregory McNamee."
Miller argues that although Aelian’s scientific logic is seemingly unorganized and certainly different than our own, we should not think of our science as superior. He says that recent legislation in Utah and California has made similarly “curious” judgments about bears and other wildlife. Whatever the science and logic, it is clear that humans are interested in their relationship with the natural world, though our judgments may sometimes be peculiar or puzzling.
Read Miller’s full post at his blog, The Golden Green.
Sep 27, 2013 (7:23 am)
At TU Press, we understand the power of books to inform and motivate readers about many issues, including environmental protection. We celebrate the diversity of perspectives that books, whether fiction or nonfiction, can provide.
This Banned Book Week, we urge you to consider the books that have challenged your views or made you see the world differently.
In researching books that have been frequently challenged, I was surprised to find many of my favorite classics, including Gone with the Wind, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, on the list. I read most of these books in high school, and they all had a way of taking me to a place in history and showing me the common norms and values of that time. Books like The Kite Runner andPersepolis have shown me ways of life from all over the world. The Giver andSlaughterhouse Five made me consider radically different fictional societies and, in turn, think about my own life and world in a new way. In addition, I would argue that titles like Ender’s Game and The Perks of Being a Wallflower are essential coming-of-age stories for most preteens and teens.
Parents and administrators often try to shield children from materials that may not be age appropriate, but banning a book from a library or school district is never the answer. Teachers and parents can talk to children about books that are appropriate for them and how books can offer many points of view. Differing perspectives are essential for students to form their own opinions and develop a well-rounded worldview.
This year, stay informed about challenges to some of your favorite books and challenge censorship of any kind in your community. Celebrate banned books week with TU Press by continuing to read both fiction and nonfiction to broaden your perspective.
Sep 20, 2013 (3:41 pm)
The International Day of Peace, on September 21 each year, was established in 1981 by the United Nations but has only gained worldwide attention in the past ten years as people unite on Peace One Day. Peace One Day is a global international ceasefire for individuals and organizations to work toward peace-building, development and aid, and the delivery of supplies like food and vaccines. This year’s theme is “Who will you make peace with?” At TU Press we see climate change as a threat to long-term international peace, wreaking social and political havoc as humans struggle to deal with environmental changes.
In Wisdom for a Livable Planet, Carl McDaniel profiles eight visionaries dedicated to addressing environmental issues that create social and political conflict. Some of these issues include:
- hazardous waste
- loss of biodiversity
- effects of agribusiness on health and the food supply
- economics based on outmoded growth models
- lack of environmental education at all levels
- larger gaps between the haves and the have-nots cause by globalization.
McDaniel argues that globalization “impoverishes people because, by ignoring the unique character and limits of each locality, it erodes environmental stability and produces dysfunctional societies characterized by violence, crime, poverty, substantial disparity between rich and poor, civil unrest, and social insecurity.” When we promote an econocentric worldview rather than an ecocentric one, resources are overexploited for economic gains and we see an increase in poverty, starvation, sickness, and suffering among the poor in developing countries. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms that each individual has the right to a standard of living adequate for his or her health and well-being. Every person must therefore have access to clean water, air, and food resources. If these needs are not met, how can we claim to have world peace?
If we allow environmental degradation and the unsustainable use of our earth’s resources to continue, the poor in underdeveloped or developing countries will suffer increasingly from disease and lack of nutrition. If a central goal of Peace One Day is to give vaccinations to children and provide them with better health care, another goal must be to work to stop global climate change.
McDaniel’s message is one of hope. “Through the actions of each one of us,” he writes, “global culture can embrace an urgently needed ecologically centered pattern of living. With this transformation we will take our rightful place among the rest of nature and accept with grace and humility our relations to Earth’s diversity of life.”
Sep 4, 2013 (3:01 pm)
Kathleen Dean Moore, coeditor of Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril, and Scott Slovic, editor of Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and the Environment, have written a blog post for moralground.com urging writers to focus their voices on one important message: we all have a moral imperative to take immediate action to stop global climate change.
Moore and Slovic argue that the issue of climate change has become urgent, as evidenced by recent forest fires, droughts, record-breaking temperatures, and coastal storms. Writers must use their powerful and unique voices to “do the work of the moment”--that is, to help slow the planet's unsustainable use of fossil fuels by helping readers see those directly and negatively impacted by climate change, and by bearing witness to important stories no one else will tell, Moore and Slovic compel writers to use their skills in the most significant ways possible to combat global climate change.
Read the full post here.