Posts Tagged ‘books’

New York poet laureate Marie Howe reads “Annunciation” to Krista Tippett On Being

September 22, 2013

New York poet laureate Marie Howe speaks with Krista Tippett about her poetry on the NPR show, On Being. Closing the interview, The Poetry of Ordinary Time, recorded In The Room, April 2013, Howe reads a poem in the voice of Mary, mother of Jesus, describing the Annunciation, which, her friend and mentor, Stanley Kunitz, said no one had ever gotten right. She wrote several versions, tore them up, and then this final one came through her.

Marie Howe said it had nothing to do with her. It just came through her, a reminder that the best poetry comes through us when we get out of the way. When we are emptied of our small self, “by being no one,” transcend our senses and turn within and are open to the higher Self, then that great creative force of Love within us creates, and the miracle of life, of poetry, happens. You can hear “Annunciation” by Marie Howe on SoundCloud.

Thought this screen save from the video is most appropriate with the poster of Mother Mary holding the infant Jesus!

Marie Howe reads her poem Annunciation to Krista Tippett for On Being

Marie Howe reads her poem “Annunciation” to Krista Tippett for On Being

Annunciation

Even if I don’t see it again—nor ever feel it
I know it is—and that if once it hailed me
it ever does—

And so it is myself I want to turn in that direction
not as towards a place, but it was a tilting
within myself,

as one turns a mirror to flash the light to where
it isn’t—I was blinded like that—and swam
in what shone at me

only able to endure it by being no one and so
specifically myself I thought I’d die
from being loved like that.

This amazingly beautiful and profound poem can be found at 1:36:02 at the end of the interview, but she starts talking about it at 1:34:45. There are more audio clips of Howe reading her poems posted at the On Being blog. They are also available on their SoundCloud, with other audio clips. Here is the complete unedited audio interview recorded on March 16, 2003, at the College of Saint Benedict in Saint Joseph Minnesota.

Also see An Evening with New York State Poet Laureate Marie Howe.

This relates: David Whyte describes the mysterious way a poem starts inside you with the lightest touch. Whyte also uses a biblical reference, comparing poetic revelation to Lazarus walking to the light.

Enjoy reading: The Millions Interviews Marie Howe-Words Can Sustain and Save Us, published January 11, 2018, where Marie describes what the writing and reading of poetry has done for her, and what it can do for the rest of us. This Q&A particularly reinforces the point Marie Howe made to Krista Tippett when writing “Annunciation.”

TM: Do you think of writing as a spiritual act at its core?

MH: I do, because it involves a wonderful contradiction which is in order for it to happen you have to be there and you have to disappear. Both. You know, nothing feels as a good as that. Being there and disappearing–being possessed by something else. Something happening through you, but you’re attending it. There are few other things in the world like that, but writing is pretty much a relief from the self–and yet the self has to be utterly there.

Varanasi by Mary Oliver in A Thousand Mornings

March 16, 2013

I previously posted Mary Oliver’s poem, Praying, and Philip Goldberg emailed me to say that someone recently showed him the last poem in her new collection (A Thousand Mornings). He said, “It’s called ‘Varanasi,’ and it’s exquisite.” I started looking for it and found the poem posted by another poet, Bob Arnold, on his website. After reading it I agreed – it’s stunning! That’s why I’m posting it here for you to enjoy. I also came across a musical video of the poem with images from the Ganges. After you’ve read the poem, see Diane Walker’s poetic reaction to it below. But take a break from this busy introduction, and then enjoy the enlightened peaceful simplicity of Mary Oliver’s visit to Varanasi.

VARANASI

Early in the morning we crossed the ghat,

where fires were still smoldering,

and gazed, with our Western minds, into the Ganges.

A woman was standing in the river up to her waist;

she was lifting handfuls of water and spilling it

over her body, slowly and many times,

as if until there came some moment

of inner satisfaction between her own life and the river’s.

Then she dipped a vessel she had brought with her

and carried it filled with water back across the ghat,

no doubt to refresh some shrine near where she lives,

for this is the holy city of Shiva, maker

of the world, and this is his river.

I can’t say much more, except that it all happened

in silence and peaceful simplicity, and something that felt

like that bliss of a certainty and a life lived

in accordance with that certainty.

I must remember this, I thought, as we fly back

to America.

Pray God I remember this.

_______________________

Mary Oliver
A Thousand Mornings
(Penguin, 2012)

Now read this beautiful poetic reaction to the poem, Mary Oliver’s Varanasi, that Diane Walker, a contemplative photographer, posted on her website.

Among the NPR Poetry series is this interview ‘A Thousand Mornings’ With Poet Mary Oliver. You can also read the transcript here. I especially love this remark she makes about poetry:

“One thing I do know is that poetry, to be understood, must be clear. It mustn’t be fancy. I have the feeling that a lot of poets writing now are – they sort of tap dance through it. I always feel that whatever isn’t necessary shouldn’t be in a poem.”

Enjoy this wonderful Maria Shriver Interview With Mary Oliver.

See this remembrance of Mary Oliver with links to more of her poems.

Speaking of another famous American visiting the Ganges, see Prudence Farrow — subject of the Beatles song Dear Prudence — visits India’s Kumbh Mela.

 

Diane Vance and Norman Zierold discuss his new memoir, That Reminds Me, at Revelations Café

March 12, 2013
Norman Zierold, author of “That Reminds Me,” autographs one of his books for Peter Ecob Saturday at Revelations Café, after a book discussion. Freddy Fonseca, center, pushes in a chair after attending Zierold’s interview while Terry Weiss, seated, talks with others across the table.

Norman Zierold, author of “That Reminds Me,” autographs one of his books for Peter Ecob Saturday at Revelations Café, after a book discussion. Freddy Fonseca, center, pushes in a chair after attending Zierold’s interview while Terry Weiss, seated, talks with others across the table. Photo by Diane Vance

Fairfield author talks about recent work

By DIANE VANCE
Ledger staff writer
Tuesday, March 12, 2013

More than a dozen people attended a book discussion Saturday featuring Fairfield author Norman Zierold talking about his latest publication, “That Reminds Me.”

An Iowa native, born and raised in the Amana Colonies, Zierold has written and published eight books, but this latest, subtitled, “A Conversational Memoir,” comes 40 years after his seventh book, “Sex Goddesses of the Silent Screen.”

Those first seven books, beginning with “The Child Stars,” published in 1965, mostly deal with Zierold’s first-hand encounters, insights and research about authors, stars of stage and movies, his life and work in New York and Hollywood.

Zierold moved to Fairfield more than a decade ago and works at Maharishi University of Management.

“For about 50 years, people have said I should write a memoir,” he said. “I was always doing other things. I moved to Fairfield — though I’d been in and out of here before — and it took a couple years to begin writing.”

Having committed words to paper, he wasn’t sure how to get it all together in a readable fashion. He asked a co-worker and friend, Ken Chawkin, for help.

“Ken helped me get it all on my computer so I could manage it,” said Zierold.

“I always felt like I’d do a memoir; I knew I had one more book inside. Everyone has one book in them — everyone has ups and downs, traumas and experiences, and if presented well, it makes an interesting read. Everyone has a book,” he said.

So while Zierold happily drops names throughout his memoir, it is not about bragging or a “kiss-and-tell” expose.

Rather, Zierold keeps the little-boy wonder of the Iowa farm kid who spoke only German in his youngest years and relates everyday incidents, family dynamics and serendipitous meetings with the likes of Andy Warhol, Dylan Thomas, T.S. Eliot, E.E. Cummings, Anais Nin, Groucho Marx and many more.

Working for nearly a decade in New York City at Theatre Arts Magazine, Zierold’s job included interviewing Noel Coward and others, attending theatre productions and rubbing elbows with intellectuals, playwrights and celebrities at Sardis.

Even before his magazine job, his service to country and Navy uniform got him in to see performances of Ethel Merman, Edith Piaf and Mae West— including a back-stage meeting with her after the show.

Anthony Quinn hired Zierold to help him organize writing his autobiography. Part one took place around Los Angeles, with Quinn’s favorite retreat for working on his writing in California’s Death Valley. Part two took Zierold on a six-week encampment in Libya in 1979 while Quinn was shooting a movie on location in the Sahara Desert.

Zierold’s second book, “Little Charlie Ross,” published in 1967, is a true crime story about the first kidnapping for ransom in America in July 1874. His book landed Zierold an interview on the “Today Show” in New York, with Barbara Walters.

While studying for a master’s degree in English at the University of Iowa, Zierold was alone in a faculty lounge when the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas walked in.

“He was lecturing classes there for awhile, and he walks in and we have a visit, then I hear him again when he’s teaching the class,” said Zierold. “His reading of poetry is incomparable.”

Zierold is an avid reader. Before the book discussion began Saturday, he was perusing the biography bookshelves at Revelations Café while his audience gathered.

“I grew up reading, and especially liked Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemmingway,” he said. “Now I read biographies.”

He refers to Voltaire and Henry James as other favorites.

“I would encourage anyone to write,” he said. “Writing has a rhythm. Write without censoring yourself. Put it all in — you can take it out later. But if you leave it out and think you’ll go back to put something in later, it can interrupt the flow and not fit. It’s much easier to take something out than add it later.”

“That Reminds Me,” is a memoir, but it is not written in a chronological fashion. Zierold “puts it all in there,” and lets it flow as a conversation with a friend — this thought leads to another topic; that incident reminds him of another story.

Reading the slim paperback gives a full glimpse of a life, as he wrote in Chapter Five: “These digestible portions of prose will add up in time to a fully drawn portrait, just you wait and see. It will be like nature’s unfolding of a rose, petal by petal.”

Zierold writes about cocktail parties and gala weekends spent at various friends homes, at the shore or in Mexico. He writes about eventually asking himself if getting high, waking with hangovers and being witty at parties is all there is?

He relocates from L.A. to nearby-but-a-different-world, Laguna Beach. He describes the town’s peacefulness and incomparable beauty and power of the Pacific Ocean.

He sees a poster about Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and decides to attend a meeting, where he meets young people who have learned Transcendental Meditation. At age 45, Zierold discerns meditation seemed to work for them, so he signs up to learn TM in 1972. It is a quiet, gradual transformation for Zierold that leads to transcendence, bliss and months of euphoria, then becoming a TM teacher himself. He adds more travels to his passport and continues learning.

One of the gems among the jewels in this book is Zierold’s story about his own father and their relationship as adults.

Zierold asks questions about life and offers some answers.

Posted with permission from The Fairfield Ledger. This article was featured prominently on the front and back pages.

Here’s an earlier announcement Diane Vance wrote Thursday, March 7 on the upcoming book discussion and signing at Revelations Café.

Author speaking about new book

Iowa native and Fairfield resident since 2002, Norman Zierold, will talk about his latest book, “That Reminds Me,” at 2 p.m. Saturday upstairs at Revelations Café in Fairfield.

Everyone is welcome to this meet-the-author session.

This is Zierold’s eighth book, which he’s subtitled, “A Conversational Memoir.” Reading it is nearly like having a conversation with him. He tells stories from his days of rubbing elbows with celebrities, including authors, artists, movie stars, Broadway stars, TV stars, news anchors and more.

Saturday provides an opportunity to have an actual conversation with Zierold. A time for questions and answers is planned.

Born and raised in the Amana Colonies, Zierold enlisted in the navy, graduated cum laude from Harvard and earned a master’s degree in English Literature at the University of Iowa.

He always wanted to write, but also travel, and he spent two years in France on a French Government Teaching Assistantship. After Paris, he spent a decade in New York City, teaching at Brearley School and working at Collier’s Encyclopedia before landing rewarding assignments with Theater Arts Magazine and Show.

His first book, “The Child Stars,” was published in 1965 and is available at the Fairfield Public Library. It features stories about the child stars of the 1920s and 1930s, including Shirley Temple, Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland.

Other books followed: “Little Charlie Ross,” in 1967; “Three Sisters in Black,” in 1968, which won a Special Edgar Allen Poe Award; “The Moguls,” and “Garbo,” both in 1969; “The Skyscraper Doom,” in 1972; and “Sex Goddesses of the Silent Screen,” in 1973.

His books run the gamut of true crime novels, tales of Hollywood’s golden age in the 1940s and 1950s, and science fiction.

Posted with permission from The Fairfield Ledger.

For more information and other articles and interviews on Norman, see: That Reminds Me: A Conversational Memoir by Hollywood biographer Norman Zierold is now out!

That Reminds Me: A Conversational Memoir by Hollywood biographer Norman Zierold is now out!

January 10, 2013

ThatRemindsMe Lynch quote

That Reminds Me is a conversational memoir by Hollywood biographer and award-winning author Norman Zierold. Rather than a chronology of his life, the author engages the reader in a conversational manner, relating various episodes from his life that come to mind, one triggering another. There’s never a dull moment!

Norman Zierold’s charmed life started humbly in the Amana Colonies of Iowa. All that changed after Norman joined the Navy. The war came to an end and Norman used the GI Bill of Rights to attend Harvard, where he graduated cum laude. He then earned a graduate degree in English Literature at the University of Iowa.

While looking for work he was given the opportunity to teach English in France. One of his jobs was enjoying English conversations with the son of the President of France. They even invited him to watch the coronation of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II on television at their personal residence. Other meetings with cultural luminaries ensued.

Upon Norman’s return to the States he headed for New York, where he worked his way up to becoming the editorial director of Theatre Arts Magazine. Eventually he went to Hollywood to fulfill his lifelong calling to become a writer and published several noted Hollywood biographies: The Child Stars, The Moguls: Hollywood’s Merchants of Myth, Garbo, Sex Goddesses of the Silent Screen; and two true-crime accounts, Little Charley Ross: The story of America’s first kidnapping for ransom, and Three Sisters in Black, which garnered a Special Edgar Allen Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America. He also wrote a science-fiction novel titled The Skyscraper Doom.

In the late 1960s, when Barbara Walters was an anchor on NBC’s Today Show, she interviewed Norman on his recently published book, Little Charley Ross. He describes a humorous account of what happened as they were preparing to go on air. Before the segment was about to begin Barbara was pressing her leg against Norman’s under the table in what seemed to him a suggestive fashion. He wondered if she might be coming on to him and didn’t know what to do. She asked him if he felt that, and he sheepishly said he did. She then explained that this was the signal for him to quickly finish his sentence during the interview so they could break for a commercial. Norman felt relieved. After the interview they had a private chat off camera about Judy Garland since Norman had written about her in The Child Stars, and Barbara’s then husband, Lee Guber, had produced one of Judy’s world tours. They had met and Judy’s issues about her mother came up. Barbara had her own opinion about Judy’s relationship with her mother, but you’ll have to read the book to find out what she said and Norman’s take on it.

In addition to Barbara Walters, Norman met many cultural icons of the day, like Andy Warhol, Shelley Winters, Anthony Quinn, Mae West, Groucho Marx, Roddy McDowall, Jackie Coogan, Rex Harrison, Anais Nin, Tennessee Williams, E.E. Cummings, Dylan Thomas, a president of France, the gifted composer Francis Poulenc, and TM founder Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, to mention a few. Norman spent many months with Anthony Quinn helping him edit down his thousand-page biography into something publishable. It did very well.

In the early 70’s Norman took up the practice of Transcendental Meditation. He found it so satisfying he became a teacher and taught the TM technique to several hundred people. Since 2002 he has been living in Fairfield, Iowa, and works in his retirement years as a part-time publicist in the communications office at Maharishi University of Management.

WHERE TO ORDER THAT REMINDS ME

Sit down with Norman Zierold and enjoy a fascinating conversation. Order copies of That Reminds Me from Amazon or Barnes & Noble in the US. Release date is January 12, 2013. Also available in Canada, the UK, Europe, Germany, Russia, and Brazil in paperback, and Amazon’s Kindle worldwide.

Cover design by George Foster, front cover photo by Mary Drew, and interior design by Allen Cobb for Anapurna Press.

ARTICLES

Diane Vance interviewed Norman Zierold at Revelations Café for The Fairfield Ledger, which came out March 12, 2013: Fairfield author talks about recent work. In case you can’t access the full article online you can see what it looks like here: Fairfield author talks about recent work – By DIANE VANCE – Fairfield, IA – Fairfield Ledger. I also posted it here: Diane Vance and Norman Zierold discuss his new memoir, That Reminds Me, at Revelations Café.

Tony Ellis wrote a feature article in the March 2013 issue of The Iowa Source, Iowa’s Enlightening Magazine: Norman Zierold: A Charmed Life: Celebrated Hollywood Author Reminisces on Six Decades of Extraordinary Encounters. You can also download a PDF of the article on Norman Zierold as it appears in The Iowa Source.

An edited version of Tony’s article later appeared in Britain’s National Transcendental Meditation Magazine—Transcendental Meditation News • June 2013 • Vol. 19 • No. 7 • Pages 12 and 13, titled, The Hollywood Biographer Who Found Bliss (Page 7 of PDF).

British writer & editor, Julie Eagleton also reviewed That Reminds Me by Norman Zierold.

Here’s a great article about Norman Zierold in The Chronicle of Higher Education: Notes From Academe: The Spokesman Who Kept Calling.

Here’s a comprehensive article Norman Zierold wrote for Healthy Referral on THE REMARKABLE DAVID LYNCH FOUNDATION.

INTERVIEWS

Norman Zierold was interviewed by KMCD host Steve Smith for the MUM Spotlight show on January 10, 2013. Click here to listen. (17:23)

Norman Zierold will be interviewed on 100.1 FM KRUU in Fairfield. The show, Writers’ Voices, airs Friday, January 11, 2013, 1:00–2:00 p.m. CT, and replays Monday, January 14, 2013, 8:00–9:00 a.m. CT. Tune in: Listen Live.

This great description posted by host Monica Hadley says it all: From Iowa, Around the World, and Back Again with Norman Zierold. “That Reminds Me: A Conversational Memoir” by Norman Zierold, takes the reader on an exuberant journey, both outward and inward, from pre-Depression-era Iowa (the Amana Colonies), to Europe, NYC, Hollywood, and back again to Iowa (Fairfield, that is.) Join Writers’ Voices hosts Monica Hadley and Caroline Kilbourn to learn from Norman the inside stories that only the author of such Hollywood biographies as “Garbo”, “The Child Stars”, and “The Moguls” would know. How did a boy from the Amanas come to rub elbows with the rich and famous of the mid-20th century? And what brought him back to Iowa?

Update: If you missed it, the Writers’ Voices Archives now has Norman’s interview (59:51) posted there as well as on monicahadley’s Audio page. And KRUU station manager James Moore created a permanent link to the interview here: http://www.kruufm.com/node/14926. KRUU’s website was rebuilt. The interview is now posted on the Writers Voices website.

A third interview took place at a book signing in the Maharishi University of Management Library on Saturday afternoon, March 2, 2013. Rustin Larson talked with Norman Zierold about his conversational memoir, That Reminds Me. Download and enjoy this very entertaining interview. (87 MB) It’s now available on YouTube.

A fourth interview took place on KHOE, the MUM campus radio station. Author and M.U.M.: Publicist Norman Zierold, interviewed by Dean Cathy Gorini and station manager Stan Stansberry on his newly published book “That Reminds Me.” Listen online here: http://link.mum.edu/NormanZierold.

Stan says: [This is] “a real-life adventure conversational memoir by our esteemed Norman Zierold. [Norman takes us from] “his hometown Amana Colonies, to the U.S. Navy, to New York City, to Hollywood, to finding Transcendental Meditation, teaching TM, and to the campus of Maharishi University of Management. Along the way he interviewed and hob-nobbed with famous New York and Hollywood actors, writers and people like Barbara Walters.” mp3 63 min, 18MB.

Here is the latest interview on KRUU FM with Producer, Writer & Host, Cheryl Fusco Johnson of The Studio: Small Town Boy to Hollywood Biographer: Norman Zierold’s Memoir, THAT REMINDS ME, July 14+16, 2014. You can listen here at this archived link: The Studio – 20140715-Norman Zierold.

How did small-town Iowa boy Norman Zierold become a Hollywood biographer, recording the stories of movie moguls, child stars, and famous actors? Even more exciting than his tales about the many celebrities he’s encountered is Norman’s own story. Lucky us! Norman’s recorded his journey from shelling peas beside cooks in his family’s Amana colonies restaurant to rubbing knees with Barbara Walters on TV. This week on The Studio with Cheryl, Norman discusses the mentors and experiences that inspired his life choices. Learn about his life and about THAT REMINDS ME, his stream-of-consciousness memoir (and what a consciousness it is!), by tuning in to The Studio with Cheryl and Norman this week.

Enlightenment, The Transcendental Meditation Magazine, has posted an article on Norman in Issue 16 under My Story: From Utopia to Hollywood and Back. In this column meditators share their stories of how they started the Transcendental Meditation technique and what kinds of positive changes have occurred in their lives.

The book has been updated with chapter headings, a table of contents, and a list of praise for the book, including a cover quote from filmmaker David Lynch, which reads: “What a creative and entertaining way to tell a story of a life and a time! Congratulations, Norman — a thoroughly enjoyable and informative read.”

March 9, 2018: Remembering Norman Zierold: Hollywood biographer, novelist, TM Teacher, member of Maharishi’s Purusha program, raconteur, publicist, beloved by all.

Cheryl Strayed, author of WILD, talks about the unique role of artists and writers in the world

January 10, 2013
Cheryl Strayed

“I think that artists are here, and writers are here, to be the truth-tellers of the human experience, the world we live in. And so, if you’re not going to tell the truth, don’t bother.” — Cheryl Strayed

I love this frank quote from memoirist Cheryl Strayed on the role of artists and writers in society during this CBC interview, Publishing phenom Cheryl Strayed, with Q host Jian Ghomeshi posted on Q Blog Monday, December 31, 2012. Here’s their description.

Cheryl Strayed had a banner year in 2012. Wild, her memoir of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail while working through grief, divorce, and a dalliance with drugs, was a bestseller. Oprah Winfrey even relaunched her book club for it.

Strayed also outed herself as the popular online advice columnist Dear Sugar, and published a collection of columns as Tiny Beautiful Things to rave reviews.  Back in September, she dropped by Studio Q to talk about literary success and what it really means to be a “fearless” writer.

From the Best of Q: Originally aired September 13, 2012

Listen: 16:47

Download and listen to the complete introduction and interview: http://www.cbc.ca/q/popupaudio.html?clipIds=2278707963

Watch the 15:38 edited version minus the formal introduction on YouTube: “Wild” author Cheryl Strayed in Studio Q.

See what other writers have to say about writing on The Uncarved Blog.

Found this interesting article: The Wandering Writer: A Tour through Inner Northeast Portland with Cheryl Strayed.

Found in translation: Local literary legend finds her voice by interpreting the words of others

November 12, 2012

Ovation

Local literary legend finds her voice by interpreting the words of others

Margaret Peden has spent her career translating Spanish and Latin American works into English. Ryan Henriksen | Buy this photo

By Jill Renae Hicks

Sunday, October 28, 2012

“We who have attempted a translation often disagree in both meaning and expression. I believe nevertheless that there is a perfect translation, and that it lies among the lines of all the versions produced by diligent and sincere ‘readers,’ ” said Margaret Sayers Peden, professor emerita of Spanish at the University of Missouri, in the introduction to one of her works. Near the end of a decadeslong career translating Spanish and Latin American literature into English, Peden was recently awarded the prestigious PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation. She traveled to New York City to accept her award this week, surrounded by such authors as E.L. Doctorow, Barbara Kingsolver and Susan Nussbaum. Only a handful of translators have been recognized with the award since its inception.

Peden, known by many simply as “Petch,” was born in West Plains and attended MU for her degrees in Spanish. She began her translation career somewhat by chance in the latter part of the 1960s. At the time, she was working on her Ph.D. and came across a small novel by the playwright Emilio Carballido. She told her husband, English Professor William Peden, how interesting it was.

“And he said, ‘Well, you know I can’t read Spanish. Why don’t you translate it?’ ” she remembered. She did — “and I found I loved it, so I just kept doing it.” Peden has translated some 65 books, including most of Isabel Allende’s novels and nonfiction works, books by Carlos Fuentes and Octavio Paz, the writings of intelligent and progressive 17th-century nun Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Juan Rulfo’s novel “Pedro Páramo,” and, most recently, Fernando de Rojas’ “Celestina,” a turn-of-the-16th-century work of Spanish literature second in cultural significance only to “Don Quixote.”

That work, published by Yale University Press in 2009, earned Peden the Lewis Galantière Award, sponsored by the American Translators Association. “Celestina” was one of the more complicated works she has translated, Peden said, because of the centuries-old language and the Spanish history she had to research. But she appreciated the challenge of immersing herself in the world from which the tome emerged, and the resultant English translation remains complex in its tragicomic ironies yet is accessible to today’s readers. In comparison, another work Peden said is one of her favorites is Allende’s contemporary memoir “Paula,” which tells the story of her daughter Paula’s coma and subsequent passing, mixed together with vivid, poetic stories of Paula’s and Isabel’s own history and ancestry.

When Peden first began her translation work, she was teaching Latin American literature at MU. Translation courses at universities were not very common, and she did much of the work on her own time. Later she would strive to teach her own students to unearth the true essence of each text while translating, rather than simply switching the language word for word. “I tried to teach my students this: You have to scrape off the words, get down to an under-level. … That’s where the meaning is, below the words,” she emphasized. Gregory Rabassa, a friend and fellow translator, said in Peden’s PEN award statement that her translated characters “speak as they would have had they been born to English and their authors likewise acquire a style in their transformed tongue that is true to what they say or are trying to say.”

Peden will often rewrite five to 10 pages of a work in Spanish at a time, using a combination of both Spanish and English. Then she returns to the beginning and revises, looking up the words she doesn’t understand, and revises again. By the time each book is published, she has pored over it numerous times. She has another hard rule that she judges her work by, a telling aphorism Rabassa passed on to her: ” ‘You can’t commit the sin of improvement.’ That’s not the point. If it’s a bad book, it has to be a bad book!” she reasoned with a laugh. “Though I try not to ever get one.”

Translating a work is a constant solving of puzzles, Peden noted. “And that’s one of the nice things I love about it, is that you don’t get bored. You can’t get bored.” Often she does as much as or more research than academic writers and critics for the works because she must learn everything she can about a book’s historical and cultural contexts, the way the Spanish language is used in those contexts, and the specific vocabulary and voice of each author — not to mention the voices of all the author’s characters, if applicable. “I don’t have a writing style except the ones I pick up from the books I translate,” Peden explained. “I have done a lot of writing, but that’s not my thing. I’m just better at hearing what somebody else writes.” Indeed, Roberto González Echevarría, Yale professor of Hispanic and comparative literature, praises her ability to nearly turn “herself into” the writers she translates. In his introduction to “Celestina,” he said Peden “is today the most accomplished active translator of Spanish-language literature into English.”

People don’t typically realize how dependent they have been on translations, Peden mused about the often-overlooked role of a translator. “Look at our Western civilization. It came to us in translation: the Greeks, the Bible, all these things.” She is proud to be part of that long tradition and recognizes that she has gained other benefits from walking the “road less traveled” of her chosen career, including a greater tolerance for elements of other cultures she might have felt impatient with before. But Peden added perhaps the best part of her journey has been the relationships she has gained — with her authors, with translators and with other readers who love and respect good literature as much as she. “I’m lucky, the people I’ve met,” she said.

Jill Renae Hicks has previously written arts features for the Tribune and now works as a freelance writer, editor and illustrator. She is interested in the local literary and writing scene and how it connects to the rest of the arts and the greater Columbia community.

Reach Jill Renae Hicks at 573-815-1714 or e-mail jrhicks@columbiatribune.com.

This article was published on page C5 of the Sunday, October 28, 2012 edition of The Columbia Daily Tribune with the headline “Found in translation: ” Click here to Subscribe.

You’re probably wondering why I’m posting this well-written article on Margaret Peden, legendary literary translator. There is a personal connection here. Petch is my sweetheart Sally Peden’s step-mother. Petch will be celebrated for her lifetime achievements in translation at Missouri University this Friday, November 16, 2012. I asked her if there was an article about it and she mentioned this one, which came out two Sundays ago. Petch is a great lady, and its always fun being around her and husband Robert Harper.

Cheryl Fusco Johnson interviews Philip Goldberg, author of American Veda: How Indian Spirituality Changed the West

November 8, 2012

Writers’ Voices host Cheryl Fusco Johnson interviewed author Philip Goldberg on American Veda: How Indian Spirituality Changed the West, at KRUU FM studios, October 12, 2012. The show is now available online: http://www.kruufm.com/node/14325.

Philip Goldberg, American Veda: How Indian Spirituality Changed the West by Cheryl Fusco Johnson

Philip Goldberg with Cheryl Fusco Johnson in KRUU FM studio  Photo: Ken Chawkin

Los Angeles-based author Philip Goldberg is a screenwriter, Huffington Post religious-issues blogger, novelist, and nonfiction writer. His book American Veda: From Emerson and the Beatles to Yoga and Meditation, How Indian Spirituality Changed the West was named one of the top ten books on religion in 2010 by the Huffington Post.

The American Library Association’s Booklist Online awarded it the same honor in 2011. Philip has authored or co-authored nineteen books and has much to say about spirituality, publishing, and how both have changed during his lifetime.

From Cheryl’s Blog: Philip Goldberg: How He Became a HuffPost Blogger

Many people ask Philip Goldberg, author of American Veda: How Indian Spirituality Changed the West, how he became a religious-issues blogger for The Huffington Post. During our Writers Voices radio interview today, Philip explained what happened. Waiting at a bookstore to begin giving a book talk, he was thinking about how few people were there to hear him speak. A woman came into the store looking for something she thought she’d left behind. She noticed Philip standing by a sign advertising the topic of his talk and said, “You should be a blogger for The Huffington Post. My daughter’s an editor there.” Was this a lucky break? Or was it a just reward for the many years Philip spent researching spirituality and honing his writing and speaking skills through repeated practice?

Listen to an earlier show on KRUU FM where Dennis Raimondi interviews Philip Goldberg on Speaking Freely about his latest book American Veda, Nov 22, 2010.

Here is an article about Philip Goldberg and his book American Veda: ‘Vedanta and yoga perfect match for certain American values’.

And here are two related articles by Philip Goldberg: George Harrison: The not-so-quiet Beatle, article by Philip Goldberg in LA YOGA Magazine and Huffington Post: Transcendental Meditation: Topping The Bestseller List Since 1975

Red Dirt Report reviews both “American Veda” by Philip Goldberg and “Transcendence” by Norman Rosenthal.

Dana Sawyer, professor of religion and philosophy at the Maine College of Art, reviewed American Veda for tricyle: How Hinduism Seeped into American Soil.

My Empowered World also posted the tricyle book review adding photos: From Emerson to the Beatles. Watch a video of MEW’s Luzzette McDonald’s Interview with Author – Philip Goldberg about his books American Veda and The Intuitive Edge. Answering Luzzette’s final question about the one empowering tool he would recommend Phil mentions meditation. He says all the other practices are improved by having a good deep meditation practice. Phil mentions his TM practice, which he has been doing since 1968, and concludes saying he thinks of it as the empowering tool for all the other empowering tools.

See this related article by Phil on THEWORLDPOST: Beatles in India: The Retreat That Reverberates Across the Universe.

 


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