Library News

UChicago launches Kuali OLE and new Catalog

Library Technology Reports - Wed, 2014-08-20 16:53
(August 20, 2014). The University of Chicago Library announced its launch of the Kuali Open Library Environment (OLE) and a new Catalog based on VuFind.
Categories: Library News

Jobs in Information Technology: August 20

LITA Blog - Wed, 2014-08-20 13:54

New vacancy listings are posted weekly on Wednesday at approximately 12 noon Central Time. They appear under New This Week and under the appropriate regional listing. Postings remain on the LITA Job Site for a minimum of four weeks.

New This Week

Information Technology Specialist, Texas Library Association, Austin, TX

User Experience Librarian, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville,  AR

Web Services Librarian, University of Alabama Libraries, Tuscaloosa, AL

Visit the LITA Job Site for more available jobs and for information on submitting a  job posting.

Categories: Library News

Crave the night : midnight breed series book twelve /

New At the Library - Wed, 2014-08-20 10:52

    ISBN: 9780345532640
    Author: Adrian, Lara

Categories: Library News

In the kingdom of ice : the grand and terrible polar voyage of the U.S.S. Jeanne

New At the Library - Wed, 2014-08-20 10:52

    ISBN: 9780385535373
    Author: Sides, Hampton

Categories: Library News

Swets sponsors a new classroom library at Indian Primary School through educational charity, Room To Read

Library Technology Reports - Wed, 2014-08-20 07:52
(August 20, 2014). Swets Information Services, a global organization committed to improving the delivery and use of knowledge worldwide, and the charity Room to Read are delighted to announce the completion of the first joint project funded by donations from Swets; namely the creation of a new classroom library at the Government Primary School Nathu Khadi in India's Uttarakhand province. The library provides facilities for over 100 pupils, aged between 6 and 11, and their four teachers.
Categories: Library News

Arlington Public Library in Texas Migrates to EnvisionWare RFID

Library Technology Reports - Wed, 2014-08-20 07:52
(August 19, 2014). EnvisionWare announced that Arlington Public Library in Texas has migrated to EnvisionWare RFID from a 3M RFID system.
Categories: Library News

On the Cusp

High school is behind you, but you’re not quite an independent adult. Today’s reviews cover one book of essays and stories written during–and one graphic novel memoir written about–the college years.

Marina Keegan was a talented writer who died days after graduating from Yale. She had lined up a position as an editorial assistant at The New Yorker and was on her way toward a literary career. The Opposite of Loneliness is a collection of her writing, some of it originally published in the Yale Daily News.

Keegan was perhaps best known for fighting against the Wall Street recruiting machine that gathered up nearly a quarter of Yale graduates each year. She feared that the lure of money was derailing talented young people from following their passions, and she expressed that fear in her essay Even Artichokes Have Doubts, which is included in the collection.

Over Easy is a lightly fictionalized memoir of a life-changing period in Mimi Pond‘s youth. She was in art school but had run out of money, so she dropped out and got a real job–washing dishes in a diner in Oakland in the early ’70s. Pond is a cartoonist and humor writer. In addition to books, she has written for TV, including The Simpsons.

KEEGAN, Marina. The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories. 208p. Scribner. Apr. 2014. Tr $23. ISBN 9781476753614. LC 2013030131.  

Fans of HBO’s Girls will find a kindred spirit in the person of Marina Keegan. Sadly, this book, a collection of short stories and essays written before she turned 22, will likely be her only, as she was killed in a car crash just five days after graduating college. There is a sense of melancholy in most of the stories, of having to leave your youth behind and not feeling ready to join adulthood. Multiply that melancholia exponentially when you realize Keegan never got to experience adulthood herself. The very first entry is about a girl and the guy she is dating. They’ve never really defined their relationship and it was getting a little rocky when he dies in an accident. At the funeral, does she identify as his girlfriend or was she just a hookup that lasted too long? Even the two stories about women in middle age dealing with aging are still accessible to teen readers who can easily relate to underlying feelings of undesirability or being left behind. The last essay talks about how Marina would like to tell the universe “Here I am” before she dies. Though bittersweet, this collection accomplishes that feat and displays the talent she had to offer before her sad demise.—Jamie Watson, Baltimore County Public Library, MD

POND, Mimi. Over Easy. illus. by Mimi Pond. 271p. Drawn & Quarterly. Apr. 2014. Tr $24.95. ISBN 9781770461536. LC 2013464704.  

As a spectator, Madge admired the waitresses at the Imperial Café, “no-shit gals with names like Bea and Myrna, women who know about real life.” When Madge’s bank account runs out, the listless art school student sets aside her pencils and sketchbooks and dons an apron and order pad. The quirky diner staff and regulars she once spied on and sketched take on dimension as she gets to know them from the other side of the counter. Pond’s hazy green palette evokes the dreamy, aimless California of the 1970s. Her illustrations are unassuming but at times convey realism; readers will feel the grime on Madge’s hands as she wrestles to clean the Imperial’s unwieldy rubber floor mats. The graphic novelist’s narrative takes place in the middle territory after the age of the hippie fizzled but before the angry punk movement congealed. “The 60’s had been so exciting,” the protagonist reminisces, “but now the war was over and everyone was just treading bong water.” Despite the historical context, today’s young adults will sympathize with Madge, who feels she’s been dealt a bad hand by being born at a wrong time. Older teens about to accept the responsibilities of young adult life are sure to connect with the leap Madge makes from passive observer to active participant.—Rachael Myers-Ricker, Horace Mann School, NY

Categories: Library News

Lehigh University Launches New Open-Source Library Environment

Library Technology Reports - Tue, 2014-08-19 16:49
(August 19, 2014). Lehigh University has launched the Kuali Open Library Environment (OLE), the first university in the nation to implement the open-source, community-based library management system.
Categories: Library News

Education Publisher Kendall Hunt Selects Ingram for Content Logistics

Library Technology Reports - Tue, 2014-08-19 13:48
(August 19, 2014). Ingram Content Group and Kendall Hunt Publishing announced a third-party logistics agreement that integrates Kendall Hunt's leading pre K-12 and higher education course content with Ingram's inventory management, logistics and print solutions.
Categories: Library News

Managing research and authoring is now seamless with Google Docs add-on for ProQuest Flow

Library Technology Reports - Tue, 2014-08-19 13:48
(August 19, 2014). ProQuest Flow, a cloud-based research management solution, has released an add-on to interoperate with Google Docs. The new add-on expands the collaborative writing capabilities of Google Docs by integrating the document management tools of Flow during the authoring phase of research. As a result, researchers can find, share and annotate documents in the cloud, then author as a team in a common virtual workspace, supported by automated citations and bibliographies. The free add-on is available in the Google Add-on Store.
Categories: Library News

Five librarians selected as 2015 IFLA/OCLC Fellows

Library Technology Reports - Tue, 2014-08-19 13:48
(August 19, 2014). OCLC, along with the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, has named five librarians selected to participate in the Jay Jordan IFLA/OCLC Early Career Development Fellowship Program for 2015. The program supports library and information science professionals from countries with developing economies.
Categories: Library News

Analytics for Social Media – Referral Metrics

David Lee King - Tue, 2014-08-19 09:30

In this series of articles, I’ve been talking about what types of social media analytics my library tracks. We’ve already discussed Activity Metrics, Audience Metrics and Engagement Metrics. Today we’ll cover Referral Metrics.

Time for referral metrics. What’s that? A referral is simply getting someone from one thing to another (i.e., you’ve “referred them”). For example, from Facebook to your website. Thankfully, Google Analytics now counts referrals.

To get there, open up Google Analytics. Go to Acquisition, then click Social, then Network Referrals.

There, you’ll find a handy-dandy report of website visitors that started off in a social media page, and ended up on your website. I count the Sessions number for each of the four social media channels that I’m tracking, and then add those together. For May, we had 865 referrals to our website from social media.

This is a pretty useful number, because it shows interest. Someone was interested enough in something you mentioned on one of your social media channels to actually click through to your website. Nice!

Pic by Stuart Pilbrow

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Categories: Library News

Hunter-Rice Health Sciences Library Selects LibLime Koha 4.18

Library Technology Reports - Mon, 2014-08-18 22:43
(August 18, 2014). Hunter-Rice Health Sciences Library at Samaritan Health Center has contracted with LibLime to provide them with support and migration services for LibLime Koha 4.18. The hospital library located in Watertown, NY will now operate using LibLime Koha's newest features including enhanced circulation policies, the Solr search engine, full faceted support in the OPAC, an embedded New Titles list, expanded functionality for expired and cancelled holds, and RDA support. As with all versions of LibLime Koha since 4.8, the entire application resides in the Plack environment for enhanced performance.
Categories: Library News

collectionHQ's new user interface goes live

Library Technology Reports - Mon, 2014-08-18 22:43
(August 18, 2014). collectionHQ collection performance improvement solution that helps libraries better manage their collections, announced the release of its latest version, v4.0.
Categories: Library News

University of Virginia upgrades from Primo Central to EBSCO Discovery Service API via Blacklight

Library Technology Reports - Mon, 2014-08-18 13:35
(August 17, 2014). University of Virginia, one of the top research academic institutions in the country, has migrated from Primo Central to the EBSCO Discovery Service API for better search retrieval as well as customer support. By implementing the EDS API with the libraries' Blacklight-driven interface, University of Virginia is able to use its own website applications for a discovery user interface and still provide users with all the functionality offered in EBSCO Discovery Service.
Categories: Library News

Two Books About Black Youth in America

Reading the titles of the books under review–a book about football, and a book about juvenile prisons–a lot of people would not immediately think that they are related, or that either has much to do with race in America. But both authors make persuasive cases that racism, specifically against young Black men is at the heart of their subject.

The more obvious case is that of juvenile prison. Nell Bernstein outlines the case in her introduction:

Juvenile incarceration is also one of the most glaring examples of racism injustice our nation has to offer. Studies based on confidential interviews have found that the vast majority of Americans go through a period of delinquency at some point during adolescence. Fully 80 to 90 percent of American teenagers have committed an illegal act that could qualify them for time behind bars, and one-third of all teens have committed a serious crime. Most, however, never see the inside of a cell, or even a police car. Of this group–the kids who get a pass–the overwhelming majority simply grow out of it. But the time they reach adulthood they are crime-free.

Black and brown youth, especially those from impoverished communities, face far different prospects than do their white counterparts on this front. Those living in poor neighborhoods are subject to what sociologist Victor Rios calls a “culture of control”–treated with suspicion and harsh discipline at school, on the street, and even in the community. They also face discrimination at every stop on the juvenile and criminal justice circuits. They are more likely than white youth who commit identical acts to be arrested; to be charged and detained rather than released to their families; to be sentenced to locked institutions; to be kept behind bars longer; and to be sent back more often. . . . These cascading inequities dramatically curtail the prospects of young people who are already at a disadvantage when it comes to educational and employment opportunities that serve as the bridge to secure and successful adulthood. (pp. 8-9)

Visiting some of these poor neighborhoods that Bernstein is describing, Steve Almond, author of Against Football, makes some very similar comments:

Their teachers saw them mostly as discipline problems. They had no positive male figures in their lives, no power in the world, no idea how to acquire any.

So I could understand why they were desperate to join a game that gave them a sense of purpose and direction, that earned them the approval and guidance of respected elders . . . a game that offered them a chance at riches and fame, however remote. They accepted the need to sacrifice. They had to learn strategy, cooperation, how to channel their aggressive impulses, how to evade or defeat the opponent. They understood that the game in question gave people tremendous pleasure, but that it wasn’t economically productive for the local community. And though they preferred not to think about this part, they knew that it came with considerable risks to their health.

Despite all this, some of them still wanted to sell crack cocaine.

Am I now suggesting that football is as bad for the African-American community as crack cocaine?


I’m just making the point that neither is a realistic solution to the crises that poor African-American boys face growing up in this country. In fact, they are distractions from the systemic inequalities that keep such boys locked in a cycle of poverty and incarceration. (ARC, pp 105-106)

In comparing football players to drug dealers, Almond’s point is that football is among the very few limited options available to black youth. And it is not one without consequences. He spends much of the first half of his book detailing the new medical knowledge we have about the damage concussions and sub-concussive hits have on the brain, especially young brains. What’s more, as a form of entertainment, he indicts football fans for becoming complicit in its cult of violence, and (perhaps) for participating in another kind of racism:

Yes, football attracts fans of all races and classes. Yes, players choose to compete and are well paid. But the power dynamics remain eerily familiar: a wealthy white “owner” presides over a group of African-American laborers.

. . .

Does football provide white Americans a continued sense of dominion over African American men? Do their huge salaries give us the right to pass judgment on them incessantly? To call up radio programs and yell about how they’re lazy or money-hungry or thuggish? Do we secretly believe they belong to us?

. . .

What does it mean that 95 percent of our most famous African American citizens are athletes? Or that, when we see a physically imposing African American in the lobby of a fancy hotel . . . we immediately think: football player.

I’m going to get hammered for asking these questions. Fine. Hammer away. But don’t pretend that’s the same as answering.  (pp 112-113)

That last sentence is perhaps the most important one in Almond’s book. Throughout the book, he makes provocative claims, not just about racism, but about violence, money, and more, and it is easy for a fan to brush aside his arguments. But brushing them aside, or even acknowledging them, without actually grappling with them, is different from proving him wrong. And that’s a lot harder to do.

Bernstein is similarly provocative in her book. And, like Almond, has much more to discuss than race. Her chapters on the origins of the juvenile prison comprise one of the most fascinating pieces of nonfiction I’ve read this year. And her ultimate goal is similar to Almond’s: abolition. Just as Almond is essentially calling for an end to football, Bernstein is calling for an end to juvenile prison. Neither one of these calls is likely to be heard, and one of the strongest reasons is laid out in the books themselves: the amount of money invested in these two enterprises. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t think long and hard about the options our society appears to have set up for young Black men and what we do to participate in these institutions.

* BERNSTEIN, Nell. Burning Down the House: The End of Youth Prison. 319p. Free Press. Jun. 2014. Tr $26.95. ISBN 9781595589569. LC 2013043709.

Bernstein outlines the history of juvenile “reform” schools, the rise and fall of  the rehabilitative model, and the reality of what happens behind bars to already traumatized teens: further physical, sexual, and mental abuse. The author takes a look at solitary confinement practices, “therapeutic prisons,” and juvenile reentry. Using solid teen developmental theory and research, United Nations findings, and trauma informed care, this title articulately sets forth the argument against the imprisonment of children. A passionate advocate for young people, Bernstein highlights teen voices and experiences throughout the book, adding humanity and insight to the statistics. Burning Down the House does for young people what Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow (New Press, 2010) did for adults: brings this issue to national attention. Readers meet influential adults such as Jerome Miller, who closed down the entire system in Massachusetts in the ‘70s, and Gladys Carrion, Chief Commissioner of  New York, who not only closed down 18 state facilities by 2012 and halved the number of incarcerated kids, but also diverted $74 million to support community-based alternatives to incarceration. Teens interested in history, social sciences, and one of the biggest issues facing young adults in the U.S. will find lots to love in this book.—Amy Cheney, Alameda County Library, Juvenile Hall, CA

ALMOND, Steve. Against Football: One Fan’s Reluctant Manifesto. 160p. Melville. Aug. 2014. Tr $22.95. ISBN 9781612194158.

Alex Award-winner Almond delivers a provocative if slightly uneven book. As the subtitle suggests, the author is a longtime devoted football fan, and he spends much of the first quarter of the book solidifying his football bona fides before beginning his onslaught of reasons that he feels he can no longer watch his favorite game. Anyone who’s been paying attention to the sport, in particular the NFL, will find little in the way of new arguments here—Almond spends chapters on concussions and sub-concussive hits; the game’s twisted monetary incentives, especially in college football; its cult of violence; racism; and its vexed relationship with the American institutions of capitalism and patriotism. But the sheer weight of the evidence Almond marshals is impressive and hard to ignore. Even when his arguments against the game seem strained, he is able to put the burden of proof squarely back on readers to disprove him with more than a simple dismissal. Particularly strong is his complete demolition of the argument that the mere popularity and fixity of the game in the nation’s consciousness somehow puts it above criticism. Many fans of football will react to this book with derision, and many non-fans will consider his points self-evident: both are wrong. These are arguments that deserve to be considered deeply and grappled with, and teens—who have not yet devoted their lives or opinions to or against the sport—are in a perfect position to take Almond’s  manifesto seriously.—Mark Flowers, John F. Kennedy Library, Vallejo, CA

Categories: Library News

Summary of the LITA Board Meeting on August 15, 2014

LITA Blog - Sat, 2014-08-16 08:35

The LITA Board met on Friday, August 15th for their first board meeting after ALA Annual in Las Vegas and under the new leadership of LITA President Rachel Vacek. Three major topics on the agenda were 1) the 2015 Budget; 2) the creation and disbanding of some LITA committees; and 3) an overview of the upcoming LITA Kitchen Table Conversations.

The revised 2015 LITA budget and accompanying summary were well received thanks to the great work of our new Financial Advisory Committee. Special thanks goes to Andrew Pace, Susan Sharpless Smith, Mary Taylor, and especially FAC Chair Zoe Stewart-Marshall for all their hard work. The vote to accept the budget passed.

Jason Griffey, the Bylaws and Organization Committee Chair and who serves as an Ex Officio member of the Board as our Parliamentarian, provided the Board with updates from the Bylaws Committee. The Board voted to disband both the Technology & Access Committee and the International Relations Committee due to this work being done now at the ALA level, which wasn’t the case when these two committees were created years ago. Also, because of the delay in which the draft charge was presented to the Board, the discussion and vote for the creation of the Communications Committee will take place online in ALA Connect for the week after the meeting. However, the LITA 50th Anniversary Task Force was created and didn’t require a vote from the Board. (LITA will be celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2016, so be on the lookout for fun times ahead!)

Finally, Rachel Vacek, President, and Thomas Dowling, Vice-President, presented to the Board an overview of a series of virtual and in-person informal conversations they will be having with the LITA membership over the remainder of the year. This will be a great opportunity to let members voice their thoughts about the current strategic goals of LITA as well as ALA’s goals and their overarching strategic planning process.

Board member Aimee Fifarek recorded action items from the meeting and will also be sharing those in Connect and on the Board’s listserv. We also discussed several other topics for the next board meeting which will take place in either September or early October. And I’m pleased to say we even finished the meeting a few minutes early.

For more details, this folder on ALA Connect contains the agenda and all the supporting documentation for the meeting. New LITA Staff member Mark Beatty took notes and those will be approved and posted soon to ALA Connect. We also have an audio recording of the meeting if you care to listen.

If you have any questions about the meeting, the work of the Board, or about LITA in general, feel free to contact me at vacekrae at gmail dot com and I’m also on twitter. I’m always happy to talk with anyone about how to improve the LITA member experience.

Rachel Vacek, LITA President 2014-2015

Categories: Library News

Four Polaris ILS Systems Go Live in Six-Week Period

Library Technology Reports - Fri, 2014-08-15 16:03
(August 13, 2014). Innovative announced that in the past six weeks, four libraries have gone live on Polaris ILS.
Categories: Library News

Fifteen Libraries Go Live with Sierra Library Services Platform in One-Month Period

Library Technology Reports - Fri, 2014-08-15 13:02
(August 15, 2014). Innovative announced that 15 libraries have gone live with the Sierra Library Services Platform in the most recent four-week period.
Categories: Library News

An Interview With George Pratt

On Wednesday, we reviewed Above the Dreamless Dead, edited by Chris Duffy, a graphic novel comprised of poems by the Trench Poets of World War I, and illustrated by contemporary graphic novelist.

As promised in that post, today we have an interview with one of the illustrators of that collection, George Pratt. Pratt is a painter and graphic novelist who has drawn for both Marvel and DC. In 1993, he won the prestigious Eisner Award for Best Painter/Multimedia Artist for the Wolverine: Netsuke series.

His first graphic novel, Enemy Ace: War Idyll, was also about World War I: it is an entry in a long running DC series about a fictional WWI pilot. I had a chance to ask Pratt some questions about his involvement with Above the Dreamless Dead over email. My questions, below, are in bold, with Mr. Pratt’s answers in regular type.

Can you tell us how you got involved with this project and how the poems were selected?

I was contacted by Chris Duffy whom I knew through working for Marvel and DC years ago. My interest in the project was totally because of my love for Wilfred Owen’s poetry. I asked Chris if I could work with the Owen material and he agreed. After sending him some work for them to use in their meetings with marketing, etc. He asked me if I’d like to do more than one of the poems. He sent me a list of poems, but I also suggested others and we met in the middle. Then they hit me up to do the cover which I was very happy to do as well.

One of my pet projects would be to illustrate the entire collection of Wilfred Owens poems. Not sequentially, but with single pieces, paintings, printmaking, etc.

In the notes to the book you mention that you’re a long-time fan of Wilfred Owen– were you aware of the other Trench Poets? What is it about Owen specifically that speaks to you?

Yes, I’ve been intimately familiar with many of the different war poets. My introduction to the Great War poets was through my research for my first graphic novel, Enemy Ace: War Idyll. I read so many books for that project, which I wrote and illustrated. Memoirs, histories, books of poetry, etc.

Speaking of Enemy Ace: War Idyll: are there any connections for you between the fictional DC world and the very real world of these poets who were writing at the time of the war?

Enemy Ace: War Idyll came about, curiously enough, through my interest in the Vietnam War. I was terrified of that war as a child. I was born in 1960 and that war was basically the dark backdrop of my childhood. Four or five years longer and I would have had to go. Even though my buddies and I were playing guns in our neighborhoods, the war still scared me. All of our fathers had been in World War II, sailors, infantrymen, bomber and fighter pilots, and we’d dress up in all the old gear and run around “killing” each other.

My father had books on WWII around the house and I was fascinated by it all and read many of those books, though, honestly it was the pictures that drew me to them. During art school I began to research the Vietnam War in order to understand it better for myself. One of the first jobs I got upon leaving school was as an illustrator for Eagle Magazine, a Vietnam Soldier of Fortune thing. There I met Jim Morris, himself a writer and a three-tour Green Beret in Vietnam. He was my editor and I became his pet artist. He gave me enough work to pay my rent and keep me in art supplies each month. He saw how interested I was and one day gave me the opportunity to use the phones and call some of his vet friends from ‘Nam and pick their brains about their experiences. This was about the time that movies about Vietnam began to trickle out.

But I wanted to say something of my own about Vietnam rather than just illustrate others’ stories. So I began to write a story about a Nam vet who had been a tunnel rat. But I felt I needed to be able to compare and contrast that with something else. Enemy Ace popped into my head for some reason or other and that started that ball rolling. In researching WWI I became hooked and haven’t been able to shake it.

Interestingly, Enemy Ace: War Idyll was published right at the beginning of the first Gulf War. I began to get letters from veterans, not only of that war, but from previous wars as well. The book helped them to deal with the things they witnessed. That was incredibly gratifying to hear. The book was translated into nine different languages, saw four American editions and was on the West Point Military Academy’s required reading list.

Does World War I have a particular fascination for you or are the setting of the two projects (War Idyll and Above the Dreamless Dead) coincidental?

I am totally fascinated by WWI, for a lot of different reasons. There’s the power of the subject and all that that encompasses, the breadth of the war, the parties involved, etc. There’s the visual impact of that time period for me. I love the way the uniforms looked, the thick wool and the way it hung on the figures, the clunky design of things and the trenches! Good lord, the trenches! The bleakness and desolate nature of it all. And yet, in reading the poems, the memoirs, etc. there still rises from those who experienced it a grace and unfailing hope for a better future.

World War One has followed me throughout my life, really, though I didn’t notice it at the time. My grandfather on my father’s side was in the First World War. The first piece I learned on the piano was a World War One piece. My English teacher in high school was the model for Howard Chandler Christy’s “I wish I were a man, I’d join the Navy!” poster. Etc.

I was fortunate to get to meet and speak with a veteran from that war when I was working on Enemy Ace: War Idyll. Frank Snell was speaking with a friend of his on a stoop just down the street from my apartment. I had no idea he was a veteran. But walking by one day I overheard them talking about the trenches. I stopped and introduced myself and Frank regaled me with stories of his time in the trenches. He was a machine gunner hooked up with an Australian unit. Machine gunners were the first in and the last out. The life expectancy was something like a week or two. He had been shot and gassed and had lived to tell about it.

I have been working on a World War One opus for quite awhile that I’d like to produce. It would be a serialized story about a young man, following him through his tour of the trenches. I’ve done some paintings for this project, but haven’t begun to do layouts for it. I did have a show of my First World War work in Belgium and France a few years ago. The gallery specifically wanted to do a show of that work and I was glad to have it shown in those two countries.

I was involved in a Romanian documentary about the war that was very interesting. Visiting Romania and walking the battlefield on top of Mount Cosna was amazing. Bullets still littered the site, as well as horseshoes, belt buckles, etc. Crazy.

I’ve also been working on a documentary about Harvey Dunn and his participation in the war, along with other artists. We’ve filmed in the bowels of the Smithsonian, where they have most of the work the Harvey Dunn produced, along with the other 7 artists America sent to the front. We’ve filmed in Ypres, Belgium at the Menin Gate. We’ve hit Polygon Wood, Sanctuary Wood, Dixmüde at the trenches there, as well as at artist Kathe Kollwitz’s son Peter’s grave. We’re still working on it and it’s been a fascinating ride.

I’m very impressed with your illustrations and your decision to make “the words . . . the most important aspect of the adaptation”. Since you weren’t aiming for conventional illustration of the poems’ actions, how did you decide what to draw?

I basically did pieces I felt would capture the futility of the conflict and tried to take it away from specificity or portraiture really. It was such an epic, sweeping war that engulfed so many, many lives that I wanted to touch on that sense of scope. I’m constantly trying to get my students to work at showing more by showing less, boiling down the visual so that the reader has to be an active participant rather than along for the ride. So I tried to work that in there as well.

Have you gotten a chance to read the rest of the book? Do you have any thoughts on how your fellow artists illustrated their poems?

I have not yet read the rest of the book but am excited to do so. I’m anxiously awaiting my copies! I know I’m going to be blown away by the different directions and techniques that others will be using.

I’ll be recommending this collection on my blog Adult Books 4 Teens. I wonder if you have any thoughts on what teens in particular might get from this project?

Well, I think everyone should read these poets for a number of reasons. One, that reading their words lets one know that we keep repeating our mistakes, that we seem not to learn to well from what’s gone before. Two, the writing is so incredibly eloquent and to the point. So beautiful, yet used to describe things so powerful and emotionally charged, some of it incredibly ugly really.

I hope that they’re as moved by these poems as I have been. I remember sitting on a bench in a B. Dalton booksellers in Manhattan surrounded by the throngs of customers in that store. I had pulled Wilfred Owen’s book of poems out and had begun reading. Those poems were like a punch to my gut. They took my breath away and I found tears quietly running down my cheeks. Like a quote from a Cat Stevens tune: “Sitting on my own, not by myself.”

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