Tag Archives: ReadUP

Meet the Press: Teresa Collins, Business Operations Manager

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Name: Teresa Collins

Position: Business Operations Manager

Hometown: Willisburg, KY

Tell us a little bit about your position at the press:

I began working at the press in 1991 and have held many positions: marketing assistant, advertising/exhibits/direct mail manager, regional sales representative, warehouse and distribution manager, assistant director for finance and administration, production and fulfillment manager. After 27 years in the business, I was named business operations manager in July.

What’s one of your favorite UPK titles and why?

Having grown up on a farm in rural Kentucky, I have always loved A Kentucky Album: Farm Security Administration Photographs, 1935-1943. Another favorite is Pen, Ink, and Evidence: A Study of Writing and Writing Materials for the Penman, Collector, and Document Detective. Just a really cool book—I enjoyed working on the marketing of this title.

If someone was visiting Kentucky for the first time and you were their tour guide, where would you take them? Any specific restaurants, landmarks, etc.?

I would suggest a trip to Red River Gorge, with a drive through the Nada Tunnel and stop at Miguel’s Pizza, the chair lift and hiking at Natural Bridge State Resort Park, and a few hours with Red River Gorge Zipline!

Do you have a favorite font? If so, what is it?

Working in the business office, I lean toward very readable, very boring fonts like Arial and Calibri.

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Did you always know you wanted to work in publishing? When you were a kid, did you want to do something different as an adult?

I had dreams of becoming a travel agent–it seemed so glamorous to me in the 80s!

What was the last book you read?

Currently reading The Birds of Opulence!

Name three things you can’t live without.

Family, friends, and insulin 😊

If someone asked you to give them a random piece of advice, what would you say? Do you have a personal motto?

Do not waste time worrying about things that are out of your control.

 

 

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The Taylor-Burton Diamond, Excerpts from My Life in Focus

On this day nearly fifty years ago (forty-nine to be exact), on October 24th, 1969, Richard Burton purchased the now-famous Cartier Taylor-Burton diamond as a present for Elizabeth Taylor. The diamond was rumored to have served as an apology after another one of their tumultuous arguments. The diamond was the first to ever be sold at public auction for over a million dollars, though the exact amount has never been disclosed.

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All of the photos from above come from Gianni Bozzachi’s photo collection and autobiography, MY LIFE IN FOCUS: A PHOTOGRAPHER’S JOURNEY WITH ELIZABETH TAYLOR AND THE HOLLYWOOD JET SET. Bozzachi recounts his own life story from humble beginnings to notoriety as an acclaimed photographer. In addition to his own remembrances, Bozzachi reveals private moments in the Taylor-Burton love story and includes photos of other notable stars, including Marlon Brando, Ringo Starr, and Audrey Hepburn.

A Conversation with Kwoya Fagin Maples, author of Mend

Screen Shot 2018-10-10 at 12.46.43 PMKwoya Fagin Maples, author of Mend: Poems, amplifies the forgotten voices of black women whose bodies were used to further science at the expense of their humanity through her profoundly intimate, and sometimes devastating, verse. This collection of poems explores imagined memories and experiences relayed from hospital beds. The speakers challenge James Marion Sims’s lies, mourn their trampled dignity, name their suffering in spirit, and speak of their bodies as “bruised fruit.” At the same time, they are more than his victims, and the poems celebrate their humanity, their feelings, their memories, and their selves. A finalist for the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Donald Hall Prize for Poetry, this debut collection illuminates a complex and disturbing chapter of the African American experience.

How did you first become acquainted with James Marion Sims, and did you learn about his experimentation on enslaved women at the same time, or did that knowledge come later?

Screen Shot 2018-10-10 at 12.51.35 PM.pngI didn’t intentionally set out to write historical persona poems. I was at a time in my writing career where I was weary of writing about myself. I’d just graduated from my MFA program and I felt a little lost—not knowing the direction I wanted my writing to take. Before Mend, I mainly wrote lyrical or language poems. During a Cave Canem summer workshop another writer mentioned the story of enslaved women—mothers, who were the subjects of gynecological experimentation conducted by Dr. James Marion Sims of Montgomery, Alabama. I’d been asking her about her own experience with motherhood. When I got back to my room, I googled the story, and I was immediately captivated by it. There was so little information online about it at that time, and no record of the women’s experiences. Not even all of their names. All of this was stunning and heartbreaking. I suppose from the beginning I deeply connected with the women emotionally—as if they were my family. At that time, I knew this story had not been told from their perspective. I imagined they’d been waiting on it to be told. I wrote one poem that same night. It was titled “The Door.” It is fortuitous that my editor, Lisa Williams, later chose it to be the book’s prefatory poem.

Can you describe the research you did in preparing to write these poems?

I began by collecting and studying slave narratives. Most of my research was conducted by use of the Library of Congress. I listened to music recordings from that time period and studied photographs of southern enslaved women in order to develop voices. I read Sims’s autobiography, surgical notes, and letters. By the time I finished writing Mend, I’d poured through hundreds of slave narratives and read several books surrounding the case, including Harriet Washington’s Medical Apartheid, which related several cases of medical experimentation conducted on people of color in the United States. Anarcha, Betsey, Lucy, and the other unnamed women of Mt. Meigs were not alone. I found that medical experimentation was commonly practiced by doctors and slaveholders. In her book, Washington uses the term “medical plantations,” arguing that what yielded for these doctors (instead of a traditional crop) was advancement in their respective fields and establishment of wealth. The poem I wrote in direct response to this idea is “What Yields,” an eleven-sectioned sonnet corona in Mend.

After spending so much time in research, when the poems came again for the book, they came in the voices of the women themselves. In 2011, at a writing residency provided by the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation, I began writing. I hadn’t written anything since that first poem a year earlier. I didn’t feel I’d have permission until I’d done my due diligence of researching. I didn’t automatically feel as though I could tell these women’s stories just because I was a black woman. I’d never been born a slave. Something that happened in the process of writing this book that I didn’t expect was how my own experience with matrescence would affect the work. In March of 2012, I found I was pregnant for the first time. After having written poems that endeavored to show the scope of the women’s lives, including their motherhood, there was so much I wanted to go back and revise. I didn’t plan on how being a mother would affect my work or the poems of this collection, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised.

How do the persona poems in Mend compare to your other poetry?

Mend is my first collection of historical persona poetry. I’ve written only a few other persona poems. My other work draws from my personal impressions and life experiences. I’m not an overtly political poet, but my work is political, nonetheless. Often, an argument is being made. The book I’m currently writing draws mainly from my childhood, and shows my obsession with the ocean. I’m from Charleston, SC, and that enters my work as well.

Earlier this year, the statue commemorating Sims was removed from New York’s Central Park and will be relocated to the Brooklyn cemetery where he is buried. It will include a plaque explaining the “legacy of non-consensual medical experimentation on women of color broadly and Black women specifically that Sims has come to symbolize.” Is this an appropriate step for the city to take and what more can or should be done concerning his memorials there and elsewhere?

The Sims statue removal in New York was pivotal and refreshing. It meant that people were hearing the story of Anarcha, Betsey, Lucy, and the unnamed women, and listening. Later in the year, when I heard that the mayor of Columbia, SC was interested in having the statue of Sims removed from the Statehouse there, I knew I wanted to be part of efforts to make it happen. I contacted Joy Priest, a graduate student at the University of South Carolina, and we began organizing a protest in the form of a poetry marathon. I traveled from Birmingham to South Carolina. The protest was held in front of Sims’s statue. All day we read poetry, essays, and facts related to this case in medical history. Poetry is a powerful form of resistance. While we held up posters, we also passed out fliers with information about Sims and the experimentation. We reverenced the voices of Anarcha, Betsey, and Lucy along with all the unnamed women by bringing them into the frame.

People who cause trauma to others should not be reverenced or held in such high esteem that they have statues erected in their honor. People with any moral decency should agree. Sims’s actions as a doctor jeopardized the lives of human beings and caused irreparable harm. Sims’s monuments were built in his honor without consideration of the circumstances surrounding his success. The women whose bodies he profited from became meaningless the day his statue was erected. Their existence was completely ignored. With these statues and others like it, marginalized people repeatedly receive the message that their experiences are of no importance. When we rectify our mistakes by removing or modifying problematic monuments or statues, we give people an opportunity to heal.

Meet the Press: Mack McCormick, Publicity and Rights Manager

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Name: Mack McCormick
Position: Publicity and Rights Manager
Hometown: Selma, AL

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Tell us a little bit about your position at the press.

My primary responsibility is publicity—writing press releases, mailing review copies, coordinating media interviews for authors, setting up book signings and other events.  I also coordinate the press’s subsidiary rights program. The bulk of our rights activity is translations, though it covers everything from professors who want to use a chapter from one of our books for a course packet to audiobooks to first serial excepts in magazines to movie deals.

What’s one of your favorite UPK titles and why?

There are so many I’ve worked on over the years, it’s hard to narrow it down to just one, so if I’m forced to do so, I’ll pick a more obscure title—Growing Up Hard in Harlan County, by G.C. “Red” Jones. It’s a memoir, originally published in 1985, and brought to the press by Harry Caudill.  We released it in paperback in the early 2000s, shortly after my son was born. It was the first book I read after he was born that I lost sleep reading (and when you’re already short on sleep, it takes something special for you to give up more).  Red Jones led a fascinating life that included running a team of mules through the Appalachians as a preteen, bootlegging, the depression, Bloody Harlan, World War II, and more.

If someone was visiting Kentucky for the first time and you were their tour guide, where would you take them? Any specific restaurants, landmarks, etc.?

It completely depends on who it is and when it is.  If Keeneland is in session, that’s a no-brainer.  It’s an experience and atmosphere you can’t get many other places, but one of the nice things about Lexington is there are lots of options, from historical to cultural to muscial to outdoors to sports.

What’s your favorite word?

It’s hard to pick just one. My favorite phrase might be “Eschew obfuscation.” And while I like both of those words individually, neither rises to favorite. As a category, I’ve always loved a lot of clothing terminology, which is a bit ironic, since I’m not what you would consider a natty dresser. I find myself intrigued by many of those words—tattersall, gaberdine, seersucker, madras, houndstooth (I did graduate from Alabama as well), gingham, muslin—not for their meaning or etymology, but as words themselves. Their sound. Their construction.

Do you have a favorite font? If so, what is it? [if possible, make image of font name in font]

Perhaps Palatino. I’m not a true font geek, though I did see and really liked Helvetica and I do notice and pay attention. I like and use a lot of more modern and streamlined fonts, but if push comes to shove, I’m a fan of old-style fonts, and Palatino is a nice modern version of one. As my eyes have gotten weaker, I’ve grown to appreciate Sabon as well, which is another modern take on an old-style design, but more open and easier on the eyes. It’s also one we’ve used extensively over the years on our film list. Palatino LinotypeHelveticaSabon

Did you always know you wanted to work in publishing? When you were a kid, did you want to do something different as an adult?

I started college with a physics major in mind.  I was always good at math (higher math, I need a calculator to add) and science. Second semester calculus disabused me of that notion, and an amazing freshman English class left me an English major. Publishing/writing didn’t enter my mind until I started working on the staff of Marr’s Field Journal, Alabama’s undergraduate literary magazine. The one creative writing class I took there showed me how much better I was on the editing end. I had the ability to write, but not the voice for it or the need to do it. I continued to work in publishing from there—Marr’s Field Journal business manager, then editor; the media planning board at Alabama; Alabama Heritage and Southern Accents magazines; Limestone, Kentucky’s graduate literary journal; then UPK.

What’s something most people don’t know about you? What’s a random factoid about yourself?

I actually alluded to it above—I’m a closet physics junkie. While I can’t follow the math in the journals, I follow the popular press. I subscribe to Scientific American and I have a shelf filled with titles like A Brief History of Time, The Black Hole War, The Meaning of Relativity, The Fabric of the Cosmos, Notes from the Holocene, The Trouble with Physics, and Reality Is Not What it Seems.

If you could bring any fictional character to life, who would you choose?

Thursday Next.  If you don’t know who that is, I won’t deprive you of the joy of discovering for yourself.

What was the last book you read? Would you recommend it? Why or why not?

The last (non-work-related) book I completed: Remembrance of Earth’s Past by Liu Cixin (The Three Body Problem is the first in the trilogy). If you’re a fan of big, complex space opera (or of contemporary speculative Chinese fiction), yes. Otherwise, there are better introductions to the genre than this amazing, complex trilogy, but if you enjoy those, by all means check this one out.

The books I’m reading now: The Real and the Unreal/The Found and the Lost, by Ursula Le Guin. One is her selected short stories; the other is her collected novellas.  Both are amazing collections from a writer whom we recently lost.  Both are worth a read, though as collections, they’re something I can dip into and out of, so I don’t tend to read those straight through.

Novel I’m reading now: The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage, by Phillip Pullman. I’m not far in, but so far so good.  This one is a follow up to Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, which in my opinion is the best, most ambitious YA fantasy to be published since The Hobbit.  Start there before getting this one, and don’t bother with the movie version of The Golden Compass.  If you have seen it, don’t think it is an honest reflection of the book either.

What’s your favorite song to sing at karaoke and why?

Mack the Knife,” by Bobby Darrin. I have my own theme song, though I was probably 14 or so before I even figured out why so many of my parents friends called me Mack the Knife. If I do get up to sing it though, run—I’m tone deaf and perpetually flat (or so I’ve been told—it sounds on key to me).

If you could live in any TV show, what would it be and why?

The West Wing. Any the “why” should be obvious.

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Meet the Press: Hayward Wilkirson, Book Designer

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Name: Hayward Wilkirson
Position: Book Designer
Home state: Kentucky
Alma mater(s), area(s) of study: International Center of Photography, New York, Documentary Photography; University of Kentucky, Economics; Transylvania University, Political Science

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Tell us a little bit about your position at the press.

This is a semi-new position at the press. We have had a full-time designer on staff before, but it has been years. Basically, my job is to design the covers for all of the books that we publish. Pressure, much!?

 

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Sir Barton, 1955. Courtesy of the National Museum of Racing

What’s one of your favorite UPK titles and why?

 

I think it will be Sir Barton and the Making of the Triple Crown, as long as the powers that be go with my favorite of the three cover concepts that I just submitted. Just kidding.

 

 

If someone was visiting Kentucky for the first time and you were their tour guide, where would you take them? Any specific restaurants, landmarks, etc.?

Shaker Village for the architecture, Mammoth Cave for the wonder, the UK Art Museum for the art, and the rooftop patio at Dudley’s Restaurant for the drinks.

What’s your favorite word?

Nice cover. Oh wait, that’s two words.

Do you have a favorite font? If so, what is it?

Do you have a favorite child?

Did you always know you wanted to work in publishing? When you were a kid, did you want to do something different as an adult?

I’ve been interested in art and design for many years, but when I was a kid I wanted to be an astronomer.

If you could bring any fictional character to life, who would you choose?

Why ruin the illusion?

What was the last book you read? Would you recommend it? Why or why not?

My mom is 98, so we try to get large-print books for her, which I sometimes pick up and read. The last book I read was one of her large-print Patricia Cornwell novels, and no, I would not recommend it.

Any hidden talents?

Hiding my talents.

If you could try out any job for a day, what would you like to try?

Sailboat captain.

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2018 Judy Gaines Young Literary Awards

 

This year marked the fourth annual presentation of the Judy Gaines Young Book Award since its generous foundation by Dr. Byron Young, a trustee of Transylvania University, to honor his late wife. The award is presented to a writer from the Appalachian region for a book of particular distinction. Crystal Wilkinson won the award in 2017 for her book Birds of Opulence, a title published by the Press.

This year’s winner, judged by Jason Howard, editor of Appalachian Heritage, was none other than UPK author and best-selling poet Kathleen Driskell for her poetry collection, Next Door to the Dead: Poems.

The ceremony also featured the presentation of the Judy Gaines Young Student Writing Award, an award honoring the exceptional creative writing abilities of a Transylvania student. Laura Daley, a senior at Transylvania University and former UPK intern, won the award for her outstanding work in creative nonfiction and poetry, excerpts of which she read at the event.

Also in attendance were two former Kentucky poets laureate, a member of the board of the Kentucky Humanities Council, and several members of UPK staff.

By happy coincidence, the presentation of these prestigious awards fell on World Poetry Day (21 March 2018), and we were thrilled to celebrate the day with two such phenomenal poets!

Next Door to the Dead: Poems is a collection inspired by author Kathleen Driskell’s residence in a disused Louisville, Kentucky church built before the Civil War sitting next to a cemetery. The poems examine the fragility of mortality, the complexity of grief, and the importance of love when confronting loss. Her words breathe life into figures both known and unknown who have long since passed away, reimagining who they might have been based on what they left behind, and encouraging readers to ponder their own complex relationship with death, mourning, and life.

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Kathleen Driskell read several poems from her collection, including “Ars Poetica”, “The Mower”, and “Tchaenhotep: Mummy at the Kentucky Science Center” . Her reading was followed by a short Q&A session, in which she discussed her writing process, her experiences living beside a graveyard, and what projects she is currently undertaking.

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Laura read a memoir and two poems from her repertoire, and all three truly captures the spirit of living in Kentucky, from the beautiful moments spent in nature to the horrifying moments of watching your cousin bite off a snake’s head (yikes!) Her work emphasized the importance of family, and the feeling of belonging somewhere.

Laura Daley has been accepted with funding into the graduate programs of both DePaul University and University of Colorado Boulder. We can’t wait to see what this promising young writer (and former Press member) has in store for the future!

Kathleen is professor of creative writing at Spalding University, and associate editor of the Louisville Review. She has written several books and poetry collections, including Blue Etiquette and Seed Across Snow. To learn more about Kathleen Driskell and her work, check out her blog, and be sure to snag a copy of Next Door to the Dead.

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ReadUP for Earth Day Weekend!

Earth Day is this weekend, and today we’re highlighting our best new reads to celebrate conservation, biodiversity, and sustainable living.


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Kentucky Heirloom Seeds: Growing, Eating, Saving

Saving seeds to plant for next year’s crop has been key to survival around the globe for millennia. However, the twentieth century witnessed a grand takeover of seed producers by multinational companies aiming to select varieties ideal for mechanical harvest, long-distance transportation, and long shelf life. With the rise of the Slow Food and farm-to-table movements in recent years, the farmers and home gardeners who have been quietly persisting in the age-old habit of conserving heirloom plants are finally receiving credit for their vital role in preserving both good taste and the world’s rich food heritage.

Kentucky Heirloom Seeds is an evocative exploration of the seed saver’s art and the practice of sustainable agriculture. Bill Best and Dobree Adams begin by tracing the roots of the tradition in the state to a 700-year-old Native American farming village in north central Kentucky. Best shares tips for planting and growing beans and describes his family’s favorite varieties for the table. Featuring interviews with many people who have worked to preserve heirloom varieties, this book vividly documents the social relevance of the rituals of sowing, cultivating, eating, saving, and sharing.

Purchase Here.


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Living Sustainably: What Intentional Communities Can Teach Us about Democracy, Simplicity, and Nonviolence

In light of concerns about food and human health, fraying social ties, economic uncertainty, and rampant consumerism, some people are foregoing a hurried, distracted existence and embracing a mindful way of living. Over the course of four years, A. Whitney Sanford visited ecovillages, cohousing communities, and Catholic worker houses and farms where individuals are striving to “be the change they wish to see in the world.” In this book, she reveals the solutions that these communities have devised for sustainable living while highlighting the specific choices and adaptations that they have made to accommodate local context and geography. She examines their methods of reviving and adapting traditional agrarian skills, testing alternate building materials for their homes, and developing local governments that balance group needs and individual autonomy.

Living Sustainably is a teachable testament to the idea that new cultures based on justice and sustainability are attainable in many ways and in countless homes and communities. Sanford’s engaging and insightful work demonstrates that citizens can make a conscious effort to subsist in a more balanced, harmonious world.

Purchase Here.


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Water in Kentucky: Natural History, Communities, and Conservation

Home to sprawling Appalachian forests, rolling prairies, and the longest cave system in the world, Kentucky is among the most ecologically diverse states in the nation. Lakes, rivers, and springs have shaped and nourished life in the Commonwealth for centuries, and water has played a pivotal role in determining Kentucky’s physical, cultural, and economic landscapes. The management and preservation of this precious natural resource remain a priority for the state’s government and citizens.

In this generously illustrated book, experts from a variety of fields explain how water has defined regions across the Commonwealth. Together, they illuminate the ways in which this resource has affected the lives of Kentuckians since the state’s settlement, exploring the complex relationship among humans, landscapes, and waterways. They examine topics such as water quality, erosion and sediment control, and emerging water management approaches. Through detailed analysis and case studies, the contributors offer scholars, practitioners, policy makers, and general readers a wide perspective on the state’s valuable water resources.

Purchase Here.


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Mammoth Cave Curiosities: A Guide to Rockphobia, Dating, Saber-toothed Cats, and Other Subterranean Marvels

Sir Elton John, blind fish, the original Twinkie, President Ronald Reagan’s Secret Service detail, and mummies don’t usually come up in the same conversation—unless you’re at Mammoth Cave National Park! Home to the earth’s longest known cave system, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the oldest tourist attractions in North America.

In this charming book, author and cave guide Colleen O’Connor Olson takes readers on a tour through a labyrinth of topics. She discusses scientific subjects such as the fossils of prehistoric animals and the secret lives of subterranean critters, and she provides essential information on dating in the cave (the age of rocks and artifacts, not courtship). Olson also explores Mammoth Cave’s rich history, covering its use as the world’s first tuberculosis sanatorium as well as its operation as a saltpeter mine during the War of 1812, and shares the inspirational story of the park’s first female ranger. Whether you’re visiting the national park, thinking about visiting, or just curious about a place recognized as one of the world’s greatest natural wonders, don’t miss this delightful guide to the wild and wonderful subterranean world of Mammoth Cave.

Purchase Here.


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Kentucky’s Natural Heritage: An Illustrated Guide to Biodiversity

Kentucky’s ecosystems teem with diverse native species, some of which are found nowhere else in the world. Kentucky’s Natural Heritage brings these sometimes elusive creatures into close view, from black-throated green warblers to lizard skin liverworts. The aquatic systems of the state are home to rainbow darters, ghost crayfish, salamander mussels, and an impressive array of other species that constitute some of the greatest levels of freshwater diversity on the planet.

Kentucky’s Natural Heritage presents a persuasive argument for conservation of the state’s biodiversity. Organized by a team from the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission, the book is an outgrowth of the agency’s focus on biodiversity protection. Richly detailed and lavishly illustrated with more than 250 color photos, maps, and charts, Kentucky’s Natural Heritage is the definitive compendium of the commonwealth’s amazing diversity. It celebrates the natural beauty of some of the most important ecosystems in the nation and presents a compelling case for the necessity of conservation.

Purchase Here.


Visit our website to explore all of our titles in Nature and Environmental Studies