Blogs

Asian American Literature

We have a new four volume set called Asian American Literature.  It's edited by David Leiwei Li and can be checked out from the second floor of King. The call number is PS508.A8 A74 2012.

The editor of this book is a Professor of English, and Collins Professor of the Humanities, at the University of Oregon.  His other books include Globalization and the Humanities and Imagining the Nation: Asian American Literature and Cultural Consent.

This set focuses on valuable criticism.  As the editor explains in the introduction, "Students and scholars of Asian American literature should therefore consider this set of Asian American criticism a vital first-stop research and pedagogical resource from which to embark on further explorations" (23).

Each volume covers on a different aspect of literature.  Volume One covers Literary History: Criticism and Theory, Volume Two covers Prose: Fiction and Non-Fiction, Volume Three covers Poetry, and Volume Four covers Drama and Performance. 

The essays included here are written by a variety of critics, including Lisa Nakamura, Angela C. Pao, Cheryl Higashida, Gary Y. Okihiro, etc. Some of the authors that are analyzed in these essays include Maxine Hong Kingston, Gish Jen, Ha Jin, Jhumpa Lahiri, Ruth Ozeki, Laurence Yep, Amy Tan, Chay Yew, Myung Mi Kim, etc. 

Lydia Davis wins 2013 Man Booker International Prize

Lydia Davis has won the 2013 Man Booker International Prize.  You can read more about her and her win here, here, and here.

If you want to read some of the very short stories that she is famous for, check out some of the following titles:

Samuel Johnson is Indignant: Stories.  King Library (2nd floor) | PS3554.A9356 S35 2001

The collected stories of Lydia Davis.  King Library (2nd floor) | PS3554.A9356 A6 2009

Varieties of Disturbance: Stories.  King Library (2nd floor) | PS3554.A9356 V37 2007

Break It Down.  King Library (2nd floor) | PS3554.A9356 B74 1996

Almost No Memory.  King Library (2nd floor) | PS3554.A9356 A79 1997

You can also read her translations of Madame Bovary or Swann's Way, or her one novel called The End of the Story

If you find you enjoy her style of short stories, you might want to check out some of these "flash fiction" titles:

Flash Fiction: Very Short Stories edited by James Thomas.  King Library (2nd floor) | PS648.S5 F58 1992

Fast Forward: A Collection of Flash Fiction edited by K. Scott Forman.  King Library (2nd floor) | PS648.S5 F38 2008

Flash Fiction Forward: 80 Very Short Stories edited by James Thomas.  King Library (2nd floor) | PS648.S5 F577 2006

Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction: Tips from Editors, Teachers, and Writers in the Field edited by Tara L. Masih.  King Library (2nd floor) | PN3373 .F53 2009

Show Me The Awesome: New Kid on the Blog

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Show Me The Awesome: 30 Days of Self-Promotion is an initiative by Sophie Brookover, Liz Burns, and Kelly Jensen to encourage librarian bloggers to think and talk about self-promotion. You can follow the series with the tag #30awesome on Twitter, Tumblr, Vine, and Instagram

As part of “Show Me The Awesome”, I want to step away from our usual fare and talk instead about the challenges of establishing a voice for yourself and your library in new settings. Being the newest member of our library staff, self-promotion for me is as much showing my worth to my peers as to our patrons. My challenge is to promote myself in a way that convinces my new coworkers to make room for me and my work. In parallel to establishing my voice here, I am also working to find a voice for our library in online communities. Much like being a new hire to the department, joining a social media community requires a degree of self-promotion to show that you are able to contribute to the conversation. One of the key elements to a successful social media presence for an institution is a feeling of personability; social media should not be treated as a bullhorn for attention, but rather as an opportunity to build connections. Consequently, it is important for the library to feel like an individual when engaging other users, and I cannot help but see an association between finding my voice among my new peers and finding the library’s voice online.

As with any new setting – physical or digital – the first (and often hardest!) step to making your voice heard is joining the conversation. It can be intimidating to enter a workplace community and show you can make valuable contributions, but some of the best advice I’ve been given about starting a new job was ‘remember that they hired you because you have something they’re missing’; the first hurdle to promoting your abilities is passed. However, when it comes to social media, there is no careful hiring process for quality control; for better or for worse, the Internet gives everyone a chance to make their voice heard. So how can a library promote itself and promise valuable contributions to online conversations?

Like the newcomer to the staff, the first step is knowing what your library has to offer that’s been lacking. By their nature, special collections libraries like mine have many things that are rare, unique, or even uncataloged – but by that same nature these are not materials that can leave the library. Developing a social media presence where awareness of these materials can be shared and gain popularity is a great opportunity to promote the library.

However, there is also a temptation to focus too much on showing off what you or your library has to offer. An early mistake I made in promoting the library with social media was relying on one-directional communication. Tumblr, a platform the university libraries had not previously engaged, was my first solo social media effort. Tumblarians – as the librarians, library students, and sundry bibliophiles on Tumblr call themselves – are a diverse group who welcomed me and the special collections blog warmly on my initial appearance. With some assistance from the excellent and helpful ex-tabulis, we got on a few lists of library blogs, and soon had a few dozen followers. But it wasn’t long until that number slipped. My mistake? I was talking too much and listening too little. I was researching what people were talking about and contributing from our collection, but that isn’t a conversation. As important as it is to show your own talents, part of promoting yourself is also showing that you are someone that can build connections and relationships.

At many libraries, the in-person interview process will involve lunches, coffee breaks, or other similar gatherings. While it might be a nice change after hours of presentations and questions, these ‘social interviews’ are every bit as important as the demonstration of your professional qualities. Libraries are collaborative environments and those social events demonstrate how you would fit in to the workplace community – do you seem to be someone they could write papers with, travel to conferences with, see every weekday for the next ten years? Similarly, social media users’ evaluation of your library and blog will not be based solely on your ability to formally present information, but their ability to feel some sort of connection to your institution.

Like the coffee break during the interview process, breaks from serious posting are important in developing your library’s presence online. To date, my single most successful Tumblr post (judging by the number of times it was liked and reblogged) was a photo of a bit of manuscript waste in a 17th century book – nothing overly rare or unique, but a joking exchange with another librarian (again ex-tabulis) about turning it into a historical mystery movie script saw it reblogged by around thirty other users. Hardly viral, but encouraging nonetheless.

What got the image of our book spread was not the value in it alone, but that little connection that was built in the brief back-and-forth conversation. Formal language does little in the way of effectively building social relationships, but relaxed, friendly language goes hand in hand with the lateral connections that social media relies on. Self-promotion is not only a matter of showing what you can do, but showing that you can fit into the community you’re joining.

Besides, even academic libraries need to be a place of fun sometimes.

See y’all online.

Marcus Ladd
Special Collections Librarian

Head’s Up: Traveling with Victorians

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Late last year a new book by Dr. John H. “Jack” White, Jr. (MU ’58) was published by the Indiana University Press.  Wet Britches and Muddy Boots: A History of Travel in Victorian America is noteworthy for many reasons, as the laudatory reviews now appearing make clear.

The book spans the millennia of human travel but focuses primarily on travel in the nineteenth century, when transportation was revolutionized by industrialization. It especially focuses on the experience of travel. What was it like to ride a stagecoach from one town to the next? Or travel by steamboat? What were roads like? Accommodations?  Food?  And how long did it take to travel distances we scarcely give a thought to today?

Jack has written the work as popular history; it is indeed highly readable and illustrated with a wide range of helpful and fascinating images. But it is also based on meticulous research. Jack, after all, retired as Senior Historian after a long curatorial career at the Smithsonian Institution in the Division of Transportation, Museum of History and Technology. His authority is well-established by a number of distinguished publications.

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We in Special Collections are especially delighted with the book because Jack is a loyal friend and supporter and because he did much of his research right here. Our collections are rich in primary resources for the nineteenth century, and transportation is a particularly strong area. We know how much time and effort Jack invested in research and writing. So we take special pride in his achievement.

Jack’s achievement is also an achievement for the former Head of Special Collections, Janet Stuckey, who supported, assisted, and (according to Jack) occasionally pushed him to the finish line. Jack is generously donating the profits from the book to the Miami University Libraries Janet Stuckey Fund, which supports acquisitions for Special Collections.

So it’s a win-win. And win. That last “win” is yours when you read the book.

Elizabeth Brice
Assistant Dean for Technical Services and
Head, Special Collections & Archives

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The Center for Digital Scholarship

The Center for Digital Scholarship had its Open House on Tuesday to much fanfare. The CDS is both a physical facility and a service of the Libraries. Our vision is to serve as a collaborative partner with faculty, students, and staff by providing digital library , data repository, multi-media, digitization, scholarly communication, geospatial and data management services so that members of the Miami community can accomplish their research, scholarly, and teaching goals.

Check out the CDS for more info and get started!

Earthy Education

Earth Day is coming up on April 22nd. Government Documents has all the resources you need to be informed and active in protecting our planet.

We have print materials with titles, such as

Plants for People: The Psychological and Physiological Effects of Plants,

Herbs and Herb Gardening: an annotated bibliography and resource guide

and Landscaping for Energy Efficiency.

To hear some “green tips,” be sure to check out some of these podcasts from the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

That’s not all! There are plenty of relevant events and opportunities all around the country worthy of your attention. On a closer level, visit the EPA’s “Cleanups in My Community” page. Finally, find out even more you can personally do to protect and preserve our atmosphere by reading some of these simple steps.

For more information, visit www.epa.gov/earthday or stop by Government Documents in Ground Floor, King Library.

 

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To Kill a Mockingbird wins the 2013 Tournament of Tweed!

To Kill a Mockingbird wins the 2013 Great American Novel Tournament of Tweed!  If you haven't read the book (or don't remember from when you read it in high school), now is the perfect time!  We have several copies at the library that you can checkout.  We also have the movie version, if you want to see Gregory Peck being dignified and inspiring.

Want to understand the significance of this novel?  We have several books of criticism you might want to check out:

To Kill a Mockingbird edited by Don Noble.  King Library (2nd floor) | PS3562.E353 T66 2010

Mockingbird Passing: Closeted Traditions and Sexual Curiosities in Harper Lee's Novel by Holly Blackford.  King Library (2nd floor) | PS3562.E353 T63335 2011

Scout, Atticus, and Boo: A Celebration of Fifty Years of To Kill a Mockingbird by Mary McDonagh Murphy.  King Library (2nd floor) | PS3562.E353 T6356 2010

Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird: New Essays edited by Michael J. Meyer.  King Library (2nd floor) | PS3562.E353 T63375 2010

Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee by Charles J. Shields.  King Library (2nd floor) | PS3562.E353 Z94 2006

You might also be interested in this blog post that I wrote for the 50th anniversary of the novel.

Cuala Press Titles in Special Collections

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In recognition of National Poetry Month, we're highlighting a selection of our Cuala Press titles.  These elegant volumes, many of them volumes of poetry, are some of the finest examples of private press printing from the last century.

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Emerging from both the international Arts and Crafts Movement at the turn of the century and the Celtic Revival in Ireland, the Cuala Press traces its earliest history to a joint venture between Elizabeth Corbet Yeats, sister of the poet William Butler Yeats, and Evelyn Gleeson, at the Dun Emer craft studio at Dundrum, Gleeson's home near Dublin.  The name of the press, "Emer's fort" in Irish Gaelic, is a reference to the wife of the Irish mythological hero, Cú Chulainn and the studio and the press were notable because of its all female staff of artists and printers.  In addition to the finely crafted books of the Dun Emer Press, run by Yeats, the studio also produced fine embroidery, tapestries and rugs, overseen by Gleeson. Elizabeth Yeats is shown here (far right), along with fellow workers, at the Dun Emer Press in 1903.  One of the images most associated with the press is the Dun Emer pressmark of 'Lady Emer and tree' designed by Elinor Monsell and first used in Katharine Tynan's Twenty One Poems (1907).

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The goals of the enterprise were outlined in a prospectus written by Gleeson in 1903: "A wish to find work for Irish hands in the making of beautiful things was the beginning of Dun Emer. ... Everything as far as possible, is Irish: the paper of the books, the linen of the embroidery and the wool of the tapestry and carpets.  The designs are also of the spirit and tradition of the country. ... The first two books issued by the Dun Emer Press are now scattered over the world, and have given pleasure to our country people in America and at home and to strangers interested in the art of hand printing." The full text of the prospectus can be found in Liam Miller's history The Dun Emer Press, Later the Cuala Press published in 1973.

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In 1908, Elizabeth Yeats and her sister Lily left Dun Emer Industries and set up their own studio, bringing the printing enterprise with them and renaming it the Cuala Press.  From 1908 to 1946, the Yeats sisters, with the literary guidance of their brother, printed some of the most important works of the Irish Literary Revival, including first editions of works by Lady Gregory, Louis MacNiece, John Millington Synge, and, of course, William Butler Yeats.

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In his introduction to The Revival of Printing: a bibliographical catalogue of works issued by the chief modern English presses published in 1912, Robert Steele writes of the Press: "Miss Yeats, who in time past had come within the circle of William Morris's influence, has set herself the task of reviving fine printing in Ireland.  Her books...have the advantage of being in many cases important from their subject-matter, as well as desirable pieces of printing.  Technically her work, which in the early books showed many of the characteristics of amateurism, is now more satisfactory, though the press-work and the colour of the ink, especially of the red, are still open to improvement."  Regardless of Steele's judgement of the earlier products of the press, seventy-seven titles were published by the Dun Emer and Cuala Presses combined and they are highly prized by collectors and scholars today for their literary importance as well as their simple beauty.

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Special Collections has one title printed at the Dun Emer Press and eight others printed at the Cuala Press, including the last book printed there in 1946, Elizabeth Rivers' Stranger in Aran.
The title page of the Rivers volume and one of the four hand-colored illustrations are shown here.
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Three of our Cuala imprints are volumes of Yeats poetry that were once part of the working library of Irish-American poet and critic, Louise Bogan.  Bogan wrote an article in The Atlantic in 1938 and praised the quality of Yeats' verse: "...these evocations of Celtic beauty, heroism, and strangeness wakened, as more severe music could not then waken, Ireland's ears to the sound of its own voice speaking its own music."

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Shown here is Bogan's copy of The Cat and the Moon by William Butler Yeats published by the Cuala Press in 1924.  The title page features the charging unicorn device designed by Robert Gregory and first used by the press in 1907. Gregory, was the son of Lady Gregory and the subject of Yeats' famous poem "An Irish Airman Forsees His Death".  This copy is inscribed to Bogan by her second husband, Raymond Holden.

The Dun Emer Press and Cuala Press titles highlighted here, along with the over 1,000 volumes of the working library of Louise Bogan, are available to researchers in the Walter Havighurst Special Collections.  They are truly amazing examples of the art of fine hand-press printing and our copies' association with an important American poet make them extra "special".

Kimberly Tully
Special Collections Librarian

 

You heard NDT speak, now continue the Search ...

By all accounts Astrophysicist, Popular Scientist and all-around badass, Neil Degrasse Tyson gave a riveting speech last night in Millett Hall. The inspiration doesn't need to end there. Continue to be inspired by Dr. Tyson through his scholarship and popular writings. We've got it all:

Books by Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson

 Death by Black Hole: and other Cosmic Quandaries

 The Pluto Files: the Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet

 Universe Down to Earth

 One Universe: at Home in the Cosmos

Popular and Scholarly Articles

Go here to read nearly 200 popular magazine articles. To view much of Dr. Tyson's scholarly writings, go to Web of Science and search - tyson nd - in the author field.

Happy Researching!!

2013 National Poetry Month - Highlighting Louise Bogan

King Library will have a display up this month in the foyer of the first floor in honor of National Poetry Month.  This year we are highlighting the work of Louise Bogan, and the poets she either reviewed in the New Yorker or that she collected in her personal collection.

Special Collections will also be highlighting Louise Bogan in a display on the third floor of King.  For more information check out their blog post from last year called The Working Library of Louise Bogan (1897-1970), Poet and Critic.  They have around 2,000 volumes in her personal book collection.  Among other things, there are books of criticism, novels, and many books of poetry.

If you are interested in reading her books, check out these titles:

The Blue Estuaries; Poems, 1923-1968.  King Library (2nd floor) | PS3503.O195 B5

Collected Poems, 1923-1953.  King Library (2nd floor) | PS3503.O195 A17 1954

Selected Criticism: Prose, Poetry.  King Library (2nd floor) | PN511 .B54

A Poet's Prose: Selected Writings of Louise Bogan: With the Uncollected Poems.  King Library (2nd floor) | PS3503.O195 A6 2005 

Achievement in American Poetry, 1900-1950.  SW Depository | PS221 .B56 

There are also several books about her:

Louise Bogan by Jacqueline Ridgeway.  Hamilton Library | PS3503.O195 Z84 1984 

Louise Bogan: A Reference Source by Claire E. Knox.  SW Depository | PS3503.O195 K58 1990

Louise Bogan: A Portrait by Elizabeth Frank.  King Library (2nd floor) | PS3503.O195 Z662 1985

Obsession and Release: Rereading the Poetry of Louise Bogan by Lee Upton.  SW Depository | PS3503.O195 Z89 1996

Our 30 year old Friendship: Letters from Louise Bogan, Conversations with Mildred Weston ; and, Legacy by  Mildred Weston.  SW Depository | PS3573.E92426 A6 1997 

If you'd like to read some of the poets included in her collection, here are titles that you can check out:

The Colossus by Sylvia Plath.  King Library (2nd floor) | PS3566.L27 C6 1967

Starting from San Francisco by Lawrence Ferlinghetti.  Hamilton Library | PS3511.E557 S8 1967

Pictures from Brueghel, and Other Poems by William Carlos Williams.  King Library (2nd floor) | PS3545.I544 P45

95 Poems by e.e. cummings.  King Library (2nd floor) | PS3505.U334 N5

The Lion and the Rose Poems by May Sarton.  SW Depository | PS3537.A832 L5

The Beautiful Changes and Other Poems by Richard Wilbur.  King Library (2nd floor) | PS3545.I32165 B4

In the Clearing by Robert Frost.  King Library (2nd floor) | PS3511.R94 I5 1970 

In addition to checking out the library's displays and finding some poetry to read, you might also want to look at some of these other resources for celebrating National Poetry Month:

NYPL's National Poetry Contest on Twitter

Rumpus Poetry

National Poetry Map

2013 National Poetry Month sponsors present their new poetry titles

Whatever you do to celebrate, we hope you'll make time this month to enjoy some poetry!

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