Rounding the Corner: A Reflection

Reflection blogs are difficult. In my introduction blog, I remember struggling to explain why I even want to go into publishing, and quite frankly, it hasn’t gotten much easier to explain. I have fallen in love with the process of refining a work to its best form, and the Press has played a large role in that. The time I’ve spent here has been a whirlwind of learning, experience, and research (like tons of research). While it has only been a few months, it feels so much longer with the experience and knowledge that I’ve gained. I began interning at the Press in January, and my time here has been not only truly transformative but also grounding.

The last time I thought about my career in publishing, I was concerned with the writing aspect, and I honestly believed that it was the most important piece. And don’t get me wrong, it definitely is, but there are so many moving pieces at a press or publishing house that I never really realized until I was in the thick of it. Writing is the element that intertwines all of these moving pieces and makes them work.

On my first day, my supervisor deemed this experience a “trial by fire,” and she wasn’t joking. After that first day of account setup and introduction materials, I hit the ground running. I’ve done countless blogs to write, hours of line edits, and even more hours of marketing research.

This industry is so much more complicated than just writing a book and simply publishing it. There is so much research that goes into just accepting a book to be edited and even then, depending on the willingness of author and the editor, the book isn’t guaranteed to make it to publication. It is very much a give-and-take relationship. And I have been fortunate enough to witness this kind of teamwork while watching my superiors work with our authors to make the best book possible

So, I believe thanks are in order. I would like to thank the University of North Georgia Press for taking a chance on me and were willing to help me learn and grow. My passion for books and writing have done nothing but grow while I’ve been here, and I have really developed a new appreciation for the publishing process and the hard work that goes into it. I’m thankful for the invaluable experience that I’ve while working under this Press. I appreciate the atmosphere in which I was able to learn new skills and refine old ones, and my time here will always hold a special place in my heart. While I head out into the daunting adult world, I’m more confident than ever in my skills and abilities that have not only made me competitive but also a better writer and editor. So, one last time, thank you, UNG Press.

 

Poet Spotlight: Sarah Kay

We’ll be rounding out National Poetry Month with another amazing contemporary poet.

This week’s spotlight: Sarah Kay

Photo Courtesy of chrisduffycomedy.com

Sarah Kay is a renowned spoken-word poet from New York City. At the age of 28, Kay has a Master of Arts in teaching from Brown University and an honorary doctorate in humane letters from Grinnell College.

She began her writing and performing career at the Bowery Poetry Club in the East Village at the age of 14 and joined their Slam Team in 2006. That year, she was the youngest person to compete in the National Poetry Slam in Austin, Texas. She’s gone on to perform at events and venues like Lincoln Center, the Tribeca Film Festival, and the United Nations. She was even a feature performer for the launch of the 2004 World Youth Report.

Photo Courtesy of Emaze.com

She founded and currently directs Project VOICE, which is dedicated to educating and encouraging children in the arts and poetry. She’s given a TED talk and has two collections available, No Matter the Wreckage and B. No small feat for someone of her age.

Sarah Kay will undoubtedly be a voice to remember from our generation as she explores the beauty in life and finds light in the darkness with her poetry.

Here are some excerpts from Kay’s works to get you started:

“And I’m going to paint the solar system on the back of her hands so that she has to learn the entire universe before she can say, ‘Oh, I know that like the back of my hand.'” 

“When your boots will fill with rain and you’ll be up to your knees in disappointment and those are the very days you have all the more reason to say ‘thank you,’ ’cause there’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away.” 

“Let them see what a woman looks like. They may not have ever seen one before. If you grow up the type of woman men want to touch, you can let them touch you. Sometimes it’s not you they are reaching for. Sometimes it is a bottle. A door. A sandwich. A Pulitzer. Another woman. “

“Forgive yourself for the decisions you have made, the ones you can still call mistakes when you tuck them in at night.” 

 

This post concludes National Poetry Month poet spotlights! Be sure to let us know who some your favorite poets are in the comments or on Twitter!

Happy 453rd Birthday, Mr. William Shakespeare!

If you’ve ever been in an English classroom, you’ve most likely read a play or two by the one and only William Shakespeare. You probably know that he also wrote a series of sonnets that are still used today to woo literary hearts. What you may not be aware of is the mystery that surrounds him that clings like a mist.

Some speculate that Shakespeare was multiple people using a common pseudonym, and some even doubt his existence all together, though this has been disproven, it gives him a myth-like quality. So, on his birthday, April 23, we’ll give you the straight facts about this famous playwright and his contributions to the literary world and the English language as a whole.

Even Shakespeare’s birthday isn’t concrete. Birth records didn’t exist in the late 1500s, but the records of the Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon, England show the baptism of a William Shakespeare on April 26, 1564. Historians assumed his birthday would have been three days previous, as was the societal custom. His father was a successful merchant, his mother was local landed heiress, and he had five siblings, but that’s about all we know about his childhood.

Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway on November 28, 1582 and had three children: daughter Susanna, and twins Hamnet and Judith. After the twins’ birth, all records of Shakespeare were lost until the 1590s. There is much speculation about what Shakespeare did during this time—some say he went into hiding for poaching game from the local landlord while others believe he was an assistant schoolmaster in Lancashire. We may never know for sure.

Later, evidence appeared of Shakespeare working as an actor and playwright in London in 1592. He was a partner in the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, an acting company, and garnered the attention of many nobles, including the Earl of Southampton, Henry Wriothesley. In the seven years that follow, fifteen of Shakespeare’s thirty-seven plays were published, and he and his partners built their own theatre, called The Globe, on the south bank of the Thames River.

As for his works, you’re probably pretty familiar with his tragedies like Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and Macbeth, but Shakespeare had a wonderful sense of humor which can be found in his comedies, including A Midsummer’s Night Dream, The Merchant of Venice, Much Ado About Nothing, and my personal favorite, The Taming of the Shrew. These story lines are still used as inspiration in modern storylines in movies and books. Shakespeare also has an impressive collection of poetry, mainly sonnets, that tell a story when read all together. Not to mention that he invented more than 1700 of our most common words in English today by simply changing nouns into verbs, verbs into adjectives, and adding prefixes and suffixes to change the root word. Some of these words include hobnob, discontent, circumstantial, flawed, radiance, moonbeam, and obsequiously.

To this day, scholars argue over William Shakespeare’s true identity. The Shakespeare Oxford Society even asserts that English aristocrat Edward de Vere was the true author of these plays, claiming the William Shakespeare from the church records was not educated enough to produce such revolutionary and timeless pieces. This opinion, however, is the in the minority.

Regardless of identity and history, William Shakespeare wrote plays that truly transcend time. By focusing on the matters and follies of the heart and human experience, he created an arsenal of literary genius that will be sure to entertain literary minds for generations to come.

Happy Earth Day!

Earth day is here! It’s the day to celebrate the plants, the animals, and environmentalism as a whole – a day that Dr. Seuss would approve of as we come together as a nation and “speak for the trees.”

via Pexels

On this day, April 22, in the year 1970, Earth day was formed, on the day that marks the beginning of the modern environmental movement. During this time, pollution was somewhat of a positive sign of progress and development. Corporations and the automobile industry didn’t even give their environmental impact a thought.

Then, in 1962, Rachel Carson’s released her New York Times bestseller Silent Spring. It is said that it was one of the first times that the public was aware of the negative impact of pollution on living organisms, the environment, and on public health. The title ended up selling over 500,000 copies in twenty-four countries.

The idea behind Earth Day came from its’ founder, Gaylord Nelson. The hope was to infuse the youthful exuberance concerning political movements with the environment resulting in moving along environmental legislation in the national political agenda.

Via Pexels

On the first annual Earth Day, 20 million Americans showed their passion through demonstrations in streets, parks, and auditoriums in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges even took part in the environmental frenzy sweeping the nation. It achieved a rare feat, gaining support from both sides of the political aisles. Both “Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders” (earthday.org) gave the environmentalism their support. By the end of that year, the first Earth Day started a chain reaction that led to the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the passing of such legislation as the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act.

Earth Day has developed its focus on global warming awareness and a push for a change to clean energy. They continue to include more and more countries and organizational partnerships in their campaign. According to their website, “Today, the fight for a clean environment continues with increasing urgency, as the ravages of climate change become more manifest every day. We invite you to be a part of Earth Day and help write many more chapters—struggles and victories—into the Earth Day book.”

Feel free to join the Earth Day celebration, whether that’s buying a t-shirt, registering or joining event, or helping to raise environmental and climate literacy on their website.

Use their hashtag #EarthDay2017 or tag their twitter, @EarthDayNetwork, and show some social media support!

Poet Spotlight: Neil Hilborn

And we’re back for another poet spotlight, and this time we’re appreciating some contemporary poets.

This week’s spotlight: Neil Hilborn 

Photo Courtesy of Button Poetry

Neil Hilborn is an American poet known for his accomplishments in slam poetry.  While attending Macalester College, he was a member of the 2011 Macalester Poetry Slam team, which ranked first at the 2011 College National Poetry Slam event. He later joined the Minneapolis adult National Poetry Slam team, which placed 5th out of 80 teams from across the country. In August of 2013, Hilborn’s poem “OCD” went viral, receiving nearly 13 million views (and counting). Since then, Hilborn has performed at a number of colleges, including the University of North Georgia, and participated in workshops to teach a new generation of poets.

His collection of poems, Our Numbered Days, launched in 2015 and sold over 250,000 copies, making it an Amazon bestseller. The official description reads, “Utilmately, Hilborn is a poet of the people: his work is accessible, honest, and entertaining – a revitalizing entry in contemporary poetry.” His subject matter is real and relevant, and his self-

Photo Courtesy of Button Poetry

deprecating humor creates a powerful sense of vulnerability and understanding. If you’re looking for a contemporary change of pace, be sure to read Hilborn’s work.

Never read any of pieces by this contemporary poet? Here are some excerpts from his collection, Our Numbered Days, to peak your interest:

“I’m so lucky that right now, I’m not describing Joey’s funeral. I’m so lucky we all lived through who we were to become who we are.” 

“When you’re dumb enough for long enough, you’re gonna meet someone too smart to love you, and they’re gonna love you anyway, and it’s gonna go so poorly.” 

“I think that the genes for being an artist and mentally ill aren’t just related, they’re the same gene, but try telling that to a bill collector.” 

“It’s unfortunate that your offspring make people wish for a dystopian future in which euthanasia is a universally beloved form of birth control, but when elderly women literally everywhere are better parents than you, perhaps it’s time to hand up the baby-making spurs.” 

Who are some your favorite contemporary poets? Be sure to check back in next week for our next poet spotlight!

New Release: Turn Back Before Baghdad

“Turn Back Before Baghdad” Official Cover

The day is finally here: we’re releasing the long-anticipated Gulf War novel, Turn Back Before Baghdad! Follow author Laurence Jolidon as he uses his experience with media pools and wartime journalism to bring frontline dispatches from American and British Correspondents to the public during the historical Operation Desert Storm.

You’ll be able to buy it on our website, as well as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Ingram.

We hope you’ll love this book as much as we do. Let us know what you think by commenting down below, tweeting us on Twitter, or leaving a review!

About Turn Back Before Baghdad

A quarter of a century ago, Saddam Hussein was given the ultimatum to peacefully withdraw troops by January 15, 1991, from Kuwait before the United States and our allies took lethal action. Hussein failed to comply and Operation Desert Shield became Operation Desert Storm, in attempt to swiftly bring an end to the war over the oil province in Kuwait.

Including commentary from the late Laurence Jolidon, Turn Back before Baghdad is a collection of firsthand dispatches from American and British correspondents in the thick of the action. Their accounts include eye-witness battlefield reports, descriptions of tragic friendly fire episodes, and colorful and humorous insights into how American and British soldiers lived on the frontlines.

Turn Back before Baghdad is filled with the excitement and emotion of life among soldiers preparing for, and engaging in combat. Read it to experience various daily accounts of Operation Desert Storm and learn intimate details from the soldiers and civilians who lived through that pivotal moment in history. The University of North Georgia Press is honored to announce our April 18, 2017 release of Turn Back before Baghdad, a true and commemorative account of Operation Desert Storm.

Financial Literacy Friday Week 2!

Financial Literacy Month just keeps moving forward, and so do we. This week, we’ve chosen to highlight a book whose mission is to guide you through financial planning and everything that’s associated with it: The One-Page Financial Plan by Carl Richards.

From Amazon

“Financial decisions have never been more complex, and yet our ability to make smart financial decisions has never been more important. It’s no surprise that even my most successful friends feel confused or paralyzed. What they don’t realize is that bad calls about money aren’t failures; they’re just what happens when emotional creatures have to make decisions about the future with limited information. What I tell them is that we need to scrap striving for perfection and instead commit to a process of guessing and making adjustments when things go off track. The most important thing is getting clarity about the big picture so you can cope with the unexpected. But no matter what happens, this book will help you bridge the gap between where you are now and where you want to go.” (Amazon)

This read is sure to be beneficial for readers from every walk of life, whether this is a newly-retired couple in their sixties or a twenty-something just stumbling into the world. We hope this helps you in your financial journey, and we hope you’ll check in for our next installment of Financial Literacy Fridays.

Journalism and Jolidon by Ron Martz

Of all the many strange and fascinating characters I met during my 40-year career in the newspaper business, perhaps none was more focused on the business of journalism than the late Larry Jolidon, author, editor, and original publisher of Turn Back Before Baghdad.

            I first met Larry, then working for USA TODAY, in the fall of 1990, when Cox Newspapers dispatched me to Saudi Arabia to report on the buildup of coalition forces preparing to oust Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein from Kuwait.

I was not quite sure what to make of Larry at first meeting. He had this head of wild, curly hair, a sly smile that made you wonder what he knew that you didn’t, and an easy way of conversing with anyone at any level of military or civilian life that I came to admire and tried to emulate.

Larry was 10 years my senior, but we bonded quickly because we were fellow travelers, both of us having served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam War and later working at The St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, although at different times.

With Larry, the priority every day was the story, whatever that story might be, and the story was always about people, not processes or procedures.

Although he was incredibly competitive when he was reporting a story, Larry was always willing to lend a hand to fellow journalists. During the run-up to the first Gulf War, Larry took on the thankless task of print pool coordinator, working with the military and his often obstreperous colleagues in the print media to determine who would be assigned to what press pools when the war started. He handled it with patience and good humor, despite numerous complaints and a lot of whining from his fellow journalists.

He did what he could to mollify as many people as possible, but in the end, the pool experiment was a failure because of the military’s inability to get stories back to the numerous print publications in a timely fashion. Once the war ended, Larry boxed up hundreds of stories that never saw print, sent them home, and created his own publishing firm, Inkslinger Press, to preserve them for history. The result is Turn Back Before Baghdad.
Larry’s loyalty to his fellow war reporters was evident again in Somalia in 1992. Following one reporting trip to a refugee camp, Larry and several other journalists were hurrying to get back to the relative safety of the capital of Mogadishu before one of the armed militia groups that roamed the roads after dark waylaid them.

Spotting something amiss on one side of the road, Larry stopped and found a wrecked SUV and another crew of journalists, some badly injured. Ignoring the approaching darkness, Larry supervised getting the more seriously injured stabilized and loaded onto the back of his truck before speeding off to Mogadishu and medical care. Larry later learned that the most seriously injured of the bunch, a French photographer, lost an eye but likely would have died had treatment been delayed any longer.

Larry was an old-school journalist committed to his craft.

Said Larry’s good friend and frequent traveling companion Mike Hedges: “No one I know embodied the qualities it took to be an extraordinary war correspondent more than Larry Jolidon.”

Poet Spotlight: Walt Whitman

This week will be featuring another one of America’s most prominent poets in American history!

This week’s spotlight: Walt Whitman

Photo Courtesy of WikiMedia Commons

On May 31, 1819, Walt Whitman was born, the second of nine children. At the age of twelve, Whitman became acquainted with Homer, Dante, and Shakespeare while learning the printing trade and quickly fell in love with the written word.

After a fire devastated the printing district in New York City in 1835, seventeen-year-old Whitman became a teacher, and he taught from 1836 to 1841. He founded a newspaper called The Long-Islander that is still publishing today and later edited different Brooklyn and New York newspapers.

In 1848, Whitman moved to New Orleans where he was exposed to various cultural differences that sparked a creative period for him. He quickly returned to Brooklyn and founded a “free soil” newspaper called The Brooklyn Freeman and began to develop his unique style of poetry. In 1855, Whitman took out a copyright on the first edition of Leaves of Grass, which featured

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

twelve untitled poems that we now know as poetic classics, including “Song of Myself” and “I Sing the Body Electric.” He also wrote the influential “O Captain! My Captain!” and “O Me! O Life!

In 1862, Whitman visited Fredericksburg to find his brother, George, who fought for the Union. He was getting a wound treated there, and this prompted Whitman to moved to Washington D.C. and spend time visiting the wounded soldiers. He made nearly 600 hospital visits and saw 80,000 to 100,000 patients. The works was physically and emotionally exhausting but propelled him back into poetry, leading to the publication of a new collection call Drum-Taps.

The exploration of self and the fight to overcome moral, psychological and political boundaries which are so evident in these poems make Walt Whitman one of America’s most important poets to date.

Here’s one of his shorter pieces, “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer”:

“When I heard the learn’s astronomer;
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns
before me;
When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, 
divide, and measured them;
When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he
lectured with much applause in the lecture-room.
How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick;
Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself, 
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.” 

 

Check back in next week for the next installment of Poet Spotlight!