Partnership with UGA Press

The University Press of North Georgia is proud to announce a new marketing and distribution partnership with The University of Georgia Press. Through this partnership, UGA Press will market and distribute our past, current, and future titles. Their marketing activities will include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • ugalogoour titles will be listed in their print, subject, and website catalogs.
  • our titles’ metadata will be sent to Bowker’s, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. All of our titles will be available for purchase from these sites.
  • sales representatives will sell our titles directly to bookstores.
  • our titles will sent out for journal/newspaper/online reviews and awards.
  • our titles will be exhibited at literary conferences and festivals and at booksellers association conferences.
 The UGA Press is the largest and the oldest book publisher in Georgia. Established in 1938, they are celebrating their 75th anniversary this year.
You can see our selection of available titles in the UGA Press’s fall catalog:
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The Creativity of the Crowd

The Crowdsourced Poetry Project is under way! We have three lines so far and are excited to see more contributions to our sestina. Go to our Facebook page to submit your contribution for the next line. Our poem so far:

I began to ask myself the questions
With answers hanging in the air
What is here is noise, above which we can hear

For those of you who don’t already know, the Press is doing an experiment in creativity where we are hoping to harness the wisdom and imagination of the public to create a stunning poem. We have chosen to use the sestina for our form, mostly because it requires no rhyming or syllable counting, making it more accessible to contributors, while its use of repeated end-words gives it just enough complexity and structure so that it won’t spin off into a wild dervish. A sestina is a poem of six stanzas that are each six lines long and then a final, three line envoi. The stanzas all end with the same six words as the first stanza, though in a very specific order. In “Sestina: Altaforte” Ezra Pound uses these words at the ends of the first six lines: peace, music, clash, opposing, crimson, and rejoicing. According to the form they reappear in the second stanza in a new order as: rejoicing, peace, crimson, music, opposing, and clash, and so on throughout the next four stanzas. The repetition of these words both allows and forces the writer to use them in new ways and with new meaning imbued each time, creating a rich tapestry of language where the pattern continues to reveal itself throughout. Please join us in our quest to crowdsource a poem; the results are sure to be interesting and possibly very beautiful indeed.

A Sestina by Everyone

A Sestina by Everyone

A few weeks ago I was talking with some colleagues about the changing face of literature.  Everyone knows about e-readers and online publications by now, and even blogs are getting a lot of attention.  We started talking about an author who is writing a novel one chapter at a time, publishing it online like a blog, and then getting her readership to send her input on what should happen next.  She then takes all that input and writes the next chapter.  It’s like a Choose Your Own Adventure book but in real time. The author is literally catering to her own, specific audience.  Joking, I said, “Can you imagine writing poetry that way?  Gross.”  Because poetry is so personal, so visceral, there’s no way it could ever be written by a group of random, loosely strung-together strangers, I thought.  But the idea of a crowdsourced poem had gotten into my head and it wouldn’t get out.  What if we did compose a poem with a bunch of random, loosely strung-together strangers?  What would happen to the creativity level?  The personal aspect?  Could it be done?

To understand what we’re talking about, it may be necessary to take a couple of steps back and actually define what crowdsourcing is and how it’s been used in the past. Crowdsourcing is a method of outsourcing work that is thought to get better results by spreading the work around to as many people as possible, especially people who are not necessarily specialized in a particular skill.  The idea is that while expert knowledge is held by a few, wisdom is held in the collective conscience.  The term crowdsourcing was coined by Jeff Howe in an article for Wired Magazine in 2006, but the method itself can be dated much farther back in history.  The editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, Sir James A. H. Murray, faced with the daunting task of recording and defining every word in the English language from Middle English forward, as well as finding the earliest known examples of each, put out an “Appeal to the English-Speaking and English-Reading Public” asking anyone who was willing to read works of English and gather data for this huge etymological endeavor. These contributors would then send in slips of paper for each word researched and Murray and his colleagues compiled the lot of them into the most extensive dictionary we have to date.   The more people you have working on a project the more input you get, and, with an intellectual endeavor, as opposed to a mathematical or scientific one, more and varied input is valuable. But, what about with a creative or an artistic endeavor?  Will the crowd’s wisdom be a contribution to the work or will it detract from it, leaving you with an unfocused, overreaching mess?  I have decided to find out.

Over the next several weeks my colleague Victoria Capaldi and I will be driving a new project that, for now, we are calling “The Crowdsourced Poetry Project.” We, as in Victoria and I and you and anyone who chooses to take part, will be writing a poem, one line at a time, together.  To do it we will post a single line on our facebook page, and then in the comments we will accept submissions for the next line. As the comments come in, Victoria and I will be compiling and editing the submissions, and each time a new line is chosen we will post it and accept for submissions for the next line.  For our  form we have chosen a sestina, originally a French form of poetry divided into 6 sestets (six line stanzas) and 1 triplet called an envoi, a concluding stanza half the size of the rest. The distinguishing feature of a sestina is that the words ending each line in the first stanza are repeated as the end words for the other six stanzas in a specific order: ABCDEFG, FAEBDC, CFDABE, ECBFAD, DEACFB, BDFECA, (envoi) ECA or ACE.  One excellent example is “Sestina” by Charles Algernon Swinburne, reprinted below.  While he chose to rhyme his end words, it is not required.  Some other notable examples are “Sestina” by Elizabeth Bishop (http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/sestina/) and SIX by Charlotte Mandel (http://winningwriters.com/resources/critiques/2010/urc_1005mandel.php#.UdruFG12GM1) .

Stay tuned to our page at https://www.facebook.com/UPNGA to take part in this exciting and terrifying new project.

Sestina by Charles Algernon Swinburne

I saw my soul at rest upon a day
As a bird sleeping in the nest of night,
Among soft leaves that give the starlight way
To touch its wings but not its eyes with light;
So that it knew as one in visions may,
And knew not as men waking, of delight.

This was the measure of my soul’s delight;
It had no power of joy to fly by day,
Nor part in the large lordship of the light;
But in a secret moon-beholden way
Had all its will of dreams and pleasant night,
And all the love and life that sleepers may.

But such life’s triumph as men waking may
It might not have to feed its faint delight
Between the stars by night and sun by day,
Shut up with green leaves and a little light;
Because its way was as a lost star’s way,
A world’s not wholly known of day or night.

All loves and dreams and sounds and gleams of night
Made it all music that such minstrels may,
And all they had they gave it of delight;
But in the full face of the fire of day
What place shall be for any starry light,
What part of heaven in all the wide sun’s way?

Yet the soul woke not, sleeping by the way,
Watched as a nursling of the large-eyed night,
And sought no strength nor knowledge of the day,
Nor closer touch conclusive of delight,
Nor mightier joy nor truer than dreamers may,
Nor more of song than they, nor more of light.

For who sleeps once and sees the secret light
Whereby sleep shows the soul a fairer way
Between the rise and rest of day and night,
Shall care no more to fare as all men may,
But be his place of pain or of delight,
There shall he dwell, beholding night as day.

Song, have thy day and take thy fill of light
Before the night be fallen across thy way;
Sing while he may, man hath no long delight.

This article was written with assistance from UPNG interns Victoria Capaldi and Patrick Brehe

Larry Weill Book Signing

On Thursday, March 28, the University Press of North Georgia hosted a book signing and reading by Kentucky author Lawrence Weill on hisIMG_0381 recently published book, Incarnate. Incarnate follows a mother named Lara Joyner who believes that her eldest son, Dale, is the second coming of Christ. Weill states this book is about the psychology of this mother who is suffering from schizophrenia rather than being about theology.

The event opened with a brief introduction by Press intern Toni Guest before giving Weill the audience’s attention.  3Because the majority of the audience was English students, Weill focused his reading on an explanation of the writing process and how he decided to shape his book. He discussed his influence by writers such as William Falkner and Ernest Hemingway, who shaped how he set up his story and personal writing style. He also informed the audience that the chapters alternate between Lara and other major characters’ perspectives. He then read two sections from Incarnate. He read the beginning of chapter one, in which some of the major characters are introduced. He explained that he created suspense by opening up the story from Lara’s dream and also showed her different relationships with her two sons, Dale and Louis, and her husband, Frank; as well as Dale and Louis’s relationship which plays a large role in later chapters. He then read “the beach scene” in chapter seven when Lara, hearing God’s voice, enters the sea and is consumed by her visions. Here Weill reveals that Lara is schizophrenic.

IMG_0385Following his reading, Weill opened the floor up for discussion. Students asked about how he came up with the idea for the story as well as the methods and research that went into his writing. He explained that some chapters actually came from writings he had completed as early as 1975. He discussed that while he knew how he wanted the story to unfold he did not have a hard outline for the structure of the story. As he continued to write the story became clearer for him. Because the novel focuses on multiple “New Age” practices such as tarot and kabbalah, he had to do extensive research on each so that he was able to portray them correctly.

Afterwards the University Press had a raffle for five copies of Incarnate, and the students were able to have their copies signed by Weill and even talk to him about their personal writings one-on-one.

Incarnate, published by Blackwyrm Publishing, is available for purchase from these retailers: Blackwyrm Publishing, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Sears.

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Stories We Love to Hate

People who truly enjoy reading always have a list of books that they love for various reasons. Whether it is the way it’s written, the message, or the characters, people tend to read and re-read certain books. However the interesting fact is that people also tend to identify one book that is their least favorite. That one book you cannot stand to read and cringe at the idea of it. You might even be thinking about yours right now. The University Press posed this same question to faculty and staff of the English Department at the University of North Georgia, and here where the top picks of literary works they love to hate and why that is.

1. Bram Stoker’s Dracula (nominated by Kristin Hiler; University Press) dracula

The main reason is the organization of the story. I feel that the way the story is told, through the journals and letters of the characters, leaves it unhinged. I always felt lost while reading and found myself re-reading certain entries to try and understand how it fit together. This situation disconnected me from the characters and the storyline.

2. Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness (nominated by Kimberly Martin; Writing Center)

heart of darknessWhile it is a literary classic and has many themes that are intriguing to discuss, I personally find the writing style a complete chore to deal with. Rarely do I call a book flat out “boring,” but the writing used in Heart of Darkness could easily put me to sleep. It’s a shame because the concept is great, but the writing style utterly ruins it and makes it a pain to read.

3. J.R.R Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (nominated by Christopher Shull; University Press)

I cannot stand The Lord of the Rings. The plot isn’t bad at all, however the style and tone are horrendous. Tolkien should’ve stayed in Book Tolkien Hobbit LOTR Set Random Houseacademia, leaving the novel-writing to novel-writers. Yes, he deserves credit for the wonderful exercise in world-building that The Lord of the Rings is, but that doesn’t mean he has to remind us of it every other page; allowing the story to tell itself amidst that mythic and colossal backdrop would have been a much better move. If he’d wanted to share all of the wonderful background information, he should have added it in appendices or in a supplementary source, such as an encyclopedia or a book of myths, etc. Instead, he inundates his readers with all sorts of background tales that make no sense in our world.
For example, what does the tale of Beren and Lúthien, the only other human/elven pairing besides Aragorn and Arwen, add to the novel? To me, it seems like very little, especially when it’s repeated what seems like six million times. I would never argue that these myths, legends, and histories add nothing to the novel because they do allow us a peek into the characters’ psychologies. However, their addition to the novel slows down an already sluggish plot and leaves this reader dissatisfied.sister carrie

4. Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie (nominated by Dr. David Brauer; English Department)

To put it simply, the story is depressing and the writing is tedious and drab.

5.  William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (nominated by Melody Boggs; Writing Center)

romeoI’m often able to find something of merit in any literature I read, but one I just cannot reconcile with myself is Romeo and Juliet. It’s a shame, because I’ve loved everything else of Shakespeare I’ve read. However, I cannot quite suspend my disbelief enough to actually accept what’s going on in this play. Maybe if the two main characters were actually older and not teenagers–Juliet being thirteen and Romeo being an unspecified age but estimated to be in his late teens–I would be able to accept it better. Am I putting an age on love? Yes, I suppose I am, since most teens do not have the proper judgment to deal with love, especially not Romeo and Juliet. Their relationship was more lust than love, which makes the whole thing seem even more outrageous. As it is, the actions the characters commit in the play are too overblown and, dare I say, overdramatic, even for a work of drama. The whole thing was just one big mistake.

6. Henry James’ Portrait of a Lady (nominated by Corin McDonald; University Press)

portrait of a ladyAny redeeming qualities to be found in this book are drowned out by countless pages of narrator dialogue, idle chatter between characters, and uninteresting plot points. Long, rambling descriptions give vague impressions of characters and places, giving the idea that the author himself couldn’t decide how to describe them. It involves no real central conflict; the few plot points that can be seen throughout the work are all alike, and even from the start fail to capture any interest.
Quite simply, there is a lack of interesting plot and character. And given the length and the sheer quantity of idle chatter and dialogue that one must drag themselves through in order to get through the book, it takes the crown as the most horrifyingly mind-numbing piece of literature that I’ve ever had to read for class.

7. Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow (nominated by Dr. Tanya Bennett; English Department) gravity's rainbow

I want some semblance of coherence in a novel, and this just did not have any. I could not follow along with the story as it progressed. While I want to give it the benefit of being a great piece of literature, I personally did not like it. Call me lowbrow if you will!

8. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter (nominated by Amy Sprague; Library Technology Center)

the scarlet letterI find this novel boring, stuffy, and it has no relevance today’s time. I like to have a connection with the stories that I read, but I cannot relate to this one. No matter how much Easy A tries to make it relatable; it just isn’t.

9.  Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird (nominated by Toni Guest; University Press)

While I do not mind the subject of slavery being discussed, I cannot get past the action of the main charactersmockingbird—especially Atticus Finch. In order to save Boo Radley he must sacrifice his own son? Really? As I read through this story I found myself forcing each page turn until I finished the novel. By the end I thought “Well that was a waste.” I do not see this novel as great or as literature, I just don’t. However I could read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which discusses the same subject, over and over again.

10. T.S. Elliot’s “The Waste Land” (nominated by Hannah Bridgeman; Writing Center)

TS-Eliot-The-Waste-LandThis poem is a highly praised work of literature, and though I love reading literature, I absolutely despise it. Why? “The Waste Land” is so full of obscure references and allusions that unless you have studied exactly what Eliot and his contemporaries did you’ll be completely lost and confused, which to me makes this invalid as literature. Although the book has a very loose theme overall, the individual parts seem so disconnected that you have no idea what’s going on as you read.

11. Herman Melville’s “Bartleby, The Scrivener” (nominated by April Loebick; University Press) bartleby

After reading it in high school, I vowed never again. In college, I planned my entire semesters around skipping the day that this short story was going to be discussed in class. I find it painfully dull–literally! I get twitchy, restless, and irritable when I try to read it. So when it comes to reading Bartleby, “I would prefer not to.”

12. Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace (nominated by Dr. Linda Williams; English Department)

war and peaceThere are few books I dislike, but I definitely do not remember with fondness the parts of War and Peace that I read.  Because I had placed it on my “bucket list,” I bought a paperback copy of the text about two years ago and dived eagerly into its contents.  I was not daunted by the 1200 pages the book includes—I expected to savor every single page because this novel is a “great classic,” right?  With a copy of the oh-so-scholarly Spark Notes for the novel close by, I began reading and reading and reading.  Before long, I realized I was spending an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out which character was saying what, or which character was doing what, or which character was going from one unfamiliar destination to another.  After all, many of the characters have more names and titles than any rational reader should have to keep straight.  My state of mind was not improved by the fact that the plot of this novel has much more to do with War than Peace.  My frustration increased to the point that I was at War with this novel much more often than at Peace.   One day when I simply could take it no more, I closed this “classic” for the last time. Finally, I was at Peace again!

You may agree or disagree with some of the selections and opinions of our faculty and staff, but I am sure there are some works that you personally dislike. Please comment below and tell us what your least favorite literary novel is and why.

*Images courtesy of Penguin Publishing USA and Random House Publishing

Toni Guest