Friday, October 24, 2008

Holding Court with The Prince of Frogtown! An Evening with Rick Bragg at UA Libraries

There is just about nothing better than a great story. So if you love great stories told by an outstandingly spectacular storyteller, please join us at 7 pm on Wednesday, October 29th in Gorgas Library room 205 for an opportunity to meet renowned Alabama author, Pulitzer Prize winner and University of Alabama professor of Journalism, Rick Bragg.

His latest book, The Prince of Frogtown (Knopf, 2008) is the final volume of his beloved American saga that began with All over but the Shoutin' and continued with Ava's Man. in The Prince of Frogtown, Bragg closes his circle of family with an unforgettable tale about fathers and sons inspired by his own relationship with his stepson.

This event, like all UA Libraries lecture series events is free and open to the public. A book signing and reception will follow the reading, with books for sale courtesy of the Supe Store. The UA Libraries Lecture Series is made possible in part through the generous support of Dr. Lakey and Susan Tolbert. A copy of the flier is available here for download -- and for more information on the UA Libraries Lecture series visit the website at We hope to see you there!

And if you haven't already, take a look at Rick's piece on Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide recently published in Sports Illustrated.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Best-Selling Author was Born....Carl Carmer and Stars Fell on Alabama

October 16 marks the birthday of bestselling author and former University of Alabama professor of English, Carl Carmer. Born in 1893 in Cortland, New York, Carmer came to The University of Alabama in 1927 after completing graduate work at Harvard University. His experiences in Alabama led to his best-selling book, Stars Fell on Alabama.

The New York Times review from the period said, "Carmer reveals himself here as a writer of more than ordinary perceptiveness and imagination, with the power of extracting from what he sees, hears, and feels an essence which is fundamentally poetic."

What he saw, heard, and felt, from experiences all over the state, still stand today as powerful documentation of folkways, and of the racial violence and conflict that existed in Alabama. Carmer became friends with people who took him all over the state, and he experienced first hand everything from foot-washings and shape note singing, to myths and superstitions (like the legendary night in 1833 when "stars fell on Alabama -- the Leonid meteor show
er), as well as the horror of an actual lynching -- and he wrote about it all with great honesty.

Carmer left Alabama in 1933 (coincidently one hundred years after the stars fell...)to serve as the assistant editor at Vanity Fair magazine.

Carmer had a colleague, Clarence Cason -- who also wr
ote honestly about Alabama during this same period. An essay on Carmer and Cason, exploring their work and Cason's tragic fate was published in 2003 in the journal Southern Cultures, by Dr. Phil Beidler of the UA Department of English. This fascinating essay,Yankee Interloper and Native Son: Carl Carmer and Clarence Cason Unlikely Twins of Alabama Exposé is a very worthy read and gives a great glimpse into these two men and the period in which they wrote.

Carmer went on to write thirty-seven books in all, in addition to his editorial and consultant work, advising on matters of folklore for Walt Disney productions! He also recorded four albums of folk music. His most famous work, Stars fell on Alabama has been in print for many years, most recently reprinted by The University of Alabama Press in 2000, with an introduction by former NY Times editor and Alabama native, Howell Raines. The images above are first editions of the book from the Hoole Library's Alabama Collection. Carmer died in 1976 at the age of 93. Today is the 115th anniversary of his birth.

Portrait of Carl Carmer from This Goodly Land entry on Carmer

Visit Alabama Authors at
or Carmer's entry in This Goodly Land to learn more about him and more about Alabama's rich literary heritage!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A-Quiver With Significance: Marianne Moore, 1932—1936

Today in Gorgas Library 205, at 4 pm, Dr. Heather Cass White, Associate Professor of English will read from her book and discuss her project, which includes a collaboration with University Libraries , namely the acquisition of a rare volume of Moore's work, which was turned into a facsimile edition through the work of the Hoole Special Collections Library staff. This is an excellent example of how Special Collections can help to facilitate and further the research and teaching efforts of The University of Alabama faculty and students.

The Pangolin and Other Verse by Marianne Moore.
London: Brendin Publishing Co., 1936.
1 of 120 copies printed at the Curwen Press, Plaistow, London. Drawings are by George Plank.

“Building the edition off of a facsimile reprint of Moore’s powerful collection of poems, The Pangolin and Other Verse, makes good sense given the importance of the volume to her modernist peers. As White notes, Moore paid particular attention to the ordering of her verses in this collection, as she did to every aspect of the book’s production. The volume makes an excellent case study in the ways in which the material presentation of a book of poems can prove vital to addressing the content of the verses within.” – Robin G. Schulze, Pennsylvania State University, editor of Becoming Marianne Moore: The Early Poems, 1907-1924

The University Libraries Lecture Series is made possible in part through the generous support of Lakey and Susan Tolbert.