Monday, January 31, 2011

Guess who's coming to Hoole? Wayne Greenhaw!

Few Alabama authors have written more, and have produced so much variety as Wayne Greenhaw. He has written novels, plays, works of non-fiction, and several hundred articles in regional, national, and international publications.

Wayne will be at the Hoole Library on Wednesday, February 2, 2011 at 5 pm (talk to begin at 5:30 pm) to discuss his new book, Fighting the Devil in Dixie: How Civil Rights Activists took on the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama (Lawrence Hill Books/Chicago Review Press, 2011)

Greenhaw is the 2006 recipient of the Harper Lee Award for Alabama’s Distinguished Writer, given annually by the Alabama Writers’ Forum and Alabama Southern Community College at Monroeville’s Alabama Writers’ Symposium. In 2005, Greenhaw was recipient of the ninth Clarence Cason Award for Nonfiction, given annually by the University of Alabama’s College of Communication, joining such distinguished writers as Gay Talese, Rick Bragg, Diane McWhorter, and Howell Raines. Greenhaw's short story, "The Old Guy," won first place in the Hackney Literary Awards at Birmingham Southern College's 2007 Writing Today conference.

After graduating from high school in 1958, Greenhaw traveled to Mexico from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, by four different trains. In the central Mexican mountain Spanish colonial town of San Miguel de Allende he attended Instituto Allende. He returned for the next three summers, studying at the writing center under Ashmead Scott.

At The University of Alabama he studied under the legendary Hudson Strode. In 1967, after working as a reporter for the Alabama Journal, Montgomery's afternoon newspaper, his first novel, the Golfer, was published by J.B. Lippincott Company.

After his first nonfiction book, The Making of a Hero: Lt. William L. Calley and the My Lai Massacre, was published in 1971, he was awarded a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard.

Throughout his years as a journalist in Alabama, where he was a stringer for the New York Times, Time magazine, and others, Greenhaw met and nourished friendships and relationships with Dr. Martin Luther King, Governor George C. Wallace, numerous political personalities and Southern cultural icons. Greenhaw was a protegé and mentee of fellow Alabama author and University of Alabama graduate, William Bradford Huie. As part of the 100th anniversary celebration of the birth of William Bradford Huie, Greenhaw, along with Huie's widow Martha, spoke at the opening of the exhibition on November 10, 2010.

Wayne Greenhaw's talk on his new book, Fighting the Devil in Dixie will begin at 5:30 pm, but doors will open at 5 pm. Books will be on sale for the event, and a reception will follow. This event is free and open to the public. The event is co-sponsored by University Libraries, the Alabama Center for the Book, the Summersell Center for the Study of the South, and the WBH@100 Collaborative Group. As part of the event, Wayne Greenhaw will present the Hoole Library with some personal copies of his works to be included in the Alabama Collection. In addition, we have a very special guest to introduce Mr. Greenhaw!

About Fighting the Devil in Dixie:

" Shortly after the success of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Ku Klux Klan—determined to keep segregation as the way of life in Alabama—staged a resurgence, and the strong-armed leadership of Governor George C. Wallace, who defied the new civil rights laws, empowered the Klan’s most violent members.

As Wallace’s power grew, however, blacks began fighting back in the courthouses and schoolhouses, as did young Southern lawyers like Charles “Chuck” Morgan, who became the ACLU’s Southern director; Morris Dees, who cofounded the Southern Poverty Law Center; and Bill Baxley, Alabama attorney general, who successfully prosecuted the bomber of Birmingham’s Sixteenth Street Baptist Church and legally halted some of Wallace’s agencies designed to slow down integration. Fighting the Devil in Dixie is the first book to tell this story in full, from the Klan’s kidnappings, bombings, and murders of the 1950s to Wallace’s run for a fourth term as governor in the early 1980s, asking forgiveness and winning with the black vote."

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Saying So Long to a son of Sand Mountain, Charlie Louvin

Charlie Louvin, born Charles Elzer Loudermilk on July 7, 1927, passed away yesterday, January 26, 2011. A native of Jackson County, Alabama, the furthest county in the Northeast of the state, the Louvin brothers (Ira and Charlie) began their career in Gospel music in the 1940s. Ira was killed in 1965 in an automobile accident, but not before releasing over a dozen albums. Charlie went on to a solo career that lasted the rest of his life, and the brothers are 2001 inductees to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Charlie Louvin, and the Louvin Brothers will live on in their music, which to many transcended the religious messages. Oddly, they are most often remembered for their shocking 1959 album cover for Satan is Real. Widely considered one of the "worst" and "most iconic" album covers of all time, it features the Louvin brothers standing in front of a quarry in front of a giant plywood Devil, while hidden tires soaked in kerosene burn behind them as fire & brimstone.

Critic Scott Walden called the Louvins bluegrass music's Velvet Underground and said "their comprehension of the tortured throes of a drunkard's Satan-infested soul are no less profound than Lou Reed's own understanding of a heroin junkie wrestling with a world devoid of meaning beyond the piercing tip of the needle... The depth is there in Satan is Real. This album transcends the immediate kitsch appeal of its cover. There is a reason why songs from this album have been performed by the more commonly accepted genius of artists such Gram Parsons, Johnny Cash, and Emmylou Harris."

The Hoole Library does not have this album, but would welcome someone to donate it to the collections! (hint hint!)

Rest in Peace, Mr. Louvin.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Stepping back a little further today! Chaucer!

An English class will visit later today and get to know a little bit more about Special Collections, and a little bit more about Chaucer!

In case you feel left out, visit the Digital Scriptorium to take a peek at the magnificent Ellesmere Chaucer at the Huntington Library! Big beautiful images! Pilgrims! Impossible to read writing! And little pink dragons like this!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Happy Belated, Mr. E.A. Poe!

The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe
1893, New York, New York: E. P. Dutton and Company
From the Wade Hall Collection of Southern History and Culture
and Publishers' Bindings Online, 1815-1930: The Art of Books

The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
"'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more."

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; - vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Lenore -
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore -
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me - filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
"'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door -
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; -
This it is, and nothing more."

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
"Sir," said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you"- here I opened wide the door; -
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "Lenore?"
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, "Lenore!" -
Merely this, and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
"Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window lattice:
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore -
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; -
'Tis the wind and nothing more."

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door -
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door -
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore.
"Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the Nightly shore -
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning- little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blest with seeing bird above his chamber door -
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as "Nevermore."

But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered- not a feather then he fluttered -
Till I scarcely more than muttered, "other friends have flown before -
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before."
Then the bird said, "Nevermore."

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
"Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore -
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
Of 'Never - nevermore'."

But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
Then upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore -
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking "Nevermore."

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamplight gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamplight gloating o'er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then methought the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose footfalls tinkled on the tufted floor.
"Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee - by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite - respite and nepenthe, from thy memories of Lenore:
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil! -
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted -
On this home by horror haunted- tell me truly, I implore -
Is there - is there balm in Gilead? - tell me - tell me, I implore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil - prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us - by that God we both adore -
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore -
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore."
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Be that word our sign in parting, bird or fiend," I shrieked, upstarting -
"Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken!- quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamplight o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted - nevermore!