To listen to the February 26th Arts in the Valley, please click the link below:
Guests on Saturday, February, 26th Arts in the Valley: Joan Gelfand, Author of Transported, a spoken word CD, Coke Hallowell, editor of Take Me to the River: Fishing, Swimming, and Dreaming on the San Joaquin, and Gary L. McDowell, the author of American Amen.
Take Me to the River: Fishing, Swimming, and Dreaming on the San Joaquin
Edited by Joell Hallowell and Coke Hallowell
Stories of life along the San Joaquin River
For ten years, Coke Hallowell and her daughter Joell asked people with deep connections to the San Joaquin, “What was your life like along the river?” With candor and enthusiasm, people responded. Fishermen, miners, immigrants, Native Americans, hunters, farmers, and environmentalists all clamored to be heard. The result is Take Me to the River—a collection of thirty-three deeply personal accounts of life along the San Joaquin.
These are stories that capture rare snapshots of river history: childhoods spent swimming in the river’s ice-cold waters, rafting downstream in a rickety boat with friends, spearing fifty-pound chinook salmon year after year, eating fresh figs picked right from a huge tree on the river-bank, dredging for gold during the Depression, building a coalition to restore the river’s health, sharing the very last meal before Friant Dam was built and the salmon runs stopped, and many, many fish stories.
Take Me to the River recounts the many trials—damming, overpopulation, climate change—and triumphs that a river undergoes in our times. Each story calls us to discover our own relationships with the natural world and, as a whole, Take Me to the River propels us toward a brighter future—one that holds the promise of restoring the health and vigor of the San Joaquin.
“We have dammed the river. We have turned its meander into a straitjacket. We have sent its flow to distant parts. And now the Hallowells, mother and daughter, have captured the river’s past as we’ve captured its snowmelt, only with patience and love.”
—Mark Arax, author of In My Father’s Name and West of the West
“This volume is a reminder of why a river matters…environmentally, culturally, spiritually. The life and death and possible rebirth of the San Joaquin form an epic that every American should study and every Californian should revere. Thanks to the Hallowells’ work, we can appreciate that overkill may be a national habit but it isn’t a national necessity.”
—Gerald Haslam, author of Haslam’s Valley and The Other California
About the Editors
Joell Hallowell is a filmmaker, writer, and photographer living in San Francisco. Her collaborative films have been screened at various venues and experimental festivals, including the Harvard and New York Film Archives, the London International Film Festival, the Madcat Women’s International Film Festival, and the Chicago Underground Film Festival. She is presently working on Here Come the Brides, a book of oral histories and photographs that capture the stories of couples who were married in California during the few months in 2008 when gay marriage was legal.
Coke Hallowell grew up in the San Joaquin Valley and has been involved in conservation issues for twenty-five years. In 1986 she was part of the San Joaquin River Committee, a grassroots group who rallied to protect the San Joaquin. She was the president of the San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust for twenty years and is currently chair of the board. She was also a founding member of the Sierra Foothill Conservancy and the California Council of Land Trusts and she currently serves on the Planning and Conservation League Foundation’s board of directors.
Gary L. McDowell was born and raised in suburban Chicago. He earned a BA in English from Northern Illinois University and an MFA in Poetry from Bowling Green State University. He is the author of American Amen (Dream Horse Press, 2010), winner of the 2009 Orphic Prize in Poetry from Dream Horse Press. He’s also the author of two chapbooks, They Speak of Fruit (Cooper Dillon, 2009) and The Blueprint (Pudding House, 2005) and co-editor, with F. Daniel Rzicznek, of The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetry: Contemporary Poets in Discussion and Practice (Rose Metal Press, 2010). His poems, essays, and reviews have appeared in journals such as Bellingham Review, Colorado Review, Indiana Review, Laurel Review, Mid-American Review, New England Review, Ninth Letter, Poetry Daily, Third Coast, Quarterly West, and Verse Daily, among others. He was also recently awarded the 2010 Editor’s Prize from Minnetonka Review for his group of three poems published in Issue #6. He currently lives in Portage, MI with his wife, Mandy, and their young son, Auden, where he’s teaching writing and finishing his PhD in American Literature and Contemporary Poetry at Western Michigan University.
An award winning writer, Joan Gelfand’s poetry, fiction, reviews, letters and essays have appeared in over eighty national magazines, anthologies and literary journals around the world. Publications include The Huffington Post, Vanity Fair, Poets & Writers, the New York Times Magazine, Rattle, The Toronto Quarterly, Kalliope, Eclipse and Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry.
An educator, community organizer and writing coach, Joan teaches in the San Francisco Unified School District under the California Poets in the Schools and Poetry Out Loud programs. A frequent workshop leader and speaker at writer’s conferences, Joan is the Poetry Liaison for the San Francisco Writers Conference.
The Fiction Editor for Zeek Magazine, and the Annual Chapbook Judge for Poetica Magazine as well as the Adult Poetry Judge for the 2010 Pleasanton Poetry Festival, Joan will complete a 10 city book tour for “A Dreamer’s Guide to Cities and Streams” in June 2010.
About “Transported,” a spoken word CD with original music by Marty Castleberg, Composer and Jazz Saxophonist George Brooks writes: “Once again, Joan Gelfand hits the mark with poetry that is witty, insightful, sensual and direct. She paints with such vivid hues that we are at once “transported” and see the world through her sharp, knowing eyes.”
Joan’s poetry collection, “A Dreamer’s Guide to Cities and Streams,” was published by San Francisco Bay Press in January 2009.
California State Poet Laureate Al Young writes: “…’In that space between day and night/Romance and expectation loiter.’ Loiter. Yes. On such smooth and well-charged turns, Joan Gelfand’s poems vibrate, shudder or take flight, roaring and purring to safe and not so safe landings in the heart, in the gut. Readers, beware. This is powerful stuff.”
Joan’s first book, “Seeking Center,” published by Two Bridges Press, is endorsed by Zoketsu Norman Fischer, Founder of Everyday Zen and Jane Swigart, author of “The Myth of the Perfect Mother.”
Click onto the link below to hear selections from Joan Gelfand’s CD Transported.