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Amherst College > News & Events > Amherst Magazine > Archives > Summer 2004 > Amherst Creates
Amherst Creates.

Reviews | Short Takes


Short Takes

The Long Silence of the Mohawk Carpet Smokestacks. By Stephen Haven f79. Albuquerque, N.M.: West End Press, 2004. 80 pp. $11.95 paperback.

Havenfs book of poetry is thick with place. He works from the landscape of his ancestors, who landed on Cape Cod in the 1600s, and the landscape of his boyhood, spent in the dying mill towns of New Yorkfs Mohawk Valley. His language is agile and moodily elegant, but this lyricism belies the emotional desolation of his subjects. A fight between brothers, the inscrutability of a river, a girlfs premature motherhood\he handles these scenes without sentimentality, and still they speak of ruin.

An Old Song. By H.R. Coursen f54. Dresden, Maine: Mathom Bookshop, 2004. 90 pp. $9.95 paperback.

One of Amherstfs most prolific poets offers more of his trademark gbluesh and sonnets in this latest volume, where nature is a constant source of inspiration.   Many poems observe the weather and changing seasons, often charting the daily progress of a Maine autumn. Of note is Coursenfs addition of a rarely found verse form, the seguidilla, which is both a rhyming Castilian stanza and a lively dance.

Smart Alliance. By J. Gary Taylor f60 and Patricia Scharlin. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2004. 304 pp. $30 hardcover.

In an age when public trust in corporations is at an all-time low, this well-documented report on Chiquita Brands International offers a hopeful model of increased corporate responsibility. Drawing on extensive interviews and research, Taylor and Scharlin reveal the inside story of how Chiquita executives, banana workers, local leaders and conservation activists learned to work together to establish a Better Banana gseal of approvalh to certify genuine efforts to improve conditions for its workers and minimize the environmental impact of its farms and plantations.

Transforming Schools: Creating a Culture of Continuous Improvement. By Robert Kuklis f61, Allison Zmuda and Everett Kline. Alexandria, Va.: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2004. 195 pp. $26.95 paperback.

According to the authors, the key to staff development in schools lies in systems thinking and a focus on continuous improvement. This book uses dialogue and stories from a fictional school to illustrate the shifts in thinking necessary to transform a school into a competent system. In addition, each chapter is supplemented with charts and tables illustrating such objectives as gmoving from original to suggested curriculum map templateh and ghow our vision and proposed innovations are linked.h

The New Physics and Cosmology: Dialogues With the Dalai Lama. By Arthur Zajonc, Professor of Physics. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. 246 pp. $29.95 hardcover.

This book is the record of a series of conversations between the Dalai Lama and five leading physicists and a historian about theoretical quantum physics in the context of Buddhist philosophy. Edited by Zajonc, it explores the intersection of science and spirituality and offers intelligent readers without a deep involvement in physics or Buddhism a glimpse into the mysteries of both.

Every Sound Below. By Timothy Eriksen f88. Appleseed Records, 2004. Music CD. $17.98.

A performer of Indian classical and Bosnian popular music (and punk rock, among other things) Eriksen registered on popular culturefs radar after appearing on the Oscar-nominated soundtrack for the movie Cold Mountain.  Now also recognized as one of the countryfs leading American traditional folk singers, Eriksen offers Sacred Harp and shape-note singing on his second solo album.  Every Sound Below features his clear, haunting tenor with minimal musical accompaniment in songs that range from a Civil War account to the heart-breaking classic gCareless Love.h

Win a Date with Tad Hamilton. Screenplay by Victor Levin f83. Dreamworks, 2004. $26.99 DVD, $22.99 VHS.

Rosalee, a small-town grocery clerk, wins a date with the movie star Tad Hamilton as part of a Hollywood PR stunt. The two unexpectedly hit it off, and Hamilton moves to her hometown, to the chagrin of her best friend and Piggly-Wiggly co-worker, Pete, who is secretly in love with her, too. Best known for his work as a writer and producer on the television sitcom gMad About You,h Levin penned the script for this lighthearted romantic comedy starring Kate Bosworth, Topher Grace and Josh Duhamel.

—Compiled by Charlene Dy '03

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