FROM THE EDITORS
Up the Creek:
Crossing Cultures: Transcending History
In the spring and summer of 2006, Executive Editor Kim Nagy and I interviewed a group of scientists, architects, artists and writers who had gathered to create installations representing their work in an interactive park called Quark Park on a vacant lot in the heart of Princeton, New Jersey. One of the participants was molecular biologist Paul Schimmel whose work was cited by Nature Magazine as one of the developments that launched the Human Genome Project.
Nagy sat down with Schimmel in an installation constructed by sculptor Robert Canon – fragments of mirrors suspended from a lattice and etched in tiny letters symbolizing the genetic code, the fragments flickering sunlight and random patterns against white walls.
There, Schimmel talked about the origin, unpredictability, and connectedness of all life forms. And how research and discovery requires collaboration between scientists, poets, and artists across cultures.
Our meeting with Dr. Schimmel led to another meeting with his daughter Katherine Schimmel-Baki, now Director of Global Partnerships for Wild River Review, whose dissertation at Harvard College centered around the Adhan, the Muslim Call to Prayer, specifically in Cairo, Egypt. At the time, I was in the process of researching and co-writing a book about my travels in Turkey; and Kim and I were interested in the growth of Sufism as expressed by the mystic and poet, Jellaludin Rumi. We soon learned that Katherine’s aunt Annemarie Schimmel was one of the world’s foremost Islamic scholars and an expert on Sufism.
In a post 9/11 world, our shared experience compelled us to tell a different story than what was being presented in most of the mainstream press. And so, we began regular coverage of stories centered in the Middle and Near East; and Katherine began her ongoing series, The Mystic Pen, featuring her aunt’s last semester of lectures at Harvard University.
In the global community of the Internet, the series came to the attention of Yassir Salem and the team who created 1001 Inventions – Muslim Heritage in our World, which is how we journeyed to the New York Hall of Science in Queens to visit the interactive exhibition that has traveled from Istanbul to London, and now the U.S.
1001 Inventions highlights how science is and has been a global endeavor, how during the Dark Ages in Europe, a flowering was occurring throughout the Muslim world.
We recently spoke with Dr. Margaret Honey, CEO of the New York Hall of Science about the exhibition and science in general, how expanding our knowledge of science and its history can contribute to a vibrant educational future.
In 2009, through our work with the PEN American Center’s annual festival of literature, PEN WORLD VOICES, we attended the Arthur Miller Freedom to Write Lecture honoring Nawal el Saadawi, who, today at 80 years old has become a voice for the independence movement in Egypt.
As a young girl, Saadawi was circumcised. (According to Saadawi, 97% of Egyptian woman are genitally mutilated.) But her parents believed in education for girls – a rarity at the time – and had dreams that she would become a doctor. And so she went to medical school.
“Writers should study science,” she says. “I learned and wrote about bone and got to see the heart and the light of the flesh. Seeing death every day helped me link death to life. There is no separation between the physical and the spiritual. And we must remember that there is no safe place. I can have a car accident. I think that death and life are one and to be afraid of death is the major reason writers don’t put down on the page what they really think.”
In, The Forgotten Children of Abraham, Katherine Schimmel-Baki interviews John L. Esposito, Professor of Religion and International Affairs and of Islamic Studies at Georgetown University, who says, “It is difficult today to appreciate how much the religious landscape of America and our awareness of Islam and the Muslim world has changed since the late 1960s. In less than forty years Islam and Muslim politics have moved from nowhere to everywhere, from obscurity to center stage in international politics, media coverage and our neighborhoods, schools and the workplace. This all stands in stark contrast with the demographics and expectations in America in the mid-twentieth century.”
Cultural Anthropologist Mary Catherine Bateson speaks with WRR correspondent and author of the Ask the Philosopher column, Bill Cole-Kiernan, about a new stage of life she calls Adulthood II.
Bateson, 70, the daughter of philosopher Gregory Bateson and cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead, currently serves as a Visiting Scholar at the Center on Aging & Work/Workplace Flexibility at Boston College.
There are many jokes about the “natural alliance” between grandchildren and grandparents,” she says. “Why not strengthen that alliance and make it politically effective? Younger adults are often under too much pressure to think beyond next week’s demands, while teenagers and children feel that they have no voice.
“Some 50 years ago, my Virginia-bred mother, Cleoria Coleman Sparrow, did something straight out of West Africa,” says Sparrow. “The moment a certain visitor left the house, my mother swept from where he had last stood all the way out to the street.
“Why’d you do that?” I said. “The floor’s clean.”
“To get rid of his presence so he won’t come back.
That sweeping was a legacy from the Yoruba religion and sister traditions like Vodun(Voodoo), Akan, Palo and Santeria that crossed the Atlantic with the slave trade.
My mother was reared, in part, by my great-grandmother, Rose Wilson Ware, or Maw, born into slavery in Spotsylvania County, Virginia. She lived from about 1851 to 1964, 113 years, and passed on some ways that echoed West Africa to my mother: the reliance on plant medicine, a gift of prescience and an ability to sense spirits.
Contributing Editor, Joseph Glantz, returns with his series Interviews with the Famously Departed, and profiles playwright George Bernard Shaw.
Shaw was born July 26, 1856, in Dublin, Ireland, and died in England on November 2, 1950. Shaw wrote sixty plays dealing with social problems but used humor as a means to lighten the message. He was a noted socialist. His play “Pygmalion” was made into the musical, My Fair Lady.
According to Shaw, “the worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them: that’s the essence of inhumanity.” (The Devil’s Disciple, Act II; 1901)
Cultural Philosopher and Thinking Otherwise columnist William Irwin Thompson turns to poetry and an iPad to make sense of our era. In his poem, On Reading The Penguin Book of English Verse on my iPad and Exercise Bike, Thompson writes of his own Irish heritage with an eye toward Fatima al Fahri, Annemarie Schimmel, Nawal el Saadawi and Mary Catherine Bateson, women whose stories must be part of a 21st century canon.
Here too are the Irish women poets.
It’s now not only Heaney and Longley,
Kinsella, Carson, Mahon and Muldoon,
but Eiléan Ní Cuhuilleanáin,
Eavan Boland, Nualla Ní Dhomhnaill.
We Yanks also have those touched by Brigid.
Why should only the men be vatic bards
when there are wild sybils the gods ride hard?
In 2006, Joy E. Stocke founded Wild River Review with Kimberly Nagy, an outgrowth of the literary magazine, The Bucks County Writer, of which Stocke was Editor in Chief. In 2009, as their editorial practice grew, Stocke and Nagy founded Wild River Consulting & Publishing, LLC.
With more than twenty-five years experience as a writer and journalist, Stocke works with many of the writers who appear in the pages of Wild River Review, as well as clients from around the world.
In addition, Stocke has shepherded numerous writers into print. She has interviewed Nobel Prize winners Orhan Pamuk and Muhammud Yunus, Pulitzer Prizewinner Paul Muldoon, Paul Holdengraber, host of LIVE from the NYPL; Roshi Joan Halifax, founder of Upaya Zen Center; anthropologist and expert on end of life care, Mary Catherine Bateson; Ivonne Baki, President of the Andean Parliament; and Templeton Prizewinner Freeman Dyson among others.
In 2006, along with Nagy, Stocke interviewed scientists and artists including former Princeton University President Shirley Tilghman and Dean of Faculty, David P. Dobkin for the documentary Quark Park, chronicling the creation of an award-winning park built on a vacant lot in the heart of Princeton, New Jersey; a park that united art, science and community.
She is president of the Board of Directors at the Cabo Pulmo Learning Center, Cabo Pulmo, Baja Sur, Mexico; and is a member of the Turkish Women’s International Network.
In addition, Stocke has written extensively about her travels in Greece and Turkey. Her memoir, Anatolian Days and Nights: A Love Affair with Turkey, Land of Dervishes, Goddesses & Saints, based on more than ten years of travel through Turkey, co-written with Angie Brenner was published in March 2012. Her cookbook, Tree of Life: Turkish Home Cooking will be published in March, 2017 by Quarto Books under the Burgess Lea Press imprint . Stocke and Brenner are currently testing recipes for a companion book, which will feature Anatolian-inspired mezes from around the world.
Stocke’s essay “Turkish American Food” appears in the 2nd edition of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America (OUP, 2013). The volume won both International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) for Beverage/Reference/Technical category, 2014; and the Gourmand Award for the Best Food Book of the Year, 2014.
She is the author of a bi-lingual book of poems, Cave of the Bear, translated into Greek by Lili Bita based on her travels in Western Crete, and is currently researching a book about the only hard-finger coral reef in Mexico on the Baja Sur Peninsula. She has been writing about environmental issues there since 2011.
A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, with a Bachelor of Science in Broadcast Journalism from the Agriculture Journalism School where she also received a minor of Food Science, she participated in the Lindisfarne Symposium on The Evolution of Consciousness with cultural philosopher, poet and historian, William Irwin Thompson. In 2009, she became a Lindisfarne Fellow.
Works by Joy E. Stocke in this Edition
AIRMAIL – LETTERS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
AIRMAIL – VOICE FROM SYRIA
ARTS – ART
COLUMNS – THE MYSTIC PEN
FOOD & DRINK – ANATOLIAN KITCHEN
FREYMAN & PETERSON- Your Life is a Book: How to Craft and Publish Your Memoir
LITERATURE – BOOK REVIEWS
LITERATURE – ESSAYS
LITERATURE – MEMOIR
LITERATURE – POETRY
LIVE FROM THE NYPL
The Euphoria of Ignorance: Being Jewish, Becoming Jewish, The Paradox of Being Carlo Ginzburg
Fountain of Curiosity: Paul Holdengraber on Attention, Tension and Stretching the Limits of Conversation at the New York Public Library
Paul Holdengraber – The Afterlife of Conversation
2013 – Three Questions: Festival Director Jakab Orsos talks about Art, Bravery, and Sonia Sotomayor
Critical Minds, Social Revolution: Egyptian Activist Nawal El Saadawi
INTERVIEW – Laszlo Jakab Orsos: Written on Water
Tonight We Rest Here: An Interview with Poet Saadi Youssef
Georgian Writer David Dephy’s Second Skin
On the High Line: Diamonds on the Soles of Our Shoes
Car Bombs on the West Side, Journalists Uptown
New York City – Parade of Illuminations: Behind the Scenes with Festival Director Jakab Orsos
The Pen Cabaret 2008: Bowery Ballroom — Featuring..
Anatolian Days and Nights: A Love Affair with Turkey, Land of Dervishes, Goddesses and Saints
Daring Collaborations: Rolex and LIVE from the NYPL at the New York Public Library Composing a Further Life: with Mary Catherine Bateson
WRR@LARGE: From the Editors – UP THE CREEK
Up the Creek: Volume 1, Number 1
Up the Creek: Volume 1, Number 2.5
Up the Creek: Volume 1, Number 3.3
Up the Creek: Number 4.4
Up the Creek: Beautiful Solutions
Up the Creek: Blind Faith, July 2009
Up the Creek: Create Dangerously
Up the Creek: What Price Choice?
Up the Creek: Before and After: September 11, 2001
Up the Creek: Candle in a Long Street
Up the Creek: Crossing Cultures: Transcending History
Up the Creek: Man in the Mirror; A Map of the World
Up the Creek: Stories and the Shape of Time
Up the Creek: The Divine Road To Istanbul
Up the Creek: What It Means to Yearn
WRR@LARGE – WILD COVERAGE
UNESCO World Heritage Site Under Threat of Mega-Devlopment Sparks International Protests
The Other Side Of Abu Ghraib — Part One: The Detainees’ Quest For Justice
The Other Side of Abu Ghraib – Part Two: The Yoga Teacher Goes to Istanbul