FROM THE EDITORS
Up the Creek: What it Means to Yearn
There are many ways to yearn.
When we are younger we yearn for the future, often hoping for something better and brighter. And as we grow older, we reach back to our childhood memories, perhaps searching for clues as to how we’ve arrived in the present.
Of course, in too many places around the world, there is a deep yearning for peace, jobs, a foundation from which expression can grow and creativity can thrive. But perhaps the source of all yearning, especially in the global age stems back to our profoundly human need to understand and connect with one another.
And so we begin our coverage of the fourth annual Pen American Center’s World Voices Festival in New York City. PEN was founded in 1921 to “dispel national, ethnic, and racial hatreds and to promote understanding among all countries.” A year later, PEN American Center was founded to “advance literature, defend free expression, and to foster international literary fellowship.”
The list of events at this year’s festival is mind-boggling. We will begin our coverage at the French Institute Alliance Française at an event hosted by the online magazine GUERNICA/a magazine of art and politics, and where actress and activist, Mia Farrow; philosopher, Bernard-Henri Lévy; and author Dinaw Mengestu will discuss the crisis in Darfur and proactive solutions to end suffering in the country.
Along the way, we will listen to writers Coral Bracho, Peter Esterhazy, Rian Malan, Ian McEwan, Michael Ondaatje, Francine Prose, Annie Proulx, Evelyn Schlag, A.B. Yehoshua; and Salman Rushdie. And we’ll hear news from The Hub, the global online platform for human-rights media. There, PEN will team up with Witness, the international human-rights organization that uses video and online technologies to expose human abuses and examine some of the best grassroots human rights reporting from around the world.
The pen may be mightier than the sword, but an image takes the mind into another realm. In concert with the World Voices Festival, Kim Nagy profiles PEN World Voices photographer Beowulf Sheehan who has photographed the likes of Salman Rushdie, Steve Martin, Zadie Smith, and the current PEN president, Francine Prose.
In her piece, What it Means to Yearn: One Photograph by Seydou Keita, Nancy Brokaw discovers a path to her younger self through the compelling images of Malawian photographer, Seydou Keita.
“From 1948 to the 1960s.” says Brokaw, “Keita ran a portrait studio in the city of Bamako, a major port along the Niger River and the Capitol of what was then the French Sudan. (Today, Bamako is the Capitol of Mali, one of the five poorest countries on earth.) As the Capitol and a vital link to Dakar, the city had a cosmopolitan edge that attracted the young and ambitious looking for education, work, and intimations of French culture. Eventually, these strivers all seem to have made their way to Keita’s studio.”
From Malawi, we travel to Ecuador with photographer Gabriel Amadeus Cooney for his portrait of Quito and the Andean Highlands. Cooney accompanied Wild River Review to Ecuador in December to cover Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus’s visit to Quito, Cuenca, and Guayaquil. Cooney’s work can be seen at www.gabrielcooney.com.
In her essay, Full and Empty: The Contradiction of Translation, poet J.C. Todd also reports from Quito. She describes her first meeting with the award-winning poet Ecuadorian poet Ivón Gordon Vailakis with these words: “We met in the lobby of the Quito Hilton,” says Todd, “I in crisp linen, which I had thought appropriate for the equator, grateful that long sleeves concealed my goosebumps, she in cozy wool perfectly suited to the chill wind of the heights.”
The two poets move toward a relationship that will result in Todd’s translation of Vailakis’s book, colibríes en el exilio – Hummingbirds in Exile.
And yet, Todd adds, “In Spanish, I am a displaced person, one whose sense of location is tenuous as if she stands on a bridge that threatens to become a barrier.”
Todd’s translation along with Vailakis’s original poem, “la maleta estovo replete,” “the suitcase was stuffed,” speaks to the bond of language and place—and what happens when that bond is broken. From that day on/we came to know the destiny of border/to make love to snapshots yellowed/by the distance of their background…
Constance Garcia-Barrio, whose last piece addressed the lives of Afro-Ecuadorians living in the Esmeraldas in Ecuador, turns to Peru to trace the origins of Afro-Peruvians through story-telling, religion, dance and music. She asks this question in the title of her piece: Black Peruvians: A Vanishing Presence?
“However, many histories give short shrift to early black Peruvians’ work and numbers,” Garcia-Barrio says. “It’s as if the population had faded away. Today, one even hears that blacks in Peru –and throughout the southern cone of South America— teeter on the brink of disappearance. Yet, Peru’s oral tradition celebrates blacks’ presence in colonial times, while artists and activist groups like Movimiento Negro Francisco Congo strive to preserve the country’s black heritage.”
Katherine Schimmel Baki continues her series, The Mystic Pen debuting her aunt Annemarie Schimmel’s famous series of Harvard lectures: The Phenomenology of Islam.
“Dr. Schimmel outlines the key elements and significance of various religious customs, namely the history of those practiced in Islam,” says Baki. “Her talk stands as a perfect example of how she could brilliantly compress a lifetime of scholarly wisdom into an hour. Wisdom that could easily be understood by students coming from varying backgrounds and sometimes divergent walks of religious life. As Annemarie relates, in the end all religious streams lead the seeker to the same ocean.”
Language, religion, culture, politics, exile. How can we make a difference? Many of the authors and artists at this World Voices Festival would say that conversation and serious examination of oppression is one place to start.
Annemarie Schimmel adds another dimension. She ends her lecture with these words: “Henry Corbin, in his book ‘Homme de Lumiere Dans le Soufisme Iranien,’ has dwelled upon this journey toward the light and the subsequent becoming light of the seeker who step by step loses his material qualities and is finally completely transformed into a luminous being. And this kind of mystical interpretation is found in later centuries as well, which is very natural, it just offers itself to every thinking person.”
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