OldWestNewWest.com: History & Travel Magazine

Feb 21st
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writing the west
A little history lesson here. John Hopkins University Press was founded by Daniel Coit Gilman in 1878, just two years after he founded the university, and has the distinction of being the oldest continuously operating university press in the United States. It began by publishing scholarly journals, the American Journal of Mathematics and the American Chemical Journal, and in 1881 the press published Sidney Lanier: A Memorial Tribute to honor a poet, one of the first writers in residence at the university.
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It was early October and all through the states,
Western lit scholars were counting the days . . .

Well, really scholars and literature folks all over the world, but that didn't work in the rhyme.

But it is true. Folks including myself are busy packing and putting final touches on papers to present at panels at the Western Literature Association's (WLA) annual conference. This year the WLA is being held in Berkeley, California, from Oct. 9-12, 2013. I'm spared the stress of presenting a paper or moderating a panel, but like other press reps I will be hosting a book table showing off some of UNM Press's fine titles.
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In July I had the pleasure of attending the Taos Summer Writers' Conference for the second time. Late summer is a beautiful time to visit Taos, New Mexico-although there really isn't a bad time to visit. Any writer looking for a writers' conference that offers both time and a beautiful space to write should look into this conference. It is a gem, both for the literary community and for New Mexico.
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In April, Edward Dorn would have turned eighty-four. In today's terms, he died young, just seventy, but he left a powerful legacy behind. Gone but certainly not forgotten, as he's still taught and read and talked about by individuals and in literature and creative writing classes on both sides of the Atlantic.

Edward Dorn and his legacy have been on my mind of late because UNM Press has two books by and about Dorn slated to be released early fall 2013 as part of our new series, Recencies: Research and Recovery in Twentieth-Century American Poetics.
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Many folks know that there is a national poet laureate position that rotates each year. The position is appointed by the Library of Congress, a tradition first begun in 1937 with the appointment of Joseph Auslander. The current poet laureate is Natasha Trethewey. Poet laureates serve from October through May of each year.

The post of poet laureate is not to be taken lightly. The poets appointed represent to the world the passionate, diverse field that makes up poetry in the United States. They are also involved in a variety of outreach projects that attempt to bring poetry into communities and from communities to the country.
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I admit it: I'm a relative newcomer to the work of Cormac McCarthy. I've known of his work for years and his books have been on my ever-growing "to read" list, but it was only recently that his books moved to the top of that list.

There's a reason for that: I received a proposal for a critical book of McCarthy's work. The proposal prompted me to take a close look at his work and the scholarly interest in it.
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Writers often look to writing organizations for support and networking opportunities. They are seeking a community, passionate about the same subjects, as a way to make writing seem not quite so solitary an exercise. So to start my new OldWestNewWest.com blog, I want to highlight one such organization: Women Writing the West (WWW).

The WWW is vibrant, active, and very supportive of its members. The women and men in this organization are creative and committed to their subjects, and they are passionate and knowledgeable about Western history!
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