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U.S. Library of Congress, 17th National Book Festival to Be Livestreamed on Facebook

Early heads-up: Mark your calendars for the 17th Library of Congress National Book Festival, which is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 2, at the Washington Convention Center.

Librarian of Congress, Dr. Carla Hayden

Librarian of Congress, Dr. Carla Hayden, announced that the main-stage author presentations will be live-streamed on Facebook. Details on the scheduled authors are presented in the video below, which includes the Washington Post’s book editor, Ron Charles, discussing books, authors, and expectations.

Among those noted is David McCullough (The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge), historian, writer and lecturer. Other presenters include J.D. Vance (Hillbilly Ellegy: A Memoir of Family and Culture in Crisis) and Diana Gabaldon (the eight book Outlander Series).   

Where:  (This is a public site. You don’t have to be on Facebook to watch.

if you are reading from an email subcription, you’ll likely have to link through to this site to view the video.

Livestream: Collections as Data, July 25:: the relevance, accessibility and other benefits of making digital collections available as data and ready for computational analysis. The Library of Congress is hosting a day-long livestreamed event that will feature case-studies and impact stories of applying digital methods to analyzing and sharing collections.

Where:  (This is a public site. You don’t have to be on Facebook to watch.


The U.S. Library of Congress Launches New Software to Simplify the Downloading of Braille and Audio Reading Material

NEW LIBRARIAN OF CONGRESS: U.S. Senate Confirms first woman and first African-American as Librarian of Congress


TWO NEW PROMISING BEAT BOOKS: “The Cambridge Companion to the Beats” & “First Thought: Conversations with Allen Ginsberg”


This no doubt feels like an event for many people. It certainly seems so to me. I already have my pre-orders in. According to the Amazon blurb:

The Cambridge Companion to the Beats offers an in-depth overview of one of the most innovative and popular literary periods in America, the Beat era. The Beats were a literary and cultural phenomenon originating in New York City in the 1940s that reached worldwide significance. Although its most well-known figures are Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William S. Burroughs, the Beat movement radiates out to encompass a rich diversity of figures and texts that merit further study. Consummate innovators, the Beats had a profound effect not only on the direction of American literature, but also on models of socio-political critique that would become more widespread in the 1960s and beyond. Bringing together the most influential Beat scholars writing today, this Companion provides a comprehensive exploration of the Beat movement, asking critical questions about its associated figures and arguing for their importance to postwar American letters.



Amazon on First Thought: Conversations with Alan Ginzberg

“The way to point to the existence of the universe is to see one thing directly and clearly and describe it. . . . If you see something as a symbol of something else, then you don’t experience the object itself, but you’re always referring it to something else in your mind. It’s like making out with one person and thinking about another.” —Ginsberg speaking to his writing class at Naropa Institute, 1985

With “Howl” Allen Ginsberg became the voice of the Beat Generation. It was a voice heard in some of the best-known poetry of our time—but also in Ginsberg’s eloquent and extensive commentary on literature, consciousness, and politics, as well as his own work. Much of what he had to say, he said in interviews, and many of the best of these are collected for the first time in this book. Here we encounter Ginsberg elaborating on how speech, as much as writing and reading, and even poetry, is an act of art.

Testifying before a Senate subcommittee on LSD in 1966; gently pressing an emotionally broken Ezra Pound in a Venice pensione in 1967; taking questions in a U.C. Davis dormitory lobby after a visit to Vacaville State Prison in 1974; speaking at length on poetics, and in detail about his “Blake Visions,” with his father Louis (also a poet); engaging William Burroughs and Norman Mailer during a writing class: Ginsberg speaks with remarkable candor, insight, and erudition about reading and writing, music and fame, literary friendships and influences, and, of course, the culture (or counterculture) and politics of his generation. Revealing, enlightening, and often just plain entertaining, Allen Ginsberg in conversation is the quintessential twentieth-century American poet as we have never before encountered him: fully present, in pitch-perfect detail.



Finally unafraid to be free,
Ready to surrender all the illusions of
recognition and external securities,
Living off the sky and earth like soaring
eagles and braying burros . . .

The iconoclast poet, Dr. James Kavanaugh, first gained fame when he wrote A Modern Priest Looks at His Outdated Church. It was published in 1967.

“It is one of the most moving human documents I have ever read! In an earlier day the author would have been burned at the stake.” Dr. Carl Rogers

In this best-selling book the author called for Church reforms on its positions such as birth control, divorce, premarital sex and celibacy for priests. It says a lot about the man that he had the courage to speak his truth and ultimately to leave the Church.

A Modern Priest Looks at His Outdated Church is worth your time as an exploration of ideas and ideals and difficult decisions. It seeks to dig the historically accurate from under dust of mythology.

Encouraged by family, teachers and tradition to become a priest, Kavanaugh entered the seminary when he was fourteen. He served as a priest for nine years and, when he left the Church – which he did love – it was to honor the depth and breath of his values and to strike out on an adventure to free his soul and find his own vision of God.

We searchers are ambitious only for life itself, for everything beautiful it provides.” James Kavanaugh in There Are Men Too Gentle to Live Among Wolves

I believe Dr. Kavanaugh wrote four nonfiction titles, one children’s book, two novels … but the bulk of his work was poetry.

Dr. Kavanaugh’s first collection of poetry was There Are Men Too Gentle to Live Among Wolves. That book’s eponymous poem is below and it reminds us of ourselves and so many we know.  It’s a healing and compassionate read. Someone understood!

The second poem here is the complete poem that was refered to and quoted in part in yesterday’s post by Rev. Ben Meyers in Notions of God. 

James Kavanaugh died in 2009.  His wife and family continue to keep his legacy alive at where you can read more about him and his work and purchase all of his books, proceeds to charity.

If you have not yet read Kavanaugh, do. His work is frank, profound, accessible, finely crafted and recommended without reservation.


There are men too gentle to live among wolves
Who prey upon them with IBM eyes
And sell their hearts and guts for martinis at noon.
There are men too gentle for a savage world
Who dream instead of snow and children and Halloween
And wonder if the leaves will change their color soon.

There are men too gentle to live among wolves
Who anoint them for burial with greedy claws
And murder them for a merchant’s profit and gain.
There are men too gentle for a corporate world
Who dream instead of candied apples and ferris wheels
And pause to hear the distant whistle of a train.

There are men too gentle to live among wolves
Who devour them with eager appetite and search
For other men to prey upon and suck their childhood dry.
There are men too gentle for an accountant’s world
Who dream instead of Easter eggs and fragrant grass
And search for beauty in the mystery of the sky.

There are men too gentle to live among wolves
Who toss them like a lost and wounded dove.
Such gentle men are lonely in a merchant’s world,
Unless they have a gentle one to love.

– James Kavanaugh

My Easy God is Gone

I have lost my easy God – the one whose name
I knew since childhood.
I knew his temper, his sullen outrage,
his ritual forgiveness.
I knew the strength of his arm, the sound
of his insistent voice.
His beard bristling, his lips full and red
with moisture at the moustache,
His eyes clear and piercing, too blue
to understand all,
His face too unwrinkled to feel my
child’s pain.
He was a good God – so he told me –
a long suffering and manageable one.
I knelt at his feet and kissed them.
I felt the smooth countenance of his forgiveness.

I never told him how he frightened me,
How he followed me as a child,
When I played with friends or begged
for candy on Halloween.
He was a predictable God, I was the
unpredictable one.
He was unchanging, omnipotent, all-seeing,
I was volatile and helpless.

He taught me to thank him for the concern
which gave me no chance to breathe,
For the love which demanded only love in
return – and obedience.
He made pain sensible and patience possible
and the future foreseeable.
He, the mysterious, took all mystery away,
corroded my imagination,
Controlled the stars and would not let
them speak for themselves.

Now he haunts me seldom: some fierce
umbilical is broken,
I live with my own fragile hopes and
sudden rising despair.
Now I do not weep for my sins; I have
learned to love them.
And to know that they are the wounds that
make love real.
His face eludes me; his voice, with all
its pity, does not ring in my ear.
His maxims memorized in boyhood do not
make fruitless and pointless my experience.
I walk alone, but not so terrified as when
he held my hand.

I do not splash in the blood of his son
nor hear the crunch of nails or thorns
piercing protesting flesh.
I am a boy again – I whose boyhood was
turned to manhood in a brutal myth.
Now wine is only wine with drops that do
not taste of blood.
The bread I eat has too much pride for transubstantiation,
I, too – and together the bread and I embrace,
Each grateful to be what we are, each loving
from our own reality.
Now the bread is warm in my mouth and
I am warm in its mouth as well.

Now my easy God is gone – he knew too
much to be real,
He talked too much to listen, he knew
my words before I spoke.
But I knew his answers as well – computerized
and turned to dogma.
His stamp was on my soul, his law locked
cross-like on my heart,
His imperatives tattooed on my breast, his
aloofness canonized in ritual.

Now he is gone – my easy, stuffy God – God,
the father – master, the mother – whiner, the
Dull, whoring God who offered love bought
by an infant’s fear.
Now the world is mine with all its pain and
warmth, with its every color and sound;
The setting sun is my priest with the ocean for its alter.
The rising sun redeems me with rolling
waves warmed in its arms.
A dog barks and I weep to be alive, a
cat studies me and my job is boundless.
I lie on the grass and boy-like, search the sky.
The clouds do not turn to angels, the winds
do not whisper of heaven or hell.

Perhaps I have no God – what does it matter?
I have beauty and joy and transcending loneliness,
I have the beginning of love – as beautiful as it
is feeble – as free as it is human.
I have the mountains that whisper secrets
held before men could speak,
I have the oceans that belches life on
the beach and caresses it in the sand,
I have a friend who smiles when he sees
me, who weeps when he hears my pain,
I have a future of wonder.
I have no past – the steps have disappeared
the wind has blown them away.

I stand in the Heavens and on earth, I
feel the breeze in my hair,
I can drink to the North Star and shout
on a bar stool,
I can feel the teeth of a hangover, the
joy of laziness,
The flush of my own rudeness, the surge of
my own ineptitude.
And I can know my own gentleness as well
my wonder, my nobility.
I sense the call of creation, I feel its
swelling in my hands.
I can lust and love, eat and drink, sleep
and rise,
But my easy God is gone – and in his stead
The mystery of loneliness and love!

– James Kavanaugh 

© poems Steven J. Nash Publishing

LATE BREAKING NEWS: London Book Fair Announces International Excellence Awards Winners

The London Book Fair 2016. Few minutes before opening. Olympia, London UK
The London Book Fair 2016. Few minutes before opening. Olympia, London UK

· French publisher Actes Sud wins Adult Trade Publisher
· Readings in Australia crowned Bookstore of the Year
· US and Chinese publishers lead the field with two awards each
· Sudan, Brazil, Poland and New Zealand also won awards

The winners of The London Book Fair International Excellence Awards, in association with The Publishers Association and sponsored by Hytex,  announced at a prestigious awards ceremony held on the first day of LBF.

French publisher Actes Sud took home The Bookseller Adult Trade Publisher Award and was commended for its “depth and breadth of publishing, second-to-none design and production values, and a ground-breaking list”. The judges also praised its imprint Sindbad “which champions writing from the Arabic and Muslim worlds”.

In a new category for 2016, The Bookstore of the Year Award went to Melbourne-based Readings for “its community outreach, support of Australian authors and its help for non-profit organisations working on literacy initiatives”.

The US had another successful year at the awards, with two wins overall. Words Without Borders won The Publishers Weekly Literary Translation Initiative Award with judges reflecting that “literature in the translation sector is flourishing with momentum, passion and innovation”. In The Global Rights 365 Literary Agent Award category, New-York-based The Barbara J. Zitwer Agency, who had previously been nominated for The Outstanding Contribution Award 2014, took the crown and was praised for “for the grace and persistence of her dealings”.

China had a fantastic night and was awarded two highly coveted prizes. The BookBrunch Children’s and Young Adult Trade Publisher Award was presented to Jieli Publishing House Co. Ltd because of “its broad and inclusive approach” and its catalogue reflecting “the best of both home grown and international authors and books”. Meanwhile, China also won the Market Focus Achievement Award as accepted by government owned CNPIEC (China National Publications Import & Export).

Jacks Thomas, Director, The London Book Fair, said: “The awards represent the very best the publishing industry has to offer across the globe, and we were delighted to see winners from countries as far afield as Sudan, France, Poland, New Zealand and Brazil. For me, meeting and celebrating these publishers’ hard work, dedication and talent is such a fundamental part of the Book Fair. It is these inspiring companies and people around the world who make publishing such a special industry, that I am privileged to work in.”

Earls Court Exhibition Centre from Warwick Road SW5, near to Kensington, Kensington And Chelsea, Great Britain. During the 2009 London Book Fair
Earls Court Exhibition Centre from Warwick Road SW5, near to Kensington, Kensington And Chelsea, Great Britain. During the 2009 London Book Fair

Stephen Lotinga, Chief Executive, The UK Publishers Association, said: “The International Excellence Awards provide an incredible opportunity to recognise achievements within the publishing industry globally. It showcases the wealth of cultural diversity driving the production of enriching works enjoyed by people worldwide. From France to New Zealand, from Sudan to China, the commitment and dedication demonstrated by the publishers has been none other than inspirational and it has been an honour to hear their stories and celebrate as part of the London Book Fair.”

The full list of this year’s International Excellence Awards winners is below:

· The Bookstore of the Year Award
o Readings (Australia)

· The Literary Festival Award
o Flupp (Brazil)

· The Publishers Weekly Literary Translation Initiative Award
o Words without Borders (US)
· The Knowledgespeak Academic and Professional Publisher Award
o Auckland University Press (New Zealand)
· The BookBrunch Children’s and Young Adult Trade Publisher Award
o Jieli Publishing House Co. Ltd (China)
· The Bookseller Adult Trade Publisher Award
o Actes Sud (France)
· The China Publishing & Media Journal Educational Learning Resources Award
o SuperMemo World sp. z o.o. (Poland)
· The Global Rights 365 Literary Agent Award
o The Barbara J. Zitwer Agency (US)

· The Education Initiatives Award
o United Nations – African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) (Sudan)
· The Market Focus Achievement Award
o Market Focus China (China)

· The Total Licensing IP Rights Across Media Award
o The Night Zookeeper (UK)

Also hosted on the night was a selection of awards held in association with The London Book Fair:

· The London Book Fair Simon Master Chairman’s Award
o Ernest Hecht

· The Quantum Publishing Innovation Award
o Reedsy

· The IPA Prix Voltaire 2016
o Raif Badawi (Saudi Arabia)

· The London Book Fair Trailblazer Awards
o George Burgess, Entrepreneur and Marketing Lead at Gojimo
o Clio Cornish, Executive Publisher at HarperCollins
o Nick Coveney, Head of Digital at Kings Road Publishing
o Ella Kahn, Co-Founder of DKW Literary Agency & Bryony Woods, Co-Founder of DKW Literary Agency

· The Association for Publishing Education Dissertation and Project Prizes
o Best Dissertation for a Postgraduate: Veronica Morgan, University College London
o Best Dissertation for an Undergraduate: Fiona Parker, Loughborough University (BA Publishing with English)
o Best Overall Project: Amy Ellis, Oxford Brookes University

· Accessible Books Consortium Award for Accessible Publishing: Initiative (Joint winner)
o Action on Disability Rights and Development (ADRAD) (Nepal)
o DK & the DK Braille Concept Development Team (UK)

· Accessible Books Consortium Award for Accessible Publishing: Publisher
o Elsevier B.V

· The London Book Fair Lifetime Achievement Award
o Gail, Baroness Rebuck, DBE, Chair of Penguin Random House, UK

The awards, which celebrate international excellence in the book industry, cover the whole scope of international publishing, including academic and scholarly publishing, children’s publishing, literary translation and digital innovation. In each award category the judging panel was made up of experts in that sector.

The awards were presented at The London Book Fair, London Olympia Conference Centre on Tuesday 12th April. The drinks reception was sponsored by UKTI.

Announcement courtesy of The London Book Fair; photo credits, 2016 (the first photograph) courtesy of Arielinson under CC BY-SA 4.0 license , 2009 (the second photograph) courtesy of R Sones under CC BY-SA 2.0 license