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2006 Spring

2006 Spring

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ALUM N I /AE CORNER
G e t i n t o uc h w i t h t h e A lu m n i /a e O f fi c e : s a r ah . h o o k e r@ g o dd a r d .e d u ; t ol l - fr e e , 8 6 6 - 6 1 4- A L U M S e n d a c l a s s n o te o r u p da t e yo u r ad d r e s s : a l u mn i n o te s @ g o d da r d . ed u ; w ww. g o d d a r d . e d u / a l u m n i / u p d a t e s. h t m l he Alumni/ae Corner is now a physical space—in the back corner of the Pratt Library—staffed by Alumni Director Sarah Hooker and A d vancement Coordinator Kim Ingraham. Please stop by whenever yo u ’re in the area! We have a new tollfree number: 1 - 8 6 6 - 6 1 4 - A L U M. Goddard held the first alumni/ae Fall Foliage Retreat from Sept. 28 to Oct. 1. In addition to special activities, such as eve n i n g movies and WGDR’s Chocolate Love r s ’ Contest and Silent A u c t i o n , the retreat featured area towns’ foliage events. Alumni/ae representing almost every decade and program returned to the campus for the first of our annual weekend homecomings. Attendees said the highlights for them were reconnecting with Goddard, making new friends from different eras and being back in Vermont. This ye a r ’s Fall Foliage Retreat, Oct. 6 to 8, will share the campus with the Tr a n s f o r m a t i ve Language Arts Conference, so register early! On Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, Goddard combined alumni/ae gatherings with recruitment meetings in Philadelphia and New Yo r k C i t y. After a session with prospective students, President Mark Schulman and Sarah Hooker met with local alums to talk about Goddard in 2005 and to answer questions. Some of the local alums made tentative plans to host follow-up activities.

T

Above, alums repaint the fence and sign at the Lucille Cerutti Memorial Garden during the Fall Foliage Retreat. From left: Emily Bandru (OFF ’00, IMA Current), Val Carnevale (MFAW ’96), Jill Washburn (IBA Current), Paul Hartung (GV 1982-83), Steven Adeyinka (RUP ’73), and Donna Turring (RUP ’68).

As part of Goddard’s governance document, the college has established councils to represent different constituencies. For example, each program elects a student council representative during its residency. Three alums have agreed to serve as the A l u m n i Council: Mark Prarie (PSY ’02), Christine Goldbeck (IBA ’ 0 3 , M FA I A ’05), and Maureen Dunphy (MFAW ’96).
Left, early arrivals at the Fall Foliage Festival have lunch in the library. Left to right, back row: Twink Lester (GV ’85 and GV ’87), Sarah Hooker (alumni director), Zoe Bowie (GGP ’79), John Haley (RUP ’74), Chip Taylor (RUP ’67), Allen Kleinman (RUP 1970-71); front row: Donna Turring (RUP ’68), Elissa Paskin (RUP/ADP ’75).

Alumni/ae Council

A L U M N I / A E S U RV E Y R E SU LT S
We sent out a questionnaire in May 2005, and within five months, 736 alumni/ae responded, representing about 10 percent of our graduates. The findings of the survey are scattered throughout this special section. Of those who responded, about 86 percent we r e graduates as compared to non-graduates. More lowresidency alumni/ae returned surveys than residential graduates. RUP graduates sent back the most for any single program—36 percent, followed by 18 percent for ADP, 12 percent for GGP and 10 percent for the MFA program. See page 17 for a key to the program acro n y m s .

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F R O M T HE PR E S I D E N T
MARK SCHULMAN

S

heila and I returned recently from Mississippi after a five day trip to join Goddard community members in the Katrina Pe o p l e - t o - People Project (P2P). You can read about the project at: f c . g o d d a r d . e d u / K a t r i n a U p d a t e /. As the project homepage tells it:

“I n lat e sum me r, soon a fte r Hurricane Katrina swept ashore, members of the Goddard community came together and organized the Pe o p l e - t o - People Project. Consistent with the c o l l e g e ’s historical commitment to social justice, community members committed to work side by side with citizens and community groups on the Gulf Coast. We understood that these communities were hurt, not merely by the storm’s p o werful winds and wa ves, but by longstanding environmental degradation, racism, hierarchy and pove r t y. “ O ver the past weeks, P2P members reached out to citizens and communities in order to find meaningful ways the college can support their efforts to reconstruct their live s and communities on a more just and sustainable basis. We t r a veled to conferences and communities and asked community members and leaders alike how and where we might best support them. “ We focused our efforts in Mississippi, which, like Louisiana, was hard hit by the storm but has received little attention or support. For example, approximately 20,000 Katrina evacuees were relocated to Hattiesburg, Miss.; many are scattered throughout the area, some are in FEMA trailer camps in neighboring small towns, others are looking for work and more permanent homes. Our attention wa s also drawn by Hattiesburg’s history of self-activity, most notably the efforts of the women and men who led the vo ting rights drives of the 1960s. Finally, we were encouraged by our discussions with local citizens and organizations that welcomed our efforts. As a result of these experiences, we decided to work primarily with Habitat for Humanity, a national group with a proven track record in Hattiesburg.” But these words cannot convey the realities of what we did and what we saw in Mississippi and New Orleans (click on the links from the P2P homepage to see what some project members have offered). For all of the thirty-plus Goddard folks who went south to work, to learn and (in a real sense with several different aspects) to witness, the experience

was overwhelming, transformative and intense. I’ll not try in this brief account to provide a full rendition of what Sheila and I saw, heard, smelled and felt. Suffice it to say we were deeply moved by working with our Goddard friends as well as local Hattiesburg volunteers in building a house, and we were disturbed by what we became aware of in Gulfport and New Orleans. We had seen the photos and TV images, but standing on a street on the Mississippi coast and seeing nothing but devastation in all directions, where before there had been a living communit y, was a completely different experience. That is in part what I mean by the “witness” comment: we know that there has been little done to rebuild in many a r e a s — we saw it and we talked with people about it. As p a r t of our commitment to social justice, Goddard needs to insist on just outcomes to the continuing crisis. Which we will do. This first phase of the Katrina P2P Project, with three work teams that have been to the Gulf Coast and returned

“We had seen the photos and TV images, but standing on a street on the Mississippi coast and seeing nothing but devastation in all directions, where before there had been a living community, was a completely different experience.”
to tell their stories, engaged us, people to people, so we could give and we could learn. The next phase will invo l ve not only our efforts to extend the gift of our labor and our compassion (working in Hattiesburg and other areas) but also our attempt to understand, deeply and radically (in the sense of “to the roots”), what this natural and unnatural disaster has meant, means and will mean. I want you to know how proud we should all be of our community-wide participation in this initiative: from the Board that funded it, through the volunteers who we n t south, to those who stayed behind and picked up the undone work of those who left. In doing what we could with grace, humility and passion, Goddard has shown what it is made of. In desiring to learn and to grow as a community through the lessons the people of the Gulf Coast teach us, Goddard will show what it can be.

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In Memoriam: Dick Hathaway

(1934-2005)

Far left: Dick Hathaway peers from the depths of his well-known stacks, c. 1978; middle, top: Dick with wife, Ruth Hathaway, c. 1990; middle, bottom: Dick at Vermont College, c. 1985; above: Dick speaking at Vermont College, c. 1985.

BY TOM ABSHER, ADP FACULTY 1968-1981

R

ichard Sewell, the literary scholar, spent 15 ye a r s researching the life of the poet Emily Dickinson. He read everything written by her and about her and i n t e r v i e wed scores of people related to those who knew her p e r s o n a l l y. At the end of his two - volume biography, he says, in effect, that the more he learned about her, the less he could fathom her—i.e., grasp her essence.

“In many ways, for me Dick was Shakespearean in character. He could be famously humorous, robust and as life affirming as Falstaff; then again, he could be as gentle and loving as Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
So it is for us regarding Dick Hathawa y, who had so many selves, so many dimensions, such a full and product i ve life. He was a teacher and an active, publishing scholar in American history, nineteenth century art and prints, peace studies and politics, among many other things. In addition, he was active in peace politics and philanthropy, he was a film buff, a lover of baseball, a collector of books, and he was devoted to his family. When I try to fathom his essence, words escape me.

I knew Dick for 37 years as a wonderful colleague and b e l o ved friend, and I found that his depths, complexities and many sides just seemed to continue to grow and unfold the longer I knew him. In many ways, for me he wa s Shakespearean in character. He could be famously humorous, robust and as life affirming as Falstaff; then again, he could be as gentle and loving as Bottom in A M i d s u m m e r Night’s Dre a m. R e m e m b e r, it was Bottom who was a we a ver by trade and, for the play within the play, wanted to play all the parts, including the wall and the lion. Moreove r, Dick could be as powerful, eloquent and forgiving as the magician Prospero in Shakespeare’s final play, The Te m p e s t. I especially like this parallel because, as we know, Prospero and his daughter Miranda lived on an island t o g e t h e r, and what saved them were Prospero’s books. Because he came to the island with his magic books, Prospero learned how to conjure earth and air spirits, such as Caliban and Ariel. Also, his books taught him the deepest magic of all, namely the magic of forgiveness, as Prospero eventually forgave all his enemies who had exiled him. Dick Hathaway was never exiled and, for all I know, had no enemies. But he is so identified in my mind with books and a soulful spirit of empathy and forgiveness, I feel his

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FA C U LT YN O T E S

continued from pg.39

Steven James, program director for the psychology and counseling program, has been elected to a second f i ve - year term as a trustee of the American Psychological Foundation. Daniel Alexander Jones ( M FA I A ) r e c e i ved a Rockefeller Multi-Arts Production Grant for his newest theater piece, Phoenix Fabrik, for Spring 2006 at Pillsbury House Theatre in Minneapolis. Phoenix Fabrik is a performance meditation on the legacies of violence we inherit and the forgiveness we practice. He is also working on the next chapter of his multipart solo performance piece, The Book of Daniel. L a i w a n ( M FA I A ) attended the Banff Centre for the A r t s ’ Sound & Vi s i o n Thematic Residency. She collaborated with Susie Ibarra (IBA ’95) and Lori Freedman. Laiwan shot footage with Susie and Lori in preparation for her installation for the Images Festiva l : Duet: Etudes for Solitudes, a critique of the isolating qualities of contemporary digital technologies. Last fall, while completing this installation and another titled S w a l l o w, Laiwan presented a paper at the Universities A r t Association of Canada Conference as part of a panel titled “Performance and Pe d a g o g y.” Music Works magazine will publish an interview with Laiwan and Lori Freedman on their collaboration in Quartet for the Year 4698 of 5760 (2000), a multimedia gallery installation.

Leslie Lee ( M FAW ) recently had two works optioned: a play, The Blues in a B roken To n g u e by the Negro Ensemble C o m p a n y, optioned by Pe m b e r t o n Productions, Inc., and a screenplay, The Ninth Wave, optioned in Los Angeles. His new work includes a screenplay about Billy Holiday, a play called After Sinatra and Sundown Names and Nightgone Things, about the early life of novelist Richard Wright, which will appear in the second volume of T h e o d o re Ward Prize Winning Plays (Columbia College Press). Jeanne Mackin (MFAW ) published a third volume of her mystery series and is now writing the concluding vo l u m e . She is working on an essay to accompany a photography exhibit in Ithaca— part of the Light in Winter arts festiva l — and is working with the Ithaca City of Asylum Wr i t e r ’s Sanctuary, a new group that supports and hosts writers from politically restrictive countries, such as Iraq and China. Nicola Morris’ ( M FAW ) book of essays based on her dissertation, “The Golem as Metaphor in Jewish American Literature,” has been accepted for publication. Rahna Reiko Rizzuto (MFAW ) i s revising her second book, H i roshima in the Morning, a metafictional memoir. She served as a judge for the 2004 Asian American Writers Wo r k s h o p Literary Awards and on the Literature Panel for the New York State Council for the A r t s .

Phillip Robertson (staff) presented an exhibition of his work, Wo o d c u t s , Monotypes and a Single Mezzotint, a t Studio Place Arts in Barre, Vt. Lise Weil (MFAW ), together with a team of Goddard students and alumnae, including Harriet Ellenberger, founding editor of Sinister Wi s d o m, published the second issue of Tr i v i a : Voices of Feminism. This online journal included articles by Deena Metzger, Louky Bersianik, Lee Maracle, and Goddard students Mercy Morganfield and Juliana Borrero. It is a relaunch of Trivia: A Journal of Ideas, which Lise founded 23 years ago, and features feminist writing in literary essays, experimental prose, poetry, translations and reviews, encouraging writers to take risks with language and form. w w w. t r i v i a vo i c e s . n e t Lo ri Wynters (MFA , H AS ), has opened Offerings From the Side Ya r d : A Space for Creative Renewal in the New York Hudson Va l l e y, with wo r kshops in transformative art practices, consciousness studies, holistic/vibrat ional he alt h pract ice and e xpl orations of spiritual life practices. Her c h a p t e r, “St or ies Fr om th e Insi de Out ,” was publis hed in A r t s , Education and Social Change. She wa s a presenter in January at the National E x p r e s s i ve The rapy A s s o c i a t i o n ’s 18t h a nnual con feren ce in St. Petersburg, Fla.

books, like those of Prospero, enlightened, enlivened, nourished and saved him. They were part of his magic, and his office of books was his magical island. And, as we know, he g a ve away his library many times ove r, so books were in some real way part of the currency of his love . Dick knew I collected children’s pop-up books—those books whose pages pop up into three dimensions when opened. Dear friend that he was, he would search for them in his travels and quests for his own library, and bring me examples whenever he found them. I recall his great delight in showing me the latest pop-up books he’d found, and

cherish the memory of the two of us, aging, life-long academics, taking time away—me from my Shakespeare studies, and Dick from his labor history—together pouring ove r the pop-up pages from Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. Each of us will no doubt have his or her own sense of this great human being. For me, this will stand as the alpha and omega of Dick Hathaway: this image of his friendship and his love of books, combined in his gentle, generous, loving nature. I miss him deeply, and my only consolation for his loss is that I was honored to know him for as long as I did.

student profile

JORDON BOSSE, Auburn, Maine BA Program in Individualized Studies
interview by Kelly Collar Jordon Bosse is just within reach of a bachelor’s degree, finishing his last semester in Goddard’s intensive residency BA program. With that degree in hand, he is eventually headed for a Ph.D. in psychology. Here are a few of his observations as his August graduation approaches, about the work he’s done so far, his senior study and the inspiration for his photography. I attended traditional college for a year and a half. The classroom setting wasn’t really for me, and I was very bored. It was also a challenge to make the classroom schedule and my work schedule fit together. Goddard has been my answer to all of those issues! It has been absolutely amazing. I have been able to study a variety of issues that I have been interested in, so it doesn’t usually feel like work. I feel like I have gotten so much more out of my education than I would have if I had stayed in traditional college. Much of the research that is currently available paints a bleak picture of what it is like to be a GLBTQ young person in this society: increased rates of suicide, substance use, homelessness, HIV and other STIs, violence and discrimination, My senior study is looking at the experiences of GLBTQ folks growing up in Maine. Most of the data that we have about queer youth comes from large, urban areas. While I think many queer youth face similar challenges, I wanted to see if and how the rural experience is different. I designed a survey for the project with the help of two groups of GLBTQ young people and will conduct interviews to supplement the survey data. When I have a camera in my hand, I enter my own little world. Photography has been a passion of mine since the first time I watched a print come to life in the chemical bath—that was in high school. Through some work in the spring of 2005, my photography evolved and became part of a spiritual practice as well. I’ve been addressing a variety of topics—art, addiction, scholarly personal narrative, GLBTQ [gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning] issues, trauma and recovery, and statistics are a few of the areas. Most of the work has somehow tied into psychology. I wanted to look, too, at the strengths of GLBTQ young people. What is it that they have either internally or in their schools, families and/or communities that allows many GLBTQ to not only survive but also thrive in the midst of all of these risks and challenges? What can we do better to increase the likelihood that more GLBTQ youth will be in the thriving category instead of becoming another statistic of risk? I created “Pieces of Me” a few semesters ago when I was studying art therapy. For me, the piece is about bringing together all of the different sides (or pieces) of me—how others see me (which depends on how they know me) and how I see myself (which may also depend on context at times)— and bringing those together in a way that really works for me . . . embracing the overlapping places, the perfect fit places and the gaps. [and] more likely to drop out of school.

“Pieces of Me,” by Jordon Bosse

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MUSIC MAN
an interview with Archie Shepp

(RUP ’59)

forefront of a musical era as a tenor saxophonist. Archie Shepp (yes, a published playwright but most notably a musician), has been called out as a key player in the “avant-garde” and “free” jazz music genres.
He has also been described as “perhaps E H R I C H : How did you start playing jazz? BY LUISA EHRICH the most articulate and disturbing member S H E P P : I don’t use the term “jazz.” I prefer to of the free generation.” In 1995, the New England call my music African American music, or black art music, Foundation for the Arts presented Archie with its or black classical music. As far as “jazz” is concerned, I A c h i e vement in Music award. think the word has evo l ved into a marketing concept. For Archie has worked with distinguished artists such as example, it could be a perfume, or cigarettes or the name on John Coltrane, Cecil Taylor and the New Yo r k a box of tissues with which to wipe one’s nose. Moreove r, Contemporary Five (with Don Cherry and John Tchicai). He the term is ambiguous. As a noun it tells us nothing about began his professional musical career in the early 1960s and the music itself nor its creation, the way we might expect continues to play, offering shows in the United States and from a term like “baroque,” or “neo-renaissance.” Some Europe. I interviewed Archie to find out more about his people are even embarrassed when black art is described in path in life. terms other than those with which they feel intellectually comfortable (a limited space indeed). In fact there are as LUISA EHRICH: How did you start playing sax? many definitions of black musical expression as there are ARCHIE SHEPP: I was born in the year 1937 in the town of Fort “experts” to assign it a meaning. Lauderdale. My father played the banjo. I was fascinated by Critics have bestowed a series of misnomers and misconboth the instrument and the music. When I was still quite ceptions on black music and its performers—one of these is young my dad taught me the first few bars of James Price the term “jazz,” which was originally spelled “jass” back in J o h n s o n ’s “The Charleston” (the song and the dance we r e the ’20s. Some scholars think this word derives from the quite popular during the ’20s and ’30s). French verb “jaser ” (to chatter or talk nonsense). Today we Blacks could neither use the beach nor any public facilare saddled with a host of existential-sounding one liners ities that were designated “whites only. ” There were no that purport to tell us what black music is or has become, hospitals in the immediate region that accepted blacks and from “funk” to “hip-hop.” In the ’60s the critics identified only one African American doctor. Schools were, of course, me as one of the kings of “free jazz.” How am I “freer ” than segregated. Thus, one can only imagine the powerful psyEarl Hines or Louis Armstrong? They lived in a different chological and emotional relief my parents must have felt epoch, and the challenges they faced were different. It’s a when they acquired enough money to leave Florida. A l a r g e recurring theme, the process of naming the black man’s number of Southern blacks migrated north during the wa r music, then claiming it. in search of a better future. My father was able to find a job at the Philadelphia naval yard, Sun Ship, and my mother, E H R I C H : So how did “jazz” come into being? through her own hard work and initiative, finished the S H E P P : In the book, They All Played Ragtime, the authors tell Apex Beauty School and became a hair dresser. They purus that the United States Marine Band sold a number of its chased an old upright piano, and at about the age of 10, I band and woodwind inventory to various pawn shops began to take piano lessons. At 12, I started the clarinet, and around the nation shortly after the end of the Spanishat the age of 15, my Grand Mama Rose helped me to purAmerican Wa r. Prior to this time blacks had been limited to chase my first saxophone. playing on home-made instruments, such as harmonica,

O ne might wonder how a Goddard theater major arrives at the

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The photography of Birgitta Ralston

Top: sisters, Stora Essingen, Sweden, 1978. Bottom, left to right: Stockholm University professor with her sister, 1982; three sisters from Freney-Voltaire, France, 1986; the teacher’s daughters, 1978.

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B

irgitta Ralston (GGP ’78) remembers the moment she heard the calling of what would become her life’s work. It was 1972—she was a t h i r t y-something mother of two, a former fashion model, full-t i m e p h otography student, Swedish immigrant to the United States—and she was strolling through the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
COLLAR
London and around the United States. “Two Sisters from Freney-Voltaire” (see page 10) wa s included in an exhibition and book, 150 Years of Children in P h o t o g r a p h y, alongside work from masters like Edouard Boubat, Julia Margaret Cameron and A n d r´ Kert´ s z . e e Each photo offers up a compelling story of the delicate relationship that exists between sisters: the closeness and separateness, dependence and riva l r y, love and ambiva l e n c e described in the introduction to her exhibition book, S i s t e r s. It is interesting to note that Birgitta, herself, has no sisters. She has said that her pictures are about “not being alone in your generation. I wanted to know what it was like to have a s i s t e r.” Indeed, when I mention during our conversation that I have four sisters, her enthusiasm noticeably quickens. N o w, more than three decades after beginning the project, and after recently donating the collection to the Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe College, she is still interested in sisters. “I can sit on a bus Photos: left, four gospel-singing and see two sisters—I don’t sisters, Dorchester, Mass.; h a ve a camera, I don’t need to right, Swedish sisters, 1973.

She came to a long corridor hung with BY KELLY “portrait after portrait after portrait” of the patriarchs of old New England families—Pe a b o d y, Coolidge and the like. She stood looking at one of the portraits, an image of the governor of Massachusetts, and she wo n d e r e d , “Does this man have a sister?” This innocent question sparked a fire in Birgitta—a desire to chronicle the lives of sisters as so many men’s live s h a d been chronicled. “It was as if nothing else existed for me,” she said. “I thought I would like to do a project good enough to hang on a museum’s wa l l s . ” I spoke with Birgitta by telephone to learn more about her work and, in particular, her passion for sisters. What began as a simple photograph of her daughter, Johanna, and two sisters from their neighborhood grew into a collection of 94 photographs taken over more than 30 years—images of sisters from as far away as France, India, Spain, Mexico and Sweden, and as close to home as Boston and Cambridge, where Birgitta lives today. Her work has been exhibited in Stockholm, Pa r i s ,

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Above, two sisters from Freney-Voltaire, France, 1976 (an earlier photo of two on pg. 8). Bottom, seven sisters from Madrid, Spain, 1975.

photograph them—but there is something in there, it speaks to me.” When I mention that her subjects appear to have not just a relationship between themselves, but also an affectionate relationship with her as the photographer, Birgitta draws on her experience as a model to explain. She modeled on and off for 12 years in her twenties and thirties, wo r k i n g with the Eileen Ford Agency for Martin Munkacsi, Richard Avedon, Erwin Blumenfield and other fashion luminaries in New York, Paris and Stockholm. “I wanted to break away from fashion—the artificial— and have more interaction,” she said. She worked hard on “ working naturally” with her subjects and they, as a result, are more relaxed and more “real.” Her time in front of the camera also introduced her to some outstanding photographers and, most interesting for Birgitta, photographers who printed the images themselve s . “They loved the darkroom work also,” she said. “They we r e not just shooting the pictures.” While she waited for her photo shoots to begin, she would watch the photographers set up their equipment. “I was soaking it up.” This interest led her to study photography at MIT in the early ’70s, under master photographer Minor White. A f t e r three years at MIT, she continued her education through

G o d d a r d ’s off-campus program and earned her m a s t e r ’s in 1978. Though she and her husband d r o ve to Plainfield when she initially registered for classes, this was her only time on campus, something she still regrets today. “I would have l o ved to live there,” she said. While she was working on her thesis, she set aside the sisters photos and focused instead on a series called “Masks,” a project that emerged as she was trying to describe the change from model to photographer. The photos depict women in va rious poses whose faces are hidden by masks. The images are housed today at the Museum of Modern Art in Sweden and in the collection of Bibliotech Nationale in Pa r i s . Birgitta later used her passion for photography to fulfill a childhood dream—to become a teacher. She has taught at the Rhode Island School of Design, D e C o r d o va Museum School, Tufts Unive r s i t y a n d the Showa University of To k yo ’s Boston branch. This semester, she is back teaching at Showa and plans to do workshops on organizing all the film and photos that people collect over a lifetime. After spending her own lifetime moving back and forth between the United States and locations abroad, Birgitta has come home to roost in Cambridge. On the day we spoke—an election day— she had just returned from voting for the first time as an American citizen. Though her ballot weighed in on local issues—the Cambridge school committee and school council— it had clearly made an impression on her and perhaps opened another chapter of what she describes as “a full life.” “I feel that it’s a new beginning for me,” she said. B i rgitta misses all of her classmates, “the best part” of her studies at Goddard. Contact her at Gitaralston@earthlink.net.

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washtub bass, Jew’s (juice) harp, kazoo, etc. Perhaps the instrument that enjoyed the most prevalence among early black songsters was the ubiquitous banjo, which according to Thomas Jefferson was transported from Africa by e n s l a ved blacks from West Africa. The violin was perhaps the favored European instrument. After the end of slavery in 1863, blacks began to purchase pianos, and these eventually became a symbol of affluence and mobility. As early as the nineteenth century, a handful of blacks had already distinguished themselves as exceptionally gifted artists, most notably the trumpeter and band leader Frank Butler, the gifted pianist Blind Tom Bethune and a noted opera singer known as The Black Patti. The guitar came along at the end of the nineteenth century and corresponded with the emergence of blues. By the dawn of the t wentieth century a few black songsmiths had begun to convert their spirituals, blues and work songs from vocal to instrumental performance. It is this transition which marks the beginnings of what is popularly termed “jazz” music today.

in Va r i e t y or Billboard announcing the availability of a role for one “male black actor ” might draw as many as a hundred applicants, some of them even women. It was these circumstances which motivated me to write plays that wo u l d not only provide roles for my own people but substantial roles that would tell their story. In 1964, my first play wa s produced off-Broadway under the title, Junebug Graduates To n i g h t ( we received a Rockefeller grant for $75,000).

E H R I C H : Where is your career focus now? S H E P P : Where it’s always been. I continue to write essays, plays and prose. My most urgent desire these days is to write a film script. I have some ideas that would combine music, dance and social commentary with the celluloid medium. Of course, this is not easy. The creative world is tightly closed and very incestuous. This is all compounded by the fact that the majority of white people in this country (and they are the majority) a r e n ’t seriously preoccupied by the opinions of their black constituents, neither their tortured history nor their anguished E H R I C H : Would you say yo u future. s t r i ve to educate your audience If, for example, we look at a through your music? What are film like A m i s t a d—the technical your social goals? brilliance of its construction, S H E P P : Musicians have alwa y s the high level of performances, been concerned with social and the pertinence of the subject political phenomena. This wa s matter—it is arguably as reletrue of Beethoven, Chopin, vant as a film like Gone With The S t r a v i n s k y, Max Roach, Mingus, Wi n d, and much better than E T. E l l i n g t o n —why not me? The same might be said of T h e I majored in theater while I Color Purple ( s e veral of the cast was at Goddard. At the time I should have at least been conwas a student, there were ve r y sidered for Oscars, including few opportunities to study m u s i c Danny Glove r, Oprah Wi n f r e y f o r m a l l y. Howe ve r, theater v i e d and Whoopi Goldberg), yet I’m as much for my time and interest certain that such an opinion as music during that period. In rests entirely with me, and fact, I majored in theater and t h a t ’s the “rub”—the quandary stagecraft under Professor that besets the black bard, as Joseph Rosenberg. Joe was a James Weldon Johnson so eloplaywright himself who had quently put it: graduated from the University of “That G od should make I o wa. Under his tutelage, I began Archie Shepp performing in Vesoul, France in 2002. a poet black to believe that I could write plays, And bid him sing.” t o o . I had dreams of combining stage images and themes of serious dramatic value with music and dance performance. H o we ver the real world of the professional theater (typeArchie Shepp’s interview has been abridged for publication, casting, racial profiling) bore little resemblance to the colordue to space limitations. Download the entire interview at: blind atmosphere I had known at Goddard’s Haybarn w w w. g o d d a r d . e d u / i m a g e s / p h o t o s / A r c h i e S h e p p I n t e r v i e w. p d f. Theatre. When I came to live in New York in 1959, there Luisa Ehrich, the former editor of C l o c k works, i s working on a we r e n ’t many roles for African American actors. In fact, work for Negro actors was so scarce that a simple ad posted master’s degree in documentary video at Emerson College in Boston.

C LO C K W O R KS W IN T ER / SP R IN G 2 0 0 6

11

AGAINST
ALL ODDS
The View from Tehran

G

oli Emami, translator and manager of Farzan Publishing in Tehran, tells me that she is not the vibrant 36-y e a r-old woman, “active and with everything she wished for in front of her,” that she was in 1978, when she tangoed to an Elton John tune with Professor G. Roy Levin, “which by sheer accident went perfectly well,” and received her low-residency ADP degree.

She is, she says, in many wa y s BY BONNIE BLADER (MFAW ‘97) study for Hughes. The Internet may broken-hearted, grieving the recent open the door, but it is to a dark room. death of her husband and soul mate, Karim Emami. Karim I mentioned Hughes and her gaffe to Goli. was a public figure in Iran, respected for his contributions to “I didn’t know you had sent an emissary to SA,” she publishing, editing, art and film criticism, translating and, wrote in reply. “Ha, that must have been quite a scene. Yo u most recently, lexicography. His expanded Pe r s i a n - E n g l i s h see, unfortunately, your people, having everything a human dictionary will be published posthumously this ye a r. being needs at their disposal, don’t care to learn about other Goli suffers still the aftershocks of the 1978 Islamic people. They’re not to blame; they don’t need other people.” R e volution in Iran, a revolution she refers to as “deva s t a t i n g ” Goli suggested that Western politicians are content with rather than momentous, a word I cautiously chose from the too little information. “In order to learn about country X, Wikipedia as I prepared my questions. Since 1978, her story they ask an assistant to find valuable facts. And he or she is always of beginning again, of stitching remnants to make does, but these are superficial facts,” she wrote. “They have what cloth she can. no roots in the very complicated history, culture and tradiI interviewed Goli by e-mail, wary of how little I know of tions of X. We go back 2,500 years—dynasties, rulers, dictalife in Iran across the wide political and cultural rifts that tors, wars, victories, you name it. We never have known the separate us. It is easy to press “send” and speak as if we are meaning of freedom the way you know it. Your politicians simply two women conversing, but sit and decide freedom and democracy are best for the peoto see the world as she sees it is ple X. Being ignorant of how to apply that to country X, the t r i c k y. Bush administration emisresult is nothing but disaster. A p i t y. The word that means sary Karen Hughes proved this in more to me perhaps is ‘independence.’” Saudi Arabia, when she offered up Assessing Goli’s life after the revolution in Iran, it is easy the ability to drive to Saudi wo m e n to see why independent is the status she’d seek. Describing as a potential marker for their freeherself as “apolitical” when her first U.S. trips brought her dom. Her elite audience of Saudi to Plainfield, she found the changes the Islamic revo l u t i o n professional women and students challenged the equation that driving Pictured above: Tehran’s Meidan-e Enghelab (Revolution Square); left: Goli Emami at her office in Tehran, August 2005. equals freedom and suggested further

12

C LO C KW O R KS W IN T ER / S P RIN G 2 0 0 6

The Navab residential district of Tehran.

wrought “mind-numbing” to the educated middle class in Iran. “The change was too drastic, too huge, too unfamiliar to bear or comprehend.” She remembers crying all through her Goddard graduation, “as if I knew the disaster that wa s expecting me.” And although Goddard taught her to believe that “human relations know no boundaries and no politics,” she and her husband were soon purged from their jobs, although later the government would turn to him when they needed someone to render the text of a speech to be g i ven by their president at the United Nations. “No wo n d e r so many yielded to depression,” Goli remembers. She is convinced that those who survived “managed to stand up on their feet and prove that education and intelligence pay off no matter what the circumstances.” After their initial “knock out,” Goli and her husband b o r r o wed money from family to begin a small publishing house that flourished briefly and then borrowed again for Zamineh, a book shop that became not a financial success but an international meeting place and cultural center. “We had customers all over the world,” she says. No longer associated with Zamineh and the early publishing enterprise, Goli has worked for two years to save Farzan Publishing—which specializes in the humanities— from bankruptcy. Occasionally, perhaps twice a ye a r, she is able to turn to her first love—translating. Goli has translated more than 18 titles. She began 35 years ago with child r e n ’s books but moved on to adult literature. Although she finds it “shameful” that Iran doesn’t abide by international copyright conventions, she, as a result, is left at some liberty to pick books in any language to translate to Farsi. “I think the books I and others have translated have opened a larger vista for the people, have enriched their l i ves and opened doors to different cultures.” And definitel y, she notes, translations help teach young and inexperienced writers how to write. Goli is not free to pick books that have graphic sex scenes, “or even mildly graphic.”

Translations cannot refer to wo m e n ’s body parts or be disrespectful to Islam. She objects vigorously to those translators who meet these criteria by adulterating the books they translate. “They modify scenes or delete them altogether.” One popular writer for women in Iran, Goli notes, as we discuss her love for Jane Austen, (she translated Brian S o u t h a m ’s Jane Austen to Farsi), is Sylvia Plath. “I have not yet come up with a convincing reason. Most of her poetry— her journals—have been translated.” Goli’s 30-ye a r- o l d translation of The Bell Jar was reprinted last month. “Unfortunately some parts of it had be to modified to my serious objections,” but her publisher wanted it in the marketplace rather than forgotten. Although Goli cannot translate exactly what her life is in “the crazy megalopolis” that is Tehran—with its traffic, pollution, post-revolution “ugly” high-rises and snow-capped mountains that settle her nerves as she sifts piles of books and manuscripts on a desk made colorful by book cove r designs—she can say what she wishes our two peoples understood of each other. “Iran is an old country with 2,500 years of written history behind it. It could be a Describing herself as mature and experienced friend. The U.S., with its “apolitical” when her and technolfirst U. S. trips brought youth, vigorsubstitute for o g y, could her to Plainfield, she what we lack.” An “oldfound the changes the fashioned pacifist,” Goli cannot comprehend the Islamic revo l u t i o n o r-oriented politics wrought “mind-numbing” “ t e r rhave surrounded our that to the educated middle world.” She believes in a u t o n o m y, independence class in Iran. and friendship and regrets that they seem so u n a c h i e vable presently. She does her best to reach across borders and was granted a visa in De ce m be r t o v i si t Washington, D.C. as the guest of the Woodrow Wilson Center. On Dec. 13, she spoke about a wo m e n ’s cultural center founded and run by vo l u nteers in Tehran. It has a library, offers workshops and is an a c t i ve wo m e n ’s study center. “ E verything is done by women and not a penny from any organization. It’s an amazing place.” And a secular one. E ven as she explains the purpose of her talk, Goli asks me not to disclose much about it. She traveled twice to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates to secure the visa, once to apply and again to have it stamped into her passport. Perhaps it is no surprise that the talk was entitled, “Against All Odds.”

Goli would love to hear from anyone who remembers her time (tango and tears) at Goddard: goli.emami@gmail.com.

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