A Passion for Paddling
A look at Associate Professor of English Michael Burke's new book, The Same River Twice: A Boatman's Journey Home.
By Stephen Collins '74
Published October 12, 2006 | Issue: Fall 2006
%perrybook%right%Confluence: Merrymeeting Bay
Franklin Burroughs; Heather Perry "93, photography
Tilbury House Publishers (2006)
The bay where Maine"s Kennebec and Androscoggin rivers merge with four smaller rivers is explored in prose and pictures by two artists with an extraordinary sense of this remarkable place. Perry"s specialty is startlingly beautiful photographs of marine and freshwater scenes and creatures. From a fisheye view of migrating alewives to a soaring bald eagle, her photographs are entrancing.
The Rhetoric of Conspiracy in Ancient Athens
Joseph Roisman (classics)
The University of California Press (2006)
Roisman"s latest book traces the historical context of conspiracy charges as presented by the Attic orators of Classical Athens. Invaluable sources on Athenian history, the orators filled their speeches with allegations about every facet of Athenian life. Charges ranged from murder plots to mismanagement of foreign affairs. By investigating the prevalence of the charges and what it suggests, Roisman sheds light on a little-explored aspect of Athenian discourse.
Conservative Comebacks to Liberal Lies
Gregg Jackson "90
JAJ Publishing (2006)
Co-host of Pundit Review Radio, a conservative talk show on Boston"s WRKO, Jackson takes an alphabetical approach to rebutting what he says are fallacies perpetuated by liberals. From abortion to Democrats (Jackson tells readers why "they"re usually wrong about everything—) to "zealot terrorists,— the book is a partisan guide for conservatives looking to have the last word.
Carolina Kroon "88
Photo New York exhibition (October 2006)
In an exhibit that showcases photographs of New York City sites and abstract images, Kroon captures glimpses of seen and unseen parts of New York life. A photographer and media and literacy teacher, she has published extensively in the United States and Europe. Recently her solo show, Eastern Time, was featured at the Wall Space gallery in Seattle.
Nick Childs "90
The Los Angeles International Short Film Festival (2006)
In this 15-minute film, Childs tells the story of a man who discovers his neighbor digging a hole in the middle of the night. The man soon learns that, in this particular small town, some secrets are better left buried. Directed, written, and produced by Childs, The Shovel has won multiple awards, including Best Narrative Short at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival. In September it screened at the Los Angeles International Short Film Festival, a venue known to feature eventual Oscar nominees.
Associate Professor of English Michael Burke's passions"rivers, family, environmental literature"mingle and merge like the braided channels of a boreal river in his new book, The Same River Twice: A Boatman's Journey Home
Writing about a wilderness river-rafting trip can be riskier than the sport itself. Out in the bush with only one companion (a virtual stranger, in Burke's case), the dangers of self-analysis, adrenaline-stoked descriptions of rapids, or maudlin reveries about nature wait like sharp rocks in a steep chute.
But Burke successfully navigates these dangerous literary waters, and his device"juxtaposing his own descent of the Stikine River in British Columbia with historical accounts of a distant relative, Sid Barrington, the "Champion Swift-Water Pilot of the North" during the Gold Rush a century before"gives the story a historical anchor and a personal quest. In addition, by drawing from more than three decades of his own river-guiding career, Burke leavens the book with poignant, sometimes outrageous tales of river running. "Guiding," he writes, " is part performance, part sport, part bacchanal, part Thoreau, part Twain"and nothing is much like it."
Burke's knowledge of environmental literature, a topic he teaches, also informs this story: "The adventure narratives of the 18th and 19th centuries took place on the sea, from Defoe to Melville to Dana to Conrad to Stevenson; except for Huckleberry Finn
and Heart of Darkness
, the river hasn't been a setting for equivalent adventures. That isn't the fault of the rivers, but of writers who haven't figured out what messages rivers bring, what metaphors and symbols they provide."
Burke's nonfiction, about rivers and other places, has appeared in Outside
, The New York Times
, Down East
, and Colby
, among other publications. He will read from The Same River Twice
(University of Arizona Press, October 2006) on campus February 20"this year's Edwin J. Kenney Memorial Nonfiction Reading.