Richard Frost makes it easy for us to enter his poems, but what happens next is typically unexpected, sometimes demanding, sometimes delightful, but consistently offering his readers the gift of appreciative surprise.
From Milltown to Malltown explores Homestead, one of the most distinctive and ethnically diverse working-class communities in the Pittsburgh region. It examines Homestead’s contemporary transformation from a dying steel town to a place that now hosts an enormous shopping complex replete with the nation’s most popular chain stores. This sprawling center of commerce sits literally on the other side of the railroad tracks from the old Homestead, where more than a third of the people live below the poverty line, where “Mom and Pop” stores, in some cases immigrant businesses that have been around for a century, struggle to stay open in the shadow of the chains. This is a deeply relevant landscape at this time, interesting in its own right, but also emblematic of what’s happening to communities across America.
About the Authors, Jim Daniels with Jane McCafferty and Charlee Brodsky
Jim Daniels is the author of twelve books of poems, including, most recently, Having a Little Talk with Capital P Poetry. In addition, he has published three collections of short fiction, edited or co-edited four anthologies, and written two produced screenplays. His awards include the Brit¬tingham Prize for Poetry, the Blue Lynx Poetry Prize, two fellowships from the National Endow¬ment for the Arts, and two from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. His poems have appeared in the Pushcart Prize and Best American Poetry anthologies. Street, his previous book with Char¬lee Brodsky, wont the Tillie Olsen Prize. He is the Thomas Stockman Baker Professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University.
Jane McCafferty is the author of three books of fiction. Her first book of stories, Director of the World, won the Drue Heinz award. Her second book, One Heart, is a novel published by HarperCollins, as is her third book, a collection of stories entitled Thank You For The Music. She has been awarded an NEA, two pushcart prizes, and six of her stories have been listed in Best American Short Stories. She has been the writer for Charlee Brodsky’s photography shows “Faces” and “Seasons”. McCafferty has also published essays, stories and poems in various journals, and is currently at work on another novel. She is an associate professor of writing at Carnegie Mellon
Charlee Brodsky, a documentary photographer and a professor of photography at Carnegie Mellon University, describes her work as dealing with social issues and beauty. Bellevue Liter¬ary Press published her book on mental illness titled I Thought I Could Fly… Portraits of Anguish, Compulsion, and Despair. Her book, Street, with writer Jim Daniels, was awarded the Tillie Olsen Prize by the Working Class Studies Association. “Knowing Stephanie,” a book about a woman’s life with breast cancer featuring her photographs, was selected for the American Association of University Presses’ outstanding books of 2004 exhibition. In addition, Brodsky received a regional Emmy with three others for her work on “Stephanie”, a documentary video.
"In Milltown to Malltown, poets Jim Daniels and Jane McCafferty team up with photographer Charlee Brodsky to create work of exponential force in much the same way their subjects: the steel mill era ghosts of Homestead, PA confront the gleaming demons of its mall-ified present. The result is a provocative and haunting portrait of working class America in decline and the scars we bear in the name of progress. Disturbing, elegiac, and at times, wickedly wry, the chemistry between Brodsky¹s bleak, beautifully spare photos and the poets¹ renegade imaginations jolts us in the way art must." - Dorianne Laux
"PITTSBURGH—A new book of poetry and photography by Carnegie Mellon University professors Jim Daniels, Jane McCafferty and Charlee Brodsky explores the transformation of Homestead, Pa., and its neighboring Steel Valley communities, from the once thriving steel-producing capital of the world to an area divided. "From Milltown to Malltown" combines poems by Daniels and McCafferty with Brodksy's photos to tell the story of the bordering towns of Homestead, West Homestead and Munhall, where on one side of the railroad tracks is a popular commercialized shopping destination, and on the other side communities struggling to survive.
"The key to this project is the work of Charlee Brodsky — she's been photographing Homestead for a long time and really brings the community to life in her pictures," said Daniels, the Thomas Stockham Baker Professor of English and accomplished poet, author and screenwriter. "As a writer, I'm always looking for tension and contrast, and her photos always seem to pull me in, inspire me to reflect on the emotion they generate."
McCafferty, an associate professor of English, agrees. "Charlee introduced me to how interesting the relationship of words and images can be. Every picture tells not just one story, but an almost infinite number of stories, depending on who's looking," she said.
Homestead, home of Carnegie Steel in the 1800s and U.S. Steel in the 1900s, was the site of the famous strike in 1892 when iron and steel workers fought for better wages. Today, 12 smokestacks from the mill — situated between a movie theater and a restaurant — are some of the few remnants of Homestead's steel industry past. "Working with writers Jim Daniels and Jane McCafferty is a gift," said Brodsky, professor of photography in the School of Design. "Jim and Jane's poems are an elegy to Homestead. What the three of us want to do in our book is to respectfully represent the town of Homestead as it is now by telling stories that are true to the place. We hope that we have done that." Famed American poet Dorianne Laux called the book "a provocative and haunting portrait of working class America in decline and the scars we bear in the name of progress."
Published by Marick Press, "From Milltown to Malltown" contains 37 poems and 37 photos. Daniels, McCafferty and Brodsky will be available to discuss their work and sign copies of the book at 4:30 p.m., Monday, Nov. 1 at the Carnegie Mellon University Bookstore.
For more information, visit http://www.marickpress.com/index.php?/milltown-jim-daniels or watch a video of Daniels reading select poems from the book at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0nh1RjmbYY." - Steel Valley Matters
David Young is the author of ten collections of poetry, most recently Black Lab, and of Seasoning: A Poet’s Year. He has translated a wide range of poets, including Rilke, Eich, Petrarch, Montale, Holub, Du Fu, Du Mu, and Basho. This collection is the third of a group of three collections by Celan that he has undertaken to present in their entirety, the first two being From Threshold to Threshold, based on Von Schwelle zu Schwelle, and Language Behind Bars, based on Sprachgitter.
Todd Swift, born 1966, is a widely-known British-Canadian poet, editor, critic and anthologist. He has published eight previous full-length poetry collections, and edited or co-edited numerous international anthologies of note. His poems have appeared in leading publications, including Poetry, Poetry Review, Poetry London, and The Guardian. He is Director of Eyewear Publishing, and has been a teacher of creative writing at various British universities. He holds a PhD in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of East Anglia. He was Oxfam Great Britain’s Poet-in-residence in 2004. He is married and lives in England.
Richard Frost was born in 1929 in Redwood City, California. He was educated in the Redwood City public schools and at San José State University. In 1956, while teaching at San José State and finishing an MA, he met the poet William Stafford and they began a lifelong friendship. The next year Frost, with his wife and son and daughter, moved to Towson, Maryland, where he taught for two years at Towson State University. In 1959 he accepted a position in English at the State University College in Oneonta, New York. Frost’s poems have appeared in such journals at The Georgia Review, The Gettysburg Review, Harper’s Magazine, Kenyon Review, Massachusetts Review, New England Review, North American Review, Paris Review, Poetry, Sewanee Review, and TriQuarterly.
About the Author Kjell Espmark (b. 1930) is a poet, novelist, and literary historian. He is also former professor in Comparative Literature at the University of Stockholm. Since 1981 he is a member of the Swedish Academy, and since 1988 a member also of its Nobel Committee (chairman 1988-2004). He has been awarded a considerable number of prizes, including the Bellman Prize (for poetry) and the Schück Prize (for literary criticism). Latest awards: The Great Prize of De Nio (“The Nine”) and The Tranströmer Prize. He is an officer of L’Ordre de Mérite.
Robin Fulton Macpherson is a Scottish poet and translator. Recent poets translated include Norwegian Olav Hauge (Anvil Press Poetry, London, 2003) and Swedes Tomas Tranströmer (New Directions, N.Y. 2006) and Harry Martinson (from Bloodaxe). A bilingual selection of his own poems, translated and published by Margitt Lehbert, appeared in 2008.
Sept24The Poets’ Follies Reading Series, sponsored by Marick Press and The Oakland University Writing Center, will feature the poetry of David Young, Todd Swift and Jason Storms at 6:30PM. The reading will be followed by a question and answer session. Wednesday September 24, 2014 6:30PM, Room 212, Kresge Library at Oakland University Rochester, MI 48309 - For more info...