April is National Poetry Month

For the month of April, the Rentschler Library blog will be featuring some of the great poetry books added in the last year. You should also know that the library is co-sponsoring a poetry reading event, on April 20th 11:30-1:00 at Wilks Conference Center with the Department of Literatures, Languages, and Writing. You can come read your favorite published poem. Refreshments will be provided.

Our first poetry book featured is a collection by Adrienne Rich, “Collected Poems: 1950-2012,” published by W.W. Norton in 2016.
A writer for Dissent called Rich the “most socially sensual and politically radical American poet of the 20th century.”*

One of the poems in this new collection, “What Kind of Times are These,” was also featured on the Poetry Foundation website recently.  A reviewer in Library Journal said the poem “starts with a granular, personal observation” and “unfolds into complex maps of wider awareness and realization.” **

What Kind of Times Are These”  Adrienne Rich

“There’s a place between two stands of trees where the grass grows uphill
and the old revolutionary road breaks off into shadows
near a meeting-house abandoned by the persecuted
who disappeared into those shadows.

I’ve walked there picking mushrooms at the edge of dread, but don’t be fooled
this isn’t a Russian poem, this is not somewhere else but here,
our country moving closer to its own truth and dread,
its own ways of making people disappear.

I won’t tell you where the place is, the dark mesh of the woods
meeting the unmarked strip of light—
ghost-ridden crossroads, leafmold paradise:
I know already who wants to buy it, sell it, make it disappear.

And I won’t tell you where it is, so why do I tell you
anything? Because you still listen, because in times like these
to have you listen at all, it’s necessary
to talk about trees.”

*Haas, Lidija. 2016. “The World of Adrienne Rich.” Dissent (00123846) 63, no. 4: 18-23.
** Muratori, Fred. 2016. “Collected Poems: 1950-2012.” Library Journal 141, no. 9: 82.

Get research help!

Besides the start of tree pollen season, sneezing season, and warmer temps, it’s also time to start digging in to your research. Annotated bibliographies are soon due, then final papers or projects. Don’t wait until the last minute! Contact the librarians at Rentschler Library to get help. We can suggest research strategies or help you track down that one elusive fact that will help you make the grade.

Library Hours during Spring Break

March 18-19 (Sat. & Sun.) CLOSED
March 20-24 (Mon. to Fri.) – 8:00 AM – 5:00PM
March 25-26 (Sat. & Sun.) CLOSED

Fake News panel session at MUH Downtown

Fake news graphicThe phrase “fake news” has been in the news a lot before and after the 2016 election. What does the phrase mean? What are its implications for our democratic form of government and the mainstream media? Come find out a panel presentation this Thursday, March 16th, 6PM at the MUH Downtown Center.

The panel features Assistant Professor of Political Science, Dr. John Forren, Assistant Professor of Communication Dr. Leland G. Spencer, and Cox News’s Politics Reporter Michael D. Pitman.  Our moderator will be Sarah Woiteshek Pietzuch, Director of Civic Engagement at Miami Hamilton. There will be time for Q&A from attendees, and light refreshments will be served. The session is sponsored by Rentschler Library, the Center for Civic Engagement and the MUH Downtown Center.

 

Women’s History Month – Grace Hopper

hopperFor Women’s History Month, the blog is highlighting Grace Hopper, a groundbreaking computer scientist, mathematician, and an officer in the U.S. Navy. Our most recent book on Hopper is “Grace Hopper and the Invention of the Information Age,” by Kurt Beyer (MIT Press, 2012.  She is listed in “American Women Scientists: 23 inspiring biographies, 1900-2000,” by Moira Davison Reynolds. Here are some quick facts:

 

  • Earned a Ph.D in Mathematics from Yale University in 1934.
  • While working in private industry, she helped create the first “compiler” for computer languages (a compiler renders worded instructions into code that can be read by computers). This compiler was the basis for the later development of COBOL, a computer language used widely in the business world.
  • First woman to win the National Medal of Technology (1991)
  • When she retired as a rear admiral from U.S. Navy at age 79, she was at that time the oldest serving officer.
  • First woman of any nationality (and the first American) ever named as Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society
  • Posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016 by Pres. Barack Obama for her accomplishments in the field of computer science.

 

Madame C.J. Walker

Madame C.J. Walker driving automobile

Madame C.J. Walker (in the driver’s seat at  left) was an entrepreneur, philanthropist and social activist who became the first black woman millionaire in the United States. She made her fortune selling hair care products for women. She was born Sarah Breedlove to Louisiana sharecroppers in 1867. She was widowed by age 20 and went to work as a laundress in St. Louis, MO. After starting to lose her hair in 1905, she develped a product that helped with her condition and went on to create a whole system of hair treatment products specifically geared towards black women’s hair. She lived extravagantly, and her Manhattan townhouse would later become a meeting place for artists of the Harlem Renaissance. She also gave extravagantly to charities like the NAACP, black YMCA, and funded scholarships for women to the Tuskeegee Institute. She is ranked #85 of the 100 Most Influential Women of All Time: a Ranking Past and Present.

book cover of On Her Own Ground

One of the biographies of Madame C.J. Walker available is On her own ground : the life and times of Madam C.J. Walker by A’Lelia Bundles, New York: Scribner, 2001.

Another more recent biography is “Her Dream of Dreams: the Rise and Triumph of Madame C.J. Walker, by Beverly Lowry, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2003.

Abolitionist icon Frederick Douglass

book cover imageIt is difficult to overstate the impact Frederick Douglass had on the abolition movement in the 19th Century. He escaped slavery, fled to New York City and became a major figure in the movement. Rentschler Library has both of his famous books. His first, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself, is a “testament to the evils of slavery, detailing its dehumanizing nature and its attempt to crush one’s spirit.” (Notable Black Americans, 1998). His second autobiography, My Bondage and my Freedom, “revises key portions of his original 1845 Narrative and extends the story of his life to include his experiences as a traveling lecturer in the United States as well as England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.” (Documenting the American South)

The book jacket above is a biography of Douglass, edited by L. Diane Barnes,  using selected speeches and writings. One reviewer said it is a “well-collocated set of materials from across Douglass’s life” and provides “an approachable and meaningful introduction to the man and his ideas.”