Monthly Archives: November 2013

William Hazlitt Prize news, new Orion post

I’m very pleased to tell you that my essay, “The Art of Waiting,” was a runner-up in the inaugural William Hazlitt Prize, sponsored by Notting Hill Editions, which honors the best essays written in English. Canadian author, academic, and politician Michael Ignatieff was the winner, with his outstanding “Raphael Lemkin and Genocide,” first published in the New Republic. The other runners-up are “Politics 2013” by JT Barbarese, “Light Entertainment” by Andrew O’Hagan, “The Empathy Exams” by fellow Graywolfer Leslie Jamison (her debut essay collection of the same name comes out next year), and “The Shadow of the Scroll: Reconstructing Islam’s Origins” by Sameer Rahim. It’s an honor to be in their company, and I hope you’ll consider ordering the handsome book (pictured above) that will include all of our essays.

For more on William Hazlitt, check out this page from Quotidiana, which includes a brief bio and a good selection of his work. I highly recommend “On Going a Journey,” relevant reading in the face of iPhones, social media, etc. etc.

Also: my students and I have a new post on Orion‘s blog.



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Recent Photos







From top: Halloween on River Road / sleeping Julius / sleeping Loretta / felted wool puppy by Sophie / me / clover

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Views from Above

Aerial photo of a former tobacco farm in Cerro Gordo, NC

Aerial photo of a former tobacco farm in Cerro Gordo, NC.

About two years ago, at a Creative Capital retreat sponsored by our state’s Arts Council, I met Ken Abbott, an Asheville-based photographer who has been doing incredible work with low elevation aerial photography (LEAP). Using a tethered balloon and a digital camera, Ken photographs landscapes that are sometimes beautiful, sometimes ravaged by development (including mountaintop removal). He’s even gotten himself into trouble (almost) documenting supermax prisons from above.

Ken and I had the idea to collaborate on a project with students, and with generous support from the North Carolina Arts Council, the North Carolina Humanities Council (and wonderful Indiegogo contributors!) brought our pilot program, “Views from Above,” to West Columbus High School in rural eastern North Carolina. For two weeks, we worked with students to do both land and aerial work–photographing using the LEAP system, evaluating and arranging images, and doing landscape work and interviews in two small towns. With plenty of student help, I’m blogging about the work on Orion‘s website for the next few weeks; check out our first post here.

Ken, by the way, will publish his first book next year with GFT. I saw the collected photographs while we were in Columbus County and can’t wait to get a copy.

P.S. Orion is accepting submissions November 1-15!

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