Halloween in the Hudson Valley

This weekend I made it to the Great Jack-o-Lantern Blaze at Van Cortlandt Manor on Croton-on-Hudson. If you haven’t been before, you should definitely check it out. The folks at Historic Hudson Valley do a great job every year.

There are over 4,000 hand-carved pumpkins that line the walkways, porches, and gardens of Van Cortlandt Manor. Besides the traditional jack-o-lantern faces, there are dinosaurs, insects, a honey hive, pirates, an undersea aquarium, and even a pyramid made of pumpkins. And, of course there are hot apple cider and baked treats to accompany your walk.

This year, the Blaze runs until November 7th, but if you’re not lucky enough to see the blaze on a clear night and a full moon, here are a few titles that might get you in the Halloween spirit.

Scare Tactics by Jeffrey Weinstock explores the tradition of supernatural writing by American women.

The women of the time repeatedly used Gothic conventions to express discontentment with circumscribed roles for women and to imagine alternative possibilities.

Paying attention to these overlooked authors—Josephine Dodge Bacon, Alice Brown, Emma Frances Dawson, and Harriet Prescott Spofford—helps us better understand not only the literary marketplace of their time, but also more familiar American Gothicists from Edgar Allan Poe to Shirley Jackson to Stephen King.

The staff is also excited about another title rooted in the supernatural—Better Off Dead: The Evolution of the Zombie as Post-Human, edited by Deborah Christie, and Sarah Juliet Lauro.

The authors investigate the zombie from an interdisciplinary perspective, providing the reader with a classic overview of the zombie’s folkloric and cinematic history.

Christie and Lauro seek to provide an archaeology of the zombie—tracing its lineage from Haiti, mapping its various cultural transformations, and suggesting the post-humanist direction in which the zombie is ultimately heading.

Katie Sweeney

This weekend I made it to the Great Jack-o-Lantern Blaze at Van Cortlandt Manor on Croton-on-Hudson. If you haven’t been before, you should definitely check it out. The folks at Historic Hudson Valley do a great job every year. There … Full Story

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Poets of the Italian Diaspora Bilingual Reading on Thursday, Oct. 28 at Cornelia St. Cafe

Thursday,  October 28th – 6:00pm

Cornelia Street Cafe
29 Cornelia St
New York, NY 10014

Luigi Bonaffini and Gil Fagiani, hosts:

Poets of the Italian Diaspora: from Latin America to Australia
A bilingual reading (Italian-English)

FROM THE FORTHCOMING ANTHOLOGY:

POETS OF THE ITALIAN DIASPORA: A Bilingual Anthology
(Fordham University Press)

Readers will include: Emelise Aleandri, Luigi Bonaffini, Peter Carravetta, Gaetano Cipolla, Gil Fagiani, Luigi Fontanella, Irene Marchigiani, Fiorentina Russo, Michael Palma, and Joseph Perricone.

For more information

Thursday,  October 28th – 6:00pm Cornelia Street Cafe 29 Cornelia St New York, NY 10014 Luigi Bonaffini and Gil Fagiani, hosts: Poets of the Italian Diaspora: from Latin America to Australia A bilingual reading (Italian-English) FROM THE FORTHCOMING ANTHOLOGY: POETS … Full Story

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Booklist Review for BOB DRINAN

Bob Drinan: The Controversial Life of the First Catholic Priest Elected to Congress by Raymond A. Schroth is coming out next month.  Here is an *Advanced Review* just in from Booklist:

Pioneering the path of priest-as-politician during a turbulent era on the modern American political and social landscape, Father Robert F. Drinan, S.J., was elected as a U.S. representative from Massachusetts in 1970. Serving in Congress for 10 years, he managed to stir up controversy on both sides of the aisle and among both Catholics and non-Catholics. An uncompromising social advocate, he vehemently opposed the Vietnam War, vocally called for the impeachment of Richard Nixon, and, perhaps most startling of all for a Catholic priest of his era, supported abortion rights on legal, rather than moral or spiritual, grounds. Whether one agrees or disagrees with his political views, stances, or methods, there is no doubt that the late Drinan was a dedicated priest and a tireless advocate for the socially disenfranchised. Written by a friend and fellow Jesuit, this intriguing portrait in courage provides an intimate glimpse into the heart and soul of a deeply textured spiritual and political groundbreaker. —Margaret Flanagan

Available November 2010
Read more about the complex and fascinating Bob Drinan.

Bob Drinan: The Controversial Life of the First Catholic Priest Elected to Congress by Raymond A. Schroth is coming out next month.  Here is an *Advanced Review* just in from Booklist: Pioneering the path of priest-as-politician during a turbulent era … Full Story

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Apple Picking in the Hudson Valley

A few weekends ago, I managed to catch the beginning of apple-picking season. I hopped in my car with a friend and drove up the Taconic to Miller Hill Road and wound down around the trees until we reached Fishkill Farms. It was a hot sunny day that didn’t feel like fall, but it was early enough to pick Macintosh apples. The small wiry trees seemed a lot closer to the ground than I remembered. We were able to pick a sack full of apples in record time, snatching apples from heavy branches, walking up and down the perfect rows.  It’s sad when climbing trees becomes optional.

Then we wandered over to the farm store and got my favorite—warm apple-cider donuts. There was a small porch at the back of the store that looked out on the dusty orchards. Everything was very green, but I still wished for the cooler weather, for a drive when all of the leaves change. The Taconic is my favorite highway to drive in the fall. It’s not a boring interstate that runs straight across the country intersecting with other major highways at 90 degree angles for the most economical trip. The Taconic rolls through the land. It’s made for a wanderer. I found a brief history here. If you get a chance to drive it, I recommend crossing the bridge over the Croton Reservoir on a clear day.

But, if you can’t make it up the Taconic this fall, you can see the imagination of the Hudson Valley captured in historic postcards from River of Dreams by George Lankevich or explore the history of another beautiful parkway, the Bronx River Parkway in Westchester: The American Suburb by Roger Panetta.

Katie Sweeney

A few weekends ago, I managed to catch the beginning of apple-picking season. I hopped in my car with a friend and drove up the Taconic to Miller Hill Road and wound down around the trees until we reached Fishkill … Full Story

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