By Mary Ellen Hannibal It’s kind of paradoxical, but sometimes when I really need to escape into fiction it isn’t the beach read or the legal thriller that really does it for me but something mandarin, puzzling, interior, a work that you must give yourself to in order to sit with it at all.  In […]

Be Yourself, By Yourself

By Mary Ellen Hannibal Travel writing is one of literature’s great categories, opening up the world to readers through distinct sensibilities, delivering a time and a place along the trajectory of lived experience. Jeff Greenwald has been at this art for quite some years and many readers probably know his frequent journalism contributions to probably […]

Virtual Polyvocality! Put that in your smoke and pipe it.

By Mary Ellen Hannibal Like all art forms, including history and science, poetry is ultimately a long conversation.  Current practitioners take on inherited formats, respond to them, answer them, contradict them, and so on, usually. As we are singular in so many ways, it is fitting that Bay Area host one of the most vital […]

The Great American (Blank)

By Mary Ellen Hannibal Some books you love and read again and you kind of wish you hadn’t.  For years I put The Good Soldier, by Ford Maddox Ford, in my top five of all time favorites; reading it again fairly recently, I don’t know what on earth I ever saw in it. This is […]

Gather Ye Rosebuds

By Mary Ellen Hannibal The word “anthology” is from the Greek for “gathering of flowers,” and the poetry collections many of us were plied with in high school were indeed like bouquets of full-on blossoms.  The Place That Inhabits Us:  Poems of the San Francisco Bay Watershed is an anthology, yes, but it’s more like […]

Stalking the Badass

By Mary Ellen Hannibal Wolverine, apparently, love the scent of women’s hair.  Doug Chadwick’s wife stayed calm, cool and collected as wolverine raised in captivity hungrily sniffed her scalp – this kind of thing must be in the job description that comes with partnering with a National Geographic writer. Chadwick’s book, The Wolverine Way, is […]

Green Warriors

By Mary Ellen Hannibal Making an ecological difference:  it’s what we all need to be doing.   In Eco Barons, Pulitizer Prize-winning journalist Edward Humes profiles a set of maverick individuals who are walking their talk. Some, like Doug Tompkins of Esprit fame, use their personal fortunes to buy critical pieces of land.  Others, like Kieran […]

Fit as a Fiddle

By Mary Ellen Hannibal We all know, and envy them; now, thanks to Gene Stone’s new book, The Secrets of People Who Never Get Sick, we can emulate them. MEH: Your book includes some time-honored strategies for staying well, including a killer recipe for chicken soup. You also have some outliers, like picking your nose […]

Man of Letters

By Mary Ellen Hannibal Dean Rader’s day job is teaching at USF; the kaleidoscopic purview of his interests and accomplishments move far beyond the academy.  Dean’s first book of poetry, Works & Days, won the 2010 T.S. Eliot Poetry Prize. MEH: How did you become a poet, and how do you stay one while working […]

Women on the Edge

By Mary Ellen Hannibal To many of us, Tibet means the Dalai Lama, perhaps by way of Richard Gere.  Slipping along with our cultural assumptions, we have completely missed what Canyon Sam has carefully culled in Sky Train:  Tibetan Women on the Edge of History. Not only are the stories of Tibetan women more than […]