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Archive for February, 2010


Sunday, February 28th, 2010

Update March 11th 2010

sebastian cecilia pinera © Yahoo News/AFP Photo

Sworn in: new Chilean President Sebastian Pinera with wife Cecilia Morel accompanied by his wife Cecilia Morel and Lower House Congresswoman Carolina Fuenzalida at the end of the inauguration ceremony in Valparaiso.


gabrielamistral Courtesy photo

The poetry of Gabriela Mistral — one of Chile’s great 20th century poets, the first Latin American awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature — was also translated by Langston Hughes

Hay besos que calcinan y que hieren,
hay besos que arrebatan los sentidos,
hay besos misteriosos que han dejado
mil sueños errantes y perdidos.

Hay besos problemáticos que encierran
una clave que nadie ha descifrado,
hay besos que engendran la tragedia
cuantas rosas en broche han deshojado.

from the poem Besos (Kisses)
© Literary estate of Lucila de María del Perpetuo Socorro Godoy Alcayaga

Some kisses scorch and hurt,
Some kisses enrapture,
Some kisses are mysterious and have left
A thousand dreams wandering and lost.

Some kisses are troublesome and contain
A code nobody has cracked,
Some kisses breed tragedy
As they pull off countless rosebuds.

Anonymous translation



Photo © Sebastian Martínez/Associated Press

‘State of Catastrophe’ After Chile Quake | New York Times, 28 February 2010

Read the full story


Button-Play-32x32 President Obama expresses sympathy and pledges support for Chile

Photo © Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images North America


U.S. President Barack Obama (R) talks with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet during a photo op after a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office at the White House June 23, 2009 in Washington, DC.

Button-Play-32x32 CNN Updates, including Chilean President Michelle Bachelet’s ‘state of catastrophe’ declaration

Button-Play-32x32 Chilean broadcaster Pamela Rodríguez reports from Santiago on Russian TV

Youtube-icon Chilean quake has knocked Earth three inches off her axis, shortening our day by millionths of a second

bernamapix Photo © REUTERS/Pilar Olivares
An earthquake survivor plays soccer next to the tent where he is living with his family five days after a massive earthquake and ensuing tsunami caused widespread destruction in Dichato March 4, 2010.  (Story by Terry Wade and Fabian Cambero ~ Maylasian National News Agency, 5 March 2010)

Earthquake exposes social chasm in Chile (Rafael Azul, World Socialist Website, 8 March 2010)

Chile’s infrastructure after the quake (Pamela Morales, Santiago Times, 3 March 2010)

Chilean newspapers at

chile map La historia de terremotos en chile


Blogs, posts, and updates at Alternet

Updates and relief efforts at The Cleanest Line




woodcut new england quake

Olde New England Towne

Read Reverend Peter Bulkeley’s cautionary poem about the 1653 New England earthquake, plus other quake poems at Dark Sky Magazine


chilean devastation
Candida Pedersen 120 Courtesy photo

Cándida Pedersen:

Chile sufre el dolor del terremoto

Este poema está compuesto
con lágrimas de angustia y desesperación,
mis ojos lloran, mi corazón está triste y solo,
porque mi país sufre el dolor
más grande que pisa la tierra.

En enero fue Haití, ahora Chile,
donde el terremoto no tuvo piedad
por los niños ni las mujeres,
quitándole la vida a más de 700 personas
dejando a más de dos millones
de familias sin hogar.

Mañana tal vez le toque a otro país hermano
que viva el pánico con la impotencia de querer vivir
y no poder hacer nada contra este fenómeno.

Ayer en Estocolomo se reunían
miles de chilenos y latinamericanos
pidiendo ayuda para Haití,
pero la tempestad del dolor
atravesó las fronteras
y atacó la gente más pobre de mi país.

Chile es un poema de amor y calor,
pero hoy el arte de la poesía
se viste con tormenta de tristeza
escribiendo el lamento que azota
al pueblo chileno.

Mi alma pide la colaboración de todos los poetas,
extendiendo este mensaje
de solidaridad y hermandad
para todo el mundo,
tratando de unirnos en la agonía
que invade a mi país
que ha sido víctima
por una terrible catástrofe natural,
impidiéndonos el camino a la felicidad,
pero mi luz de esperanza´
aún está encendida
para estrechar lazos de bondad
y ayudar a mi país Chile.

© 2010 Cándida Pedersen
Courtesy of

chile flag

at InfoPlease (All the Knowledge You Need)

Situated south of Peru and west of Bolivia and Argentina, Chile fills a narrow 2,880-mi (4,506 km) strip between the Andes and the Pacific. One-third of Chile is covered by the towering ranges of the Andes. In the north is the driest place on Earth, the Atacama Desert, and in the center is a 700-mile-long (1,127 km) thickly populated valley with most of Chile’s arable land … Click to continue



Friday, February 26th, 2010


“I can’t help but wonder whether the genuine sophistication of Miss Teal Joy went right over the heads of the people listening to records in the late 1950s and early 60s—whether rock n roll blew her kind of music out of the water.”


Courtesy graphic


People often drift in and out of your life. This is even more the case for performers. Sometimes you hear a song sung so beautifully by someone whose name you don’t know—and not even the incredible resources of the internet can tell you what it was. Sometimes you hear of someone who, for whatever reason, you missed when you were younger—someone perhaps who left few traces behind but who now fascinates.

A friend of mine asked me, “Have you ever heard of Teal Joy?” I hadn’t. Since he had an extra copy of her first LP, Ted Steele Presents Miss Teal Joy, he sent it to me. I thought it was astonishing. It had been released in 1958 on Bethlehem Records. Teal Joy made a second LP, Mood in Mink on the Seeco label, a few years later, in the early 60s. Not, I think, through any fault of hers, it was less astonishing.

“Instead, she seems to have disappeared.


I don’t even know whether she is still alive.”

Ted Steele was a composer, arranger, performer and orchestra leader who appeared extensively on radio and television during the late 40s and 50s. He hosted The Chesterfield Supper Club on radio and Cavalcade of Bands on television, and he worked with artists such as Perry Como and Frank Sinatra.  About Teal Joy, Steele writes, “I have never been so positive of greatness as I am now”:

“New superlatives must be found to describe the talent and versatility of Miss Teal Joy…This young lady was singing in the Bamboo Club in Atlantic City, practically on the doorstep of the recording center of the world and virtually unnoticed, when I happened in. Now I am so grateful that I was the one to come along and be completely stunned by her immeasurable talent and taste…Teal Joy is a rarity in that she has the emotional and technical ‘feel’ for every kind of music, as demonstrated in the variety of songs chosen for this album. Born in Seattle, Washington, Teal is of Japanese, French, and Peruvian descent, which I am sure imparts to her interpretation of these songs much of the rich emotional color and understanding, delicacy, and mystery of many cultures…Because of her amazing versatility I felt that we needed three distinctly different sounds to showcase Teal properly. Three different orchestras, comprised of the outstanding names in the music world, were called in to do this album.” Steele gleefully quotes a remark made “by a normally unconcerned engineer” who worked on recording Teal Joy: “This album will bring back music.”

Steele’s prose seems hyperbolic until you have listened to the LP, at which point you tend to agree with him. The LP is tremendously exciting and tremendously varied. Joy sings in Japanese, Yiddish, Italian, French, and Spanish as well as in English. Her version, in Italian (the original language) of “Come Back to Sorrento” is one of the highlights of the LP. Others include “Misirlou” (Yiddish) and “El Cumbanchero” (Spanish). She sings “’Deed I Do” in English and then, surprisingly, in Japanese. When she sings in English, her intonations sometimes remind you of Billie Holiday (Joy covers Holiday’s hit of the 1940s, “That Old Devil Called Love”), but at other moments she recalls Eartha Kitt and, surprisingly, Edith Piaf. (Joy has a big voice.)

In the liner notes to her second and, presumably, last LP, Mood in Mink, Les Keats writes that Miss Teal Joy was “a much played album…made a few years back.” One suspects that Mood in Mink was a much less played album. All of the songs here are in English, and many of pianist Jack Quigley’s arrangements don’t so much complement Joy’s voice as they compete with it. The songs are good, and the voice is certainly still there, but Quigley’s first attempt at arranging-conducting is not a success. Joy is at times treated like the “girl singer” in a big band; the music is the main point and she is only a momentary diversion in the overall effect. If the music—jazz-based—were better, the album would have been better. But alas, it isn’t, and the LP is neither a good showcase for Joy nor a good showcase for Quigley’s music. Though certainly a bit dated, Ted Steele’s arrangements for Miss Teal Joy managed to give us a good sense of her extraordinary range and versatility—and of the emotional subtlety she gave to her renditions. Sadly, most of that is gone from Mood in Mink. Her singing is fine and there is some subtlety in it, but the total effect is disappointing.

Perhaps that’s why no one these days has heard of Teal Joy. I don’t know. I don’t know why Ted Steele had nothing to do with that second album or why she changed labels. The woman with what Steele called “the greatest new voice in the last decade” did not go on to become a star. Instead, she seems to have disappeared. I don’t even know whether she is still alive. Or what she did after that second album—if she did anything at all. Perhaps she went back to Seattle and settled into an ordinary life, far away from the music business. Perhaps she married someone and stopped singing. I can’t help but wonder whether the genuine sophistication of Miss Teal Joy went right over the heads of the people listening to records in the late 1950s and early 60s—whether rock n roll blew her kind of music out of the water. (One can imagine Elvis Presley singing one of the songs she sings on Miss Teal Joy: Paul Gayten’s “For You My Love”—a great R&B hit from 1949.) Whatever momentum she had gained with the first album seems to have been pretty much stopped by the second.

And yet, here she is still singing with great joy, verve, and expressiveness on this remarkable first LP—available, with a little difficulty, from sources on the internet. Whatever the events of her subsequent life, the aliveness of her spirit still pours forth from these ancient grooves.

This link will get you two songs by Teal Joy:


— Jack Foley

© 2010 by Jack Foley


slat Slatbacks: Gloria Miller Allen


Check out the author’s column
Foley’s Books
at The Alsop Review


BLACK NATURE: A Symposium on the First Anthology of Nature Writing by African American Poets ~ UC Berkeley, March 4-5, 2010

Thursday, February 25th, 2010


berkeley envron inst banner


Click image to browse or buy Black Nature

Read the Mercury News review of Black Nature
Read an updated press release about this symposium

Black Nature:

A Symposium on the First Anthology of Nature Writing by African American Poets

March 4th and 5th 2010

To RSVP, click here, then scroll down

The Alphonse Berber Gallery
Maude Fife Room in Wheeler Hall
Lipman Room in Barrows Hall

A two-day event at the UC Berkeley campus will celebrate the publication of the first-ever anthology of nature writing by African American poets.  The volume, entitled Black Nature, was published by the University of Georgia Press in December 2009. The editor of the anthology is the poet, Prof. Camille Dungy, of San Francisco State University. This publication of Black Nature is a significant event in American letters. The natural world has a long history as a topic in American literature, but all previous discussion of nature writing has focused on the work of white authors. Nature writing, as a literary category, has continued to exist as a white category; the tables of contents of national and regional anthologies bear this out. Black Nature, which includes the work of 93 writers, reaches back as far as Phillis Wheatley, and it extends through the modernist examples of Gwendolyn Brooks and Robert Hayden to the contemporary avant-garde work of Clarence Major and Harryette Mullen. Panelists are contributors to Black Nature — including the writers Harryette Mullen, Ed Roberson, Evie Shockley, Natasha Tretheway, and Al Young — who will read from their work and participate in public discussions on the literary and environmental issues raised by the new anthology.

Thursday, March 4
12:10pm – 12:50 pm
~ “Lunch Poems”
Location: The Alphonse Berber Gallery
2546 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, CA
Speaker: Prof. Natasha Trethewey, Emory University

7 pm ~ Poetry Readings
The Alphonse Berber Gallery 2546 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, CA
Poet Panelists:
Mr. Ed Roberson, poet
Prof. Natasha Trethewey, Emory University
Al Young, California poet laureate emeritus

Friday, March 5
2 pm – 4:30  pm ~ Black Nature Symposium
Location: The Lipman Room, 8th Floor Barrows Hall
UC Berkeley campus
Hosts: Prof. C.S. Giscombe, UC Berkeley; Prof. Robert Hass, UC Berkeley; Prof. Camille Dungy, SFSU;
Discussion Panelists:
Prof. Carolyn Finney, UC Berkeley; Prof. Harryette Mullen, UCLA; Mr. Ed Roberson, poet; Prof. Carl Phillips, Washington University; Prof. Evie Shockley, Rutgers University; Al Young, California poet laureate emeritus

5 pm – 6 pm ~ Hospitality Reception:
Wine and Cheese
Black Nature
anthologies available for purchase and autograph

7 pm ~ Evening Poetry Readings
Location: The Maude Fife Room, Wheeler Hall, UC Berkeley
Poet Panelists: Prof. Harryette Mullen, UCLA Prof. Evie Shockley, Rutgers University Prof. Carl Phillips, Washington University

Click here for more information on guest speakers and panelists

The Black Nature Events have been generously underwritten, in part, by
the Lipman Family Foundation and
the Townsend Center for the Humanities.
Sponsored by:
The Berkeley Institute of the Environment

The UC Berkeley Department of English

San Francisco State University



Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010


crew enola gay

Crew of the Enola Gay, the U.S. plane that carried the nuclear bomb unloaded on Hiroshima, Japan, August 6, 1945

hiroshima Courtesy photos

Click here or click image to view horrific, historic footage


An Exclusive

kimeyes Kim Palchikoff

Reno, Nevada
August 10, 2003

There was no funeral for my father Nikolay Sergeevich Palchikoff when he died at the age of 79 in a VA hospital in August 2003, fifty-eight years after America dropped an atomic bomb on his hometown of Hiroshima.

There was no obituary in the local newspaper, the Reno Gazette-Journal, no memorial service in a candle-lit room with speeches and poems about a man whose life and unique history had affected thousands around the globe.  No relatives and friends showed up at our house with food and words about what a good man he was and other things people are supposed to say when someone dies.

There was just a silence.

Like the two hundred and some thousands of Japanese who perished in the atomic blast on August 6, 1945, at 8:15 a.m., and the moments, hours, months and years that followed, his cancer-ridden body was simply gone, reduced to ashes within hours of his death. The only tangible acknowledgment of his absence was the dozens of sympathy cards that began arriving at the house days later and then a toneless message on the answering machine from a man at the morgue: “Nikolay’s remains are ready to be picked up.”

The ashes came in a small wooden box, paid for by the VA.  It was the least expensive one available from the mortuary, a cheap thank-you present from the American government for his twelve years of volunteer military service, three of which were spent fighting during World War Two.  A folded up piece of paper accompanied the box, allowing the ashes to be transported. It looked like his death certificate, except for the color, which was pink. Name: Nikolay S. Palchikoff. Birthdate: June 10, 1924. Birthplace:  Hiroshima, Japan. Citizenship: American.

Back in 1943, when he was a young, 19-year old newly naturalized American citizen, marching off to the South Pacific in his GI uniform, Nikolay, or Nick, as he was called, perhaps dreamed of a red, white and blue military funeral if he should die in combat, a coffin covered by an over-sized American flag, the twenty-one gun salute, and a speech with words such as “honor,” “glory” and “duty.”

But by the time he died, he wanted nothing of the sort. He had long since left the military, in 1955, to become an anti-nuclear activist instead. He let the buzz on his head grow into a ponytail. He began gathering signatures for a petition he sent to the United Nations Committee on Disarmament, calling for the complete abolition of all nuclear weapons.  Over the years he gathered more than 100,000, if you counted Cesar Chávez, who signed on behalf of the entire United Farm Workers union.

The U.S. government, in turn, had long since reneged on the one benefit for WWII veterans he really cared about: free medical care for as long as he lived. In lieu of paying for costly cancer treatments, Washington offered him a booby prize: a free military burial or cremation, whichever he wished.
But when the end of his life came near, he told my mother he didn’t care what kind of ceremony, if any, she had after he was gone. That was up to her. He just didn’t want to be buried.  And he didn’t want his ashes scattered in America. Even in death he could not forgive what President Truman had done to his Japanese friends decades before.

He had a favorite place in Mexico where he liked to go and fish, a tiny village called Puertocitos, situated on the Sea of Cortez, where over the years he would go and forget about his nightmares of the atom bomb.
And it was there he wished to rest in peace.

February 2010

I grew up under the watchful eyes of three Russian icons that survived the atom bomb in Hiroshima. They originally belonged to my stepfather’s family who were quietly eating breakfast when the Enola Gay flew over their town in 1945, turning most of it into dust within minutes.

To everyone’s surprise, the icons, like the Palchikoff family, survived the nuclear holocaust unscathed. My stepfather Nick was somewhere in the South Pacific at the time when he heard about a strange bomb that had destroyed Hiroshima, his hometown. He wasn’t there because some missionaries had taken him to California five years earlier to finish his education. His knowledge of Japanese language and Slavic ethnicity landed him a job with the U.S. Army Intelligence during the war, and so he learned of the A-bomb while trying to crack Japanese radio codes.

About a month after the tragic August events, Nick went searching for his parents and siblings, becoming the first American soldier to see the city in its post A-bomb state. Miraculously, his family had survived and eventually joined Nick, who returned to California, taking the icons with them.

Somehow the icons wound up on our dining room wall, silently observing the world around them. No one knew much about them, what Russian city they had come from, or in what century they were painted. One was even enclosed in glass. All we knew was that they had once belonged to the Palchikoff family in Czarist Russia and now they were in our house in San Diego.

As a teenager in the 1980’s, I listened patiently to Nick’s stories, eating my vegetables, staring at these unique portraits of Mary and Jesus that had survived both the Russian Revolution and the first atom bomb. I often wondered if radiation were seeping out of the wooden frames and if one day I would die of cancer.

With the icons in view, Nick held court nightly, presiding over dinnertime conversations that usually involved him talking and us listening. He talked about everything — from his idyllic childhood spent swimming in Hiroshima’s rivers to flaming tirades blaming the American scientists for the monster they had created. Ironically, he hated religion with a passion, often referring to it as the “opiate of the masses.” He called himself a devout atheist. Still, he was proud of his icons and when visitors came for dinner, he showed them these relics with pride. To him they were more than a piece of his childhood; they were memories of the wars and continents that had changed his family’s life. Like his family, they were survivors.

One of his favorite childhood tales involved watching his father worship those icons daily in Hiroshima, lighting candles, praying for the return of monarchy and the Russian Empire. As Nick got older and left for America, the Japanese government advised foreigners living in Hiroshima to leave Japan as WWII loomed. Instead of packing bags, his family asked God what to do. His father, I was told, carefully wrote out the words “da” and “nyet” on pieces of paper, and put them in his hat. One of the words would decide their fate. God that day apparently wanted them to stay and they did, until his family saw a flash of light one August morning and their lives changed forever.

Nick was a complex man and frequently emotional, sometimes crying as he told his tales. He was bitter about the bombing of Hiroshima, never really getting over it, not just the death of his childhood friends, but the sheer wrongness of it all. Why not drop the bomb on an uninhabited island? he often asked rhetorically. Why drop it at all?

Other nights he talked about the day he got off the train and walked into Hiroshima, in search of his family, looking amongst the rubble. He often mixed in his anecdotes with his life’s lessons. “It’s OK to admit you’re wrong,” he’d often say, waiting for the year America would finally apologize to Japan for what they did. Sometimes he’d talk so much my mother would reach over and turn him “off,” which meant she stuck her index finger into his belly-button, a sign for him to let it go for a while. She got tired of the bomb talk.

Once in a while he took his icons to the elementary school where my mother worked, showing children a piece of Hiroshima and to talk about the need for peace. The icons were his past, his connection to a 19th century Russia he had never known. More importantly, they were something left over from the bombing that he could show the world. He asked the children to close their eyes, and imagine their entire city leveled, their parents dead, all their friends, pets, everything gone. He brought it down to their level, asking them to think about a time when they had gotten into a fight and ways they could solve the problem without violence.

After Nick died in 2003, my mother tried to see if the icons were worth anything, thinking she might sell them. But no one really seemed to know much about pricing something so historical so she let them hang where they were.

I got a phone call months ago from a curator at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. They were doing research on the lives of Russians who were living in Hiroshima when the bomb dropped. They wanted to know what had happened to Nick and his family. He was gone, I said. His sister, who survived the bomb, was the only family member still alive. I hope one day the icons make the journey back to Hiroshima. They belong in that museum, surrounded by other artifacts of the city’s nuclear history. I would be sad to see them go; they were an intricate part of my childhood and Nick’s life. But they remind me that Hiroshima belongs to us all.

Fluent in English and Russian, freelance writer Kim Palchikoff lives in Reno, Nevada. Visit her website:

© 2010 by Kim Palchikoff


AYIBOBO! AMEN FOR HAITI ~ Poetry Reading and Benefit ~ Sunday, February 28, 2010 ~ Glide Memorial Church, 330 Ellis Street, San Francisco

Friday, February 19th, 2010


Haiti updates at

flagofhaitihaitiflag haiti

Haiti Flyersm

Glide Memorial United Methodist Church

Glide Mem Church

Neighborhood: Civic Center/Tenderloin
330 Ellis Street
(at Taylor St)
San Francisco, CA 94102

Sunday, 28th February, 1:30 pm.
All proceeds benefit Médecins sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders)

Sponsored by Friends of the San Francisco Public Library,
Revolutionary Poets Brigade,
and the San Francisco International Film Festival


Friday, February 26, you’re invited to dance in San Francisco for relief for Ayiti


KUNST-STOFF arts, san francisco