Dream to Change the World Project's blog

Bookman Project update

The Bookman project has been steadily taking shape since October last year. I've spent most Wednesdays at the GPI reading the archives of John La Rose, learning lots, and thinking about the local and global significance of New Beacon’s publishing work. The archivists and volunteers have been a huge help in navigating the exciting new collection, which consists of around 900 files, some containing over 100 letters, plus a recent addition of 204 manuscripts.

Pedro Perez Sarduy

I haven't had much time to catalogue of late but yesterday I delved into a slim file of correspondence and ephemera relating to the Cuban poet, writer and journalist, Pedro Perez Sarduy. It was good to practice my Spanish! A card and 2 short letters sent to John La Rose in the 1980s covered a lot of ground, including the U.S.

S. Anai Kelueljang- Poetry and Imprisonment

The file I covered this week on the Sudanese poet, Sirr Anai Kelueljang, contained a mixed set of correspondence relating to the publication of his collection, The Myth of Freedom, in 1985 by New Beacon Books. In a letter dated 12 Oct 1982, John La Rose praised his work for its “impressive directness and forthrightness” and went on to comment that “The rhythms, at times, read with an interesting awkwardness. I suspect they work from sounds in Dinka language mythology and experience".

Shake Keane

Today I finished cataloguing a file on the prize-winning poet and jazz musician Ellsworth McGranahan ‘Shake’ Keane , the correspondence of which surrounded the distribution by New Beacon Books of The Volcano Suite (1979), a collection of poems by Keane. Whilst detailing book deliveries and invoices, the letters also offer a touching insight into Keane’s troubled state of mind and those concerned about him.

Angela Davis at the Keskidee Centre

I recently digitised a cassette of Angela Davis speaking at the Keskidee Centre on 10th December 1974, which had no other information written on it. I've been listening to it today and it really conveys something that a written transcript of the event wouldn't capture - the intimacy of the event in spite of the large number of people who attended; the atmosphere - children crying and complaining - in fact one of the biggest rounds of applause is given to a woman who asks her child to shut up because the child is whining whilst Angela Davis is speaking!

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