News from the Village: Aegean Friends

Overview

In his twenties, an American manual laborer and poet found himself living with his beautiful wife in a village in southern Greece.  Their first encounter with that country would prove an unrecoverable dream of intimate magic, but through decades of steadfast affection, poet David Mason grew to a deeper understanding of what it means to be a citizen of one’s own country and a citizen of the world.  News from the Village is a lyrical memoir of Aegean friends, including such figures as Orhan Pamuk, Bruce ...

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News from the Village: Aegean Friends

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Overview

In his twenties, an American manual laborer and poet found himself living with his beautiful wife in a village in southern Greece.  Their first encounter with that country would prove an unrecoverable dream of intimate magic, but through decades of steadfast affection, poet David Mason grew to a deeper understanding of what it means to be a citizen of one’s own country and a citizen of the world.  News from the Village is a lyrical memoir of Aegean friends, including such figures as Orhan Pamuk, Bruce Chatwin, Katerina Anghelaki-Rooke, Yiorgos Chouliaras, and Patrick Leigh Fermor, each of whom comes fully alive, along with a brilliant cast of lesser-known characters.  Fearing he has lost Greece and everything it has meant in his life, Mason goes back again and again to the country he knew as a young man.  He encounters Turkey and Greece together in the shadow of 9-11, follows the lives of his friends, whose trials sometimes surpass his own, and brings them all together in the circle of this generous narrative.  Ultimately, Mason’s memoir is about what we can hold and what slips away, what sustains us all through our griefs and disappointments.  This book is richly evocative and rare.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Falling in love and riding out the consequences is one of the essential experiences of growing up.  This is the story of a youthful romance with Greece that matures into a deeper love and understanding of a complex and conflicted country and its neighbors.   It begins in an Eden-like year of sun, sea, wine, love and gardening in a sleepy village, the slow and childlike naming of things in a strange tongue.  Mason combines the strengths of a poet and a novelist, describing the wild beauties of the landscape and village life circumscribed by tradition.  The locals call Mason and his young bride ta paidiá, “the children,” and we slowly discover the snake in the heart of this paradise is not temptation, but willful innocence.  Returning to Greece sixteen years after this idyll, Mason realizes he must confront shifting politics, village tensions, family tragedy, and history with blood on its hands before he can love Greece as she is rather than as he would have her be.  Along the way, he introduces us to a rich cast of writers and ex-pats, shepherds and urbanites—and travels that stretch from the Rockies to the Bosphorus—the journey of a lifetime.”                                            

                                                                                    —AE Stallings

“Vivid and evocative, this candid memoir braids poetry and youthful earnestness with riper reflections. It brought back strong memories of my own youthful sojourn in Greece.”

                                                                                    —Rachel Hadas

Library Journal
In this collection of reminiscences, Mason, an award-winning poet (Ludlow), translator, and former Fulbright fellow, documents the ebb and flow of his life during the two decades he spent writing and traveling in Greece. Mason portrays his friendships in the Greek villages and his interactions with the writers he met along the way. His memories include details of swimming in the sea, harvesting olives, and eating delicious meals at many kitchen tables. Three distinct story lines intertwine among his adventures: the death of his brother, Doug, in a mountain-climbing accident; his marriage to college friend Jonna, their divorce, and his second marriage to photographer Anne Lennox; and, finally, Mason's reaction to the 9/11 attacks in the United States. References to Greek mythology are found throughout. VERDICT This memoir will appeal to an audience of readers interested in Greek culture, poetry, and the struggles and successes of an honored writer.—Joyce Sparrow, Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas Cty., FL
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781597094719
  • Publisher: Red Hen Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2010
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

David Mason’s books of poems include The Buried Houses (winner of the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize), The Country I Remember (winner of the Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award), and Arrivals.  His first novel, Ludlow, was published in 2007, and named best poetry book of the year by the Contemporary Poetry Review and the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.  Author of a collection of essays, The Poetry of Life and the Life of Poetry, Mason has co-edited several textbooks and anthologies, including Western Wind: An Introduction to Poetry, Rebel Angels: 25 Poets of the New Formalism, Twentieth Century American Poetry, and Twentieth Century American Poetics: Poets on the Art of Poetry.  His poetry, prose, and translations have appeared in such periodicals as Harper’s, The Nation, The New Republic, The New York Times, The Times Literary Supplement, Poetry, Agenda, Modern Poetry in Translation, The New Criterion, The Yale Review, The Hudson Review, The American Scholar, The Irish Times, and The Southern Review.  He has also written the libretto for composer Lori Laitman’s opera of The Scarlet Letter.  He recently won the Thatcher Hoffman Smith Creativity in Motion Prize for the development of a new libretto.  A former Fulbright Fellow to Greece, he lives near the Garden of the Gods with his wife, Anne Lennox.

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Table of Contents

CONTENTS

1.      The Lotos-Eaters

2.      Greek Fever

3.      Getting to Know Michali

4.      Chatwin's Ashes

5.      Learning by Default

6.      Holding to Life

7.      The End of Immortality

8.      Another Kind of Greece

9.      In Katerina's Kitchen

10.  Back to the Village

11.  The Other Side

12.  The Muezzin and the Dove

13.  Wine Among Friends

Postscript

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