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Cliff Van Eaton ’72

A book by Cliff has been named a finalist in the 2015 Royal Society of New Zealand Science Book Prize. Manuka: The Biography of an Extraordinary Honey, is the ‘rags-to-riches’ tale of how a piece of scientific serendipity turned an unwanted honey into a ground-breaking medicine. The Royal Society of New Zealand is modeled on the original Royal Society in England, the oldest continuing academy of sciences in the world. An important function of the Society is the sharing of science-based ideas in the overall New Zealand community, and the Book Prize is a way of celebrating the efforts of writers and publishers in that regard. The competition is held every two years, and is open to all books by New Zealand authors that “communicate scientific concepts in an interesting and readable way for a general audience.” The judges noted that “manuka honey is a uniquely New Zealand product, valued here and internationally for its rich taste and therapeutic properties.” They went on to write, “… this delightful and surprising book … tells the captivating story of the science behind the discovery of the antibiotic effects of manuka honey, with a focus on the scientists and beekeepers who have brought this product to the world.” Cliff is a well-known writer on beekeeping subjects and is co-author of two books on bee diseases. For more than 30 years he worked as a beekeeper adviser in New Zealand, and has also assisted beekeepers in countries as diverse as the Solomon Islands, Uruguay, and Vietnam. This is his first foray into popular non-fiction. Manuka: The Biography of an Extraordinary Honey is now on sale in bookstores in New Zealand, Australia, and the United Kingdom. The book is also available in the United States through Amazon.

Edward Moticka ’66

dwardMotickaEd is the author of the recently released book A Historical Perspective on Evidence-Based Immunology. The book highlights the evidence supporting immunology concepts commonly taken for granted, including results of hypothesis-driven controlled scientific experiments. Ed is professor and chair of basic medical sciences at the A.T. Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine (Mesa, Ariz.). His book was released on December 18, “the same day that ’Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ opened in theaters,” he wrote. “It is only coincidence that the figure on the cover looks like the Death Star.”

Brett Blaauw ’05

Brett co-authored a paper that appeared in the Journal of Applied Ecology. According to paper’s other co-author, Rufus Isaacs, theirs is the first paper that demonstrates an economic advantage for farmers when they create wild bee habitat next to cultivated fields. The two entomologists planted marginal land surrounding blueberry fields with a mix of native perennial wildflowers. Even though the fields were pollinated by honey bees trucked in for the purpose, Brett discovered that, after a period of two years, the rising population of wild bees increased blueberry yields by 10 to 20 percent. That increase more than offset the costs of making the marginal land attractive to wild bee populations. Brett was the lead author on the paper. The K biology major completed his Ph.D. at Michigan State University under Isaacs and is now working at Rutgers University.

Drew Brockington ’04

The publisher Little, Brown has acquired rights Drew’s Cat-Stronauts: Mission Moon, a graphic novel aimed at chapter book readers. The story follows the space adventures of a team of cat astronauts as they race to the moon to solve a global energy crisis. Cat-Stronauts is Drew’s debut as an illustrator, and it’s the first of a four-book deal. It will publish in spring of 2017. Drew earned his B.A. at K in art and art history, and he studied abroad in Rome, Italy.

Corey Marks ’92

Corey was the spring 2016 Lawrence Clayton Poets and Writers Speaker Series guest at Hardin-Simmons University (Abilene, Texas). Corey is the author of two award-winning volumes of poetry. His first book, Renunciation, was selected by the late Philip Levine as a 1999 National Poetry Series Competition Winner. It also received the Natalie Ornish Prize from the Texas Institute of Letters. His most recent book The Radio Tree, won the Gren Rose Prize from New Issues Press in 2011. Corey is the Distinguished Teaching Professor and Director of Creative Writing at the University of North Texas (Denton).

At Hardin-Simmons Corey participated in an afternoon question and answer session and, in the evening, he read poems from his collection of works. His poems have appeared in the New England Review, The Paris Review, Poetry Northwest, Ploughshares, Southwest Review, The Threepenny Review, TriQuarterly, The Virginia Quarterly Review, as well as in the anthology Legitimate Dangers (Sarabande Books, 2006) among others. Corey earned his B.A. in English at K. His Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (poetry) is from Warren Wilson College, and his Ph.D. in Creative Writing and Literature is from the University of Houston.

Jeannie Light ’63

Jeannie has published a new book, Beautiful on the Mountain, which released on June 1 from Tyndale Momentum. The book is based on her experiences as a lay missioner in Graves Mill, Virginia, but the story starts further back than that. Jeannie was born into a storytelling family. Her grandmother passed down stories she had heard from her own mother and father, frontier missionaries in southern Michigan. Her grandfather told stories, too, and so did her mother and father. With that bloodline, Jeannie’s desire to be a writer seemed natural, and she pursued that goal by earning a bachelor’s in English literature (with an emphasis on creative writing) at K. During her senior year she was a student teacher for a college freshman English class and worked as a freelance journalist. She wrote an award-winning novel based on family stories about fur traders and American Indians in Michigan’s St. Joseph River valley in the early years of the nineteenth century.

Jeannie attended the University of Virginia on a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, receiving her M.A. in English literature. She worked as a journalist, taught English at the University of Maine and for the University of Virginia extension program, and ran a farm in Madison County, Virginia. In 1977 she decided to operate a sheep farm on her mountain land in Graves Mill, Virginia, adjoining Shenandoah National Park. To her surprise, the deacons of the inactive Baptist church in the hamlet asked her to help them re-open its doors and revive the congregation. She had never intended to be a preacher or missionary, but when she moved to the mountain community, she found herself living stories very similar to those she had heard as a child. Beautiful on the Mountain is the narrative of her first three years in this beautiful, austere setting. The Bishop of the Diocese of Virginia licensed Jeannie as a lay missioner in 1983. Graves Chapel eventually opened a thrift shop and ministered to those at or below the poverty level, 60 percent of the county’s residents at the time. Though Jeannie remained a laywoman, she was elected president of the county ministerial association, and the chapel offered silent retreats for the local clergy. After fifteen years in the mountains, she resigned and worked with artist and sculptor Walter Slaughter. She self-published two books of meditations, Are You Coming?: Meditations on the Passion and Gethsemane, both illustrated with Walter’s art.

In 1985 Jeannie became a member of Truro Anglican Church (Fairfax, Va.) and since her resignation from Graves Chapel, she has ministered at Truro in various capacities as a layperson, including leading bimonthly services at the Fairfax Nursing Center and teaching a Bible study. She lives in Louisa, Virginia. Jeannie’s work at Graves Chapel was featured in Kalamazoo College Quarterly in the summer of 1991.

New Zealand Honey and an Episcopal Childhood

Cliff Van Eaton ’72 has written one honey of a book…about honey!

Manuka: The Biography of an Extraordinary Honey, is the ‘rags-to-riches’ tale of how a piece of scientific serendipity turned an unwanted honey into a ground-breaking medicine. Manuka honey is a product unique to New Zealand and valued for its antibiotic effects. Cliff’s book chronicles the science behind the discovery of those effects.

It was named a finalist in the 2015 Royal Society of New Zealand Book Prize. The Royal Society of New Zealand is modeled on the original Royal Society in England, the oldest continuing academy of sciences in the world. An important function of the Society is the sharing of science-based ideas in the overall New Zealand community, and the Book Prize is a way of celebrating the efforts of writers and publishers in that regard. The competition is held every two years, and is open to all books by New Zealand authors that “communicate scientific concepts in an interesting and readable way for a general audience.” Love those science writers with a lay audience in mind.

Cliff is a well-known writer on beekeeping subjects and is co-author of two books on bee diseases. For more than 30 years he worked as a beekeeper adviser in New Zealand, and has also assisted beekeepers in countries as diverse as the Solomon Islands, Uruguay, and Vietnam.

 

On his way home for dinner, the narrator of Jim Todd’s (class of 1958) memoir, The Key, stops to watch the demolition of the Episcopal Church building that was his church home growing up. At first the razing of a spiritual “home” troubles him and also prompts a vivid recollection of a single choir season–the fall-to-spring of the narrator’s 12th year. The flashback of those nine months in the life of “Joey”–the narrator’s younger self–and his two close friends, Danny and Kenny (the “three inseparables”), occupy the ensuing 13 chapters of the book. The church-and-choir related hijinks of these three (who move through the narrative like a Tom Sawyer and his gang) include a frog funeral at church that inspires the start of acolyte training, a school-boy crush on a department store holiday season harpist, a water war with Baptist youth choir members that escalates into something more serious, a spitball attack on the choir director, the sabotage of a presentation by the girl (and fellow choir member) Joey likes but doesn’t know he likes, and the changing of Joey’s voice–a sad casualty of maturation that necessitates his “fall from grace” as the choir’s soprano soloist (first row) to the hinterland of alto background (second row).

Jim has written a book about the importance of fun, the inevitability of impermanence and change (Joey’s voice, the nature of friendships, the relocation of a church), and, most importantly, what endures in the face of such impermanence. The book’s final chapter snaps the reverie of the adult narrator into the present. The dump trucks are back filling the church building’s former foundation. And yet the evanescent last images of Joseph’s flashback call to life the profound changes he experienced in church late that choir season of long ago. That memory confirms for him the key of what matters and what never changes. The narrator finds himself less troubled by the scene at which he stopped. Joseph is a church leader at its new home. He starts his car to continue his way home, taking “the key” and the essence of his old church building with him.

Jessica Walsh ’96

Jessica published her first full-length collection of poems, How to Break My Neck. She is is a poet and professor of English at Harper College in suburban Chicago. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Midwestern Gothic; Ninth Letter online; TRIVIA; The Fem; Whale Road Review; Crab Creek Review; Yellow Chair Review; artisan: a journal of craft; The Listening Eye; Driftwood; Furnace Review; Blood and Fire Review; Mobius; The New Press Literary Quarterly; Red River Review; Third Wednesday; In Posse Review and others. At K Jessica earned her bachelor’s degree in English and studied abroad in Caceres, Spain. She earned her master’s degree and Ph.D. in literature from the University of Iowa.