J.R. Osborn ’97 has published a cultural history of the Arabic writing system with a focus on aesthetics and technology (Harvard University Press, 2017). It begins with the formalization of Arabic calligraphic tradition in the 10th century and ends with the encoding of Arabic for digital computing at the end of the 20th century.
Artists & Scholars
Brandi Petersen Janssen ’98 addresses common myths in Making Local Food Work: The Challenges and Opportunities of Today’s Small Farmers (University of Iowa Press, April 2017). By listening to and working with people trying to build a local food system in Iowa, Janssen uncovers the complex realities of making it work.
Brandy Agerbeck ’96 writes that a tool to improve decision-making, reduce overwhelm, think critically, and communicate more clearly is at your fingertips — drawing. Her new book breaks down the complexity of visual thinking into 24 accessible and enjoyable concepts called “idea shapers.” Learn all the great thinking you can do with simple shapes, lines, color, scale, and proximity. See TheIdeaShapers.com.
Up the Staircase has recently published four poems by Margaret Sametz Rutherford ’81 from the series “To My Psychiatrist.” The Awakenings Review published five poems in its 2017 annual publication: “Moorings,” “Delusional Episodes,” “My Black,” “I Look Out on a Blue World,” and “Here.”
This extensively researched biography of New Orleans Saints football team owner Tom Benson by Kathy Finn ’71 (Pelican Publishing Co., 2017) tells the story of how a savvy bookkeeper built a fortune in the automobile dealership business, then became a billionaire by buying a National Football League team and reaping the enormous financial rewards that come with NFL ownership. It details Benson’s accumulation of wealth, his personal tragedies, and the bitter, headline-making battle that erupted between him and his closest family members as he approached his 90th birthday.
In 1923, midcentury novelist and short-story writer Ruth Suckow 1914 published a novella set at a fictional Grinnell College — she called it Adams College — during World War I. The somewhat satirical work, A Part of the Institution, has recently been scanned and made available on the Iowa Digital Heritage website.
Black Book: An Assemblage of the Fragmentary is the first major collaboration between a poet and an artist reacting to the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II. In hard-hitting texts by Robert Vas Dias ’53 and abstract images by Julia Farrer, Black Book examines the worldwide intolerance suffered by “the Other,” reflecting the authors’ belief that “art is an individual commitment to the times we live in.”
With acrobatic English and plentiful puns, Skip Hughes ’62 celebrates the joy of poetry in Chuckleberry Chutney (David Robert Books, 2016), his new collection of poems.
Beth Greenblatt Brody ’77 has released a CD, Chanukah Nights. The songs relate to subjects such as Shabbat, Psalm 23, and others.