tv 2017 American Book Awards CSPAN November 12, 2017 3:00pm-5:45pm EST
>> my name is justin desmangles i of the chair of the foundation celebrating the 41st year. [applause] for decades. i want to and extend my gratitude to an hour founder -- our founder who was one of the great artists, warriors of our time, ishmael reed is with us today. [applause] i also want to think our friends here the center for
being so generous in in particular the director and to fellow board member presently the poet laureate at the center cisco jazz festival -- san francisco jazz festival. [applause] >> the american book awards are hosted by the jazz center. jazz has the uniquely american art form the american is a and the thread of telling it like it is to invite openly all cultures to develop and to seek peace
with one another. and with that national conversation that is exacerbated by a violent political crisis that has taken hold of the country in the rest of the world and with the viciousness of the american book awards and the before columbus foundation is it midway's medicinal to healing these wounds. it is with great pride that we can assemble such extraordinary an innovative group of writers. who i believe together create the laying of the
hands to further that process of understanding and unnecessary healing because we are in a state just like triage non the battlefield and many have fallen so with that said i would like to introduce one of the leaders of the foundation and the board president. [applause] >> stalwart leader i should put that on my profile i like that. [laughter] how are you doing? welcome to the 38 the annual american book awards you are asking how did you become president? and a few years
ago i was told me you become president if he said yes and that is our happens. console to give some of inspiring words if you hear babies those of my babies in the back so every year each board member is allowed to dominate the work in just to let you know there is the macarthur genius, the poet laureate of america and california in people with ph.d. and poet so for all the recipients a wanted you to know you were chosen by a a highly sophisticated high caliber quality and it takes
very seriously. so give yourself a round of applause. [applause] so if those of you that have a checklist it is based on the quality and number one and number to the reason we did have so many diverse voices is our board. men and women and poets and scholars and those of latino persuasion african-american persuasion in each of these individuals so that is why we can represent that panoramic view that oftentimes is never given in the spotlight are asked to
be that protagonist but not only are we medicinal but we are corrective but also the act of resistance but so these give a vision of what america should be and can be. and then to be participants in that narrative. you can laugh at that. [laughter] but we have a thin skinned man with short figures it threatens united states of america salting truth and that fact on a daily basis. so some of those most vulgar voices and then at some call
a white supremacy it is the ideology of exclusion based on the erasure and suppression of the multitude of choices that have made america. so it seems to simply tell the truth is an act of valor and bravery. so to say maybe kkk is not find people. but now they are very fine people. and that if you days later with the same type of domestic terrorism happens muslim radicals takeover a vehicle and within two hours of trump criticizes as a radical islamic terrorism and one hour later tweets
that general pershing over 100 years ago last his soldiers to dip their bullets into pig's blood to kill more radicals. this is it alternative facts first and foremost,. i will call that a lie but it is fake news which means it did not happen but he treated that out and as the muslim-led me tell everyone pig lives matter you don't have to dip your bullets into the pig's blood regular bullets work just fine. dark humor. so thanks to the board this is amazing a good problem to have what people voluntarily come out and i hope that for
all of you that are here. there is no gold or silver or bronze. to see the first-time writers people who independently published who are millionaires. and that is very deliberate. so we have the spirit at the american book awards and the before columbus foundation so we are very proud of that. give yourself a round of applause. [applause] >> we have the book award winner for a the non story
the search for truth there justice and she just had a baby. why should not make the flight some think there is 1 degree of brown muslim separation that we all the lead to other but it is trooper guard to happen to know her. i will accept the award on her behalf. to carry around in the trunk of her car. i knew her before she became famous in she became famous because of a small little podcast name serial. here of that? that was just started because like a mother going up is in baltimore. to say he got a rotten deal.
and then to do give that case. she literally carried the case files in the trunk of her car. she finally he did deliver them because of the article. so she took of the story. in the end that was the most down loaded podcast id history. so lot of facts are not shared so i will go on to a supplement and from the of lot to say why do you do it podcast? she said what is that? so then she started from her family river friends helped her out and disclosed that was top than.
is there read slyke a fast pace grisham thriller to indict the criminal justice with the community under fire that is also underrepresented. inside and prague to except this award on her behalf. [applause] six o continue with the theme with the broadness i am proud to introduce the next person who could make it. we're not allowed to say who dominates the dubai will tweak that a little bit we had to board members on their own nominee independently this next author for her work a short stories.
so that is the collections of short stories. >> so that'd said amazing collection of stories about together by the of vitality that takes place of america and you cross the live take to go to egypt, young women are longing for love or broken by love of heartbreak. and i say that as a complement the did you think i know these people that is the best type of fiction. in that is a fantastic story teller the first collection
citizens in my own country. a blogging of palestine for egypt. by colonialism that i can no longer belong. i promise ciba will not be long but would not belong anywhere else. ended to be ravaged by water or fire or both. what is the logging in the way? for those said hear themselves included when the politician says the words family be and. i do not know this luxury but this is what baloney looks like saliva blake to
is apparently via the neocon , as those to be devoted to the black the envelope -- black readers for where is hostile to them. is taken up with convincing the public even with the former president. that shows barack obama. i don't forget. it does something different. not just as blacks and browns and not a surprise those revolutionaries are
in from california state university. and with that urban planning degree. and those who have it as cautious. in italy is willing about police entrapment. in the credits the black you better with the discipline of the indians degrees. then those that criticize the elements. but city hall was ruled by the kkk. no matter.
but no matter what they feel about the party they upset the white supremacist in a broad black political power to oakland. because of this with that international reputation because with that focus to earn $20,000 per year. as the community development worker. he says this is my first real job as an adult. we have gotten the job.
id everybody was charged. so the mayor gave the election to the black panther party. and then to call his book is indeed the journey is that of a slave. edo of open again to its present history so the recommendations with the stigma of excellence could be removed after they paid their debt to society. with richard nixon had the war are drugs in the war on
blacks and then to that job application. but as the government returns to old-time slavery patrol whose tactics in with an attitude is benign aided neglect. they were all left behind. the net worth of a white feebly that is what they say. so the attitude of the democratic party. so with that coalition who has elected democrats the
>>. >> thanks teetoo the before columbus foundation and american book awards is obviously ishmael reed. if black people in general and black men in particular that have been caramelized and the context of the american civilization beginning with the country's founders with 3/5 of a human being to thomas jefferson's letter to john holmes a 1820
to discuss the compromise said basically said if we ever emancipate them we must export them immediately because that is what we had done to them. that criminalization and stickman in the book the american us the live up. so i was invisible me and in america for 50 years. hiding in plain sight without fully incarcerated black man biting my time navigating being cumbersome path to remove the stigma. but what is associated as the of protagonist from the classic novel led day the
buck the above central white man walking down the street and outraged he did not respect is basically the white man did the sea have. was released from prison and 80 -- 95 i believe i would have a second chance to live for gore worked hard to pay for my bachelor's and master's degree but they soon discovered i had a stigma so horrible against me because of my past life style that i had to rethink our strategy and reentry of reintegration. and some in the bucket in particular that they go underground. not just that element of protagonist but my past. that is perplexing in the media.
it only means something for those of a struggling to remain free. that 2.2 million people incarcerated with 600,000 are released every year. and 70 percent are returning to prison over a three-year five-year average. and they are all the 12 percent of the of population. is even if the brother beats the case with the of clawback in the public attempt at overturning double jeopardy with cabernet parker who was acquitted and they came after him black-and-white. he was acquitted and what happened? people were angry because the black man worked his way through the system to become successful and
then to be to the system. as a formally incarcerated black man to become somewhat successful and then they've decided in plain sight so as tony morrison has said i write the books that i want to revisit what i wrote to invisible men, because i was released from prison this is the book i would have wanted to help me remove the stigma of my incarceration and then to help other black men with they read it so i became invisible after prison and worked with many people who believe did a second chance
and they agreed to help me obtain that. figure. [applause] thank you. >> all of these tall people. that fascinating person adjustment this morning spending 30 summers with commercial fishing at the 65-foot schooner. and then living in washington state we're delighted to have heard today to receive the award
is made her so sensitive to extinction and the book gassings with that memorial for the extinctions of the birds reading that passage is 1658 the french governor of madagascar are. in the island's remote reaches the bird weighed 1,000 pounds putting the biggest day on record over 1 foot long it people. >> host: austria jake's -- 100 fosterage aches, the elephant bird. in those that's they had been maligned we use the words birdbrain even a while
ago she told me she will continue her trip from san francisco. but i said kill two birds with one stone. [laughter] so thinking of our language. this is such a memorial to the birds that we go logger have. it is heartbreaking. a and eliminating to make a collection. so that paid full memorial of climate change to deforestation and that destruction of the rainforest but did your own neighborhood so i would like to introduce.
[applause] >> this is an honor beyond words but i have here on behalf of the birds and their want to start off by saying that even in the midst of the crazy culture but the silent voices were heard by you. thank you for your work per cry of so grateful for honoring marginalized voices over many years.
and a so meaningful to be dominated by another writer is a true honor and to be the presence of so many i feel myself up in the clouds at this moment. because i have a lot of gratitude to express. so i want to express gratitude so the art form that i think is in danger to type one letter at a time. so i am grateful to my publishers so not only for producing this beautiful book to honor the of passing of the birds with the dedication.
she is in nova scotia this weaker she would be here. but it is rare to work so closely together that i want to do think some mentors in those who started the of the poetry path decades ago. in those where the original directors. id that faculty all our alumni continues to inspire a and sustain. but it is the navy first birthday of my a late mother-in-law who was a supporter of the of project it was passed away before she could hear the good news but i think she knows.
and that list goes on there were many species of birds before columbus but ironically the first sighting of one her that led columbus to landfall. wed they came to shore in 4282 you can only imagine the symphony of bird calls and colorful flashes of weakness that were inhabited by the indigenous people. , the species bid farewell over the decade to invest in trees over colonization. with 200 bird species have gone extinct. but i believe we will continue to lose more.
so i started this series of elegy. i will read a little bit from the preface to us to give some context. it started when i was in alaska decades ago. i found a printed a used book store returning several times will keep at it to finally by a. and it to say it started with the psychotic we to give the passenger pigeon instead rolled up for years and tell one day he and the wall of my cabin. i knew the story of the last passenger pigeon died in the cincinnati zoo with the american book awards.
is -- a 1914. they wanted to a company so for them to find out sadly i like to keep them alive. with a couple more short palms. -- poems for gore that epigraph that last carolina parakeet died its cage and the cincinnati zoo february 21st, and 1818 after the death of lady jane whose companion of 32 years. mexico to york they flew in the monochrome of the eastern shore then would swoop in to the farmland
of brilliant plumage large and confident those that are beneath their wings woven into the sacred roads in and released to the wild. if not released today were eaten as of great delicacy with the native hawaiian reporters the fedders had been plucked for generations they were still plentiful when captain kirk landed. they buy indian diseases to look at them as songbirds. and 1898 and the thousands fell from the sky those that were still singing and whistling. thank you. [applause]
>> louis armstrong was once asked if you could read music? he said not enough to hurt my playing. [laughter] but like so many of his statements musically there was an extraordinary amount of nuance what armstrong was instructing us and part of what has characterized the literary tradition among african americans has been the centuries long period
when literacy was punishable by death. when even one who would teach could be punished by death. so the emergence of a tradition of print on paper carries with it simultaneously a very damaging critique and resuscitation of the past that is not only forgotten but adorned and embroiled in a period of silence and death for the music and the message was sublimated into the call and the understanding of things not
so easily put into print without risking lives so there is already be excavation going on the of particularly young historians but imaginative literature to resuscitate the past that was not entirely lost but hidden violently. the story of african-americans in europe has almost been completely obscured with johnny williams extraordinary work in that direction to revive that story and many of you are familiar with the power
of the literature created and most recently it is a great honor to bring that american book award i will leave that to you what that is about but it is part of that tradition it is a big beautiful surprise that she could join us. thank you so much for being generous with your time today. the american book award for the of book of harlem's. [applause] >>. >> good afternoon everybody.
first of all, i want to say things to ishmael reed for your vision and the board of the before columbus foundation i am grateful to be here and i am humbled to be recognized among such those and i am indebted to my publisher the publishing house born and cultivated in my home town of brooklyn new york. i am a storyteller so i will tell you a story as a young student the history of black people began with slavery and that beyond slavery there was a very small and exceptional group of gifted and talented in courageous black people who had
accomplished such exceptional things that those accomplishments had earned him a place in the textbooks of the new york state public school system. luckily for me i had a grandfather who fancied -- gives himself and have evinced -- amateur historian he was the big beautiful man from fort worth who married my grandmother of one year before was born. officially my step grandfather but he was the man who ignited my interest in history. they usually took place at the dining room table in their queens home with stacks of saturday morning hot cakes or sunday afternoon supper. so at some point granddaddy would announce that class
was in session. he had a large leather bound volume of factoids about africans and people of the african diaspora. and cannot remember the formal title the only name i can recall is the name my grandfather christened it which was the book of negros. he would flip the book open to a random page and read out loud about queen nefertiti were langston hughes for the tuskegee airmen and a host of black gods and goddesses i had never heard of. also his formerly enslaved grandparents the sharecropping childhood and his time in world war ii europe to be segregated lunch counters and the lynchings the crime of being born black in america and
that all men were created equal sometimes he would cut his head to proclaim i never once heard freedom ring but once well be set watching elizabeth taylor in the role of cleopatra on the zenith television granddaddy blocked the screen and said don't think for one moment that cleopatra was a white woman cleopatra was african and black african black like all of you. he emphasized by jabbing his finger of us that were black and brown. my grandfather had a counter narrative the review every white lie in derogatory
stereotype he would say this is the university of timbuktu but do you know, where molly is? again i had no clue. africa adding but they don't teach you this truth in school and he was right. so our bernie began with the slavery the africans in that they had saved themselves. but in 1938 to interview the african-american author was regarded as the father of black history where he stated, the path of the negro race has been so obscurity and the little by
propaganda that little-known of incredible record of the race. my grandfather was well aware of this it took every opportunity to undo the of this education of his descendants. he could on imagine the effects of the impromptu history lessons would have on my life. so the book of harlem picks up where grandfather left off to untangle the of misconception to review and eradicate we outright lies of the cultural and dignity of the sacrifices and contributions of black people in america have contributed here and abroad. back in the dining room and he was proud. he said they don't teach you this truth in school. thank you.
fresh, often unknown coming into print for the first time. many historians, many artists and intellectuals have speculated on the capacity of so-called minorities, so-called compressed groups to have a second site into the psychology of the oppressors. sometimes they seem to feel that as some sort of irony. the fact of the matter is emerging from the so-called oppressed group, the thought
collectively that is shared is often light-years conceptually advanced beyond the understanding of the oppressor has of their actions and if they amount to what they mean. it's been blogging consistently by both conservatives and progressive political thinkers in the united states who refuse to accept black leadership on anything, on anything even the harvest of the resources of the united states that are being offered not with vengeance but with kindness and love.
we could step back and talk about doctor king, but i'm not going to do that because the i'm about to introduce test on the lion's share olions share of ins territory and bringing it to us. it's been such a pleasure personally to get to know and i so deeply honored that this award is finding its way to him for his incredible work of the name of the book "race and the totalitarian century geopolitics in the black literary imagination it is his first book, and i'm sure that it will not be his last. please join me in welcoming
american literature at stanford university, and i tell why students how i became interested in the subject and i reflect on my childhood growing up in south central la and my education and seen in a ubiquitous and social world even at the time when i understood very little about what that phrase meant to. any book or any text by a black or minority offered this that i've been grievously miseducated prompted me to rectify the
problem and enroll at howard university in washington, d.c., where i encountered for the first time the luminaries by toni morrison or w. e. b. du boise among many others. here with an intellectual tradition i could plunge into deeply, read with pride and claim as a part of my own heritage, and i learned a great deal but i had a lot more to learn, so i enrolled at the university of chicago for graduate school and then in chicago i encountered a whole constellation of ideas and phrases that were entirely new to me. one of the ideas is the idea thathat it moves essentially ine direction and culminates into a
democratic capitalist order on a scale. it was said whatever the problems of the political and economic system, it was superior to any and all alternatives. the class of the soviet union and america's punitive victory in the cold war seemed to confirm the thesis. it's how they were diminished to put it mildly. it involved the desire to tell the story of anti-colonial writers and activists for whom the end of history did not cloud their collective dream world. it didn't limit their horizon of expectation, so these writers
from lesser-known figures like the more famous like shirley graham in the w. e. b. du boise, they were trying to figure out what an alternative and humane social order would look like and they worked tirelessly to try to achieve this to usher the new world into being. the desire to tell this multifaceted story was the source of great joy and personal satisfaction even during the most difficult moments of writing and research and those moments of self-doubt that we are all too familiar with. so i am beyond grateful to those that believed in me over the years and again i think the columbus foundation and in particular for promoting my work for no other reason than that he
believes a book like mine should exist in the world so i am tremendously grateful to it for his efforts and i would also like to thank my wonderful colleagues and students at stanford and gifted teachers at howard university, the editors and staff at the harvard university press, and my family, my wife and our son edward, my parents were here today, kerry and windy an wendy and my new ed family, the always embraced me as one of theirs and i want to restore the spirit of my name to whom i dedicate my book. doctor jane austin who pushed me on the path that i traveled todai travel toface over traveld today so for all these individuals and many more, i want to offer my deepest thanks.
thank you very much. [applause] good afternoon. i am honored to present the award of this american book award to marc anthony richardson. i encountered him about ten years ago at the east bay church, a religious science. he was in the writing process at that time and he would share with me that he was writing a
book. i didn't see him again for over ten years at mills college where he got his nsa and he showed up to read the book. @i was entering mills college. when it came to my knowledge that the book was being considered for the columbus foundation book award i had already read it just as i had already read up on the gerrard. i have read so many of these wonderful books. so, i was excited about that and i wanted to share a little bit about this book. it is a brilliantly written testament of love. sometimes brutal, sometimes tender, but always honest. richardson details the journey of a nameless narrator who
sometimes goes by last morning and other times by three. they returned prodigal to care for his mother who seems to live through a thousand deaths. that's the part of the book that struck me is the idea of caregiving. the story narrates the bond of love and the violence that can sometimes break the bond and then bring them back together again. it is a style of consciousness and literary and it includes an analysis of several oil paintings that are also included in the book. book. i married her battles his obsessions with alcohol and the dream of becoming an artist. he struggles with family violence and how to navigate his own emotions and passions.
the book came out on her birthday september 27, and she was actually coming out of surgery and hour before i read the book in philadelphia. i wanted to write a book that i didn't know what i was going to write about and so i said to myself, write about yourself. okay, i will do that. and i found it very hard to write about myself. so i had to find another way to get in.
it was such a mountain, so right about your grandmother. that was the way in, we need a way into the story i wrote about my mother watching my grandmother before she died, and that was the crux of the story is the scene and in the novel the narrator is peeking through the door because his mother knows that he's watching it left the door open a crack and that
is the crux of the whole story, and all these other things, but it starts with the womb, water. we had a conversation on the radio recently this year. like you guys are laughing through the program this is great. just writing about the caretaking and one of the interviewers for entropy noted that the word caretaking and caregiving mean the same thing,
i'm not really good with english literature, like that quote grandpa really messes me up. it ruins my writing. i really love the beginning and taking a. it would be like shooting myself in the foot that i hav but i hat out there somehow. thank you for the collection and the university alabama press for doing that.
there were things happening to me in my father's death. you've got to write about the parts that you don't want to. it's universal and it will bring people together. and you've got to go down to the inferno so that whole story of defending it into the core when we go past that sites that he perpetuates with his own wings as he is trying to escape. the more he tries to escape, because he is in prison, so i felt like passing through the hip and when she passed through,
everything was converted into io you see his leg shooting up. i was like i won't be able to do that to someone. but the idea of going through the circles if you get to the core of it and everything else becomes lighter it goes so deep that you become lighter and go so deep that you learn how to let go in learning more and more of the younger i get.
religiously it almost killed me but then again you have to die to be reborn. i want to thank my father, the man who taught me how to be affectionate to others and it isn't a woman gives a young black man permission to be affectionate and used to give me these cases 3 a.m. in the morning completely sober and it was his way he told me later on just before he died actually that it was his way of combating the others so now now come
anthony richardson, a beautiful, funny and indomitable personality and sense of humor was always at the corner of grotesque and turner and he had a way of laughing in the shadow in the dark that was so loud. i want to thank my others. my grandmother, my mother. when i was in my room and i was depressed and everything was dark and dressed in black now like i'm in my own funeral.
she came into my room and said he's depressed. as a voice of reason i want to thank her. and my brothers, the youngest of three days pretty much been my guardians since i was a child and i still look up to them in many ways. last, my aunt comes up with crazy one-liners that the best i heard, she is the eldest of seven sisters on my mothers side. i talked to my mother which is hard because she's going through all of this great physical pain
writing is a solitary life, so i really appreciate meeting othe others. to describe the process of writing in the act of catharsis and self-discovery and the call for freedom. the next i'm delighted can come from all the way from hawaii to join us and it is a book that i learned so much from we recognize the kind of ethical compromises that a human being is capable of making until
actually pushed against the wall and we have to face a choice of the trai betrayal or self survi. and this question is the key for the novel. it takes place in spans the decades and continents of taiwan and berkeley california. 228 is to taiwanese what 9/11 is for americans but the big difference is everybody has heard about 9/11, but who in this room has heard of 228 and i myself remember because i grew up at the san francisco
chinatown in the novel that begins post-world war ii during martial law and we follow doctor tsai who is in prison and on the island from a prison camp for political dissidents, so she traces this families doctor to doctor where she lives in berkeley california, and none of us knew about this holocaust and
congratulations. [applause] good afternoon. i'm extremely honored to be here today. this anecdote is absolutely true but it's also a joke that i told again and again to show how invisible taiwan has become to the american consciousness even though it was going to staunch the allied cold war. i tell it like a joke but also
with despair and frustration. taiwan over the course of the century followed the path from colony to dictatorship they are overshadowed by go global conflict rather than its achievement i wanted to write a book to help set the story straight and bring the story to the readers and contribute to the taiwanese. the history that i write about guys in the darkest parts of nature where friends turn against friends and creativity was put to use for the waves of tormenting and torturing others. there are pictures i could hardly bear to look at and stories i could barely bear to hear the stories of those that had survived them. they help understand the regime
my mother grew up under and i try to capture back identity that is forced to coexist with the governmenagovernment that io its citizenry. there've been moments recently been a dark political path i wrote about as historical fiction has echoed too loudly here in america. some of these people are here in the room today in my deep gratitude to those who shared their experiences with me.
i was looking simply for information but i found unexpectedly the community that has generously welcomed me. this project took almost a decade and a half of stops and starts and frustrations i'm grateful to my friends and families for their patient encouragement. i also want to express my gratitude to my agent and editor for giving the book the opportunity. i feel this is a recognition of the book and also th buck and af taiwan is worthy so thank you to the foundation for this great and unexpected honor.
prior to america's involvement in world war i, woodrow wilson ran on a no war ticket and promised the voters she would drag the united states into the first world war and of course he was lying. part of the reason he was lighting is because american industrialists were telling him what to do. the united states military was applied as a debt collection agency to do that at time two undercover guy rhetoric making
area to have been on the frontlines. we who grew up watching the tellers were so bold to talk about politics, art and sex. dreaming was just as real as the world connected to us by the powers that be. perhaps this is our time. my work as an artist is most often about dreaming, thoughts or feelings to the external those of public action and sometimes it is completely down and we find ourselves in despair and unable to do even the simplest steps and other times we can march forward if we don't
they've done everything right, they've gone on strike but with a greater community didn't stand with them and were forced to settle and give up. i organize people to go to their homes with 146 triangle workers. it always disappears and requires public action. it's also something we have to do separate from beneath the bed
she is an artful lexicographer and shows us thashows us that tf the word as often as devastating as the diameter that is what "the new york times" said of her work. it gives me great pleasure to bring up for the award. [applause] i wrote look because i have always been obsessed with and troubled by state-sponsored
language. he says iran has no political prisoners but it does have terrorists. and "the new york times" is quoted as saying to accept the definition of the word as the equivalent to the words political prisoner. they will not call them terrorists but apostates and the earlier regime might call them failing to acknowledge we say
because they were too self-involved and there was a revolution to be had and it happened making it one of the only and largely unarmed successes of the century. recently a number of poets seemed to have been thrown into a bit of a crisis. what do they do, how does a poet act they want to know towards literary greatness and can they seem to say without rolling their shots at the anthology they look towards the gate and eastern europeans and the land deemed political crisis ridden that do not look at the tapes
and that might occur worthy to hold the figures accountable to its fascism they have long ignored or touched lightly upon. nor do they look at the seams of thscenesof the decades of recipf this award then responding long before this crisis. it's an honor to accept the award and joined so many names but i will not even risk because i will be so embarrassed by the ones i leave out. every one of foundation for the guidance and the light i think everybody especially my predecessor and everyone that passed on this book allowing it
planet. these have us reveling in the confusion that comes with human access existence. such a an unflinching peaceful voice. they are a way of seeing the abandoned house and the signs of life. they are both archives and shameless in their truth, enamored with the voice its meditative and both anxious and accepting. the book is a memory and i just happened to pick up the books today and read through it and have to admit these are arresting.
something far more important than the knowledge itself and there are many cultures here in our land but has had so many names for so long not all of whom also neatly into the strategies of today and tomorrow, but a more circular understanding of our time as eternal. i believe he's one of the great writers of our time and i suspect he dwells spiritually in
many different times and i spoke earlier at the beginning of the program about the medicinal aspect of the group that is gathered here as writers and teachers. strong mexican and mexican fly boy a work of great courage and the agility of his imagination and his ability to bring it to prose that is propulsive, swinging, louis armstrong, it's astonishing in its power. it's a great honor to welcome alfredo to the stage for this honor of the american book award
of his novel the mexican fly boy, please welcome m -- join me in welcoming alfredo. [applause] >> thank you. i have no idea what is going to come out of my mouth. i said what is the dress code and he said business casual. [laughter] 13 miles that way there's a mexican on a couch in his underwear, that's me. [laughter] a projection is what this is. my book the mexican fly boy.
i called george who did the book, i love him, about 5-foot one and he gets up and goes to sleep at 4:00 in the morning and has a beautiful house i can tell yocan'ttell you where to make es mad. then he did the cover and said no i don't want that cover. they thought i was going to come back but i wasn't going to do that this time, so it went to
the harvard press and oklahoma press and the short cover title that is what happens here. and this book is about this guy who finds a machine that was lost in about 90 bc and they found it and still tried to figure out what it is and how it works and how it is possible to make this function. they can't figure out how they made it so small and precise. when i was a kid i read that story in the national geographic
[inaudible] i'm in the helicopter talking to my friend and then equals over, falls over. the first bulle bullet icon i fy life as a soldier. i said i want out of here this is not a joke this is my life. i don't want to hand my mother a triangle flag and say i did a marvelous thing and died for freedom. what are you going to say to the veterans? they should never have done that to 60,000 american boys.
but her parents who i love i decided to love these people, they sued the french government when they sued everybody. i'm sorry historians. they were parents and loved their kid. the pope says with those steps for sainthood so there are so many incredible realities of history but the upside but this is the only way forward for us.
so with that limitation so to be consistent with the group reading and writing is the answer. because the more people that pick up that day of electronic devices we cannot just sit here with this agreement we need each other. we need to know how to talk to each other or across the aisle instead of police which is very dangerous. and do you believe? those
are the ground rules for your data we will make a decision of that act is with or against humanity. so we need to talk about our beliefs that people would be marching to the supreme court with the lgbt to say spooks or wetbacks' but that is ridiculous because the constitution is ridiculous. we need to start telling each other the truth the law has ruined the idea of reality. but what about our morals? as long as it makes money if
>> i grew up in north beach which is now like chinatown although then it was sicilian and we were one of the first chinese-american families to move into north beach. but the chinatown that you see today with my recollection of what it was when i was growing up in the '50s and '60s now there is the influx of vietnamese, thai, laotian and it is really diverse but that community is a constant cycle of dispersion and now we get the onslaught from the financial district encroaching on chinatown with the old mom-and-pop stores with startup
businesses as the buildings are taken over by the tech companies so this man who has been documenting chinatown in seattle and san francisco and vancouver and los angeles has dedicated his entire life as a photojournalist to document the chinatowns which are becoming somewhat extinct because the chinese have to live in the ghettos because they were not allowed into the white neighborhoods profile fifth good ninth own property or testify in the court during the chinese exclusion act. so with those territories they are untouched with gas
or oil or pipelines so that is in the other displacement so ever since 1977 i have seen him since those days but i am just delighted and i am amazed you have been doing this work only a few years because touse the though light covers for decades in chinatown all the way from drag queens elderly chinese americans facing eviction which is happening right now as we speak as chinatown has become gentrified and it tells the story with the poignant images to focus on what he
calls chinatown which is a misnomer because it includes large pockets of the vietnamese and chinese families. so please welcome. [applause] to head. >> [inaudible conversations] >> thank you. reading glasses. i have those all over the house i will start with a reading but thank you for this tremendous award. you know, the your giving this award to a photographer? [laughter] i know right to that much
anymore. going to chinatown so just after noon i walked inside the salon and as i climbed into the chair took up the notebook. his shop was smaller than a studio apartment with no running water. the newspapers were stacked ever wear under the counters where radios taken apart waiting to be fixed in two cases of the chinese stringed instrument sat on the shelf and turned upside down for easy dispensing and medicine containers a huge stack of playboy magazines and bills and clutter with
chinatown dust. hanging on a wall like a shrine was of faded picture of frank sinatra surrounded by cobwebs his eyes lit up when i asked about old blue eyes. he said good singer he come to town i see him. for over 25 years in this tiny location the third barber in the shops history. he asked me how i wanted my hair cut and they gave suggestions in chinese. wearing the ancient hearing a that gives loud feedback in then attached to an amplifier. i cannot quite understand him and he could not understand me i was not sure what the end result would look like but the experience was worth a bad haircut.
you grabbed a bottle of water he pulled the trigger but nothing came now. i waved off the fruit fly. >> do you play the violin? you can see you put that under his chin. he would sway back and forth i still want to be a professional he said. i paid him $10 for the hair cut and left a $2 to a. -- tip. >> especially to the before columbus foundation and for believing in meeting it is a huge honor to be recognized with that amazing what talent in the room.
so to except this award means to come full circle i rented an apartment at franklin street that was my introduction into california dreaming. i watched the hippies and the anti-war protest and i wanted to do a check it out in the experience san francisco chinatown now here i am again. it is nice to be recognized for my work for the work of chinatown with the extraordinary stories to tell. my book comes out during america's the chinatown. that which is by gentrification it is being replaced by coffeeshops or
fast-food chains in seattle and new york to boston and washington d.c.. san francisco and portland. we have to preserve and protect this treasure. you cannot sell history but it is happening. publishing my life's work in the book was the realization of a dream. i didn't want to leave the earth without a book is a legacy in my contribution. i should be happy to have my book published and i am. to be here today among such a distinguished group. my experience is bittersweet. during the editing stage my best friend a legendary
grass-roots first responder to saved hundreds of lives was shot and killed in the middle of the night at 3:00 in the morning. my wife received stage for colon cancer. she went to heaven two months later. in the span of 60 days of lost my best friend in the woman that i loved the most in life. after refreshens stopped visiting there was nothing left i did not want to live anymore and i have nothing left. robotic camera -- i bought a camera. but a rejuvenated me and i
flew to san francisco destination in chinatown. in one of 28 on mother earth i visited. my book you about a year-and-a-half after she passed she was really proud of what i did as an artist and i wish she could be here tonight. so to see my book for the first time to hold it in my hands like my baby and they continue to cherishes i would continue to mourn it is dedicated to another who would like to brag she only took three days of english to open her own laundry which she ran 35 years six days a week.
while raising four children after my father passed away when i was in sixth grade. she lived at the age of 101 and made possible for me to stand here today. love and gratitude to each and every one of use. [applause] >> thank you we are running over at this point so very quickly i will just say before we move:in closing the ceremony we would like to gather all of the honorees for a photograph and should that not happen on the stage then we would
like to do so outside. with that said we will move to this sheet year's lifetime achievement award award, nancy is one of the leading persons of letters and her book sums up the experience of the of an individual of puerto rican ancestry living in america with the multi-cultural environmental poet she has an edge like someone who has eyes in the back of their head. looking at her anthologies and publications would take a number of pages per she is a rare writer who does all, poetry, short story, performance many writers overlook the
statement that all poets may not be great battle great poets or ethnic. hers has been a rise from humble beginnings to the academy from museum curator she can write about her personal experiences with others would run she tackled when terror came home on an 11. and long enough to see these people to be demoralized in statues are street means or landmarks who would give it all. she keeps on giving is an inspiration to children and a member of of most influential of the groups of 500 years accepting the
award on her behalf is tennessee read. [applause] >> thank you then he asked me to read the following message to you. thank you to everyone from the before columbus foundation for believing in my work this award is truly a great honor for me. she also said me a poem to read. >> are sharing in the armageddon on the eve of the trump election branding those pipes into the earth injecting us inside with the viol'' poisons lacerating the core with the warm
grassland with that cassius machine using ups on to the countryside choking the vapor clouds rising from the reverse cloaked with the appended saddam -- salmon for those that haven't yet to encounter. mass extinctions because of us with fat gluttony with that intangible future and with those of video games and prime time and commercial ads making others rich with our mind up for. -- pour with the idea that we are in vincible masters of the universe for all life forms but ignorance of those
countless creatures inhabiting the of black death -- depth to place the madman at the helm of the empire. we fornicate with money and palm oil lovers through the vast swath of the forest decimating the acres of a whim. we have fanciful solutions on the global stage existing only inside from our cracked skulls lethargic the sitting from even our own families. never troubling of caucuses from the cheap stuff that we bought at wal-mart so on the veteran day sales in with
those affirmations that disguise our crimes and mascots of cataclysms the self-inflicted armageddon just like shooting up the last dose of bad endings of a nightmare of how moved we are. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you. i will not knock the academy so i do that every week a radio show but one thing that i will say about the
universities and colleges here in the united states that they keep a tight lid on some of the most beautiful harvest of literature and art without disclosing it to anyone who was not willing to be initiated they have to jump through those troops and it is sad and criminal really with the kind of punishment that they allow before they give you access to those archives and that is part of what is so brilliant and beautiful and extraordinary about the poets' document initiative and why it is so important to bring the attention to the lead editor and publisher and will read a short statement thanks for
being so generous. so that leadership of the poetics document with those and valuable resources of literature of the academics dollar to revive and resuscitate the archive with honesty and courage with the lost and found the document initiative with a unique provision that is tearing and bold and above all, challenging to the preconceived notions from the parameters of literary art. thank you so much to be here with us today to except that
award and also for bringing this world of hidden treasures beyond the walls of the ivory tower. [applause] >> it is great to be here as an editor is the publisher myself starting off as an editor making books within the first couple of years one of the books that i edited one the american book award still one of the proudest moments of my life so i am happy to be here to
do this. a very good friend of mine when he conceived of the project is what we talked about in a lot of detail. not that i have any credit but it is wonderful with those ideas and the project is to excavate material that other writers would not be public but also training future arcus -- archivist so the way they could get the hands-on practical field work of how to go out to find to do a project not all of us know how to go into those archives. some of these grow into books other publishers as well so this is what was
started he was something he wanted me to share with you. thinks for bestowing this award on me. with this document initiative. i trust you know who you are sorry will bypass that. and that the spirit of the american book awards are given by the before columbus foundation is unparalleled. blows meaningful cultures recognition it is truly an honor to recognize. and those of the -- live far from the literary imagination in york.
so with that great ideological tug best so that said we are based in new york at the graduate center the largest urban public university in the country nine years ago to embark on a radical concept to sustain that living legacy. to transmit culture and make space available for reclamation of activities to intervene of the political century so throughout so to return the public to public institutions with less of a
control. everything we encounter further from anything we once thought of as direct experience. suggested tallis of that form with the focal point of lost and found work in a generation of writers starting to work or coming-of-age to extend to the before and after we recognize the thought was shared intimately in manuscript for small press publications reaching a handful of people. often unable to travel so they engaged in those intense relationships for a new civilization so much is unavailable those that have
the undue influence only to be met head-on by structural readjustment conceptual so the work documents these structures so please see this as part because of a pyramid to be an edited and unpublished. with a the archived in someone's home or garage. so those are spread out all over the country making a very difficult for the researcher to gather necessary documents for a coherent picture. this is what we have tackled head on we although the horror stories those whose papers have gone missing
soldiers because there are those institutions wondering if the cultural memory would be preserved. so any archived by definition is in complete the culture for the purpose of control and consumption how that could create a perfect circle so to make that unknown materials to reanimate that context palestine and bosnia and iraq was thought they were living in the country to think that these would not be a case culture must be
transmitted in the archive friends and family and colleagues and those that have passed on so by celebrating the work lost and found as the model confronting these issues on the practical and theoretical basis for our history is incoherent and that makes all of this much more valuable. we believe lost and found through historical memory we're humble the of your recognition. [applause]
>> as we bring the ceremony to a close me just ask once again the authors that were honored this afternoon to gather on the stage. we would like to have a photograph of you as a group if you'd be so generous as to take the stage. thanks to everybody for taking the time to join us this afternoon. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
roles first set of immortal souls. to indices tremendously useful and labs around though brawled but also they grow incredibly rapidly if you have a small error before you know, it there spewed through out and they just take over some scientists that think a steady liver cancer ultimately we hope they realize they are studying these other cells because it is a problem for decades that scientist recognize this in the '70s they were taking over so not very much was done. starting 15 years ago there were some pretty good test that could rapidly identify with the souls was the
original sow but they did not take off not used as widely as they needed to be. this is just one example there are 450 other examples that are misidentified the year used all the time in biomedical research labs. , they cost money it is convenience so they are not used so that is one problem. the second thing is that bad a method sometimes they design experiments to tell them what is going on just the mouse studies with a ls they have led to a lot of drugs and all of them have been failures with the search of treatment. some of them think they're
very thoroughly but also the experiments are extensive. it could take, dozens of vice -- mice that could cost over $100,000 then on the academic side they don't have that money so i will do tend and say it is a pilot study they are constrained by resources i get it but there are many occasions that that leads to a large-scale clinical trial that leads to results that have been very disappointing. and then to spend tens of millions of dollars to expand that. that is just one method of the problem but gives you a
flavor for what can go wrong. so the other assumption about mouse work in particular the anything you can cure the stroke that doesn't translate to the human being. mice are not just tiny people but the assumption is it ought to work and then they say i have nothing better. so we should be more modest of our expectations of what could come out of the studies. to think more broadly how you could extract meaning so that is one thing as well.