Christopher P. Stephens, Bookman

Chris Stephens has been a book dealer since 1965 - earlier if you count childhood buying and selling.

Stephens has sold major collections to university libraries all over the world. He has operated appealing bookstores in Mt. Carroll, Illinois, Hastings on Hudson, NY and several in NYC, NY. He is a wholesale dealer to other bookstores all over the world.

Chris loves books.

Stephens now maintains a lively internet operation out of his new home in Scranton, PA.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Dick Higgins, poet and publisher

unknown photographer 1970s
Dick Higgins had tremendous creative vitality. He was alive with ideas. Besides being an artist and publisher, Higgins was an arouser, an organizer, a proselytizer. He lit fires for Fluxus.

A YouTube Dick Higgins interview by Norrested & Thomsen in Copenhagen - Higgins discusses the differences and similarities between the dada and fluxus movements

another YouTube video interview - Higgins shows Something Else Press Books and tells anecdotes about production and about authors

A bitter lamentation by someone who calls himself Allen Bukoff, PhD, Social Psychologist and Fluxus Artist. It's addressed to some high profile artists and admonishes them for letting the movement slip away. He peevishly announces that he is shutting down a number of sites that I, for one, would have liked to look at.

A Child's History of Fluxus by Dick Higgins - odd but interesting

Dick Higgins explains and discusses pre-fluxus metadramas - link also includes many.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Ernest, Frank, Reynolds, and Toni

unknown photographer 1975

Ernest J. Gaines and Frank A. Scioscia

                                                                  Reynolds Price and Toni Morrison

     Usually the Literature Advisory Panel of the National Endowment for the Arts meets in Washington DC.
     July 1975 they met in Big Sur, a particularly majestic section of the California coast. Not a bad place to meet and discuss the majesty of literature and how to encourage it.
      Some of the members of the panel are pictured here. Links below tell more about the pictured author-members.

warming and inspiring article about Reynolds Price and his students in Duke University newspaper

Angelfire list of all Reynolds Price's publications + personal info

Academy of Achievement biography pf Ernest J. Gaines includes vivid pictures

a more personal article on Price from Los Angeles Times while he was still alive and well,0,7037737.story

The Official Website of the Nobel Prize - Toni Morrison biography

Distinguished Women of the Past & Present presents a very interesting biography of Toni Morrison

slide show of 9 recent Jennifer Zdon photos of Ernest J. Gaines

Sunday, March 13, 2011

FAS at the National Endowment for the Arts

In 1974, a couple of years before he founded riverrun, and while he was still working at Harper & Row, Frank Scioscia was invited to serve on the Literature Advisory Panel of
the National
Endowment for the Arts.

What an honor! He accepted. Who wouldn't?

I think Fran McCullough - on the Panel herself at the time - recommended him.

The invitation was signed by Nancy Hanks, the Chairwoman of the National Endowment for the Arts from 1969 to 1977. Perhaps she could better be called the Queen of the Arts. She built up the federal program and earlier was behind the scenes at the inception in 1964. Before the inception actually. She worked with the Rockefeller Brothers Fund helping to lay the groundwork for what was to become the National Endowment for the Arts. She was a remarkable woman. And she signed Scioscia's letter! Not that a signature on an official letter represents much of a relationship, I guess. I'm posting it though.

Frank got a very big kick out of serving on the panel.

Later he did have more than a signature; he had a very substantial and treasured friendship with a different Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts: Dana Gioia.

Gioia was Chairman from 2001 to 2009. He instituted all sorts of dynamic and satisfying projects for us. For us citizens. I have two special favorites: the Big Read - almost a national book club - and the veterans' memoir writing project.

Dana Gioia ambled into riverrun bookstore one day. It was just exactly his kind of store. Gioia was just exactly Scioscia's kind of customer. The men hit it off immediately. Both had unlimited interests. Both were down-to-earth kind of guys.

When they met a short time later, the two Marys, their wives, hit it off as well. Dana and Mary Gioia moved to Hastings on Hudson. They were up the hill and slightly south along the aqueduct from riverrun.

The way I choose to remember it is that Dana said, "I want to live in a place that has a bookstore like this," and his Mary agreed.

Frank Scioscia did not live long enough to see Dana Gioia become Chairman of the Endowment for the Arts but it wouldn't have surprised him.

That appointment would have been the absolute only thing about George Bush that Scioscia could have applauded. And he would have applauded mightily.

more about the National Endowment for the Arts

how to apply for a grant in literature

Art Works article on Dana Gioia

A whole bunch of fascinating video clips on Big Think, of Dana Gioia chatting about different things that interest him.

Book Rags biography of Nancy Hanks

Saturday, March 12, 2011

FAS at the Indian Pageant on Mt. Hood 1948

Frank Scioscia always had something to read in his pocket or some place nearby. Books everywhere actually. Even at Max Gilroy's Indian Pageant with Umatilla Indians on Mt. Hood.

Max, with his wife, Virginia, built a fort up in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon. For a couple of summers, 1948 & 1949 I think, Max orchestrated a pageant with plays and native dances.

Max and Virginia Gilroy and Frank and Mary Scioscia were friends at Reed College together. Both men came to Reed fresh from their World War II experiences. Both women came fresh from their straight A high school experiences. Max recruited the Scioscias and others for his pageant. Those were grand summers.

One of the Umatilla women made Scioscia a wonderful leather shirt. It's still in the family. Just like the books.

Umatilla Indians

Max Gilroy's son, Scott has an interesting page:

Max Gilroy wrote a newspaper column called The Old Dropout. A short-cut to some of those:

Virginia also wrote interesting stuff based on the unusual scenery of her life, but she never published, therefore, unfortunately, no link.

riverrun art ad

by Greg Stephens

Friday, March 11, 2011

J.K. Gill's Portland, Oregon

In the late 1940s a lively crew worked at J.K. Gill's Bookstore. They were surrounded by books and interesting co workers.

World War II was over and life was good.