Cheryl Dumesnil ’91 populates her debut poetry collection In Praise of Falling (University of Pittsburgh, 2008) with marionettes and picture books, tattoos and mitochondria. There desire and red sea glass and the smell of coffee and star jasmine. There is also falling down and getting back up again. Of the title poem, she writes, “I had been thinking about falling— how as human beings we are destined to fall, again and again, in our lives. We fall into and out of love, we fall into and out of spiritual practice, we fall from the heights of great expectations into the reality of human nature. We fall, we get back up, we try again, we fall. Like many people, I hated falling. I fought against it. But then I started to wonder, if falling is inevitable, is actually part of the human condition, then maybe falling isn’t a problem. Resisting the fall—that’s the problem; that’s where suffering begins. So I wrote this poem in praise of falling—the most human of human activities.” Dumesnil went on from SCU to complete an MFA at Syracuse University and returned to teach at the Mission campus from 1996 to 2001. She now lives in Walnut Creek. Her work has appeared in Calyx, Indiana Review, and elsewhere, and she is the editor of the collection Hitched! Wedding Stories from San Francisco City Hall and co-editor of Dorothy Parker’s Elbows: Tattoos on Writers.
Michael S. Malone ’75, MBA ’77 has a message for business leaders and anyone interested in how corporations profoundly influence (and are influenced by) the world at large: In case you haven’t noticed, new technologies and work practices mean the old models don’t apply. Newspapers and the music industry know this all too well. But they’re not alone. In The Future Arrived Yesterday: The Rise of the Protean Corporation and What It Means for You (Crown Business, 2009), Malone discusses the transformative rise of the entrepreneurial society in the United States, a topic he has addressed at length in the pages of this magazine (“Liberty and the pursuit,” Winter 2008 SCM). Nimble is the new catchword; the Silicon Valley start-up is the model for businesses large and small. Hello, second billion of the world as consumers— with the third billion not far beyond. Farewell, CEO as master of the universe. The new business as usual is a shape-shifting process where vertical organizations and centralizing schemes are coming apart; free-agent workers are on the rise. But with radical innovation and adaptability, tension and economic uncertainty are increasingly part of the mix, too.
In combat, rules of engagement limit levels of force and legitimate enemy targets, defining what is legal in warfare—and what is not. What happens when conscience tells soldiers that their government has ignored those rules? That’s the thrust of Rules of Disengagement: The Politics and Honor of Military Dissent (PoliPoint Press, 2009) by Marjorie Cohn J.D. ’75 and Kathleen Gilberd. Cohn is President of the National Lawyers Guild and known for her columns about the Bush Administration and as a commentator for BBC, NPR, CNN, FOX News, and MSNBC. Rules includes chapters on modern conscientious objectors and the ramifications of freefire zones in combat, along with stories of soldiers who refused to deploy to Iraq and Vietnam. Inadequate medical care and combat gear are part of the mix—as are soldiers who speak out against what they see as institutionalized racism and sexual discrimination.
MG & SBS
Laura Grimes ’86 explores the biography and writings of 13th-century theologian and mystic Gertrud of Helfta in Wisdom’s Friends: Gertrud of Helfta’s Conversational Theology (VDM Verlag, 2009). In a scholarly study of interest to scholars and students of history, theology, and women’s studies, Grimes offers a new take on St. Gertrud’s writing, which, she says, achieves a level of theological sophistication that is generally overlooked. Grimes is a lecturer in religious studies at the University of Dayton.
Anita Volta ’80 would like you to meet Patulous, the Different Caterpillar (Booksurge, 2008). Shunned by the other caterpillars for his splotchy coloring, lonely Patulous befriends Sammy the snail, Lily the ladybug, and Gabriella the grasshopper, who teach important lessons about accepting differences and true beauty. Inside: lovely illustrations to enchant young readers, and a special thank-you to the “wonderful professors and staff” from SCU.