Tuesday, June 3, 2003

Local Lit: New titles by area writers

By Rob Stout
Enquirer contributor

The Cincinnati Wing: The Story of Art in the Queen City

Edited by Julie Aronson (Ohio University Press; $49.95). During the second half of the 19th century, Cincinnati was a renowned center for painting, sculpture and decorative arts. The city's contributions are the subject of a permanent display at the Cincinnati Art Museum, for which this hardbound catalog acts as both a primer and guide. Color photographs capture some of the more than 400 exhibited works, with accompanying text by museum curators Anita Ellis and Jennifer Howe.

Dulcimer Maker: The Craft of Homer Ledford

By R. Gerald Alvey (University of Kentucky Press; $19.95). The lap dulcimer is one of the few truly indigenous American sounds. The life of Ledford, an internationally known craftsman and musician, is only half of this biographical hybrid by retired University of Kentucky professor Alvey. Ledford shares the spotlight with the crafting process he has perfected over a half century in Winchester, Ky., captured by the author in a highly technical narrative and with step-by-step photographs.

Forever Green: Ireland Now and Again

By Cathal Liam (St. Padraic Press; $14). The dream of a free and united Ireland continues to haunt the Irish at home, as well as expatriates such as this Cincinnati author. Bookended by the 1916 rebellion and the Good Friday accord of 1998, this collection of anecdotes, travel narratives, Irish poetry and excerpts from Liam's novel Consumed in Freedom's Flame is a reminder of the difficulty in bringing peace to a land rife with distrust.

Moon Handbooks: Ohio

By David K. Wright (Avalon Travel; $17.95). Moon Handbooks have prided themselves in providing not only the facts but also "the feel" of a particular destination through interesting sidebars, an often eccentric selection of accommodations and an equally eccentric cast of travel writers. Wright, a disabled Vietnam vet, Indiana native and Wisconsin resident, surveys the Buckeye state with an eye toward the past, shunning shinier tourist spots in favor of older, urban cores. Cincinnati highlights include the Greenwich Tavern, Colerain Bowl and the Echo restaurant.

The Several World

By Will Toedtman (Kent State University Press; $14). The University of Cincinnati student approaches the craft of poetry through a combination of stark phrasing and small details. Subjects range from the transcendence of everyday experiences in "Keeping Grounds" to a series of five interludes denoting the author's musical past. The 18 poems combine spoken immediacy and personal intimacy in an invigorating debut collection.

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