From November 12 through the 20th, no fewer than 13 events have been scheduled throughout the village. Community members are invited to attend panel discussions, book discussions, a poetry workshop, a film screening and a concert – all centered on this year’s book selection: Zeitoun. Written by Dave Eggers, this true account of one man’s experience of Hurricane Katrina exposes the drama of human rights violations when the protagonist, Abdulrahman Zeitoun, a Syrian-American who acts to protect his home and saves trapped neighbors and animals, is mistaken for a terrorist. Eggers is committed to using oral histories to address human rights concerns and has written Zeitoun as part of the “Voice of Witness” series.
One Book, One New Paltz is a volunteer-based organization that goes through a lengthy process of elimination each year in choosing a book to present to the public. Using criteria like a title’s accessibility and low cost, plus its appeal to a wide range of ages, the chosen book must also be well-written and thought-provoking. The mix of community and college activities is free and open to the public unless otherwise noted:
Friday, November 12 from 2 to 4 p.m. – The Poetry Workshop will be held in Coykendall Science Building, Room 110, at SUNY. Preregister to participate by calling (845) 257-2724 or (845) 257-2755. The Poetry Reading begins at 7 p.m. at Parker Theater on campus. Patricia Smith, author of Blood Dazzler, a collection of poems about victims of Hurricane Katrina, will lead both events.
Sunday, November 14 at noon – Rabbi Bill Strongin will lead a Community Book Discussion on Zeitoun at the Jewish Community Center at 30 North Chestnut Street. Enjoy a bagel brunch, plus feel free to bring a dairy or vegetarian dish to share.
Monday, November 15 at 4 p.m. – A Community Book Discussion will be led by SUNY-New Paltz Sociology professor emerita Dorothy Jessup and English professor Martha Afzal in the Woodland Pond Community Room at 100 Woodland Pond Circle.
Also on Monday, at 7 p.m. – Tom Meyer, director of the Hudson Valley Writing Project at SUNY-New Paltz and associate professor of Secondary Education, will lead a Community Book Discussion at the Inquiring Minds Bookstore at 6 Church Street.
Tuesday, November 16 at 12:15 p.m. – Bring a brown-bag lunch and join the Academic Panel Discussion at the Honors Center in College Hall on the SUNY campus. The moderator is Gerald Benjamin, Associate Vice President for Regional Engagement and Director of the Center for Research, Regional Education and Outreach at SUNY-New Paltz. English Department chair Tom Olsen and colleagues Phyllis Freeman (Psychology), Peter Kaufman (Sociology) and Eve Tuck (Educational Studies) will share their experiences as readers of Zeitoun with the audience.
Also on Tuesday, at 3 p.m. – Jan Schmidt, SUNY-New Paltz distinguished teaching professor in English will lead a Community Book Discussion at the Mudd Puddle at the Water Street Market. Participants will discuss the book and Eggers’ use of creative nonfiction as a mode of witnessing.
Also on Tuesday, at 5 p.m. – A Student Panel Discussion will take place in the Honors Center at College Hall with Ilgu Ozler, Political Science professor and advisor to Amnesty International (AI) USA’s New Paltz Chapter, acting as moderator. AI students will introduce AI’s campaign “Counter Terror with Justice” and talk about its relevance to Zeitoun, followed by a discussion with the audience.
Wednesday, November 17 at 3 p.m. – A Community Book Discussion will be held upstairs at the Village Tea Room Restaurant & Bake Shop at 10 Plattekill Avenue. Larry Winters, a Vietnam War veteran and licensed mental health counselor working in Katonah, will lead the discussion. Winters is a widely published poet, men’s group leader and group psychotherapist. He has published the book The Making and Un-making of a Marine.
Also on Wednesday, at 7 p.m. – The Katrina Volunteers’ Panel will take place in the Town of New Paltz Community Center at 1 Veterans Drive, consisting of local volunteers who directly helped victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in and around the City of New Orleans, including Dr. Willie Kai Yee, a retired psychiatrist and longtime resident of the New Paltz community.
Thursday, November 18 at 10:30 a.m. – Kathena Hasbrouck DeGrassi, an instructor in the Department of English at SUNY-New Paltz, will lead a Community Book Discussion in the Elting Memorial Library at 93 Main Street.
Also on Thursday, at 5 p.m. – SUNY-New Paltz professors will introduce a segment of Spike Lee’s film When the Levees Broke in Lecture Center 100. Co-sponsored by the Sociology Department, the panel includes professors Anne Roschelle (Sociology), Brian Obach (Sociology), Ilgu Ozler (Political Science) and Jonathan Rust (Psychology), with Sociology professors Karl Bryant and Roberto Velez-Velez moderating and conducting a discussion with the audience.
Friday, November 19 at 8 p.m. – The Saints of Swing Dixieland concert, led by David Winograd, will be held at Unison Arts at 68 Mountain Rest Road. Tickets are $14 for Unison members, $19 for non-members prepaid; all tickets cost $2 more at the door.
Saturday, November 20 at 4:30 p.m. – Robert Polito, director of the Graduate Program in Creative Writing at the New School in New York City, will lead a Community Book Discussion at the Elting Memorial Library.
Don’t miss the exhibit in the Elting Library, “Flood Images: Here and There,” coordinated by Caroline Paulson and featuring memories of the Arab homeland by Amal Maseer, calligraphy by Barbara Bash and Paulson’s own multimedia, as well as kids’ art, photojournalism and more. For further information visit www.onebookonenewpaltz.org.