Tag Archive | "Canio’s Books"

Writing about Nature with Poet Farmer Scott Chaskey

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Scott Chaskey

Scott Chaskey

By Emily J. Weitz

Scott Chaskey speaks for the land, and he does it with his hands as well as his words. Out in the fields at Quail Hill Farm in Amagansett almost every day, Mr. Chaskey knows the soil, he knows the migratory patterns of birds, he knows the seasons. Through the two books he’s published in recent years, “This Common Ground” and “Seedtime,” Mr. Chaskey has spread his understanding across the country and has impacted the larger farm to table movement. But his roots are not in farming, and they’re not in nonfiction writing. Scott Chaskey was educated a poet.

Mr. Chaskey met his wife Megan, a Kundalini yoga teacher and poet herself, while earning his MFA degree in England. Ever since, they’ve both woven poetry into whatever they do. Now, as the Director of Quail Hill, his voice has become a significant contributor to the national conversation about farms and sustainability. And it only makes sense that in his poetry as well as his prose, nature is a great source of inspiration.

“We can connect with nature through the written word,” said Mr. Chaskey.

He hesitates to term himself a nature writer, though he has great respect for many others who are. John Fowles, who wrote “The Tree,” had a particular impact on him, and he quoted him in “Seedtime.” Other major influences include John Haye.

“He’s a spectacular writer about the natural world, and wrote in the mid to late 20th century,” said Mr. Chaskey.

His own teachers, first at SUNY Binghamton and then in graduate school, taught him a great deal about capturing the natural world with words.

At this point in our conversation, Mr. Chaskey gasped, then laughed.

“A bird just flew into my window!” he said. “I have to go!”

When he called back, he informed me that a sparrow had flown into the window of the shop at Quail Hill, where he was at work.

“Here we are talking about a connection with nature and a sparrow flies into the window,” he laughed. “I suppose nature is something you can’t get away from.”

It reminded him of an early connection he made between writing and nature. He was living in a fishing village in Cornwall, England while he pursued his MFA. His mentor was a poet named Edgar Wallace, and he also felt the connection between the beautiful cliff meadows and the urge to write.

“Edgar was part of the landscape,” recalls Mr. Chaskey. “I remember one day coming down the steep hill, and Edgar was coming the other way. And he walked over to a bush, and hugged the bush. It was his way of greeting me. He was so connected to the natural world that he hugged the bush.”

Mr. Chaskey feels that same kind of deep connection now, though he didn’t always. Growing up in the suburbs didn’t nurture that kind of connection. But he found it in Cornwall, and it’s only grown since.

“It took a while for that connection to surface,” he said, “but since I’ve lived on the cliffs of Cornwall and on this beautiful peninsula, it has become crisp.”

As well as being a farmer and poet, Mr. Chaskey is a teacher. He’s taught poetry to children, college students, and adults. Over the next two weeks, he will lead a workshop on writing about nature at Canio’s Books in Sag Harbor.

“I want it to be open. I’ll present things that I think are wonderful examples of people writing about nature, and people will bring their own thoughts and favorite passages… It always bubbles up out of the experience of who’s in the room.”

There’s a line by the poet George Oppen: “There are things we live among, and to see them is to know ourselves.” Mr. Chaskey uses this as a guide to his practice of writing about nature.

“We have to be in it,” he said. “I advise walking as much as you can, looking and seeing, and combine that with reading other passages from writers you admire.”

Writing about Nature with Scott Chaskey will take place at Canio’s Books, 290 Main Street in Sag Harbor, on Thursday, February 19 and Thursday, February 26 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. The cost is $75 for both sessions and registration is required. Call Canio’s Books at (631) 725-4926 or visit caniosbooks.com for more information.




Canio’s Building on Market

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The Main Street building that is home to Canio’s Books has recently been put on the market for $2.9 million.

Martha Siegler, who owns the 4,500-square-foot building, confirmed it was listed but did not wish to comment further. The building has three apartments and over 800 square feet of storefront retail space, which has been the home of Canio’s Books for 35 years.

Kathryn Szoka, who has run the bookstore with Maryanne Calandrille since 1999, said on Tuesday evening that it was a “very new situation,” adding she had “just found out” the building was on the market.

She and her partner have recently signed a lease, she said, but Ms. Szoka did not wish to discuss the details of it.

“We are hopeful and we’re committed to being in Sag Harbor,” Ms. Szoka said. This year marks the 35th anniversary of the bookstore, which was opened by Canio Pavone in 1980.

“We’re looking forward to this 35th anniversary and we have good hopes going forward,” she added. In celebration of this jubilee, Canio’s will be putting on many different activities, including resurrecting the “Moby Dick” reading marathon this year.

Critic and Essayist Daphne Merkin at Canio’s Books in Sag Harbor

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By Tessa Raebeck

Daphne Merkin, called “one of the most daring and ruminative writers of our time” by her editors at The New York Times Magazine, will be at Canio’s Books in Sag Harbor on Saturday, September 13, at 5 p.m.

A literary critic, essayist and novelist, Ms. Merkin has written a novel, two collections of essays and columns and reviews. She has written for such publications as The New Republic, The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine and is a regular contributor to ELLE.

At Canio’s, Ms. Merkin will read from her latest collection of essays, “The Fame Lunches: On Wounded Icons, Money, Sex, The Brontes and The Importance of Handbags,” released in 2014.

“Merkin’s hilarious and insightful essays include self-revelatory reflections on personal appearance (lip gloss, pedicures), accounts of personal obsessions, thoughts about fashion and celebrities, and more,” Canio’s said in a press release.

The book includes essays on Betty Friedan, Diane Keaton and Truman Capote.

Kirkus Review said Ms. Merkin’s work consists of “essays that go down like candy but nourish like health food.”

Canio’s Books is located at 290 Main Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, call (631) 725-4926 or visit caniosbooks.com.

East End Weekend: Highlights of July 18 to 20

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"Calabrone" by Ramiro. Courtesy Grenning Gallery.

“Calabrone” by Ramiro. Courtesy Grenning Gallery.

By Tessa Raebeck

Summer is in full swing and there’s plenty to choose from to do on the East End this weekend. Here are some highlights:


The Grenning Gallery in Sag Harbor is hosting an opening reception for Ramiro’s Solo Show on Saturday, July 19, from 6 to 8 p.m.

“Ramiro solo show this year steps forward into a more mystical and hopeful realm,” owner Laura Grenning wrote in a press release.

“Anchoring the exhibit is a suite of four substantial figurative works, with each painting representing a season of the soul.  Although well known for his expert likenesses in portraiture and grand figurative work, Ramiro’s distinguishing characteristic is, ironically, his ability to let go of the discreet reality of the eyes when necessary.  With this, he infuses his narrative compositions with mystery that allows the paintings to endure the critical test of time,” added Ms. Grenning.

The Grenning Gallery is located at 17 Washington Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, call (631) 725-8469.


Water Mill’s  Parrish Art Museum is hosting its second edition of Gesture Jam, an adult figure drawing class in which artists sketch live models in a high-energy environment, Friday, July 18 at 6 p.m.

Facilitated by local artist and educator Andrea Cote, this year’s Gesture Jam will be held outdoors on the museum’s terrace and include live musicians Nicolas Letman-Burtanovic on bass and Sean Sonderegger on saxaphone. Local dancers Adam and Gail Baranello are the models.

“Imagine going home with drawings that look like you’ve been to some sort of psychedelic cabaret, and feeling that way too. Andrea Cote’s Gesture Jam classes have just that effect,” Parrish Curator of Special Projects Andrea Grover said in a press release.

The Parrish Art Museum is located at 279 Montauk Highway in Water Mill. For more information, call (631) 283-2118.


Celebrities are coming to Bridgehampton for CMEE’s 6th Annual Family Fair on Saturday, July 19 from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The Children’s Museum of the East End‘s largest fundraiser, this year the fair will have a magical theme.

George Stephanopoulos, Dan Abrams, Jane Krakowski, Joy Behar, Julie Bowen, Molly Sims and Tiffani Thiessen (of Saved by the Bell fame) are some of the CMEE supporters expected to be in attendance.

Children and their families can enjoy magical arts and crafts, water slides, games and entertainment, music, food, and CMEE’s brand new nine-hole miniature golf course.

CMEE is located at 376 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike on the Bridgehampton side. For more information, call (631) 537-8250.


A painting by Georges Desarmes. Courtesy Christ Episcopal Church.

A painting by Georges Desarmes. Courtesy Christ Episcopal Church.

Christ Episcopal Church in Sag Harbor is hosting its fourth Haitian Art & Handcraft Sale all weekend, July 18 to 20, to benefit the village of Chermaître in partnership with the Vassar Haiti Project.

An opening reception will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday and the sale will continue in the Upper Parish Hall on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Two hundred original paintings and a large assortment of unique and affordable gifts, including silk scarves, jewely and iron sculpture, will be on sale.

Many women in the village, Chermaître in northwestern Haiti, are struggling to start small businesses to support their families by selling the crafts they create and the coffee they grow. Proceeds from the church sale will go toward building a community center in the village to support those women.

For more information on the charity, call (970) 946-7614 or visit haitiproject.org. The Christ Episcopal Church is located at the corner of East Union and Hampton Street (Route 114) in Sag Harbor. For more information, call the church at (631) 725-0128.


The gallery at Sag Harbor’s Canio Books is hosting artists Ron Focarino and Jeanelle Myers, with her latest assemblage series, Plains Reverie, with an opening reception Friday, July 18 from 5 to 7 p.m.

“Myers work reflects the influence of her Nebraska roots, echoing the work of Wright Morris and Joseph Cornell,” the gallery said in a press release. “Myers incorporates a diverse array of found objects including old letters, metals, writing implements, fabric and many other materials into her compelling assemblages.”

"Golden Scarab" enamel sculpture by Ron Focarino. Courtesy Canio's Books.

“Golden Scarab” enamel sculpture by Ron Focarino. Courtesy Canio’s Books.

Artist Ron Focarino will also be exhibiting, showing his “creature creations, delightful enamel sculptures of insects, including a dragonfly, crane fly, scarab and others,” according to Canio’s.

The exhibit runs July 11 through August 5 at Canio’s Books, 290 Main Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, call (631) 725-4926.

The Romany Kramoris Gallery in Sag Harbor presents the artwork of Anna De Mauro and Thomas Condon, with an opening reception Saturday, July 19 from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

Sculptor and painter Anna De Mauro is a figurative artist working from the live model.

“Her work process includes observation from life to record instinctual responses to the subject, passage of time and impressions of the metaphysical and the human condition,” the gallery said in a press release.

Thomas Condon lives part-time in East Hampton and focuses on the local landscape here on the East End, as well as the urban scenes of New York City.

The show runs July 17 through August 7 at the Romany Kramoris Gallery, 41 Main Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, call (631) 725-2499.

Writer, Poet and Activist Alexis De Veaux to Sign Latest Work “Yabo” at Canio’s in Sag Harbor

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By Tessa Raebeck

Poet, writer and activist Alexis De Veaux will be at Canio's Books in Sag Harbor at 5 p.m. Saturday, June 14.

Poet, writer and activist Alexis De Veaux will be at Canio’s Books in Sag Harbor at 5 p.m. Saturday, June 14.

Award-winning author Alexis De Veaux has two critical concerns: making the racial and sexual experiences of black female characters central and disrupting boundaries between forms.

In her latest fiction work, “Yabo,” Ms. De Veaux explores those concerns in a collection of prose and poetry. The activist author will be on hand Saturday, June 14, at Canio’s Books in Sag Harbor to read excerpts, sign books and celebrate her new publication.

“O yes, there are other heres. Simultaneous to this one,” reads the prelude. “Echoes. Or did you think the story you were told, the story you grew up believing, repeating, about the past, present, and the future—and the commas you see here separating those stories—was all there is?”

As a writer for Essence Magazine in 1990, Ms. De Veaux was the first North American to interview Nelson Mandela upon his release from prison. She has traveled extensively as an artist and lecturer and has received multiple literary awards for her biographies of Billie Holiday and Audre Lorde.

Ms. De Veaux will read from “Yabo” and sign copies of her book at 5 p.m. Saturday, June 14 at Canio’s Books, 290 Main Street in Sag Harbor.

Sag Harbor Novelist Robert Boris Riskin Reading of “Deadly Secrets” at Canio’s Books

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Author Robert Boris Riskin.

Sag Harbor author Robert Boris Riskin.

By Tessa Raebeck

Sharing the latest adventures of crime solver Jake Wanderman, Sag Harbor resident and novelist Robert Boris Riskin will read from his new thriller, “Deadly Secrets,” on Saturday, June 7, at Canio’s Books in Sag Harbor.

A detective with a knack for solving crimes and quoting Shakespeare, Jake travels to London and Paris to track down a “Hamptons murderer.”

Mr. Riskin first introduced Jake in his previous novel, “Deadly Bones,” a humorous but thrilling mystery novel. He also wrote “Scrambled Eggs,” a satirical look at the art world set on the East End.

Mr. Riskin’s reading on Saturday will begin at 5 p.m. Canio’s Books is located at 290 Main Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, call (631) 725-4926 or visit caniosbooks.com.

Philip Schultz reads from “The Wherewithal” at Canio’s Books

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Author Philip Schultz will read at Canio's Books Saturday.

Author Philip Schultz will read at Canio’s Books Saturday.

By Tessa Raebeck

Poet, author and Pulitzer-prize winner Philip Schultz, of East Hampton, will return to Canio’s Books to read from his latest novel in verse form, “The Wherewithal” on Saturday at 5 p.m.

Called “one of the literary renditions of the Shoah I know,” by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Saul Friedlander, “The Wherewithal” tells the story of Henryk Wyrzykowski, a haunted young man taking refuge from the Vietnam War draft in a San Francisco basement. Using the time to translate his mother’s diaries concerning the Jedwabne pogrom, a massacre in July 1941, during the German occupation of Poland, of over 300 Polish Jews.

Mr. Schultz has authored a memoir, “My Dyslexia” and seven poetry books, earning a Pulitzer Prize for “Failure.” He is founder and director of the Writer’s Studio in New York City.

The reading will be Saturday, April 5 at 5 p.m. at Canio’s Books, 290 Main Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, call 725.4926.

Stories From Your Life

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Essayist and NPR personality David Bouchier leadsd workshop at Canio's

Essayist and NPR personality David Bouchier leadsd workshop at Canio's

By Joan Baum

You just know who wrote up the entries on David Bouchier’s website because the prose has tell-tale signature words and phrases — witty and whimsical remarks on the eccentric and absurd Ways of the World delivered in a humorous, distinctive deadpan style that matches the unmistakable, unhurried baritone of his droll public radio persona. And so one learns online that Bouchier spent 15 years as a lecturer in sociology at the “experimental” University of Essex, after getting a “late-life Ph.D.” from the London School of Economics, and that the experience explains his “notable streak of irony.”

One learns further that a visiting professorship at SUNY yielded a “surrealistic experience” that prompted him to abandon “all hope of earning a proper living, and become a freelance writer and broadcaster.”

WSHU listeners in particular are indeed grateful for his professional turn, and for an earlier decision to take advantage of his marriage to an American citizen, “escape the British climate” and settle in Suffolk County, from which, for many years, he contributed  “Out of Order” reflections to the Long Island section of The New York Times, and numerous other periodicals, and where he situates himself, still, taking quirky Op Ed aim at the various follies and incongruities of contemporary culture, and hosting the popular classical music program, “Sunday Matinee.” As Naomi Starobin, the news director of WSHU notes, David Bouchier “is one of a kind — the wry observations, the accent, the time-learned wisdom.”

Although radio syndication and books and articles ensure that Bouchier’s “curious thoughts” and “idiosyncratic” takes on the Human Comedy in America are heard far and wide, this coming Saturday, he will be on local ground when he leads an all-day workshop on essay writing at Canio’s Books in Sag Harbor. He may be, arguably, one of the best heirs of the familiar essay tradition, where creative and critical writing come together by way of personal voice and conversational manner to provide lively comment on significant subjects. Years of teaching at various universities, including the famous Iowa Summer Writing Festival, have certainly given him perspective on the silly as well as the serious in American society. His essays, admirably original, and his pitches for them, consistently charming, exemplify critical intelligence, casually worn. His most recent book (of seven essay collections), Peripheral Vision: Irregular Essays from Public Radio (2011), has been hailed as  “spot-on” and full of “insightful musings . . . not to be missed.” So, don’t miss them, Bouchier writes, “It’s not too late, and may never be too late to grab a copy.”

For certain, those who have already signed up for his workshop know about him, but can writing be taught? Some say no, and Bouchier allows that there is “a grain of dreadful truth” in this, but he also thinks that “the vast majority” can write something “successfully,” meaning that they can enjoy what they produce and will have learned something about writing from the experience. He’s talking about essay writing, of course, not fiction. What he hopes to accomplish with the Saturday workshop is convince participants that essays can begin from “anything at all, however minor or seemingly trivial,” and that though essay writing, unlike fiction, has no plot or characters, it should nonetheless  “spin out” from the initial small observation and move in a different, “imaginative” direction — in other words, have structure and narrative drive.

He’ll be bringing examples from literary history to show what works (Hazlitt, Dr. Johnson) and what doesn’t, and if participants give permission, perhaps he’ll also engage them in critiquing their own work, the Iowa model. What may go awry with attempting to write a popular essay?

Sometimes people think that a personal essay must stay with the personal — that “I” rules; but beginning and ending with yourself, as though you were writing a memoir, is likely to “tip” self-referencing into “solipsism,” he says. The informing idea is to go “from personal to general,” to risk following an apparent irrelevancy, “not to be rigid,” to let voice lead. As for style, that comes with time and experience. He’s been writing since he was a teen, he points out. Over the years he has had many styles — for print journalism, for academic writing, for radio — bringing to each a refined sense of how style grows out of a sense of self. In Bouchier’s case, it could be said that his style reflects a self that never lets confidence overwhelm modesty, that never forgets that humor lies at the heart of man’s humanity to man.

The Master Workshop Series at Canio’s Cultural Café began last August when Mark Doty offered a “hugely successful” poetry workshop, says Maryann Calendrille, co-owner with Kathryn Szoka of Canio’s. The series seemed like a “natural extension of our authors’ reading series,” just as the café itself seemed like a good way to expand programs that drew on the area’s “long literary history.”  Teachers, both of them, Maryann and Kathryn were eager to create an “intimate” setting  — “no one’s competing for grades” — where a “relaxed but still substantive and intensive learning atmosphere” would take place between participants and facilitators. A small group seemed particularly important for workshops on “the writing process.”  The award-winning short story writer Simon Van Booy led a winter workshop, and Marvin Bell, from the Iowa Writers Workshop offered “How to be a Poet Everyday.” Canio’s also offers workshops in other fields. In January, pastoral associate Eda Lorello held a four-week workshop on Thomas Merton, and upcoming seminars will feature Buddhism and Biblical interpretation. And more.

As for how Maryann and Kathryn connected with David Bouchier, they say they’ve been fans for years, and once, after hearing him lecture, and learning that he had worked in a bookshop in London, invited him to Canio’s.

“Somehow this evolved into his spending an afternoon as a ‘shop clerk’ one July day in 2000. The rest is history – meaning he wrote about the experience.

Of course he did — vintage Bouchier.

David Bouchier will be leading the essay writing workshop on April 13, 10 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Reservations a must, space is limited. Call Canio’s for details at 725-4926.

Books: Adjusting to a Changing Readership

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Books Pic adjusted

By Claire Walla

The closing of the Borders chain of bookstores two weeks ago served as another reminder to those in the book biz of how fragile the industry has become in the last few years. And it’s caused some to wonder: what’s the future of the book?

In a serendipitous course of events, last week our local independent chain Book Hampton in Sag Harbor hosted a talk with Harper Collins publisher Jonathan Burnham, called “On The Edge: The Future of Publishing.” In a conversation with BookHampton owner Charlene Spektor, Burnham discussed the elements now plaguing the industry, and what booksellers can expect to see in the future. (The forecast is rather uncertain.)

“What’s happening at the moment is that there is a migration of readers from books [or, what the publishing industry now refers to as p-books] to e-books,” Burnham explained. He said digital sales at Harper Collins started as a nascent trend about a year ago. But, while e-book sales were about five percent of Harper Collins’ overall business last year, that total has now hit around 40 percent.

“What’s interesting to us is how fast that’s happened,” Burnham continued. “There has been a huge change [in consumer spending habits] and we the publishers are finding it hard to keep up.”

While many have blamed Borders’ downfall on the company’s failure to latch on to e-book publishing as early as its competitor, Barnes & Noble, which actually manufactured its own e-reader, the Nook, the boom of the digital market has made waves locally, as well.

Burnham called this “the year of difficult questions,” an assertion with which independent book sellers here in Sag Harbor would agree.

Both Spektor, owner of BookHampton, and Maryanne Calendrille, owner of Canio’s Books just up the way, expressed uncertainty when it came to the future of their business. Though both shops are finding creative ways to increase local interest and up revenue (including upping their online presence and expanding the scope of business to include public speakers), neither can tell what the future will hold.

For Spektor, changing times has meant shifting gears. While she said BookHampton rests on a tradition of personal service, that concept has broadened in the wake of the digital revolution.

In the past year, BookHampton has begun selling e-books to customers, largely in response to the fact that people began walking in the store, taking stock of interesting titles and then purchasing those books online at a later date. The chain has also put effort into boosting its online presence, creating a website that, Spektor said, bears the intimate feel of the store itself. In fact, employees refer to the site as “the fourth store.” (BookHampton has physical locations in Sag Harbor, Southampton and East Hampton.)

What it really boils down to, she said, is that “independent bookstores reflect the community that they’re in. “What we have is a tradition of personal service: making recommendations and listening [to people’s questions],” she explained. “All of those things you don’t really get when you go online. Online, it’s just an algorithm.”

On a warm Tuesday afternoon, Maryanne Calendrille answered a customer’s questions and made literary recommendations at Canio’s Books on Main Street, just up the road from BookHampton.
After noticing a worn collection of Harvard classics lined-up atop one of the store’s many shelves, the customer wondered aloud, “Is anyone interested in this anymore?” As it turned out, Calendrille knew of a local author, Chris Beha, who happened to write a book about his experience reading the entirety of the Harvard classics in a single year, called The Whole Five Feet.

The woman’s husband, Harold Rubin, spoke of his fondness for the store as his wife purchased the book. “Coming here, you can talk to people who are knowledgeable and can give you the feel for a book,” he said. “Online, you get the technical. Here, you get the emotional.”

It’s a notion Burnham referenced last week. He said there are certain genres, like romantic fiction, erotica and—surprise, surprise—vampire books that sell very well in electronic form.

“The Internet is a world of geeks and cults,” he explained. Whereas non-fiction tomes and even business-related texts tend to sell better in paper. For many book buyers, he added, sales are contingent on that idea of the bookstore as a community.

Like BookHampton, Calendrille said the purpose of her local shop is not only to provide a place where people can browse for books. It is a gathering space for those in the community. And it’s a reflection of the creative interests and outgrowth of the neighborhood. Local artwork hangs on the walls, writers speak in the shop on the weekends and Calendrille herself teaches writing workshops in the back.

“You can’t deny the business is changing,” she said. “But, what we have here are the kinds of books that curious readers are interested in. It’s a collaboration of our interests and our customers’ interests,” she continued. “And to me, that’s the beauty of the place.”

As Spektor put it, the survival of independent bookshops is contingent on the communities in which they exist. “In the long run,” she said, “it depends on whether or not you want to see these Main Streets thrive, or whether you want to see Main Street as a concept dry-up.”

Carl Safina Revisits an Environmental Crisis

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Carl Safina

by Courtney M. Holbrook

After the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010 and the subsequent oil spill that affected the coastal U.S. for months, fears of an environmental disaster spread across the country in almost apocalyptic proportions.
Politicians, members of the media and people everywhere wondered whether oil giant British Petroleum, from whose well the spill emanated, had initiated a disaster that would destroy flora, fauna and individual lives with no hope of repair.

Initially, Dr. Carl Safina, a world-renowned ecologist and marine conservationist and co-founder of the Blue Ocean Institute, pondered similar theories. Could the spill be the disaster to shock all others?

“Before the spill ended, we didn’t know the dimensions of the event,” Safina said. “So, there was a lot of panic. It was such a chaotic time.”

After the spill, Random House asked Safina, the author of well-received books such as “The View from Lazy Point: A Natural Year in an Unnatural World” and “Eye of the Albatross: Visions of Hope and Survival,” to write about his experiences in the Gulf. That chronicle became “A Sea in Flames,” which was released on the anniversary of the explosion. On Saturday, July 23 at 6 p.m., Safina, who lives in Amagansett, reads from “A Sea in Flames” at Canio’s Books in Sag Harbor.

“A Sea in Flames” discusses the facts behind the spill, and the problems concerning the clean-up process and BP’s corporate response. In the end, Safina argues that ecological pollution and the release of fossil fuels through daily life into the atmosphere continue to cause more damage to the ocean than that caused by the oil spill. These toxic fuels, he says, release “carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The oils we’re burning aren’t diluting, they’re actually concentrating in the atmosphere. This is an environmental catastrophe that will cause — has already begun to cause — overwhelming problems.”

It is this ultimate conclusion that drives “A Sea in Flames” — the mismanagement of a “cutting corners culture” and lackadaisical attitude to ecological preservation that characterized the spill will lead us to even greater future problems than the spill itself, according to Safina.

The three-part structure of the book follows Safina’s personal realizations of the truths of the spill. The first part concerns the causes of the explosion. As has been well documented, BP has been accused of not taking proper safety precautions to prevent the disaster, causing more than 53,000 barrels of oil a day to gush out until it was stopped on July 15, 2010.

The second part of the book discusses what happened when the oil was flowing, and the emotional consequences of this event. Safina notes there were tremendous “psychological effects on the fishermen and people living [on the Gulf].” He also discusses the efforts he says BP took to prevent journalists from following the event.

After the stoppage comes the perspective — answering the question of what toll the disaster took on the Gulf of Mexico and the men and women who live off its oceans. As of now, some of the worst predictions have not happened. Indeed, fishermen who feared their livelihoods would be dashed forever have returned to the Gulf.

For Safina, writing “A Sea in Flames” was a harsher experience. Unlike the process with his previous works, where the discussion of environmental hazards and life on the ocean took an almost reflective tone, this book is angry.

Some of the “enraged” tone came from the difference in the book’s theme. “A Sea in Flames” deals with a disaster of technology, where a man-made structure caused biological damage. His previous books have dealt more with man’s immediate effects on biology.

Anger also came from the carelessness Safina saw from BP and other officials. Less concern was shown for the victims of the spill, he says, than for monetary downturns BP faced. That constant emotional intensity took its toll.

“It’s an enraged book, and that’s a very different tone for me,” Safina said. “And it was very hard to be so angry for several months in a row. It was a relief to know there was a deadline in sight.”

Though the deadline has come and gone, Safina will continue to remember the lessons of the spill and the conservation issues facing Americans today. He believes another spill is “absolutely inevitable.” Although he cannot say whether safety has improved in the equipment, he believes the mass hunger for oil in America continues to lead us down dangerous paths to find it.

“All the easy places are tapped out now,” Safina said. “We’re having to go into more difficult places with deeper water, harsher conditions.”

Now, Safina is taking a break from books. Instead, he is working on his television documentary series for PBS entitled “Saving the Ocean with Carl Safina.” After an intense year of writing, the PBS series provides a welcome respite. But no matter the medium,

Safina intends to continue his quest to save the oceans from mankind’s harmful practices.
“When it comes to oil, our own addiction to it will hurt the ocean,” he said. “Hopefully, next time we’ll spend less time cleaning off birds and more time changing our habits and addictions.”