c o n t r i b u t o r s
Ronan Coyle, the animator/director of Phantom, studied architecture for three years, then began a four-year course in visual communications. He then discovered 3-D software and did advertising animation for three years before taking time off to make the short animation Phantom, with Jim McGuinness and Giles Packham. The film was shown in competition in 2003, in Film Fleadh, Galway, where it won third place in Best Animation. At the Kerry Film Festival 2003, Phantom won commendation for Best Animation Technique and special commendation for Best Director, for which Neil Jordan was adjudicator. Ronan Coyle is at work with Giles Packham on a new animation, Calcification, due out this summer. He lives in Dublin, where he is a research assistant for Media Lab Europe, a division of MIT. His drawing “A Page from the Book o’Kells” appeared in the previous issue of Archipelago.
Stephen Cushman is the author of two books of poems, BLUE PAJAMAS (LSU Press, 1998) and CUSSING LESSON (LSU Press, 2002). He teaches at the University of Virginia, where he directs the American Studies major and the International Center for American Studies.
George Garrett is the author of books of poetry, essays, short stories, and novels, including DEATH OF THE FOX; ENTERED FROM THE SUN; THE SUCCESSION; DO, LORD, REMEMBER ME; THE KING OF BABYLON SHALL NOT COME AGAINST YOU; WHISTLING IN THE DARK, et alia. He is Henry Hoyns Professor of Creative Writing, Emeritus, University of Virginia, and has been Chancellor of the Fellowship of Southern Writers. He is now the Poet Laureate of Virginia. “A Story Goes With It” appears in another version as a chapbook published by Blacksheep Books of Five and Ten Press (Washington, D.C., June 2004).
Paul Gaston was born and reared in Fairhope, Alabama, a utopian colony founded in 1894 by his grandfather, E. B. Gaston, and others. Conceived by Iowa Populists, it aimed to demonstrate the radical economic and social theories of Henry George, and it was the first single-tax colony founded in America. Paul Gaston was educated at the School of Organic Education, founded in Fairhope in 1907, and at Swarthmore College, the University of Copenhagen, and the University of North Carolina. He joined the History Department of the University of Virginia in 1957, where he taught Southern and Civil Rights History there until his retirement in 1997. His books are: THE NEW SOUTH CREED: A STUDY IN SOUTHERN MYTHMAKING (Knopf, 1970; NewSouth Books, 2002); WOMEN OF FAIR HOPE (University of Georgia Press, 1984; Black Belt Press, 1993) and MAN AND MISSION: E.B. GASTON AND THE ORIGINS OF THE FIARHOPE SINGLE TAX COLONY (Black Belt Press, 1993).
Paul Gaston’s involvement as a civil rights and social justice activist began with his role as a community organizer and participant in protest movements and a sit-in during the 1960s. At the University he led the efforts of student and faculty groups to dismantle segregation and its heritage. He served as research director of the Southern Regional Council, the South’s oldest interracial research, information, and advocacy agency in the field of civil rights and social justice. A member of its executive committee from 1974-1998, he was president from 1984-1988. He is currently writing a memoir, tentatively entitled COMING OF AGE IN UTOPIA, THE BLESSINGS AND THE BURDENS. “My Yellow-Ribbon Town” appears in WHERE WE STAND: VOICES OF SOUTHERN DISSENT (NewSouth Books, July 2004), with a Foreword by Jimmy Carter.
James L. Hicks began his career as a reporter for the Cleveland Call and Post in 1935 and later moved on to the Baltimore Afro-American. As one of the premier investigative journalists of his generation, Hicks was also the Washington, D.C. bureau chief for the National Negro Press Association, which served more than one hundred newspapers. In 1955, he became executive director of the New York Amsterdam News, a position he would hold for the good part of twenty years. As the first black member of the State Department Correspondents Association and the first black reporter cleared to cover the United Nations, Hicks was a pioneer in the field. His coverage of the Till trial ran in dozens of African-American newspapers, and in the piece of investigative journalism (reprinted in this issue) — which ran in four installments in October 1955 — he told about the role he played in discovering the existence of “missing witnesses” to the murder. In these articles — which ran in the Baltimore Afro-American, the Cleveland Call and Post and the Atlanta Daily World — Hicks argued that the forces of law in Mississippi conspired to prevent the full evidence of the guilt of Milam and Bryant, the known killers of Emmett Till, from surfacing at the trial. The four articles appear in THE LYNCHING OF EMMETT TILL: A Documentary Narrative, by Christopher Metress (University of Virginia Press, September 2002).
Jim McGuinness, who took the reference photographs for Phantom, has been a corporate graphic designer and now is at the graphic-design studio Four5one, in the heart of Dublin, where he gets to work with the designers behind U2’s albums. He has employed a mix of medium-format and 35mm photography, and is currently involved in a personal project of portraits from travels, to Australia, America, Mexico, and other places. He and Ronan Coyle wanted to collaborate on a project, he writes, and when the idea for Phantom came up, they were pleased to work together on it. “Considering the low costs of putting together the short for Giles Packham, I think we produced a beautiful piece of work!”
Christopher Metress is Associate Professor of English at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. His essays and reviews on southern literature and culture have appeared in such journals as Southern Quarterly, Studies in the Novel, South Atlantic Review, and Southern Review. He is currently at work on a study of white southern writers and their responses to the civil rights movement. His THE LYNCHING OF EMMETT TILL: A Documentary Narrative, (University of Virginia Press) was published in September 2002. The Hicks dispatches also appeared in Archipelago Vol. 6, No. 1 Spring 2000. See also, “The Murder of Emmett Till,” a documentary on “American Experience,” PBS, and Further Reading.
Giles Packham, who composed the music for Phantom, is an Irish-born composer and musician. In 2002 he co-founded Waveform Studios, where he is now Creative Director. The Dublin-based company is now in their second year of operation, providing music composition and audio sound-design for film, television, advertising and games. Giles Packham studied music from an early age and plays many instruments. He graduated from Trinity College Dublin’s Music and Media Technologies Masters Programme in 2000, where he studied composition with Donnacha Dennehy and Roger Doyle. From there he went on to train as a sound engineer in Windmill Lane’s post-production facility. He is currently studying orchestration with former UCLA lecturers Don Ray and Bob Drasnin.
Following on from the success of Phantom, which won three awards including a special recommendation from Neil Jordan at the Kerry Film Festival in 2003, Giles Packham is collaborating with Ronan Coyle again on the animation Calcification. This seven-minute short is funded by the Irish national broadcaster RTE and the Irish Film Board and is due for release Summer 2004.