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Voices SS2013Voices is the membership magazine of the New York Folklore Society.

Dedicated to publishing the content of folklore in the words and images
of its creators and practitioners!

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Voices: The Journal of New York Folklore features articles, stories, interviews, reminiscences, essays, folk poetry and music, photographs and artwork from people in all parts of New York State. Voices is the Society’s membership magazine. The magazine also publishes peer-reviewed, research-based articles, written in an accessible style, on topics related to traditional art and life, including ethnic culture. Join NYFS today to receive this new membership magazine!

Voices features articles, stories, interviews, reminiscences, essays, folk poetry and music, photographs, and artwork drawn from people in all parts of New York State, folklorists and non-folklorists alike. The magazine also publishes peer-reviewed, research-based articles, written in an accessible style, on topics related to traditional art and life, including ethnic culture. Informative columns on subjects such as legal issues, photography, sound and video recording, archiving, ethics, and the nature of traditional art and life appear on a regular basis.
Look inside ⇓
VOICES, Vol. 39, Spring-Summer 2013

Voices SS2013

What always strikes me about Voices is its clarity and openness, both in design and content. It’s inviting, lively, and readable and has plenty of variety. It presents artists and communities with respect and sensitivity, yet one learns too about what folklorists do and who they are. Voices gives a picture of New York State and its people that cannot be found elsewhere.
Anna Lomax Wood, Director, Association for Cultural Equity

LISTEN to New York Folklore Society’s executive director, Ellen McHale interviewed by Steve Black for his radio show, “Periodical Radio,” about Voices.
Download MP3

⇐LOOK INSIDE back issues of Voices

From the Spring-Summer 2013 issue of Voices:

I just had to pick the green beans this morning before heading off to work. With last night’s rain and the promised sun of the day, the beans would grow a bit too big for my taste by evening. The summer’s bounty is upon us in upstate New York, only hinted at a few months ago as winter turned to spring and I was first drawn back to the kitchen garden to look for the first bits of chives or chervil, arugula or dandelion greens.

My Dad was a gardener, too. A good one, I’m told, whose vegetables he grew as a teenager won 4H ribbons. He followed the then new methods taught by Cornell Cooperative Extension, like using commercial fertilizers for bigger yields and hot water canning for safer storage. I’m told he also followed the old ways, like always planting your peas on Good Friday; salting and fermenting pickles and corned beef in stoneware crocks in a cool basement; knowing the value of cow manure for the best tasting sweet corn. His summer bounty was essential for feeding the family, where summers were spent growing, canning, butchering, and freezing to ensure food for the winter. He built a cold storage room in the basement of our ‘50s ranch house for the crocks and canned pickles, jams, and jellies. He also relied heavily on the new American Harvester chest freezer for homegrown beef, chicken, and vegetables. I remember finding his green beans at the bottom of this freezer years after he had passed.

When my sister and I rediscovered gardening and canning as teens, my Mom couldn’t understand our fascination with this work. She associated these activities with long, hot summers, some when she was very pregnant—work that had to be done for the family. Sue and I did it for the satisfaction of producing our own homegrown pesto or chutney or jam, perhaps as a connection to our past, but not necessarily to feed our families.

I enjoy eating green beans from my own garden but don’t have to rely on it. Raising my own family these past 25 years in an old house in the upper Hudson Valley of my father’s youth, I’ve taken to rediscovering the old ways by indirect means. Thanks to the efforts of an association like Terre Vivante and their book, Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning, I have access to traditional techniques and recipes collected from the gardeners and farmers of rural France. I continue to freeze and can (easy to find in cookbooks), but have also learned to preserve my harvest with salt, oil, sugar, vinegar, and alcohol. I’ve tried my hand at butchering with my younger brother, who has learned to cure and smoke bacon and makes an amazing lonzino.

This access to the knowledge of our elders reminds me of a recent discussion with a Native American friend, who appreciates the efforts of earlier collectors so that he could rediscover his people’s stories and make them his own. I don’t have my Dad’s recipe, but I’m told by the elders in my family that my garlic dill pickles taste just Dad’s.

I could blanch and freeze those green beans I picked this morning, but I may try something new. Since they were caught a bit on the young side, I may blanch and then dry them for an alternative to potato chips. I think Dad would approve.

Todd DeGarmo
Voices Acquisitions Editor
Founding Director of the Folklife Center at Crandall Public Library

The taxpayers are hollering, and the state’s contribution to this wonderful little magazine has been drastically cut. Those of us who read it all the way through have to all chip in.
—Pete Seeger, musician and activist, Beacon, New York

VISIT our online gallery bookstore to purchase back issues.


Meet Todd DeGarmo, Voices Acquisitions Editor
Todd DeGarmo

Todd DeGarmo is the acquisitions editor for Voices: The Journal of New York Folklore, leading an editorial team which includes Ellen McHale as executive editor, Patricia Mason as copy editor, and Laurie Longfield as Voices’ manager. Todd took over this editorship from Dr. Eileen Condon who served as acquisitions editor until 2007.

Todd is the founding director of the Center for Folklife, History and Cultural Programs at the Crandall Public Library in Glens Falls, NY. Todd is a former board member and past president of the New York Folklore Society. He brings a wealth of knowledge and prior experience to the position of acquisitions editor, including a knowledge of Japanese culture, Adirondack studies, tourism, and architectural studies.

Send Your Story to Voices!
Did you know that Voices publishes creative writing, including creative fiction (such as short stories), creative nonfiction (such as memoirs and life/work stories), and poetry? We also publish artistic and ethnographic photography and artwork, in addition to research-based articles on New York State folk arts and artists. If you are one of New York’s many traditional artists or working in a traditional occupation—including fishing, boat building, traditional healing, instrument making, firefighting, and nursing, to name a few—please consider sharing your life or work story with the readers of Voices: The Journal of New York Folklore. Check out our new column heading First Person, which spotlights folk artists and folk arts workers, giving creative people space in each issue to share their life stories in their own words. First Person allows people to share the reasons they have spent a lifetime supporting or recreating New York’s diverse traditions, passing them down through generations—whether it’s gardening, carving, roots music, village dancing, egg decorating, weaving, quilting, fiddling, traditional singing, basketry, ethnic foodways, traditional calligraphy, or home altar building. Email the acquisitions editor of Voices, at nyfs@nyfolklore.org.

Check our submission guidelines for authors.

Send your letter to the editor here

Folklorists are writers. We write every day: monographs and scholarly articles, field notes, festival and event brochures, exhibit texts, grant applications, final reports, press releases, proposals. In fact, I would say that time spent writing is more than fifty percent of any folklorist’s annual cycle of work. The essentials of folklore—the ethnographic material—are fundamental to a great story. As any fieldworker can attest, entering into the personal experience of another individual is expansive and illuminating. The everyday becomes novel when viewed from the viewpoint of the uninitiated. The job of the folklorist is to translate that experience to those who may not get the opportunity to go through it themselves and to help the reader to find meaning in the experience.
Ellen McHale, PhD, Executive Director, NYFS

What is Folklife?
The everyday and intimate creativity that all of us share and pass on to the next generation:

The traditional songs we sing, listen and dance to

Fairy tales, stories, ghost tales and personal histories

Riddles, proverbs, figures of speech, jokes and special ways of speaking

Our childhood games and rhymes

The way we celebrate life
  – from birthing our babies to honoring our dead

The entire range of our personal and collective beliefs
  – religious, medical, magical, and social

Our handed-down recipes and everyday mealtime traditions

The way we decorate our world
  – from patchwork patterns on our quilts to plastic flamingoes in our yards, to tattoos on our bodies

The crafts we create by hand
  – crocheted afghans, wooden spoons, cane bottoms on chairs

Patterns and traditions of work
  – from factory to office cubicle

The many creative ways we express ourselves as members of our family, our community, our geographical region, our ethnic group, our religious congregation, or our occupational group

Folklife is part of everyone’s life. It is as constant as a ballad, as changeable as fashion trends. It is as intimate as a lullaby, and as public as a parade.

In the end ... we are all folk.
American Folklife Center
Library of Congress, Washington, DC

NEW YORK FOLKLORE SOCIETY ♦ 129 Jay Street ♦ Schenectady, NY 12305 ♦ 518.346.7008 ♦ Fax 518.346.6617 ♦ nyfs@nyfolklore.org