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 Societys 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. 38, Spring-Summer 2012
⇐LOOK INSIDE back issues of Voices
|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
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.
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.
FROM THE EDITOR
From the Spring-Summer
2012 issue of Voices:
The American Folklife
Center at the Library of
Congress has been the
inspiration for my work
in public sector folklife
for some 30 years.
In the mid-eighties, I began my formal
study of folklife under the guidance of
John Michael Vlach at George Washington
University. Academic conversations about
giants of the field, opposing theories, conflicting
definitions were a part of the excitement
of learning a new academic discipline.
Yet an essential, practical component
for shaping my own sense of folklife was
delving into the shelves of books, pamphlets,
and exhibit catalogs arranged by region
in the rooms of the American Folklife Center (AFC) at the Library of Congress.
A cornucopia of human activity was found
on those shelves, all considered folklife.
Under-the-radar customs and beliefs. Creative
individuals from many groups. The
focus on the small details, the nuances of
culture. Not just old, but new and changing.
Grassroots. Diversity. Inclusiveness.
Some 10 years later, in the mid-nineties,
AFC helped create my home base, the
Folklife Center at Crandall Public Library.
Crandall’s Board of Trustees was inspired
to take a bold step for a public library in
upstate New York. Seeing what was being
done by their federal equivalent in Washington,
DC, they could see local possibilities.
They hired staff, carved out space, created
a new department. Collecting the folklife
of our neighbors could be preserved and
studied in our own regional archives. Sharing
folklife through performance, workshop,
and display would be embraced by
neighbors and visitors alike, and enrich the
lives of our present and future public.
Today, I continue to draw strength from
the AFC. “What is Folklife?”—I love how
AFC staff answer the question, and leave
it open to each of us to add our own bit
of wisdom. It is inclusive, not narrow and
confining. It has elements of old and new.
It invites the individual to acknowledge the
culture of the group in its many permutations.
As the newest member of the current
Voices team, I am humbled by the folks
who, for almost 70 years, have made New
York Folklore (the Quarterly, the Journal and
now, Voices) a place-in-print for celebrating
our many diverse voices in New York
State. We will continue to honor this tradition,
and challenge you, the reader, to be
inspired. We invite you to search your own
life with AFC’s “What is Folklife?” as your
guide. We all belong to many groups with
their traditions, celebrations, crafts, and
stories. We encourage you to work with us
to share this folklife, to possibly inspire the
next generation. We welcome your submissions
with open arms. In the end... we are
Voices Acquisitions Editor
Founding Director of the Folklife Center at Crandall Public Library
|NYFS and Voices welcome Todd DeGarmo as Acquisitions Editor|
The New York Folklore Society welcomes Todd DeGarmo as the new acquisitions editor for Voices: The Journal of New York Folklore, joining an editorial team which includes Ellen McHale as executive editor, Patricia Mason as copy editor, and Laurie Longfield as Voices’ manager. Todd replaces Dr. Eileen Condon who has served as acquisitions editor since 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.
Please join us in thanking Eileen Condon for her five years of fine service and welcoming Todd to the Voices team!
Send Your Story
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
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
Check our submission guidelines for authors.
Send your letter to the editor here
writers. We write
every day: monographs
articles, field notes,
festival and event brochures,
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 folklorethe ethnographic materialare 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
—Ellen McHale, PhD, Executive Director, NYFS