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W Scott Olsen University of Utah Press, 1996 Library of Congress PS509.N3S23 1996 | Dewey Decimal 810.80382
Some of today's most significant writers and poets explore the relation between what we call the sacred and what we witness in the apparent world.
This unprecedented anthology brings together a provocative mix of new and well known writers whose poetry and prose broaches the possibility of something "bigger" going on, something more significant at stake. Is some powerful agency at work in what we see or are we just wishing (or fearing) that there were? Who can say? Who would dare? What’s most intriguing about the selections in this volume is that the authors do dare. What’s most attractive about them is that they resist answering that dare with reductions. They prefer the swoon of multiple possibilities over the relative comfort of conclusions. Various as they are, the works collected in The Sacred Place share a common reverence for the word itself, and perhaps best of all—they share a common understanding that no one of them comprehends fully what that means. They seem to desire instead a sense that the humble stuff surrounding us affords a likely enough habitation for the sacred, even now.
Yothers’ Sacred Uncertainty examines Melville’s engagement with religious difference, both within American culture and around the world. It is impossible to understand Melville’s wider engagement with religious and cultural questions, however, without understanding the fundamental tension between self and society, self and others that underlies his work, and that is manifested in particular in the way in which he interacts with other writers. There is almost certainly no more concrete or reliable way to get at Melville’s affirmations of and arguments with these interlocutors than in the markings and annotations that appear in his copies of many of their works, so Yothers examines Melville’s marginalia for clues to Melville’s thinking about self, other, and difference. Sacred Uncertainty provides a much needed exploration of Melville’s encounter with and reflection upon religious difference.
SagebrushSchool is a term applied to a group of writers who spent their creative years in Nevada from the 1860s to the early twentieth century—its most illustrious representative being Mark Twain. Yet most of their work was never republished from the periodicals in which it first appeared and today remains largely unknown to many scholars and aficionados of Western literature.
Lawrence I. Berkove, acknowledged as the leading authority on this body of literature, has assembled an exceptional collection that rescues the lively works of the Sagebrush School from the dusty archives in which they have languished. The Sagebrush Anthology enlarges Mark Twain’s circle to encompass the Sagebrush Bohemians through a compelling blend of humorous and serious fiction, memoir, nonfiction, letters, and poetry. These selections convey the experiences shaped by Nevada’s rough-and-tumble culture, abounding in wit and humor—with a fondness for literary hoaxes—that were the last major formative influence on Twain.
The anthology contains sixty-eight selections—seven by Twain—representing outstanding work by accomplished Sagebrushers Dan De Quille, Sam Davis, Joe Goodman, and Rollin Daggett, plus pieces by lesser-known writers such as Arthur McEwen, Alf Doten, and Fred Hart. Berkove’s introduction recounts the history of the school and identifies and analyzes its main thematic and stylistic characteristics. He shows that Sagebrush literature records and reflects the collision of the last generation of frontiersmen with the new culture of technology, industry, and big business—men of talent, imagination, and integrity driven to work out distinctive ways of coping with an unresponsive system of justice, an economy tilted toward the rich, and a society that impinged on individual liberties.
Although many critics have noted the influence that this period had on Twain when he lived in Virginia City, few have delineated the influence of specific writers on his style. The Sagebrush Anthology not only shows that some of the ideas and literary techniques credited to Twain can be seen as characteristics of the school that he assimilated and refined, but it also fosters an appreciation of these other writers in their own right, showing that their work encompassed topics and genres that Twain barely addressed. By casting new light on the movement, it invites students and general readers to appreciate a silver flowering of Western literature that remains entertaining and instructive for our own time.
A Sail to Great Island
Alan Feldman University of Wisconsin Press, 2004 Library of Congress PS3556.E458S25 2004 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
The first full-length collection in many years by an award-winning poet whose work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New Yorker, The Nation, Poetry, The Kenyon Review, The Threepenny Review, and a host of other journals.
Sailing by Ravens
Holly J. Hughes University of Alaska Press, 2014 Library of Congress PS3608.U3586A6 2014 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
Gillnetter, mariner, and naturalist Holly Hughes has experienced first-hand the practical and philosophical consequences of navigating difficult waters. In Sailing by Ravens, she gathers wisdom gained from thirty seasons working off Alaska’s shores, weaving personal experience and her love of the sea with the history and science of navigation. In this exquisite collection of poems, Hughes deftly navigates “the wavering, certain path” of a woman’s heart, finding that sometimes the best directions to follow are those that come from the natural forces in our lives. These meditations offer waypoints for readers on their own journeys.
“These poems of the sea begin with a school girl’s fascination for ‘the blue sea holding captive all the land’ and end as the seasoned sailor learns that ‘even the old charts/ can’t navigate the wild shoals of your heart.’ Along the way we are shipmates through days of fishing, sailing, loving, and losing as Hughes navigates the lure, lore, and loneliness of a sea that is both natural force and metaphor. I love Sailing by Ravens with its salt of the sea, salt of our deepest lives.”
Although most writers on Nathaniel Hawthorne touch on the importance of Salem, Massachusetts, to his life and career, no detailed study has been published on the powerful heritage bequeathed to him by his ancestors and present to him during his years in that town. In The Salem World of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Margaret B. Moore thoroughly investigates Hawthorne's family, his education before college (about which almost nothing has been known), and Salem's religious and political influences on him. She details what Salem had to offer Hawthorne in the way of entertainment and stimulation, discusses his friends and acquaintances, and examines the significant role of women in his life—particularly Mary Crowninshield Silsbee and Sophia Peabody.
Nathaniel Hawthorne felt a strong attachment to Salem. No matter what he wrote about the town, it was the locale for many of his stories, sketches, a novel, and a fragmentary novel. Salem history haunted him, and Salem people fascinated him. And Salem seems to have a perennial fascination for readers, not just for Hawthorne scholars. New information from primary sources, including letters (many unpublished), diaries, and contemporary newspapers, adds much not previously known about Salem in the early nineteenth century. Moore has found new sources in various manuscript collections, such as the privately owned Felt-White Collection and the Richards and Ashburner Papers in the National Library in Scotland. She also uses extensively the many manuscript collections at the Peabody Essex Museum.
By tracing the effect of Salem on Hawthorne's writing, The Salem World of Nathaniel Hawthorne makes clear that Hawthorne not only was aware of his "own dear native place" but also drew upon it consciously and subconsciously in his work. This book contributes to a better understanding of Hawthorne as man and writer and of Salem's vital part in his life and work.
Renee Ashley University of Wisconsin Press, 1991 Library of Congress PS3551.S387S25 1991 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
Renée Ashley describes Salt as an attempt, in part, to mythologize a period of the 1950s and early 1960s in the California Bay Area suburb where she grew up, “a racially rich, economically varied section of town east of El Camino Real—the major road and the ‘tracks’, so to speak, that one grew up on the right or wrong side of.” Many of the poems in the collection explore Ashley’s adjustment to the East Coast after a virtual lifetime in “that one place.” They deal with landscape, with marriage, with the insight distance seems to lend to hindsight, with amusement, with regret.
“Renée Ashley can tune our ears to the thoughts of a wounded sparrow, to the sibilance of snow on stone, even to the song rocks make as they thaw in spring. . . . She wakes us to an intricate, enthralling world behind, beneath, beyond the one we thought we knew, alive with particulars, laced with compassion, luminous with humor.”—Donald Finkel
Noel Crook Southern Illinois University Press, 2015 Library of Congress PS3603.R6647A6 2015 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
Crab Orchard Review First Book Prize
Co-Winner, Julie Suk Prize
Finalist, INDIEFAB Book fo the Year
Throughout Salt Moon, Noel Crook forges the kind of tragic vision Howard Nemerov described as the mark of our finest poets: drawing on myth and memory, Crook’s fierce lyrics reveal a world that is at once “hopeless and beautiful . . . giving equal emphasis to both words.” Sacrifice and betrayal, parental love and patricide, unleashed desire and cornered despair—these antitheses fuel Crook’s Ovidian imagination, which ranges freely from Comanche raids in Texas to a slave plantation in North Carolina, from a carpet maker in Istanbul to beggars in Delhi, from her daughter’s hospital room to the war in Iraq. Rendered in unforgettable images, Salt Moon is that rare book which grows richer with each reading.
Dore Kiesselbach University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012 Library of Congress PS3611.I4488A6 2012 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
"Emotionally direct and visually all alike in column-shaped free verse, the poems in this debut from the Minneapolis-based Kiesselbach open up to show startling verbal skills, intellectual depths, and sensory complications. 'Beach Thanksgiving' wheels from seaside scenes into one, then another, sad memory: 'Fire’s an assortment of sparks down the beach/ beside which your new family cooks./ Asked to bear a ring,/ you pulled and pulled at your hair.' For an elderly mother, once a gardener, 'Joy’s bolted/ in her face to sorrow/ like a pair of shears.' Marital love in the present (Kiesselbach has a particular talent for love poems), what looks like abuse in the past, the cycle of green growing things, the cold of the north, and the warmth of the animal world all inform these investigations of confession and its discontents, of commitments given and withheld, sometimes through stark life story but more often, in a wonderful involution, through symbols contemplated at short remove—in turkeys, for example, whose unlikely dignity rebukes human discontents: 'In fall’s/ ballroom they bow/ and straighten, straighten,/ bow, and finish/ with a salad course.'”
Susan Elizabeth Howe Signature Books, 2013 Library of Congress PS3558.O8936S25 2013 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
Poets living in the American West often muse about the rolling cheatgrass, gnarled stands of scrub oak, winding horseshoe cliffs, the scent of freshly-cut ponderosa, and even the occasional mountain-hardened rustler shielding himself against a grey winter squall.
Howe’s poems are Western but unmistakably modern, drawn from the astute observation of humanity of both rural and urban settings. Her weekly commute from the heart of Sanpete County to Utah Valley causes her to reflect on her culture and to contemplate recent events as she winds through the long, broad canyons. She sees an occasional deer chased from the road, pinyon jays, and magpies. She thinks about death, marriage, blood, and yes, even the dreamy (and occasionally steamy), country girl’s attraction to men.
In her verse, she journeys into the psyche of several women: Charles Dickens’s wife Catherine; Charlotte Brontë; an Argentine woman who unknowingly carried a fetus for several years; a woman whose pet snake tried to squeeze her to death. She recalls the rhododendrons of Kew Gardens, the house of Shakespeare’s grandmother, the sheep of Ireland, and the dogs of the Sierra Madres, but mostly she writes about the Mountain West and her home there.
Cynthia Dewi Oka Northwestern University Press, 2018 Library of Congress PS3615.K33S25 2017 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
How do we transform the wreckage of our identities? Cynthia Dewi Oka’s evocative collection answers this question by brimming with what we salvage from our most deep-seated battles. Reflecting the many dimensions of the poet’s life, Salvage manifests an intermixture of aesthetic forms that encompasses multiple social, political, and cultural contexts—leading readers to Bali, Indonesia, to the Pacific Northwest, and to South Jersey and Philadelphia.
Throughout it insistently interrogates what it means to reach for our humanity through the guises of nation, race, and gender. Oka’s language transports us through the many bodies of fluid poetics that inhabit our migrating senses and permeate across generations into a personal diaspora. Salvage invites us to be without borders.
In this revised edition of a volume originally published in 1989, Lawrence Broer extends his comprehensive critique of the body of writing by Kurt Vonnegut. Broer offers a broad psychoanalytic study of Vonnegut’s works from Player Piano to Hocus Pocus, taking a decisively new approach to the work of one of America’s most important, yet often misinterpreted writers. A compelling and original analysis, Sanity Plea, explores how Vonnegut incorporates his personal experiences into an art that is not defeatist, but rather creatively therapeutic and life-affirming.
In her book Sarah Orne Jewett: Reconstructing Gender, Margaret Roman argues that one theme colors almost every short story and novel by the turn-of-the-century American author: each person, regardless of sex, must break free of the restrictive, polar-opposite norms of behavior traditionally assigned to men and women by a patriarchal society. That society, as seen from Jewett’s perspective during the late Victorian era, was one in which a competitive, active man dominates a passive, emotional woman. Frequently referring to Jewett’s own New England upbringing at the hands of an unusually progressive father, Roman demonstrates how the writer, through her personal quest for freedom and through the various characters she created, strove to eliminate the necessity for rigid and narrowly defined male-female roles and relationships.
With the details of Jewett’s free-spirited life, Roman’s book represents a solid work of literary scholarship, which traces a gender-dissolving theme throughout Jewett’s writing. Whereas previous critics have focused primarily on her best-known works, including “A White Heron,” Deephaven, A Country Doctor, and The Country of the Pointed Firs, Roman encompasses within her own discussion virtually all of the stories found in the nineteen volumes Jewett published during her lifetime. And although much recent criticism has centered around Jewett’s strong female characters, Roman is the first to explore in depth Jewett’s male characters and married couples.
The book progresses through distinct phases that roughly correspond to Jewett’s psychological development as a writer. In general, the characters in her early works exhibit one of two modes of behavior. Youngsters, free as Jewett was to explore the natural world of woods and field, glimpse the possibility of escape from the confining standards that society has set, though some experience turbulent and confusing adolescences where those norms have become more pressing, more demanding. At the opposite extreme are those who have mindlessly accepted the roles in which they have been trapped since youth—greedy, selfish men, dutiful women who tend emotionally empty houses, young couples unable to communicate either between themselves or with others—in short, characters who are too alienated within their roles to function as whole human beings.
On the other hand, Jewett approaches the men and women of her later works with a higher degree of optimism, in that each person is free to live according to the dictates of his or her inherent personality—each character is able to measure life from within rather than from without. This group includes the self-confident men who are not reluctant to present a nurturing side, and the warm, giving women who are unafraid of displaying a decided inner strength. As Roman summarizes, “In her writings, Jewett attempts to shift society’s focus from a grasping power over people to the personal development of each member of society.”
Ahead of her time in many ways, Sarah Orne Jewett confronted the Victorian polarized gender system, presaging the modern view that men and women should be encouraged to develop along whatever paths are most comfortable and most natural for them.
Eleanor Wilner University of Chicago Press, 1989 Library of Congress PS3573.I45673S2 1989 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
In this, her third collection of poems, Eleanor Wilner revises a number of our culture's central myths; invoking figures as diverse as Briar Rose and Miriam the Prophet, she casts upon their stories, and choices, an enlivening feminist perspective.
"There is so much that is impressive in Wilner's mature poems. In an era which has been labelled 'The End of History,' she examines history's less obvious lessons. If the past is to teach us, she seems to say, then we must re-invent and re-shape it."—Poetry
Though one of America’s best known and loved novels, Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has often been the object of fierce controversy because of its racist language and reliance on racial stereotypes. This collection of fifteen essays by prominent African American scholars and critics examines the novel’s racist elements and assesses the degree to which Twain’s ironies succeed or fail to turn those elements into a satirical attack on racism. Ranging from the laudatory to the openly hostile, these essays include personal impressions of Huckleberry Finn, descriptions of classroom experience with the book, evaluations of its ironic and allegorical aspects, explorations of its nineteenth-century context, and appraisal of its effects on twentieth-century African American writers. Among the issues the authors contend with are Twain’s pervasive use of the word “nigger,” his portrayal of the slave Jim according to the conventions of the minstrel show “darky,” and the thematic chaos created by the “evasion” depicted in the novel’s final chapters. Sure to provoke thought and stir debate, Satire or Evasion? provides a variety of new perspectives on one of this country’s most troubling classics.
Contributors. Richard K. Barksdale, Bernard W. Bell, Mary Kemp Davis, Peaches M. Henry, Betty Harris Jones, Rhett S. Jones, Julius Lester, Donnarae MacCann, Charles H. Nichols, Charles H. Nilon, Arnold Rampersad, David L. Smith, Carmen Dubryan, John H. Wallace, Kenny Jackson Williams, Fredrick Woodard
H. L. Mencken’s reputation as a journalist and cultural critic of the twentieth century has endured well into the twenty-first. His early contributions as a writer, however, are not very well known. He began his journalistic career as early as 1899 and in 1910 cofounded the Baltimore Evening Sun. The next year he initiated a column—The Free Lance—that ran six days a week for four and a half years, until the Sun discontinued it, partially in response to Mencken’s controversial defense of Germany during World War One.
In this early forum for his renowned wit, Mencken broached many of the issues to which he would return again and again over his career, establishing himself as a fearless iconoclast willing to tackle the most divisive subjects and apply a heady mix of observation, satire, and repartee to clear away what he regarded as the “saturnalia of bunk” that clouded American thinking. The Free Lance reveals Mencken at his scintillating best as a journalist, polemicist, and satirist.
These columns are collected here for the first time, edited and annotated by Mencken expert and critic S. T. Joshi. This extraordinary collection is an invaluable resource for Mencken scholars and fans and provides an entertaining immersion into the early twentieth-century American zeitgeist.
The extraordinary spirit of Toni Cade Bambara lives on in Savoring the Salt, a vibrant and appreciative recollection of the work and legacy of the multi-talented African American writer, teacher, filmmaker, and activist. Among the contributors who remember Bambara, reflect on her work, and examine its meaning today are Toni Morrison, Amiri Baraka, Pearl Cleage, Ruby Dee, Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Nikki Giovanni, Avery Gordon, Audre Lorde, and Sonia Sanchez.
Admiring readers have kept Bambara's fiction in print since her first collection of stories, Gorilla, My Love, was published in 1972. She continued to write -- and her audience and reputation continued to grow -- until her untimely death in 1995. Savoring the Salt includes excerpts from her published and unpublished writings, along with interviews and photos of Bambara. The mix of poets and scholars, novelists and critics, political activists and filmmakers represented here testifies to the ongoing importance and enduring appeal of her work.
Say Word!: Voices from Hip Hop Theater
An Anthology Edited and with an Introduction by Daniel Banks University of Michigan Press, 2011 Library of Congress PS628.N4S29 2011 | Dewey Decimal 812.6080896073
The phenomenon known as Hip Hop encompasses a global, multiethnic, grassroots culture committed to social justice and self-expression through performance. Hip Hop Theater emerged from that culture, mixing spoken-word performance with music and dance and marked by Hip Hop's strong sense of activism and resistance. Hip Hop Theater is engaged with questions of identity – culture, heritage, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, and difference—narrating the experiences of historically marginalized peoples and putting them in dialogue with other oppressed communities.
Say Word! Voices from Hip Hop Theater collects eight works by contemporary artists who confront today's compelling issues, ranging from racial profiling and police brutality to women's empowerment and from the commercial exploitation of Hip Hop to identity politics. Editor Daniel Banks has assembled work by Abiola Abrams, Zakiyyah Alexander, Chadwick Boseman, Kristoffer Diaz, Rha Goddess, Antoy Grant, Joe Hernandez-Kolski, Rickerby Hinds, and Ben Snyder, augmented with an extensive introduction and other informative commentary. The book also includes a roundtable moderated by Holly Bass and featuring Hip Hop pioneers Eisa Davis, Danny Hoch, Sarah Jones, and Will Power, a conversation that traces the roots of Hip Hop Theater and imagines its future directions.
Denise Duhamel University of Pittsburgh Press, 2017
When her “smart” phone keeps asking her to autocorrect her name to Denise Richards, Denise Duhamel begins a journey that takes on celebrity, sex, reproduction, and religion with her characteristic wit and insight. The poems in Scald engage feminism in two ways—committing to and battling with—various principles and beliefs. Duhamel wrestles with foremothers and visionaries Shulamith Firestone, Andrea Dworkin, and Mary Daly as well as with pop culture figures such as Helen Reddy, Cyndi Lauper, and Bikini Kill. In dialogue with artists and writers such as Catherine Opie, Susan Faludi, and Eve Ensler, Duhamel tries to understand our cultural moment. While Duhamel’s Scald can burn, she has more importantly taken on the role of the ancient Scandinavian “Skald,” one who pays tribute to heroic deeds. In Duhamel’s case, her heroes are also heroines.
The Scarlet Ibis: Poems
Susan Hahn Northwestern University Press, 2007 Library of Congress PS3558.A3238S33 2007 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
In The Scarlet Ibis, Susan Hahn has created an intricately structured sequence of interlinked poems centered around the single compelling image of the ibis. The resonance of this image grows through each section of the book as Hahn skillfully employs theme and variation, counterpoint and mirroring techniques. The ibis first appears as part of an illusion, the disappearing object in a magician’s trick, which then evokes the greatest disappearing act of all—death—where there are no tricks to bring about a reappearance. The rich complexity multiplies as the second section focuses on a disappearing lady and a dramatic final section brings together the bird and the lady in their common plight—both caged by their mortality, their assigned time and role. All of the illusions fall away during this brilliant denouement as the two voices share a dialogue on the power of metaphor as the very essence of poetry.
bird trick iv
It’s all about disappearance.
About a bird in a cage
with a mirror, a simple twist
on the handle at the side
that makes it come and go
at the magician’s insistence.
It’s all about innocence.
It’s all about acceptance.
It’s all about compliance.
It’s all about deference.
It’s all about silence.
Scarring and the act of scarring are recurrent images in African American literature. In Scarring the Black Body, Carol E. Henderson analyzes the cultural and historical implications of scarring in a number of African American texts that feature the trope of the scar, including works by Sherley Anne Williams, Toni Morrison, Ann Petry, Ralph Ellison, and Richard Wright.
The first part of Scarring the Black Body, “The Call,” traces the process by which African bodies were Americanized through the practice of branding. Henderson incorporates various materials—from advertisements for the return of runaways to slave narratives—to examine the cultural practice of “writing” the body. She also considers ways in which writers and social activists, including Frederick Douglass, Olaudah Equiano, Harriet Tubman, and Sojourner Truth, developed a “call” centered on the body’s scars to demand that people of African descent be given equal rights and protection under the law.
In the second part of the book, “The Response,” Henderson goes on to show that more recent representations of the conditions of slavery by authors such as Williams and Morrison extend the efforts of their predecessors by developing creative responses to those calls centered around the African American body and its scars. Henderson explores Williams’s reinvention of the whip-scarred body in her novel Dessa Rose and provides a close analysis of Morrison’s use of scar imagery in Beloved. She also devotes a chapter to Petry’s The Street and concludes with an investigation of the wounded black male psyche in the works of Ralph Ellison and Richard Wright.
Scarring the Black Body demonstrates that the creative acts of these authors bind together that which has been wounded both literally and figuratively. Those who hear the voices of the ancestors are urged to connect to that part of themselves wherein wounds of the past carry a self-knowledge that can alter the experiences of the present. In this way, the disfigured body as a cultural metaphor and social invention can come to terms with its own humanity and embodiment.
Peter Meinke University of Pittsburgh Press, 1996 Library of Congress PS3563.E348S27 1996 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
Peter Meinke is one of the most readable poets. The surface clarity of his lines and his aptness for metaphor make these poems accessible and mysterious. They have real subjects - Dessert Storm and acorns, coffee and Tolstoy - but at the same time give entry to that interior world where all feelings and moralities grow.
Harlem’s nightclubs in the 1920s and ’30s were a crucible for testing society’s racial and sexual limits. Normally tacit divisions were there made spectacularly public in the vibrant, but often fraught, relationship between performer and audience. The cabaret scene, Shane Vogel contends, also played a key role in the Harlem Renaissance by offering an alternative to the politics of sexual respectability and racial uplift that sought to dictate the proper subject matter for black arts and letters. Individually and collectively, luminaries such as Duke Ellington, Lena Horne, Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, Wallace Thurman, and Ethel Waters expanded the possibilities of blackness and sexuality in America, resulting in a queer nightlife that flourished in music, in print, and on stage.
Deftly combining performance theory, literary criticism, historical research, and biographical study, The Scene of Harlem Cabaret brings this rich moment in history to life, while exploring the role of nightlife performance as a definitive touchstone for understanding the racial and sexual politics of the early twentieth century.
More than 9,000 books, dissertations, and articles from 1850 to 1990 are listed in this comprehensive bibliography of the historical geography of North America. The entries are grouped by region and ordered by date of publication, creating an especially useful tool for tracing the development of research on any region, and suggesting avenues for future work. Entries are easily accessed through author, subject, and locality indexes, essays by Michael Conzen and Graeme Wynn survey the development of geographical writing in the United States and Canada.
Cathy Song University of Pittsburgh Press, 1994 Library of Congress PS3569.O6539S36 1994 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
In choosing Cathy Song’s first book for the Yale Series of Younger Poets, Richard Hugo said that her poems are “bouquets to those moments in life that seemed minor but in retrospect count the most.”
In this, Song’s third book, the poems are like the school figures an ice skater etches onto the ice - the pen moving silently and deliberately across a white expanse of paper and experience, bringing maximum pressure to bear upon the blade of language to unlock “the invisible fire beneath the ice.”
"A superior book. . . . Many readers will be surprised to see that today's arguments about history education follow the culture wars that go back to almost the beginning of the republic. Moreau's writing is engaging, with brilliant flashes of insight, as well as balance and wit."
-Gary B. Nash, Director of the National Center for History in the Schools
Taking Frances FitzGerald's textbook study America Revised as a point of departure, Joseph Moreau in Schoolbook Nation challenges FitzGerald's premise that the 1960s were the beginning of the end of the glory days of American history education.
Moreau recounts how in the late twentieth century, cultural commentators such as historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. and politician Newt Gingrich preached that a new identity crisis had shaken American history in the sixties, and that the grand unified view of our past had given way to various interest groups, who dismantled the old national narrative while demanding a more "inclusive" curriculum for their children.
Moreau discovered, however, that American history, while grand, has never been unified. Delving into more than 100 history books from the last 150 years, the author reveals that the efforts of pressure groups to influence the history curriculum are nearly as old as the mustiest textbook. "For those who would influence textbooks and teaching-Protestant elites in the 1870s, Irish-Americans in the 1920s, and conservative politicians today-the sky has always been falling," according to Moreau.
Schoolbook Nation offers a history lesson of its own: when the story of the past is written or rewritten, truth is often a victim. With its comprehensive treatment of the subjects of honesty and politics in the teaching of history, this is an essential book on the side of truth in a complex debate.
Schooling Readers investigates the fascinating intersection of two American passions: education and literature. Allison Speicher introduces readers to the common school narrative, an immensely popular genre of fiction—though now often forgotten—set in the rural one-room school in the nineteenth century.
Despite hailing from different regions with diverse histories and cultures, authors in all parts of the US produced remarkably similar school fictions. These stories, rather than offering idealized depictions of earnest schoolchildren in humble, rough-hewn schoolhouses, expose common schools as sites of both community bonding and social strife. These stories, Speicher shows, reflect surprisingly contemporary problems like school violence and apprehensions about assessments.
In four insightful sections, Speicher illuminates the plotlines that define the common school narrative: school exhibitions, in which common schools were opened to the public for a day of student performances; romances between teachers and students; violence against teachers; and teachers adopting their students. She offers rich examples from one hundred and thirty school stories by well-known authors such as Mark Twain, Bret Harte, Catharine Maria Sedgwick, and Edward Eggleston, as well as by educational reform pioneers such as C. W. Bardeen and long-forgotten contributors to nineteenth-century magazines.
By reading these fictions alongside the discourse of reformers like Horace Mann, Speicher illustrates the utility of fiction for uncovering the diverse reactions nineteenth-century Americans had to the expansion of public education as well as the role fiction played in shaping these responses. Throughout she maintains a dual focus, drawing on both literary and educational history, thereby offering much of value to those interested in either field.
Mark Jay Brewin University of Utah Press, 2013 Library of Congress PS3602.R482A6 2013 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
Winner of the Agha Shahid Ali Poetry Prize
South Jersey farmland, flooded and made an island. Through landscapes and captivating visuals we begin Mark Jay Brewin’s debut collection of poems. Scrap Iron quickly and fluidly moves from this isolated plot of land—the poet’s childhood home—to the memories associated with that place, its people, and his youth. Throughout the volume, Brewin’s attention to sound and cadence offers the reader a burning exploration of beautiful imagery, while also providing a sharp contrast to the sometimes harsh and dark subject matter. He asks how one grows while remaining rooted. Confronting the age-old question of whether one can ever really go home again, Brewin’s soft, prayerful, and thoughtful approach provides the reader with an answer: Whether it is possible or not, the wish to return will always remain.
The intricacies and complexities of human relationships—especially between family members—are at the forefront of Scrap Iron. Brewin acknowledges the tender violence that often exists within familial relationships and highlights the fragility of not only these connections, but of the land, of memory, and of the future. While some poems may focus on tenuous ties, the tone of Brewin’s work as a whole is one of hopefulness. His poetry reminds us that to move is not to abandon, to question is not to criticize, and to love is to at once remember and forget.
Film critic David Sterritt’s Screening the Beats: Media Culture and the Beat Sensibility showcases the social and aesthetic viewpoints of lynchpin Beat writers Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, and Allen Ginsberg, juxtaposing their artistry with 1950s culture and achieving what Kerouac might have called a “bookmovie” riff. In clear prose, Sterritt captures the raw energy of the Beats and joins in their celebration of aesthetic freakishness. Tapping into the diversified spirit of the Beat Generation and its nuanced relationship with postwar American culture, Sterritt considers how the Beats variously foreground, challenge, and illuminate major issues in Hollywood and avant-garde film, critical and cultural theory, and music in the mass-media age.
Sterritt engages the creative and spiritual facets of the Beats, emulating their desire to evoke ephemeral aspects of human existence. Dealing with both high and low cultures as well as various subcultures, he highlights the complementary contributions to cultural creativity made by these authors. Screening the Beats grapples with paradoxes in Beat writing, in particular the conflict between spiritual purity and secular connectedness, which often materialized in the beatific bebop spontaneity, Zen-like transcendentalism, and plain hipster smarts that characterized the writings of Kerouac, Burroughs, and Ginsberg.
This interdisciplinary study tackles such topics as Ginsberg’s and Kerouac’s uses of racial and ethnic stereotypes prevalent in the popular movies of the 1950s era; the uses and limitations of improvisation as a creative tool in literature, jazz, and film; Kerouac’s use of cinematic metaphor to evoke Buddhist concepts; and intersections of the grotesque and carnivalesque in works as seemingly diverse as autobiographical novels by Kerouac, a radio play by Antonin Artaud, cultural theories of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, and the boisterous lunacy of Three Stooges farce. Deftly threading literary, musical, and cinematic works with a colorful array of critical theories, Screening the Beats illuminates the relationship between American culture and the imaginative forces of the Beat Generation.
Public sculpture is a major draw in today’s cities, and nowhere is this more the case than in New York. In the Big Apple, urban art has become synonymous with the municipal “brand,” highlighting the metropolis as vibrant, creative, tolerant, orderly, and above all, safe. Sculpture in Gotham tells the story of how the City of New York came to be committed to public art patronage beginning in the mid-1960s. In that era of political turbulence, cultural activists and city officials for a time shifted away from traditional monuments, joining forces to sponsor ambitious sculptural projects as an instrument for urban revitalization.
Focusing on specific people, agencies and organizations, and both temporary and permanent projects, from the 1960s forward, Michele H. Bogart reveals the changing forms and meanings of municipal public art. Sculpture in Gotham illustrates how such shifts came about at a time when art theories and styles were morphing markedly, and when municipalities were reeling from racial unrest, economic decline, and countercultural challenges—to culture as well as the state. While sculptural installations on New York City property took time and were not without controversy, Gotham’s processes and policies produced notable results, providing precedents and lessons for cities the world over.
The Sculpture of Robyn Horn
Robyn Horn University of Arkansas Press, 2018 Library of Congress NB237.H577S38 2018 | Dewey Decimal 730.92
In Robyn Horn’s thirty years as a wood sculptor, her work has evolved from small, lathe-turned objects to ten-foot-high redwood compositions like her Already Set in Motion #1170, which graces a garden at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. In creating these forms that rise from the earth at improbable angles, Horn’s primary tool is the chainsaw, and yet a tenderness for her medium reveals itself in the delicate balance of planes that allows her sculptures to both loom and flow, visually indicating that they are precarious when in fact they are sturdy.
The essays and images in The Sculpture of Robyn Horn sketch the industrious career of this Little Rock, Arkansas-based sculptor, illuminating her attention to geometry, physics, and the philosophy of design, and exploring the context and origin of the various series—Geodes, Millstones, Standing Stones, and Slipping Stones, among others—that characterize her body of work.
From his earliest days on Long Island and in New York City to his last years in Camden, New Jersey, Walt Whitman lived close to the sea he knew and loved. The “liquid-flowing syllables” of Whitman’s poetry and prose tell specific stories of particular voyages and known shores, as well as vivid flights of imagination and keening paeans to wild winds, dark water, stormy and quiet airs. The land, for Whitman, is both immutable and still, while the sea is a realm of dynamic change, mercurial temper, and the ebb and flow of cosmic uncertainty. From “Mannahatta” to “Poem of Joys” to the magisterial ode to the slain President Lincoln, “O Captain! My Captain!” Whitman wove the strands of nautical lexicon and powerful imagery into the tapestry of our national literature. In The Sea Is a Continual Miracle, poet and editor Jeffrey Yang has compiled an invaluable resource for readers, students, and scholars of Whitman, and demonstrates how seeing him through sea glass shows America’s best-loved poet in a new light.
Sea of Faith
John Brehm University of Wisconsin Press, 2004 Library of Congress PS3602.R444S43 2004 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
"Fun, wisdom, tasty language. Sea of Faith has real subways in it as well as real rivers, mountains and dogs, scoops of heartbreak, sightings of beauty. Yes, sad or happy, the poems are alive. Sea of Faith was a complete pleasure for me to read." —Alicia Ostriker, author of The Crack in Everything
In a masterful blending of lyric and narrative, Sea of Faith ranges widely across interior states and external worlds. From the Sierra Nevadas to New York City subways, from an imagined friendship with Lao Tzu to a rueful meditation on Coney Island, from a comic and poignant classroom discussion of "Dover Beach" to a sexual fantasy spawned by a tedious poetry reading, John Brehm’s poems explore the human predicament with tenderness, compassion, and unforgettable humor.
"The poems in Sea of Faith present us with a vivid dramatic voice, one determined to engage with a world that often seems intangible and remote, and to resist a world that seems all too real and disappointing. The speaker here is both self-mocking and self-accepting, taking his concerns seriously but always distant enough from them to regard them as a small part of a larger human story, a story we recognize at once to be our own."—Carl Dennis, Brittingham Prize judge and author of Practical Gods
"John Brehm writes on a knife edge. His voice would be ironic if it weren’t for the sustained emotion, the opening to the unknown, the ‘electric calm.’ These elegant poems wear their eloquence lightly; the stakes are high. Sea of Faith is an unforgettable book."—D. Nurkse, author of The Fall
Tarfia Faizullah Southern Illinois University Press, 2014 Library of Congress PS3606.A39A6 2013 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
The poems in this captivating collection weave beauty with violence, the personal with the historic as they recount the harrowing experiences of the two hundred thousand female victims of rape and torture at the hands of the Pakistani army during the 1971 Liberation War. As the child of Bangladeshi immigrants, the poet in turn explores her own losses, as well as the complexities of bearing witness to the atrocities these war heroines endured.
Throughout the volume, the narrator endeavors to bridge generational and cultural gaps even as the victims recount the horror of grief and personal loss. As we read, we discover the profound yet fragile seam that unites the fields, rivers, and prisons of the 1971 war with the poet’s modern-day hotel, or the tragic death of a loved one with the holocaust of a nation.
Moving from West Texas to Dubai, from Virginia to remote villages in Bangladesh and back again, the narrator calls on the legacies of Willa Cather, César Vallejo, Tomas Tranströmer, and Paul Celan to give voice to the voiceless. Fierce yet loving, devastating and magical at once, Seam is a testament to the lingering potency of memory and the bravery of a nation’s victims.
Winner, Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award, 2014
Winner, Binghamton University Milt Kessler Poetry Book Award, 2015
Winner, Drake University Emerging Writers Award, 2015
Searching for Jim is the untold story of Sam Clemens and the world of slavery that produced him. Despite Clemens’s remarks to the contrary in his autobiography, slavery was very much a part of his life. Dempsey has uncovered a wealth of newspaper accounts and archival material revealing that Clemens’s life, from the ages of twelve to seventeen, was intertwined with the lives of the slaves around him.
During Sam’s earliest years, his father, John Marshall Clemens, had significant interaction with slaves. Newly discovered court records show the senior Clemens in his role as justice of the peace in Hannibal enforcing the slave ordinances. With the death of his father, young Sam was apprenticed to learn the printing and newspaper trade. It was in the newspaper that slaves were bought and sold, masters sought runaways, and life insurance was sold on slaves. Stories the young apprentice typeset helped Clemens learn to write in black dialect, a skill he would use throughout his writing, most notably in Huckleberry Finn.
Missourians at that time feared abolitionists across the border in Illinois and Iowa. Slave owners suspected every traveling salesman, itinerant preacher, or immigrant of being an abolition agent sent to steal slaves. This was the world in which Sam Clemens grew up. Dempsey also discusses the stories of Hannibal’s slaves: their treatment, condition, and escapes. He uncovers new information about the Underground Railroad, particularly about the role free blacks played in northeast Missouri.
Carefully reconstructed from letters, newspaper articles, sermons, speeches, books, and court records, Searching for Jim offers a new perspective on Clemens’s writings, especially regarding his use of race in the portrayal of individual characters, their attitudes, and worldviews. This fascinating volume will be valuable to anyone trying to measure the extent to which Clemens transcended the slave culture he lived in during his formative years and the struggles he later faced in dealing with race and guilt. It will forever alter the way we view Sam Clemens, Hannibal, and Mark Twain.
Searching for Sycorax highlights the unique position of Black women in horror as both characters and creators. Kinitra D. Brooks creates a racially gendered critical analysis of African diasporic women, challenging the horror genre’s historic themes and interrogating forms of literature that have often been ignored by Black feminist theory. Brooks examines the works of women across the African diaspora, from Haiti, Trinidad, and Jamaica, to England and the United States, looking at new and canonized horror texts by Nalo Hopkinson, NK Jemisin, Gloria Naylor, and Chesya Burke. These Black women fiction writers take advantage of horror’s ability to highlight U.S. white dominant cultural anxieties by using Africana folklore to revise horror’s semiotics within their own imaginary. Ultimately, Brooks compares the legacy of Shakespeare’s Sycorax (of The Tempest) to Black women writers themselves, who, deprived of mainstream access to self-articulation, nevertheless influence the trajectory of horror criticism by forcing the genre to de-centralize whiteness and maleness.
Season of the Second Thought
Lynn Powell University of Wisconsin Press, 2017 Library of Congress PS3566.O83255S43 2017 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
Winner of the Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry, selected by Robert Wrigley
Season of the Second Thought begins in a deep blue mood, longing to find words for what feels beyond saying. Lynn Powell's poems journey through the seasons, quarreling with the muse, reckoning with loss, questioning the heart and its "pedigree of Pentecost," and seeking out paintings in order to see inside the self. With their crisp observations and iridescent language, these poems accumulate the bounty of an examined life. These lines emerge from darkness into a shimmering equilibrium—witty, lush, and hard-won.
Seasons of Plenty provides colorful descriptions, folk stories, appealing photgraphs and illustrations, excerpts from journals and ledgers, recipes for good food like savory dumpling soup, mashed potatoes with browned bread crumbs, Sauerbraten, and feather light apple fritters.
Secret History: Poems
David Barber Northwestern University Press, 2020 Library of Congress PS3552.A59194A6 2020 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
In David Barber’s third collection of poetry, the past makes its presence felt from first to last. Drawing on a wealth of eclectic sources and crafted in an array of nonce forms, these poems range across vast stretches of cultural and natural history in pursuit of the forsaken, long-gone, and unsung.
Here is the stuff of lost time unearthed from all over: ballyhoo and murder ballad, the lacrimarium and the xylotheque, the Game of Robbers and the Indian Rope Trick, the obsolete o’o, the old-school word hoard, sunshowers and beaters and breaker boys. Here, to mark the twilight of print and type, are gleanings and borrowings from a mixed bag of throwback bound volumes: The Magic Moving Picture Book, Mandeville’s Travels, The Golden Bough, Franklin Arithmetic, The Millennial Laws of the Shakers, A Conjuror’s Confessions.
Here too are guiding spirits whose like will not pass this way again: Cab Calloway at the Cotton Club; Henry Walter Bates in darkest Amazon; George Catlin among the Choctaw; Little Nemo in Slumberland; Yogi Berra in all his oracular glory. Reveling in vernacular lingo of every vintage even while brooding on dark ages without end, Secret History chronicles a world of long shadows and distant echoes that bears more than a passing resemblance to our own.
Mary Zimmerman’s The Secret in the Wings adapts a group of lesser-known fairy tales to create a theatrical work that sets their dark mystery against her signature wit and humor. The framing story concerns a child and the frightening babysitter with whom her parents leave her. As the babysitter reads from a book, the characters in each of the tales materialize, with each tale breaking off just at its bleakest moment before giving way to the next one.
The central tale is told without interruption, after which each previous tale is successively resumed, with each looming disaster averted. As in Zimmerman’s other productions, here she uses costumes, props, sets, and lighting to brilliant effect, creating images and feelings that render the fairy tales in all their elemental and enduring power.
The author of the Hardy Boys Mysteries was, as millions of readers know, Franklin W. Dixon. Except there never was a Franklin W. Dixon. He was the creation of Edward Stratemeyer, the savvy founder of a children's book empire that also published the Tom Swift, Bobbsey Twins, and Nancy Drew series.
The Secret of the Hardy Boys: Leslie McFarlane and the Stratemeyer Syndicate recounts how a newspaper reporter with dreams of becoming a serious novelist first brought to life Joe and Frank Hardy, who became two of the most famous characters in children’s literature.
Embarrassed by his secret identity as the author of the Hardy Boys books, Leslie McFarlane admitted it to no one-his son pried the truth out of him years later. Having signed away all rights to the books, McFarlane never shared in the wild financial success of the series. Far from being bitter, however, late in life McFarlane took satisfaction in having helped introduce millions of children to the joys of reading.
Commenting on the longevity of the Hardy Boys series, the New York Times noted, “Mr. McFarlane breathed originality into the Stratemeyer plots, loading on playful detail.”
Author Marilyn Greenwald gives us the story of McFarlane’s life and career, including for the first time a compelling account of his writing life after the Hardy Boys. A talented and versatile writer, McFarlane adapted to sweeping changes in North American markets for writers, as pulp and glossy magazines made way for films, radio, and television. It is a fascinating and inspiring story of the force of talent and personality transcending narrow limits.
The Secret Powers of Naming
Sara Littlecrow-Russell; Introduction by Joy Harjo University of Arizona Press, 2006 Library of Congress PS3612.I877S43 2006 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
Sara Littlecrow-Russell’s style emerges from the ancient and sacred tradition of storytelling, where legends were told not just to entertain, but to teach and, if necessary, to discipline. The power of the storyteller is the power of naming, to establish a relationship, a connection, and a sense of meaning. A name is both a bequest and a burden. Each of the poems in this collection is, in essence, a naming ritual. Sharply, energetically, and always provocatively, these poems name uncomfortable moments, complex emotions, and sudden, often wryly humorous realizations.
As Littlecrow-Russell explores how names imposed by outsiders both collide and merge with the identities that Natives create for themselves, these poems decisively counter the images of Indians as colorful dancers, stoic saints, and defeated warriors. These verses are not constructed of beautiful images, nor are they stories of redemption. Instead, Littlecrow-Russell offers stark and honest witness to urban and reservation life at the beginning of the twenty-first century. In short snaps of honed lyric and voice, she tackles topics ranging from family, love, and spirituality, to welfare, addiction, and the thorny politics of tribal identity. Her work displays tremendous bitterness and anger, but there is also dignity, humor, and plenty of irony.
Candid and compelling, this collection brings fluent verse and human face to the commonly misrepresented experiences of Native Americans.
Secret Spaces of Childhood
Elizabeth Goodenough, Editor University of Michigan Press, 2003 Library of Congress PN6071.C5S43 2003 | Dewey Decimal 808.894282
Whether it's real or imaginary, every child has a secret space, and this remarkable book explores them all. For some it's a treehouse or a hidden spot beneath a bush; for others it's a private psychic refuge--a favorite book, or a dollhouse that becomes a stage for a young imagination. As the more than four dozen pieces collected here reveal, such spaces play a key role in a child's development and retain a symbolic power that resonates throughout our adult lives. No reader will put this book down without experiencing a rush of familiar memories and new insights into that bygone world.
Poet Diane Ackerman evokes that "parallel universe behind the eyes / which no one shared, or dare discover"; Paul Brodeur recalls the "fort" where he and his brother defended Cape Cod against invaders in World War II; Nobelist Wole Soyinka offers a poignant verse portrait of Africa's lost children; and Paul West remembers youthful encounters with his eccentric neighbors Edith and Osbert Sitwell. Elsewhere, Robert Coles summons up memories of his first years as a doctor and a wise young patient who taught him a lesson he has never forgotten, and Mary Galbraith shows how childhood loss is transformed into art in Ludwig Bemelmans's classic Madeline. And these are just a few of the gems in a treasury that includes Anne Frank, the controversial photographs of Sally Mann and the crudely eloquent drawings of young South African refugees, clinical case studies and profoundly personal imagery.
A perceptive, thought-provoking work for general readers, Secret Spaces of Childhood opens a wonderful window on the world of the young.
Elizabeth Goodenough is Lecturer in Comparative Literature, the Residential College, University of Michigan.
The letter from Jose Rodriguez Feo that prompted Stevens's poem was the third in a ten-year correspondence (1944-54) between the poet and the young Cuban, who quickly became Stevens's "most exciting correspondent." The two shared a Harvard education, both were anxious to see Stevens translated for a Cuban audience, and each had an enduring admiration for Santayana, whose awareness of the cultural tensions between the Northern and Southern hemispheres formed a basis for the protracted argument between Stevens as the practical, Protestant father and the passionate Rodriguez Feo. The Cuban's descriptions of his life at the Villa Olga, of his black-and-white cow Lucera and his mule Pompilio, delighted Stevens, as did his wide-ranging questions and pronouncements of literary matters. Unaware of the well-known Stevens reticence, Rodriguz Feo elicited a more informal, playful response than Stevens's other correspondents. Formal salutations soon gave way to "Dear Antillean," "Dear Wallachio."
Coyle and Filreis present the entire extant correspondence between the two men. The fifty-one Rodriguez Feo letters and ten of the numerous Stevens letters are printed here for the first time, and the exchange between the two is unusually complete. The work includes a critical introduction and complete annotation of the letters.
The United States Constitution is a quintessentially political document. Yet, until now, no one has seriously considered the formative influence of this document on American cultural life. In this ambitious book, Mitchell Meltzer demonstrates the extent to which the Constitution is both source and inspiration for America's greatest literary masterworks.
With Secular Scriptures: Modern Theological Poetics in the Wake of Dante, William Franke reexamines the role that literature plays in theological revelation. In the modern world, secularism typically means the exclusion of God from the world. Yet Franke, recognizing that secularity itself is built into religion and revelation, argues that theologically sensitive poetry has driven secularization throughout the modern period. The essays in this volume construct a trajectory through modern poetic literature as it struggled with the sense of a loss of the very possibility of theological revelation. Can literature replace religion? Can it do so triumphantly or only mournfully? Is this literary transmogrification of revelation the death of religion or its rebirth in a vital new form? Secular Scriptures examines, through its own original speculative outlook, some of the most compelling exemplars of religious-poetic revelation in modern Western literature. The essays taken as an ensemble revolve around and are bookended by Dante, but they also explore the work of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Blake, Leopardi, Baudelaire, Dickinson, and Yeats. Looking both backward and forward from the vantage of Dante, Franke explores the roots of secularized religious vision in antiquity and the Middle Ages, even as he also looks forward toward its fruits in modern poetry and poetics. Ultimately, Franke’s analyses demonstrate the possibilities opened by understanding literature as secularized religious revelation.
Ghosts. Railroads. Sing Sing. Sex machines. These are just a few of the phenomena that appear in John Lardas Modern’s pioneering account of religion and society in nineteenth-century America. This book uncovers surprising connections between secular ideology and the rise of technologies that opened up new ways of being religious. Exploring the eruptions of religion in New York’s penny presses, the budding fields of anthropology and phrenology, and Moby-Dick, Modern challenges the strict separation between the religious and the secular that remains integral to discussions about religion today.
Modern frames his study around the dread, wonder, paranoia, and manic confidence of being haunted, arguing that experiences and explanations of enchantment fueled secularism’s emergence. The awareness of spectral energies coincided with attempts to tame the unruly fruits of secularism—in the cultivation of a spiritual self among Unitarians, for instance, or in John Murray Spear’s erotic longings for a perpetual motion machine. Combining rigorous theoretical inquiry with beguiling historical arcana, Modern unsettles long-held views of religion and the methods of narrating its past.
The world is made of seductions. In Quincy Troupe's Seduction, the "I" becomes the "Eye," serving as metaphor and witness in a narrative compilation from a master of poetic music. Elegies and dramatic odes look at the seduction of all things loved or hated, especially the man made of color. How did the killings of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and Trayvon Martin seduce the public's eye and catch the fire of racism? How did Aretha Franklin seduce us with voice and twang? How does the art of Romare Bearden or Jack Whitten still tell our truths, fantasies, and oppressions?
time is a bald eagle, a killer soaring high in the blue, / music to men
dodging bullets in speeding cars, / knew death, hoped it'd never come . . .
In this collection we are seduced by Troupe's opus. This is the poet's art laid bare. He is our "Eye." Visions of the transatlantic slave trade, portraits of American violence, pop culture, and historical voices are the lyrical relics in Troupe's masterful verse. One of American literature's most important rhythmical artists, Troupe has created a chronicle reaching through history for the collective "I/Eye" that is all of us.
“We each have Skype accounts and use them to discuss [Moby-Dick] face to face. Once a week, we spread the worded whale out in front of us; we dissect its head, eyes, and bones, careful not to hurt or kill it. The Professor and I are not whale hunters. We are not letting the whale die. We are shaping it, letting it swim through the Web with a new and polished look.”—Tito Mukhopadhyay
Since the 1940s researchers have been repeating claims about autistic people's limited ability to understand language, to partake in imaginative play, and to generate the complex theory of mind necessary to appreciate literature. In See It Feelingly Ralph James Savarese, an English professor whose son is one of the first nonspeaking autistics to graduate from college, challenges this view.
Discussing fictional works over a period of years with readers from across the autism spectrum, Savarese was stunned by the readers' ability to expand his understanding of texts he knew intimately. Their startling insights emerged not only from the way their different bodies and brains lined up with a story but also from their experiences of stigma and exclusion.
For Mukhopadhyay Moby-Dick is an allegory of revenge against autism, the frantic quest for a cure. The white whale represents the autist's baffling, because wordless, immersion in the sensory. Computer programmer and cyberpunk author Dora Raymaker skewers the empathetic failings of the bounty hunters in Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Autistics, some studies suggest, offer instruction in embracing the nonhuman. Encountering a short story about a lonely marine biologist in Antarctica, Temple Grandin remembers her past with an uncharacteristic emotional intensity, and she reminds the reader of the myriad ways in which people can relate to fiction. Why must there be a norm?
Mixing memoir with current research in autism and cognitive literary studies, Savarese celebrates how literature springs to life through the contrasting responses of unique individuals, while helping people both on and off the spectrum to engage more richly with the world.
Russell Edson University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009 Library of Congress PS3509.D583S44 2009 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
“An artist who moonlights as a dentist. A worm who's eternal. A farmer who milks his cow to death. Not to mention the guy with a belly button for an eye. Russell Edson, self-named Little Mr. Prose Poem, returns with See Jack, a book of fractured fairy tales, whose impeccable logic undermines logic itself, a book that champions what he has called elsewhere 'the dark uncomfortable metaphor.' 'What better way to die,' he writes in the final prose poem, 'than waiting for the fat lady to sing in the make-believe of theater, where nothing's real, not the fat lady, not even death . . . ' See Jack may be Edson's best book yet—proof that his imaginative powers keep growing. What a deliciously scary thought!”
See You Soon: Poems
Laura McKee University of Arkansas Press, 2016 Library of Congress PS3613.C5524A6 2016 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
Finalist, 2016 Miller Williams Poetry Prize, edited by Billy Collins
The poems in See You Soon explore the limits of metaphor and language as their voices speak from the beauty and strangeness of daily experience, testing how we make sense of ourselves to ourselves and to one another. There is love in these poems, there is failure and absurdity. The characters, in their various situations and guises, find themselves outside of time, space, and identity—at sunset, in an airport, outside a hookah lounge, as a birthday party clown, after a flood. Its message is the invitation of the title. See You Soon is a statement of the complexity of our mutual direction in time, of camaraderie along the way.
Barbara Kingsolver's books have sold millions of copies. The Poisonwood Bible was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, and her work is studied in courses ranging from English-as-a-second-language classes to seminars in doctoral programs. Yet, until now, there has been relatively little scholarly analysis of her writings.
Seeds of Change: Critical Essays on Barbara Kingsolver, edited by Priscilla V. Leder, is the first collection of essays examining the full range of Kingsolver's literary output. The articles in this new volume provide analysis, context, and commentary on all of Kingsolver's novels, her poetry, her two essay collections, and her full-length nonfiction memoir, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life.
Professor Leder begins Seeds of Change with a brief critical biography that traces Kingsolver's development as a writer. Leder also includes an overview of the scholarship on Kingsolver's oeuvre. Organized by subject matter, the 14 essays in the book are divided into three sections tha deal with recurrent themes in Kingsolver's compositions: identity, social justice, and ecology.
The pieces in this ground-breaking volume draw upon contemporary critical approaches—ecocritical, postcolonial, feminist, and disability studies—to extend established lines of inquiry into Kingsolver's writing and to take them in new directions. By comparing Kingsolver with earlier writers such as Joseph Conrad and Henry David Thoreau, the contributors place her canon in literary context and locate her in cultural contexts by revealing how she re-works traditional narratives such as the Western myth. They also address the more controversial aspects of her writings, examining her political advocacy and her relationship to her reader, in addition to exploring her vision of a more just and harmonious world.
Fully indexed with a comprehensive works-cited section, Seeds of Change gives scholars and students important insight and analysis which will deepen and broaden their understanding and experience of Barbara Kingsolver's work.
Priscilla V. Leder has published articles in Mississippi Quarterly, ISLE (Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment), Amerikastudien/American Studies, and Southern Studies. She is professor of English at Texas State University—San Marcos.
One of the youngest recipients of a MacArthur “genius” grant, Kara Walker, an African American artist, is best known for her iconic, often life-size, black-and-white silhouetted figures, arranged in unsettling scenes on gallery walls. These visually arresting narratives draw viewers into a dialogue about the dynamics of race, sexuality, and violence in both the antebellum South and contemporary culture. Walker’s work has been featured in exhibits around the world and in American museums including the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim, and the Whitney. At the same time, her ideologically provocative images have drawn vociferous criticism from several senior African American artists, and a number of her pieces have been pulled from exhibits amid protests against their disturbing representations. Seeing the Unspeakable provides a sustained consideration of the controversial art of Kara Walker.
Examining Walker’s striking silhouettes, evocative gouache drawings, and dynamic prints, Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw analyzes the inspiration for and reception of four of Walker’s pieces: The End of Uncle Tom and the Grand Allegorical Tableau of Eva in Heaven, John Brown, A Means to an End, and Cut. She offers an overview of Walker’s life and career, and contextualizes her art within the history of African American visual culture and in relation to the work of contemporary artists including Faith Ringgold, Carrie Mae Weems, and Michael Ray Charles. Shaw describes how Walker deliberately challenges viewers’ sensibilities with radically de-sentimentalized images of slavery and racial stereotypes. This book reveals a powerful artist who is questioning, rather than accepting, the ideas and strategies of social responsibility that her parents’ generation fought to establish during the civil rights era. By exploiting the racist icons of the past, Walker forces viewers to see the unspeakable aspects of America’s racist past and conflicted present.
Seeking the Truth
Richard Reinsch II Catholic University of America Press, 2016 Library of Congress B908.B61R45 2016 | Dewey Decimal 191
This anthology of essays from the great nineteenth-century thinker Orestes A. Brownson will engage the reader with key writings from one of the most compelling American Catholic intellectuals. Brownson was a spiritual seeker who migrated through Presbyterianism, Universalism, skepticism, Unitarianism, and Transcendentalist thought, and finally at age 41 to Catholicism. Politically he found himself anticipating socialism in the 1830s, then, turning into a disciple of John Calhoun's states rights constitutionalism, and later he incorporated his criticisms of mass democracy into a unique philosophical defense of the Constitution that emerged in full bloom during the Civil War.
Seeming Human: Artificial Intelligence and Victorian Realist Character offers a new theory of realist character through character’s unexpected afterlife: the intelligent machine. The book contends that mid-twentieth-century versions of artificial intelligence (AI) offer a theory of verisimilitude omitted by traditional histories of character, which often focus on the development of interiority and the shift from “flat” to “round” characters in the Victorian era. Instead, by reading character through AI, Megan Ward’s Seeming Human argues that routinization, predictability, automation, and even flatness are all features of realist characters.
Early artificial intelligence movements such as cybernetics, information theory, and the Turing test define ways of seeming—rather than being—human. Using these theories of verisimilitude to read Victorian novelists such as Elizabeth Gaskell, Margaret Oliphant, Anthony Trollope, Thomas Hardy, and Henry James, Seeming Human argues that mechanicity has been perceived as anti-realist because it is the element that we least want to identify as human. Because AI produces human-like intelligence, it makes clear that we must actually turn to machines in order to understand what makes realist characters seem so human.
There has never been an edition of the selected letters of Walt Whitman, a remarkable fact considering how accustomed we are to becoming acquainted with major writers through their letters. Now Edwin Haviland Miller, editor of the six-volume collected writings of Whitman, has used his intimate knowledge of the "good gray poet's" correspondence to produce this revealing selection of 250 letters, introduced and annotated concisely and evocatively. Whitman in these letters is simple, direct, colloquial, adding a counterpoint to his artistic voice and persona as a poet.
When Larry Levis died suddenly in 1996, Philip Levine wrote that he had years earlier recognized Levis as “the most gifted and determined young poet I have ever had the good fortune to have in one of my classes. . . . His early death is a staggering loss for our poetry, but what he left is a major achievement that will enrich our lives.” Each of his books was published to wide critical acclaim, and David St. John has collected together the best of his work from his first five books: Wrecking Crew (1972), Afterlife (1976), The Dollmaker’s Ghost (1981), Winter Stars (1985) and The Widening Spell of the Leaves (1991).
“It is not an exaggeration to say that the death of Larry Levis in 1996—of a heart attack at 49—sent a shock wave through the ranks of American poetry. Not only was Levis a good friend to many poets (not simply of his own generation but of many poets older and younger as well), his poetry had become a kind of touchstone for many of us, a source of special inspiration and awe. With Larry Levis’ death came the sense that an American original had been lost. . . . It is not at all paradoxical that he saw both the most intimate expressions of poetry and the grandest gestures of art, of language, as constituting individual acts of courage. One can only hope that, like such courage, Larry Levis’s remarkable poems will continue to live far into our literature.”—from the Afterword, by David St. John
James Applewhite Duke University Press, 2005 Library of Congress PS3551.P67A6 2005 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
James Applewhite has produced nine extraordinary books of poetry. This volume is the first anthology of his remarkable oeuvre. It brings together chronologically arranged selections from all of his previous books, from the first, published in 1975, through the most recent, published in 2002. Applewhite’s poetry is deeply rooted in the history and rhythms of rural North Carolina, where he was born and raised, and these poems mark stages in an artistic and personal journey he has undertaken over the past thirty years.
In impeccable and surprising language, Applewhite depicts the social conventions, changes, frictions, and continuities of small southern towns. He celebrates that which he values as decent and life-enhancing, and his veneration is perhaps most apparent in his response to the natural world, to the rivers and trees and flowers. Yet Applewhite’s love for his native land is not straightforward. His verse chronicles his conflicted feelings for the region that gave him the initial, evocative language of place and immersed him in a blazing sensory world while it also bequeathed the distortions, denials, and prejudices that make it so painful a labyrinth. Rendering troubled legacies as well as profound decency, Applewhite reveals the universally human in a distinctively local voice, within dramatic and mundane moments of hope and sorrow and faith.
John Frederick Nims University of Chicago Press, 1982 Library of Congress PS3527.I863A6 1982 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
Selected Poems represents the best of John Frederick Nims's widely aclaimed work over the past thirty years. Selections are from Five Young American Poets, Third Series (1944), The Iron Pastoral (1947), A Fountain in Kentucky (1950), Knowledge of the Evening (1960), and Of Flesh and Bone (1967) and emcompasses the full range of one of contemporary America's foremost poets.
Amy Lowell (1874–1925), American poet and critic, was one of the most influential and best-known writers of her era. Within a thirteen-year period, she produced six volumes of poetry, two volumes of criticism, a two-volume biography of John Keats, and countless articles and reviews that appeared in many popular periodicals. As a herald of the New Poetry, Lowell saw herself and her kind of work as a part of a newly forged, diverse, American people that registered its consciousness in different tonalities but all in a native idiom. She helped build the road leading to the later works of Allen Ginsberg, May Sarton, Sylvia Plath, and beyond. Except for the few poems that invariably appear in American literature anthologies, most of her writings are out of print. This will be the first volume of her work to appear in decades, and the depth, range, and surprising sensuality of her poems will be a revelation.
The poetry is organized according to Lowell’s characteristic forms, from traditional to experimental. In each section the works appear in chronological order. Section one contains sonnets and other traditional verse forms. The next section covers her translations and adaptations of Chinese and Japanese poetry, whereby she beautifully renders the spirit of these works. Also included here are several of Lowell’s own Asian-influenced poems. Lowell’s free, or cadenced verse appears in the third part. The last section provides samples of Lowell’s polyphonic prose, an ambitious and vigorous art form that employs all of the resources of poetry.
The release of The Selected Poems of Amy Lowell will be a major event for readers who have not been able to find a representative sampling of work from this vigorous, courageous poet who gave voice to an erotic, thoroughly American sensibility.
Howard Nemerov—Poet Laureate of the United States, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award, and Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets—was one of the most prolific and significant American poets of the twentieth century. By the time of his death in 1991, he had published fourteen collections of poetry.
Judiciously selected and introduced by poet Daniel Anderson, The Selected Poems of Howard Nemerov represents the broad spectrum of Nemerov's virtues as a poet—his intellige nce, his wit, his compassion, and his irreverence. It stands as the retrospective collection of the best of what Nemerov left behind, which is some of the finest poetry that the twentieth century produced.
“To keep his errors down to a minimum,” W. H. Auden wrote, “the internal Censor to whom a poet submits his work in progress should be a Censorate. It should include, for instance, a sensitive only child, a practical housewife, a logician, a monk, an irreverent buffoon a nd even, perhaps, hated by all others and returning their dislike, a brutal, foul-mouthed drill sergeant who considers all poetry rubbish.”
Such are the readers to whom the poetry of Howard Nemerov might appeal. He distinguished himself on the landscape of American letters as a writer of great versatility. More than a decade after his death, that claim still holds true.
In this, the only edition of Nemerov’s work that surveys his entire poetic output, first-time readers of these poems will find an introduction to a truly remarkable creative mind. Longtime admirers of Nemerov will be reminded once again of his significance as a craftsman and philosopher, and as a poetic steward of the many ways in which we experience the world.
A Pulitzer Prize winner best known as an imagist, John Gould Fletcher experimented with every facet of Modernist poetry and influenced poets in both England and the United States. this is the first collection to span his entire career, and brings again to the public eye work that has been unavailable for thirty-five years.
Fletcher is responsible for introducing Ezra Pound to French symbolism, and Amy Lowell to “polyphonic prose,” and his connection with the Southern Fugitive Agrarian movement adds to his significance as the first modern Southern poet. The editors have chosen representative works for his many stages of development and discuss in the introduction Fletcher’s influence on the better-known modernists.
Selected Poems of John Gould Fletcher is the first n a series of books by or about Fletcher to fill an important space in home and public libraries with American literature collections.
Susan Hahn Northwestern University Press, 2005 Library of Congress PS3558.A3238S45 2005 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
Drawing on history, myth, folk rhymes, human physiology, and the psyche's crevices, Susan Hahn's Self/Pity is a relentless journey of the self through time, into the labyrinth of the present with its own stimuli and despairs. She strikes a delicate balance of contrast and collision between the various linked poems in this collection, which all deal with birth, the body, and the soul.
As with her previous collections, the poems in Self/Pity can be read as a cohesive whole.
From the simple prayer "To Jacob Four Months In The Womb" to the complex territory of the poem sequence "The Pornography of Pity," in which Mother Goose, the Marquis de Sade, Godot, Lewis Carroll's Alice, The Cat and the Fiddle, Zeus, and many others are called upon, Hahn creates a tour-de-force exploration of the book's central themes.
Winner of the 2017 Miller Williams Poetry Prize, edited by Billy Collins
“Shows this exceptional poet at his rhyming best.”
Self-Portrait in a Door-Length Mirror presents the mirror that reflects not always what is, but what is desired, or not desired. In the opening poem, the speaker, Diane Arbus, looks at her very early pregnant self and asks, “Why would I bring you into this world?” This book answers that question, or tries to: the world is what it is as we try to live as our best selves in that world. But that knowledge of the world is hard and has consequences, and not in the abstract, as Gibson’s poetry dynamically shows.
Employing new formalism, Self-Portrait in a Door-Length Mirror examines historical, familial, and personal pasts as those pasts continue into the present, reminding us, as Faulkner wrote, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
Mark Halliday University of Chicago Press, 1998 Library of Congress PS3558.A386S4 1999 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
In his third book of poems, Mark Halliday grapples with the endless struggle between self-concern and awareness of the rights of others. Through humor, ironic twists, and refreshing candor, these poems confront a variety of situations—death, divorce, artistic egotism and envy, personal relationships—where the very idea of self is under siege.
"If Selfwolf were a pop music CD, it would be hailed as Mark Halliday's breakthrough album. . . . This third collection of poems teems with unsparing confessions of misdirected lust, lost faith, regret and a winningly goofy cheerfulness in the face of all that bad stuff. . . . The informal, conversational quality of Halliday's work almost hides its artfulness, which seems to be precisely his intention."—Ken Tucker, New York Times Book Review
"With unflinching, often comic honesty about how 'ego-fetid, hostile, grasping' we are, Halliday exposes the self's wolfish hungers and weaknesses."—Andrew Epstein, Boston Review
"Mark Halliday's new book offers more of his trademark riffs on self-consciousness. His subversive, surprising, hugely enjoyable poems will make you laugh out loud, squirm in uncomfortable recognition, and appreciate anew the comedy of our daily battles for self-preservation. . . reading Halliday is pure delight. . . . I love the daring and intelligence with which Halliday skates along the shifting boundary between self within and world outside. Selfwolf slows down our habitual negotiations between 'in here' and 'out there,' exposing the edgy comedy of how we survive."—Damaris Moore, Express Books
Sender: A Play
Ike Holter Northwestern University Press, 2019 Library of Congress PS3608.O49435985S46 2019 | Dewey Decimal 812.6
Ike Holter’s Sender thrives on the contrast between order and chaos and the tensions that emerge as we leave childhood and adolescence behind to contend with the demands of “adulting.” In this comedy, Holter presents us with four millennial friends wrestling with these issues. While each is at a different stage of “growing up,” one of the friends has disappeared and has been presumed dead. Yet, at the beginning of the play, he returns and completely upends the balance established in his absence. This witty, foul mouthed, and razor-sharp play asks: “What does growing up mean . . . and is it even desired in this day and age?”
Sender is one of seven plays in Holter’s Rightlynd Saga, all to be published by Northwestern University Press. Holter’s plays are set in Chicago’s fictional fifty-first ward. The other plays in the cycle are Exit Strategy, Lottery Day, Prowess, Red Rex, Rightlynd, and The Wolf at the End of the Block.
Juan Felipe Herrera University of Arizona Press, 2013 Library of Congress PS3558.E74S46 2013 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
“I wish I could find the words to tell you the story of our village after you were killed.” So begins Senegal Taxi, the new work by one of contemporary poetry’s most vibrant voices, Juan Felipe Herrera. Known for his activism and writings that bring attention to oppression and injustice, Herrera turns to stories of genocide and hope in Sudan. Senegal Taxi offers the voices of three children escaping the horrors of war in Africa.
Unflinching in its honesty, brutality, and beauty, the collection fiercely addresses conflict and childhood, inviting readers to engage in complex and often challenging issues. Senegal Taxi weaves together verse, dialogue, and visual art created by Herrera specifically for the book. Stylistically genre-leaping, these many layers are part of the collection’s innovation. Phantom-like televisions, mud drawings, witness testimonies, insects, and weaponry are all storytellers that join the siblings for a theatrical crescendo. Each poem is told from a different point of view, which Herrera calls “mud drawings,” referring to the evocative symbols of hope the children create as they hide in a cave on their way to Senegal, where they plan to catch a boat to the United States.
This collection signals a poignant shift for Herrera as he continues to use his craft to focus attention on global concerns. In so doing, he offers an acknowledgment that the suffering of some is the suffering of all.
In May 1906, the Atlantic Monthly commented that Americans live not merely in an age of things, but under the tyranny of them, and that in our relentless effort to sell, purchase, and accumulate things, we do not possess them as much as they possess us. For Bill Brown, the tale of that possession is something stranger than the history of a culture of consumption. It is the story of Americans using things to think about themselves.
Brown's captivating new study explores the roots of modern America's fascination with things and the problem that objects posed for American literature at the turn of the century. This was an era when the invention, production, distribution, and consumption of things suddenly came to define a national culture. Brown shows how crucial novels of the time made things not a solution to problems, but problems in their own right. Writers such as Mark Twain, Frank Norris, Sarah Orne Jewett, and Henry James ask why and how we use objects to make meaning, to make or remake ourselves, to organize our anxieties and affections, to sublimate our fears, and to shape our wildest dreams. Offering a remarkably new way to think about materialism, A Sense of Things will be essential reading for anyone interested in American literature and culture.
In an age of interpretation, style eludes criticism. Yet it does so much tacit work: telling time, telling us apart, telling us who we are. What does style have to do with form, history, meaning, our moment’s favored categories? What do we miss when we look right through it? Senses of Style essays an answer. An experiment in criticism, crossing four hundred years and composed of nearly four hundred brief, aphoristic remarks, it is a book of theory steeped in examples, drawn from the works and lives of two men: Sir Thomas Wyatt, poet and diplomat in the court of Henry VIII, and his admirer Frank O’Hara, the midcentury American poet, curator, and boulevardier. Starting with puzzle of why Wyatt’s work spoke so powerfully to O’Hara across the centuries, Jeff Dolven ultimately explains what we talk about when we talk about style, whether in the sixteenth century, the twentieth, or the twenty-first.
Stanley Cavell, one of America's most distinguished philosophers, has written an invaluable companion volume to Walden, a seminal book in our cultural heritage. This expanded edition includes two essays on Emerson.
Howard Nemerov University of Chicago Press, 1980 Library of Congress PS3527.E5S4 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
In Sentences, contemporary poet Howard Nemerov adds to his distinguished work a collection of gnomic verses, declarative poems, sonnets after other poets, and sustained lyrics.
"In [Sentences], not only has Nemerov continued to accommodate himself to the literary tradition without falling back on parody; he has also . . . extended the resources of blank verse beyond what any modern practitioner, himself included, has managed to. This extension comprises more than a mere prosodic advance; it is a rhetorical and imaginative advance. 'By Al Lebowitz's Pool,' 'The Makers,' 'Monet,' and 'A Christmas Storm,' for example, are dazzling in their very naturalness. . . . No one since Frost has done as much to move blank verse from where Wordsworth and Coleridge had left it."—Mary Kinzie, Poetry
During the 1992 Democratic Convention and again while delivering Harvard University’s commencement address two years later, Vice President Al Gore shared with his audience a story that showed the effect of sentiment in his life. In telling how an accident involving his son had provided him with a revelation concerning the compassion of others, Gore effectively reconstructed himself as a typical, middle-class American for whom sympathy can lead to salvation. This contemporary reiteration of mid-nineteenth-century American sentimental discourse proves to be a fruitful point of departure for Mary Louise Kete’s argument that sentimentality has been an important and recurring form of cultural narrative that has helped to shape middle-class American life. Many scholars have written about the sentimental novel as a primarily female genre and have stressed its negative ideological aspects. Kete finds that in fact many men—from writers to politicians—participated in nineteenth-century sentimental culture. Importantly, she also recovers the utopian dimension of the phenomenon, arguing that literary sentimentality, specifically in the form of poetry, is the written trace of a broad cultural discourse that Kete calls “sentimental collaboration”—an exchange of sympathy in the form of gifts that establishes common cultural or intellectual ground. Kete reads the work of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Lydia Huntley Sigourney with an eye toward the deployment of sentimentality for the creation of Americanism, as well as for political and abolitionist ends. Finally, she locates the origins of sentimental collaboration in the activities of ordinary people who participated in mourning rituals—writing poetry, condolence letters, or epitaphs—to ease their personal grief. Sentimental Collaborations significantly advances prevailing scholarship on Romanticism, antebellum culture, and the formation of the American middle class. It will be of interest to scholars of American studies, American literature, cultural studies, and women’s studies.
In Sentimental Materialism Lori Merish considers the intricate relationship between consumption and womanhood in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Taking as her starting point a diversity of cultural artifacts—from domestic fiction and philosophical treatises to advice literature and cigars—Merish explores the symbolic functions they served and finds that consumption evolved into a form of personal expressiveness that indicated not only a woman’s wealth and taste but also her race, class, morality, and civic values. The discursive production of this new subjectivity—the feminine consumer—was remarkably influential, helping to shape American capitalism, culture, and nation building.
The phenomenon of female consumption was capitalism’s complement to male production: It created what Merish calls the “Other Protestant Ethic,”a feminine and sentimental counterpart to Max Weber’s ethic of hard work, economic rationality, and self-control. In addition, driven by the culture’s effort to civilize the “cannibalistic” practices of ethnic, class, and national otherness, appropriate female consumerism, marked by taste and refinement, identified certain women and their families as proper citizens of the United States. The public nature of consumption, however, had curiously conflicting effects: While the achievement of cultured material circumstances facilitated women’s civic agency, it also reinforced stereotypes of domestic womanhood.
Sentimental Materialism’s inquiry into middle-class consumption and accompanying ideals of womanhood will appeal to readers in a variety of disciplines, including American studies, cultural studies, feminist theory, and cultural history.
How could novels like Uncle Tom’s Cabin change the hearts and minds of thousands of mid-nineteenth-century readers, yet make so many modern readers cringe at their over-the-top, tear-filled scenes? Sentimental Readers explains why sentimental rhetoric was so compelling to readers of that earlier era, why its popularity waned in the latter part of the nineteenth century, and why today it is generally characterized as overly emotional and artificial. But author Faye Halpern also does more: she demonstrates that this now despised rhetoric remains relevant to contemporary writing teachers and literary scholars.
Halpern examines these novels with a fresh eye by positioning sentimentality as a rhetorical strategy on the part of these novels’ (mostly) female authors, who used it to answer a question that plagued the male-dominated world of nineteenth-century American rhetoric and oratory: how could listeners be sure an eloquent speaker wasn’t unscrupulously persuading them of an untruth? The authors of sentimental novels managed to solve this problem even as the professional male rhetoricians and orators could not, because sentimental rhetoric, filled with tears and other physical cues of earnestness, ensured that an audience could trust the heroes and heroines of these novels. However, as a wider range of authors began wielding sentimental rhetoric later in the nineteenth century, readers found themselves less and less convinced by this strategy.
In her final discussion, Halpern steps beyond a purely historical analysis to interrogate contemporary rhetoric and reading practices among literature professors and their students, particularly first-year students new to the “close reading” method advocated and taught in most college English classrooms. Doing so allows her to investigate how sentimental novels are understood today by both groups and how these contemporary reading strategies compare to those of Americans more than a century ago. Clearly, sentimental novels still have something to teach us about how and why we read.
Although they wrote in the same historical milieu as their male counterparts, women writers of the 19th- and early 20th-centuries have generally been "ghettoized" by critics into a separate canonical sphere. These original essays argue in favor of reconciling male and female writers, both historically and in the context of classroom teaching.
While some of the essays pair up female and male authors who write in a similar style or with similar concerns, others address social issues shared by both men and women, including class tensions, economic problems, and the Civil War experience. Rather than privileging particular genres or certain well-known writers, the contributors examine writings ranging from novels and poetry to autobiography, utopian fiction, and essays. And they consider familiar figures like Harriet Beecher Stowe, Emily Dickinson, and Ralph Waldo Emerson alongside such lesser-known writers as Melusina Fay Peirce, Susie King Taylor, and Mary Gove Nichols.
Each essay revises the binary notions that have been ascribed to males and females, such as public and private, rational and intuitive, political and domestic, violent and passive. Although they do not deny the existence of separate spheres, the contributors show the boundary between them to be much more blurred than has been assumed until now.
The evil mastermind—and master of disguise—Fu Manchu has long threatened to take over the world. In the past century, his dastardly plans have driven serialized novels, comic books, films, and TV. Yet this sinister Oriental character represents more than an invincible criminal in pop culture; Fu Manchu became the embodiment of the Yellow Peril.
Serial Fu Manchu provides a savvy cultural, historical, and media-based analysis that shows how Fu Manchu’s irrepressibility gives shape to—and reinforces—the persistent Yellow Peril myth. Ruth Mayer argues that seriality is not merely a commercial strategy but essential to the spread of European and American fears of Asian expansion.
Tracing Fu Manchu through transnational serials in varied media from 1913 to the 1970s, Mayer shows how the icon evolved. She pays particular attention to the figure’s literary foundations, the impact of media changes on his dissemination, and his legacy.
In the series Asian American History and Culture, edited by Sucheng Chan, David Palumbo-Liu, Michael Omi, K. Scott Wong, and Linda Trinh Võ
Serious Daring is the story of the complementary journeys of two American women artists, celebrated fiction writer Eudora Welty and internationally acclaimed photographer Rosamond Purcell, each of whom initially practiced, but then turned from, the art form ultimately pursued by the other.
For both Welty and Purcell, the art realized is full of the art seemingly abandoned. Welty’s short stories and novels use images of photographs, photographers, and photography. Purcell photographed books, texts, and writing.
Both women make compelling art out of the seeming tension between literary and visual cultures. Purcell wrote a memoir in which photographs became endnotes. Welty re-emerged as a photographer through the publication of four volumes of what she called her “snapshots,” magnificent black-and-white photographs of small-town Mississippi and New York City life.
Serious Daring is a fascinating look at how the road not taken can stubbornly accompany the chosen path, how what is seemingly left behind can become a haunting and vital presence in life and art.
Set in Motion collects for the first time the prose writings of A. R. Ammons, one of our most important and enduring contemporary poets. Hailed as a major force in American poetry by such redoubtable critics as Harold Bloom and Helen Vendler, Ammons has reflected upon the influences of luminaries like Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, Frost, Stevens, and Williams while creating a compelling style and an artistic vision uniquely his own.
Set in Motion includes essays, reviews, and interviews as well as a selection of Ammons's poems, with commentary from the author about their inspiration and effects. He takes up the questions that have been central to American poetry over the last forty years and connects them to the larger enterprise of living in a difficult, changing world. At a moment when the arts are under attack, Ammons reminds us of the crucial role poetry plays in teaching us to recognize and use sources of understanding that are irreducible to statement.
A. R. Ammons is the author of Sphere, A Coast of Trees, and Garbage and was recently the editor of The Best American Poetry 1994. His awards include the MacArthur and Guggenheim fellowships, the Bollingen Prize, two National Book Awards, and prizes from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the National Book Critics Circle. He is Goldwin Smith Professor of Poetry, Cornell University.
Seven Modern American Novelists was first published in 1964. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
This volume provides critical introductions to seven of the most significant American novelists of this century, bringing together in convenient book form the material from some of the University of Minnesota Pamphlets on American Writers. The writers discussed and the contributing authors are Edith Wharton by Louis Auchincloss, Sinclair Lewis by Mark Schorer, F. Scott Fitzgerald by Charles E. Shain, William Faulkner by William Van O'Connor, Ernest Hemingway by Philip Young, Thomas Wolfe by C. Hugh Holman, and Nathanael West by Stanley Edgar Hyman.
In an introduction Mr. O'Connor, who is one of the editors of the pamphlet series, discusses some critical principles as they apply to fiction writers in general and to twentieth-century American novelists in particular. He is the author of many volumes of literary criticism as well as a collection of short stories and was a professor of English at the University of California, Davis.
Teachers, librarians, and others who use the material of the University of Minnesota Pamphlets on American Writers for frequent reference or as classroom texts will find this book particularly useful. Biographical information about the writers as well as critical evaluations of their writing is given. A bibliography for each writer lists his works and critical and biographical works about him.
The work of renowned Ivoirian playwright Koffi Kwahulé has been translated into some 15 languages and is performed regularly throughout Europe, Africa, and the Americas. For the first time, Seven Plays of Koffi Kwahulé: In and Out of Africa makes available to an Anglophone audience some of the best and most representative plays by one of Francophone Africa’s most accomplished living playwrights.
Kwahulé’s theater delves into both the horror of civil war in Africa and the diasporic experience of peoples of African origin living in Europe and the “New World.” From the split consciousness of the protagonist and rape victim in Jaz to the careless buffoonery of mercenaries in Brewery, Kwahulé’s characters speak in riffs and refrains that resonate with the improvisational pulse of jazz music. He confronts us with a violent world that represents the damage done to Africa and asks us, through exaggeration and surreal touches, to examine the reality of an ever-expanding network of global migrants. His plays speak to the contemporary state of humanity, suffering from exile, poverty, capitalist greed, collusion, and fear of “the other”—however that “other” gets defined.
Judith G. Miller’s introductory essay situates Kwahulé among his postcolonial contemporaries. Short introductory essays to each play, accompanied by production photos, contextualize possible approaches to Kwahulé’s often enigmatic work. Anglophone theater scholars and theater professionals eager to engage with contemporary theater beyond their borders, particularly in terms of what so-called minority theater artists from other countries are creating, will welcome this indispensable collection. Students and scholars of African studies and of global French studies will also find this work intriguing and challenging.
Seventeen Syllables and Other Stories brings together nineteen stories that span Hisaye Yamamoto's forty-year career. It was her first book to be published in the United States. Yamamoto's themes include the cultural conflicts between the first generation, the Issei, and their children, the Nisei; coping with prejudice; and the World War II internment of Japanese Americans.
In addition to the contents of the original volume, this edition brings back into print the following works:
- Death Rides the Rails to Poston
- A Fire in Fontana
- Florentine Gardens
Seventeen Syllables and Other Stories brings together fifteen stories that span Hisaye Yamamoto's forty-year career. It was her first book to be published in the United States. Yamamoto's themes include the cultural conflicts between the first generation, the Issei and their children, the Nisei; coping with prejudice; and the World War II internment of Japanese Americans.
Hisaye Yamamoto's often reprinted tale of a naive American daughter and her Japanese mother captures the essence the cultural and generational conflicts so common among immigrants and their American-born children. On the surface, "Seventeen Syllables" is the story of Rosie and her preoccupation with adolescent life. Between the lines, however, lurks the tragedy of her mother, who is trapped in a marriage of desperation. Tome's deep absorption in writing haiku causes a rift with her husband, which escalates to a tragic event that changes Rosie's life forever.
Yamamoto's disarming style matches the verbal economy of haiku, in which all meaning is contained within seventeen syllables. Her deft characterizations and her delineations of sexuality create a haunting story of a young girl's transformation from innocence to adulthood.
This casebook includes an introduction and an essay by the editor, an interview with the author, a chronology, authoritative texts of "Seventeen Syllables" (1949) and "Yoneko's Earthquake" (1951), critical essays, and a bibliography. The contributors are Charles L. Crow, Donald C. Goellnicht, Elaine H. Kim, Dorothy Ritsuko McDonald, Zenobia Baxter Mistri, Katharine Newman, Robert M. Payne, Robert T. Rolf, and Stan Yogi.
Boldly going where no one has gone before, Robin Roberts forges intriguing links between feminist politics and theory and the second Star Trek series, Star Trek: The Next Generation. This lively discussion shows how science fiction's ability to make the familiar strange allows Star Trek to expose and comment on entrenched attitudes toward gender roles and feminist issues. By having aliens or sexually neutral beings enact female dominance or passivity, experience pregnancy or maternity, or suffer rape or abortion, Star Trek provides viewers with a new perspective on these experiences and an antidote to explicit and implicit cultural biases. Roberts maintains that the relevance of Star Trek: The Next Generation to feminist issues accounts as no other factor can for the program's huge following of female fans.
The incisive and innovative readings in Sexual Generations provide food for thought about how the final frontier can clarify pressing questions of our own space and time.
Though often thought of as rivals, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, and Amiri Baraka shared a range of interests, especially a passion for music. Jazz, in particular, was a decisive influence on their thinking, and, as The Shadow and the Act reveals, they drew on their insights into the creative process of improvisation to analyze race and politics in the civil rights era. In this inspired study, Walton M. Muyumba situates them as a jazz trio, demonstrating how Ellison, Baraka, and Baldwin’s individual works form a series of calls and responses with each other.
Muyumba connects their writings on jazz to the philosophical tradition of pragmatism, particularly its support for more freedom for individuals and more democratic societies. He examines the way they responded to and elaborated on that lineage, showing how they significantly broadened it by addressing the African American experience, especially its aesthetics. Ultimately, Muyumba contends, the trio enacted pragmatist principles by effectively communicating the social and political benefits of African Americans fully entering society, thereby compelling America to move closer to its democratic ideals.
Shadow of a Cloud but No Cloud, the latest collection from enigmatic prose poet Killarney Clary, is a book-length sequence of unnumbered, untitled poems, each evoking a clear moment in time. The details on which Clary chooses to focus suggest a narrative that will not resolve. The unnamed people with whom she interacts offer exchanges she is desperate to prolong, and in attempts to understand her place, she reaches beneath the fragile armor of those loved, especially those who can no longer answer her. This quietly haunting book, remarkable for its subtlety and delicacy, is Clary’s strongest, most engaging work to date and amply shows her to be a master of this lyric genre.
An important and prolific playwright, Philip Barry wrote hit plays such as The Philadelphia Story and Holiday. However, he has been largely forgotten and no book-length analysis of his work has appeared in more than forty years. With this book, Donald R. Anderson rescues the playwright from obscurity.
Although Barry’s successes were with comedies of manners, he also wrote dramatic and experimental works. Anderson analyzes all of Barry’s plays (twenty-one in total) and questions the traditional characterization of the American playwright’s work. He begins with Barry’s early plays concerning intergenerational tensions and lessons learned from the Great War. Subsequent chapters explore Barry’s preoccupation with fidelity and infidelity, his struggles with his Catholic beliefs, and his investigations into sources of evil and despair. Anderson also looks at the plays of the late 1930s and the 1940s, including the posthumously produced Second Threshold. One chapter is devoted to Barry’s synergistic relationship with Katharine Hepburn: her role in lifting the playwright out of a mid-1930s slump and his role in rescuing her from the label of “box-office poison” with both The Philadelphia Story and the World War II drama Without Love.
Anderson places Barry within the context of his times but also shows him drawing on past influences and anticipating theatrical developments of the latter part of the twentieth century. Part cultural history, part literary analysis, Shadowed Cocktails is sure to revitalize interest in this remarkable American author.
and his role in rescuing her from the label of 'box-office poison' with both The Philadelphia Story and the World War II drama Without Love.
One of the most important voices of the Harlem Renaissance, Claude McKay is largely recognized for his work during the 1920s, which includes a major collection of poems, Harlem Shadows, as well as a critically acclaimed novel, Home to Harlem. But McKay was never completely comfortable with his literary reputation during this period. Throughout his world travels, he saw himself as an English lyricist.
In this compelling examination of the life and works of this complex poet, novelist, journalist, and short story writer, Josh Gosciak sheds light on McKay’s literary contributions beyond his interactions with Harlem Renaissance artists and writers. Working within English literary traditions, McKay crafted a verse out of hybridity and diaspora. Gosciak shows how he reinvigorated a modern pastoral through his encounters with some of the major aesthetic and political movements of the late Victorian and early modern periods.
Exploring new archival material as well as many of McKay’s lesser known poetic works, TheShadowed Country provides a unique interpretation of the writings of this major author.
The first edition of Shadowed Dreams was a groundbreaking anthology that brought to light the contributions of women poets to the Harlem Renaissance. This revised and expanded version contains twice the number of poems found in the original, many of them never before reprinted, and adds eighteen new voices to the collection to once again strike new ground in African American literary history. Also new to this edition are nine period illustrations and updated biographical introductions for each poet.
Shadowed Dreams features new poems by Gwendolyn Bennett, Anita Scott Coleman, Mae Cowdery, Blanche Taylor Dickinson, Alice Dunbar-Nelson, Jessie Fauset, Angelina Weld Grimké, Gladys Casely Hayford (a k a Aquah Laluah), Virginia Houston, Georgia Douglas Johnson, Helene Johnson, Effie Lee Newsome, Esther Popel, and Anne Spencer, as well as writings from newly discovered poets Carrie Williams Clifford, Edythe Mae Gordon, Alvira Hazzard, Gertrude Parthenia McBrown, Beatrice Murphy, Lucia Mae Pitts, Grace Vera Postles, Ida Rowland, and Lucy Mae Turner, among others.
Covering the years 1918 through 1939 and ranging across the period’s major and minor journals, as well as its anthologies and collections, Shadowed Dreams provides a treasure trove of poetry from which to mine deeply buried jewels of black female visions in the early twentieth century.
W.S. Di Piero Northwestern University Press, 1995 Library of Congress PS3554.I65S48 1995 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
"""Like Crane and Williams before him, and like some other talented living poets . . . Di Piero has staked a claim at the interval between heightened poetic speech and the language hooks of advertising, between sincere oratory and a street-smart insult. Always, the poems surprise with the madcap tumble of roiling diction."" --Partisan Review
""W.S. Di Piero is a singular yet deceptive presence in American poetry. He fearlessly juxtaposes the Latinate and the Anglo-Saxon, the raunchy and the sacred, car horns and choirs. His line is edgy, razor-sharp, his syntax turbulent."" --Mark Rudman
""His instinct is to admire the physical world, but the poems embrace place with elegiac fury, in language that is only sensitive by remaining rough, refusing the option of beautiful polish, leaving always open that glimpse into unguarded despair without which the artist is trivial."" --Mary Kinzie"
The Shadow’s Horse
Diane Glancy University of Arizona Press, 2003 Library of Congress PS3557.L294S53 2003 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
There is a saying in Native American tradition that "wholeness is when the shadow of the rider and his horse are one." Although we usually focus our attention on what seems most real, Diane Glancy shows us that the shadow of our past has substance as well.
The Shadow's Horse is a new collection of poems in which Glancy walks the margin between her white and Indian heritage. In poems that conjure the persistence of fallen leaves or juxtapose images of Christ and the stockyards, she powerfully evokes place and spirit to address with intelligence and beauty issues of family, work, and faith.
In some of these poems Glancy recalls growing up with her Cherokee father, who worked in a stockyard, radically applying Christian theology to the slaughter of non-human creatures: The cattle go up the ramp
dragging their crosses.
Their voices are Gregorian chants
rising to the blue sky,
the cold clouds.
In others she examines the walk of history through the ordinary details of life-history seen from two points of view, early Euro-American and contemporary Native American. She sees her Native heritage as shortlived and fragile, yet as enduring as leaves, and she asks, "If you line up all the leaves that fall / how many times will they go around the earth?"
Writing in a cross-boundaried, fragmented voice—a voice based on the memory of the way language sounded when it was stretched across the cultures or walked in both worlds—Glancy has fashioned a book about speaking oneself into existence. The Shadow's Horse is the story of one culture made to sing the song of another until the Native voice is so erased it is nearly an illusion. Yet as readers of these poems will discover, the shadow of the past is as real as the horse it rides.
Novelist and essayist Hilary Masters recreates a moment in 1940s Pittsburgh when circumstances, ideology, and a passion for the arts collided to produce a masterpiece in another part of the world.
E. J. Kaufmann, the so-called "merchant prince" who commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater, was a man whose hunger for beauty included women as well as architecture.
He had transformed his family's department store into an art deco showcase with murals by Boardman Robinson and now sought to beautify the walls of the YM&WHA of which he was the president. Through his son E. J. Kaufmann, jr (the son preferred the lowercase usage), he met Juan O'Gorman, a rising star in the Mexican pantheon of muralists dominated by Diego Rivera, O'Gorman's friend and mentor.
O'Gorman and his American wife spent nearly six months in Pittsburgh at Kaufmann's invitation while the artist researched the city's history and made elaborate cartoons for the dozen panels of the proposed mural. Like Rivera, O'Gorman was an ardent Marxist whose views of society were radically different from those of his host, not to mention the giants of Pittsburgh's industrial empire-Carnegie, Frick, and Mellon. The murals were never painted, but why did Kaufmann commission O'Gorman in the first place? Was it only a misunderstanding?
In the discursive manner for which his fiction and essays are noted, Masters pulls together the skeins of world events, the politics of art patronage, and the eccentric personalities and cruel histories of the period into a pattern that also includes the figures of O'Gorman and his wife Helen, and Kaufmann, his wife Liliane, and their son. Masters traces the story through its many twists and turns to its surprising ending: E. J. Kaufmann's failure to put beautiful pictures on the walls of the Y in Pittsburgh resulted in Juan O'Gorman's creation of a twentieth-century masterpiece on a wall in the town of Pátzcuaro, Mexico.