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Embattled Bodies, Embattled Places
War in Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica and the Andes
Andrew K. Scherer
Harvard University Press
With spears and arrows, atl-atls and slings, the people of the New World fought to defend themselves against European invasion and conquest. Over a century of scholarship on warfare has substantially enhanced our understanding of the scope and scale of violent conflict in Pre-Columbian America. Yet we still struggle to understand the nuances of indigenous warfare and its importance for native politics and society. This volume sheds new light on the nature of war in Mesoamerica and the Andes. Relying on methodological and theoretical developments in anthropological archaeology, bioarchaeology, and ethnohistory, contributors highlight the particularities of warfare in indigenous societies and examine the commonalities of warfare in cross-cultural perspective. Their essays focus on place and the body, as they explore the importance of captive-taking, sacrifice, performance, and political history in the conduct of war. Observers have debated whether the indigenous peoples of the Americas were distinctly noble or frightfully savage in their way of war. This volume shows that such polarized positions are unfounded. By focusing on the nuances of indigenous violent conflict, the contributors demonstrate that war in the Americas was much like war elsewhere in the ancient and modern world: strategic, political, bloody, socially productive, yet terribly destructive.

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English Lit
Bernard Clay
Ohio University Press, 2021

Autobiographical poetry from one of Kentucky’s rising Affrilachian literary stars.

Bernard Clay’s autobiographical poetry debut, English Lit, juxtaposes the roots of Black male identity against an urban and rural Kentucky landscape. Hailed as one of the most authentic voices of his generation, Clay artfully renders coming-of-age in the predominately Black West End of Louisville, Kentucky. Balancing the spirited grit of a farmer and the careful lyricism of a poet, English Lit is a triumph of new Affrilachian—African American and Appalachian—literature.


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Walter Ancarrow
Omnidawn, 2023
A poetry collection that playfully questions the meanings of words.
Walter Ancarrow’s collection Etymologies considers language as a process, rather than as a singular fixed history. These poems build imaginative worlds with a variety of creative word uses. They form a playful amalgamation of linguistic interpretations that flips and questions conventional narratives about word origins—including the idea that clear origins even exist. Throughout the collection, Ancarrow questions the intent of writers who use etymology in attempts to prove a specific meaning for any word. In so doing, Etymologies pays particular attention to relationships between the cultures and conflicts, the migrations and hegemonies, that create our words, and it considers how their meanings are furthered by us as we keep them alive through speech.

Etymologies won Omnidawn’s 2021 Open Poetry Book Prize, selected by John Yau.

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extraordinary tides
Pattie McCarthy
Omnidawn, 2023
A poetry chapbook that reflects on shifting time and tides through the language of the shoreline.

Pattie McCarthy’s extraordinary tides occupies a space in the intertidal, the in-between place of not-quite-land and not-quite-sea. The poems reflect on passing time, fluctuating tides, and on our efforts to predict both. Upon a ground that is always in flux beneath us, McCarthy invites us to question if and how we really know where we are. Considering the language of the tides, the poems in this chapbook make a wrackline palimpsest, a seastruck archive, a marginalia of the littoral.

McCarthy's extraordinary tides is the winner of the 2021 Omnidawn Poetry Chapbook Contest, chosen by Rae Armantrout.

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