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Contemporary Queer Fiction from Taiwan
Lesbian and gay--or queer--fiction (known in Mandarin as tongzhi wenxue) constitutes a major contribution to Taiwanese literature, as evidenced by the remarkable number of prestigious literary awards won by many of the authors of the short stories presented here. Indeed, the meteoric rise of this new genre was a defining feature of Taiwan's literary scene in the 1990s. Queer fiction was also instrumental in forming self-identifying subcultural gay readerships, thus serving a significant political function. But most strikingly, this fiction has been immensely popular with general readers in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore, as well as in diasporic Chinese communities worldwide. The startlingly fresh, brave voices that speak through these stories attest to the powerful social ferment of the past ten years in Taiwan, which have witnessed a revolution in discourses on sex and sexuality in the public sphere.
Angola to Zydeco: Louisiana Lives is a collection of creative nonfiction pieces about the lively personalities who call south Louisiana home. Originally published in newspapers based in Lafayette-Times of Acadiana and Independent Weekly-the twenty-five profiles and features provide intriguing glimpses into the lives of well-known Louisianans such as James Lee Burke, Ernest J. Gaines, Elemore Morgan Jr., Buckwheat Zydeco, Marc Savoy, Boozoo Chavis, Calvin Borel, Santy Runyon, and Eddie Shuler. Author R. Reese Fuller also details the sometimes zany and sometimes tragic subjects that populate the cultural landscape of south Louisiana, from Tabasco peppers to Angola prison to cockfighting.
Fuller brings years of experience in the newspaper industry to bear on this collection, offering behind-the-scenes access not available elsewhere. Of particular note are his interviews with musicians and local celebrities, who reveal how their love of the region has influenced their work. Fuller's natural approach to storytelling creates a book that is a joy to read and truly represents the people of south Louisiana.
“Paisley Rekdal’s quiet virtuosity with rhyme and cadence, her syntactic fidelity to thought and sensation, her analytical intelligence that keeps homing in and in, her ambitious sentences and larger formal structures that try to embody with absolute accuracy the difference between what we ought to feel and what we really do feel—all these make her unique in her generation: no one sounds like she does, and her concern about the ‘post’ in postconfessional is as much a sign of her earnest desire to honor every aspect of her art, as it is an anxiety that spurs her restless investigations of family, selfhood, racial identity, and erotic life.” —Tom Sleigh
As a psychologist, Lisa C. Krueger is familiar with digging into what makes us human. The joys and celebrations or the pain of what cuts the skin—and what cuts deeper. In animals the size of dreams, Krueger looks into the dark corners and, instead of just shining a light, strips them down to their foundations, until all that’s left is life.
In this first critical study of Anna Letitia Barbauld’s major work, Daniel P. Watkins reveals the singular purpose of Barbauld’s visionary poems: to recreate the world based on the values of liberty and justice. Watkins examines in close detail both the form and content of Barbauld’s Poems, originally published in 1773 and revised and reissued in 1792. Along with providing careful readings of the poems, readings that situate the works in their broader political, historical, and philosophical contexts, Watkins explores the relevance of the introductory epigraphs and the importance of the poems’ placement throughout the volume. At the center of Watkins’s study is Barbauld’s effort to develop a visionary poetic stance. He argues that the deliberate arrangement of the poems creates a coherent portrayal of Barbauld’s poetic, political, and social vision, a vision born of her deep belief that the principles of love, sympathy, liberty, and pacifism are necessary for a secure and meaningful human reality. In tracing the contours of this effort, Watkins examines, in particular, the tension in Barbauld’s poetry between her desire to engage directly with the political realities of the world and her equally strong longing for a pastoral world of peace and prosperity. Scholars of British literature and women writers will welcome this important study of one of the eighteenth century’s foremost writers.
"Winner of the 2010 Colorado Prize, this sophomore collection from Savich (Full Catastrophe Living) features poems that communicate what is fragmentary at the expense of the concrete. At once meticulous and vertiginous, these poems are grounded by "The Mountains Overhead," a long poem of 113 fragments, in which we find "Dawn stripping you like a cat/ clawing a band of wallpaper" and horses that "hold themselves like torches so they/ won't burn like themselves." The result is a collection that is thrilling and inchoate. "A Children's Story" is Savich at his best, blending enjambment and narrative to create a poem in which the speaker's distance from the memory of a former love ("the white/ in her teeth and eyes moved him like childhood/ loss") is realized with melancholy. In keeping with the trope of annulments, the poems often end suddenly, leaving much to be desired in their genesis and construction. One senses that Savich could go on building his fragmentary mountain forever, not unlike a certain well-known biblical tower whose result was the fragmentation of language itself, all the while longing for a "heart which exists/ in which to continue is not/ to confine." (Nov.) " —Danniel Schoonebeek , Publishers Weekly
"It is the poet who, undistracted by the imbecile telegraphy of this moment, dares to sustain a sustaining sound I most esteem and most warmly embrace. Zach Savich has written a book both intimate and vast, both tender and acidly candid. And with his long poem, 'The Mountains Overhead,' he has entered that visionary company of poets who, by overturning Babel, lay the heavens at our feet."—Donald Revell
"Sparse, spare, these lines nonetheless overflow with a sheer and brilliant imagination- 'The crows: hearing our voices through wires'; 'the horses hold themselves like torches'; 'the sun a dial tone . . .' The tension between minimalism of form and maximalism of concept and feeling gives this work a vivid, oddly crystalline, momentum. The central long poem unfolds one small leaf at a time, yet resists accumulation; instead it presents us again and again with the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the slightly uncanny: what would it be to sing instead of to say? This book gives us an intimation."—Cole Swensen
In Another Creature Pamela Gemin reconciles her generation’s impulse toward personal freedom with its costs as she moves her cast of innocents and outlaws through Midwestern landscapes embroidered with green lawns, blue lakes and raspberry patches eerily wired for sound. Hers are hungry poems, in and of the world, expounding the “flavors and hues, the fragrance and skin / of the merchandise of Earth.”
Experimental Writing in the South
Another South is an anthology of poetry from contemporary southern writers who are working in forms that are radical, innovative, and visionary. Highly experimental and challenging in nature, the poetry in this volume, with its syntactical disjunctions, formal revolutions, and typographic playfulness, represents the direction of a new breed of southern writing that is at once universal in its appeal and regional in its flavor.
Focusing on poets currently residing in the South, the anthology includes both emerging and established voices in the national and international literary world. From the invocations of Andy Young's "Vodou Headwashing Ceremony" to the blues-informed poems of Lorenzo Thomas and Honorée Jeffers, from the different voicings of )ohn Lowther and Kalamu ya Salaam to the visual, multi-genre art of Jake Berry, David Thomas Roberts, and Bob Grumman, the poetry in Another South is rich in variety and enthusiastic in its explorations of new ways to embody place and time. These writers have made the South lush with a poetic avant-garde all its own, not only redefining southern identity and voice but also offering new models of what is possible universally through the medium of poetry.
Hank Lazer's introductory essay about "Kudzu textuality" contextualizes the work by these contemporary innovators. Like the uncontrollable runaway vine that entwines the southern landscape, their poems are hyperfertile, stretching their roots and shoots relentlessly, at once destructive and regenerative. In making a radical departure from nostalgic southern literary voices, these poems of polyvocal abundance are closer in spirit to "speaking in tongues" or apocalyptic southern folk art—primitive, astonishing, and mystic.