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An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry
The literary tradition of persona, of writing poems in voices or from perspectives other than the poet's own, is ancient in origin and contemporary in practice. The embodiment of different voices is not only a dramatic and creative moment, but also a moment of true empathy, as the author moves beyond his or her own margins to fully inhabit the character, personality, and mindset of another human being. While there are a great number of poems written in persona, both historically as well as in the modern poetic landscape, there are no anthologies currently in existence that collect and celebrate the diverse writers who work in this mode today-or the divergent voices and characters they create. Stacey Lynn Brown and Oliver de la Paz have selected a superb collection of approximately 200 persona poems. These poems embody characters from popular culture, history, the Bible, literature, mythology, newspaper clippings, legends, fairy tales, and comic books, to name just a few, and their diversity is reflective of the wide range of authors working in this genre. The anthology will also contain brief explanatory notes written by the poets to help historicize and contextualize their characters and personae.
I know I'm holding a good book in my hand when I use the other to call my friends and read poems to them. How generous John Repp is! He zooms in on the moment, but he's always glancing at everything that surrounds it. His funny poems have dark hearts, just as the sad ones are clearly written by someone capable of belly-shaking laughter. They tell wonderful stories, yet they contain chewy little nuggets that are often indifferent and even hostile to story. I've said elsewhere that a poem either writes you a check or sends you a bill, and Fat Jersey Blues writes me checks faster than I can cash them. Oh, and these poems make me do something else that the good ones always do: when I hung up after reading "Bob Johnson" or "The Maltese Falcon" or "Balcony" to a friend, I sat down to write myself. -David Kirby, author of The Biscuit Joint
The poems in Fire Wheel dip in and out of family history and myth; the subjects of its poems are as varied as Helen of Troy, and Audrey, a Fury who makes her rounds at Laundromats, proclaiming the coming Armageddon. “I, too, am manmade, born of rib and / rayon,” says Audrey, “and I’ll tell you just what / your’e not above.” By turns elegiac and humorous, Fire Wheel’s poems also question the nature of family and identity. In “Poem for My Father, Once a Vacuum Cleaner Salesman, Now an Ascetic” a daughter reflects on her father, a man who abandons his family in search of spiritual enlightenment. “In which sage life/ will I find you?” she asks. “My Suicide Uncles” traces the crossing of immigrants between the old country and the new, and its sometimes devastating results. Whether the poems are about circus sideshow performers, delinquents, or mythic figures, the poems of Fire Wheel try to blend the real with the imagined, to find the place where the two worlds intersect to create an ever-shifting borderland of the self.
A History of the Profession of Psychology in America
This book is intended to round out the picture of American psychology's past, adding the history of psychological practice to the story of psychological science. Written by two well-recognized authorities in the field, this book covers the profession and practice of psychology in America from the late 19th century to the present. FROM SÉANCE TO SCIENCE tells the story of psychologists who sought and seek to apply the knowledge of their science to the practical problems of the world, whether those problems lay in businesses, schools, families, or in the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors of individuals. Engagingly written and full of interesting examples, this book includes figures and photos from the Archives of the History of American Psychology. This is the story of individuals, trained in psychology, who function as school psychologists, counseling psychologists, clinical psychologists, and industrial psychologists. These are psychology's practitioners, meaning that they take the knowledge base of psychology and use it for practical purposes outside of the classroom and outside of the laboratory.
The poems in Brittany Cavallaro’s Girl-King are whispered from behind a series of masks, those of victim and aggressor, nineteenth-century madame and reluctant magician’s girl, of truck-stop Persephone and frustrated Tudor scholar. This “expanse of girls, expanding still” chase each other through history, disappearing in an Illinois cornfield only to re-emerge on the dissection table of a Scottish artist-anatomist. But these poems are not just interested in historical narrative: they peer, too, at the past’s marginalia, at its “blank pages” as well as its “scrawls and dashes.” Always, they return to “the dark, indelicate question” of power and sexuality, of who can rule the “city where no one is from.” These girls search for the connection between “alive and will stay that way,” between each dying star and the emptiness that can collapse everything.
Slovenian Women's Stories on Migration
Going Places is a narrative of a century of Slovenian Women's immigration stories. The book traces the migration of these Eastern European women to several destinations including Argentina, Egypt, Italy, and the United States. The research has been carefully culled from the subjects' letters, personal diaries, and oral interviews. What results is a story that covers the span of three or four generations. The book highlights in biography the story of identity under construction. Each woman's identity surpasses ethnic, national identity or belonging, but at the same time, contains different elements of identity transformation at different stages of the narrator's life. As one participant said, "While their suitcases may be light with personal belongings, their stamina, strength and determination and emotional commitment would sink a battleship."
The Good Kiss is a collection of poems dealing loosely with the subjects of divorce, sexuality, and American culture from the 1950s to today. The poems vary in tone from the fairly serious to the reflective and meditative, to the wryly comic. Perhaps it is fair to say that this range of tones exists within many of the individual poems, and is their defining characteristic. Poems like "What I Want," and "The Good Kiss" are good examples of these quirky, rather unexpected tonal shifts and blendings.
Groundspeed moves and doesn't stop moving. From pastorals on American highways to self-reckonings after a cancer diagnosis to examinations on grief and transience after the death of a brother, this collection of poems asks readers not only to size up threats but anxieties. Phillips witnesses a small plane crash and examines roadside attractions. She reckons with sexuality after a partner asks for a threesome, and renders a candid portrait of a nude, post-surgery body in a mirror. In this raw and personal book, Phillips insists upon one's own preservation through and beyond grief and trauma with the warning "creation is only // myth; destruction narrative."
In Half/Mask, Roger Mitchell goes in search of the magic that remains when the world is stripped down to “an inhospitable beauty.” Many of these starkly lyrical poems explore the human and natural communities found on tundra and borrow freely from the great narrative and sculptural traditions of the Inuit and other rugged people who have learned to live intensely under challenging conditions. Whether in the High Arctic or in different places “where human life . . . has a loose fit,” Mitchell discovers a land rich in imagery and metaphor for describing experience at a fundamental level, out at the edge of what we can know: “Alone and far away, remote, a step / or two beyond human, real being.” An effort to understand and sympathetically inhabit the earth drives these poems, even in the barren isolation of their settings, and gives to Half/Mask its emotional resonance.
Her Slender Dress, the first volume of poetry to win the Akron Poetry Prize, follows Virginia Woolf's advice to women writers: to move out of the sitting room and into reality. The staccato, often fragmented, syntax of these poems is an attempt to recreate an attitude of perception in which the postmodern female is "assaulted" by various stimuli with the dizzying speed made possible by the electronic age. The world now happens faster than it can possibly be integrated into an individual consciousness. The postmodern American reality for women consists of a society in which the confrontation with "the streets" (including drug abuse, sexual or physical abuse) can be as immediate, as influential as the previous zone of power and comfort, "home." But motherhood and marriage continue in importance, despite the changing cultural expectations. The title, taken from Blake's "Little Girl Lost" of the "Songs of Innocence," reflects the essential and unifying element of this book: Her Slender Dress is more than a Vogue magazine cover, but may be interpreted as Blake's simple, elegant image of female corporeality. And it is from the physical body, the slender dress, that both the pain and the joy of being female emanate.