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The University of Akron Press

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Fat Jersey Blues Cover

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Fat Jersey Blues

by John Repp

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

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Fire Wheel

By Sharmila Voorakkara

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.

From Séance to Science Cover

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From Séance to Science

A History of the Profession of Psychology in America

by Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr. and David B. Baker

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.

Girl-King Cover

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by Brittany Cavallaro

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.

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Going Places

Slovenian Women's Stories on Migration

edited by Mirjam Milharčič Hladnik and Jernej Mlekuž

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."

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The Good Kiss

By George Bilgere

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.

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By Roger Mitchell

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.

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Her Slender Dress

By Susan Yuzna

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.

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A History of Jonathan Alder

His Captivity and Life with the Indians

By Larry Nelson

A History of Jonathan Alder: His Captivity and Life with the Indians is one of the most extensive first person accounts to survive from Ohio’s pioneer and early settlement eras. Nine year-old Alder was captured and taken to Ohio by Indians in 1782. Adopted by a Mingo warrior and his Shawnee wife, Alder lived as an Indian until 1805. After he left the Indians, Alder became one of the first European settlers to live in central Ohio. Alder composed his memoirs in the 1840s. His account chronicles his life for fifty years, from the time of his capture to 1832. The narrative, therfore, provides a unique perspective on fronteir Ohio and its transformation from wilderness to statehood and the continuing evolution in the relationship between Ohio’s Indians and whites from the Revolutionary War-era to a time when many of the state’s Native peoples had been removed. Alder’s recollection provides an exceptional look at early Ohio. His portrait of his captors is revealing, complex, and sympathetic. The latter part of his narrative in which he describes his experiences in central Ohio is an extraordinary rich account of early pioneer life. Further, Alder was fortunate in that he encountered many of the persons and took part in many of the events that have become touchstones in Ohio’s pioneer history, including Simon Kenton, Simon Girty, and Col. William Crawford. He participated in the Battles of Fort Recovery and Fallen Timbers, and his recollection of these actions are among the few extant accounts that describe these events from a Native American perspective.

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How We Spent Our Time

By Vern Rutsala

Nearly every poem in How We Spent Our Time flies at its mast a title in the form of a gerund or gerund phrase, that humble verbal noun. The book's table of contents, therefore, reads like an equally humble enumeration of the ways a human lifetime can be paid out, so to speak: looking, getting, owning, learning. We all do them all. And yet there is exceptional artistry in the testimonials these doings make witness to. The arrangement of the poems within the text is part of it. Note how "keeping" immediately precedes "spending," in the poems "Keeping It Together" and "Spending the Night"; these poems are conversational but endlessly skilful in the ways they keep the language vivid and fresh and surprising. How We Spent Our Time is flush with pangs and satisfactions, abundant with wisdom and delight.

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