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The University of Akron Press


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The Monkey and the Wrench Cover

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The Monkey and the Wrench

Essays into Contemporary Poetics

Mary Biddinger and John Gallaher, Editors

The Monkey and the Wrench: Essays into Contemporary Poetics takes a snapshot of a moving target: the ever-shifting conversation about today's poetry. The ten essays in this collection offer reflections and insights, practical advice for craft matters, and provocative points of departure for those who read and write poetry. This series seeks to further the discussion of poetics in America and beyond, and to showcase the ideas of writers and critics with varied sensibilities. The first volume in the Akron Series in Contemporary Poetics, The Monkey & the Wrench, explores the debate over hybrid aesthetics, confronts the topic of contemporary rhyme, and ventures into the realm of persona and the mystical poem. This volume is ideal for both the classroom and the nightstand, for the poet's desk and the critic's bookshelf. Series editors Mary Biddinger and John Gallaher have assembled an eclectic collection that welcomes the reader into the conversation, while documenting the seismic activity of today's poetry world.

Murder, Culture, and Injustice Cover

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Murder, Culture, and Injustice

Four Sensational Cases in American History

By Walter L. Hixson

Walter Hixson's pithy narrative account of four sensational murder cases---the Lizzie Borden, Lindbergh baby, Sam Sheppard, and O.J. Simpson trials---offers interesting observations into the greater cultural and political forces that shaped their verdicts. His step-by-step analysis of the details of each case provides not only insight by skillful synthesis of the existing literature but also a solid overview of the events surrounding these four cases, each of which became a national obsession as well as a miscarriage of justice. Taking a fresh look at the criminal justice system and the role of the media in the larger American milieu, Hixson delves into sociocultural impacts of crime that are both thought-provoking and fascinating reading.

Mysteries of the Hopewell Cover

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Mysteries of the Hopewell

Astronomers, Geometers, and Magicians of the Eastern Woodlands

By William F. Romain

Buried beneath today's Midwestern towns, under several layers of earth and the accumulated debris of two thousand years, are the clues to an ancient mystery. A Native American people, now known as the Hopewell, lived and worked these lands, building earthworks which in some instances dwarf the ruins at Stonehenge. More significantly, these mammoth earthworks were built in different geometric shapes, using a standard unit of measure and aligned to the cycles of the sun and the moon. Using the foundation of existing scholarship, Mysteries of the Hopewell presents new discoveries showing the accomplishments of the Mound Builders in astronomy, geometry, measurement, and counting. William Romain then goes one step further to theorize why generations of people toiled to move millions of tons of earth to form these precise structures, joining the ranks of the Egyptians, Mayans, Greeks, Chinese, and other advanced ancient cultures. William Romain's Mysteries of the Hopewell will appeal to many readers, including anthropologists, mathematicians, and historians, but perhaps especially to readers curious about ancient cultures and seeking explanations for these magnificent earthen structures.

Never Be the Horse Cover

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Never Be the Horse

By Beckian Fritz Goldberg

Never Be the Horse depicts the world of a postmodern Dark Dorothy whose attempts to return home are foiled when she falls into the Garden of Eden, into the underworld with Walt Whitman, into mysterious versions of her own childhood. The poems evoke this nighttime within the self haunted by mythic and shadow-paradises--of home, homeland, the original garden--where "every story is made to hide / the others." Here, Adam slips on a piece of Eve's clothing, a child falls in love with the bomb, and a mourner watching the whores chased from the cemetery laments. It is also a world of erotic disguises. Still, it remains recognizably this world. The parent lies to the child about death, and the child lies to the parent about death. In the journey between those lies, as in the journey taken by the horse of the title, language becomes the place of refuge. It is there that "one world is always beginning." From "willingness . . . speaking its motherese," to the devil's "gossamer gibber," the voices in these poems discover that to be human is, as Heidegger said, "to be a conversation."

Nothing Fatal Cover

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Nothing Fatal

By Sarah Perrier

What happens when love is replaced by romance? In Nothing Fatal, Sarah Perrier presents us with a variety of answers to this question. Wise, sly, sexy, and sad, Perrier's poems not only court the reader, but flirt with each other, resulting in a collection that rejoices in, and even reconfigures, the notion of modern love.

Notorious Murders, Black Lanterns, and Moveable Goods Cover

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Notorious Murders, Black Lanterns, and Moveable Goods

Transformation of Edinburgh's Underworld in the Early Nineteeth Century

By Deborah A. Symonds

The year 1828, when William Burke, William Hare, and their wives murdered nearly a score of Edinburgh's poor and sold their bodies, offers us many more examples of entrepreneurial criminals in Edinburgh's Old Town. Young thieves ransacked a warehouse for tea, women pretending to be prostitutes lifted gentlemen's watches, and fine linens disappeared from washerwomen's houses. What Symonds reveals here is a shadow economy where the most numerous of all criminals and thieves practice their trade not out of poverty and misery, but because it is their trade. Symonds argues that the trade of thievery, far from being either static or a symptom of misery and sign of revolt, was a very lively economic sector, the freest market of all, and one that shifted and shadowed the larger legitimate economy. The community of laborers and petty fiddles, especially of visitors like drovers, might be tolerated, if done cleverly, but murder and theft, especially from local business, was more unsettling. But the entrepreneurial spirit was never more alive, or perhaps more valued, because it could easily substitute for capital in the shadow economy.

The Ohio Hopewell Episode Cover

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The Ohio Hopewell Episode

Paradigm Lost and Paradigm Gained

By A. Martin Byers

There is a general consensus among the North American archaeologists specializing in the Middle Woodland period (ca 100B.C. to ca A.D. 400) that the Ohio Hopewell was a rather straight forward complex of small-scaled peer polity communities based on simple gardening and extensive foraging practices and occupying dispersed habitation locales loosely clustered around major earthworks. This book challenges this general consensus by presenting a radically alternative view. It argues that the Ohio Hopewell episode can be better and more coherently characterized by treating it as a complex social system based on dual and mutually autonomous social networks of clan alliances and world renewal cults, and that this dual clan-cult social system was, in fact, the culmination of such social systems that were widely dispersed across the Eastern Woodlands. The cults were devoted to treating their deceased members and/or dependants as sacrificial offerings to enhance the sacred powers of nature and the clans were devoted to transforming their deceased into ancestors and the stresses these opposing mortuary practices generated underwrote the dynamics of the Ohio Hopewell and brought about the monumental earthworks as sacred locales of world renewal cults.

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Orbit of Discovery

The All-Ohio Space Shuttle Mission

by Don Thomas

The desire to beat gravity is a Buckeye tradition. After all, Orville and Wilbur Wright were Dayton, Ohio, boys who went to Kitty Hawk in 1903 to get things off the ground. When space became the next frontier, John Glenn, who was born in Cambridge, Ohio, on July 18, 1921, became the first American to orbit the earth in his Friendship 7 spacecraft. A Wapakoneta, Ohio, resident, Neil Armstrong, born in 1930, followed in the footsteps of Glenn by being the first human to step onto the moon’s surface during the summer of 1969. Don Thomas, a Cleveland native, saw other Ohioans in space and set his sights on becoming an astronaut. After years of hard work and dedication, he became part of the 1995 All-Ohio space shuttle Discovery mission. Orbit of Discovery provides a first-hand account of this mission. Written by Thomas with the assistance of journalist, Mike Bartell, the book is a lively and entertaining must read for individuals who want to experience a ride into space. Orbit of Discovery is augmented with a foreword by astronaut and Senator John Glenn and an introduction by Senator George Voinovich.

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Orphan, Indiana

By David Dodd Lee

Orphan, Indiana is a collection of spontaneous outbursts framed by reticence and the guiding mania of the subconscious. Profane and poignant, accidental-seeming but soaring with satirical intent, David Dodd Lee's poems capture a verisimilitude that's phenomenological, and yet of the moment.

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Other Latitudes

By Brian Brodeur

Attempting to repair the fissures of everyday life, Brian Brodeur negotiates the psychological distances between desire and disgust, humor and catastrophe, banality and dream. The poems of Other Latitudes begin in the realm of personal experience, and expand into larger territories of cultural narcissism and political blindness. These poems meditate on the tenuous relationship between artist and subject, the curiosities of self-inflicted wounds, and the presence of hope in a landscape that is intrinsically scarred. Brodeur’s debut illustrates the conflict between inner lives and their outward appearances, with an eye turned to the unforgiving natural world.

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