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Philadelphia’s Urban Sphere and Its Environmental Thresholds
While Richard Shelton has been known primarily for his poems dealing with the landscape of the Southwest and the destruction of that landscape, the poems in this book are much more far-ranging, including many poems dealing with soocial issues (the issue of illegal immigration on our southern border, homelessness), historical events (the war in Iraq, the events of 9/11) and attitudes concerning politics and the environment. The poems are filled with sensory images, engaged in the real world, often ironic or simply off-the-wall, and their tone ranges from deeply sad, as in a requiem for Glen Canyon on the Colorado River, to the wildly funny, as in Brief Communications from My widowed Mother.
An Idea with Poems and Translations
Leaping Poetry is Robert Bly's testament to the importance of the artistic leap that bridges the gap between conscious and unconscious thought in any great work of art. Part anthology and part commentary, Bly seeks to rejuvenate modern Western poetry through his revelations of “leaping” as found in the works of poets from around the world, while also outlining the basic principles that shape his own poetry.
Symmetry, Asymmetry, and Literary Humanism
In this book, Walter H. Beale seeks to bring together the disciplines of linguistics, rhetoric, and literary studies through the concept of symmetry (how words mirror thought, society, and our vision of the world). Citing thinkers from antiquity to the present, Beale provides an in-depth study of linguistic theory, development, and practice. He views the historic division between the schools of symmetry and asymmetry (a belief that language developed as a structure independent of human experience), as built into the character of language itself, and as an impediment to literary humanism (the combined study of language, rhetoric, and literature to improve the competence and character of the individual). In his analysis, Beale outlines and critiques traditional claims of symmetry, then offers new avenues of approach to the subject. In doing so, he examines how important issues of human culture and consciousness have parallels in processes of language; how linguistic patterns relate to pervasive human problems; how language is an active participant in the expression, performance, and construction of reality; the concepts of designating versus naming; figurative language as a process of reenvisioning reality; and the linking of style to virtue by the ancients. Beale concludes that both asymmetrical and symmetrical elements exist in language, each with their own relevance, and that they are complementary, rather than opposing philosophies. The basic intuitions of symmetry that relate language to life are powerful and important to all of English studies. Combined with a love for the workings, sounds, and structures of language, Beale says, an understanding of symmetry can help guide the pursuit of literary humanism.
Crime and Terror in the Latin American Cultural Text
Ileana Rodríguez considers several Latin American nations that govern under the name of liberalism yet display a shocking range of nondemocratic features. In her political, cultural, and philosophical analysis, she examines these environments in which liberalism seems to have reached its limits, as the universalizing project gives way to rampant nonstate violence, gross inequality, and neocolonialism. Focusing on Guatemala, Colombia, and Mexico, Rodríguez shows how standard liberal models fail to account for new forms of violence and exploitation, which in fact follow from specific clashes between liberal ideology and local practice. Looking at these tensions within the ostensibly well-ordered state, Rodríguez exposes how the misunderstanding and misuse of liberal principles are behind realities of political turmoil, and questions whether liberalism is in fact an ideology sufficient to empower populations and transition nation-states into democratic roles in the global order. In this way, Liberalism at Its Limits offers a critical examination of the forced fitting of liberal models to Latin American nations and reasserts cross-cultural communication as crucial to grasping the true link between varying systems of value and politics.
“What a rich array of music lies within Listening Long and Late. With refreshing authenticity, Everwine weds playfulness to practice, lyricism to narrative, pathos to the ordinary. Indeed, he has listened ‘long and late’ to the music of such venerable masters as Tu Fu, the hidden genius on the street, and the anonymous Aztec poets of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Everwine writes with the same ‘deified heart’ that divines the mystery of his quotidian subjects in a language that is at once plain and poetic. His own work seamlessly segues into his translations from the Hebrew and Nahuatl, as if all the poems belonged to the same poet, which they in fact do, as the glorious multitudes of Peter Everwine, one of the masters of our age.”—Chard deNiord
Gender, Editing, and the Making of a New Yorker Ethos
Janet Carey Eldred examines the rise of women magazine editors during the mid-twentieth century and reveals their unheralded role in creating a literary aesthetic for the American public. Between the sheets of popular magazines, editors offered belles-lettres to the masses and, in particular, middle-class women. Magazines became a place to find culture, humor, and intellectual affirmation alongside haute couture. Eldred mines a variety of literary archives, notably the correspondence of Katharine Sargeant White of the New Yorker, to provide an insider’s view of the publisher-editor-author dynamic. Here, among White’s letters, memos, and markups, we see the deliberate shaping of literature to create a New Yorker ethos. Through her discrete phrasing, authors are coaxed by White to correct or wholly revise their work. Stories or poems by famous writers are rejected for being “dizzying” or “too literate.” With a surgeon’s skill, “disturbing” issues such as sexuality and race are extracted from manuscripts. Eldred chronicles the work of women (and a few men) editors at the major women’s magazines of the day. Ladies’ Home Journal, Mademoiselle, Vogue, and others enacted an editorial style similar to that of the New Yorker by offering literature, values, and culture to an educated and aspiring middle class. Publishers effectively convinced readers that middlebrow stories (and by association their audience) had much loftier pursuits. And they were right. These publications created and sustained a mass literacy never before seen in American publishing.
Water and the Making of the Modern City
As people crowded into British cities in the nineteenth century, industrial and biological waste byproducts and then epidemic followed. Britons died by the thousands in recurring plagues. Figures like Edwin Chadwick and John Snow pleaded for measures that could save lives and preserve the social fabric. The solution that prevailed was the novel idea that British towns must build public water supplies, replacing private companies. But the idea was not an obvious or inevitable one. Those who promoted new waterworks argued that they could use water to realize a new kind of British society—a productive social machine, a new moral community, and a modern civilization. They did not merely cite the dangers of epidemic or scarcity. Despite many debates and conflicts, this vision won out—in town after town, from Birmingham to Liverpool to Edinburgh, authorities gained new powers to execute municipal water systems. But in London local government responded to environmental pressures with a plan intended to help remake the metropolis into a collectivist society. The Conservative national government, in turn, sought to impose a water administration over the region that would achieve its own competing political and social goals. The contestants over London’s water supply matched divergent strategies for administering London’s water with contending visions of modern society. And the matter was never pedestrian. The struggle over these visions was joined by some of the most colorful figures of the late Victorian period, including John Burns, Lord Salisbury, Bernard Shaw, and Sidney and Beatrice Webb. As Broich demonstrates, the debate over how to supply London with water came to a head when the climate itself forced the endgame near the end of the nineteenth century. At that decisive moment, the Conservative party succeeded in dictating the relationship between water, power, and society in London for many decades to come.
“Sometimes we have questions that seem to defy answers or even suppositions but then we find Love and Strange Horses to help us map out a course to continue loving life. A really wonderful, thoughtful read by an intriguing new voice.” —Nikki Giovanni