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Kamau Brathwaite is a major Caribbean poet of his generation and one of the major world poets of the second half of the twentieth century. Elegguas--a play on "elegy" and "Eleggua," the Yoruba deity of the threshold, doorway, and crossroad--is a collection of poems for the departed. Modernist and post-modernist in inspiration, Elegguas draws together traditions of speaking with the dead, from Rilke's Duino Elegies to the Jamaican kumina practice of bringing down spirits of the dead to briefly inhabit the bodies of the faithful, so that the ancestors may provide spiritual assistance and advice to those here on earth. The book is also profoundly political, including elegies for assassinated revolutionaries like in the masterful "Poem for Walter Rodney."
Throughout his poetry, Brathwaite foregrounds "nation-language," that difference in syntax, in rhythm, and timbre that is most closely allied to the African experience in the Caribbean, using the computer to explore the graphic rendition of nuances of language. Brathwaite experiments using his own Sycorax fonts, as well as deliberate misspellings ("calibanisms") and deviations in punctuation. But this is never simple surface aesthetic, rather an expression of the turbulence (in history, in dream) depicted in the poems. This collection is a stunning follow-up to Brathwaite's Born to Slow Horses (Wesleyan, 2005), winner of the Griffin International Poetry Prize.
Poetics Across North America
Eleven More American Women Poets in the 21st Century is an exciting sequel to its predecessors in the American Poets in the 21st Century series. Like the earlier anthologies, this volume includes generous selections of poetry by some of the best poets of our time as well as illuminating poetics statements and incisive essays on their work. This unique organization makes these books invaluable teaching tools. Broadening the lens through which we look at contemporary poetry, this new volume extends its geographical net by including Caribbean and Canadian poets. Representing three generations of women writers, among the insightful pieces included in this volume are essays by Karla Kelsey on Mary Jo Bang's modes of artifice, Christine Hume on Carla Harryman's kinds of listening, Dawn Lundy Martin on M. NourbeSe Phillip (for whom "english / is a foreign anguish"), and Sina Queyras on Lisa Robertson's confoundingly beautiful surfaces. A companion web site will present audio of each poet's work.
Connecticut's Pioneering Governor
When Ella Tambussi Grasso ran for governor of Connecticut in 1974, she had not lost an election since she was first voted into the state's General Assembly in 1952. The people of Connecticut chose her as the nation's first woman to be elected governor in her own right--the capstone of a long and successful career dedicated to public service, effective government, and the democratic process. During her tenure as governor, Grasso's leadership was tested in the face of fiscal problems, state layoffs, and budget shortfalls. The daughter of Italian immigrants, she endeared herself to her constituents during the great Blizzard of 1978, when she stayed at the State Armory around the clock to direct emergency operations and make frequent television appearances. Author Jon E. Purmont, who served as Grasso's executive assistant when she was governor, draws on his diary from that time, research in Grasso's archives, and interviews with Grasso's family and friends to give us a rich and intimate portrait of this political pioneer.
Early science fiction has often been associated almost exclusively with Northern industrialized nations. In this groundbreaking exploration of the science fiction written in Latin America prior to 1920, Rachel Haywood Ferreira argues that science fiction has always been a global genre. She traces how and why the genre quickly reached Latin America and analyzes how writers in Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico adapted science fiction to reflect their own realities. Among the texts discussed are one of the first defenses of Darwinism in Latin America, a tale of a time-traveling history book, and a Latin American Frankenstein. Latin American science fiction writers have long been active participants in the sf literary tradition, expanding the limits of the genre and deepening our perception of the role of science and technology in the Latin American imagination. The book includes a chronological bibliography of science fiction published from 1775 to 1920 in all Latin American countries.
The Aesthetics and Rituals of British Indie Music
Britain is widely considered the cradle of independent music culture. Bands like Radiohead and Belle and Sebastian, which epitomize indie music's sounds and attitudes, have spawned worldwide fanbases. This in-depth study of the British independent music scene explores how the behavior of fans, artists, and music industry professionals produce a community with a specific aesthetic based on moral values. Author Wendy Fonarow, a scholar with years of experience in the various sectors of the indie music scene, examines the indie music "gig" as a ritual in which all participants are actively involved. This ritual allows participants to play with cultural norms regarding appropriate behavior, especially in the domains of sex and creativity. Her investigation uncovers the motivations of audience members when they first enter the community and how their positions change over time so that the gig functions for most members as a rite of passage. Empire of Dirt sheds new light on music, gender roles, emotion, subjectivity, embodiment, and authenticity.
It's been a pilgrimage for Annie Dillard: from Tinker Creek to the Galapagos Islands, the high Arctic, the Pacific Northwest, the Amazon Jungle--and now, China. This informative narrative is full of fascinating people: Chinese people, mostly writers, who encounter American writers in various bizarre circumstances in both China and the U.S. There is a toasting scene at a Chinese banquet; a portrait of a bitter, flirtatious diplomat at a dance hall; a formal meeting with Chinese writers; a conversation with an American businessman in a hotel lobby; an evening with long-suffering Chinese intellectuals in their house; a scene in the Beijing foreigners' compound with an excited European journalist; and a scene of unwarranted hilarity at the Beijing Library. In the U.S., there is Allen Ginsberg having a bewildering conversation in Disneyland with a Chinese journalist; there is the lovely and controversial writer Zhang Jie suiting abrupt mood changes to a variety of actions; and there is the fiercely spirited Jiange Zilong singing in a Connecticut dining room, eyes closed. These are real stories told with a warm and lively humor, with a keen eye for paradox, and with fresh insight into the human drama.
Closing the Last Sardine Cannery in America
At one time, sardines were an inexpensive staple for many Americans. The 212 photographs in this elegant volume offer a striking document of this now vanished industry. Generations of workers in Maine have snipped, sliced, and packed the small, silvery fish into billions of cans on their way to Americans' lunch buckets and kitchen cabinets. On April 15, 2010, Stinson's Seafood, once the home of Beach Cliff Sardines, shut down the packing line that had made the name world famous. Begun in 1927, Stinson's empire eventually included sardine canneries spread along the Maine coast and a fleet of ships to supply them. With this closing, however, the end of the entire sardine industry in Maine had finally arrived. Photographer Markham Starr was privileged to spend several days at the Stinson factory in Prospect Harbor, one month before it was dismantled, emerging with a collection of remarkable images that transform the parts of the cannery into works of art and capture the resilience of the workers faced with the loss of jobs many had held for decades. This book includes a short essay, and shows the heartland of Maine at its finest.
The poet Arkadii Dragomoshchenko made his debut in underground magazines in the late Soviet period, and developed an elliptic, figural style with affinities to Moscow metarealism, although he lived in what was then Leningrad. Endarkenment brings together revisions of selected translations by Lyn Hejinian and Elena Balashova from his previous American titles, long out of print, with translations of new work carried out by Genya Turovskaya, Bela Shayevich, Jacob Edmond, and Eugene Ostashevsky. This chronological arrangement of Dragomoshchenko's writing represents the heights of his imaginative poetry and fragmentary lyricism from perestroika to the time of his death. His language--although "perpetually incomplete" and shifting in meaning--remains fresh and transformative, exhibiting its roots in Russian Modernism and its openness to the poet's Language School contemporaries in the United States. The collection is a crucial English introduction to Dragomoshchenko's work. It is also bilingual, with Russian texts that are otherwise hard to obtain. It also includes a foreword by Lyn Hejinian, an essay on how the poetry reads in Russian, a biography, and a list of publications. Check for the online reader's companion at endarkenment.site.wesleyan.edu.
The Politics and Poetics of Corporeality
For twenty-five years, Ann Cooper Albright has been exploring the intersection of cultural representation and somatic identity in dance. For Albright, dancing is a physical inquiry, a way of experiencing and participating in the world, and her writing reflects an interdisciplinary approach to seeing and thinking about dance. In her engagement as both a dancer and a scholar, Albright draws on her kinesthetic sensibilities as well as her intellectual knowledge to articulate how movement creates meaning. Throughout Engaging Bodies movement and ideas lean on one another to produce a critical theory anchored in the material reality of dancing bodies. This blend of cultural theory and personal circumstance will be useful and inspiring for emerging scholars and dancers looking for a model of writing about dance that thrives on the interconnectedness of watching and doing, gesture and thought.