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Half/Mask

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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Half of the World in Light

New and Selected Poems

Includes an audio CD of the author reading!

For nearly four decades, Juan Felipe Herrera has documented his experience as a Chicano in the United States and Latin America through stunning, memorable poetry that is both personal and universal in its impact, themes, and approach. Often political, never fainthearted, his career has been marked by tremendous virtuosity and a unique sensibility for uncovering the unknown and the unexpected. Through a variety of stages and transformations, Herrera has evolved more than almost any other Chicano poet, always re-inventing himself into a more mature and seasoned voice.

Now, in this unprecedented collection, we encounter the trajectory of this highly innovative and original writer, bringing the full scope of his singular vision into view. Beginning with early material from A Certain Man and moving through thirteen of his collections into new, previously unpublished work, this assemblage also includes an audio CD of the author reading twenty-four selected poems aloud. Serious scholars and readers alike will now have available to them a representative set of glimpses into his production as well as his origins and personal development. The ultimate value of bringing together such a collection, however, is that it will allow us to better understand and appreciate the complexity of what this major American poet is all about.

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A HalfMan Dreaming

David Matlin

A HalfMan Dreaming conjures into existence an apocalyptic storyline that takes its narrator, Lupe, from a childhood encounter with the Enola Gay on the edge of the Californian desert, to the war in Vietnam, to prison in Detroit. Filled with confusion, anger, and shame at the things that he has seen and done, Lupe struggles to find his way out of the maze of violence and racism that is Postwar America. With lyrical intensity and pyrotechnic prose, A HalfMan Dreaming weaves together history, archaeology, and mythology in a Melville-ian quest to discover the Leviathan heart of America’s love affair with death and destruction.

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A Halfway House for Women

Oppression and Resistance

Gail A. Caputo

Although halfway houses have been touted for years as affirmative rehabilitation locations that ready women for life in the outside world, in this remarkable case study Gail Caputo shows how these places reinforce patterns of control and abuse that reaffirm the dependency and victimization of the inmates. Based on observations made while living and working alongside women at a halfway house within the prison system in a city in the Northeast, Caputo’s analysis is anchored in the words and experiences of over a dozen women. Organized according to the progression of “levels” residents traverse during their time in the house, and the rules and behaviors associated with each level, Caputo offers a riveting look at what passes for “rehabilitation” and “reintegration” in such places, and delineates the many ways these women retain agency by resisting regulations designed to keep them in their place.

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A Hall of Fame for Unknown Writers

S,P, Areham

After thirty-six years as book-editor in New York, Robin retires and moves back to her girlhood home in Oberlin, Ohio. She takes with her copies of items she had kept in a special file.
The items had come not from literary agents but directly from writers, reflecting their quirky, original, creative, passionate, ironic, even bizarre voices. All the items enlighten and entertain.  

A Hall of Fame for Unknown Writers is Robin’s story as she reproduces the comic items and nominates them for induction into America’s first (and only) hall of fame for unknown writers, where the motto reads: “We’re in Kansas forevermore.”


“For thirty-six years, I was an editor at a family-owned (now part of a bulky conglomerate) book-publishing house in New York. In retirement, I thought it might be enjoyable to write not the Great American Novel (my authors are trying to do that) but the Fun American Novel. Over the years, I had accumulated all sorts of material that I could weave into the novel: material that came to me directly from the country’s most unforgettable unknown writers and professors.” –Robin

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The Hall of Three Pines

An Account of My Life

by Feng Youlan, translated by Denis C. Mair

Feng Youlan (1895-1990) was twentieth-century China's leading original philosopher as well as its foremost historian of Chinese philosophy. He is best known in the West for his two-volume History of Chinese Philosophy, which remains the standard general history of the subject. He is also known for a series of books in which he developed a philosophical system combining elements of Chinese philosophy, particularly Neo-Confucianism, with Western thinking. In his preface to The Hall of Three Pines, Feng likens his autobiography to accounts written by "authors of ancient times, [who] on completing their major works, often wrote a separate piece to recount their origins and experiences, giving the overall plan of their work, and declaring their aims."

The Hall of Three Pines begins in the 1890s, during the Chinese empire, and extends to the 1980s. According to Feng, "No age before was swept up in such a maelstrom of convoluted change." The son of a district magistrate, Feng left his home in 1910 at the age of fifteen to study in the provincial capital of Kaifeng and later at the China Academy in Shanghai. During the warlord and Kuomintang years, he graduated from Peking University, obtained a Ph.D. in philosophy under John Dewey at Columbia University, and became a professor of philosophy at several of Chin's most prestigious universities. Fleeing the Japanese invasion, Feng, along with many of his university colleagues, moved south to Changsha and Kunming. After Japan's surrender, he returned to teaching in Beijing and there witnessed the chaos of the Kuomintang-Communist civil war. Feng suffered the fate of many prominent intellectuals during the Cultural Revolution and was rehabilitated after Mao's death. His remaining years were spent in Beijing, at his long-time residence, The Hall of Three Pines, where he continued to work despite the gradual loss of his eyesight. Feng completed The Hall of Pines shortly before returning to the U.S. to receive an honorary degree from Columbia in 1982.

The book is divided into three parts: The first is entitled "Society," which Feng describes as a record of his environment. "Philosophy" concerns Feng's work as an original philosopher and historian of Chinese philosophy and includes extensive excerpts from his own writings and discussions of these by himself and others. The final section, "Universities," is a discussion of education and delves into details of Chinese academic affairs.

The Hall of Three Pines is a monumental work of personal and intellectual history spanning nearly nine decades in the life of modern China's one great philosopher.

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Halleck

Lincoln's Chief of Staff

Stephen E. Ambrose

“Halleck originates nothing, anticipates nothing, to assist others; takes no responsibility, plans nothing, suggests nothing, is good for nothing.” Lincoln’s secretary of the navy Gideon Welles’s harsh words constitute the stereotype into which Union General-in-Chief Henry Wager Halleck has been cast by most historians since Appomattox. In Halleck: Lincoln’s Chief of Staff, originally published in 1962, Stephen Ambrose challenges the standard interpretation of this controversial figure. Ambrose argues persuasively that Halleck has been greatly underrated as a war theorist because of past writer’s failure to do justice to his close involvement with three movements basic to the development of the American military establishment: the Union high command’s application—and ultimate rejection—of the principles of Baron Henri Jomini; the growth of a national, professional army at the expense of the state militia; and the beginnings of a modern command system.

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Hallow This Ground

Colin Rafferty

Beginning outside the boarded-up windows of Columbine High School and ending almost twelve years later on the fields of Shiloh National Military Park, Hallow This Ground revolves around monuments and memorials—physical structures that mark the intersection of time and place. In the ways they invite us to interact with them, these sites teach us to recognize our ties to the past. Colin Rafferty explores places as familiar as his hometown of Kansas City and as alien as the concentration camps of Poland in an attempt to understand not only our common histories, but also his own past, present, and future. Rafferty blends the travel essay with the lyric, the memoir with the analytic, in this meditation on the ways personal histories intersect with History, and how those intersections affect the way we understand and interact with Place.

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The Hallowed Eve

Dimensions of Culture in a Calendar Festival in Northern Ireland

Jack Santino

In Northern Ireland, Halloween is such a major celebration that it is often called the Irish Christmas. A day of family reunions, meals, and fun, Halloween brings people of all ages together with rhyming, storytelling, family fireworks, and community bonfires. Perhaps most important, it has become a day that transcends the social conflict found in this often troubled nation. Through the extensive use of interviews, The Hallowed Eve offers a fascinating look at the various customs, both past and present, that mark the celebration of the holiday. Looking through the lenses of gender, ethnicity, and religious affiliation, Jack Santino examines how the traditions exist in a nonthreatening, celebratory way to provide a model of how life could be in Northern Ireland. Halloween, concludes Santino, is a marriage of death and life, a joining of cultural opposites: indoor and outdoor, domesticity and wildness, male and female, old and young. Although current folk and popular traditions can be divisive, Halloween in Northern Ireland is universally considered to belong to everyone, regardless of their background or political leanings. The holiday is a dramatic example of how a community comes together one day a year, and these Northern Irish traditions capture the fundamental and everyday dimensions of life in Ulster.

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Hallowed Stewards

Solon and the Sacred Treasurers of Ancient Athens

William S. Bubelis

Students of ancient Athenian politics, governance, and religion have long stumbled over the rich evidence of inscriptions and literary texts that document the Athenians’ stewardship of the wealth of the gods. Likewise, Athens was well known for devoting public energy and funds to all matters of ritual, ranging from the building of temples to major religious sacrifices. Yet, lacking any adequate account of how the Athenians organized that commitment, much less how it arose and developed, ancient historians and philologists alike have labored with only a paltry understanding of what was a central concern to the Athenians themselves. That deficit of knowledge, in turn, has constrained and diminished our grasp of other essential questions surrounding Athenian society and its history, such as the nature of political life in archaic Athens, and the forces underlying Athens’ imperial finances.

Hallowed Stewards closely examines those magistracies that were central to Athenian religious efforts, and which are best described as “sacred treasurers.” Given the extensive but fragmentary evidence available to us, which consists mainly of inscriptions but includes such texts as the ps.-Aristotelian Constitution of the Athenians, no catalog-like approach to these offices could properly encompass their details, much less their wider significance. By situating the sacred treasurers within a broader religious and historical framework, Hallowed Stewards not only provides an incisive portrait of the treasurers themselves but also elucidates how sacred property and public finance alike developed in ancient Athens.

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