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“I had a clock it woke all day,” writes Jonathan Thirkield at the outset of The Waker’s Corridor, a book that charts an assiduous attempt to recover lost time. Housed in elaborate and varied formal architectures, these poems navigate the disorder and gaps left by the violence of loss. All measures of time—psychological, personal, historical, numerical—collide and overlap in intensely lyrical verse. What results is a journey that winds through shifting lands and interiors, across theatrical stages and city streets, into voices and objects that emerge in sudden, vivid relief, and just as quickly disappear. By turns dreamlike and sternly rational, arcane and contemporary, intimate and dramatic, it is a book of blinding, austere, and beautiful awakenings.
Yes, it’s safe to go back to poetry. In fact, it’s highly recommended, thanks to Rex Wilder and his engaging first book of poems. Waking Bodies has already been praised by luminaries as diverse as the metrical Richard Wilbur and the asymmetrical Billy Collins for its qualities of pure enjoyment. The highly popular Collins, a Two-Term Poet Laureate of the United States, says, "In Rex Wilder's poetry, the tired English of everyday use comes back to us refreshed and full of its original surprise. In a world glutted with poetry, that Wilder has found a new way to say the old things is a notable achievement."
Feminist Voices in Children's Novels
The Sleeping Beauty in Roberta Seelinger Trites' intriguing text is no silent snoozer passively waiting for Prince Charming to energize her life. Instead she wakes up all by herself and sets out to redefine the meaning of “happily ever after.” Trites investigates the many ways that Sleeping Beauty's newfound voice has joined other strong female voices in feminist children's novels to generate equal potentials for all children.
Waking Sleeping Beauty explores issues of voice in a wide range of children's novels, including books by Virginia Hamilton, Patricia MacLachlan, and Cynthia Voight as well as many multicultural and international books. Far from being a limiting genre that praises females at the expense of males, the feminist children's novel seeks to communicate an inclusive vision of politics, gender, age, race, and class. By revising former stereotypes of children's literature and replacing them with more complete images of females in children's books, Trites encourages those involved with children's literature—teachers, students, writers, publishers, critics, librarian, booksellers, and parents—to be aware of the myriad possibilities of feminist expression.
Roberta Trites focuses on the positive aspects of feminism: on the ways females interact through family and community relationships, on the ways females have revised patriarchal images, and on the ways female writers use fictional constructs to transmit their ideologies to readers. She thus provides a framework that allows everyone who enters a classroom with a children's book in hand to recognize and communicate—with an optimistic, reality-based sense of “happily ever after”—the politics and the potential of that book.
Moral Populism in the Twenty-First Century
Although Thoreau would never have encountered the Japanese haiku tradition, the way in which the most important ideas in Walden find expression in the most haikulike language suggests that Thoreau at Walden Pond and the haiku master Basho at his "old pond" might have drunk at the same well. Walden and the tradition of haiku share an aesthetic that embodies ideas in natural images, dissolves boundaries between self and world, emphasizes simplicity, and honors both solitude and humble, familiar objects. Marshall examines each of these aesthetic principles and offers a relevant collection of "found" haiku. In the second part of the book, he explains his process of finding the haiku in the text, breaking down each chapter of Walden to highlight the imagery and poetic language embedded in the most powerful passages.
Marshall's exploration not only provides a fresh perspective on haiku, but also sheds new light on Thoreau's much-studied text and lays the foundation for a clearer understanding of the aesthetics of American nature writing.
Essays on Thoreau
In 1845, Henry David Thoreau moved from his parents' house in Concord, Massachusetts, to a one-room cabin on land owned by his mentor, Ralph Waldo Emerson. After 26 months he transformed his stay in the woods into one of the most famous events in American history. In Walden x 40, adopting Thoreau's own compositional method, Robert B. Ray takes up several questions posed in Walden. Thoreau developed his books from his lectures, and his lectures from his almost-daily journal notations of the world around him, with its fluctuating weather and appointed seasons, both forever familiar and suddenly brand new. Ray derives his 40 brief essays from the details of Walden itself, reading the book in the way that Thoreau proposed to explore his own life—deliberately. Ray demonstrates that however accustomed we have grown to its lessons, Walden continues to be as surprising as the November snowfall that, Thoreau reports, "covered the ground... and surrounded me suddenly with the scenery of winter."
Edward Payson Weston's Extraordinary 1909 Trek Across America
On his seventieth birthday in 1909, a slim man with a shock of white hair, a walrus mustache, and a spring in his step faced west from Park Row in Manhattan and started walking. By the time Edward Payson Weston was finished, he was in San Francisco, having trekked 3,895 miles in 104 days.
Weston’s first epic walk across America transcended sport. He was “everyman” in a stirring battle against the elements and exhaustion, tramping along at the pace of someone decades younger. Having long been America’s greatest pedestrian, he was attempting the most ambitious and physically taxing walk of his career. He walked most of the way alone when the car that he hired to follow him kept breaking down, and he often had to rest without adequate food or shelter. That Weston made it is one of the truly great but forgotten sports feats of all time. Thanks in large part to his daily dispatches of his travails—from blizzards to intense heat, rutted roads, bad shoes, and illness—Weston’s trek became a wonder of the ages and attracted international headlines to the sport called “pedestrianism.”
Aided by long-buried archival information, colorful biographical details, and Weston’s diary entries, Walk of Ages is more than a book about a man going for a walk. It is an epic tale of beating the odds and a penetrating look at a vanished time in America.
Together with a Preamble, to the Coloured Citizens of the World, but in Particular, and Very Expressly, to Those of the United States of America
First published in 1829, Walker's ###Appeal# called on slaves to rise up and free themselves. The two subsequent versions of his document (including the reprinted 1830 edition published shortly before Walker's death) were increasingly radical. Addressed to the whole world but directed primarily to people of color around the world, the 87-page pamphlet by a free black man born in North Carolina and living in Boston advocates immediate emancipation and slave rebellion. Walker asks the slaves among his readers whether they wouldn't prefer to "be killed than to be a slave to a tyrant." He advises them not to "trifle" if they do rise up, but rather to kill those who would continue to enslave them and their wives and children. Copies of the pamphlet were smuggled by ship in 1830 from Boston to Wilmington, North Carolina, Walker's childhood home, causing panic among whites. In 1830, members of North Carolina's General Assembly had the ###Appeal# in mind as they tightened the state's laws dealing with slaves and free black citizens. The resulting stricter laws led to more policies that repressed African Americans, freed and slave alike.