New Pages Summer 2017
David Andrews (PhD candidate)
Why Does the Other Line Always Move Faster? The Myths and Misery, Secrets and Psychology of Waiting in Line
Workman Publishing Company, 2015
From The Atlantic: "There was a time in the not-too-distant past, before velvet ropes and winding metal barriers and that song little kids sing about putting their finger on the wall, when Americans didn't wait for things by neatly arranging themselves one behind the other. The very first English-language dictionary, compiled by Samuel Johnson in 1775, contained multiple definitions of the word line, but none of them were that thing we stand in (or stand on, I guess, depending where you're from). This is because, as David Andrews explains . . . that thing we stand in wasn't a concept that existed for all of time—and in some places, it still doesn't. It's not an innate, organic response to many people who all want the same thing. Rather, it's a cultural practice that has shaped, and been shaped by, how we experience time, our surroundings, and other people."
Susanne Aspley (BA 1988)
Granola, MN [fiction]
WTF Press, 2016
From the publisher: "Allison Couch has her hands full dealing with the assorted flakes, fruits, and nuts in the small town of Granola. One summer morning, Toby Davenport moves back home. A young, black, Afghanistan War veteran, he has a heart of gold but a guilt-fueled addiction. Together, they take on parades, pit bull rescues, game show auditions, driving lessons, building inspectors, racism, and falling in love. Heartbreaking, slapstick, and rambunctious, life never goes as planned. But there's always hope, in Granola, MN."
Jerr Boschee (BA 1966; MA in Comparative Literature 1974)
Jerr's Journal: My Adventures in Social Enterprise
Institute for Social Entrepreneurs, 2016
From Liam Black, author of The Social Entrepreneur's A to Z: "Jerr Boschee has been an inspiration and pathfinder for social entrepreneurs all over the world. If you are serious about wanting to make a difference through social enterprise, you have to read Jerr's work."
Associate Professor Peter Campion, co-editor with Philip Coleman
John Berryman: Centenary Essays
Peter Lang, 2017
From the publisher: "Drawing on the proceedings of two conferences organized to celebrate the centenary of John Berryman's birth in 2014, John Berryman: Centenary Essays provides new perspectives on a major US American poet's work by critics from Ireland, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States. In addition to new readings of important aspects of Berryman's development—including his creative and scholarly encounters with Shakespeare, Milton, Wordsworth, and W. B. Yeats—the book gives fresh accounts of his engagements with contemporaries such as Delmore Schwartz and Randall Jarrell. It also includes essays that explore Berryman's poetic responses to Mozart and his influence on the contemporary Irish poet Paul Muldoon. Making extensive use of unpublished archival sources, personal reflections by friends and former students of the poet are accompanied by meditations on Berryman's importance for writers today by award-winning poets Paula Meehan and Henri Cole."
Eric Dregni (MFA 2007)
You're Sending Me Where? Dispatches from Summer Camp
University of Minnesota Press, 2017
From the publisher: "Welcome! Benvenuti! It's summertime in northern Minnesota and a bus full of kids is about to arrive at the Italian Concordia Language Village, better known as camp. Inexplicably the chief lifeguard has chosen this moment to conduct a 'missing villager drill,' prompting staff to strip to their underwear in a simulated rush to search the lake. It's an inopportune time for a surprise visit from the Health Inspector, but there he is—just as an Italian counselor calls through the walkie-talkie, 'My God, there's blood everywhere!' He's finally clobbered the chipmunk that’s been stealing his candy. Eric Dregni's wise, funny book reassures us that there's still a place in the woods where, unplugged from devices and screens, children of all ages can connect with the natural world—and with each other."
Christine Friedlander (MFA 2013)
Repeat After Me [fiction chapbook]
RopeWalk Press, 2017
From novelist Robert Rosenberg: "In overlapping and echoing scenes of impressionistic power, Friedlander weaves together moving moments of grief, trust, and responsibility. These beautifully inventive stories strike at once both the head and the heart."
M. J. Gette (MFA 2017) as Joanna
Poor Banished Child of Eve [poetry chapbook]
Theodosia Henney (MFA candidate)
Atlas for a Return [poetry chapbook]
Dancing Girl Press, 2017
Katherine Holmes (MA 1985)
Tug of the Wishbone [fiction]
Couchgrass Books, 2016
From the publisher: "Maureen doesn't plan to repeat the mistakes of her divorced parents. Her 1960s experiences are presented alongside family leave-takings. When marriage seems imminent, the leave-takings are with men. Maureen's photography proves to be a more permanent involvement. Eventually she struggles with depression and clings to her work until that [work] is with a man that she would readily date. Outside their magazine, she defiantly exposes a large poultry farm while confronting her need for a constant love relationship. With Minnesota settings, the book covers 30 years. Its comic relief reflects that resource in Maureen."
Elizabeth Howard (PhD candidate)
Worldview Guide for Canterbury Tales
Canon Classics, 2017
From the publisher: "The Worldview Guides from the Canon Classics Literature Series provide an aesthetic and thematic Christian perspective on the most definitive and daunting works of Western Literature. Each Worldview Guide presents the big picture (both the good and the bad) without neglecting the details. Each Worldview Guide is a friendly literary coach―and a treasure map, and a compass, and a key―to help teachers, parents, and students appreciate, critique, and begin to master the classics."
Patrick Hueller (MFA 2010)
Stu Stories: The Adventures of Dirt Clod and His Sidekick Bird Bones [middle grade fiction]
Cedar Fort, 2017
From young adult novelist Geoff Herbach: "Stu and Bird Bones' adventures are hilarious, sometimes horrifying, and definitely legendary. This book hits on pretty much every topic I cared about when I was a kid (love, Jedis, severed legs, etc.)."
Associate Professor Rebecca Krug
Margery Kempe and the Lonely Reader
Cornell University Press, 2017
From Professor Katherine L. French, University of Michigan–Ann Arbor: "Rebecca Krug has written a deeply learned and humane book that situates Margery Kempe in the larger world of late medieval pious works of consolation. In Krug's reading of Kempe's Book, however, Kempe is no mere imitator but a literate and engaged author who manipulates language and alters her writing process to see her way through despair, shame, fear, and loneliness. Kempe's writing and revision process gives her community access to her own process of self-discovery and intense spiritual engagement. For medievalists interested in the world of late medieval piety, Margery Kempe and the Lonely Reader is an important and compelling reinterpretation of a challenging and often puzzling text." Read an interview.
David LeGault (MFA 2011)
One Million Maniacs: Beanie Babies, Killer Cars, and The Power of Collecting
From essayist Ander Monson: "It takes a maniac like David LeGault to pry open the lids of all the boxes of our culture of accumulation and see what's inside them. The maniac pursues long distance running, amateur competitive eating, parenting, tracking bathroom graffiti, and an obsession with the sets of defunct children's game shows. The maniac begins to question what things are worth―media, particularly, from his perspective as CD buyer for a used bookstore chain in which he leverages his position to accumulate 100 copies of an album by 10,000 Maniacs. By the time you're deep into this wonderfully obsessed book you too will wonder what anything is worth, really, and why we pursue, peruse, and keep it, how our stuff defiles and defies and defines us. One Million Maniacs is the result of a lifelong obsession with the glorious detritus of the culture, and it's a glorious debut."
Alison McGhee (MA 1992)
Percy, Dog of Destiny [children's picture book]
Boyds Mills Press, 2017
From The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books: "There's fine readaloud comedy in McGhee's voice for Percy, which is entertainingly affected in its clipped cinematic poshness . . . the exaggerated yet uncomplicated figures are easily legible by young viewers, and patch-eyed Percy is a lively hero (and the furtive squirrel a fine villain). . . . [A]udiences will appreciate this new take on the age-old battle between dog and squirrel."
Megan McGurk (PhD 2007)
Sass Mouth Dames: 30 Essential Women's Pictures 1929-1939
Independently published, 2017
From the publisher: "When Hollywood made films for women, known by studio executives and the people who made them as 'women's pictures,' viewers could reliably find a female point of view in the cinema. Films made for women covered a wide range of topics from sex, employment, social mobility, female rivalry, and above all, the importance of friendship with other women as a ballast for life in a man's world. Sass Mouth Dames presents 30 superior films from 1929-1939 as a reminder that women in the movies did not always play second fiddle to the leading man. Women were once the star attraction, billed above the man with brilliantined hair. . . . Sass Mouth Dames highlights exceptional performances, storytelling, and design." Megan McGurk also co-hosts a podcast on women's film.
Edward McPherson (MFA 2011)
The History of the Future: American Essays
Coffee House Press, 2017
From Publishers Weekly: "This collection of seven geography-themed essays from McPherson (The Backwash Squeeze and Other Improbable Facts) is both an entertaining exploration of Americana and a critical look at how people form memories. His knowledge of esoteric and diverse topics, such as the intricate science behind the atom bomb and the pop culture phenomenon of the soap opera Dallas, is on display in each spiraling essay. The collection begins in Dallas, discussing how the assassination of J.F.K. looms over both the city and its eponymous TV show. . . . The most searing and poignant essay of the collection is 'Chasing the Boundary: Boom and Bust on the High Prairie,' which explores how North Dakota's recent oil boom brought thousands of itinerant workers to an otherwise stark landscape. McPherson goes deep into his subject matter as well as into the land. This collection brims with subdued, self-aware brilliance."
Assistant Professor Nathaniel Mills
Ragged Revolutionaries: The Lumpenproletariat and African American Marxism in Depression-Era Literature
University of Massachusetts Press, 2017
From Professor Chris Vials, University of Connecticut: "Mills' focus on the lumpenproletariat is timely, as it intersects with and helps to inform scholarship on a number of emergent topics in American cultural studies. The recuperation of unpublished manuscripts by [Ralph] Ellison and [Margaret] Walker—used to form a significant part of the author's argument—is also a significant contribution in and of itself."
Rachel Moritz (MFA 2006)
Sweet Velocity [poetry]
Lost Roads Publishers, 2017
From poet Kirstin Prevallet: "Rachel Moritz's poems are a presence, and in being so they reflect all that is absent from them. Absorbed by their language and their mystery, I think of Wallace Stevens who writes about the 'Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.' As Moritz writes, this is the magic of poetry: 'Something transparent, / we know, / still contains.' In Sweet Velocity, the nothing that is appear as footnotes that act the way light does when casting a shadow: people, reflections, and observations appear, cohering at thresholds but not fully coming into view. There are silhouettes of a mother, a child. And there is everything else that comes into these poems as the space that surrounds them. Moritz's poems are exquisitely crafted reminders that our inner self is a 'figment of making.' There is such sweet velocity in following how her figments subtly transform through the lines of her language, which seem to mark and erase at the same time."
Michael Murphy (MA 1985)
Songs of Crocus Hill [poetry]
Archway Publishing, 2017
From the publisher: "[A] poetry collection that focuses on memory poems—candle-lit vignettes related to the memoir genre. The people, places, and experiences he imagines are drawn from his years growing up in the Crocus Hill district of St. Paul, from his experiences as a parent, and from his travels abroad as an international lawyer. Touching and funny, they tell stories of a boy's encounters with teachers, sports, girls, and immigrants; of a man's encounters with the loss of family and friends; and of the long arc of romance to love. Through these verses, striking a balance between the narrative and the lyrical, he seeks to help you discover the Crocus Hill in your own life."
Elizabeth O'Brien (MFA 2015)
A Secret History of World Wide Outage [poetry chapbook]
ELJ Publications, 2017
Kevin O'Rourke (MFA 2010)
As If Seen at an Angle
From the publisher: "Kevin O'Rourke's debut collection explores what it means to be both the subject and the performer of the gaze. His essays demand answers to the questions: How do we manage the space between the subject and onlooker? What happens when the body gazes back? In these essays, the body becomes a medical object, a dying musician sends missives into the blogosphere, we witness the strained interview on the radio of a hip-hop star. The writer and his corona of family are not excused from such scrutiny: O'Rourke recounts the experience of losing his mother to cancer, his own childhood maladies, and too, his longings, and his own gaze onto the great scaffolds of Art. Kevin O'Rourke joins the community of skilled essayists that include David Foster Wallace, Jonathan Franzen, and Leslie Jamison, his own voice full of wit and ballast."
Tom Rademacher (BA 2004)
It Won't Be Easy: An Exceedingly Honest (and Slightly Unprofessional) Love Letter to Teaching
University of Minnesota Press, 2017
From MinnPost: "With the title of 2014 Minnesota Teacher of the Year already under his belt, Tom Rademacher has recently stumbled into a new bit of celebrity. The seventh-grade English teacher has written an unfiltered, introspective—and thoroughly entertaining—book about his teaching experiences. . . . His essays chronicle everything from regrets he has about how he disciplined students or engaged in power struggles in the classroom to moments when his students articulated thoughts on race and privilege more powerfully than he could have ever imagined."
Maureen T. Reddy (PhD 1985)
Noir and the Irish Nation: Contesting Irishness in Crime Fiction
From the publisher: "[I]n the early years of the twenty-first century . . . numerous novels and series set in Ireland and written by Irish authors were published and began generating strong sales at home and abroad. Reddy places what she calls Hibernian Noir in the context of the social and economic conditions in Ireland from 1998 to 2012 and relates that period to the post-World War I United States that gave rise to hardboiled detective fiction. As Reddy shows, Irish hardboiled fiction participates in the genre's tradition of placing previously marginalized individuals in positions of narrative authority. At the same time, Reddy argues that writers such as Ken Bruen, Benjamin Black, Tana French, Niamh O'Connor, Cormac Millar, Stuart Neville, Brian McGilloway, Declan Hughes, and Declan Burke are collectively working through the problem of defining Irishness and grappling with deep anxieties about a society that is rapidly changing in the face of a globalized, late capitalist culture."
Professor Julie Schumacher
Doodling for Academics: A Coloring and Activity Book
University of Chicago Press, 2017
From Times Higher Education: "Working as an academic may appear like the dream career to an outsider: the freedom to pursue your own research interests, the opportunity to engage with stimulating colleagues and students and the perk of 'not working' during the summer. But a new colouring book for academics provides a satirical take on the grim reality for today's scholars, from the lack of funding for arts and humanities to the burden of administrative red tape. The book . . . portrays a typical day in the life of a researcher. It begins with a '4 am fantasy' that involves the invisible protagonist publishing a best-selling book and being showered with money. One page invites readers to colour in administrative red tape while another includes five 'helicopter parents' to cut, colour, and hang for a game of darts. Academics are also invited to colour in the humanities building—a shabby block with visible cracks—and the science lab—a shiny, glass-plated tower with trees on the roof."
Professor John Watkins
After Lavinia: A Literary History of Premodern Marriage Diplomacy
Cornell University Press, 2017
From Timothy Hampton, University of California, Berkeley: "John Watkins' topic is a massive one but one virtually never studied in this way. . . . This book makes contributions to a whole raft of academic fields—comparative literature, diplomatic history, political history, cultural history, gender studies, medieval studies, English studies, French studies, Renaissance studies, even classics. It should find a broad readership; I predict that it will garner much praise as a major contribution to our understanding of the intersection of gender, political history, and literature. The fascinating climax to After Lavinia is a set of original and persuasive readings of historical tragedies by the major European dramatists of the period—Shakespeare, Corneille, and Racine—in which Watkins shows with exciting clarity and detail the shifts in emphasis and affective power that accompany the changing role of the queen as political actor—and spell her demise as a figure of diplomatic agency." Read an interview.
Elisabeth Workman (MFA 2014)
Endlessness Is No Desolation [poetry]
Dusie Press, 2016
From poet Feng Sun Chen: "One of the infuriating and regular pieces of advice from the etheric beings to me is 'play.' Endlessness Is No Desolation is an achievement in play. It is true joy. It is perfect gemini anxiety/flexibility and human strength, sitting with and passing through difficult fury and ugly love. Genius survival mode gameplay in a world already over."
David Wojahn (BA 1976)
For the Scribe [poetry]
University of Pittsburgh Press, Pitt Poetry Series, 2017
From Publishers Weekly: "In his formidable ninth collection, Wojahn (World Tree) catalogues extinctions personal, cultural, and ecological. 'Assume, dear vagabond, you are permitted / One last survey,' he writes in the opening poem, an elegy for his father. As longtime readers might expect, Wojahn's own 'last survey' impresses with both its diversity and detail. . . . In the title poem, he writes 'inscription/ Is a form of weaving,' and indeed, his brocaded compositions often have the richness of tapestry. Whether examining Glenn Beck or laundry robots, his 'burnished effusions' relentlessly hone in on the specific. . . . [A]t his best—in heartfelt laments for other poets, and unhinged fantasias that put Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Johnson, and Ronald Reagan in conversation—Wojahn moves and fascinates, drawing readerly attention to the 'auguries of apocalypse' all around, however 'small in scale.' 'God of stench & musk,' Wojahn writes in one gloriously open poem about Pan and Xanax, 'how well you know our recent century / where art & terror have so freely & relentlessly conjoined.'"