Winter 2015 New Pages
Kim Donehower (PhD 1997), co-editor with Sara Webb-Sunderhaus
Re-Reading Appalachia: Literacies of Resistance
University Press of Kentucky
From the publisher: "In this innovative volume, a multidisciplinary team of both established and rising scholars challenge Appalachian stereotypes through an examination of language and rhetoric. Together, the contributors offer a new perspective on Appalachia and its literacy, hoping to counteract essentialist or class-based arguments about the region's people, and reexamine past research in the context of researcher bias. Featuring a mix of traditional scholarship and personal narratives, Rereading Appalachia assesses a number of pressing topics, including the struggles of first-generation college students and the pressure to leave the area in search of higher-quality jobs, prejudice toward the LGBT community, and the emergence of Appalachian and Affrilachian art in urban communities."
Julie Gard (MFA 2000)
Home Studies [poetry]
New Rivers Press (winner of 2013 Many Voices Project Prize)
From author Valerie Miner: "Gard's Home Studies is a stunning collection of brave, tender, audacious prose poems about everyday life in the Upper Midwest. Indeed the region's weather and architecture are major characters in these dispatches about lesbian partnership, motherhood, students, neighbors, aging parents, and housework and yard maintenance. . . . These poems sing with resilience and wit. Home Studies invites us to experience the sacredness in daily life."
Professor Ray Gonzalez
Beautiful Wall [poetry] (finalist for a PEN Southwest Book Award in Poetry)
From Library Journal: "In his 15th collection, Gonzalez presents poems rich with cultural identity and blessed with a sense of place. . . . Throughout, nature becomes a breathing presence ('This is not about miracles, but of the animal/ that leaves the water in its stillness'), and several poems pay tribute to the author's nephew, a veteran, whose PTSD contributed to his death: 'I can't get it/ out of my head—/ an Army helmet as/ a deep bowl of sorrow.' . . . Gonzalez has a way of combining the mystical with the everyday and nature with the world of the family to produce poems lush with empathy." Interview with Gonzalez here.
Professor Qadri Ismail
Culture and Eurocentrism
Disruptions series, Rowman and Littlefield
From the publisher: "The conviction that we all have, possess or inhabit a discrete culture, and have done so for centuries, is one of the more dominant default assumptions of our contemporary politico-intellectual moment. However, the concept of culture as a signifier of subjectivity only entered the modern Anglo-US episteme in the late 19th century. Culture and Eurocentrism seeks to account for the term's relatively recent emergence and movement through the episteme, networked with many other concepts—nature, race, society, imagination, savage, and civilization—at the confluence of several disciplines." Interview with Ismail here.
Elizabeth Foy Larsen (MFA 2002) with Joshua Glenn
UNBORED Adventure: 70 Seriously Fun Activities for Kids & Their Families
From the publisher: "UNBORED Adventure has all the smarts, innovation, and free-wheeling spirit of the original UNBORED and its 2014 spinoff, UNBORED Games, but with a fresh focus on encouraging kids to break out of their techno-passivity and explore the world around them—whether that's a backyard, a downtown, or a forest. Combining old-fashioned favorites with today's high-tech possibilities, the book offers a goldmine of creative, constructive activities that kids can do on their own or with their families."
Lucas de Lima (MFA 2012)
Wet Land [poetry]
Action Books, 2014
From artist A. A. Bronson: "These poems lurch from the murky waters of our collective unconscious and side-swipe us with a lyric invocation of the dark forces of . . . what? Nature? History? The alien life-force that drives planetary evolution? A primal being raises itself from the swamp of human consciousness, animated by the archaic and archetypal Sobek, the Egyptian god in crocodile form. The two voices that alternate in this narrative of trauma—the quotidian voice of the poet and a ritual voice of invocation—queer the story in the most profound way."
Marilyn Nelson (PhD 1979)
My Seneca Village [poetry]
From the publisher: "Drawing upon history and her exquisite imagination, Newbery Honor medalist, two-time Coretta Scott King Honor medalist, and National Book Award nomineee Marilyn Nelson recreates the long lost community of Seneca Village. A multi-racial, multi-ethnic neighborhood in the center of Manhattan, it thrived in the middle years of the 19th century. Families prayed in its churches, children learned in its school, babies were born, and loved ones were laid to rest. Then work crews arrived to build Central Park, and Seneca Village disappeared."
Jermaine Singleton (PhD 2005)
Cultural Melancholy: Readings of Race, Impossible Mourning, and African American Ritual
University of Illinois Press
From the publisher: "A daring cultural and literary studies investigation, Cultural Melancholy explores the legacy of unresolved grief produced by ongoing racial oppression and resistance in the United States. Using acute analysis of literature, drama, musical performance, and film, Singleton demonstrates how rituals of racialization and resistance transfer and transform melancholy discreetly across time, consolidating racial identities and communities along the way. He also argues that this form of impossible mourning binds racialized identities across time and social space by way of cultural resistance efforts."
Jennifer Willoughby (MFA 2006)
Beautiful Zero [poetry] (winner of the 2015 Lindquist & Vennum Prize for Poetry)
From poet Dana Levin, this year’s Lindquist & Vennum Prize judge: "'You were born the weirdo that you are,' writes Jennifer Willoughby in her very alive first collection, Beautiful Zero. With its sense of affection and straight talk, such a pronouncement sets the tone for these poems, whose speakers tumble and swerve as they urgently try to inhabit and describe the contours of being strange and alive in our electrified now. There's a hint of dread, apprehension, to the speakers' searches for connection and understanding, but the book's primary argument seems to be for beauty, joy, surprise, release." Interview with Willoughby here.