Kamau Brathwaite honored by PEN Foundation, Gina Ulysse long-listed






Kamau Brathwaite was honored with the 2018 PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry Awarded “to a poet whose distinguished and growing body of work represents a notable and accomplished presence in American literature.” Ed Roberson, Natalie Scenters-Zapico, and Ocean Vuong acted as judges for the award, noting Brathwaite’s large body of work, including Elegguas, Born to Slow Horses, and Ancestors. Brathwaite’s newest collection is Lazarus Poems (2017, Wesleyan) Gina Athena Ulysse’s first poetry collection, Because When God is Too Busy: Haiti, me & THE WORLD, was long-listed for the PEN Open Book Award. Ulysse was recently in Barbados, presenting the annual honorary Kamau Brathwaite Lecture at the University of the West Indies. She will be reading for the Bryant Park Winter Reading Room Series on March 20, 6pm, located at…

Rage – Thinking of School Shootings, thoughts noted by Michael Eigen






Shared here is Michael Eigen’s recent post to the American Psychological Association’s Psychoanalysis listserv The need to redress injury, get even. The young man experienced severe humiliation in his life and compensated with a show of gun strength. About eighteen years ago I noted this subcurrent of mood and what seemed like increasing violent outbursts in pockets of the country near and far and internationally. A kind of semi-contained but explosive violent rage epidemic linked with feeling humiliated, dis-respected or otherwise unjustly treated. I wrote about this impinging current in a book Rage, which was already going to press when 9/11 happened. I managed to put a few lines in about 9/11 in the proofs. The synchronicity of writing on rage and this local explosion was chilling. One of the themes in Rage…

Alvin Lucier at the ISSUE Project Room






A celebration of the life and work of experimental American music composer, Alvin Lucier, the ISSUE Project Room is partnering with Zürcher Hochschule der Kunste(ZHDK), November 8-9, 2017 to recreate ZHDK’s October 2016 three-day festival of music composition, theory, musicology, sound studies, aesthetics, critical theory, and art history. Although compressed to two days instead of the original three, ISSUE’s New York staging of the festival is the first of its kind, bridging Germany’s experimental music culture and American musicology. Some of the invited musical guests include Joan LaBarbara, Charles Curtis, Stephane O’Malley, Oren Ambarchi, Gary Schmalzl, and the Ever Present Orchestra. The series also will include the publication of an exclusive German-curated box set of documents from the original October 2016 festival, including four LPs,…

Gearing up for Halloween: Ishiro Honda Tribute Nights at the Egyptian Theatre






As Halloween lurks on the horizon, people are looking to sate their appetites for the spooky, supernatural, and fantastic. For the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, California, embracing the uncanny means “The Soul of Godzilla: An Ishiro Honda Tribute”: a two-day celebration of the sci-fi creations of director Ishiro Honda. Over the course of this sci-fi celebration, the theater will show four of Honda’s most famous and action-packed films. Honda’s biographers, Steven Ryfle and Ed Godziszewski, will also be in attendance, signing copies of their book Ishiro Honda: A Life in Film from Godzilla to Kurosawa. Ishiro Honda: A Life in Film from Godzilla to Kurosawa is an exploration of the accomplishments of the Japanese director who is considered to be the most internationally successful Japanese…

semiautomatic by Evie Shockley – Available Now!






Evie Shockley’s new book semiautomatic is now available! Poetry that acts as a fierce and loving resistance to violence. “Evie Shockley’s semiautomatic goes beyond mere weaponry. This book is revelatory. A tool in the chest of cultural workers, a vocabulary that resists decoration; this is self-portraiture and truth-telling at its best. From her epic ‘the topsy suite’ to her one-acts (a new form), through her fearless lens and appropriation of authorities, there’s no level of denial or proof-vest that will protect you from Shockley’s poetry. You can run, Reader, but you will not be able to look the other way.”  –Willie Perdomo “Evie Shockley suggests that poetry is necessary to seeing, surviving with equilibrium and wholeness in this period’s vital and precarious junctures. The poems in semiautomatic are…

Richard Wilbur 1921–2017






Richard Wilbur (March 1, 1921–October 14, 2017), eminent poet and former professor of English, passed away on Saturday, October 14, at the age of 96. Wilbur was a member of Wesleyan University’s faculty from 1957–1977. During his two decades at Wesleyan, he received the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award for Things of This World (1956), was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and instrumental in the founding of the renowned Wesleyan University Press poetry series. In 1958, Wilbur proposed the idea of a poetry list to then director Willard Lockwood. He noted that while some fifty university presses were turning out poetry criticism, there seemed to be little opportunity for poets to publish original work. In 1959, four auspicious volumes—by James…

Congratulations to NBA Finalist, Shane McCrae!






Wesleyan University Press’s In the Language of My Captor, by Shane McCrae, shortlisted for the National Book Award. Judges for the 2017 National Book Award in the category of Poetry have selected Wesleyan University Press title In the Language of My Captor as one of five finalists. The judges are esteemed poets Nick Flynn, Jane Mead, Gregory Pardlo, Richard Siken, and Monica Youn. Acclaimed poet Shane McCrae’s latest collection is a book about freedom told through stories of captivity. Historical persona poems and a prose memoir at the center of the book address the illusory freedom of both black and white Americans. In the book’s three sequences, McCrae explores the role mass entertainment plays in oppression, he confronts the myth that freedom can be based upon…

Announcing The Lazarus Poems from Kamau Brathwaite






The Lazarus Poems, by renowned Barbadian poet Kamau Brathwaite, is characteristically sui generis, vatic, and strange. The book is a mystical masterwork that exhibits a well-earned ornery bravura. Tonally and typographically frenetic in the “sycorax video style” he’s been employing for decades, the work examines a major theme appropriate to a great poet in the late stages of his career: the afterlife. Brathwaite achieves a kind of spiritual/aesthetic GPS in a series of poems outlining experiences of “Cultural Lynching.” These poems speak of appropriation, theft, isolation, and exploitation, all within a context of an American hegemony that intensifies racial politics and agism. Brathwaite’s expression of pain and outrage are almost overwhelming. Filled with longing, rage, nostalgia, impotence, wisdom, and love, this book is moving in…