Ted Greenwald, 1942–2016

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It is with sadness that we announce the passing of New York City poet Ted Greenwald (December 19, 1942–June 17, 2016). Ted Greenwald’s poems sing the commons and dance with a homely grace American poetry has rarely seen. WHIFF An evening Spent talking Spent thinking About what my life would be If I’d stayed With a particular girl or woman I went with What would be If I’d’ve been accepted to and gone Where I applied To a different school Than the one I did Where I’d learned Different social graces Then the ones I have Where some of the material Values of the American dream Had rubbed off Enough to make me Live it out In the good-works sense If I’d settled down And settled…

Benedict Arnold & AMC’s “Turn: Washington’s Spies”

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Wartime treachery, twisted spies and brutality—sound familiar? AMC’s period drama TURN: Washington’s Spies is in it’s third season, and tensions are rising in the Arnold household. One can understand how a man could be frustrated, having served as Washington’s finest battle commander only to be sent to work a desk job. This restless man would become synonymous with ‘traitor.’ If you’re loving the drama and intriguing politics of Turn, Eric Lehman’s Homegrown Terror: Benedict Arnold and the Burning of New London should be on your summer reading list. Maybe AMC’s Turn has you wondering how true the drama between John Andre, Peggy Shippen, and Benedict Arnold is? Or you’re interested in learning more about the charges leveled at Arnold surrounding his leniency towards Loyalists? This new take on the most reviled traitor of the Revolutionary War…

Announcing Treaty Shirts from Gerald Vizenor

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The imagined narratives of seven native exiles from the White Earth Nation Gerald Vizenor creates masterful, truthful, surreal, and satirical fiction similar to the speculative fiction of Margaret Atwood and Neil Gaiman.  In this imagined future, seven natives are exiled from federal sectors that have replaced federal reservations; they pursue the liberty of an egalitarian government on an island in Lake of the Woods.  These seven narrators, known only by native nicknames, are related to characters in Vizenor’s other novels and stories.  Vizenor was the principal writer of the Constitution of the White Earth Nation, and this novel is a rich and critical commentary on the abrogation of the treaty that established the White Earth Reservation in 1867, and a vivid visualization of the futuristic…

Announcing The Selected Letters of John Cage

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Letters of an avant-garde icon available to the public for the first time Events: May 1- Atlas Eclipticalis at Wesleyan May 7, NYPL for Performing Arts. This selection of over five hundred letters gives us the life of John Cage with all the intelligence, wit, and inventiveness that made him such an important and groundbreaking composer and performer. The missives range from lengthy reports of his early trips to Europe in the 1930s through his years with the dancer Merce Cunningham, and shed new light on his growing eminence as an iconic performance artist of the American avant-garde. Cage’s joie de vivre resounds in these letters—fully annotated throughout—in every phase of his career, and includes correspondence with Peter Yates, David Tudor, and Pierre Boulez, among…

John Cage’s “Atlas Eclipticalis” and Van Vleck Observatory

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Dedicated June 16, 1916, Van Vleck Observatory celebrates its centennial this year. For one-hundred years the observatory has inspired young astronomers and others in the Wesleyan community. In 1960, John Cage came to Wesleyan as a visiting professor in the Center for Advanced Studies. While exploring Wesleyan’s campus, Cage discovered the observatory’s Van Vleck Library. Bill Jefferys (Emeritus Professor of Astronomy, UT-Austin) was a junior at Wesleyan, working at the observatory, when Cage visited, searching for star charts to guide his music, a new experiment in composition. Bill presented Cage with Antonín Bečvář’s Atlas Eclipticalis, one of few astronomy books printed entirely in color at the time. The book inspired “Atlas Eclipticalis,” a composition that relies on the placement of stars within constellations, rather than the orthodox…

NaPoMo16: Philip Whalen’s “Hymnus Ad Patrem Sinensis”

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When asked about his favorite poem, Michael Rothenburg replied with “Hymnus Ad Patrem Sinensis” by Philip Whalen from The Collected Poems of Philip Whalen. Hymnus Ad Patrem Sinensis I praise those ancient Chinamen Who left me a few words, Usually a pointless joke or a silly question A line of poetry drunkenly scrawled on the margin of a quick splashed picture—bug, leaf, caricature of Teacher on paper held together now by little more than ink & their own strength brushed momentarily over it Their world & several others since Gone to hell in a handbasket, they knew it— Cheered as it whizzed by— & conked out among the busted spring rain cherryblossom winejars Happy to have saved us all. “Hymnus Ad Patrem Sinensis” is often…

NaPoMo16: Sarah Blake & Monica Ong’s “Etymology of an Untranslated Cervix”

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When asked about her favorite poem, Sarah Blake replied with “Etymology of an Untranslated Cervix” by Monica Ong from Silent Anatomies.   ETYMOLOGY of an UNTRANSLATED CERVIX In Rufumbira, the local language here in Kisoro, there is no word for cervix, and the word vagina is a shameful, dirt word, rarely uttered. -Erin Cox, MD This space between two entries I claim it. When it (she) is blotted out with black marker I say it, I name it. But under these volcano peaks, I am locked out in English. Cells rupture. Quietly. A carcinoma colony creeping in her blank space. Spreads. What if dysplasia simply meant to displease? The interpreter asks Why do they want to go down there, to that dirty, shameful place? What is the point of…

Announcing Words of Our Mouth, Meditations of Our Heart from Kenneth Bilby

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Celebrating the legendary studio musicians of Jamaican popular music through personal photographs and interviews While singers, producers, and studio owners have become international icons, many of the musicians who were essential to shaping the sound of Jamaican music have remained anonymous. Words of Our Mouth, Meditations of Our Heart: Pioneering Musicians of Ska, Rocksteady, Reggae, and Dancehall, complete with 98 color photographs, is the first book devoted to the studio musicians who were central to Jamaica’s popular music explosion. Bilby delves into the full spectrum of Jamaican music, from traditional and folk genres, such as Mento, Poco, and Buru, to the popular urban styles of ska, rocksteady, and reggae. Photographic portraits and interview excerpts (with such musical pioneers as Prince Buster, Robbie Shakespeare, Sly Dunbar, Lee “Scratch” Perry,…