The Sentient Archive: Bodies, Performance, and Memory

The Sentient Archive summons a feast of diverse voices, giving each the space to speak without forcing them into a single chorus. Instead, the book works like a landscape where these voices and their shimmering echoes intersect, inviting us in to join the unfinished, disappearing dance of movement and memory, of the sentient body and its archival impulse, its fragile yet insistent resistance to the slippage of time. Collectively, these voices testify to the whispers and the wild feelings in our bones that can hardly be put into words, but bear our social flesh forward.” —Elizabeth A. Behnke, Study Project in Phenomenology of the Body

The Sentient Archive gathers 28 smart essays by scholars and practitioners in dance, performance, science, and the visual arts. These challenging essays cross boundaries within and between disciplines while exploring the ways the human body serves as a repository for knowledge.

Contributors include Tomie Hahn, Nancy Goldner, Marcia B. Siegel, Jenn Joy, Alain Platel, Catherine J. Stevens, Meg Stuart, André Lepecki, Ralph Lemon, and other notable performers, scholars, and artists.

Bill Bissell is the director of performance at The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. Linda Caruso Haviland is an associate professor at Bryn Mawr College and the founder and director of its dance program.

Development of the content of The Sentient Archive was supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, Philadelphia.

The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage is a multidisciplinary grantmaker and hub for knowledge sharing, funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, and dedicated to fostering a vibrant cultural community in Greater Philadelphia. The Center fulfills this mission by investing in ambitious, imaginative arts and heritage projects that showcase the region’s cultural vitality and enhance public life, and by engaging in an exchange of ideas concerning artistic and interpretive practice with a broad network of cultural leaders. For more information, visit


Heading Outdoors in Connecticut Summer

The flowers are blossoming, grass growing greener by the day, and sunrise is before 5:30am; it’s summer in Connecticut and at Wesleyan University Press, we’re celebrating with some of our favorite outdoors books and field guides.


Why not kick of your summer with an excursion on foot—whether it be a leisurely stroll or vigorous hike? The newly redesigned 20th edition of The Connecticut Walk Book by Connecticut Forest and Park Association (CFPA) is now available to inspire and guide you through your summer jaunts.

Every summer, CFPA offers local hikes and other events. Most are free. Here are this season’s events:

June 2-3, 2018 (All Day): CT Trails Day – LARGEST National Trails Day in the nation; Celebration of 50th anniversary of the National Trail System, follow on Twitter with #CTTrailsDay FREE

June 3, 2018 (9:00am): 2017 Goodwin Forest Trail Run 10k/30k, $20-33 registration fee

June 12, 2018 (10:00am-12:30pm): June Senior Walk at CFPA, FREE

June 13 & 14, 2018 (10:00am-12:30pm & 12:00pm-2:30pm): Senior Walks at Hampton, FREE

July 10, 2018 (10:00am-12:00pm): July Senior Walk at CFPA, FREE

August 14, 2018 (10:00am-12:00pm): August Senior Walk at CFPA, FREE

September 11, 2018 (10:00am-12:00pm): September Senior Walk at CFPA, FREE


With its release coinciding with National Geographic’s #YearOfTheBird,  look to the skies for Birding in Connecticut, by Frank Gallo, will help those of you looking to the skies to capture

Some local birding and #YearoftheBird events to watch out for:

June 3, 2018 (9am-1pm): First Sunday Bird Walk at Greenwich Point Park (Every first Sunday) FREE

June 3, 2018 (10am-11:30am): Connecticut Bird Atlas – Training Workshop, Audubon Center, Southbury, CT, FREE

June 5, 2018 (7:30pm-9pm): “Saving Seabirds” at National Geographic Campus, Gilbert H. Grosvenor Auditorium, 1600 M St NW, Washington, D.C. 20036, $25 admission

June 9-10, 2018: Summer Bird Count; various locations (Hartford, New Haven, Greenwich); Every weekend of June, FREE

June 30, 2018 (11am-1pm): Audubon Greenwich – LGBT – Let’s Go Birding Together!, Pride Month birding event, $5 Audubon members, $8 non-members

August 25, 2018 (7:30pm-9pm): Creatures of the Night… Hike! at the New Canaan Nature Center, FREE


Following the flow of the river, and the trout, fishermen and would-be fishermen might consider picking up a copy of Fly Fishing in Connecticut: A Beginner’s Guide by Kevin Murphy.

Why not brush up on your fishing skills at one of these fun events?

May 26-June 15, 2018: 2018 CT Fishing Tournament/Derby; various locations

June 2, 2018 (5am-3:30pm): Bass-A-Palooza, Norwalk, CT (registration for fishers has passed)

June 16, 2018 (12pm-4:30pm): Hooks for Heroes Fishing Tournament, Stamford, CT, $35 admission (registration for fishers has passed)

July 15-24, 2018: Three Belles Outfitters Trifecta Challenge Kayak Tournament, Niantic, CT, $100 registration

August 4-5 & 11-12, 2018: The Federal Bass Federation of Connecticut (CT-TBF) 2-Day Events



After hiking the trails, fishing, or birdwatching, one can delve into Connecticut’s multitude of small towns and rural structures in Hidden In Plain Sight: A Deep Traveler Explores Connecticut by Hartford Courant essayist, David K. Leff and look to the night sky with Under the Dark Sky: Life int he Thames River Basin by Steven G. Smith.


Stepping into South Indian Dance at Wesleyan University Press

Entering the Cross Street Dance Studio at Wesleyan University, May 7, 2018 for the Bharata Natyam III performance, there are folded chairs along the studio’s back wall and red cushions evenly spaced on the floor. Filling in with Bharata Natyam I students, Wesleyan faculty, friends, and family, the audience reaches the edge of the stage’s bounds. In rhythmic step, the three students of Hari Krishnan’s Bharata Natyam III class enter the studio and introduce the program of five dances: Alarippu, Jatisvaram, Svarajati, Padam, and Tillana. The lights shift to a soft blue hue like the night sky and the performance commences.

Portraying the erotic desires of a lover praying to Lord Krishna, the five dances choreographed by Professor Hair Krishnan, culminate in a series of unified movements followed by interpretive solos by each dancer, capturing the emotions, Shringara, Bhayanaka, and Shanta.

Bharata nātyam is a form of classical South Indian dance, which has been a part of the international stage since the mid-nineteenth century, yet has seen an accelerated circulation since the late twentieth century. Recognizing the importance of this art form, Wesleyan University Press has published multiple titles addressing the dance form, its artists, and visual-vocal practices.


In At Home in the World: Bharata Natyam on the Global Stage by Janet O’Shea, the globalization of the classical form and its adaptations alongside social movements and questioning of tradition is brought to the forefront. Written as an introduction of the form’s history for new learners, At Home in the World, pushes against the rigidity of tradition and invites transformation of form.


Widely considered one of the greatest performance artists of the twentieth century and the greatest living dancer of traditional bharata nātyam of her time, T. Balasaraswati was an unforgettable dancer, musician, and teacher whose influence on the western stage is still prevalent today. Since her and her family’s artist residencies at Wesleyan University during the 1960s and 1980s, bharata nātyam remains a staple of the dance department, inspiring the innovative choreography of today’s dancers. The first of its kind, the deeply engaging biography, Balasaraswati: Her Art & Her Life by Douglas M. Knight Jr., writes of T. Balasaraswati (his mother-in-law) and her family’s artistry as a force which brought the tradition of southern India to the western stage.


Written from the musician’s perspective, Solkattu Manual: An Introduction to the Rhythmic Language of South Indian Music by Professor David P. Nelson of Wesleyan University, is a nod to the complexity of bharata nātyam as not only a dance form, but a visual and audio-engaging art form. Paired with 150 video lessons, Solkattu Manual is the first immersive hands-on introduction to South Indian music and rhythm of its kind. A more advanced study guide, Konnakkol, will be available from Wesleyan in 2019.

Keeping up with Samuel Delany, finalist for a Locus Award & honored by CHOICE

Samuel Delany’s In Search of Silence,The Journals of Samuel R. Delany, 1957–1969 was recently honored by Choice as a 2017 Outstanding Academic Titles

Choice presents this title to award “outstanding works for their excellence in presentation and scholarship, the significance of their contribution to the field, their originality and value as an essential treatment of their subject, and significance in building undergraduate collections.”

In Search of Silence was also selected as a finalist for the 2018 Locus Award for Non-Fiction. Winners will be announced during the Locus Awards Weekend in Seattle, WA June 22-24, 2018 according to Locus Magazine.

For more by Samuel Delany, check out his newest title, The Atheist in the Attic in the Outspoken Authors series from PM Press. The book is a “suspenseful and vivid historical narrative, recreating the top-secret meeting between the mathematical genius Leibniz and the philosopher Spinoza caught between the horrors of the cannibalistic Dutch Rampjaar and the brilliant ‘big bang’ of the Enlightenment.” (from publisher) You will also find more Delany coming from Wesleyan in the Spring of 2019, a collection of never before published letters from between 1988–1991: Letters from Amherst. The book will collect five letters written to close friends, covering such topics as the San Francisco arts community, writing practices and story development, and his family history.

Wesleyan UP acquires Paris Press


View a list of Paris Press books now available through Wesleyan. 

Paris Press and Wesleyan University Press are pleased to announce Wesleyan’s acquisition of Paris Press. As of May 1, all Paris Press books will be available through Wesleyan University Press and its distributor, University Press of New England. “For years, readers have delighted in the books published by Paris Press. What an opportunity, to bring on board books by such luminaries as Virginia Woolf, Emily Dickinson, Bryher, and Muriel Rukeyser,” says Wesleyan University Press director Suzanna Tamminen. “Now these books and those of so many other extraordinary women writers will have a long and vital life with Wesleyan University Press. We look forward to working with each of these beautiful, courageous, and daring books and to ensuring that they continue to inspire readers.”

Jan Freeman, founding director of Paris Press, comments, “I am thrilled and deeply honored that Paris Press authors and books will be part of Wesleyan University Press, a press with a great literary history, a press that I have admired for decades. This is a dream come true. Director Suzanna Tamminen will provide a welcoming home for the Paris Press list, which will forever reflect what is essential in literature. It has been a privilege to usher each Paris Press book into the world. I hope that Wesleyan will bring new audiences to these groundbreaking books and that the Paris Press family of readers, educators, and writers will continue to enthusiastically support the Paris Press at its new home.”

Paris Press (1995–2018) was founded with the mission of publishing groundbreaking yet overlooked literature by women and educating the public about its books and authors. Its titles encompass many genres including essays, poetry, fiction, memoir, letters, drama, and creative nonfiction. Their common attribute is their daring—in style and in the courage to speak truthfully about society, culture, history, and the heart. Paris Press authors include Muriel Rukeyser, Virginia Woolf, Emily Dickinson, Bryher, Ruth Stone, Zdena Berger, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

Wesleyan University Press, based at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, was established in 1957 and focuses on poetry, literature, music, and dance. The press’s internationally renowned poetry series has the distinction of having earned five Pulitzer Prizes, two Griffin Awards, and two National Book Awards. The press’s list reflects the university’s commitment to boldness, rigor, and practical idealism.

Contact: Stephanie Prieto, Publicist, Wesleyan University Press phone: 860.685.7723

Jan Freeman, Founding Director, Paris Press  phone: 413.374.1799

Poetry @ LA Times Festival & Split This Rock

Wesleyan University Press is pleased to have authors participating in events at both Split This Rock Poetry Festival and the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.

Camille T. Dungy and Kazim Ali are among the featured readers at Split This Rock, April 19–21

From the festival organizers:

Not only does poetry equip us to speak out against oppression but it helps to sustain us in these extremely perilous times. It reminds us of what it means to be fully human, holds the vision of what is possible, creates community, keeps alive what we value: compassion, justice, love. Poetry helps us find our voice when we feel powerless. It helps us be our best selves, so we can continue the long-term activism our current climate demands.

As we selected sessions for the 2018 festival, we were particularly interested in sessions designed to help us combat despair (or ride through it), learn from one another across generations, celebrate cultures targeted by hate, figure out what it means to live in this time, and equip us all as creative and effective citizens and activists.
Continue Reading Here….

Thursday, April 19 | 7-8:30 PM
Camille T. Dungy, Sharon Olds, Javier Zamora

Saturday, April 21 | 4:15-5:45 PM
Kazim Ali, Ellen Bass, Terisa Siagatonu

In addition, Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalists Evie Shockley and Shane McCrae
will participate in this year’s Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, April 21–22

Shane McCrae

Saturday, April 21 • 11:20am—11:40am
Shane McCrae reading from “In the Language of my Captor”
More info here…

Saturday, April 21 • 2:00pm–3:00pm
Poetry: Trauma and the Problem of Beauty, Conversation 1043
Moderated by David Baker
Speakers include Alessandra Lynch, Shane McCrae, Carol Muske-Dukes, and Patricia Smith
More info here…

Evie Shockley

Saturday, April 21 • 11:00am–12:00pm
Poetry: Self, Cultural Narratives, and Form, Conversation 1041
Moderated by Cyrus Cassells
Speakers include Mary Jo Bang, Christopher Merrill, Evie Shockley, David St. John
More info here…

Saturday, April 21 • 2:40pm–3:00pm
Evie Shockley reading from “semiautomatic”
More info here…






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 the Kinokuniya Bookstore, 1073 Avenue of the Americas. Reading with Shane McCrae, Kerri Webster, Sarah Blake, and Miranda Field.

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, a CD, essays, interviews, scientific articles, archival photos, and music compositions. Lucier is to host a signing of the box set after the concert each night.

Alvin Lucier is an American composer of experimental music. Internationally known for his experimentation in electronic music and sound aesthetic, Lucier was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in 2006 and has been invited to numerous festivals and residencies in Germany, Czech Republic, Spain, United Kingdom, and the United States. His most recent book, Eight Lectures on Experimental Music, is an influential collection of lectures, featuring influential composers, Maryanne Amacher, Robert Ashley, Philip Glass, and more, to tell the story of twentieth-century American experimental music. Lucier is also the author of Music 109: Notes on Experimental Music and co-author, with Douglas Simon, of Chambers: Scores and Interviews.

Information for buying tickets to the ISSUE Project Room series can be found here and here, featuring a schedule of performances for each night.

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 director of his generation. Famous for bringing creatures like Godzilla and Mothra to the silver screen, Honda played with the idea of the kaiju (“strange creatures”) that are still a staple in sci-fi productions.

This weekend, the Egyptian Theatre will be reintroducing these strange creatures to the public through the screenings of Mothra (1961), Battle in Outer Space (1959), Godzilla: The Japanese Original (1954), and The H-Man (1958). The Egyptian Theatre, built in 1922, has been a cultural landmark in Hollywood for generations. The theater first was a venue where early Hollywood blockbusters premiered, like The Ten Commandments, BEN-HUR, and My Fair Lady, but since the 1990s, it has been owned and operated by the American Cinematheque. Today, the Egyptian Theatre celebrates cinematic history and public program.

This Friday, the Egyptian Theatre will start of the sci-fi bash with Mothra and Battle in Outer Space, and on Saturday, the celebration continues with Godzilla: The Japanese Original and The H-Man will be shown. A discussion between each film will be led by Steven Ryfle and Ed Godziszewski.

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 the power to dominate others, and, in poems about the mixed-race child adopted by Jefferson Davis in the last year of the Civil War, he interrogates the infrequently examined connections between racism and love.

Critic Valerie Duff-Strautmann described In the Language of My Captor as reminiscent of the great Romanian poet, Paul Celan. And a review in Publisher’s Weekly noted that McCrae’s “raw honesty…refuses to shy away from the effects of oppression and faces up to those not willing to acknowledge their part in a history many want to forget.”

Past Wesleyan titles honored with the National Book Award for Poetry

Jean Valentine’s Door in the Mountain, 2004
Charles Wright’s Country Music: Selected Early Poems, 1983.
James Dickey’s Buckdancer’s Choice: Poems, 1966

In 2016, Peter Gizzi’s Archeophonics was a finalist for the Poetry award. Rae Armantrout’s Versed, which won the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critic’s Circle Award, was a finalist in 2009. And in 1973, The Glorious Revolution in America, by David S. Lovejoy, was a finalist in the History category. ­­­