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.


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  selliott@wesleyan.edu phone: 860.685.7723

Jan Freeman, Founding Director, Paris Press   jbf227@gmail.com  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.

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

Michael Eigen’s post to the APA/Psychoanalysis listserv

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 was the amount of harm a sense of being “right” has claimed in human history.

Rage was part of a Wesleyan trilogy in which I traced destructive and creative currents in Ecstasy and Lust as well. The trilogy was personal, free-associative, and true to life curents in my (and many others) experience. One of the side benefits of Rage was its use by ragers to help take the edge off inner pressures, opening a wider network of experience.

Pockets of violent rage continue, often allied with planning and calculation, and sometimes momentary outbursts.

So much more to learn and share about our destructive tendencies—although portions of humanity have been working with it for millennia. A “control” psychology can be useful but not enough. Networks of psychical possibility create more generative contexts.

Michael Eigen is a psychologist and psychoanalyst. He is Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology in the Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis at New York University, and a Senior Member of the Nationals Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis. He is the author of a number of books, including Rage (Wesleyan, 2002), Ecstasy (2001), Lust (2006), The Sensitive Self (2004), and Emotional Storm (2005).

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. ­­­

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 every sense of the word.



KAMAU BRATHWAITE is an internationally celebrated poet, performer, and cultural theorist. He has won numerous awards, including the Neustadt International Prize for Literature and the Griffin Poetry Prize, for Born to Slow Horses. A retired professor of comparative literature at New York University, Brathwaite now lives in CowPastor, Barbados.

“No one writes like Kamau Brathwaite. He is a poet of global importance. The book is an intimate, mystical lens to gaze across time periods and literary modes and frames. The overall effect is mesmerizing, even transcendent, from his lush, mystical descriptions of island nature to his totally unexpected arresting invitation to a beheading. This is a liberatory, heartbreaking book.”
—Joyelle McSweeney, author of Dead Youth, or, The Leaks

“This book is Kamau Brathwaite’s grand, retrospective understanding of his entire poetics—which has extended and developed and ramified across well over half a century of enormous human change. It is also a culmination of his insistent, original vision. Lazarus, recalled from the dead, is reprised in the history of the collective mind of a once enslaved and now resurrected people—a mind embodied in the individual mind of this magnificent poet and called back to life by his absolute freedom to speak.”
—Vijay Seshadri, Pulitzer Prize–winning poet


“Public Figures” and the State

The topic of monuments and memorialization of historical events has become a point of contention, leading to violence in Charlottesville, VA. During the “statue debate,” the fact that many Civil War-related statues were erected long after the war, in the early 20th century, was brought up in several articles. This fact might leave one to ponder, what was the intention of honoring Confederate military leaders in the early 20th century?

In Jena Osman’s book, Public Figures, she examines the monuments and statues of Philadelphia, exploring each statue’s literal “view” on the city as well as the embedded history within their creation and placement. As the book progresses, including photographs of various figures, the common theme remains (unsurprisingly) of militarism and pride in the state. Regardless of the historical context of a statue, whether it be a Civil War soldier or a replica of a classical Greek statue, weaponry including guns, swords, spears, and grenades are attached to the hands and arms of these iron men. Many are dressed in military uniform, differentiating them from the civilian life of the passersby.

Is the bellicose nature of these statues misplaced in common areas, such as the market, the park, post office, or public library? Osman ponders what we do and do not notice as we move about our lives. Does our oblivious walk past such statues parallel our nation’s ability to ignore the deadly work of our military and indicate an implicit acceptance of our country’s violent history?

The violent response to the proposed removal of the Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville left many wondering what such statues mean, what is their value? Some in Charlottesville have described the Robert E. Lee statue as overlooking the city, placed at one of its highest points. One might wonder: What message is being sent to the African American community of Charlottesville? Why is this community expected to accept a Confederate general looming over their daily lives?

When you next find yourself in a public space, take a look around at the monuments and art placed there. Ponder what the intended message is. Are their different messages for different communities? Could the work be intimidating to some?

To learn more about Public Figures, check out our Reader’s Companion. Teachers might find these classroom exercises useful.

100 Years Later: Focusing on Native American Service in WWI

April 6, 1917: The United States entered World War I, when the U.S. Senate voted 82–6 to declare war on Germany. President Woodrow Wilson enacted conscription to recruit thousands of eligible young men into military service. Most of the approximately 12,000 Native Americans who enlisted were volunteers, as Native Americans were, largely, not yet citizens of the United States. In addition to this service, Native Americans purchased approximately $25 million worth of war bonds to support the cause. 

Although the Code Talkers of WWII are better known today, Natives in WWI—most notably the Choctaw—were also tasked with interrupting German spies and halting the interception of Allied communication. This was accomplished with the use of localized Native dialects, which few of the enlisted understood and none of the enemy could decipher. This would aid Allied victory as German troops no longer could predict Allied supply transport or military movements.

The Choctaw were not the only Native nation represented in military service. Other nations, such as the Anishinaabe of the White Earth Reservation, featured in Gerald Vizenor’s book, Blue Ravens, also contributed to the Allied victory. 

In his historical novel, Vizenor reimagines the lives of his great uncles—brothers who served in on the battlefields of France during World War I. He follows the travels and experiences of these two soldiers, before, during the war, and after they return home. Praised as one of our most original, and outspoken, contemporary Native American authors, Vizenor’s visionary writing addresses historic events through an imaginative, postmodern aesthetic. More information can be found at our Blue Raven reader’s companion.

Below: A video of Vizenor lecturing on Blue Ravens and WWI.

The story of Vizenor’s uncles will continue in his next novel, Night of Tributes, due out in 2018. The brothers, now combat veterans, join the Bonus Army to march on Washington DC) in his next novel, Night of Tributes, due out in 2018.

Click on the photos below to enlarge and access the captions.