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AWP 2021 Conference and Book Fair

The AWP conference is virtual this year! From March 3rd through the 5th, AWP will be hosting hundreds of sessions, all online!

Wesleyan University Press is pleased to announce we are participating as an exhibitor.

View our Exhibitor Page here.

Please visit to learn more about our press and some of our new books and our conference discount.

Featured Events





Once in a blue moon, a love like this comes along

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This collection of love poems draws us into the sacred liminal space that surrounds death. With her beloved gravely ill, poet and activist Minnie Bruce Pratt turns to daily walks and writing to find a way to go on in a world where injustice brings so much loss and death. Each poem is a pocket lens “to swivel out and magnify” the beauty in “the little glints, insignificant” that catch her eye: “The first flowers, smaller than this s.” She also chronicles the quiet rooms of “pain and the body’s memory,” bringing the reader carefully into moments that will be familiar to anyone who has suffered similar loss. Even as she asks, “What’s the use of poetry? Not one word comes back to talk me out of pain,” the book delivers a vision of love that is boldly political and laced with a tumultuous hope that promises: “Revolution is bigger than both of us, revolution is a science that infers the future presence of us.” This lucid poetry is a testimony to the radical act of being present and offers this balm: that the generative power of love continues after death.

“Every leaf, flower, snowflake, butterfly in Magnified is impeccably coated and coded with existential time, anti-capitalist time. Magnified is a profoundly intimate record of personal sorrow as well as ‘poetry to action’—in its resistance against empire’s economic and military destruction”
Don Mee Choi, author of DMZ Colony

“In this elegiac and essential book, Minnie Bruce Pratt focuses a Dickinsonian extreme attention on the natural world, its changes magnified by an approaching death, with the human exchanges essential to her activism as much in focus as a walnut shell, a poplar leaf, the breath of the beloved.”
Marilyn Hacker, author of Blazons

from the book:

Oh Death

Someone sang, Oh death! Oh death! Won’t you
pass me over for another day? Someone said, I

dreamed of you last night. I dreamed you
were telling me your whole life story.

Whole. Whorled. Welkin, winkle, wrinkle.
The loop of time holds us all together.

The pile of laundry on the bed. You
folding socks one inside the other. We
have had this day, and now this night.

The clothes are put away, and from the bed we see
the moon folding light into darkness, not death


MINNIE BRUCE PRATT (Syracuse, NY), an LGBTQ writer and activist originally from Alabama, is the author of nine books of poetry, creative nonfiction and political theory. She is a Managing Editor of Workers World/Mundo Obrero newspaper.

A memoir about disability and siblinghood that is candid and comical

Nothing Special cover

Introducing Nothing Special: The Mostly True, Sometimes Funny Tale of Two Sisters

“As sister to Chris, a sassy, gender-fluid, rule-bending extrovert with Down syndrome, Dianne Bilyak—a thoughtful, shy, occasional rebel drawn to the page and the stage—spent her life experiencing a vast array of emotions, from loyalty and admiration to feeling lost in the shadows and bereft of identity. In Nothing Special, her highly readable, cliche-free memoir, Dianne shares her fifty-year journey of siblinghood and self-discovery. Rich in character, humor, hard-earned insights, and love, Dianne’s story will surprise the uninitiated, be revelatory to parents, and, for those who also walk in her shoes, resemble a friend whose words shine with truth.”
—Rachel Simon, author of Riding the Bus with My Sister

Dianne Bilyak’s Nothing Special: The Mostly True, Sometimes Funny Tale of Two Sisters chronicles two sisters’ struggles to find connection and independence. Chris, the older sibling who was diagnosed with Down syndrome, is an extroverted and confident pleasure-seeker with a knack for getting—and being—what she wants.

Nothing Special is a revaluation of cultural perceptions of Down syndrome and a realistic portrayal of gritty humor in the face of adversity. Bilyak’s honesty is breathtaking, with anecdotes ranging from poignant to laugh-out-loud funny. Highly amusing, thoughtful, heartwarming, and real, the soft heart and hard edge of Nothing Special packs a punch that will not soon be forgotten.

from the book:

When I brought Chris back to her apartment from her birthday outing, I checked her log. The staff keeps one for every resident, tracking each person’s actions so the behaviorist could compile a future report. It usually struck me as a cold document, treating Chris like a generator of data instead of a human. But I noticed that now, it looked more like a homework assignment, with corrections in my sister’s handwriting.

She’d crossed out the word “good” and changed it to “great,“ crossed out “great” and changed it to “terrific.” Where a staff member had recorded that Chris had stolen something, she blackened the word “stole” right out. Another entry said Chris had antagonized a co-worker. Chris wrote, “I am very sorry” in the margins, but only after interchanging their names to make it look like the other person was the culprit.

Watch a video of Dianne and her sister, Chris, in conversation on an episode of the popular YouTube channel, “The Skin Deep.”

DIANNE BILYAK (Stafford, CT) is a Pushcart-prize nominated writer, graduate of the Yale Divinity School, and Connecticut disability rights advocate. Her book of poems Against the Turning was published by Amherst Writers & Artists Press in 2011, and her poetry has also been featured in Meat for Tea, Freshwater, Drunken Boat, The Massachusetts Review, and The Tampa Review. Visit the author website here.

This book is a 2020 selection in the Driftless Connecticut Series, for an outstanding book in any field on a Connecticut topic or written by a Connecticut author. 

Celebrating Black History Month

February is Black History Month. Wesleyan University Press is celebrating by highlighting recent publications by Black authors.

Dancing between lyric and narrative, Hafizah Geter’s debut collection Un-American moves readers through the fraught internal and external landscapes—linguistic, cultural, racial, familial—of those whose lives are shaped and transformed by immigration. The daughter of a Nigerian Muslim woman and a former Southern Baptist black man, Geter charts the history of a black family of mixed citizenships through poems imbued by migration, racism, queerness, loss, and the heartbreak of trying to feel at home in a country that does not recognize you. Through her mother’s death and her father’s illnesses, Geter weaves the natural world into the discourse of grief, human interactions, and socio-political discord.

Based on fifteen years of archival research, The Age of Phillis, by award-winning writer Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, imagines the life and times of renowned American poet Phillis Wheatley: her childhood in the Gambia, West Africa, her life with her white American owners, her friendship with Obour Tanner, and her marriage to the enigmatic John Peters. Woven throughout are poems about Wheatley’s “age”—the era that encompassed political, philosophical, and religious upheaval, as well as the transatlantic slave trade. For the first time in verse, Wheatley’s relationship to black people and their individual “mercies” is foregrounded, and here we see her as not simply a racial or literary symbol, but a human being who lived and loved while making her indelible mark on history.

Kamau Brathwaite is a major Caribbean poet of his generation and one of the major world poets of the second half of the twentieth century. Wesleyan University press has published three of his collections: Born to Slow Horses, Elegguasand The Lazarus PoemsThese poems speak of appropriation, theft, isolation, and exploitation, all within a context of an American hegemony that intensifies racial politics. Filled with longing, rage, nostalgia, impotence, wisdom, and love, Brathwaite’s poems are moving in every sense of the word.

Award-winning poet Ed Roberson confronts the realities of an era in which the fate of humanity and the very survival of our planet are uncertain in his collection Asked What Has Changed. Departing from the traditional nature poem, Roberson’s work reclaims a much older tradition, drawing into poetry’s orbit what the physical and human sciences reveal about the state of a changing world. These poems test how far the lyric can go as an answer to our crisis, even calling into question poetic form itself. Reflections on the natural world and moments of personal interiority are interwoven with images of urbanscapes, environmental crises, and political instabilities. These poems speak life and truth to modernity in all its complexity. Throughout, Roberson takes up the ancient spiritual concern—the ephemerality of life—and gives us a new language to process the feeling of living in a century on the brink.

Samuel R. Delany is an acclaimed writer of literary theory, queer literature, and fiction. His “prismatic output is among the most significant, immense and innovative in American letters,” wrote the New York Times in 2019; “Delany’s books interweave science fiction with histories of race, sexuality, and control. In so doing, he gives readers fiction that reflects and explores the social truths of our world.” This anthology of essays, lectures, and interviews addresses topics such as 9/11, race, the garden of Eden, the interplay of life and writing, and notes on other writers such as Theodore Sturgeon, Hart Crane, Ursula K. Le Guin, Holderlin, and a note on—and a conversation with—Octavia Butler. The first of two volumes, Occasional Views Volume 1 gathers more than twenty-five pieces on films, poetry, and science fiction.

Celebrating the Life of Clayton Eshleman

Today we are remembering and celebrating the life of Clayton Eshleman.

In light of the recent passing of Eshleman, we honor his life and his extraordinary contributions to poetry and translation. Clayton was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1935. He has a BA in philosophy and an MAT in English literature from Indiana University and lived in Mexico, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Peru, France, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary. He was a Professor Emeritus, English Department, Eastern Michigan University. Since 1986 he had lived in Ypsilanti, Michigan, with his beloved wife Caryl, who acted as his primary reader and editor for over forty years.

Eshleman has been at the heart of American poetry since the early 1960s. His poems, critical essays, and translations of noteworthy poets as diverse as César Vallejo, Aimé Césaire, Pablo Neruda, Antonin Artaud, Vladimir Holan, Michel Deguy, Henri Michaux, and Bernard Bador, earned him international acclaim. He was often described as having a particular stubbornness that allowed him to produce poems with deep, imaginative insight, unlike other poets. His work appeared in over 400 magazines and newspapers and has been translated into eight languages. He gave readings and lectured to audiences at universities and other venues around the world.

His work is widely known and lauded. Eshleman has been honored with many awards and honors, including a National Book Award for translation, a Guggenheim Fellowship, numerous grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, two Landon Translation Prizes from the Academy of American Poets, and a Hemingway Translation Grant. In 1994, he was a fellow at the Rockefeller Study Center in Bellagio, Italy, where he wrote a 50 page poem on Hieronymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights. In 2007 University of California Press published his translation of Vallejo’s verse, The Complete Poetry of César Vallejoa work on which he spent spent over forty years.

A Sulfur Anthology

Eshleman was the founder and editor of two of the most important literary journalism the latter half of the 20th century: Caterpillar (1967–1973, 20 issues) and Sulfur (1981–2000, 46 issues). Sulfur magazine presented an overview of innovative writing from around the world, including Norman O. Brown, Jorie Graham, James Hillman, Mina Loy, Ron Padgett, Octavio Paz, Ezra Pound, Adrienne Rich, Rainer Maria Rilke, William Carlos Williams, and many more. Each issue featured a diverse offering of poetry, translations, previously unpublished archival material, visual art, essays, and reviews. In the course of its twenty year run, Sulfur maintained a reputation as the premier publication of alternative and experimental writing. A Sulfur Anthology, containing a generous selection of highlights from the journal’s nearly twenty year run, and was published by Wesleyan University Press in December 2015.

Collections and Translations

Wesleyan University Press also published two prose works authored by Eshleman. Companion Spider is a book of essays on poetics, translation, and publishing; and Juniper Fuse: Upper Paleolithic Imagination & the Construction of the Underworld is a groundbreaking collection of poetry and prose that is the culmination of Eshleman’s twenty-five years of research into the origins of image-making via the Ice Age painted caves of southwestern France. 

Concerning Juniper Fuse, Gary Snyder wrote:
“Archeologists and artists have written on southwestern European cave art, but none have given us a book like this. Clayton Eshleman has explored and inspected almost all of the great cave art of southwestern Europe including many caves that are not open to the public and require special permission. Now with visionary imagination, informed poetic speculation, deep insight, breathtaking leaps of mind, Eshleman draws out the underground of myth, psychology, prehistory, and the first turn of the human mind toward the modern. Juniper Fuse opens us up to our ancient selves: we might be weirder (and also better) than we thought.”

In the foreword of Companion Spider, Adrienne Rich wrote:
“Clayton Eshleman has gone more deeply into his art, its process and demands, than any modern American poet since Robert Duncan and Muriel Rukeyser. As a poet, Eshleman has wrestled with his vocation and, in some senses, created himself through poetry. He has written on the self-making and apprenticeship of the poet and of the poet as translator as no one else in North America in the later twentieth century. He has written perceptively about visual art in its relationship to contemporary poetics. And he has delivered stinging critiques of mediocrity and cautiousness in the standardizing of poetic canons.”


Eshleman’s work as a translator includes three volumes of Aimé Césaire’s poetry published by Wesleyan. He worked with Césaire to create an accurate translation of the texts.


Those three volumes produced were, Notebook of a Return to the Native Land, translated with Annette Smith, and 1939 Original Notebook of a Return to the Native Landtranslated with A. James Arnold, are both available, as bilingual editions. Solar Throat Slashed: The Unexpurgated 1948 Edition, also translated with A. James Arnold, is the first bilingual edition of the work. In 2017 Wesleyan published The Complete Poetry of Aimé Cesaire, also a bilingual edition, co-translated with Arnold.

The Essential Poetry (1960–2015)

The Essential Poetry (1960–2015), published by Black Widow Press, is a collection of poems dedicated to bringing to light the art and politics of the human experience. This definitive collection spans the entirety of Eshleman’s poetic output. It is an essential reference work for Eshleman readers. In this interview, Into the Depths of Human Soul Making: An Interview with Clayton Eshleman, he discusses The Essential Poetry (1960–2015) and more.

We thank Clayton Eshleman and remember him for his impressive dedication and contributions to poetry.

Join Us At MLA…

If you are attending the all virtual 2021 MLA conference, please check out these events with Wesleyan authors!

Presentations by Claudia Rankine, Fred Moten, M. NourbeSe Phillip, Evie Shockley.
235 – Presidential Plenary: Poetics of Persistence in Black Life
Friday, 1/8/2021, 12-1:45 PM

Presentations by multiples scholars on Samuel R. Delany in relation to a variety of topics related to sex.
572 – Samuel R. Delany on Sex
Sunday 1/10/2021, 10:15-11:30 AM

A presentation on Samuel Delany’s The Star-Pit is included.
703 – The Final Frontier: Space, Race, and Survival in Speculative Fiction
Sunday 1/10/2021, 5:15-6:30 PM

Visit our official Exhibitor Page here.

And visit our related page to learn about more of relevant books and our special MLA discounts.


“Un-American”, “Conjure”, and “The Age of Phillis” Longlisted for 2021 PEN Book Awards

We congratulate Hafizah Geter, Rae Armantrout, and Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, who are all Longlisted for awards from PEN America.

PEN Open Book Longlist covers

Hafizah Geter’s debut poetry collection, Un-American, is Longlisted for the PEN Open Book Award. The PEN Open Book Award honors a work of fiction, literary nonfiction, biography/memoir, or poetry written by an author of color. The award was created by PEN America’s Open Book Committee, a group committed to racial and ethnic diversity within the literary and publishing communities.

Geter’s collection moves readers through the fraught internal and external landscapes—linguistic, cultural, racial, familial—of those whose lives are shaped and transformed by immigration. The daughter of a Nigerian Muslim woman and a former Southern Baptist black man, Geter charts the history of a black family of mixed citizenships through poems imbued by migration, racism, queerness, loss, and the heartbreak of trying to feel at home in a country that does not recognize you.

PEN/Voelcker Award Longlist book covers

We are also pleased to announce that Rae Armantrout’s Conjure and Honorée Fanonne Jeffers’s The Age of Phillis are both Longlisted for the PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry. The PEN/Voelcker Award honors a distinguished collection of poetry that represents a notable and accomplished literary presence.

Rae Armantrout has always taken pleasure in uncertainties and conundrums, the tricky nuances of language and feeling. In Conjure that pleasure is matched by dread; fascination meets fear as the poet considers an increasingly toxic world.

The Age of Phillis, by award-winning writer Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, imagines the life and times of Wheatley: her childhood in the Gambia, West Africa, her life with her white American owners, her friendship with Obour Tanner, and her marriage to the enigmatic John Peters. Woven throughout are poems about Wheatley’s “age”—the era that encompassed political, philosophical, and religious upheaval, as well as the transatlantic slave trade.

From PEN America’s press release:

The Longlists for its 2021 Literary Awards span 11 book awards and encompassing more than 125 writers and translators, representing the year’s most extraordinary literary talents. Over 80 judges have selected the Longlists, which are made up of categories including the novel, short story collection, translation, poetry, science writing, essay, biography, and more. (Read the full release here.)

Finalists for PEN America Literary Awards will be announced in February 2021.

Announcing “Genre Publics” by Emma Baulch

Cover of Genre Publics

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“A fine-grained analysis of the prominent role of Indonesian Rock and Pop in the social and political transformations that have defined the nation’s post-authoritarian trajectory. Baulch’s wonderful book has much to teach us about the political life of popular music in the age of the consumer citizen.” —Charles Hirschkind, associate professor of anthropology, University of California, Berkeley

In the late 1990s sales of Indonesian pop artists’ recordings overtook sales of those issuing from the US and Europe. Media scholar Emma Baulch traces the institutional and technological conditions that enabled this local music boom, providing an historical account of media changes from 1965 to the present and arguing for its formative role in social and political change. Drawing on industry data and interviews, Genre Publics: Popular Music, Technologies, and Class in Indonesia delineates a cultural history showing how new notions of ‘the local’ were produced in context of the boom and enquires into their links with the expansion of consumerism in Asia, as well as with a more specific context of Indonesian democratization. Baulch focuses on the evolution of popular music genres in the boom to explore how this music helped reshape distinct Indonesian senses of the modern, especially as ‘Asia’ plays an ever more influential role in defining what it means to be modern.

The book also explores the unfolding of consumer capitalism in Indonesia, and of the particular kinds of class politics it engenders. It chronicles the important role popular music genres play in contests along class lines over preferred meanings of ‘the local’ at moments of political transition and rapid social change. The genre publics theory links class formation to popular music in a way that provides a fresh perspective on the role popular music plays in social and political change. It is the only book to consider the role consumerist ideologies are playing in the formation of political subjectivity in Indonesia.

EMMA BAULCH is associate professor in the School of Arts and Social Sciences at Monash University in Malaysia. She is the author of Making Scenes: Reggae, Death Metal and Punk in 1990s’ and co-author of Poverty and Digital Inclusion.




Announcing “Now It’s Dark” by Peter Gizzi

“This new poetry, taking such care of tem-perature—the time & details of the world—meaning the space(s) in which we live—defining love in this way. Writing along the edge. What I call MR/everydayMagicalRealism. A way of writing about hope.”
—Kamau Brathwaite, author of The Lazarus Poems

Now It's Dark book cover

Now It’s Dark

by Peter Gizzi

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“Gizzi is not a sentimental poet—not even close…His best poems exist on a different plane, as if he has achieved and is writing from a transcendent vantage most of us only strive for…He identifies the thing we’re all searching for in voices, in poems, in language, in songs; why we read and why we listen.” —Amanda Petrsich, The New Yorker

“There’s no ego in this writer’s work. It’s one of the purest examples of truth told from an inside source, beautifully patterned on the page…There’s no training ground for such writing. Every page, every poem, is challenged with unpredictability and intensity.” —Grace Cavalieri, Washington Independent Review of Books

Peter Gizzi has written a brilliant follow-up to his National Book Award finalist Archeophonics. The poems in this new collection are concerned with grieving, with poetry and death, with beauty and sadness, with light. There is a necessary darkness that shines throughout. As Ben Lerner has written, “Gizzi’s poetry is an example of how a poet’s total tonal attention can disclose new orders of sensation and meaning. His beautiful lines are full of deft archival allusion.” With litany, elegy, and prose, Gizzi continues his pursuit toward a lyric of reality. Saturated with luminous detail, these original poems possess, even in their sorrowing moments, a dizzying freedom. Objects, images, and their histories are caught here in their half-life, their profoundly human afterlife.

Some Joy for Morning (poem)

PETER GIZZI is the author of eight collections of poetry including Archeophonics, Threshold Songsand In Defense of Nothing: Selected Poems, 1987–2011. He has also published several limited-edition chapbooks, folios, and artist books. He lives in Holyoke, MA.


Krishnan Receives Special Citation from Dance Studies Association


Congratulations to WUP author Hari Krishnan, whose book Celluloid Classicism: Early Tamil Cinema and the Making of Bharatanatyam received a special citation from the 2020 de la Torre Bueno© First Book Award Committee. 

The de la Torre Bueno First Book Award is an annual award offered by the Dance Studies Association for the best first book published in English in the field of dance studies. The de la Torre Bueno prizes are made possible by the generosity of Mary Bueno.

2020 de la Torre Bueno®First Book Special Citation:

“Hari Krishnan’s Celluloid Classicism: Early Tamil Cinema and the Making of Modern Bharatanatyam is an invaluable addition to scholarship on Bharatanatyam in the crucial period between the 1930s and 1950s, offering an impeccably researched and well-argued revision of the common recounting of this phase of the dance’s history which has it that devadasis, if they kept dancing, went into film while Brahmin women dominated the stage, and discourses on caste and morality kept the two realms separate. Krishnan’s archival work is impeccable: combining interviews with readings of key films and reconstructions of lost works using songbooks. Throughout, he is deeply attuned to gender, class, and caste, especially in charting devadasi genealogies in early cinematic works. He includes invaluable reflections on the complexity of working artists’ lives in these crucial periods, and argues persuasively that specific dimensions of some lives undergird the cinematic invention of “classical” bharatanatyam as a middle-class form.”

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