New Books

An inside view of experimental music, with Alvin Lucier

Alvin Lucier’s Music 109: Notes on Experimental Music. is now available in paperback!

Lucier’s new CD was recently reviewed by Robert Carl for Fanfare Magazine. Carl wrote: “Lucier has fruitfully pursued his passion for a uniquely personal form of research and experiment over the decades. He could have been a ‘one-hit wonder,’ but definitely was (and is) not. This is another I’d love for the Want List, though by now the waiting room is getting crowded. Highly recommended, and even those who think they won’t like it should confront this. It’s bracing, and one hears everything differently, and fresher, afterwards.”


Composer and performer Alvin Lucier brings clarity to the world of experimental music as he takes the reader through more than a hundred groundbreaking musical works, including those of Robert Ashley, John Cage, Charles Ives, Morton Feldman, Philip Glass, Pauline Oliveros, Steve Reich, Christian Wolff, and La Monte Young. Lucier explains in detail how each piece is made, unlocking secrets of the composers’ style and technique. The book as a whole charts the progress of American experimental music from the 1950s to the present, covering such topics as indeterminacy, electronics, and minimalism, as well as radical innovations in music for the piano, string quartet, and opera. Clear, approachable and lively, Music 109 is Lucier’s indispensable guide to late 20th-century composition. No previous musical knowledge is required, and all readers are welcome.

For more details, click here.

Also available as an ebook—check with your favorite ebook retailer.

This project is funded by the Beatrice Fox Auerbach Foundation Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.

Celebrating “John Cage Was”


We are pleased to announce an important new book of photographs by James Klosty — John Cage Was, a collection of intimate portraits and remembrances of one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century. Books will be available at the October 18th release party, and on October 31st in all other locations.

John Cage at a piano

Wesleyan is honored to continue our close relationship with the memory of Cage and his works. In his recent review of John Cage Was (Paste magazine) Bill Taft notes:

John Cage Was adds an important work to the Cage canon published by Wesleyan University Press. The small press published Cage’s first book, Silence, in 1961. The success of that book enabled Cage to author five more tomes (all published by WUP) filled with lectures, essays and scores. Thanks to WUP’s fine stewardship of the Cage archive, today’s readers have easy access to a wealth of his written work. Klosty gives us a pictorial representation of a man whose life became as significant as his art.”

Wesleyan’s collection of Cage’s books include Musicage, Anarchy, Year from Monday, Empty Words, Cage:M, and Cage:X. Our recent 50th Anniversary Edition of Silence exposed a new generation of readers to his genius. In his foreword to the 50th Anniversary Edition, Kyle Gann explains why Silence was not only groundbreaking for its time, but also how it remains an innovative text in the 21st century.

“Personally, I have tried, at Cage’s urging, to enjoy a baby crying at a concert, not letting it ruin a piece of modern music; so far I’ve failed. But that’s why I keep coming back to Cage, because I keep thinking that if I could evolve or relax a little more, I could enjoy babies crying and fire alarms ringing, and feel as comfortable with the universe as he always seemed to be. He thought his way out of the twentieth century’s artistic neuroses and discovered a more vibrant, less uptight world that we didn’t realize was there. Silence is the traveler’s guide to that world. Every visit it to it lifts the feet a little more off the ground.”

We are overjoyed to add John Cage Was to our collection of John Cage titles. This volume is a true celebration of a remarkable figure who redefined music forever.

For more information on John Cage Was by James Klosty, click here.

Gerald Vizenor’s New England Tour, October 7-23


Gerald Vizenor is Professor Emeritus of American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.  He is a citizen of the White Earth Nation, and has published more than thirty books, including Native Liberty: Natural Reason and Cultural Survivance, Survivance: Narratives of Native Presence, Native Storiers, Father Meme, Fugitive Poses: Native American Indian Scenes of Absence and Presence, Hiroshima Bugi: Atomu 57, Shrouds of White Earth, and The White Earth Nation: Ratification of a Native Democratic Constitution. His most recent publications are Blue Ravens, a historical novel about Native American Indians who served in the First World War in France, and Favor of Crows: New and Collected Haiku. Vizenor received an American Book Award for Griever: An American Monkey King in China, and for Chair of Tears, the Western Literature Association Distinguished Achievement Award, and the Lifetime Literary Achievement Award from the Native Writer’s Circle of the Americas. Vizenor is a veteran of the United States Army. He served in Japan during the era of reconstruction, following WWII.


October 7, Tuesday, 4:30 PM—Wesleyan University
Center for East Asian Studies, Mary Houghton Freeman Room
343 Washington Terrace, Middletown, CT
EXPEDITIONS IN FRANCE: Native American Indians in the First World War  

October 10, Friday, 12 Noon—Yale University
Native  American Cultural Center
26 High St., New Haven, CT
Reading, and discussion of Blue Ravens

October 14 , Tuesday, 12 Noon—Bridgewater State University
Heritage Room in the Maxwell Library
131 Summer St., Bridgewater, MA
EXPEDITIONS IN FRANCE: Native American Indians in the First World War  

October 15, Wednesday, 6:30 PM—Brown University
Metcalf Auditorium
190-194 Thayer St., Providence, RI
EMPIRE TREASONS: Native American Indians in the First World War    

October 16, Thursday, 4:15PM—Harvard University
Radcliffe, Sheerr Room, Fay House
10 Garden St., Cambridge, MA
Reading, and discussion of Favor of Crows: New and Collected Haiku

October 18, Saturday, 1:30-3PM—Mashantucket Pequot Museum
110 Pequot Trail, Mashantucket, CT
Reading, and discussion of Blue Ravens and Favor of Crows.

October 21, Tuesday, 4:30PM—Dartmouth College
Rockefeller Center 1
2 Webster Ave., Hanover, NH
White Earth to Picardy: Native Americans & the First World War in France 

October 23, Thursday, 4:30PM—Amherst College 
Paino Lecture Hall, Beneski Earth Sciences & Natural History Building
81 Dickinson St., Amherst, MA
EXPEDITIONS IN FRANCE: Native American Indians in the First World War  


#tbt: Harvey Shapiro, “Monday”

This week’s Throwback Thursday selection is Harvey Shapiro’s “Monday,” from his 1988 collection National Cold Storage Company: New and Selected PoemsOn September 30th, Wesleyan released Shapiro’s posthumous collection, A Momentary Glory: Last Poems, edited by Norman Finkelstein. Shapiro wrote honestly about life, love, sexuality, aging, and death. 


shapiro tbt



Everybody thinks the past is real.
The window and the skull
Admit light. The past comes through
Like that—undifferentiated,
Hallucinatory, of no weight.
Sleepless that night, he saw the
Room close-woven, a nest
Of chairs, tables, rug
The past was filtering through.
It had no odor, no
Emotion. You could not
Say that in the silences
The past came in
Like water over sand.
There was no movement.
You could not draw the blind.


HARVEY SHAPIRO published his first book of poetry in 1953. He taught at Cornell University and Bard College before joining the staffs of Commentary and The New Yorker. In 1957 he became an editor of The New York Times Magazine and was editor of The New York Times Book Review from 1975 until 1983. He lived in Brooklyn, New York.

Rhythms of South India, in Persian!

Wesleyan University Press is pleased to announce the release of a Persian language edition (Aref Music, Iran) of Solkattu Manual: An Introduction to the Rhythmic Language of South Indian Music, by David P. Nelson.

Solkattu Blog Picture

The book, a first of its kind, is a step-by-step introduction to South Indian spoken rhythm. It includes instructions for designing performable pieces, accompanied by graphic notations as well as video demonstrations on two DVDs (Persian language edition), and online (English language edition). The Persian edition sports beautiful new artwork that is reminiscent of our English language edition.

Solkattu Manual is designed for use in a variety of settings. Beyond courses in Indian music, it can be used for beginning music courses or for courses in percussion studies. It does not assume any prior experience with Indian music.

More information about our English language edition is available online.

SUBMIT NOW for Best American Experimental Writing


Now is the time to submit your work for the 2015 edition of
Best American Experimental Writing!


BAX compiles the best North American writing inspired by an experimental ethos. The inaugural edition, published in July 2014 by Omnidawn, features 75 works by a diverse range of emerging and established writers. The anthology is a vital teaching tool and a must-read for anyone interested in innovative concepts. Contributors include Rae Armantrout, Charles Bernstein, Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge, Ken Chen, Monica de la Torre, Forrest Gander, Kate Greenstreet, Brenda Hillman, Farid Matuk, Jena Osman, Ron Padgett, M. NourbeSe Philip, Vanessa Place, Ed Roberson, Danniel Schoonebeek, Anne Waldmen, and many more poets. 

The next edition of BAX will be published by Wesleyan University Press in 2015.
You may submit your work via Wesleyan UP’s Submittable Page.


#tbt: Peter Gizzi, “Still Life with Automobile”

This week’s Throwback Thursday selection is Peter Gizzi’s “Still Life with Automobile,” originally published in Periplum, and Other Poems. The poem is also found in Gizzi’s newest book In Defense of Nothing: Selected Poems 1987-2011.




Still Life with Automobile

He was going to take it to the next town.

Though the park was empty

the pond bristled with life. He had

not an answer within 100 sq. acres

or it was only answers that tweeted about.

Who was this lonely figure in a landscape

and once he is made known

would the narrative slack and come

to a warm bed and slippers?

It was no no and yes yes all afternoon

on the thruway. It was a big state said the signs

and so did the sky say big state.


Praise for In Defense of Nothing

In Defense of Nothing neither apologizes nor explains, but in its circumnavigation the reader will be moved to find experiences of suffering, surprise, joy, and gratitude, experiences that define life itself.”
-Ange Mlinko, Boston Review

“A deep lacuna has opened in the work, which makes the title In Defense of Nothing as much literal as rhetorical, opening a space for the next step in Gizzi’s trajectory.”
-Alan Gilbert, Hyperallergic

“These selected poems from five books are helpful in understanding the architectural gifts of Peter Gizzi—studying his extended productivity show us the overall force of his work.”
-Grace Cavalieri, The Washington Independent Review of Books

“As a whole, Gizzi’s In Defense of Nothing affirms the notion that poetry is a form of salvation for those who are willing to do the hard work of turning perceptions into the ‘second tongue we call grammar.’ It is a book worthy of all who love art and all who love to express themselves through poetry.”
-Sonja James, The Journal, Martinsburg, WV

“Gizzi’s poetry is ‘silly with clarity,’ infused with a restless vernacular that can elevate the mundane while making the impossible tangible.”
Publisher’s Weekly

In Defense of Nothing Selected Poems 1987-2011 splendidly champions Gizzi as a major force in the ever-expanding vastness of the poetry world. His well-earned spot as an integral influential force of our time is thus firmly staked out.”
-Patrick James Dunagan , Bookslut


PETER GIZZI is the author of Threshold Songs, The Outernationale, Some Values of Landscape and Weather, Artificial Heart, Periplumand In Defense of Nothing. He teaches at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

“Still Life with Automobile”  © 1992 Peter Gizzi, from In Defense of Nothing: Selected Poems, 1987 – 2011

A vivid ethnography and in-depth history of musical performance in North Sumatra

We are pleased to announce a new book by Julia Byl, Antiphonal Histories: Resonant Pasts in the Toba Batak Musical Present.

byl blog


“Well-written, smart, and honest, Antiphonal Histories is an innovative juxtaposition of historiography, ethnography, musical analysis, and reflexive autobiography. There are also moments of poignant insight, brilliant induction, and hilarity.” —Jeremy Wallach, author of Modern Noise, Fluid Genres: Popular Music in Indonesia, 1997–2001

Positioned on a major trade route, the Toba Batak people of Sumatra have long witnessed the ebb and flow of cultural influence from India, the Middle East, and the West. Living as ethnic and religious minorities within modern Indonesia, Tobas have recast this history of difference through interpretations meant to strengthen or efface the identities it has shaped. Antiphonal Histories examines Toba musical performance as a legacy of global history, and a vital expression of local experience. This intriguingly constructed ethnography searches the palm liquor stand and the sanctuary to show how Toba performance manifests its many histories through its “local music”—Lutheran brass band hymns, gong-chime music sacred to Shiva, and Jimmie Rodgers yodeling. Combining vivid narrative, wide-ranging historical research, and personal reflections, Antiphonal Histories traces the musical trajectories of the past to show us how the global is manifest in the performative moment.

byl collage

Clockwise from top left: a group of men playing at the lapo tuak; ceremonial dancing at a Toba adat ceremony; Martahan Sitohang playing the Toba suling during a performance residency in the Netherlands (photo: Hardoni Sitohang); and a gondang group.

For more details, click here.

Also available as an ebook—check with your favorite ebook retailer.

Samuel R. Delany’s “American Shore”

We are pleased to announce the release of a brand-new edition of The American Shore: Meditations on a Tale of Science Fiction by Thomas M. Disch —- “Angouleme,” with an introduction by Matthew Cheney.

 american shore

A keystone text in literary theory and science fiction The American Shore: Meditations on a Tale of Science Fiction by Thomas M. Disch—“Angouleme” was first published in 1978 to the intense interest of science fiction readers and the growing community of SF scholars. Recalling Nabokov’s commentary on Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin, Roland Barthes’ commentary on Balzac’s Sarazine, and Grabinier’s reading of The Heart of Hamlet, this book-length essay helped prove the genre worthy of serious investigation. The American Shore is the third in a series of influential critical works by Samuel Delany, beginning with The Jewel-Hinged Jaw and Starboard Wine, first published in the late seventies and reissued over the last five years by Wesleyan University Press. Delany was honored with a Pilgrim Award for Science Fiction Scholarship from the Science Fiction Research Association of America. He has also received the Hugo Award, Nebula Award, and the William Whitehead Memorial Award for a lifetime’s contribution to gay and lesbian literature. In 2013, he was named the 31st Damon Knight Memorial Foundation Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. This edition of The American Shore includes the author’s corrected text as well as a new introduction by Delany scholar Matthew Cheney. For more details, click here. Also available as an ebook—check with your favorite ebook retailer.

Conversations with country music’s legendary producers

We are pleased to announce a new book by Michael Jarrett, Producing Country: The Inside Story of the Great Recordings.


 Jarrett - Producing R-300-3

“…you would look long and hard to find a more readable contribution to the cultural studies, or country music, canon.” Tim Holmes, Record Collector magazine

Musicians make music. Producers make records. In the early days of recorded music, the producer was the “artists-and-repertoire man,” or A&R man, for short. A powerful figure, the A&R man chose both who would record and what they would record. His decisions profoundly shaped our musical tastes. Don Law found country bluesman Robert Johnson and honky-tonk crooner Lefty Frizzell. Cowboy Jack Clement took the initiative to record Jerry Lee Lewis (while his boss, Sam Phillips, was away on business). When Ray Charles said he wanted to record a country-and-western album, Sid Feller gathered songs for his consideration. The author’s extensive interviews with music makers offer the fullest account ever of the producer’s role in creating country music. In its focus on recordings and record production, Producing Country tells the story of country music from its early years to the present day through hit records by Hank Williams, George Jones, Patsy Cline, Buck Owens, Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, and more.


gallery 01

Chet Atkins and engineer Bill Porter in RCA Studio B, Nashville. Courtesy of Merle Atkins Russell, the Chet Atkins Estate

Producing Country includes original interviews with producers Chet Atkins, Pete Anderson, Jimmy Bowen, Bobby Braddock, Harold Bradley, Tony Brown, Blake Chancey, Jack Clement, Scott Hendricks, Bob Johnston, Jerry Kennedy, Blake Mevis, Ken Nelson, Jim Ed Norman, Allen Reynolds, Jim Rooney, James Stroud, Paul Worley, and Reggie Young, among others.

For more details, click here.

Also available as an ebook—check with your favorite ebook retailer.