New Books

Gerald Vizenor visits Minneapolis and the White Earth Nation

Gerald Vizenor read at the Bockley Gallery, in Minneapolis, on November 14th, where Louise Erdrich introduced him.

Vizenor then headed northwest, approximately 225 miles, to visit the White Earth Nation. On November 19th, he was a co-signer of the Constitution of the White Earth Nation. At this time, Dr. Vizenor was honored with a golden eagle feather for his service as a delegate and principal writer of the Constitution.

His latest literary works are Blue Ravens and Favor of Crows: New and Collected Haiku. Attendees of AWP 2015, in Minneapolis, can enjoy a Wesleyan sponsored panel (event F214), a “Tribute to Gerald Vizenor.” Panelists, including Heid Erdrich, Gerald Vizenor, Kimberly Blaeser, Gordon Henry, and Margaret Noodin, will discuss Dr. Vizenor’s vast body of work and reflect on how this elder statesman of Anishinaabe literature influenced and supported their own work. Vizenor’s political writing, nationalist poetry, and history-steeped novels will be represented in this tribute, fittingly held in his homeland of Minnesota. Panelists will reflect on Vizenor’s role as a mentor and teacher who enabled generations of Native writers to find their voice. The panel is on Friday, April 10th, 1:30pm – 2:45pm. Attendees can meet with Gerald at Wesleyan booth #907, after the panel, where he will sign copies of his books until 4:30pm. Favor of Crows: New and Collected Haiku will be available in paperback for the first time.


Erma Vizenor, Chief of the White Earth Nation, honors Gerald Vizenor with a golden eagle feather for service as a delegate and principal writer of the Constitution of the White Earth Nation.


Gerald Vizenor signing the official documents as a delegate and principal writer of the Constitution of the White Earth Nation. The Constitution Signing was held at the White Earth Nation on November 19, 2014.


Louise Erdrich introduces Gerald Vizenor at a reading of Blue Ravens at the Bockley Gallery in Minneapolis, November 14, 2014. This event was co-sponsored by Birchbark Books, a store operated by a spirited collection of people who believe in the power of good writing, the beauty of handmade art, the strength of Native culture, and the importance of small and intimate bookstores. Photograph, copyright John Ratzloff, 2014.


#tbt: Mel Brooks’ dancing alien, from “Spaceballs”

This week’s throwback Thursday post is dedicated to director Mel Brooks! He is one of many directors interviewed in The Director Within: Storytellers of Stage and Screen by Rose Eichenbaum. The photograph of Brooks, below, is one of many images from the book.


To honor Brooks and his ongoing ability to make us laugh long and hard, we picked a clip from his movie Spaceballs (1987).

Mel Brooks is a master of comedy. From film to theatrical productions, his work has earned him the highest honors bestowed on an entertainer: an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony Award—to name a few. As Brooks fans know, the filmmaker loves to spoof historic events, popular culture, books, and other films. Such parodies include Young Frankenstein, Dracula: Dead and Loving It, High Anxiety, and Spaceballs. 

When asked why he’s chosen to create so many parodies, Brooks responded:

“All I’m doing is reliving the movies I loved as a little boy. With Young Frankenstein I was reviving the gorgeous films by James Whale, Frankenstein (1931) and The Bride of Frankenstein (1935). High Anxiety is a tribute to Hitchcock. Spaceballs I made for my son, Max Brooks, who loved Star Trek and Star Wars. I dolled them up, of course, with a lot of different themes and feelings.”

Directors featured in the book The Director Within include:

• Michael Apted
• Robert Benton
• Peter Bogdanovich
• James L. Brooks
• Mel Brooks
• James Burrows
• John Carpenter
• Joseph Cedar
• Richard Donner
• Jonathan Frakes
• Lesli Linka Glatter
• Taylor Hackford
• Walter Hill
• Arthur Hiller
• Reginald Hudlin
• Doug Hughes
• Lawrence Kasdan
• John Landis
• Barry Levinson
• Rod Lurie
• Emily Mann
• Kathleen Marshall
• Rob Marshall
• Michael Mayer
• Paul Mazursky
• Mira Nair
• Hal Prince
• Brett Ratner
• Gary Ross
• Mark Rydell
• Jay Sandrich
• Susan Stroman
• Julie Taymor
• Robert Towne
• Tim Van Patten

Rose Eichenbaum will be signing copies of her books, The Director Within and The Dancer Within at Chavelier’s Books in Los Angeles this Saturday. She will be joined by performer-authors Zippora Karz and Victoria Tennant. Read more about the event and participants here.

The first book on hip-hop sampling as a musical process—now with a new foreword and afterword

We are pleased to announce new edition of Making Beats: The Art of Sample-Based Hip-Hop, by Joseph G. Schloss with a new foreword by Jeff Chang.


Based on ten years of research among hip-hop producers, Making Beats was the first work of scholarship to explore the goals, methods, and values of a surprisingly insular community. Focusing on a variety of subjects—from hip-hop artists’ pedagogical methods to the Afrodiasporic roots of the sampling process to the social significance of “digging” for rare records—Joseph G. Schloss examines the way hip-hop artists have managed to create a form of expression that reflects their creative aspirations, moral beliefs, political values, and cultural realities. Making Beats won the International Association for the Study of Popular Music’s (IASPM) Book Award 2005, and is now looked upon as one of the foundational works of hip-hop scholarship. This second edition of the book includes a new foreword by Jeff Chang and a new afterword by the author.

For more details, click here.

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

“Director Within” launch tonight, 7PM, in Burbank, CA!

Don’t miss the book launch celebration for Rose Eichenbaum’s the The Director Within! Rose will be sharing photos, stories, and words of wisdom concerning her latest book. A discussion will follow. The event will take place on November 13th, in the Entertainment Media Building Room E100 at Woodbury University from 7-9pm.


“What a treat to read these interviews with so many directors I have known and to learn more about them, their courage, individuality, compassion, vision, insight, and wisdom, and to hear the shared theme of love for the media and love as a theme in their lives and their work.”  —Jeremy Kagan, film and television director

Award-winning photojournalist, Rose Eichenbaum is dedicated to the investigation and documentation of art making and human expression through performance. Her stunning books The Dancer Within and The Actor Within paired photographic portraits with thoughtful conversations that look at the creative process, and how this process is different for each individual.

For her new book, The Director Within, Rose Eichenbaum sat down with thirty-five modern day storytellers—directors of theater, film, and television. Eichenbaum’s subjects speak with revealing clarity about the challenges and rewards of their work, the role and life of the director, and the ways theatrical and cinematic storytelling impact our culture and our lives. These conversational interviews with some of the biggest names in entertainment are accompanied by lively photographic portraits that convey the character and personalities of her subjects.

This beautiful, informative, and entertaining book is an essential resource for film and theatre buffs, would-be-directors, and anyone who wants to learn more about the creative minds behind our most-beloved movies and shows.

Rose Eichenbaum’s work has appeared in national magazines and has been the subject of numerous exhibitions, including a national tour hosted by the Smithsonian Institution. A respected educator, Eichenbaum is a professor at Woodbury University in the School of Media, Culture and Design and directs the dance photography workshop at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. She also teaches at the Los Angeles Center of Photography.


For more information about the book please visit the bookpage.



Gerald Vizenor to visit National WWI Museum

Tomorrow, November 12th, Gerald Vizenor will visit the National World War I Museum in Kansas City, Missouri.  As part of Park University’s Ethnic in Voices Poetry Series, in an interview segment that will air on KCUR’s New Letters on the Air, host Angela Elam will discuss Vizenor’s latest book of poetry, Favor of Crows, as well as Blue Ravens, his fact-based historical portrayal of Native American Soldiers in World War I.  



Today, the service of Native Americans in WWII is quite well documented, thanks to the work of many Native community members, scholars, and historians. Service of Natives in WWI has not been as well documented.

In 1917, as the United States entered WWI, most Native Americans were not U.S. citizens. Some Natives were granted citizenship based on their military service. Others were offered citizenship with the passage of the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924. It was enacted, in part, to recognize the service of thousands of Indians in WWI. Citizenship had been offered to Oklahoma Natives in 1890 and 1901.

It is estimated that more than 12,000 American Indians served in World War I. More than 44,000 American Indians served during WWII. Military officials acknowledge that Native Americans have the highest record of service per capita of any ethnic group. Native Americans were sent into highly dangerous situations, such as sweeping for land mines, at a higher rate than their non-Native counterparts. Native Americans were not placed in segregated units, as African-American soldiers were. The U.S. Government hoped that integration would assist the process of assimilating Native Americans into the United States.

To learn more about Native American military service, visit the National Museum of the American Indian’s resource page, “Native Words, Native Warriors.” You can also view the PBS documentary The Way of the Warrior.

“How Reading is Written”- on Gertrude Stein

We are pleased to announce a new book by Astrid Lorange, How Reading is Written: A Brief Index to Gertrude Stein.


Gertrude Stein is a seminal figure in modern and postmodern literature, yet her work is not easily defined and has had both fierce supporters and equally fierce detractors. In a series of linked essays, How Reading Is Written considers a set of questions associated with reading Gertrude Stein today. In particular, how can we read a body of work that is largely resistant to conventional and interpretation-based models of literary criticism? The book is structurally and conceptually an index to Stein’s poetics, and it considers Stein alongside other writers and thinkers, and across discourses of philosophy, science, queer theory, and literary criticism. Like Charles Olson’s Call Me Ishmael and Susan Howe’s My Emily Dickinson, How Reading Is Written joins a tradition of books by poets about the writers who have intensely figured into their conception of poetry. Astrid Lorange recovers previously overlooked critical work on Stein and aims to construct a new intellectual episteme for Stein’s work—one that connects with contemporary contexts as well as repositions Stein in her moment of transnational modernism.

For more details, click here.

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

“Engaging Bodies” wins Selma Jeanne Cohen Prize in Dance Aesthetics

We are pleased to announce that Ann Cooper Albright’s book Engaging Bodies: The Politics and Poetics of Corporeality, has been selected as the winner of the Selma Jeanne Cohen Prize in Dance Aesthetics.

albright blog

The prize honors Selma Jeanne Cohen‘s work in dance theory, dance history, and dance aesthetics, and is funded by a bequest from her estate. The winner will be publicly announced during the national meeting of the ASA on October 29 to November 1, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas.

The American Society for Aesthetics was founded in 1942 to promote study, research, discussion, and publication in aesthetics. “Aesthetics,” in this connection, is understood to include all studies of the arts and related types of experience from a philosophic, scientific, or other theoretical standpoint, including those of psychology, sociology, anthropology, cultural history, art criticism, and education. “The arts” include the visual arts, literature, music, and theater arts.

The ASA publishes the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism and The ASA Newsletter.

Rose Eichenbaum—photographer, author and educator

Rose Eichenbaum is one of today’s most respected photojournalists in the field of dance. Her books, Masters of Movement, The Dancer Within, The Actor Within, and now, The Director Within, have paired photographic portraits of artists with thoughtful conversations about their creative processes. A teacher for more than 25 years, Eichenbaum is also a sought-out inspirational and motivational speaker, with a story that will get people thinking about the complex relationship of art making and human expression. Check out Rose’s latest book, The Director Within: Storytellers of Stage and Screen. It hits stores today, and will make a great holiday gift for the film or theater lover on your list.


Eichenbaum_Rose 2014


The child of Holocaust survivors, Eichenbaum has always felt that being born was “a small miracle.” And since then, she has always felt the drive to leave a mark on the world. Though she has a master’s degree in dance from UCLA, her own professional dance career was concluded when she had three children. “However,” she says, “picking up a camera to photograph my children proved a revelation. I discovered that I loved image making and that through the medium of photography I could still dance.”

In addition to her work as a teacher, Eichenbaum has built a successful career as a dance photographer. She’s behind more than two dozen magazine covers and countless articles in nationally acclaimed publications like Dance Magazine, Pointe, Dance Teacher, Dance Spirit, and others. She is also the official photographer for the State Street Ballet of Santa Barbara. This work, in turn, drew her to photojournalism—an interest which has birthed her four acclaimed books on the luminaries of choreography, dance, acting, and directing.


eichenbaum blog


Her work addresses the power of the human spirit, expressed through these various art forms. All the people she’s interviewed, she says, are “driven individuals who want to be seen, heard, and express themselves—” much like herself. With her probing questions and disarming manner, Eichenbaum is a skilled interviewer, and her powerful photographs reveal the essence of each artist she speaks to. Eichenbaum captures the essential character of her subjects while shining a light on the art that defines them, creating invaluable touchstones for anyone interested in performance art as expression.


Gerald Vizenor at Radcliffe Institute



Gerard Vizenor is on the move again! Next week Vizenor will be at Harvard University for a reading and discussion on his recent book, Favor of Crows: New and Collected Haiku. The reading and moderated discussion will be a part of the Roosevelt Poetry Readings at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and is co-sponsored by the Harvard University Native American Program.

Favor of Crows is a collection of new and previously published original haiku poems written over the past forty years. Vizenor has earned a wide and devoted audience for his poetry and in the introductory essay he compares the imagistic poise of haiku with the early dream songs of Anishinaabe, or Chippewa. Vizenor concentrates on these two artistic traditions, and by intuition he creates a union of vision, perception, and natural motion in concise poems—he creates a sense of presence and at the same time a naturalistic trace of impermanence.

“Through the vehicle of these wondrous and succinct poems, Vizenor reinforces the reality of our human dependency upon the natural world as the source that sustains us within the circle of life. He reminds us that we are born to perceive the beauty of our surroundings and, by doing so, celebrate life in all its majesty.”- Sonja James, The Journal

The reading place will take place at the Radcliffe, Sheerr Room, Fay House, 10 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA. For more information please visit the event online. Vizenor will sign copies of his book at The Harvard Coop, 1400 Massachusetts Avenue, in Cambridge.

The reading is free and open to public.

#tbt: John Luther Adams and Experimental Music at Wesleyan

This week’s Throw-Back-Thursday post is dedicated to composer John Luther Adams. Below you’ll find a passage from his 2004 book, Winter Music: Composing the North

John Luther Adams, who received the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Music, for his symphony Become Ocean, is a widely praised composer, and author of two books published by Wesleyan: Winter Music and The Place Where You Go to Listen: In Search of an Ecology of Music. Adams is the subject of a recent Radiolab podcast, which aired earlier this month on WNYC . Give it a listen if you are interested in “all the forces at play in Adams’ work,” or in “the dark majesty of Adams’ take on the apocalypse.”


From Winter Music. “Love the Questions”

John Cage said that in the course of his life and work he gradually came to understand composition ‘‘not as the making of choices, but as the asking of questions.’’

Morton Feldman put it even more succinctly, when he advised simply: ‘‘Love the questions.’’

The most important questions in music and in life may turn out to have many answers, or no answers at all. In any case, the questions may well be more important than the answers.

Varèse had a maxim for composing: ‘‘Keep it level, especially in times of invention.’’

Lou Harrison has written: ‘‘When I find myself inspired I enjoy it—but, I try to lay the pencil down, for, if I continue, I know that I shall have to use the eraser in the morning.’’

Although the music of Cage, Feldman, Varèse, and Harrison sounds nothing alike, all four composers speak of a healthy mistrust of ‘‘inspiration,’’ ‘‘self-expression,’’ and the artist’s ego. In very different ways each of them placed his faith in something larger than his own will and intentions: a deep belief in the power of the music and the sounds themselves.

In my own work I try to follow a similar path. I try to ask as clearly and directly as possible a few essential questions about the music at hand. Once I articulate these questions, my discipline is simply to keep faith with the musical materials, to listen carefully to the sounds and follow wherever they might lead me.

# # #

Wesleyan University Press and Wesleyan University’s music department are well known for their commitment to experimental music. Our press has published a number of John Cage titles. John Cage Wasby James Klosty, is newly available. Cage was an assistant professor in Wesleyan’s music department, collaborating with members of our community from the 1950s until his death in 1993. Our press also published Alvin Lucier’s Music 109 (now available in paperback), aptly named after his Wesleyan course “MUSIC 109: Introduction to Experimental Music.” Lucier is the John Spencer Camp Professor of Music, Emeritus, at Wesleyan. Another recent retiree from Wesleyan, Anthony Braxton (Emeritus, Faculty of Music), continues his musical life with the Tri-Centric Foundation. You can read more about Wesleyan University’s music department here.

This weekend (October 11), Wesleyan’s Center for the Arts will host a performance by the Vijay Iyer Trio. Vijay Iyer was described by Pitchfork as “one of the most interesting and vital young pianists in jazz today.” The trio also includes bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Tyshawn Sorey (Wesleyan, MA ’11).

In the brief piece above, “Love the Questions,” Adams considers the virtues of letting music itself take the lead while composing. Experimental music allows listeners to consider sound and art in ways they might never have imagined. Wesleyan remains committed to facilitating such artistic innovation. Experimental music has certainly enriched the cultural life at Wesleyan University. We hope our readers will enrich their own lives through experimental music.