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.

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.

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.

Wesleyan University Press @ AWP2017 – Washington D.C.

Join us @ AWP2017, in Washington DC!

Booth #137


Come to our panel!

Working with Archives—Ethics, Strategies, and Methods

Saturday, February 11, 2017 – 1:30pm-2:45pm
Marquis Salon 1 & 2, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Two

Gerald Vizenor
Jena Osman
Harmony Holiday
Daniel Tiffany

Writers sometimes use archival records as sources of inspiration and information. Our panelists, including poets, a fiction writer and a historian, look at the use of public records as a source to gain better emotional understanding of their subject, and as evidence of sometimes grim historical events that have been overlooked or intentionally ignored. The panelist will discuss the methodologies and strategies of working with archival material, as well as the important ethical considerations of working with these often sensitive materials.

Meet the Authors
and have your books signed

Rae Armantrout, Friday 11-12

Peter Gizzi, Friday 1-2

Shane McCrae, Friday 2-3

Camille Dungy, Friday 4-5PM

Stop by booth 137 to see our new titles!

awp2017 new new books

 Trophic Cascade (Camille T. Dungy)

Because When God Is Too Busy (Gina Athena Ulysse)

In The Language of my Captor (Shane McCrae)

Planetary Noise: Selected Poetry of Erín Moure (Erín Moure)

awp2017 new books wip

Archeophonics (Peter Gizzi)

BAX 2016: Best American Experimental Writing (Seth Abramson)

The Work-Shy (Blunt Research Group)

Partly: New and Selection Poems, 2001-2015 (Rae Armantrout)

Gerald Vizenor at Birchbark Books!

Gerald Vizenor has been welcomed by Birchbark Books for a reading from his new book Treaty Shirts: October 2034—A Familiar Treatise on the White Earth Nation. The reading will be held at the Bockley Gallery (near Birchbark Books in Minneapolis) on Tuesday, August 9th at 7pm.

Vizenor-Treaty-R-72-3Birchbark Books is owned and operated by New York Times bestselling and National Book Award winning author, Louise Erdrich (Ojibwe). As a store that prides itself in their belief in “the power of good writing, the beauty of handmade art, [and] the strength of Native culture,” they are the perfect partner to Vizenor’s Treaty Shirts. In this masterful, candid, surreal, and satirical allegory set in an imagined future, seven natives are exiled from federal sectors that have replaced the federal reservation system. Banished because of their dedication to a democratic ethos, they declare a new, egalitarian nation on an island in Lake of the Woods—a lake bordering Ontario and Minnesota.

The Bockley Gallery has long been supportive of Minnesota artists, and indigenous artists—including George Morrison and Norval Morrisseau.

Gerald Vizenor is a prolific novelist, poet, literary critic, and citizen of the White Earth Nation of the Anishinaabeg in Minnesota. One reader described Treaty Shirts as feeling “utterly like Ojibwa poetry [or dream song] in prose form.” Vizenor as long been known for his uncanny ability to transfer the power, imagery, and natural motion of traditional storytelling to the written word. He will chat with guests and sign books following the reading.

Vizenor_Gerald 2015GERALD VIZENOR is Professor Emeritus of American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. His novels Shrouds of White Earth and Griever: An American Monkey King in China both won the American Book Award; Griever also received the New York Fiction Collective Award. He is currently writing his sequel to Blue Ravens, an engrossing historical portrayal of Native American soldiers in World War I.

Vizenor’s novel Blue Ravens and Favor of Crows: New and Selected Haiku are available in paperback now!

Visit our Gerald Vizenor’s companion website.

“Hamilton” History Lessons & The Federalist Papers

The Federalist Papers, edited by Jacob E. Cooke

The Hamilton buzz won’t be ending anytime soon. Lin Manuel Miranda, a Wesleyan alum, has created a hit that will irrefutably change the stage and much beyond. With tickets basically impossible to lay your hands on to this phenomenal rejuvenation to both America’s early history and Broadway’s musical scene, it’s no surprise you can’t go a week without Hamilton coming up.

This Broadway musical isn’t just helping American musical practice evolve, either—the show’s ubiquitous presence in American pop culture has teachers across the nation incorporating the score into their history lessons. This contemporary, youthful take on our “founding fathers’ is helping to  revitalize interest in America’s early history. Twenty-thousand New York The Federalist Papers, edited by Jacob E. CookeCity 11th graders will be able to go further than just incorporating the soundtrack, though:

The Rockefeller Foundation and the show’s producers are financing a program to bring 20,000 New York City 11th graders, all from schools with high percentages of students from low-income families, to see Hamilton at a series of matinees. As part of the program, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History will develop curriculum.

The New York Time‘s “The Learning Network” featured a few examples for teachers, including the staging of “historic rap battles.” Another one of their wonderful examples was delving into the Federalist papers, which Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and Jon Jay wrote to defend the American Constitution after critique came of their government being too weak. Originally printed in newspapers, it can be difficult to discern which versions are the final versions, as intended by the authors. But not to fear, because editor Jacob E. Cooke created the “most complete and accurate” edition of The Federalist that has yet to appear. Fully annotated and reproduced from the original newspaper texts, The Federalist features chiefly works by Hamilton, aided by papers by Jay and Madison, to defend the government and its texts that the founding fathers so painstakingly fought to create.