More Than Just A Dance

The excitement surrounding Judson Dance Theater: The Work is Never Done (a MoMA exhibit running through Feb. 3, 2019) brings to mind some phenomenal Wesleyan books—new and old—that feature artists who are in the exhibit.

Trisha Brown, one of the founders of the Judson Theater, was an American choreographer and dancer who helped birth the postmodern dance movement. Brown, amongst other artists, challenged traditional understandings of choreography by employing new compositional methods that stripped dance of its theatrical conventions and instead implemented everyday gestures from domestic and urban spaces. Brown has created over one hundred dances, six operas, one ballet, and a significant body of graphic works.

In Trisha Brown: Choreography as Visual Art, art historian Susan Rosenberg emphasizes how boundary-defying Brown’s work really was through personalized interviews with Brown and colleagues whom she has eternally inspired. By outlining the formation of Brown’s artistic principles and utilizing her archives, Rosenberg eloquently demonstrates why the late choreographer was the first woman choreographer to receive the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship “Genius Award”.


Anna Halprin is a legendary pioneer for postmodern dance as well. She taught and led workshops and classes at the Judson Dance Theater. In fact, Trisha Brown was one of her students. In her forthcoming book Making Dances that Matter: Resources for Community Creativity, Halprin demonstrates how dance can be a powerful tool for healing, learning, and mobilizing change.

She gives insight into her personal philosophy and past experiences as well as step-by-step processes to create unifying dances such as the “The Planetary Dance” and “Circle the Earth.” These two dances continue to be performed around the world.


Deborah Hay is a dancer, choreographer, writer, and teacher working in the field of postmodern dance and one of the founding members of the Judson Dance Theater. Her work focuses on large-scale dance projects involving untrained dancers, fragmented and choreographed music accompaniment, and the execution of ordinary movement patterns performed under stressful conditions. She is the artistic director of the Deborah Hay Dance Company, based in Austin, Texas.

My Body, The Buddhist is a guide into Hay’s choreographic techniques, a gloss on her philosophy of the body (which shares much with Buddhism), and an extraordinary artist’s primer. The book is composed of nineteen short chapters each an example of what Susan Foster calls Hay’s “daily attentiveness to the body’s articulateness.”

We are pleased to announce that Wesleyan is re-issuing Using the Sky, A Dance, by Deborah Hay, in fall 2019.


Sally Banes

Sally Banes is a remarkable dance critic, historian, and writer. Drawing on the postmodern perspective and concerns that informed her groundbreaking Terpsichore in Sneakers, Sally Bane’s Writing Dancing documents the background and development of avant-garde and popular dance, analyzing individual artists, performances, and entire dance movements.


John Cage

John Milton Cage Jr. was an American composer and music theorist. He became notorious for indeterminacy in music and non-standard use of musical instruments as well as for being one of the leading figures during the post-war avant-garde.

Silence, by John Cage

Selected Letters of John Cage, edited by Laura Kuhn

John Cage Was, photographs of James Klosty
with comments by a variety of artists and performers.

Wesleyan has published a variety of books by Cage.



A New Rendition of John Cage’s “Musicircus”

Join students in Music 109 “Introduction to Experimental Music” and the greater Wesleyan community December 6, 2018 at 3:15pm in Crowell Concert Hall, to experience the newest rendition of John Cage’s Musicircus, continuing since its first “happening” took place in 1967 at the University of Illinois.

This eclectic performance—also known as a “happening”—rests within John Cage’s mode of anarchist experimental music. Musicircus has been described as: “Everything at once and all together”. The performance is intended to highlight the instantaneous collaboration of soloists and ensembles as they create music simultaneously with no score, no parts, nor anything specified but the concept itself. Cage went on to describe the concept in “Diary: How to Improve the World (You Will Only Make Matters Worse) Continued 1967”, featured in his second book, A Year from Monday:


Focusing on the social nature of artistic creation, the performance was originally intended by Cage to last five hours in accordance with its premiere in 196 which Cage described as “a lively, noisy, and wildly successful social, as well as musical, event”. Other mentions of John Cage’s Musicircus are featured in The Selected Letters of John Cage, edited by Lisa Kuhn. Both of these books, along with other collections of John Cage’s letters, lectures, and essays can be ordered through your favorite bookseller.


Are you ready to get those griddles cooking? It’s National French Toast Day and at Wesleyan University Press, we’re celebrating with one of our favorite diners.

Irish Soda Bread French Toast and recipe found on pages 74-75 of Breakfast at O’Rourke’s.

Breakfast at O’Rourke’s: New Cuisine from a Classic American Diner by Brian O’Rourke is an innovative recipe book straight from the heart of Middletown, CT’s favorite hometown diner. Including four French Toast recipes, it’s time to get your butter, eggs, and sugar in a mixing bowl and bread slices ready.

The book trailer can be found below:

Announcing “Country Acres and Cul-de-Sacs”

Classic magazine captures New England state on the brink of transformation

In Country Acres and Cul-de-Sacs, Jay Gitlin revisits Connecticut’s dramatic mid-twentieth century changes, through the pages of Connecticut Circle magazine.

In 1938, the first year of its publication, Connecticut Circle magazine covered the opening of the Merritt Parkway in June, a devastating hurricane in September, and a transformative election in November that saw Raymond Baldwin replace Governor Wilbur Cross on the brink of WWII. Covering the news, recreation, literary figures, and politicians, and above all—the achievements and products of the state, Connecticut Circle entertained, promoted, and projected the image of a bustling state with more than its share of creative citizens and renowned institutions of higher learning.

Connecticut Circle cover

With an illuminating introduction and context-setting headnotes for its thirteen sections, this volume provides a wealth of fascinating articles for anyone seeking to reminisce, and understand the values that pushed Connecticut into the postwar world.

Jay Gitlin teaches history at Yale University. He is the author of The Bourgeois Frontier: French Towns, French Traders & American Expansion and co-author of Under an Open Sky: Rethinking America’s Western Past. He lives in North Branford, Connecticut.

December 3, 2018
328 pp., 9 x 12”
Paperback, $29.95 978-0-999-7935-0-3

Announcing “Connecticut Architecture” from The Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation

The first comprehensive illustrated history of Connecticut architecture

“This is an exceptionally thoughtful and provocative book, one that offers insights into art and life that are often forgotten in aesthetics. A great book for anyone.”
—Duo Dickinson, author of A Home Called New England

Connecticut boasts some of the oldest and most distinctive architecture in New England, from Colonial churches and Modernist houses to refurbished nineteenth-century factories. In his guide to this rich and diverse architectural heritage, Connecticut Architecture: Stories of 100 Places Christopher Wigren introduces readers to 100 places across the state. Written for travelers and residents alike, the book features more than 200 illustrations and a glossary of architectural terms.

A project of the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, the book reflects more than 30 years of fieldwork and research in statewide architectural survey and National Register of Historic Places programs.

Christopher Wigren is an architectural historian and Deputy Director of the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation.

The Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation was established in 1975 to protect and promote buildings, sites, structures, and landscapes that contribute to the heritage and vitality of Connecticut communities.


Publication of this book is funded by the
Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation.



296 pp., 211 illus. (171 color photos, 17 pierces of line art, 1 map) 9 x 10”

Cloth, $40.00



eBook, $32.99


Hilda Raz, Exploring Trans Identity in Poetry

Author of the first poetic exploration of transgender issues by the mother of a transgendered child Hilda Raz and her poetry serve as a reminder of humanity in today’s socio-political world on the edge of redefining gender and identity along political party lines.

Trans (2001, Wesleyan) is considered the first poetic exploration of transgender issues by the mother of a transgendered child, becoming a poetic landmark preceding today’s social transformations of understanding gender. Honored by the Nebraska Center for the Book’s Nebraska Book Award for Poetry (2002), Trans is a work which traverses the questions of transformation of body, self, society, and spirit through meditation of the evolving self.

All Odd and Splendid (2008, Wesleyan) is a continued poetic exploration of these themes of self, actualization, and transformation. Following Raz’s coauthored memoir with her son Aaron, What Becomes You (2007, Nebraska), Raz continues to write of her son’s and her own personal transition from daughter to son, providing poetic space for family, community, loss, growth, personal examination, and shared experience.

Celebrating Wallace Stevens – 23rd Annual Wallace Stevens Birthday Bash

Looking for poetry to snuggle up with as the days grow shorter and temperatures dip? Want to read more Connecticut poets? Pick up Garnet Poems: An Anthology of Connecticut Poetry Since 1776, edited by Dennis Barone, featuring Robinson Jeffers, Susan Howe, Richard Wilbur, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Wallace Stevens.

A fan of Stevens’ poetry? Head over to the Hartford Public Library for the twenty-third annual Wallace Stevens Birthday Bash!

Saturday, November 3, 2018, 2:00pm
Center for Contemporary Culture
Hartford Public Library
suggested donation: $10

Featuring: Cole Swensen, presenting “Perhaps the Truth Depends”

A reception of wine and hors d’oeuvres, book signing, birthday cake, and champagne will be available.

Evie Shockley honored with Hurston/Wright Legacy Award

Congratulations to Evie Shockley!

Her book, semiautomatic, is the winner of the 2018 Hurston/Wright Foundation’s Legacy Award for Poetry.
In the words of the judges: “Despite the ugliness of the violence around us, she has written a collection of poems that both chronicles it and decries it, all while offering us the beauty of her lines.”

More about the awards, from the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation:

The Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation announced the winners and finalists of the 2018 Legacy Awards and paid tribute to two pioneers in the Black literary community: Poet and playwright Ntozake Shange, best known for For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf; and Charles Henry Rowell, long-time editor and creator of the literary journal Callaloo.

Marita Golden, co-founder of the Hurston/Wright Foundation, presented the North Star Award—the foundation’s highest honor for career accomplishment and inspiration to the writing community to Dr. Shange; due to health issues, Dr. Shange was unable to attend, but her sister, playwright Ifa Bayeza accepted the award. Two-time U.S. Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner, Natasha Trethewey presented Dr. Rowell with the Madam C.J. Walker award in recognition of his life-long dedication to uplifting the Black cultural experience.

More than 200 literary stars, readers and representatives of the publishing industry, media, arts, politics, and academia attended the event on Friday, October 19 in Washington, DC. Award-winning journalist Derek McGinty served as Master of Ceremony and Khadijah Ali-Coleman, playwright, poet and singer/songwriter, delivered a musical tribute to Zora Neale Hurston, one of the foundation’s namesakes. The highlight of the evening was the naming of the winners of the juried awards for books by Black authors published in 2017 in the categories of debut novel, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.

Read more about the Hurston/Wright Foundation. 


Announcing “Dynamic Korea and Rhythmic Form” by Katherine In-Young Lee

South Korean percussion genre samul nori goes global

“This book is a timely and sorely needed contribution to ongoing intellectual debates within ethnomusicology and world music studies. Lee’s investment in musical form as both a physical force and explanatory object reveals processes and motivations not solely accessible by so-called “cultural” or “extra”-musical explanations.”— Nathan Hesselink, professor of Ethnomusicology, University of British Columbia

The South Korean percussion genre, samul nori, is a world phenomenon whose rhythmic form is the key to its popularity and mobility. Based on both ethnographic research and close formal analysis, author Katherine In-Young Lee focuses on the kinetic experience of samul nori in Dynamic Korea and Rhythmic Form, drawing out the concept of dynamism to show its historical, philosophical, and pedagogical dimensions. Breaking with traditional approaches to the study of world music that privilege political, economic, institutional, or ideological analytical frameworks, Lee argues that because rhythmic forms are experienced on a somatic level, they swiftly move beyond national boundaries and provide sites for cross-cultural interaction.

Katherine In-Young Lee is assistant professor of ethnomusicology at University of California, Los Angeles. She received her PhD from Harvard in 2012. Her work has appeared in Journal of Korean Studies, Ethnomusicology, and Journal of Korean Traditional Performing Arts.

200 pp., 31 illus., 6 x 9”
Paper, $24.95
Unjacketed Hardcover, $80.00
Ebook, $19.99


#NationalBetterBreakfastMonth and #NationalPancakeDay

It’s September: a month for back-to-school, changing of the seasons, and breakfast! Nationally recognized as Better Breakfast Month, September is the perfect time to get your breakfast morning routine into shape. In addition to this, September 26th is National Pancake Day. Thankfully, Wesleyan University Press has a little inspiration to get you started.

Napoleon Pancakes and recipe found on pages 53-55 of Breakfast at O’Rourke’s.

Breakfast at O’Rourke’s: New Cuisine from a Classic American Diner by Brian O’Rourke is the perfect morning pick-me-up recipe book inspired by Irish-American and down-home diner specials found at O’Rourke’s Diner in Middletown, CT. Recipes include omelets, pancakes, French toasts, eggs, quiches and more!

The book trailer can be found below:

For those who are more of maple lovers, Maple Sugaring: Keeping It Real in New England by David K. Leff can help satisfy your sweet tooth with a multitude of maple-inspired recipes.