Poetry of grief and sustenance from an award-winning poet
“Just dazzling: how the world, the mind, and emotion are bound into that affecting, meditative, and poignant system of phrases. When I read lines as sharp as these are lexically, semantically, syntactically, and rhythmically, I fall in love with American poetry again.”
—Forrest Gander, New York Journal of Books
Building on her groundbreaking quartet of books about the earth’s elements, Brenda Hillman’s Extra Hidden Life, among the Daysfeatures new poems that are both plain and transcendent. This is poetry as a discipline of love and service to the world, whose lines shepherd us through grief and into an ethics of active resistance. A free reader’s companion is available online.
Brenda Hillman is an activist, writer, editor, and teacher. Hillman serves on the faculty of Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, California.
April 2, 2019
152 pp., 9 x 6″
Paperback, $14.95 9780819578945
Cloth, $24.95 9780819578051
Mary Kathryn Nagle contributed a powerful original essay to introduce Wesleyan’s new theater volume, Wings of Night Sky, Wings of Morning Light: A Play by Joy Harjo and a Circle of Responses. Her essay is entitled “Joy Harjo’s Wings: A Revolution on the American Stage.” Nagle explains how negative and demeaning representations of Native people in popular culture are not without consequence to Native people. She writes:
“Redface was purposefully created to tell a false, demeaning story. Redface constitutes a false portrayal of Native people—most often performed by non–Natives wearing a stereotypical ‘native’ costume that bears no relation to actual Native people, our stories, our struggles, or our survival in a country that has attempted to eradicate us. The continued dominant perception that American Indians are the racial stereotypes they see performed on the American stage is devastating to our sovereign rights to define our own identity. Of course, that’s why it was invented.”
Join Joy Harjo & Priscilla Page at the Yale Center for British Art, March 5, 4PM.
Q. How long has YIPAP been existence? Can you tell me a little about how the department came to be?
A. YIPAP was formed in 2015, following the performance of SLIVER OF A FULL MOON at Yale Law School. Professor Ned Blackhawk noted that several of the Native students were moved and inspired when they witnessed professional Native actors, alongside Native women survivors, sharing Native stories in a play. Because Native people hardly ever see authentic Native people on stage, this one performance was very impactful. Professor Blackhawk wanted to sustain this work and give students exposure to professional Native performing artists, while also assisting with the development of Native artists more broadly in the field. This is the work YIPAP has been dedicated to.
Q. What do you envision for YIPAP, moving forward?
A. We hope to expand our programing and partnerships in order to bring more Native artists to college campuses and tribal communities to work directly with youth.
Q. What would you like to say about “Native Theater” as a concept? Misconceptions? Relevancy? How long it’s actually been around? How is it different than Non-Native theater?
A. I think the biggest misconception today about Native theater is that somehow our stories do not appeal or are not relevant to non-Natives. Powerful stories are powerful stories. Good stories are good stories. Just like the stories of ALL of the other communities that comprise the United States today, our stories are universal in their humanity and always relevant to the issues everyone faces today.
Nagle has authored numerous briefs in federal appellate courts, including the United States Supreme Court. She studied theater and social justice at Georgetown University as an undergraduate student, and received her JD from Tulane University Law School, where she graduated summa cum laude and received the John Minor Wisdom Award. She is a frequent speaker at law schools and symposia across the country. Her articles have been published in law review journals including the Harvard Journal of Law and Gender, Yale Law Journal (online forum), Tulsa Law Review, and Tulane Law Review, among others. Nagle is an alum of the 2012 Public Theater Emerging Writers Group, where she developed her play Manahatta in Public Studio (May 2014). Productions include Miss Lead (Amerinda, 59E59, January 2014) and Fairly Traceable (Native Voices at the Autry, March 2017). Upcoming productions include Arena Stage’s world premiere of Sovereignty, Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s world premiere of Manahatta, and others.
Experimental Poetic Fiction Modeled on Pushkin’s Evgeny Onegin
“It is a deep pleasure to reopen this book, a book of estrangement, of fragmentation, of scattered light and scattered speech, of bridges of sense cast over waters of foreignness. Oxotarecords a trusting encounter between two poetries across cultural difference unimaginable today.” —Eugene Ostashevsky, editor of Arkadii Dragomoshchenko’s Endarkenment
Between 1983 and 1991 author Lyn Hejinian visited the USSR seven times, often staying with her friends the poet Arkadii Dragomoshchenko and his wife Zina in Leningrad. She decided to write a novel reflecting her experiences of literary and lived life in Leningrad and Moscow, and cognizant of a general sense that the Russian novel is stereotypically “long,” she determined that hers would be “short.” The result is an experimental novel whose structure (284 chapters, each 14 lines long) pays homage to Alexander Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin (generally regarded to be the first Russian novel: a verse novel composed in 14-line stanzas). Oxota (which means variously “huntress,” “hunt,” and “desire” in Russian) is a novel in which contexts, rather than contents, are kept in the foreground.
LYN HEJINIAN is a poet, essayist, teacher and translator. She is John F. Hotchkis professor of English at the University of California at Berkeley
March 5, 2019
292 pp. 6 x 8″
Paperback, $18.95 978-0-8195-7876-1
“Anna Halprin is a pioneer of postmodern dance, a warrior for connecting arts to social issues, and a healer of individuals and communities.”
–Wendy Perron, author of Through the Eyes of a Dancer
In Making Dances that Matter, Halprin presents her philosophy and experience as well as step-by-step processes for bringing people together to create dances that foster individual and group well-being. At the heart of this book are accounts of two dances: the Planetary Dance, which continues to be performed throughout the world, and Circle the Earth: Dancing with Life on the Line. Halprin shows how dance can be a powerful tool for healing, learning and mobilizing change.
Anna Halprin, an avante-garde postmodern dancer turned community artist and healer, has created groundbreaking dances with communities all over the world. She also founded the groundbreaking San Francisco Dancer’s Workshop as well as the Tamalpa Institute, and is the author of several books including Moving Toward Life which was published by Wesleyan University Press in 1995.
February 5, 2019
232 pp., 7 x 10″ Paper, $27.95 978-0-8195-7565-4 Unjacketed Cloth, $85.00 978-0-8195-7844-0
Ebook, $22.95 978-0-8195-7566-1
Wesleyan is pleased to announce that BLUNT RESEARCH GROUP’s The Work-Shy is now available in paperback!
Activating what poet Susan Howe calls “the telepathy of the archive,” these poems of The Work-Shy occupy identities rooted in the demimonde and in places of confinement; they build portraits of individuals at once denied work and subjected to its punishing routine. As “translations” of apparently unredeemable texts, the poems convert the dubious paradigms of delinquency, degeneracy, and madness into a mutable archive of infidel culture. Published under the collective, anonymous signature of the BLUNT RESEARCH GROUP, the archival work of “atavistic clairvoyance” retains the proper name of every voice it hears. By converting the procedures of appropriation and sampling into a poetics of close listening, The Work-Shy operates at the crossroads of lyric and documentary poetries, of singularity and collectivism. An online readers companion is available at bluntresearchgroup.site.wesleyan.edu and a book trailer can be found below:
BLUNT RESEARCH GROUP is a nameless constellation of poets, artists, and scholars from diverse backgrounds. Drawing on examples of anonymous collectives in the arts, BLUNT RESEARCH GROUP presumes that the forging of individual voices in poetry is collaborative by nature, and it challenges the convention of the single author by using a collective signature. Work by BLUNT RESEARCH GROUP has been published by Noemi Press and appeared in museums across the country.
This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Praise for The Work-Shy:
Selected by Yale Review as one of the “best first books” of 2016.
“Herein are the voices of children sacrificed to the barbaric dogmas of eugenics and conformity; an archaeology of inhumanity that should haunt us forever.”—Mike Davis, author of City of Quartz
“A stunning collection of poems…The Work-Shy exemplifies some of the most important work poetry can do—to create the space to notice those who have been disparaged, muted, and trapped.”—Emma Schneider, Full Stop
“The language of The Work-Shy cuts straight through, as sharp and alive as the eyes that peer out from its photographs.”—Carmen Gimenez-Smith, author of Milk and Filth
“The Work-Shy tears out pages from the bleak archives of California’s founding to reveal the hidden schematic—an exploded view—of white supremacy’s moving parts…a sonic tour de force.”—Henk Rossouw, Boston Review
“What is new in The Work-Shy is its authors’ articulation of a poetics of listening. Whether it is possible for texts to listen, what even precisely it would mean, is rightly left unresolved.”—Eli Mandel, MAKE Magazine
“The Work Shy documents moments in time that resonate with us still, as each breathes up through history like an iron shackle around the leg. A heartbreaking and necessary read.”—Dawn Lundy Martin, author of Life in a Box is a Pretty Life
October 2, 2018
160 pp.,7 x 9”
Paper, $14.95 978-0-8195-7861-7
Jacketed Hardcover, $24.95 978-0-8195-7678-1
Ebook $18.99 978-0-8195-7679-8
Hosted by the Hemispheric Caribbean Studies program at University of Miami, October 4-6, 2018, the 37th annual West Indian Literature Conference, sponsored by PEN America, was a commemoration of Caribbean studies’ and history past. A key event of this year’s conference was a memorial performance of Zong! by M. NourbeSe Philip at Historic Virginia Key Beach, remembering the 150 Africans drowned in November 1781, by order of the captain of the slave ship Zong.
M. NourbeSe Philip is a poet, essayist, novelist and playwright who was born in Tobago and now lives in Toronto. She practiced law in Toronto for seven years before deciding to write fulltime. Philip has published four books of poetry, two novels, four collections of essays, and two plays. She was awarded a Pushcart Prize (1981), the Casa de las Americas Prize (Cuba, 1988), the Tradewinds Collective Prize (1988), and was made a Guggenheim Fellow in Poetry (1990). In 2015 Wesleyan published the first U.S. edition of She Tries Her Tongue, Her Silence Softly Break—first published in Cuba as winner of the Casa de las Americas Prize.
In late October a celebration of the late poet Lorenzo Thomas was organized at the Poetry Project on St. Marks.The event featured readings of his work by A.L. Nielsen, Charles Bernstein, Erica Hunt, Tracie Morris, and other contemporary poets in celebration of Thomas’ legacy and forthcoming poetry collection, The Collected Poems of Lorenzo Thomas, edited by Aldon Lynn Nielsen and Laura Vrana.
Afro-Caribbean poet Lorenzo Thomas was born in Panama in 1944 and relocated to Queens, New York, in 1948. Recognized for his contributions to the Umbra workshop and the proceeding Black Arts Movement of Harlem, he published ten collections of poetry in his lifetime, including Chances AreFew (1979), The Bathers (1981), and Dancing on Main Street (2004). He was the editor of Extraordinary Measures: Afrocentric Modernism and 20th-Century American Poetry (2000), which received the honor of Choice Outstanding Academic Book for the year. After graduating from Queens College in 1971, Thomas served in the United States’ Navy (1971–1973) and later became a professor of English at the University of Houston-Downtown, in 1984. He passed away in 2005, in Houston.
Recordings from the event can be found on YouTube. Part I Part II
A vision of identityat the intersection of language, history, and family
“This essential and captivating debut will draw readers into intersections of history, memory, exile, and return. Abigail Chabitnoy’s poems are tender and direct—they restore worlds, mend fragmented histories by revealing our human longing for land and for memories embraced in language.”
—Sherwin Bitsui, author of Shapeshift
In How to Dress a Fish, poet Abigail Chabitnoy, of Unangan and Sugpiaq descent, addresses the lives disrupted by the Indian boarding school policy of the US government. She pays particular attention to the life story of her great-grandfather, who was taken from Alaska to Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania. In uncovering her own family records, Chabitnoy finds that reconnection through blood and paper does not restore the personal relationships that had already been severed.
Abigail Chabitnoy is a member of the Tangirnaq Native Village in Kodiak, Alaska. Her poems have appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Tin House, Gulf Coast, Pleiades, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Nat. Brut, Red Ink, and Mud City.
December 11, 2018
152 pp., 6 x 9”
Paper, $14.95 978-0-8195-7849-5
Unjacketed Cloth, $30.00 978-0-8195-7848-8
“This volume provides an exciting collection of diverse, multigenerational Indigenous and settler perspectives on Indigenous musical modernities. Case studies considering multiple topics and genres are thoughtfully interwoven to provide models for continuing the much-needed work of decolonizing Native North American ethnomusicology.”
— Charlotte Frisbie, Professor Emerita of Anthropology, Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville
Indigenous and settler scholars from both Canada and the United States explore topics that range from powwow, Native Classical, and hip-hop to television soundtracks and experimental music in Music and Modernity Among First Peoples of North America. Working from the premise that multiple modernities exist for Indigenous peoples, the authors seek to understand contemporary musical expression from Native perspectives and to decolonize the study of Native American/First Nations music.
Heidi Aklaseaq Senungetuk
Victoria Lindsay Levine
Gordon E. Smith
Elyse Carter Vosen
T. Christopher Aplin
Jessica Bissett Perea