Poetry

Watch our Virtual Poetry Reading

On Sunday, March 3, our book designer Aimee Harrison hosted an online poetry reading via Zoom. Poets David Grubbs, author of The Voice in the Headphones; Margaret Randall, author of the memoir I Never Left Home and editor of the poetry collection On the Road/ Solo el camino; and Renato Rosaldo, author of The Chasers. Alexis Pauline Gumbs, author, most recently, of Dub: Finding Ceremony, pre-taped a contribution.

We invite you to watch a recording of this great event!

If you enjoy the poems, don’t forget that the authors’ books are all 50% off during our Spring Sale with coupon SPRING50!

Poem of the Week

Welcome back to our weekly poetry feature. For our final April posting, please enjoy the poem “Lost in the Hospital” from What the Body Told  (1996) by physician Rafael Campo. Much of Campo’s early poetry was in response to the AIDS epidemic and readers may find resonance during today’s COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s not that I don’t like the hospital.
Those small bouquets of flowers, pert and brave.
The smell of antiseptic cleaners.
The ill, so wistful in their rooms, so true.
My friend, the one who’s dying, took me out
To where the patients go to smoke, IV’s
And oxygen tanks attached to them–
A tiny patio for skeletons. We shared
A cigarette, which was delicious but
Too brief. I held his hand; it felt
Like someone’s keys. How beautiful it was,
The sunlight pointing down at us, as if
We were important, full of life, unbound.
I wandered for a moment where his ribs
Had made a space for me, and there, beside
The thundering waterfall of his heart,
I rubbed my eyes and thought, “I’m lost.”

Rafael Campo is Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and author of several books, including Comfort Measures Only, Alternative MedicineThe Enemy, and Landscape with Human Figure, all also published by Duke University Press. Campo’s most recent poem, “The Doctor’s Song,” featured in Harvard Magazine, attempts to make sense of the COVID-19 pandemic from the physician’s perspective. His books (and all in-stock titles) are currently available for 50% off with coupon SPRING50 during our sale.

Poem of the Week

Welcome back to our weekly poetry feature. We’re posting a poem every Tuesday in April to celebrate National Poetry Month. Today’s poem, reprinted with permission of the author, was published in our journal Labor: Studies in Working-Class History.

After My Sunday Double at the Café
Peyton Clark

I washed away all of my troubles
while I lay in a tub of perfumy bubbles
and in the background I played
the quiet keys of Debussy

When the suds all popped
I topped
off my workday
with another splash of crisp Chardonnay

My hair now liquid curls
floating around in the silken swirls
of leftover soap and stress from the day
was all but combed away

The water still steamed
as I stepped out and grabbed the cream
towel that I also used yesterday
and jammed my cigarette into the ashtray

I walk across the hall to get in bed
and when my head
hits the pillow I say
to myself: I never took ranch to table 48.

Poem of the Week

978-1-4780-0813-2Welcome back to our weekly poetry feature. We’re posting a poem every Tuesday in April. This week we are featuring a four-page excerpt from The Voice in the Headphones by David Grubbs. The book is an experiment in music writing in the form of a long poem centered on the culture of the recording studio. It describes in intricate, prismatic detail one marathon day in a recording studio during which an unnamed musician struggles to complete a film soundtrack.

music like walking.
A music as peculiar as walking.
Walking out the sliding door and up the hill
.
A music like a walk in the snow.
A music like the sound of a walk in the snow.
A music regulated by breath during a walk in the snow

 

A music like walking atop the snow.
A music like snowshoes, for scampering across.
A music for hiding and haring across
.
A music to take with you over the mountain.
A music that takes you over the mountain.
Denuded succession and air

 

congeals to rime. Defines blurred cold friction.

Take a drag through the snow. The fog freezes and a stream
sounds beneath the faint outline of a bridge. Two hundred
shades of white. When you’re confident that the time has
come, the decision is yours to reverse course. A music obscured
by scrim, a music that ceases to reÃect readiness. Before
you’re completely frozen

turn this ship around, one foot after another. With a nagging
sense of detour, with continued detour and perpetual listing
aim for the studio.

Find the precise spot at which it ceases to be

 

a journey outward, the point where the tether most powerfully
strains. A sudden perimeter, an echoed antipode. Attune
yourself to that location your body knows to be the
most distant and most demanding, and plot your return
from the furthest farthest. How deeply can you sleep when
you know you must be leaving soon?

The streetlights extinguished, the sun not up.

David Grubbs is Professor of Music at Brooklyn College and The Graduate Center, City University of New York, and author of Now that the audience is assembled and Records Ruin the Landscape: John Cage, the Sixties, and Sound Recording. His books (and all in-stock titles) are currently available for 50% off with coupon SPRING50 during our sale. Check back next Tuesday for another poem.

Poem of the Week

978-1-4780-0645-9April is National Poetry Month, so we are offering a poem each Tuesday for the next four weeks. Today’s poem is from the recent book Dub: Finding Ceremony by Alexis Pauline Gumbs. The final volume of a poetic trilogy, Dub explores the potential for the poetic and narrative to expose and challenge the dominant modes of being human, reminding us that it is possible to make ourselves and our planet anew.

 

another set of instructions

we are asking you to trust your hands. put them on your heart. trust
your heart. hear what we are saying. trust what you hear. we are
asking you to build a circle. always a circle. not almost a circle. face
each other. we are asking you to trust the faces. face the truth. it’s
round. we are asking you to make a sound. make the sound you need
by breathing. make the sound that calls us in. we are asking you. not
telling you. listen. we will not yell. well. not yet.

if you can use both hands, use both hands. knowing is not given; it
is made. you can make it out of cornmeal or flour, preferably. out
of dirt or fertilizer if you have to. let your fingers shape it until they
remember the making of the world. then step on it. and see how eas-
ily it flattens, how gracefully it changes its shape in the presence of
pressure. and remember that there are billions of feet. there is always
pressure.

let the muscles in your hands grow more swift more sure from re-
making it every day. a curved place to live on indented by teeth,
crumbled by dryness. moisten it with what you have. spit and tears.
smooth it out with what you have. repetition and patience. soon you
will not have to look at what you are doing. you will feel every im-
perfection. you will accept some of them. you will even love some
difficult edges. you can watch the river go by. you can look at the TV
while you do it. maybe even have a conversation (though it will im-
pact the consistency of your shape). but if you can. use both hands.

take your hand off your forehead and remember you can already fil-
ter sunlight. take consistent deep breaths and surrender for you are
moon. let the rage held in any of the muscles in your shoulders, re-
lease. give love room.

drink enough water to remember how long water’s been waiting. eat
enough plants to remember what water can do. let the fear in your
hands go back where it came from. clean the room.

call the people you’ve been thinking about calling. do the things your
pummeling heart says do. let the lessons forming lesions be less real
to you than children. make room.

ultimately your children will forget. the names, the places, even the
tastes, the flavors, the smells, the feeling of being there. the lightness
or thickness of air is changing. ultimately they will too. their skin,
their way of moving, their ways of knowing of feeding of mourning,
rejoicing. their ways of growing might look like nothing to you.

ultimately your children will remember. the sounds, the setting, the
faces, even the waste, the saving grace, the hells, the peeling of breath
from air. the rightness or wrongness, the glare is wide ranging. ul-
timately they will do. their kin, their ways of smoothing, their ways
of sowing, of feeling, of morning choices. their ways of glowing you
might recognize.

dig down star until you find the water. mine the water. mind the
water. mine. the water waiting in you. dig down dream until you
find the river. find the salted brackish liver, find the giver, find the
gifts. find the guilt. find the rifts. running rivulets, the spit. the snot,
the not willing to get. don’t forget. dig down star, until you find the
ocean. mind the notion that it’s calm. find the potion, find the balm.
my star dig down until tears come up. don’t get stuck inside your
charm. these are my arms, your shaking lungs. this is the way. these
broken rungs. stretch out your bones, starfish. become.


Alexis Pauline Gumbs is a poet, independent scholar, and activist. She is also the author of Spill and M Archive, both also published by Duke University Press. Her books (and all in-stock titles) are currently available for 50% off with coupon SPRING50 during our sale. Check back next Tuesday for a poem by David Grubbs.

New Books in March

Spring is just around the corner—so it’s time to stock up on books for a whole new season of reading. Check out all of these titles arriving in March!

In I Never Left Home, poet and revolutionary Margaret Randall tells the moving, captivating, and astonishing story of her life, from her childhood in New York to joining the Sandanista movement in Nicaragua, from escaping political repression in Mexico to raising a family and teaching college.

Demanding Images is Karen Strassler’s ethnography of Indonesia’s post-authoritarian public sphere, exploring the role of public images as they gave visual form to the ideals, aspirations, and anxieties of democracy.

Focusing on a wide range of media technologies and practices in Beijing, Underglobalization by Joshua Neves examines the cultural politics of the “fake” and how frictions between legality and legitimacy propel dominant models of economic development and political life in contemporary China.

A writing manual as well as a manifesto, Every Day I Write the Book combines novelist and essayist Amitava Kumar’s practical writing advice with interviews with prominent writers, offering guidance and inspiration for academic writers at all levels.

In Negative Exposures, Margaret Hillenbrand explores how artistic appropriations of historical images effectively articulate the openly unsayable and counter the public secrecy that erases traumatic episodes from China’s past.

The contributors to Visualizing Fascism, edited by Julia Adeney Thomas and Geoff Eley, examine the imagery and visual rhetoric of interwar fascism in East Asia, southern Africa, and Europe to explore how fascism was visualized as a global and aesthetic phenomenon.

In his new book-length prose poem, The Voice in the Headphones, musician David Grubbs draws on decades of recording experience, taking readers into the recording studio to tell the story of an unnamed musician who struggles to complete a film soundtrack in a day-long marathon recording session.

Rahul Mukherjee explores how the media coverage of and debates about nuclear power plants and cellular phone antennas in India frames and sustains environmental activism in Radiant Infrastructures.

Salomé Aguilera Skvirsky theorizes the process genre—a filmic genre characterized by its representation of chronologically ordered steps in which some form of labor results in a finished product—in The Process Genre.

In The Queer Games Avant-Garde, Bonnie Ruberg presents twenty interviews with twenty-two queer video developers whose radical, experimental, vibrant, and deeply queer work is driving a momentous shift in the medium of video games.

Ana Y. Ramos-Zayas traces how parenting practices among urban elites in Brazil and Puerto Rico preserve and reproduce white privilege and economic inequality in Parenting Empires.

In Rock | Water | Life, Lesley Green examines the interwoven realities of inequality, racism, colonialism, and environmental destruction in South Africa, calling for environmental research and governance to transition to an ecopolitical approach that could address South Africa’s history of racial oppression and environmental exploitation.

Matt Brim shifts queer studies away from sites of elite education toward poor and working-class students and locations in Poor Queer Studies, showing how the field is driven by those flagship institutions that perpetuate class and race inequity in higher education.

In Paris in the Dark, Eric Smoodin takes readers on a journey through the streets, cinemas, and theaters of Paris to sketch a comprehensive picture of French film culture during the 1930s and 1940s.

Never miss a new book! Sign up for our e-mail newsletters, and get notifications of new titles in your preferred disciplines as well as discounts and other news.

New Books in February

This month, we’re releasing an array of new reads in all of the subjects you love. Take a look at these new books coming this February!

The concluding volume in a poetic triptych, Alexis Pauline Gumbs’s Dub: Finding Ceremony takes inspiration from theorist Sylvia Wynter, dub poetry, and ocean life to offer a catalog of possible methods for remembering, healing, listening, and living otherwise.

In Wild Blue Media, Melody Jue destabilizes terrestrial-based media theory frameworks and reorients the perception of the world by considering the ocean itself as a media environment—a place where the weight and opacity of seawater transforms how information is created, stored, transmitted, and perceived.

In The Ocean in the School, Rick Bonus tells the stories of Pacific Islander students at the University of Washington as they and their allies struggled to transform a university they believed did not value their presence into a space based on meaningfulness, respect, and multiple notions of student success.

In Orozco’s American Epic, Mary K. Coffey examines José Clemente Orozco’s mural cycle Epic of American Civilization, which indicts history as complicit in colonial violence and questions the claims of Manifest Destiny in the United States and the Mexican desire to mend the wounds of conquest in pursuit of a postcolonial national project.

Nandita Sharma traces the development of the categories of migrants and natives from the nineteenth century to the present in Home Rule to theorize how the idea of people’s rights being tied to geographical notions of belonging came to be.

In Unfixed, Jennifer Bajorek traces the relationship between photography and decolonial politics in Francophone west Africa in the years immediately leading up to and following independence from French colonial rule in 1960, showing how photography both reflected and actively contributed to social and political change.

In Are You Entertained?, a collection of essays, interviews, visual art, and artist statements on topics ranging from music and dance to Black Twitter and the NBA’s dress code, the contributors consider what culture and Blackness mean in the twenty-first century’s digital consumer economy. This volume is edited by Simone C. Drake and Dwan K. Henderson.

In Musicophilia in Mumbai, Tejaswini Niranjana traces the place of Hindustani classical music in Mumbai throughout the long twentieth century, showing how the widespread love of music throughout the city created a culture of collective listening and social subjects who embodied new forms of modernity.

Focusing on the work of a Marxist anticolonial literary group active in India between the 1930s and 1950s, Neetu Khanna rethinks the project of decolonization in The Visceral Logics of Decolonization by showing how embodied and affective responses to colonial subjugation provide the catalyst for developing revolutionary consciousness.

Contributors to Queer Korea, edited by Todd A. Henry, offer interdisciplinary analyses of non-normative sexuality and gender nonconformity in Korea, extending individualized notions of queer neoliberalism beyond those set in Western queer theory.

Drawing on Marxist phenomenology, geography, and aesthetics and film from China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan made between the 1990s and the present, Erin Y. Huang theorizes the economic, cultural, and political conditions of neoliberal postsocialist China in Urban Horror.

The contributors to Affective Trajectories examine the mutual and highly complex entwinements between religion and affect in urban Africa in the early twenty-first century, tracing the myriad ways religious ideas, practices, and materialities interact with affect to configure life in urban African spaces. This collection is edited by Hansjörg Dilger, Astrid Bochow, Marian Burchardt, and Matthew Wilhelm-Solomon.

In Naked Agency, Naminata Diabate explores how the deployment of defiant nakedness by mature women in Africa challenges longstanding assumptions about women’s political agency.

From The Guiding Light to Passions, Elana Levine traces the history of daytime television soap operas as an innovative and highly gendered mass cultural form in Her Stories.

In Seeing by Electricity, Doron Galili traces television’s early history, from the fantastical devices initially imagined fifty years before the first television prototypes to the emergence of broadcast television in the 1930s, showing how television was always discussed and treated in relation to cinema.

Jeremy Packer and Joshua Reeves provide a critical account of the history and future of automation in warfare in Killer Apps by highlighting the threats posed by the latest advances in media technology and artificial intelligence.

Originally published in German in 1978 and appearing here in English for the first time, the second volume of Peter Weiss’s three-volume novel The Aesthetics of Resistance depicts anti-fascist resistance, radical proletarian political movements, and the relationship between art and resistance from the late 1930s to World War II.

Working Together: Louis Draper and the Kamoinge Workshop by Sarah Eckhardt accompanies the exhibition of the photography of Virginia artist Louis Draper and other members of the Kamoinge Workshop that opens at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in February 2020. We are distributing it for the museum.

Never miss a new book! Sign up for our e-mail newsletters, and get notifications of new titles in your preferred disciplines as well as discounts and other news.

New Books in July

Our Spring 2019 season may be drawing to a close, but we’ve got some exciting new titles this month to help keep your summer reading in full swing. Check out our new releases for July!

HoweBoyerTogetherCymene Howe and Dominic Boyer have written a duograph subtitled “Wind and Power in the Anthropocene.” In Ecologics, Cymene Howe traces the complex relationships between humans, nonhuman beings and objects, and geophysical forces that shaped the Mareña Renovables project in Oaxaca, Mexico, which had it been completed, would have been Latin America’s largest wind power installation. In Energopolitics, Dominic Boyer examines the politics of wind power and how it is shaped by myriad factors—from the legacies of settler colonialism and indigenous resistance to state bureaucracy and corporate investment—while outlining the fundamental impact of energy and fuel on political power. The two books can be read together or separately and are available for purchase as a set at a special price.

978-1-4780-0485-1_pr

In Blood Work, Janet Carsten traces the multiple meanings of blood as it moves from donors to labs, hospitals, and patients in Penang, Malaysia, showing how those meanings provide a gateway to understanding the social, political, and cultural dynamics of modern life.

Leah Zani considers how the people and landscape of Laos have been shaped and haunted by the physical remains of unexploded ordnance from the CIA’s Secret War in Bomb Children.

Florence Bernault retells the colonial and postcolonial history of present-day Gabon from the late nineteenth century to the present in Colonial Transactions, showing how colonialism shaped French and Gabonese obsessions about fetish, witchcraft, and organ trafficking for ritual murders.

978-1-4780-0467-7_prIn The Uncaring, Intricate Worldedited by Todd Meyers, anthropologist Pamela Reynolds shares her fieldwork diary from her time spent in Zimbabwe’s Zambezi valley during the 1980s, in which she recounts the difficulties, pleasures, and contradictions of studying the daily lives of the Tonga people three decades after their forced displacement.

Never miss a new book! Sign up for our e-mail newsletters, and get notifications of new titles in your preferred disciplines as well as discounts and other news.

 

 

The Chasers Reunite for Book Launch

Recently a group of friends who attended Tucson High School in the 1950s gathered to launch the book of prose poetry inspired by their experiences, Renato Rosaldo’s The Chasers. Rosaldo writes about the gathering in this guest post.

On May 11, 2019, I went to Tucson with my son, Sam, and his son, Micah. I handed books to the Chasers as they arrived at the party. After a short while the Chasers slowly opened their books, They took their time. It was a lot to absorb, their joy and the realization that this was their/our book.  Once all had arrived, Louie then asked me to sign his copy. I did so slowly, keeping the ceremonial rhythm. It gave me time to find a personal dedication for each one. I followed suit for each of the others as they asked me to sign.

RenatoSigning

Renato Rosaldo signing a copy of The Chasers. Photo by Daniel Chavez.

The afternoon was cool for Tucson in May. The moment we finished eating a thunderstorm, with heavy wind and lightening abruptly came up. A door slammed loudly. We laughed and said Rocha must have slammed the door because he was pissed that we didn’t invite him. He passed away a couple of months ago.

ThreeChasers

L-R, Rich Koenig, Louie Dancil, and Dickie Delahanty. Photo by Daniel Chavez.

We went indoors and Angie, then Patti asked me to read from the book. Bobby was on speaker phone and he punctuated the reading with his moments of recognition, bellowing, “Oh, my God.” We laughed and kept a silence and sense of awe. The book and the evening left me with a feeling of having experienced deep meaning. Thank you Chasers. Thank you book-makers. I am still in awe.

TheChasers2018

The Chasers at a reunion in 2018. Photo by Daniel Chavez.

You can save 40% on The Chasers during our Spring Sale with coupon code SPRING40. Read an excerpt here and watch the trailer here.

New Books in May

Jump-start your summer reading with one of our new titles this May!

In Coral Empire Ann Elias traces the history of two explorers whose photographs and films of tropical reefs in the 1920s cast corals and the sea as an unexplored territory to be exploited in ways that tied the tropics and reefs to colonialism, racism, and the human domination of nature.

The contributors to Remaking New Orleans, edited by Thomas Jessen Adams and Matt Sakakeeny, challenge the uncritical acceptance of New Orleans-as-exceptional narratives, showing how they flatten the diversity, experience, and culture of the city’s residents and obscure other possible understandings.

The ChasersRenato Rosaldo’s new prose poetry collection, The Chasers, shares his experiences and those of his group of twelve Mexican-American Tucson High School friends known as the Chasers as they grew up, graduated, and fell out of touch, conveying the realities of Chicano life on the borderlands from the 1950s to the present.

In Queering Black Atlantic Religions Roberto Strongman examines three Afro-diasporic religions—Hatian Vodou, Cuban Lucumí/Santería, and Brazilian Candomblé—to demonstrate how the commingling of humans and the divine during trance possession produce subjectivities whose genders are unconstrained by biological sex.

Written in 1937, published in Spanish in 1973, and appearing here in English for the first time, Freddy Prestol Castillo’s novel You Can Cross the Massacre on Foot is one of the few accounts of the 1937 massacre of tens of thousands of Haitians living in the Dominican Republic.

Book Reports

In Book Reports, a generous collection of book reviews and literary essays, rock critic Robert Christgau shows readers a different side to his esteemed career with reviews of books ranging from musical autobiographies, criticism, and histories to novels, literary memoirs, and cultural theory.

The contributors to From Russia with Code, edited by Mario Biagioli and Vincent Antonin Lépinay, examine Russian computer scientists, programmers, and hackers in and outside of Russia within the context of new international labor markets and the economic, technological, and political changes in post-Soviet Russia.

In Camp TV Quinlan Miller reframes American television history by tracing a camp aesthetic and the common appearance of trans queer gender characters in both iconic and lesser known sitcoms throughout the 1950s and 1960s.

The coauthors of Decolonizing Ethnography integrate ethnography with activist work in a New Jersey center for undocumented workers, showing how anthropology can function as a vehicle for activism and as a tool for marginalized people to theorize their own experiences.

In Work! Elspeth H. Brown traces modeling’s history from the advent of photographic modeling in the early twentieth century to the rise of the supermodel in the 1980s, showing how it is both the quintessential occupation of a modern consumer economy and a practice that has been shaped by queer sensibilities.

In Figures of Time Toni Pape examines contemporary television that often presents a conflict-laden conclusion first before relaying the events that led up to that inevitable ending, showing how this narrative structure attunes audiences to the fear-based political doctrine of preemption—a logic that justifies preemptive action to nullify a perceived future threat.

In Anti-Japan Leo T. S. Ching traces the complex dynamics that shape persisting negative attitudes toward Japan throughout East Asia, showing how anti-Japanism stems from the failed efforts at decolonization and reconciliation, the U.S. military presence, and shifting geopolitical and economic conditions in the region.

The Cuba Reader

Tracking Cuban history from 1492 to the present, this revised and expanded second edition of The Cuba Reader presents myriad perspectives on Cuba’s history, culture, and politics, including a new section that explores the changes and continuities in Cuba since Fidel Castro stepped down from power in 2006.

The Fernando Coronil Reader, a posthumously published collection of anthropologist Fernando Coronil’s most important work, highlights his deep concern with the global South, Latin American state formation, theories of nature, empire and postcolonialism, and anthrohistory as an intellectual and ethical approach.

The extensively updated and revised third edition of the bestselling Social Medicine Reader (Volume I and Volume II) provides a survey of the challenging issues facing today’s health care providers, patients, and caregivers with writings by scholars in medicine, the social sciences, and the humanities. It will be a great addition to courses in public health, medicine, nursing, and more.

Catherine Waldby traces how the history of the valuing of human oocytes—the reproductive cells specific to women—intersects with the biological and social life of women in her new book The Oocyte Economy.

Never miss a new book! Sign up for our e-mail newsletters, and get notifications of new titles in your preferred disciplines as well as discounts and other news.