Poetry and Poetics

ddbou_44_3Poetry and Poetics,” the most recent special issue of boundary 2 (44:3), emerges from a series of conferences with special emphasis on the topic of “The Social Life of Poetic Language.” This issue stresses that academic theorizing misrepresents the function and nature of poetry. It explores a range of diverse methods and topics instead to redirect contemporary theories and criticisms of poetry and poetics. 

Topics in this special issue include lengthy engagements with translation, the poetic in the social world, the new formal imperatives of poetry, and the relation between human and animal over the threshold of word and body. The contributors—Charles Bernstein, Colin Dayan, Stathis Gourgouris, and Dawn Lundy Martin—consider the issues of contemporary poetry from the long perspective of active poetics, a post-Romantic notion with origins in the long 18th century.  They show the need for a critical historical practice that understands and promotes the transformative action of poetics.

Dig into the issue now with “Too Philosophical for a Poet”: A Conversation with Charles Bernstein” by Andrew David King, made freely available.

Poem of the Week

978-0-8223-5587-8This week’s poem for National Poetry Month comes from poet-physician Rafael Campo’s most recent collection, Alternative Medicine.


When we were six or seven, Dad would quiz us
on the capitals of the world, me and my kid brothers
who didn’t even know our own address. We lived
in New Jersey, not Cuba, and our ignorance
seemed like the reason we would never,
ever go there. So I tried to memorize the names
of the stars printed on my National Geographic
Map of the World: L-I-M-A was the capital of Peru,
not just a kind of bean I hated; I wondered if Peru
was anything like Cuba. I wondered if I would ever see
what I imagined were the horrible, muddy streets
of Helsinki, which sounded like a place where sinners
like me would be punished, sucked into the earth
for good; even Ottawa, in our nice neighbor Canada,
seemed incomprehensibly far away. It was always
at dinnertime when he’d start in on us: Who knows
the capital of Burma?
I stared into my succotash,
pushing it around and around with my fork,
sure that children there were starving, dying
of starvation in a city whose name I didn’t even know.
One night, with the distant stars flickering outside
the steamed-up kitchen windows, he asked,
Does anyone here know the capital of Cuba?
Every bone in my body ached with the answer,
the one place in the world I most wanted to visit,
the one place in the world whose name
was always impossible for me to remember.

Learn more about Alternative Medicine or browse Rafael Campo’s works.

Poem of the Week

978-0-8223-6229-6To celebrate National Poetry Month, we’re sharing a poem a week throughout April. Today’s poem, by Roberto Fernández Retamar, can be found in Only the Road / Solo el Camino: Eight Decades of Cuban Poetry, edited and translated by Margaret Randall. Read on for the English translation.

Felices los normales

A Antonia Eiriz

Felices los normales, esos seres extraños.
Los que no tuvieron una madre loca, un padre borracho, un hijo delincuente,
Una casa en ninguna parte, una enfermedad desconocida,
Los que no han sido calcinados por un amor devorante,
Los que vivieron los diecisiete rostros de la sonrisa y un poco más,
Los llenos de zapatos, los arcángeles con sombreros,
Los satisfechos, los gordos, los lindos,
Los rintintín y sus secuaces, los que cómo no, por aquí,
Los que ganan, los que son queridos hasta la empuñadura,
Los flautistas acompañados por ratones,
Los vendedores y sus compradores,
Los caballeros ligeramente sobrehumanos,
Los hombres vestidos de truenos y las mujeres de relámpagos,
Los delicados, los sensatos, los finos,
Los amables, los dulces, los comestibles y los bebestibles.
Felices las aves, el estiércol, las piedras.

Pero que den paso a los que hacen los mundos y los sueños,
Las ilusiones, las sinfonías, las palabras que nos desbaratan
Y nos construyen, los más locos que sus madres, los más borrachos
Que sus padres y más delincuentes que sus hijos
Y más devorados por amores calcinantes.
Que les dejen su sitio en el infierno, y basta.

Happy Are the Normal Ones

To Antonia Eiriz

Happy are the normal ones, those strange beings,
Who didn’t have a crazy mother, drunken father, delinquent child,
A nowhere house, an unknown disease,
Who were never burnt to a crisp by an all-consuming love,
Who lived seventeen smiling faces and a little bit more,
Full of shoes, archangels with hats,
The satisfied, the fat, the beautiful,
Rintintín and his minions, who naturally, right here,
Who earn, who are loved to the hilt,
flautists accompanied by mice,
Salesmen and those who buy from them,
Slightly superhuman gentlemen,
Men dressed in thunder and women in lightning,
The delicate ones, the sensible, the refined,
The lovable, the sweet, the edible and drinkable.
Happy are the birds, the manure, the stones.

But let them make way for those who create worlds and dreams,
Illusions, symphonies, words that break us in two
And put us back together, those crazier than their mothers, drunker
Than their fathers, more delinquent than their children
And more devoured by all-consuming loves.
Leave them their place in hell, that’s all.

Learn more about Only the Road / Solo el Camino or read last week’s poem.

Poem of the Week

978-0-8223-6272-2_prHappy National Poetry Month! Each Thursday in April, we’ll share a poem from our collection of poetry books. Today’s poem, by Alexis Pauline Gumbs, is from her new book Spill: Scenes of Black Feminist Fugitivity.


her fingerprints rewritten rivers of coconut oil and shea. strands the geological memories punctuating the groove and hands god herself who moves and moves and moves. some would say she is slick. some would say she is thick. most would not say she is soaked in the universe. most would not compare the tiny ridges on her fingertips to the oldest forms of script. most would not connect the floorboards of her porch to the roots that they remember when she sits. most would not observe her face looking for patterns that are visible from space. her clients keep their backs to her. they have no eyes for what she sees. and the sea? well. they forget the ocean. themselves. but the desert. they remember enough to long for moisture. and to trust.

her eyelids know streambeds are pathways. know water from sky. know there is a spiritual reason why your scalp is dry. know cornrows from ricefields know laurels from crowns know most hieroglyphics are nouns. but her fingers speak present tense like weather and how. and her works of art feel pain but know better than to howl. they don’t understand the tapestry on their shoulders is a towel. but they know enough to sit up tall. they sure know not to scream. and when she’s finished they recognize themselves as a forgotten black dream.

even air becomes a ribbon even silence has a scent even laughter gets braided even split ends repent. and the pattern in her breathing settles sweetly on their pores and the unlocked locks of tangle get unnetted from the shore. and all the elders know to say is: she has been here before.

it looks like whirlwind. it feels like your head is shrinking. it smells like heaven. it tastes like salt. it sounds slightly like a waterfall. it goes like this:

massage out monday massage in more massage through mandate awaken the core. part practice from patience part what they say from what you know part partness from wholeness part being from show. braid fear over faith under throughline walking home. twist and repeat. braid faith over fear underneath speech. add in one perfect day with delicious food and plenty of sleep. coil coolness up and through sheen spray with sunbaked heat. and repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat. some only come out of the sense that they should sit down. but she makes sure they stand up. crowned.

Learn more about Spill.

Happy Birthday, Margaret Randall!

randall-f15-author-photo-courtesy-albuquerque-the-magazineToday we wish writer and activist Margaret Randall best wishes on her eightieth birthday. To celebrate, we are offering a 30% discount on her in-stock books with coupon E16MRBDY.

Randall has lived an exciting life, living among New York’s abstract expressionists in the 1950s and early ’60s, sharing the rebellion of the Beats, participating in the Mexican student movement of 1968, living in Cuba during the second decade of that country’s revolution (1969-1980), residing in Nicaragua during the first four years of the Sandinista project (1980-1984), and visiting North Vietnam during the last months of the war there (1974). In the 1980s she fought a five-year battle to regain her U.S. citizenship, after the U.S. government attempted to deport her.  In 1990 she was awarded the Lillian Hellman and Dashiell Hammett grant for writers victimized by political repression; and in 2004 was the first recipient of PEN New Mexico’s Dorothy Doyle Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing and Human Rights Activism.

Randall has published over 100 books, and we’re pleased that she has chosen to publish some of her most recent titles with us. Her editor Gisela Fosado says, “Looking back, it was a pretty gutsy move to contact Margaret Randall to work with me as an editor.  I was just starting out in my book publishing career and I hadn’t edited a single book.  And yet here I was, contacting one of the most prominent, eloquent and prolific authors writing about revolutionary Latin America to see if she would consider working with me.  Margaret and I immediately connected and she made me feel like I was one of the best editors she ever had. She launched my confidence and my career.  Four years and five Duke books later, I can’t imagine living life without Margaret as one of my closest friends.”

978-0-8223-5592-2_prChe on My Mind is the first book of Margaret Randall’s that we published, in 2013. The book is an impressionistic look at the life, death, and legacy of Che Guevara. Recalling an era and this figure, Randall writes, “I am old enough to remember the world in which [Che] lived. I was part of that world, and it remains a part of me.” Writing about the book in Left History, Budd Hall said, “Perhaps only a poet could capture the complexities of the life, lives, myth and myths of Che. . . . [I]n the able and creative capacities of Margaret Randall, the many verses of Che’s life are woven into an epic poem.”

In 2015, we published Haydée Santamaría, Cuban Haydée SantamaríaRevolutionary: She Led by Transgression. In this intimate portrait, Margaret Randall tells the story of her friend Haydée Santamaría, the only woman to participate in every phase of the Cuban Revolution. Although unknown outside Cuba, Santamaría was part of Fidel Castro’s inner circle and played a key role in post-revolutionary Cuba’s political and artistic development.

when-rains-became-floodsRandall is also well known as a translator, and in 2015 we published her translation of When Rains Became Floods: A Child Soldier’s Story by Lurgio Gavilán Sánchez.  As a child soldier, Gavilán Sánchez fought for both the Peruvian guerilla insurgency Shining Path and the Peruvian military during the Peruvian Civil War. After escaping the war, he became a Franciscan priest. His book is being made into a movie in Peru.

Only the RoadThis fall, we’ve brought out Randall’s Only the Road/Solo el camino: Eight Decades of Cuban Poetry. Featuring her translations of the work of over fifty poets from diverse backgrounds born between 1902 and 1981, it is the most complete bilingual anthology of Cuban poetry available to an English readership.

RandallFThis spring we are excited to be publishing Randall’s next book, Exporting Revolution: Cuba’s Global Solidarity. In this timely book,  Randall explores the Cuban Revolution’s impact on the outside world, tracing Cuba’s international outreach in healthcare, disaster relief, education, literature, art, liberation struggles, and sports to show how this outreach is a fundamental characteristic of the Revolution and of Cuban society. It will be out in April 2017.

Happy Birthday, Margaret Randall! Thank you for all these books and for all your hard work promoting them. We look forward to your next project.

Order any of Margaret Randall’s in-stock titles and save 30% using coupon code E16MRBDY on our website.



Fall Poetry

Our fall book list includes two excellent books of poetry. In Spill: Scenes of Black Feminist Fugitivity, poet Alexis Pauline Gumbs presents a commanding collection of scenes depicting fugitive Black women and girls seeking freedom from gendered violence and racism. Only the Road / Solo el Camino, edited and translated by Margaret Randall, is the most complete bilingual anthology of Cuban poetry available to an English readership, comprising the work of more than fifty poets writing across the last eight decades.

We’re happy to share poems here from each of these two books, both available now.

978-0-8223-6272-2An excerpt from “How She Spelled It” in Spill by Alexis Pauline Gumbs:

i am wrong. she told herself. born wrong. or more like retrieved. walk wrong, talk wrong, even now. she grieved. and who in the hell set things up like this? then she wrote it in the salt spilled on the table. wrong. she wrote it in the flour on the floor. wrong. she wrote it in chicken blood on the stump. and in grease on the counter. and she circle dialed it rotary home to her mother. and she postcard wrote it across to her sister. and she wrote it on her own wrists with toothpaste that night and smeared it over her teeth. and she bit herself wondering about sinews, worrying about the palimpsest of veins. but in the end she was too vain because when she spelled wrong in the steam in the mirror it was not her name.

“A Love Poem according to Demographic Data” (Un poema de amor, según datos demográficos) by Norberto Codina, published in Only the Road / Solo el Camino:

978-0-8223-6229-6Next Sunday we will be four billion.
In the transparent nest of your hands
I deposit the secret of the species
where you come with four billion,
alone with four billion,
mine with four billion.
Like my mother, you bring
rain and the death of the universe
because all the others also wait with me,
those who want to keep on multiplying,
those who share this secret of tenderness
in the transparent nest of your hands.

In 1850 we weren’t so many
and there was hunger, my love,
inherited hunger.
In 1930 we were merely half
of what we are today,
and there was hunger:
the postwar soup ran out
my mother studied to be a nurse,
and in Berlin, in Rome, the world sickened.
Thirty years later,
we were two satiated children
who knew nothing of the rice trains
assaulted by a shadow fear of hunger.

The population of the globe
will ascend this Sunday to four billion inhabitants.
Isn’t the earth’s globe the globe of your belly
rosy and once again a star,
your belly like a house,
like a bell where I desperately listen each day
to hunger’s ring
in the births of thousands of people?
It is believed that in the year two thousand
we will be more than at any other time,
so many
that fortunately there will be less patience.

And one day hunger, my love, will be a forgotten page
and not like today a poem of lovers
and billions,
and not like today a poem of two and a poem of
but the sure march
of future inhabitants,
of the hundreds of thousands of lovers
who will study, like a bit of quaint history:
“In 1976,
when we were just four
someone wrote a love poem using the word hunger.”


Save 30% when purchasing Spill or Only the Road / Solo el Camino through our website. Use coupon code SAVE30 at checkout.

November Events

November is a great time to head out to local bookstores and other venues and meet our authors.

spillReaders in Durham, Montreal, and Atlanta can all catch poet Alexis Pauline Gumbs this month.
November 1: Alexis Gumbs will read from her new book Spill at The Regulator.
7:00pm, 720 Ninth Street, Durham, NC 27705

November 9:  The Concordia Centre will host a workshop Alexis Gumbs and Rachel Zellars around her book Spill.
6:00pm,  H-763, Hall Building,  1455 de Maisonneuve West, Annex V-01, Montreal, Quebec H3G 1M8

November 18: Spill author Alexis Gumbs will be at Charis Books to discuss her book.
7:30pm, 1189 Euclid Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30307

978-0-8223-5931-9November 5: Shane Greene will participate in a panel discussion at Cornell University for their Musicology Colloquium.
3:00pm, Klarman Hall Auditorium KG70, 232 East Ave, Ithaca, NY 14850

November 7: Shapeshifters author Aimee Cox will be at the University of Miami to discuss “Black Girlhood.”
12:00pm, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL 33143

November 10: Christina Sharpe speaks at Northwestern University on her book In the Wake.
12:00pm, Northwestern University, TGS Commons, 2122 Sheridan Road, 1st Floor, Evanston, IL 60208
Followed by a conversation with Alex Weheliye.
5:30pm, Harris Hall 108, Evanston, IL 60208

Cahan cover image, 5897-8November 12: Susan Cahan will be at Laumeier Sculpture Park to discuss and sign copies for her book Mounting Frustration.
1:00pm, 12580 Rott Road, Adam Aronson Fine Arts Center, St. Louis, Missouri 63127

November 14: Susan Cahan in conversation with Lowery Stokes Sims at the Museum of Modern Art on her book Mounting Frustration.
7:00pm, Education and Research Center, Theater 3, 11 W 53rd St, New York, NY 10019

November 17: Hettie Jones will discuss her new book, Love, H, at the Poets House. This is a ticketed event.
7:00pm, Kray Hall, 10 River Terrace, New York, NY 10282

November is also a huge month for conferences. Be sure to come by our booths at the National Women’s Studies Association, Society for Ethnomusicology, American Studies Association, American Anthropological Association, American Academy of Religion, American Society for Theater Research, American Society for Ethnohistory, Middle East Studies Association, and African Studies Association. Save 30% on all our titles in the booths and meet our staff members.

New Books in September

It’s finally September, and we’re just as excited for the start of the school year as you are. Add these great titles, coming out this month, to your fall reading list:

Cultural Studies 1983With the publication of Cultural Studies 1983 we launch our new series Stuart Hall: Selected Writings. A touchstone event in the history of Cultural Studies, the book is a testament to Stuart Hall’s unparalleled contributions. Unavailable until now, these eight foundational lectures present Hall’s original engagements with the theoretical positions that contributed to the formation of Cultural Studies.

No Tea, No Shade, edited by E. Patrick Johnson, follows up the groundbreaking Black Queer Studies by bringing together nineteen essays on black gender and sexuality. Topics include “raw” sex, pornography, the carceral state, gentrification, gender nonconformity, social media, the relationship between black feminist studies and black trans studies, the black queer experience throughout the black diaspora, and queer music, film, dance, and theater.

Life and Death on the New York Dance FloorAs the 1970s gave way to the ’80s, New York’s party scene entered a ferociously inventive period characterized by its creativity, intensity, and hybridity. Tim Lawrence chronicles this tumultuous time in Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor, charting the sonic and social eruptions that took place in the city’s subterranean party venues as well as the way they cultivated breakthrough movements in art, performance, video, and film.

Focusing on artwork by Lucio Fontana, Alberto Burri, and Piero Manzoni, Jaleh Mansoor demonstrates in Marshall Plan Modernism how abstract painting, especially the monochrome, broke with fascist-associated futurism and functioned as an index of social transition in postwar Italy.

GeontologiesIn Geontologies, Elizabeth A. Povinelli continues her project of mapping the current conditions of late liberalism by offering a bold retheorization of power. Finding Foucauldian biopolitics unable to adequately reveal contemporary mechanisms of power and governance, Povinelli describes a mode of power she calls geontopower.

As the 2011 uprisings in North Africa reverberated across the Middle East, a diverse cross section of women and girls publicly disputed gender and sexual norms. In a series of case studies ranging from Tunisia’s 14 January Revolution to the Taksim Gezi Park protests in Istanbul, the contributors to Freedom without Permission, edited by Frances S. Hasso and Zakia Salime, reveal the centrality of the intersections between body, gender, sexuality, and space to these groundbreaking events.

Love, HLove, H: The Letters of Helene Dorn and Hettie Jones is a remarkable selection from a forty-year correspondence between two artists who survived their time as wives in the Beat bohemia of the 1960s and went on to successful artistic careers of their own. Revealing the intimacy of lifelong friends, these letters tell two stories from the shared point of view of women who refused to go along with society’s expectations.

One of the classics of twentieth-century Marxism, Antonio Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks contains a rich and nuanced theorization of class that provides insights that extend far beyond economic inequality. In Gramsci’s Common Sense, Kate Crehan provides an overview of Gramsci’s notions of subalternity, intellectuals, and common sense, putting them in relation to the work of thinkers such as Bourdieu, Arendt, Spivak, and Said.

Only the RoadFeaturing the work of more than fifty poets writing across the last eight decades, Only the Road / Solo el Camino is the most complete bilingual anthology of Cuban poetry available to an English readership. The collection, edited by Margaret Randall, is distinguished by its stylistic breadth and the diversity of its contributors, who come from throughout Cuba and its diaspora and include luminaries, lesser-known voices, and several Afro-Cuban and LGBTQ poets.

Reprinted in paperback, Songs of the Unsung is the autobiography of Los Angeles jazz musician and activist Horace Tapscott (1934–1999). It is the story of Los Angeles’s cultural and political evolution over the last half of the twentieth century, of the origins of many of the most important avant-garde musicians still on the scene today, and of a rich and varied body of music.

Want to make sure you don’t miss a new book? Sign up for Subject Matters, our  e-mail newsletter.


Interview with Poetics Today editor Brian McHale

We recently sat down with new Poetics Today editor Brian McHale to discuss the journal’s DNA, upcoming special issues, and what submitters to the journal need to know.

IMG_5179Can you tell us a bit about the history of Poetics Today?

Poetics Today has an origin story, like a superhero. It was founded in 1979 as the platform and mouthpiece for a group of researchers at Tel Aviv University. The founder was Professor Benjamin Hrushovski (who later changed his name to Harshav), who was my mentor, and who left Hebrew University in the late ’60s and migrated to the new, brash Tel Aviv University.

Hrushovski brought with him some young scholars and founded a group dedicated to the systematic study of literature in the tradition of Central and Eastern Europe, where he had been educated. That circle, his younger colleagues and his first generation of students, became the Tel Aviv School. Initially they published in Hebrew-language journals, and then by the mid-’70s or thereabouts, they felt like they were ready for prime time and needed to jump into an English-language journal.

There was a journal called Poetics and Theory of Literature, or PTL, which lasted for about three years and was published by a European press. Hrushovski thought he could do better, so he started publishing Poetics Today on his own through the Porter Institute at Tel Aviv, starting in 1979. The idea was that the journal would represent the work of this group, but that it would also represent the international scope of their collective project. Right from the get-go, it was very internationally oriented, mainly thanks to Hrushovski’s cosmopolitan view. Americans and Europeans were in there from the beginning with a sense of a shared project.

In its early years, Poetics Today had a really major impact on reviving the systematic study of narrative, in particular. It captured papers from some important conferences that were held in Tel Aviv in the late ’70s and early ’80s. That tradition of narrative study was revisited about ten years later with another set of issues at the end of the ’80s and beginning of the ’90s—about the time when the journal came to Duke University Press—which again gave a boost to narrative studies.

So the journal made some important interventions right from the beginning. I think a lot of it remains in the spirit of Professor Hrushovski, even though he didn’t continue as editor for very long. He left Israel, went to Yale, and left the journal editing to other people. But thanks to him, part of the journal’s DNA is this continuity with the Central and Eastern European traditions of literary study—Russian Formalists, the Prague School, German literary theorists of the early twentieth century, all of that—and a friendly rivalry with the other schools of literary study of about the same vintage: the French group and the Soviet semioticians who were the contemporaries of the Tel Aviv School.

And I think that’s all still there. That’s one of the virtues of the journal, that the DNA persists, and that gives it part of its distinctive quality.

It sounds like the journal has a very rich history.

Right, and it’s interesting to many younger researchers. Many of the upcoming special issues are being guest-edited by a younger generation of scholars, and they’ll include many contributors who belong to that younger generation. So there’s some consensus among them that it’s still relevant and worth thinking about.

ddpt_37_2How did you come to be involved with the journal?

I arrived in Tel Aviv as a research assistant in 1977, and I worked on the last year or so of the journal PTL. When Poetics Today was launched in 1979, I was an editorial assistant at the outset. I worked with the journal as long as I was in Tel Aviv, which was until 1993, and continued in some editorial role even after I returned to the States.

In a sense I was there from the beginning, with changing job descriptions over time, until the start of the twenty-first century, when there was a parting of ways between me and the editor. After that, I didn’t have much involvement with Poetics Today until a year ago, when the previous editor needed to withdraw and I stepped in to be an editor for the interim.

Given its history and its distinctive DNA, my sense is that Poetics Today is really a journal that belongs in Tel Aviv, that the editorial headquarters should be there. My intention is to return it there at the earliest opportunity and, in the meantime, be a responsible steward for the journal and its tradition.

Where do you intend to take the journal during your tenure as editor?

I want to preserve the journal’s sense of continuity—that it’s the journal that continued to revisit and rethink those traditions of literary and cultural study from the early twentieth century. Over the intervening decades, the previous editor had done excellent work keeping that tradition alive by being hospitable to the newest versions of that kind of literary study: in particular, the recent crossover between cognitive science and literary studies. I want to continue revisiting that tradition in a critical and revisionist way.

I also want to maintain the journal’s cosmopolitanism, which is one of its strengths. We have nearly as many contributors from Europe as we do from North America, and we have a large European readership. I want to make sure that continues and, if possible, to expand our range to Asia. There’s a good deal of interest there but not very many contributors yet, so there are some opportunities there. I’d also like to expand the readership there—that would be a good outcome of my tenure as editor.

Pragmatically speaking, I want to turn the journal over in good shape to whoever comes next, so they can pick up and step into this role without too much pain and adjustment. I want them to have a cushion of material in the pipeline so that, right from the get-go, they can begin working on the projects that interest them most.

ddpt_36_4Tell us about your forthcoming special issues.

We actually have a number of special issues in the pipeline. Part of my strategy has been to invite people to propose special issues and to pursue the special issues that were already in the pipeline. It has lots of good upsides: it buys me some time, and it also expands the range of the journal in all kinds of senses—in the disciplinary sense, but also in the sense of the people who are involved. It’s good advertising, and it’s good for the intellectual health of the journal.

There’s a special issue coming up at the beginning of next year on metaphor, which has historically been one of the strengths of Poetics Today. There was quite a lot of important publication in the study of metaphor early on in its history, and now we’re revisiting some of that.

Over the next two years, we have two and a half issues on the interface between cognitive science and literary and cultural studies, which is a cutting-edge topic. We’ve got one full issue on cognitive studies and cultural studies, and we have another issue on cognitive literary studies from the point of view of knowledge, understanding, and well-being, which is a different concept than we’ve seen before. There’s also at least half of an issue involved in a dialogue between cognitive literary studies and another tendency in contemporary literary studies, which is the study of the unnatural, or the unnaturalness of literature. The two are sort of competing paradigms, and there’s lots of occasion there for dialogue but also for mutual miscomprehension, so this issue will put the two approaches in conversation with each other.

Then we’ll have a special issue on the history of the novel from the point of view of narrative theory and at least two issues on various dimensions of new media and media studies, which is another cutting-edge topic in the field right now. Those are planned for somewhere around 2018 or 2019.

These issues are a pretty good representation of the areas we cover and that we have historically covered. The media material is new; we don’t have a long history of that. But there’s a long tradition in Poetics Today of addressing the other topics. So that’s what’s on the horizon.

Is there anything specific you’re looking for in submissions?

We’ve been very open to all kinds of material. When I get queries about appropriate contributions, I say, “Go look at some issues of the journal and see what kinds of things we’ve been doing. If you can imagine your paper belonging there, then send it to us.”

One rule of thumb is that this is a theory-oriented journal, and anyone who’s proposing a case study or specific analysis has to be able to demonstrate that it has theoretical implications. Poetics Today is not a journal of interpretation, except interpretation in the light of some clarification of theory, demonstration of theory, or reflection on theory.

Submitters should also know that the journal conceives of materials quite broadly. That is, it could be canonical literature; it could be so-called genre literature; it could be pop culture materials; it could be film, video, or new media materials. The range of cultural products that we feel could belong in the journal is very wide. As long as we can see that the paper is entering into conversations about theory in the field, then the actual materials discussed could be very various.

Want to keep up with Poetics Today? Read the latest issue,No Future (I),” or sign up for table-of-contents alerts at the journal’s online site. Subscribe to the journal at dukeupress.edu.

Aimé Césaire: Critical Perspectives

Celebrate Aimé Césaire with recent and long-established scholarship from Duke University Press journals.

ddsaq_115_3In the most recent issue of SAQ: South Atlantic Quarterly (volume 115, issue 3), “Aimé Césaire: Critical Perspectives,” edited by Michaeline A. Crichlow and Gregson Davis, contributors revisit Césaire’s influential and controversial brand of “negritude,” as he articulated it in his literary work (poetry, drama and prose) in the course of his lengthy career on the island of Martinique in the French Caribbean. The contributions provide a wide range of fresh critical and philosophical perspectives by leading scholars in the field that refine and clarify the concept of negritude and its relation to the ongoing project of cultural decolonization. Topics include forging a Caribbean literary styleCésaire’s apocalyptic wordcircumstance and racial time in poetry, and Aimé Césaire studies. To read more of the issue, check out the table of contents.

ddsmx_19_3_48Revisit Small Axe‘s special section “Rethinking Aimé Césaire” from the November 2015 issue. Included in this section are essays devoted to Césaire’s poetic legacy, his theory of “negritude,” his relationship to Marxism, and his intellectual partnership with his wife, Suzanne Césaire. What emerges is a sense of Césaire’s legacy as a living legacy, firmly rooted in a specific historical context but revealing different facets of its structure to successive generations as they seek to understand it in relation to their own preoccupations and challenges. Read the introduction to the section, made freely available.

ddst_103Read more about Césaire in Social Text #103 (2010), which includes Brent Hayes Edwards’s “Introduction: Césaire in 1956” as well as two of Césaire’s own translated works, “Culture and Colonization” and “Letter to Maurice Thorez.”

Also check out these three articles from a 2009 issue of Nka:”Aimé Césaire: Architect of Négritude” by Locksley Edmondson, “Aimé Césaire: The Poet’s Passion” by Édouard Glissant (translated by Christopher Winks), and “Losing Césaire” by Natalie Melas.