22 Books Published by Wesleyan on Our Site — Book Cover Mosaic

Click for more detail about The Complete Poetry of Aimé Césaire: Bilingual Edition by Aimé Césaire The Complete Poetry of Aimé Césaire: Bilingual Edition

by Aimé Césaire
Wesleyan (Sep 05, 2017)
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The Complete Poetry of Aimé Césaire gathers all of Cesaire’s celebrated verse into one bilingual edition. The French portion is comprised of newly established first editions of Césaire’s poetic œuvre made available in French in 2014 under the title Poésie, Théâtre, Essais et Discours, edited by A. J. Arnold and an international team of specialists. To prepare the English translations, the translators started afresh from this French edition. Included here are translations of first editions of the poet’s early work, prior to political interventions in the texts after 1955, revealing a new understanding of Cesaire’s aesthetic and political trajectory. A truly comprehensive picture of Cesaire’s poetry and poetics is made possible thanks to a thorough set of notes covering variants, historical and cultural references, and recurring figures and structures, a scholarly introduction and a glossary. This book provides a new cornerstone for readers and scholars in 20th century poetry, African diasporic literature, and postcolonial studies.


Click for more detail about Trophic Cascade by Camille T. Dungy Trophic Cascade

by Camille T. Dungy
Wesleyan (Mar 07, 2017)
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Winner of the Colorado Book Award in Poetry (2018)

In this fourth book in a series of award-winning survival narratives, Dungy writes positioned at a fulcrum, bringing a new life into the world even as her elders are passing on. In a time of massive environmental degradation, violence and abuse of power, a world in which we all must survive, these poems resonate within and beyond the scope of the human realms, delicately balancing between conflicting loci of attention. Dwelling between vibrancy and its opposite, Dungy writes in a single poem about a mother, a daughter, Smokin’ Joe Frazier, brittle stars, giant boulders, and a dead blue whale. These poems are written in the face of despair to hold an impossible love and a commitment to hope. A readers companion will be availabe at wesleyan.edu/wespress/readerscompanions.


Click for more detail about The Lazarus Poems by Kamau Brathwaite The Lazarus Poems

by Kamau Brathwaite
Wesleyan (Feb 07, 2017)
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This new book by the great Barbadian poet Kamau Brathwaite is characteristically sui generis, vatic, and strange, exhibiting ornery bravura. Tonally and typographically frenetic in the ‘sycorax video style’ he’s been employing for decades, the work examines a major theme appropriate to a great poet in the late stages of his career: that of the afterlife. Brathwaite performs a kind of spiritual/aesthetic GPS in his poetry and is is a poet of undeniable stature, writing the final poems of his career. Central to the book is a series of poems outlining the speaker’s (the poet’s) experiences with what he calls “Cultural Lynching.” These poems speak of appropriation, theft, isolation, and exploitation, all within a context of an American hegemony that intensifies the racial politics and ageism underlying the events described. The speaker’s pain and outrage are almost overwhelming. Filled with longing, rage, nostalgia, impotence, wisdom, and love, this book is moving in every sense of the word.


Click for more detail about The Little Edges (Wesleyan Poetry Series) by Fred Moten The Little Edges (Wesleyan Poetry Series)

by Fred Moten
Wesleyan (Dec 19, 2014)
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The Little Edges is a collection of poems that extends poet Fred Moten’s experiments in what he calls “shaped prose”—a way of arranging prose in rhythmic blocks, or sometimes shards, in the interest of audio-visual patterning. Shaped prose is a form that works the “little edges” of lyric and discourse, and radiates out into the space between them. As occasional pieces, many of the poems in the book are the result of a request or commission to comment upon a work of art, or to memorialize a particular moment or person. In Moten’s poems, the matter and energy of a singular event or person are transformed by their entrance into the social space that they, in turn, transform. An online reader’s companion is available at http://fredmoten.site.wesleyan.edu.


Click for more detail about The American Shore: Meditations on a Tale of Science Fiction by Thomas M. Disch&mdash“Angouleme” by Samuel R. Delany The American Shore: Meditations on a Tale of Science Fiction by Thomas M. Disch&mdash“Angouleme”

by Samuel R. Delany
Wesleyan (Aug 01, 2014)
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The American Shore: Meditations on a Tale of Science Fiction by Thomas M. Disch&mdash“Angouleme” was first published in 1978 to the intense interest of science fiction readers and the growing community of SF scholars. Recalling Nabokov’s commentary on Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin, Roland Barthes’ commentary on Balzac’s Sarazine, and Grabinier’s reading of The Heart of Hamlet, this book-length essay helped prove the genre worthy of serious investigation. The American Shore is the third in a series of influential critical works by Samuel R. Delany, beginning with The Jewel-Hinged Jaw and Starboard Wine, first published in the late seventies and reissued over the last five years by Wesleyan University Press, which helped win Delany a Pilgrim Award for Science Fiction Scholarship from the Science Fiction Research Association of America. This edition includes the author’s corrected text as well as a new introduction by Delany scholar Matthew Cheney.


Click for more detail about Testimony, A Tribute to Charlie Parker: With New and Selected Jazz Poems (Wesleyan Poetry Series) by Yusef Komunyakaa Testimony, A Tribute to Charlie Parker: With New and Selected Jazz Poems (Wesleyan Poetry Series)

by Yusef Komunyakaa
Wesleyan (Sep 18, 2013)
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Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa is well known for his jazz poetry, and this book is the first to bring together the verve and vitality of his oeuvre. The centerpiece of this volume is the libretto “Testimony.” Paying homage to Charlie Parker, “Testimony” was commissioned for a radio drama with original music by eminent Australian composer and saxophonist Sandy Evans. Remarkably rich and evocative, encompassing a wide range of musical energy and performers, this moving affirmation of Parker’s genius became a milestone in contemporary radio theater. Twenty-eight additional poems spanning the breadth of Komunyakaa’s career are included, including two never previously published. Accompanying the poems are interviews and essays featuring Komunyakaa, Evans, radio producer Christopher Williams, jazz critic Miriam Zolin, jazz writer and editor Sascha Feinstein, and musical director, Paul Grabowsky. Sascha Feinstein writes the foreword. The print edition includes two CDs with the entire Australian Broadcast Company recording of Testimony, ebook contains imbedded audio. Check for the online reader’s companion at testimony.site.wesleyan.edu.


Click for more detail about The Original 1939 Notebook of a Return to the Native Land: Bilingual Edition by Aimé Césaire The Original 1939 Notebook of a Return to the Native Land: Bilingual Edition

by Aimé Césaire
Wesleyan (Apr 26, 2013)
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Aimé Césaire’s masterpiece, Notebook of a Return to the Native Land, is a work of immense cultural significance and beauty. This long poem was the beginning of Césaire’s quest for négritude, and it became an anthem of Blacks around the world. Commentary on Césaire’s work has often focused on its Cold War and anticolonialist rhetoric—material that Césaire only added in 1956. The original 1939 version of the poem, given here in French, and in its first English translation, reveals a work that is both spiritual and cultural in structure, tone, and thrust. This Wesleyan edition includes the original illustrations by Wifredo Lam, and an introduction, notes, and chronology by A. James Arnold.


Click for more detail about The new black (Wesleyan Poetry Series) by Evie Shockley The new black (Wesleyan Poetry Series)

by Evie Shockley
Wesleyan (Jan 25, 2012)
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Winner of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award (2012)

Smart, grounded, and lyrical, Evie Shockley’s the new black integrates powerful ideas about “blackness,” past and present, through the medium of beautifully crafted verse. the new black sees our racial past inevitably shaping our contemporary moment, but struggles to remember and reckon with the impact of generational shifts: what seemed impossible to people not many years ago—for example, the election of an African American president—will have always been a part of the world of children born in the new millennium. All of the poems here, whether sonnet, mesostic, or deconstructed blues, exhibit a formal flair. They speak to the changes we have experienced as a society in the last few decades—changes that often challenge our past strategies for resisting racism and, for African Americans, ways of relating to one another. The poems embrace a formal ambiguity that echoes the uncertainty these shifts produce, while reveling in language play that enables readers to “laugh to keep from crying.” They move through nostalgia, even as they insist on being alive to the present and point longingly towards possible futures. Check for the online reader’s companion at http://http://thenewblack.site.wesleyan.edu.


Click for more detail about Solar Throat Slashed: The Unexpurgated 1948 Edition (Wesleyan Poetry Series) by Aimé Césaire Solar Throat Slashed: The Unexpurgated 1948 Edition (Wesleyan Poetry Series)

by Aimé Césaire
Wesleyan (Jul 01, 2011)
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Soleil cou coupé (Solar Throat Slashed) is Aimé Césaire’s most explosive collection of poetry. Animistically dense, charged with eroticism and blasphemy, and imbued with an African and Vodun spirituality, this book takes the French surrealist adventure to new heights and depths. A Césaire poem is an intersection at which metaphoric traceries create historically aware nexuses of thought and experience, jagged solidarity, apocalyptic surgery, and solar dynamite. The original 1948 French edition of Soleil cou coupé has a dense magico-religious frame of reference. In the late 1950s, Césaire was increasingly politically focused and seeking a wider audience, when he, in effect, gelded the 1948 text—eliminating 31 of the 72 poems, and editing another 29. Until now, only the revised 1961 edition, called Cadastre, has been translated. The revised text lacks the radical originality of Soleil cou coupé. This Wesleyan edition presents all the original poems en face with the new English translations. Includes an introduction by A. James Arnold and notes by Clayton Eshleman.


Click for more detail about Elegguas by Kamau Brathwaite Elegguas

by Kamau Brathwaite
Wesleyan (Oct 05, 2010)
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Kamau Brathwaite is a major Caribbean poet of his generation and one of the major world poets of the second half of the twentieth century. Elegguasa play on “elegy” and “Eleggua,” the Yoruba deity of the threshold, doorway, and crossroadis a collection of poems for the departed. Modernist and post-modernist in inspiration, Elegguas draws together traditions of speaking with the dead, from Rilke’s Duino Elegies to the Jamaican kumina practice of bringing down spirits of the dead to briefly inhabit the bodies of the faithful, so that the ancestors may provide spiritual assistance and advice to those here on earth. The book is also profoundly political, including elegies for assassinated revolutionaries like in the masterful “Poem for Walter Rodney.”

Throughout his poetry, Brathwaite foregrounds “nation-language,” that difference in syntax, in rhythm, and timbre that is most closely allied to the African experience in the Caribbean, using the computer to explore the graphic rendition of nuances of language. Brathwaite experiments using his own Sycorax fonts, as well as deliberate misspellings (“calibanisms”) and deviations in punctuation. But this is never simple surface aesthetic, rather an expression of the turbulence (in history, in dream) depicted in the poems. This collection is a stunning follow-up to Brathwaite’s Born to Slow Horses (Wesleyan, 2005), winner of the Griffin International Poetry Prize.


Click for more detail about Gilgamesh: A Verse Play (Wesleyan Poetry Series) by Yusef Komunyakaa Gilgamesh: A Verse Play (Wesleyan Poetry Series)

by Yusef Komunyakaa
Wesleyan (Oct 16, 2006)
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Bringing new life to the world’s oldest story, Yusef Komunyakaa and Chad Gracia have refashioned a classic Sumerian legend into a compelling verse play. In this ageless saga, Gilgamesh of Uruk, part god and part man, embarks on an other-worldly quest in search of immortality. This new version elaborates on the key themes of the story and weaves them into a vibrant and emotional new form. Wesleyan’s edition of Gilgamesh is like no other and will take its place among the most powerful and engaging interpretations of this timeless tale.


Click for more detail about Born to Slow Horses by Kamau Brathwaite Born to Slow Horses

by Kamau Brathwaite
Wesleyan (Aug 30, 2005)
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Winner of the Griffin International Poetry Prize (2006)

Kamau Brathwaite’s newest work, Born to Slow Horses, is a series of poetic meditations on islands and exile, language and ritual, and the force of personal and historical passions and griefs. These poems are haunted, figuratively and literally, by spirits of the African diaspora and drenched in the colors, sounds, and rhythms of the islands. But they also encompass the world of the exile and return, and the events of 9/11 in New York City. Brathwaite is one of the foremost voices in postcolonial inquiry and expression, and his poetry is densely rooted and expansive.

Using his unusual “sycorax” signature typography and spelling, Brathwaite brings a cultural specificity, with distinct accents, sonic gestures, and pronunciations, into his pagesmaking them new, exciting, and rich in nuances.


Click for more detail about Pleasure Dome: New And Collected Poems by Yusef Komunyakaa Pleasure Dome: New And Collected Poems

by Yusef Komunyakaa
Wesleyan (Sep 20, 2004)
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Best known for Neon Vernacular, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1994, and for Dien Cai Dau, a collection of poems chronicling his experiences as a journalist in Vietnam, Yusef Komunyakaa has become one of America’s most compelling poets. Pleasure Dome gathers the poems in these two distinguished books and five others—over two and a half decades of Komunyakaa’s work. In addition, Pleasure Dome includes 25 early, uncollected poems and a rich selection of 18 new poems.


Click for more detail about Notebook of a Return to the Native Land by Aimé Césaire Notebook of a Return to the Native Land

by Aimé Césaire
Wesleyan (Sep 24, 2001)
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Aimé Césaire’s masterpiece, Notebook of a Return to the Native Land, is a work of immense cultural significance and beauty. The long poem was the beginning of Césaire’s quest for négritude, and it became an anthem of Blacks around the world. With its emphasis on unusual juxtapositions of object and metaphor, manipulation of language into puns and neologisms, and rhythm, Césaire considered his style a "beneficial madness" that could "break into the forbidden" and reach the powerful and overlooked aspects of black culture.

Clayton Eshleman and Annette Smith achieve a laudable adaptation of Césaire’s work to English by clarifying double meanings, stretching syntax, and finding equivalent English puns, all while remaining remarkably true to the French text. Their treatment of the poetry is marked with imagination, vigor, and accuracy that will clarify difficulties for those already familiar with French, and make the work accessible to those who are not. André Breton’s introduction, A Great Black Poet, situates the text and provides a moving tribute to Césaire.

Notebook of a Return to the Native Land is recommended for readers in comparative literature, post-colonial literature, African American studies, poetry, modernism, and French.


Click for more detail about The Einstein Intersection by Samuel R. Delany The Einstein Intersection

by Samuel R. Delany
Wesleyan (Jul 15, 1998)
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The Einstein Intersection won the Nebula Award for best science fiction novel of 1967. The surface story tells of the problems a member of an alien race, Lo Lobey, has assimilating the mythology of earth, where his kind have settled among the leftover artifacts of humanity. The deeper tale concerns, however, the way those who are “ different” must deal with the dominant cultural ideology. The tale follows Lobey’s mythic quest for his lost love, Friza. In luminous and hallucinated language, it explores what new myths might emerge from the detritus of the human world as those who are “different” try to seize history and the day.


Click for more detail about Atlantis: Stories  by Samuel R. Delany Atlantis: Stories

by Samuel R. Delany
Wesleyan (Jul 28, 1995)
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New fiction from a master explores problems of memory, history, and transgression. Three marvelously structured stories trace the intricate interdependencies of memory, experience, and the self.


Click for more detail about Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America by Tricia Rose
Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America

by Tricia Rose
Wesleyan (May 15, 1994)
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Winner of the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation (1995)

From its beginnings in hip hop culture, the dense rhythms and aggressive lyrics of rap music have made it a provocative fixture on the American cultural landscape. In Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America, Tricia Rose, described by the New York Times as a "hip hop theorist," takes a comprehensive look at the lyrics, music, cultures, themes, and styles of this highly rhythmic, rhymed storytelling and grapples with the most salient issues and debates that surround it.

Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and History at New York University, Tricia Rose sorts through rap’s multiple voices by exploring its underlying urban cultural politics, particularly the influential New York City rap scene, and discusses rap as a unique musical form in which traditional African-based oral traditions fuse with cutting-edge music technologies. Next she takes up rap’s racial politics, its sharp criticisms of the police and the government, and the responses of those institutions. Finally, she explores the complex sexual politics of rap, including questions of misogyny, sexual domination, and female rappers’ critiques of men.

But these debates do not overshadow rappers’ own words and thoughts. Rose also closely examines the lyrics and videos for songs by artists such as Public Enemy, KRS-One, Salt N’ Pepa, MC Lyte, and L. L. Cool J. and draws on candid interviews with Queen Latifah, music producer Eric "Vietnam" Sadler, dancer Crazy Legs, and others to paint the full range of rap’s political and aesthetic spectrum. In the end, Rose observes, rap music remains a vibrant force with its own aesthetic, "a noisy and powerful element of contemporary American popular culture which continues to draw a great deal of attention to itself."


Click for more detail about Neveryóna, or: The Tale of Signs and Cities Some Informal Remarks Towards the Modular Calculus, Part Four by Samuel R. Delany Neveryóna, or: The Tale of Signs and Cities Some Informal Remarks Towards the Modular Calculus, Part Four

by Samuel R. Delany
Wesleyan (Oct 15, 1993)
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In his four-volume series Return to Neveryó, Hugo and Nebula award-winner Samuel R. Delany appropriated the conceits of sword-and-sorcery fantasy to explore his characteristic themes of language, power, gender, and the nature of civilization. Wesleyan University Press has reissued the long-unavailable Neveryóvolumes in trade paperback. The eleven stories, novellas, and novels in Return to Neveryóna’s four volumes chronicle a long-ago land on civilization’s brink, perhaps in Asia or Africa, or even on the Mediterranean. Taken slave in childhood, Gorgik gains his freedom, leads a slave revolt, and becomes a minister of state, finally abolishing slavery. Ironically, however, he is sexually aroused by the iron slave collars of servitude. Does this contaminate his mission -- or intensify it? Presumably elaborated from an ancient text of unknown geographical origin, the stories are sunk in translators’ and commentators’ introductions and appendices, forming a richly comic frame.


Click for more detail about Neon Vernacular: New And Selected Poems by Yusef Komunyakaa Neon Vernacular: New And Selected Poems

by Yusef Komunyakaa
Wesleyan (Mar 15, 1993)
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In addition to 12 moving new poems, Neon Vernacular (winner of the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry) samples broadly from Yusef Komunyakaa’s acclaimed collections Dien Cai Dau, Copacetic, and I Apologize for the Eyes in My Head. Poems from Komunyakaa's earlier books show that while his style has evolved from a soul-bare blues to an intellectually syncopated jazz, his core obsessions remain. His poems provide gritty testimony of the Vietnam War, a history of community and loneliness in African America, and, elusively, a complex document of human consciousness. Like his predecessor in this uncertain territory, Robert Hayden--who asked, "What did I know, what did I know/ of love's austere and lonely offices"--Komunyakaa's speakers are constantly being attacked by doubt, as in "Black String of Days:"

Tonight I feel the stars are out
to use me for target practice.
I don't know why they zero in like old
business, each a moment of blood
unraveling forgotten names...
On the black string of days
there's an unlucky number
undeniably ours.

Although his poems of the Vietnam War belong to the battle-weary tradition of Siegfried Sassoon, Louis Simpson, and Bruce Weigl, they gain an added complexity from the tense absence of battle. The idea of being a soldier in an unpopular war, as Komunyakaa was, attains in such poems as "Monsoon Season" and "Water Buffalo" a metaphysical air. In these poems, ponchos feel like body bags and one speaker realizes, "I'm nothing but a target," but the bullet never comes. As in his poems about growing up in Bogalusa, Louisiana, Komunyakaa's voices have prepared themselves for pain, and they celebrate the confusion of the lifetime before it strikes, or the clarity of the moment just after. This is a rich collection from one of our most rewarding poets.


Click for more detail about Magic City by Yusef Komunyakaa Magic City

by Yusef Komunyakaa
Wesleyan (Sep 15, 1992)
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Komunyakaa vividly evokes his childhood in Bogalusa, Louisiana, once a center of Klan activity, and later a focus of Civil Rights efforts. He portrays a child’s dawning awareness of the natural and social order around him, rhythms of life in the community, the constant struggle for survival in the face of poverty and racism, the adolescent’s awakening sexuality, the beginnings of the poet’s awareness of his life and community as it exists in the context of history, and his emerging understanding of his own identity.


Click for more detail about Dien Cai Dau by Yusef Komunyakaa Dien Cai Dau

by Yusef Komunyakaa
Wesleyan (Dec 01, 1988)
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Best known for Neon Vernacular, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1994, and for Dien Cai Dau, a collection of poems chronicling his experiences as a journalist in Vietnam, Yusef Komunyakaa has become one of America’s most compelling poets.


Click for more detail about Swallow the Lake by Clarence Major Swallow the Lake

by Clarence Major
Wesleyan (Jan 01, 1970)
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Poetry by an African American raised in Chicago.