Literary Criticism/Cultural Studies

Francesca Royster’s ‘Sounding Like a No-No’ receives William Sanders Scarborough Prize Honorable Mention

by Phillip Witteveen December 18, 2014
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Every year, the Modern Language Association awards the William Sanders Scarborough Prize to the most outstanding contribution in studies of black literature or culture. The Press is proud to announce our own honorable mention in the running for this work of thought, Francesca Royster’s Sounding Like a No-No. Royster’s work places us in an era she calls “Post Soul,” and examines the eccentricities of its performance art and music. It asks us to consider the concepts of “embodied sound,” the distinctions between imaginative and corporeal freedom, and this irreducible sense of being in a world after slavery. Congratulations to Professor Royster! […]

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Matt Brim at the New York Public Library

by Phillip Witteveen November 25, 2014
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On December 2nd, at 7 p.m., the New York Public Library will be holding a release event for CUNY Professor Matt Brim’s upcoming James Baldwin and the Queer Imagination. Hosted in conversation, Brim will be opposite acclaimed novelist Ayana Mathis, (author of The Twelve Tribes of Hattie) to discuss the complex man we have in James Baldwin, something Brim has put a considerable amount of thought into. The Library’s event will be held in its Wachenheim Trustees Room. You can find out more (and RSVP) here.        

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In Memoriam: Galway Kinnell

by Phillip Witteveen November 7, 2014
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Galway Kinnell – Pulitzer winning poet, essayist and teacher – died October 28, 2014 at age 87. He was a big, square-jawed guy, the kind it might seem you could blunt iron against; he wrote with the soul of a river or a son of Abraham. He did all this at a time of emergent New Criticism (after the advent and aftermath of Pound and Eliot’s Modernism), but didn’t seem to mind it too much (“it” in this case referring to “the sorting algorithm of popular culture”). He was more into the timeless stuff, or maybe better put, the stuff […]

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Guest blog: Maleficent Maternity

by Shaun Manning October 14, 2014
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The following essay was written by Natasha Saje, whose Windows and Doors: A Poet Reads Literary Theory, was published by the University of Michigan Press in August. I don’t expect feminism from Disney, but The New York Times and Salon praised the film Maleficent as “a new kind of story” and “subversive.”  In fact, however, this Sleeping Beauty tale merely replaces the jealous older woman with another stereotype, the selfless mother. And that stereotype is so engrained in U.S. culture, even prominent film reviewers don’t see it. Maleficent, “strongest of the fairies,” is played by Angelina Jolie. In what is symbolically a date rape, Maleficent loses […]

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On Jazz, Poetry, and Hayden Carruth: Talking Shop about the Human Condition

by Phillip Witteveen September 26, 2014
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WPFW, 89.3 FM, is a station that gets into the “mix of jazz, Third World music, news and public affairs.” It is the sound alternative programming makes in the metro D.C. area, “challenging the norm and passionately serving the under-served of our community.” Coming to us in .mp3, a filmy, dulcet jazz bottoms out into the introduction of a very small, very niche radio show with a very specific mandate: “This is your station for jazz and justice.” The show, as it would be revealed, is called “On the Margin.” “And my name,” says the speaker, “is Giovanni Russonello.” “Today,” (says […]

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