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A unique voice among contemporary American poets, John Matthias has compiled here a major new collection, his first volume of poetry since the publication in 1995 of his retrospective collections of shorter and longer poems. Divided into three sections, Pages begins with thirty short poems that range in subject from Ovid and Akhmatova to remembered friends and family.
The widely divergent voices in this collection are united by their common interest in the American literary heritage and by their intention to redefine that heritage by altering our angle of vision or forcing us to re-examine some traditional values.
In the two decades that have passed since Robert Lowell’s death, Robert Lowell’s Shifting Colors is the first critical survey of the poet’s aesthetic efforts to make personal vision and public exhortation cohere and thus combine poetic genres that have been historically discrete.Rather
“Mysticism is peculiar to the mountainbred,” Frank Waters once told an interviewer for Psychology Today. And in Mountain Dialogues, available for the first time in paperback, the mountainbred Waters proves it true. Ranging over such diverse subjects as silence, spirits, time, change, and the sacred mountains of the world, Waters sounds again and again the radiant, mystic theme of man’s inherent wholeness and his oneness with the cosmos.Writing
The poetry of John Matthias has long been admired by other poets for the way it refuses to be categorized. Lyrical and experimental, cosmopolitan and rooted in place, it challenges our received notions of what poetry can be at the end of the twentieth century. This volume introduces the work of this significant American poet to readers previously unfamiliar with it and enriches the reading of those who have long admired it.
In this, his tenth book of essays, renowned raconteur Sam Pickering wanders from Nova Scotia to Tennessee, from a middle school athletic field to an English department. He tells stories about people named Googoo and Loppie. He examines trees and flowers. He watches a daughter play soccer and a son row. He attends funerals and remembers the past and imagines the future. His is the ordinary world observed closely.But reading Pickering makes life blossom.
In the spring of 1916, as the workers for woman suffrage were laying plans for another attack on the bastions of male supremacy, the idea for The Sturdy Oak was born: a satiric look at the gender roles of the time written as a collaborative effort by the leading authors of the day, such as Fannie Hurst, Dorothy Canfield, and Kathleen Norris.
In the winter of 1951-52, Anaïs Nin was a writer in despair. More than a dozen publishing houses had rejected her new novel, A Spy in the House of Love, and Nin became desperate for literary acceptance. Encouragement came from an unexpected source. Felix Pollak, an Austrian emigré and Rare Book Librarian at Northwestern University, had been entrusted with the task of acquiring some of Nin’s manuscripts for the library.
Four essential questions: Why does one fish? How should one properly fish? What relations are created in fishing? And what effects does fishing have on the future? Haunted by Waters is a self-examination by the author as he constructs his own narrative and tries to answer these questions for himself. But it is also a thorough examination of the answers he uncovers in the course of reading what’s been written on the subject.As
Turner Cassity is like a highly accomplished traditional composer—Camille Saint-Saëns, say, or Richard Strauss—who does not doubt that the music is the score and the score is the music. That is, poetry is verse and verse is poetry.Given that confidence, he is prepared to take on any subject. In the forty years he has been publishing, Mr. Cassity has never once written about nothing.
America’s Sketchbook recaptures the drama of nineteenth-century American cultural life, placing at its center a genre—the literary sketch—more available than the novel, less governable by the critical establishment, and shot through with the tensions and types of local and national culture-making.
Unlike other young women of her generation, who were “bred up from childhood to sit behind tea-tables and say the right things to tea-drinkers,” Sylvia Marshall—the “twig” of this novel—was reared to think for herself and to trust her own instincts and experience. This, coupled with her passionate temperament, makes Sylvia a compelling figure as she resists efforts to mold her with every rebellious fiber of her independent nature.Sylvia’s
When James Lane Allen defined the “Feminine Principle” and the “Masculine Principle” in American fiction for the Atlantic Monthly in 1897, he in effect described local color fiction and naturalism, two branches of realism often regarded as bearing little relationship to each other.
The Wound and the Bow collects seven wonderful essays on the delicate theme of the relation between art and suffering by the legendary literary and social critic, Edmund Wilson (1885–1972). This welcome re-issue—one of several for this title—testifies to the value publishers put on it and to a reluctance among them ever to let it stay out of print for very long.The
Recollections of Anaïs Nin presents Nin through the eyes of twenty-six people who knew her. She is the unconventional, distant aunt; the thoughtful friend; the owner of a strangely disarming voice; the author eager for attention yet hypersensitive to criticism; the generous advisor to a literary magazine; the adulteress; the beautiful septuagenarian; the recommender of books—the contributors elaborate on thses and many other perceptions of Nin.Readers
“Fantasies to me, as I wrote in an earlier 1983 edition of American Fantasies, are the active, visionary links between reality and imagination as my characters pursue their destinies. Although we pretend to be a pragmatic, materialistic country, our fantasies, once suppressed by tradition, peer increasingly through the media into our private and public behavior.
Ladders to Fire, Children of the Albatross, The Four-Chambered Heart, A Spy in the House of Love, Seduction of the Minotaur. Haunting and hypnotic, these five novels by Anaïs Nin began in 1946 to appear in quiet succession. Though published separately over the next fifteen years, the five were conceived as a continuous experience—a continuous novel like Proust’s, real and flowing as a river.The
In Sight Unseen radio drama, a genre traditionally dismissed as popular culture, is celebrated as high art. The radio plays discussed here range from the conventional (John Arden’s Pearl) to the docudramatic (David Rudkin’s Cries from Casement), from the curtly conversational (Harold Pinter’s A Slight Ache) to the virtually operatic (Robert Ferguson’s Transfigured Night), testifying to radio drama’s variety and literary stature.
Many of Wilson’s writings have been anthologized. But there is another body of work — over fifty fine essays on aspects of contemporary literature and ideas — that have been scattered in a variety of magazines, including The New Yorker, The New Republic, Vanity Fair, and The Nation.
Helen Papanikolas has been honored frequently for her work in ethnic and labor history. Among her many publications are Toil and Rage in a New Land: The Greek Immigrants in Utah, Peoples of Utah (ed.), and her parents’ own story of migration, Emily-George. With Small Bird, Tell Me, she joins a long and ancient tradition of Greek story-tellers whose art informs and enriches our lives.
George J. Stack traces the sources of ideas and theories that have long been considered the exclusive province of Friedrich Nietzsche to the surprisingly radical writings of the American essayist and poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson.Nietzsche and Emerson makes us see Emerson’s writings in a new, more intensified light and presents a new perspective on Nietzsche’s philosophy.
Higher Elevations: Stories from the West is a rich and varied anthology of fiction from Writers’ Forum. As the subtitle promises, it is regional, but these are not all stories from your grandfather’s (or Hollywood’s) West.
Lucien Stryk has been a presence in American letters for almost fifty years. Those who know his poetry well will find this collection particularly gratifying. Like journeying again to places visited long ago, Stryk’s writing is both familiar and wonderfully fresh.For those just becoming acquainted with Stryk’s work, Zen, Poetry, the Art of Lucien Stryk makes an excellent introduction.
In 1970 Adrian Hall’s production of Lovecraft’s Follies by the Trinity Repertory Company was praised in The New York Times as a “hilarious extravaganza—with music—that is also an earnest attempt to come to grips with the guilts and terrors of the Age of Technology.” The sucess of this production heralded James Schevill’s arrival as an important American playwright dedicated to a new kind of theatre that he calls in the introduction to this book, “Poetic Realism.”
“In addition to his accomplishments as a talented novelist, a thorough historian, and an excellent essayist, Frank Waters is that rare breed of man who has merged heart and mind early in his life and moved forward to confront ultimate questions. This dilemma of faith and heritage, religion and identity, and commitment and comfort has never been resolved intellectually.
From a poetic career that spans more than half a century and that is still producing poems as fresh and honest as the first, comes James Schevill’s New and Selected Poems, redefining the achievement of this uniquely American vision.Schevill’s poetry, acclaimed and criticized, has been rigorously selected here by the poet himself down to the best and most representative of his significant output.
William Dean Howells has long been recognized as the chief spokesman for post-1880s American Realism. Most of his writing appeared in popular magazines, however, and has been lost to us. This collection brings together for the first time his most significant essays about American drama written between 1875 and 1919 and a full bibliography of his writings on drama and theatre.
Richter’s novels and stories are filled with the fire of poetic prose and the drama of real lives. This is a reissue of the 1937 tale of cattle ranching on the high-grass plains of New Mexico at a time when a single man could control, if he were fierce enough, a ranch as big as some eastern seaboard states, but perhaps not hold the woman he loves as fiercely as the land.
Novelist and critic Alexander Blackburn credits Waters’s novels such as The Man Who Killed the Deer, Pike’s Peak, People of the Valley, and The Woman at Otowi Crossing with creating a worldview that transcends modern materialism and rationalism. Central to Waters’s vision, he suggests, is the individual in whom are concentrated the creative powers of the universe.
Toward the close of the eighteenth century, the land west of the Alleghenies and north of the Ohio River was an unbroken sea of trees. Beneath them the forest trails were dark, silent, and lonely, brightened only by a few lost beams of sunlight. Here, in the first novel of Conrad Richter’s Awakening Land trilogy, the Lucketts, a wild, woods-faring family, lived their roaming life, pushing ever westward as the frontier advanced and as new settlements threatened their isolation.
Conrad Richter’s trilogy of novels The Trees (1940), The Fields (1946), and The Town, (1950) traces the transformation of Ohio from wilderness to farmland to the site of modern industrial civilization, all in the lifetime of one character. The trilogy earned Richter immediate acclaim as a historical novelist. The Town won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1951, and The Trees was a Book-of-the-Month Club selection soon after it was published.
Originally published in 1936, House of Incest is Anaïs Nin’s first work of fiction. Based on Nin’s dreams, the novel is a surrealistic look within the narrator’s subconscious as she attempts to distance herself from a series of all-consuming and often taboo desires.
“I here and there o’heard a Coxcomb cry, Ah, rot—’tis a Woman’s Comedy.”Thus Aphra Behn ushers in a new era for women in the British Theatre (Sir Patient Fancy, 1678). In the hundred years that were to follow—and exactly those years that Curtain Calls examines—women truly took the theater world by storm.For each woman who chose a career in the theater world of the eighteenth century, there is a unique tale of struggle, insult, success, good or bad fortune, disaster, seduction, or fame.
This collection of stories is, like Petesch’s previous work, distinguished by its brilliant lyrical intensity and by characters who are stunningly alive. It is a powerful collection about impassioned cultural conflicts in present-day Spain and Mexico; it is also a book about ourselves—how we have failed to love the Earth and have squandered our resources.In the title story, it is Justina Olivia who breaks the moral law of her village in an unforgettable love story.
While William Dean Howells is today best remembered as Mark Twain’s staunchest defender, Howells was, at his peak, the unrivaled man of letters in America: he had no contemporary equal. The achievements of both Twain and Henry James have since surpassed those of Howells in the literary hierarchy, but the work of Howells still remains an important part of American letters.In
Although Alan Swallow’s work on behalf of other poets has tended to overshadow his work as a poet, the reputation of his poems has been upon the ascendancy. This volume, a “selected” one, runs the gamut of Swallow’s themes. John Holmes reviewed in The New York Times, speaking of “love and compassion warming the face of the carving.”The volume was published in a beautiful limited edition by Carroll Coleman’s The Prairie Press.
The first of this new collection’s three parts ranges very widely, from poems of childhood-his own, his children’s, and his grandchild’s-to poems of keen social and political awareness, and on to pieces about his neighbors, about growing more firmly and deeply into a personal place.The
In the course of a career that spanned five decades, Edmund Wilson’s literary output was impressive. His life’s work includes five volumes of poetry, two works of fiction, thirteen plays, and more than twenty volumes of social commentary on travel, politics, history, religion, anthropology, and economics. It is, however, his criticism for which Wilson is best known. To note a few of his accomplishments as a critic, Wilson furthered the understanding and appreciation of the poetry of W.B.
Ordinary, everday, homely. These are words that come to mind to describe the dimension Hollis Summers’ poems live in. But they are inadequate words, and his are deceptively simple poems. They speak little, and quietly, but they record, in the silences they create, a desperate, melancholy magic about the surfaces and trivial events of our days. So we are led to discover, and assent, to all these tonal perceptions as the true domestic furniture of our inner lives.
A mile down the road from the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, a woman unearths an ancient shard of pottery bearing the thousands-year-old thumbprint of a Navawi‘i woman. A marriage is thrown into crisis by the husband’s discovery, on a fishing trip, of a girl’s corpse. To impress the prostitute he wants to marry, a man constructs a homemade atomic bomb.
This second volume of James Schevill’s collected poems is a companion to his remarkable ongoing sequence of poems, The American Fantasies, published by Swallow in 1983. This collection extends the scope of the poet’s concern with American power and influences to Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. In these poems, Schevill reveals again the range of his lyrical and dramatic powers. As M.I.
Flowering Mimosa is a story of lost innocence and coming of age among the disinherited of America in the 1980’s. Against a backdrop of social and economic disruption in the American southwest, Petesch traces the fates of the Wingfield family, who have lost their Texas farm and moved to a mining town in Silver Valley, Idaho.As various tensions threaten to break the family apart, Tamsen Wingfield reacts most strongly.
In a time that emphasizes media spectaculars, the short play offers an exploration of minimal possibilities yet has the power to fix history in a moment’s structure, a flash of revelation. The short play is a powerful and innovative theatrical medium, relying upon compression and clarity rather than amplification, and reducing character and action to a spare, dramatic core.Schevill
Lewis’ only collection of short fiction was first published in 1946, but remains as quietly haunting today as it was then. Set in small communities of the upper Midwest and northern California in the ’30s and ’40s, these midcentury gems focus on the quiet cycles connecting youth and age, despair and hope, life and death.
As our interest in space continues to grow, the cultural effects of space exploration become important. In Seeing Earth, Ronald Weber focuses on the literary response to this new frontier, examining an area of contemporary expression that has remained until now virtually untouched.The author surveys what has been written about space exploration and calls attention to its dominant use as a means of deflecting attention back to earth and earthly concerns.
Northern Summer is a representative selection from John Matthias’s previous books, together with a group of poems written since 1980. Robert Duncan wrote of his first book, Bucyrus, that in part “Matthias is a Goliard – one of those wandering souls out of a dark age in our own time.”
In this collection, Schevill brings together a series of poems that he has been working on since his first book was published in 1947.Diverse characters, both real and imaginary, reveal fantasies of American life and history. The dramatic voices of the characters contrast with the subjective voice of the narrator as he moves through time and space, remembering and anticipating.
“During the nineteen sixties, following the missile crisis and during the Vietnam War, communitarian societies began to reappear in the United States. Those who were of an invincibly optimistic nature gathered together in agrarian or utopian communes reminiscent of the nineteenth century.
The Power of Blackness is a profound and searching reinterpretation of Hawthorne, Poe and Melville, the three classic American masters of fiction. It is also an experiment in critical method, an exploration of the myth-making process by way of what may come to be known as literary iconology.
In this book Anaïs Nin speaks with warmth and urgency on those themes which have always been closest to her: relationships, creativity, the struggle for wholeness, the unveiling of woman, the artist as magician, women reconstructing the world, moving from the dream outward, and experiencing our lives to the fullest possible extent.
The sharpness of Lucien Stryk’s poetry is made of simple things—frost on a windowpane at morning, ducks moving across a pond, an argument flailing in the distance, a neighbor’s fuss over his lawn—set down in a language that is at once direct and powerful. Awakening is, in large part, an approach to what is most familiar by a poet whose language and poetic attention have found their own maturity.Years
This third novel in the three Cases of Circumstantial Evidence provides an intimate portrayal of deception and corruption in one small poor Parisian family in the late 1600s. In contrast to the majesty of the court of Louis XIV and the bloodthirsty crowds of Paris at that time, the simple lives of Jean Larcher and his wife and son are pitiably ruined by the presence of a seducer and his political pamphlets. The result: personal and public passions mesh to hang an innocent man.
In the final novel of Richter’s Awakening Land trilogy, Sayward Wheeler completes her mission and lives to see the transition of her family and her friends, American pioneers, from the ways of wilderness to the ways of civilization. The Town, for which Richter won the Pulitzer Prize in 1951, is a much bigger book in every way than its predecessors; it is itself a rich contribution to literature and with the other novels comprises a great American epic.
The Fathers is the powerful novel by the poet and critic recognized as one of the great men of letters of our time.Old Major Buchan of Pleasant Hill, Fairfax County, Virginia, lived by a gentlemen’s agreement to ignore what was base or rude, to live a life which was gentle and comfortable because it was formal.
Although Anaïs Nin found in her diaries a profound mode of self-creation and confession, she could not reveal this intimate record of her own experiences during her lifetime. Instead, she turned to fiction, where her stories and novels became artistic “distillations” of her secret diaries.
“Collages began with an image which had haunted me. A friend, Renate, had told me about her trip to Vienna where she was born, and of her childhood relationships to statues. She told me stories of her childhood, her relationship to her father, her first love.I begin the novel with:Vienna was the city of statues. They were as numerous as the people who walked the streets.
An excerpt from Seduction of the Minotaur:Some voyages have their inception in the blueprint of a dream, some in the urgency of contradicting a dream. Lillian’s recurrent dream of a ship that could not reach the water, that sailed laboriously, pushed by her with great effort, through city streets, had determined her course toward the sea, as if she would give this ship, once and for all, its proper sea bed.She
After struggling with her own press and printing her own works, Anaïs Nin succeeded in getting Ladders to Fire accepted and published in 1946. This recognition marked a milestone in her life and career. Admitted into the fellowship of American novelists, she maintained the individuality of her literary style.