University of Mississippi

Conversations with Audre Lorde

by Joan Wylie Hall
Audre Lorde (1934Ð92), the author of eleven books of poetry, described herself as a “Black feminist lesbian poet warrior mother,” but she added that this phrase was inadequate in capturing her full identity. The interviews in this collection portray the many additional sides of the Harlem-born author and activist. She was also a rebellious child of Caribbean parents, a mastectomy patient, a blue-collar worker, a college professor, a student of African mythology, an experimental autobiographer in her book titled Zami, a critic of imperialism, and a charismatic orator.

Independence Day

by Richard Ford
The Pulitzer-Prize Winning novel for 1996.In this visionary sequel to The Sportswriter, Richard Ford deepens his portrait of one of the most unforgettable characters in American fiction, and in so doing gives us an indelible portrait of America.Frank Bascombe, in the aftermath of his divorce and the ruin of his career, has entered an “Existence Period,” selling real estate in Haddam, New Jersey, and mastering the high-wire act of normalcy. But over one Fourth of July weekend, Frank is called into sudden, bewildering engagement with life.Independence Day is a moving, peerlessly funny odyssey through America and through the layered consciousness of one of its most compelling literary incarnations, conducted by a novelist of astonishing empathy and perception.

Unmentionables: Poems

by Beth Ann Fennelly
“Insouciant, sexy, funny, and dead-on . . . a startlingly empathetic series of concise and slashing poems.”—Booklist

With elegant word play and her usual subversive wit, Beth Ann Fennelly questions our everyday human foibles.

Lazy Virtues

by Robert E. Cummings
Focusing largely on the controversial website Wikipedia, the author of Lazy Virtues: Teaching Writing in the Age of Wikipedia explores the challenges confronting teachers of college writing in the increasingly electronic and networked writing environments their students use every day. Rather than praising or condemning that site for its role as an encyclopedia, Cummings instead sees it as a site for online collaboration between writers and a way to garner audience for student writing.

Aesthetics and Gender in American Literature

by Deborah Barker
This study demonstrates how popular women writers used the female visual artist as their alter ego to renegotiate the boundaries between high and low culture. The figure of the professional woman painter allowed women writers to critique the dominant aesthetic and scientific theories that categorized women and an ethnically configured lower class as artistically and intellectually inferior to an elite, male-defined figure of the Romantic artist-as-genius. Illustrated.

Stevie: A Biography of Stevie Smith

Jack Barbera and William McBrien’s delightful biography of Stevie Smith–one of the most fascinating and original English literary figures of this century–captures the essence of a remarkable woman and her impact on the literary scene. Drawing on a wealth of private and archival materials, they present the fullest and most convincing portrait yet of her life and work. They depict the unhappiness of her long childhood exile in the hospital with tuberculosis, her father’s abandonment of the family, and her mother’s early death. The authors also paint a rich portrait of her adult life, spent almost entirely in a genteel North London suburb and shared with a beloved aunt. Although Stevie gained international recognition with the publication of Novel on Yellow Paper in 1936, she continued to work for more than 30 years as a secretary in a publishing house. In the 1960s, she enjoyed a new wave of recognition as a performer, broadcaster, and literary reviewer, receiving in 1969 the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry. Replete with anecdotes from Stevie’s friends and excerpts from her work, this biography offers new insights into the charm and paradox of a unique poet as well as into her writings and the world in which she moved.

The Cambridge Introduction to Edgar Allan Poe

by Benjamin F. Fisher
Much remains uncertain about the life of Edgar Allan Poe, the mysterious author of one of the best-known American poems, ‘The Raven’, the Gothic romance The Fall of the House of Usher, and the first detective fiction, The Murders in the Rue Morgue. This 2008 book provides a balanced overview of Poe’s career and writings, resisting the tendency of many scholars to sensationalise the more enigmatic aspects of his life. Benjamin F. Fisher outlines Poe’s experiments with a wide range of literary forms and genres, and shows how his fiction evolved from Gothic fantasy to plausible, sophisticated psychological fiction. Fisher makes fruitful connections within this diverse body of work, and offers analyses of the major works. The critical afterlife of Poe’s work is charted, and the book includes a guide to further reading, making this a handy starting-point for students and readers new to Poe.

Five Terraces







By Ann Fisher-Wirth

Art is at work throughout Ann Fisher-Wirth’s second full-length book. The collection is brilliantly framed by the two halves of “Walking Wu Wei’s Scroll,” a long poem about a work of art dating back to the Ming Dynasty. Fisher-Wirth steps into the scroll and leads us on an imaginative journey across its terrain. Thus we move into the twin worlds of Art and the Past. The second of seven sections contains “The Trinket Poems,” fearless and fascinating poems about a little-known Tennessee Williams’ play, “The Mutilated,” in which Fisher-Wirth played the role of Trinket. In the poems, she mixes her character’s life with her own as daughter, wife, mother, teacher, actor. By putting the spotlight on the various roles she plays, both on- and offstage, she sketches in the intersection between art and life and suggests that we are destined to replay the past again and again.

Cristin Ellis, Assistant Professor of English

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Mister Satan’s Apprentice

by Adam Gussow
Mister Satan’s Apprentice: A Blues Memoir  is the history of one of music’s most fascinating collaborations, between Adam Gussow, a young graduate school dropout and harmonica player, and Sterling “Mr. Satan” Magee, a guitarist and underground blues legend who had originally made his name as “Five Fingers Magee.”