Happy ‘pub’ days: Berry, Carr, Dove-Viebahn, Goodman, Viren

By Kristen LaRue-Sandler — May 5, 2023

Five faculty members in the ASU Department of English announce new books recently launched or forthcoming late spring. Works include a poetry collection, two monographs, a volume of essays, and a memoir, and topics include the divine feminine, film auteurs, feminist activism, Cold War literature, and the nature of truth.

'Evanescent Creature: Poems & Meditations' (Golden Dragonfly Press, 2023)

Shavawn M. Berry’s newest poetry collection was released in March. From the publisher:

  • "'Evanescent Creature: Poems & Meditations' explores the wisdom & life cycle of women through the archetypes of the wounded/magical/gifted child, the maiden, the mother, and the crone (Divine Feminine). These poems explore birth, sickness, old age, death, and rebirth. In them, Berry unpacks a myriad of experiences that affect and transform women as they move through their lives.

    Berry examines the evanescent creature she’s contained since birth, the one who is empathic, sensitive, and fragile in a world that often makes her terrified and exhausted. She reveals the shattered strange beauty of the young woman she was: a woman as muse, catalyst, & traveler in search of all the errant & lost parts of her most secret self.

    She remembers her experience as a daughter, unraveling her longing for more in the face of the pressures of a society that has long wanted women to remain small & stuck living amputated lives. She examines her current role as a caregiver – as her mother’s mother – watching as her mother’s essence disappears and she descends into full-blown dementia.

    And finally, she ruminates on her sense of the furious, incandescent, numinous strength of women. She raises her voice in defense of the Divine Feminine nature of life itself, of this earth, and its oceans, forests, and luminous wild animals. 'Evanescent Creature' is a book of searing poems and meditations seeking to offer solace and nourishment to women as they search for answers to the grief and beauty of life."

Berry is an instructor who teaches in the ASU Department of English’s Writing Programs.

'Kubrick and Control: Authority, Order and Independence in the Films and Working Life of Stanley Kubrick' (Liverpool University Press, 2023)

Set to release in June, Jeremy Carr’s volume on film auteur Stanley Kubrick is the first in a new Stanley Kubrick Studies series. From the publisher:

  • "'Kubrick and Control' is an examination of authority, order, and independence in the films directed by Stanley Kubrick, as well as in his personal life and working habits. This study explores the ways in which these central preoccupations develop and reformulate through the course of Kubrick's career, as he moved from genre to genre and shifted stories, locations, time periods, scope, and technical facilities. Separating the productions in accordance to their wider filmic classifications, the individual chapters examine a variety of productions, allowing for a categorical as well as a developmental approach to the works. In addition, following concurrently with each individual film discussed, details about Kubrick's life and evolving directorial practice are recounted in relation to these same concerns. In studying the stylistic and narrative features of his work, examples illustrate how Kubrick took these themes and applied them consistently yet with significant variation, manifest in relation to mise-en-scène construction (how Kubrick composed his images); characterization (individuals establishing, exerting, seeking, and/or abusing their authority); narrative (stories about characters and situations dependent upon order and control); and the actual filmmaking processes of the director (Kubrick was both praised and damned for his authorial management and obsession with order and perfection)."

Carr is a faculty associate who teaches in the ASU Department of English’s film and media studies program.

'Public Feminisms: From Academy to Community' (Lever Press, 2023)

Aviva Dove-Viebahn co-edited this open-access collection of feminist essays with Carrie N. Baker. From the publisher:

  • "The field of feminist studies grew from the U.S. women’s movements of the 1960s and 1970s and has continued to be deeply connected to ongoing movements for social justice. As educational institutions are increasingly seeing public scholarship and community engagement as relevant and fruitful complements to traditional academic work, feminist scholars have much to offer in demonstrating different ways to inform and interact with various communities.

    In this collection, a diverse range of feminist scholar-activists write about the dynamic and varied methods they use to reach beyond traditional classrooms and scholarly journals to share their work with the public. Here is an opportunity to reflect on the meaning and importance of community engagement and to archive some of the important public-facing work feminists are doing today. Faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students, as well as administrators hoping to increase their schools’ connections to the community, will find this volume indispensable."

Dove-Viebahn is an assistant professor in the ASU Department of English’s film and media studies program.

'The Nonconformists: American and Czech Writers across the Iron Curtain' (Harvard University Press, 2023)

Brian Goodman’s monograph is scheduled for release in June. From the publisher:

  • "How risky encounters between American and Czech writers behind the Iron Curtain shaped the art and politics of the Cold War and helped define an era of dissent.

    'In some indescribable way, we are each other’s continuation,' Arthur Miller wrote of the imprisoned Czech playwright Václav Havel. After a Soviet-led invasion ended the Prague Spring, many U.S.-based writers experienced a similar shock of solidarity. Brian Goodman examines the surprising and consequential connections between American and Czech literary cultures during the Cold War—connections that influenced art and politics on both sides of the Iron Curtain.

    American writers had long been attracted to Prague, a city they associated with the spectral figure of Franz Kafka. Goodman reconstructs the Czech journeys of Allen Ginsberg, Philip Roth, and John Updike, as well as their friendships with nonconformists like Havel, Josef Škvorecký, Ivan Klíma, and Milan Kundera. Czechoslovakia, meanwhile, was home to a literary counterculture shaped by years of engagement with American sources, from Moby-Dick and the Beats to Dixieland jazz and rock ’n’ roll. Czechs eagerly followed cultural trends in the United States, creatively appropriating works by authors like Langston Hughes and Ernest Hemingway, sometimes at considerable risk to themselves.

    'The Nonconformists' tells the story of a group of writers who crossed boundaries of language and politics, rearranging them in the process. The transnational circulation of literature played an important role in the formation of new subcultures and reading publics, reshaping political imaginations and transforming the city of Kafka into a global capital of dissent. From the postwar dream of a 'Czechoslovak road to socialism' to the neoconservative embrace of Eastern bloc dissidence on the eve of the Velvet Revolution, history was changed by a collision of literary cultures."

Goodman is an assistant professor in the ASU Department of English’s literature program.

'To Name the Bigger Lie: A Memoir in Two Stories' (Simon and Schuster / Scribner, 2023)

Sarah Viren’s memoir, set to release in June, is already garnering rave reviews. From the publisher:

  • "Part coming-of-age story, part psychological thriller, part philosophical investigation, this unforgettable memoir traces the ramifications of a series of lies that threaten to derail the author’s life—exploring the line between truth and deception, fact and fiction, and reality and conspiracy.

    Sarah’s story begins as she’s researching what she believes will be a book about her high school philosophy teacher, a charismatic instructor who taught her and her classmates to question everything—in the end, even the reality of historical atrocities. As she digs into the effects of his teachings, her life takes a turn into the fantastical when her wife, Marta, is notified that she’s been investigated for sexual misconduct at the university where they both teach.

    Based in part on a viral New York Times essay, 'To Name the Bigger Lie' follows the investigation as it upends Sarah’s understanding of truth. She knows the claims made against Marta must be lies, and as she uncovers the identity of the person behind them and then tries, with increasing desperation, to prove their innocence, she’s drawn back into the questions that her teacher inspired all those years ago: about the nature of truth, the value of skepticism, and the stakes we all have in getting the story right.

    A compelling, incisive journey into honesty and betrayal, this memoir explores the powerful pull of dangerous conspiracy theories and the pliability of personal narratives in a world dominated by hoaxes and fakes. 'To Name the Bigger Lie' reads like the best of psychological thrillers—made all the more riveting because it’s true."

Viren is an assistant professor in the ASU Department of English’s creative writing program.