Images of work by Sally Ball, Keith Miller, and Emily Zarka

Happy ‘pub’ days: Ball, Miller, Zarka


Kristen LaRue-Sandler

Three Department of English faculty members introduce new, published work. Two are presenting their projects in a traditional, printed format (a book of climate change poetry and a Civil Rights memoir); a third is launching in the digital sphere (an online PBS series all about monsters). Read on for more …


Hold Sway (Barrow Street Press, 2019)

Sally Ball’s third poetry collection encompasses a reckoning with despair and change. From

To hold on to what is in motion, or to persist at being in motion (not inert!): these are the twin goals of Ball's poems. Hold Sway reckons with the presence of menace or threat in daily life, even in moments when all seems well enough, or when things look beautiful. Climate anxiety, numbing corporate manipulations of our attention, crimes on both a personal and a grand scale (like being someone's knife-point hostage, or filming the police after they have killed a suspect, or the Paris attacks, or the pollution of the oceans...): all are tangled up with how to live one's American life (raising children, losing a marriage, watching T.V.—) as Ball seeks "a footing in hope, ... a stay."

Ball is associate professor of English in creative writing at ASU. She is the author of Wreck Me (2013) and Annus Mirabilis (2005), and is an associate director of Four Way Books, a press based in New York City.


My Life with Charles Billups and Martin Luther King: Trauma and the Civil Rights Movement (Peacock Proud Press, 2019)

Keith Miller assisted Renee Billups Baker in writing her childhood memories of the Civil Rights era. From

Charles Billups displayed pivotal leadership during the climax of the entire civil rights movement—Martin Luther King’s campaign in Birmingham. But little of Billups’ story has been told. Until now. In this book, Billups’ daughter, Rene Billups Baker, relates his torture by the Ku Klux Klan. For the first time, she reveals his participation in King’s key strategy sessions at the Gaston Motel. More fully than anyone else, Rene records her father’s courageous direction of a march that serves as one of the peak moments of American nonviolence. King himself deemed the march “fantastic.” Rene also tells about her own encounters with King, encounters that have never before appeared in print. And she recalls an experience of unthinkable trauma in Chicago. This dramatic account illuminates the horrors of white supremacist violence, as well as the triumph and cost of resisting it.

Miller is professor of English in writing, rhetorics and literacies at ASU. He is author of Martin Luther King’s Biblical Epic: His Final, Great Speech (2011) and Voice of Deliverance: The Language of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Its Sources (1998).


Monstrum (PBS Digital Studios, 2019)

Emily Zarka presents the second season of the popular PBS web series of which she is writer and host. From the YouTube channel:

The world is full of monsters, myths, and legends and Monstrum isn’t afraid to take a closer look. The show, hosted by Emily Zarka, Ph.D., takes us on a journey to discover a new monster in each new episode. Monstrum looks at humans’ unique drive to create and shape monster mythology through oral storytelling, literature, and film and digs deep into the history of those mythologies.

Zarka is a faculty associate in English at ASU, where she also earned her PhD in 2018.

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