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Covers of books and journals by Robert Bjork, Randel McCraw Helms, Kathleen Hicks and Cornelia Wells.

Happy ‘pub’ days: Bate, Bjork, Helms, Hicks, Wells

By

Kristen LaRue-Sandler

Five Department of English faculty are the proud authors or editors of recent publications, new and reissued. Included in this newest batch of work are a literary biography, an edited reader, a poetry collection, a research journal, and an arts magazine.

 

Bright Star, Green Light: The Beautiful and Damned Lives of John Keats and F. Scott Fitzgerald (HarperCollins, 2021)

Pronounced “daring” and “dizzying” by The Guardian, Jonathan Bate’s newest book plumbs the lives two literary luminaries who are separated by a century. From the publisher:

A dazzling biography of two interwoven, tragic lives: John Keats and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

“For awhile after you quit Keats,” Fitzgerald once wrote, “All other poetry seems to be only whistling or humming.”

John Keats died two hundred years ago, in February 1821. F. Scott Fitzgerald defined a decade that began one hundred years ago, the Jazz Age.

In this biography, prizewinning author Jonathan Bate recreates these two shining, tragic lives in parallel. Not only was Fitzgerald profoundly influenced by Keats, titling Tender is the Night and other works from the poet’s lines, but the two lived with echoing fates: both died young, loved to drink, were plagued by tuberculosis, were haunted by their first love, and wrote into a new decade of release, experimentation and decadence.

Luminous and vital, this biography goes through the looking glass to meet afresh two of the greatest and best-known Romantic writers in their twinned centuries.

Bate is Foundation Professor of Environmental Humanities with a joint appointment in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory and the Department of English, The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at ASU.

 

The Cynewulf Reader. Hardback (Routledge, 2020)

Robert Bjork is the editor of this new hardcover edition of a book first released in 2001. From the publisher:

The Cynewulf Reader is a collection of classic and original essays presenting a comprehensive view of the elusive Anglo-Saxon poet Cynewulf, his language, and his work.

Bjork is Foundation Professor of English in literature at ASU.

 

Animal Prayers (Kelsay Books, 2020)

Randel McCraw Helms’s new poetry collection makes public Helms’s “lifelong obsessive avocation,” according to the publisher. Poet Alberto Ríos said:

The French have a phrase, cri de coeur, a passionate appeal to the heart. These poems attempt a cri d’ame, a reaching out to the soul; speaking to the lifeblood, they are a paean and an elegy to the animal in us all, the soul-filled. With the beings in these poems, we are made to understand that we are the animals of this earth together, and this has consequences: “we are mice, and the night fills with owls.” And this is how the world is, but—as the poems suggest so passionately—things don’t have to be this way. Helms’ poems read as extensions on the rhythms of life, moving from the world that is to the world as we feel it. We are faced with having made this world. What is triangulated clearly from this is the passion of how things could, and so very much ought, otherwise to be.

Helms is Professor Emeritus of English in literature at ASU.

 

Steinbeck Review 17:2 (2020)

Kathleen Hicks continues as associate editor of this authorized journal “on the life and works of American novelist John Steinbeck (1902-1968)” published by Penn State University Press. From the editor’s introduction to this issue:

Viewing Steinbeck as an early ecologist, the lead article for this issue of Steinbeck Review features Kathleen Hicks’s “Bringing Back Truth: Consilience and Ecological Vision in The Log from the Sea of Cortez.” Hicks brings to bear fresh contexts and thought-provoking juxtapositions with the work of sociobiologist E. O. Wilson. Examining The Log as both art and science, according to Hicks, provides “an example of how the artist can successfully draw on science to create a more holistic, fascinating, and creative vision of human nature that gets at core elements of the human psyche”—that is, at the consilience Wilson propounds.

Hicks is director of online programs in the Department of English at ASU.

 

Iron City Magazine 5 (2020)

Cornelia “Corri” Wells is founding director of Iron City Magazine, which released its fifth issue last November. From its website:

Iron City Magazine is an online and print magazine devoted to writing and art from the prison world. It is our hope that through this creative platform, incarcerated writers and artists find value in their stories, fuel for personal growth, and pride in their accomplishments. Prisoners are, first and foremost, people.

They own stories worthy of sharing. Too often, prisoners' potential is forgotten or overshadowed by their crimes. Iron City Magazine reminds us that prisoners make meaningful contributions to our communities. By validating prisoners’ humanity through writing and art, we encourage a culture of understanding and transformation.

Wells is Lecturer, Sr. in the Department of English at ASU.