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Covers of books edited and/or written by Jonathan Bate, Natalie Diaz, and Joe Lockard

Happy ‘pub’ days: Bate, Diaz, Lockard

By

Kristen LaRue-Sandler

Hot off the presses, three members of the Department of English announce the arrival (or near-arrival) of highly anticipated books. Sizzling new releases include a “radical” re-visioning of Williams Wordsworth’s work, a poetry collection focused on bodies and love, and a historical and history-making translation project.

 

Radical Wordsworth: The Poet Who Changed the World (HarperCollins / William Collins, 2020).

Sir Jonathan Bate’s “dazzling new biography” of William Wordsworth on the poet’s 250th birthday will soon be out in a U.K. edition. From the publisher:

William Wordsworth wrote the first great poetic autobiography. We owe to him the idea that places of outstanding natural beauty should become what he called ‘a sort of national property’. He changed forever the way we think about childhood, about the sense of the self, about our connection to the natural environment, and about the purpose of poetry.

He was born among the mountains of the English Lake District. He walked into the French Revolution, had a love affair and an illegitimate child, before witnessing horrific violence in Paris. His friendship with Samuel Taylor Coleridge was at the core of the Romantic movement. As he retreated from radical politics and into an imaginative world within, his influence would endure as he shaped the ideas of thinkers, writers and activists throughout the nineteenth century in both Britain and the United States. This wonderful book opens what Wordsworth called ‘the hiding places of my power’.

W. H. Auden once wrote that ‘Poetry makes nothing happen’. He was wrong. Wordsworth’s poetry changed the world. Award-winning biographer and critic Jonathan Bate tells the story of how it happened.

Bate is Foundation Professor of environmental humanities with a joint appointment in the Department of English and the Global Futures Laboratory at ASU.

 

Postcolonial Love Poem (Graywolf Press, 2020).

The much-awaited second poetry collection from Natalie Diaz has already garnered rave reviews, nationally and internationally. From the publisher:

Postcolonial Love Poem is an anthem of desire against erasure. Natalie Diaz’s brilliant second collection demands that every body carried in its pages—bodies of language, land, rivers, suffering brothers, enemies, and lovers—be touched and held as beloveds. Through these poems, the wounds inflicted by America onto an indigenous people are allowed to bloom pleasure and tenderness: “Let me call my anxiety, desire, then. / Let me call it, a garden.” In this new lyrical landscape, the bodies of indigenous, Latinx, black, and brown women are simultaneously the body politic and the body ecstatic. In claiming this autonomy of desire, language is pushed to its dark edges, the astonishing dunefields and forests where pleasure and love are both grief and joy, violence and sensuality.

Diaz defies the conditions from which she writes, a nation whose creation predicated the diminishment and ultimate erasure of bodies like hers and the people she loves: “I am doing my best to not become a museum / of myself. I am doing my best to breathe in and out. // I am begging: Let me be lonely but not invisible.” Postcolonial Love Poem unravels notions of American goodness and creates something more powerful than hope—a future is built, future being a matrix of the choices we make now, and in these poems, Diaz chooses love. 

Diaz is associate professor of English in creative writing at ASU, where she holds the Maxine and Jonathan Marshall Chair in Modern and Contemporary Poetry.

 

见证:经典奴隶叙事—Witness: Classic Slave Narratives (Shanghai Jiaotong University Press, 2019).

声音:小说、自传与演讲—Voice: Fiction, Autobiography, and Speech (Shanghai Jiaotong University Press, 2019).

With Shih Penglu, Joe Lockard worked with translators to edit these American slave narratives, the second and third volumes in an Antislavery Literature Series, into Chinese. From an ASU Now story (partially re-printed by Xi’an Jiaotong University):

This latest publication in the series, titled “American Slavery Literature,” comprises two volumes, consisting of seven narratives, including “Clotel; or, the President's Daughter” by William Wells Brown, inspired by the lives of Thomas Jefferson’s children with his slave Sally Hemings; “Father Henson’s Story of His Own Life” by Josiah Henson, who would later become the title character of the Harriet Beecher Stowe novel “Uncle Tom's Cabin”; and “Appeal to the Coloured People of the World, in Four Articles” by David Walker, in which he urges enslaved people to rebel.

In the preface to the series, Lockard writes, “Choosing representative texts for this was a challenge. There was no fully satisfactory selection.”

With the exception of translation editions of works by Booker T. Washington and Frederick Douglass (whose 1845 memoir the series also includes), Lockard said, the study of this body of literature was almost completely devoid of Chinese-language resources until the publication of this series, so they took care to incorporate a variety of voices.

Each publication in the series includes an introduction in order to provide historical and biographical context, as well as a cross-cultural teaching guide that addresses not only students but also teachers.

Lockard is associate professor of English in literature at ASU.