Happy ‘pub’ days: Bell, Broglio, Fazel, Sharif
Four faculty members in the Department of English announce new practical, speculative, scholarly and creative work recently published or imminently forthcoming. These books include a fiction writing how-to, an illustrated work of creative non-fiction, a intellectual consideration of Shakespeare’s “multiverse” fandom, and a highly anticipated, follow-up poetry collection.
Refuse to Be Done: How to Write and Rewrite a Novel in Three Drafts (Soho Press, 2022)
They say writing is rewriting. So why does the second part still get such short shrift?
Refuse to Be Done by Matt Bell is a craft book approaching novel writing through the lens of revision and rewriting, meant to take the writer from the first page to final edits.
Refuse to Be Done is encouraging and intensely practical, focusing always on specific rewriting tasks, techniques, and activities for every stage of the process. You won’t find bromides here about the “the writing Muse.” Instead, Bell breaks down the writing process in three sections, one for each of the three major stages of drafting. In the first section, Bell shares a bounty of tactics, all meant to push the writer through the initial conception and get words on the page. The second section, Bell explains, is focused on reworking the narrative through outlining, modeling, and rewriting. The third and final section offers a layered approach to polishing through a checklist of operations meant to be applied to a manuscript one at a time, breaking the daunting project of final revisions into many small, achievable tasks.
This is a book to give to an aspiring writer, to assign for course adoption, and even to interest the general reader. While geared for the novel, many of its tips are applicable to all types of creative writing, fiction and nonfiction.
Bell is an associate professor in the ASU Department of English’s creative writing program.
Animal Revolution (University of Minnesota Press, 2022)
Animals are staging a revolution—they’re just not telling us. From radioactive boar invading towns to jellyfish disarming battleships, this book threads together news accounts and more in a powerful and timely work of creative, speculative nonfiction that imagines a revolution stirring and asks how humans can be a part of it. If the coronavirus pandemic has taught us anything, it is that we should pay attention to how we bump up against animal worlds and how animals will push back. Animal Revolution is a passionate, provocative, cogent call for us to do so.
Ron Broglio reveals how fur and claw and feather and fin are jamming the gears of our social machine. We can try to frame such disruptions as environmental intervention or through the lens of philosophy or biopolitics, but regardless the animals persist beyond our comprehension in reminding us that we too are part of an animal world. Animals see our technologies and machines as invasive beings and, in a nonlinguistic but nonetheless intensive mode of communicating with us, resist our attempts to control them and diminish their habitats. In doing so, they expose the environmental injustices and vulnerabilities in our systems.
A witty, informative, and captivating work—at the juncture of posthumanism, animal studies, phenomenology, and environmental studies—Broglio reminds us of our inadequacy as humans, not our exceptionalism.
Broglio is associate director of the Institute for Humanities Research at ASU, where he also directs the Desert Humanities Initiative and is a professor in the Department of English’s literature program.
The Shakespeare Multiverse: Fandom as Literary Praxis (Routledge, 2021)
The Shakespeare Multiverse: Fandom as Literary Praxis argues that fandom offers new models for a twenty-first century reading practice that embraces affective pleasure and subjective self-positioning as a means of understanding a text. Part critical study, part source book, The Shakespeare Multiverse suggests that fannish contributions to the ongoing expansion of the object that we call Shakespeare is best imagined as a multiverse, encompassing different worlds that consolidate the various perspectives that different fans bring to Shakespeare. Our concept of the multiverse redefines ‘Shakespeare’ not as a singular body of work, but as space where a process of inquiry and cultural memory – memories in the making, and those already made – is influenced and shaped by the technologies available to the reader. Characteristic of fandom is an intertextual reading strategy that we term cyborg reading, an approach that accommodates the varied elements of identity, politics, culture, sexuality, and race that shape the ways that Shakespeare is explored and appropriated throughout fannish reading communities.
The Shakespeare Multiverse intersects literary theory, fan studies, and popular culture as it traverses Shakespeare fandom from the 1623 Folio to the age of the Internet, exploring the different textures of fan affect, from those who firmly uphold fidelity to the text to those who sit on the very edge of the fandom, threatening to cross over into Shakespearean anti-fandom. By recognizing the literary value of fandom, The Shakespeare Multiverse offers a new approach to literary criticism that challenges the limits of hegemonic authority and recognizes the value of a joyfully speculative critical praxis.
Fazel is a Writing Programs instructor in the Department of English at ASU, where she also earned her BA (2001), MA (2007), and PhD (2013) in literature.
Customs: Poems (Graywolf Press, 2022)
In Customs, Solmaz Sharif examines what it means to exist in the nowhere of the arrivals terminal, a continual series of checkpoints, officers, searches, and questionings that become a relentless experience of America. With resignation and austerity, these poems trace a pointed indoctrination to the customs of the nation-state and the English language, and the realities they impose upon the imagination, the paces they put us through. While Sharif critiques the culture of performed social skills and poetry itself—its foreclosures, affects, successes—she begins to write her way out to the other side of acceptability and toward freedom.
Customs is a brilliant, excoriating new collection by a poet whose unfolding works are among the groundbreaking literature of our time.
Sharif is an assistant professor in the ASU Department of English’s creative writing program.