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Covers of books and journals by Matt Bell, Reese Conner, Nazanin Mirsadeghi, Bryan Smith, Doris Warriner, Patricia Webb and Savanna Conner.

Happy ‘pub’ days: Bell, Conner, Mirsadeghi, Smith, Warriner, Webb, Conner

By

Kristen LaRue-Sandler

Five faculty members (one of whom is an alum) and two graduate students in the ASU Department of English announce the recent or forthcoming launch of exciting new work. In this round of highly anticipated publications are a novel, two poetry collections, two research journals and an edited volume, covering topics from cli-fi to cat poetry to computers and composition.

 

Appleseed (Custom House/William Morrow, 2021)

Matt Bells newest novel, a book “that explores the small but powerful magic contained within every single apple,” has been named a best book of summer by The New York Times. From the publisher:

In eighteenth-century Ohio, two brothers travel into the wooded frontier, planting apple orchards from which they plan to profit in the years to come. As they remake the wilderness in their own image, planning for a future of settlement and civilization, the long-held bonds and secrets between the two will be tested, fractured and broken—and possibly healed.

Fifty years from now, in the second half of the twenty-first century, climate change has ravaged the Earth. Having invested early in genetic engineering and food science, one company now owns all the world’s resources. But a growing resistance is working to redistribute both land and power—and in a pivotal moment for the future of humanity, one of the company’s original founders will return to headquarters, intending to destroy what he helped build.

A thousand years in the future, North America is covered by a massive sheet of ice. One lonely sentient being inhabits a tech station on top of the glacier—and in a daring and seemingly impossible quest, sets out to follow a homing beacon across the continent in the hopes of discovering the last remnant of civilization.

Hugely ambitious in scope and theme, Appleseed is the breakout novel from a writer “as self-assured as he is audacious” (NPR) who “may well have invented the pulse-pounding novel of ideas” (Jess Walter). Part speculative epic, part tech thriller, part reinvented fairy tale, Appleseed is an unforgettable meditation on climate change; corporate, civic, and familial responsibility; manifest destiny; and the myths and legends that sustain us all.

Bell is an associate professor in the ASU Department of English’s creative writing program.

 

The Body He Left Behind (Cider Press Review, 2021)

Reese Conner’s poetry manuscript won the 2020 Cider Press Review Editor’s Prize Book Award. From the publisher:

Is a dry knowingness the defining quality of the 21st century so far—causing us to always define meaning down to menace? Did the 20th Century so gird us for loss that deep into the 21st, we can only broach the subject of tenderness with eight layers of disclaimer and self-defense? Here comes Reese Conner saying so: we know this, he writes over and over: happiness “unspools,” violence erases it. And yet Conner is also eking out of himself not just filial love for a gentle father or passionate engagement with a lover, but devotional attention to—doomed, or death-purveying (for chipmunks, mice, birds) or already-themselves-kaput—cats. Cats! A multitude? or only one, only Lewis, who is not practical, whose impractical, unexpected power is to undo what Conner “knows,” to make room in all our hearts for the unexpected, un-braced-for survival of besottedness and care.

—Sally Ball, author of Hold Sway

R. Conner is an instructor in the Department of English’s Writing Programs. He is also an alum, holding a Master of Fine Arts earned at ASU in 2015.

 

Garden in a Seed (Bahar Books, 2021)

Nazanin Mirsadeghi’s book of poems is released by a press that specializes in Persian language and culture. From the publisher:

Garden in a Seed is a collection of modern poems touching on the subjects of self-worth, love, loss, and survival. The poems in this collection reflect the emotional struggles of women, especially when it comes to discovering their true and authentic voices. These short poems shed light on the enormous strengths hidden in the human soul. They remind us that despite experiencing despair and sorrow, we are all capable of healing.

Mirsadeghi is a student in the online Master of Arts in English program at ASU.

 

CALICO Journal 38:2 (2021)

Bryan Smith and Ana Oskoz co-edit this journal issue on focused on how digital language instruction should move forward within and beyond the pandemic. From the editors’ introduction, titled “One Year Later”:

Even with an enhanced general proficiency in teaching with technology, there will be a continuing need for CALL expertise, moving forward. After all, we don’t only need skilled general practitioners in medicine, but specialists as well. CALL experts will also need to help their departments design the right mix of F2F and virtual meetings—and what those digital environments should look like, based on the local context. Perhaps in a year’s time we will be writing about a change in mindset about technology that has occurred. Perhaps we will be discussing how language teachers have embraced a “new normal” of using technology in language teaching. We have a rare opportunity to rethink our relationship to technology for language teaching and learning in a way that is forward thinking and equitable for all involved.

Smith is a professor in the ASU Department of English’s writing, rhetorics and literacies program.

 

Extending Applied Linguistics for Social Impact: Cross-Disciplinary Collaborations in Diverse Spaces of Public Inquiry (Bloomsbury, 2021)

Doris Warriner and Elizabeth R. Miller co-edit this anthology of essays on how those who study language can and do respond to contemporary social issues. From the publisher:

Drawing on--but also extending--the theories and methods of applied linguistics, this book demonstrates how scholars of language might work together and with non-language specialists to address pressing concerns and issues of our time. Chapters explore efforts to recognize the legitimacy of stigmatized language varieties in public and institutional domains, museum-based science education for linguistically diverse children, how corpus analysis might illuminate the tension between the language choices and commitments of certain leaders, the embodied and artistic forms of meaning-making that challenge norms of Whiteness, and the transformative power of translanguaging in community-based theater.

In addition, the volume demonstrates ways to enhance equity in healthcare delivery for immigrant families, examines the experiences of cultural health navigators working with refugee-background families, and highlights the value of raising public awareness of language issues related to social justice. These accounts show that applied linguists stand ready to interface with other scholars, other institutions, and the public to make socially-engaged and impactful contributions to the study of language, society, education, and access. Collectively, the authors respond to an important gap in the field and take a significant step towards a more socially-just, accessible, and inclusive approach to applied linguistics.

Warriner is a professor in the writing, rhetorics and literacies program and associate chair for personnel in the Department of English at ASU.

 

Computers and Composition: An International Journal 60 (June 2021)

Patricia Webb and Savanna Conner are guest editors of this special issue themed “Using Writing Technologies to Connect Multiple Stakeholders of Composition Studies,” which explores both literal and figurative connectivity in writing studies. According to the publisher:

Computers and Composition: An International Journal is devoted to exploring the use of computers in writing classes, writing programs, and writing research. It provides a forum for discussing issues connected with writing and computer use. It also offers information about integrating computers into writing programs on the basis of sound theoretical and pedagogical decisions, and empirical evidence. Computers and Composition welcomes articles, reviews, and letters to the editors that may be of interest to readers, including descriptions of computer-based composition and/or reading instruction, discussions of topics related to multimodal composing; explorations of controversial ethical, legal, or social issues related to the use of computers in composition programs; discussions of professional development and teacher education; explorations of tenure and promotion issues for scholars who work in electronic environments; studies of digital literacy; and discussions of how computers affect the form and content of discourse, the process by which discourse is produced, or the impact discourses have on audiences.

Webb is an associate professor in the ASU Department of English’s writing, rhetorics and literacies program.

S. Conner is a PhD student in the ASU Department of English’s writing, rhetorics and literacies program.