Covers of books by Natalie Diaz, Alberto Rios and Elly van Gelderen

Happy ‘pub’ days: Diaz, Ríos, van Gelderen


Kristen LaRue-Sandler

Three Department of English faculty are shepherding new and relaunched books to publication in late 2020. Recent and forthcoming titles include a celebrated poetry collection in a U.K. edition, a poet laureate’s “picaresque novel,” and a volume of peer-reviewed papers from an ASU-hosted linguistics conference.


Postcolonial Love Poem (Faber & Faber, 2020)

Natalie Diaz’s newest book of poems, first published in a U.S. edition by Graywolf Press, is shortlisted for the British Forward Prize and is a recommendation of the Poetry Book Society. According to its U.K. publisher:

Postcolonial Love Poem is a thunderous river of a book, an anthem of desire against erasure. It demands that every body carried in its pages – bodies of language, land, suffering brothers, enemies and lovers – be touched and held. Here, the bodies of indigenous, Latinx, black and brown women are simultaneously the body politic and the body ecstatic, and portrayed with a glowing intimacy: the alphabet of a hand in the dark, the hips’ silvered percussion, a thigh’s red-gold geometry, the emerald tigers that leap in a throat. In claiming this autonomy of desire, language is pushed to its dark edges, the astonishing dune fields and forests where pleasure and love are both grief and joy, violence and sensuality.

Natalie 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. Her poetry questions what kind of future we might create, built from the choices we make now – how we might learn our own cures and “go where there is love.”

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


A Good Map of All Things: A Picaresque Novel (University of Arizona Press, 2020)

Alberto Ríos’s new collection of linked stories takes place on the U.S./Mexico border. According to the publisher:

In Alberto Álvaro Ríos’s new picaresque novel, momentous adventure and quiet connection brings twenty people to life in a small town in northern Mexico. A Good Map of All Things is home to characters whose lives are interwoven but whose stories are their own, adding warmth and humor to this continually surprising communal narrative. The stories take place in the mid-twentieth century, in the high desert near the border—a stretch of land generally referred to as the Pimería Alta—an ancient passage through the desert that connected the territory of Tucson in the north and Guaymas and Hermosillo in the south. The United States is off in the distance, a little difficult to see, and, in the middle of the century, not the only thing to think about. Mexico City is somewhere to the south, but nobody can say where and nobody has ever seen it.

Ríos has created a whimsical yet familiar town, where brightly unique characters love fiercely and nurture those around them. The people in A Good Map of All Things have secrets and fears, successes and happiness, winters and summers. They are people who do not make the news, but who are living their lives for the long haul, without lotteries or easy answers or particular luck. Theirs is the everyday, with its small but meaningful joy. Whether your heart belongs to a small town in Mexico or a bustling metropolis, Alberto Álvaro Ríos has crafted a book that is overflowing with comfort, warmth, and the familiar embrace of a tightly woven community.

Ríos, a Regents Professor of English and University Professor of Letters, directs the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at ASU, where he holds the further distinction as the Katharine C. Turner Chair in English.


Perspectives on Arabic Linguistics XXXII: Papers Selected from the Annual Symposium on Arabic Linguistics, Tempe, Arizona, 2018 (John Benjamins, 2020)

Elly van Gelderen is editor of this ninth volume in the press’s Perspectives on Arabic Linguistics series. According to the publisher:

This volume presents a collection of seven peer-reviewed articles on Arabic phonetics, phonology, syntax, semantics, and applied linguistics. The authors address stress assignment, the phenomenon of 'imala, the place of articulation of the dorsal fricative, the structure of correlatives, the CP layer, sluicing and sprouting, and clinical linguistics. They do so by using data from Standard Arabic, and from Egyptian, Jordanian, Palestinian, and Saudi Arabian varieties of Arabic. The book will be of interest to linguists working in descriptive and theoretical areas of Arabic linguistics.

Van Gelderen is Regents Professor in the ASU Department of English’s linguistics and applied linguistics program.

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