Spotlight: Wonderful Wasteland and other natural disasters

The aftermath of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane María left the people of Puerto Rico stranded in ruins of a country that is still in the process of being rebuilt. Citizens of Puerto Rico now face the realities of displacement as they work to reconstruct what has been left in the wake of these natural disasters.

In Wonderful Wasteland and other natural disasters, Elidio La Torre Lagares addresses both personal and universal experiences of coming to grips with the aftermath of this catastrophe as well as the frustration and loneliness exacerbated by the uncontrollable loss of home. Utilizing the rich Puerto Rican landscape and culture, before and after the hurricanes, La Torre provides an intimate perspective into the difficulties of surviving through the emotional and physical trials of an unforeseen disaster.

La Torre’s poems capture a range of poetic traditions, and reference poets such as Cesar Vallejo, T.S. Eliot, Emily Dickinson, and William Carlos Williams. The language used in these poems also emphasizes the absence of love and the inadequacy of a political system that has failed to successfully support the island during this humanitarian crisis. Wonderful Wasteland and other natural disasters is written to explore the vast difficulties that are a result of this disaster, from the physical impact on the island to individuals and communities struggling with loss of family and identity.

This is La Torre’s first collection written in English, broadening access to Latino and Puerto Rican poetry amidst a time of isolation for Puerto Rican citizens. La Torre’s work here is captivating and ambitious. The stunning language, form, and sheer imagination of each individual poem not only demonstrates a mastery of craft, but the poignancy of an author providing a voice for his community in light of tragedy.

This collection of poems will be available this Fall 2019. Preview the first poem here:

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Southern Kentucky Book Festival

This Saturday, April 27th be sure to head over to the Knicely Conference Center in Bowling Green, KY for the 21st annual Southern Kentucky Book Festival to meet local authors, purchase signed copies, and promote the local literacy movement of the region.

Over 150 authors will be featured at the festival, including several from University Press of Kentucky. Featured UPK titles include:

Richard Taylor’s Elkhorn: Evolution of a Kentucky LandscapeSilas House’s Something’s Rising: Appalachians Fighting Mountaintop Removal, Jennifer S. Kelly’s Sir Barton and the Making of the Triple Crown, Milton C. Toby’s Taking Shergar: Thoroughbred Racing’s Most Famous Cold Case, Ingo Trauschweizer’s Maxwell Taylor’s Cold War: From Berlin to Vietnam, Lowell H. Harrison and James C. Klotter’s A New History of Kentucky, Michael T. Benson and Hal R. Boyd’s College for the Commonwealth: A Case for Higher Education in American Democracy, John I. Gilderbloom’s Chromatic Homes: The Joy of Color in Historic Places, Maggie Green’s The Kentucky Fresh Cookbook, Dan and Judy Dourson’s Wildflowers and Ferns of Red River Gorge and the Greater Red River Basin, James Duane Bolin’s Adolph Rupp and the Rise of Kentucky Basketball, Jonathan S. Cullick’s Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men: A Reader’s Companion, and Lamar Herrin’s Fishing the Jumps: A Novel.

Free admission and no registration required. Come down to check out these great titles and to support your favorite local authors!

 

National Poetry Month

“The only thing that can save the world is the reclaiming of the awareness of the world. That’s what poetry does.” – Allen Ginsberg

In honor of National Poetry Month, here’s a spotlight on a selection of our published poetry collections:

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Mend

The inventor of the speculum, J. Marion Sims, is celebrated as the “father of modern gynecology,” and a memorial at his birthplace honors “his service to suffering women, empress and slave alike.” These tributes whitewash the fact that Sims achieved his surgical breakthroughs by experimenting on eleven enslaved African American women. Lent to Sims by their owners, these women were forced to undergo operations without their consent. Today, the names of all but three of these women are lost.

In Mend: Poems, Kwoya Fagin Maples gives voice to the enslaved women named in Sims’s autobiography: Anarcha, Betsey, and Lucy. In poems exploring imagined memories and experiences relayed from hospital beds, the speakers challenge Sims’s lies, mourn their trampled dignity, name their suffering in spirit, and speak of their bodies as “bruised fruit.” At the same time, they are more than his victims, and the poems celebrate their humanity, their feelings, their memories, and their selves. A finalist for the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Donald Hall Prize for Poetry, this debut collection illuminates a complex and disturbing chapter of the African American experience.

Black Bone: 25 Years of the Affrilachian Poets

The Appalachian region stretches from Mississippi to New York, encompassing rural areas as well as cities from Birmingham to Pittsburgh. Though Appalachia’s people are as diverse as its terrain, few other regions in America are as burdened with stereotypes. Author Frank X Walker coined the term “Affrilachia” to give identity and voice to people of African descent from this region and to highlight Appalachia’s multicultural identity. This act inspired a group of gifted artists, the Affrilachian Poets, to begin working together and using their writing to defy persistent stereotypes of Appalachia as a racially and culturally homogenized region.

After years of growth, honors, and accomplishments, the group is acknowledging its silver anniversary with Black Bone. Edited by two newer members of the Affrilachian Poets, Bianca Lynne Spriggs and Jeremy Paden, Black Bone is a beautiful collection of both new and classic work and features submissions from Frank X Walker, Nikky Finney, Gerald Coleman, Crystal Wilkinson, Kelly Norman Ellis, and many others. This illuminating and powerful collection is a testament to a groundbreaking group and its enduring legacy.

A Girl’s A Gun

Haunting and candid, A Girl’s A Gun introduces a poet whose bold voice merges heightened lyricism with compelling narrative. Steeped in storytelling traditions, the poems in Rachel Danielle Peterson’s debut collection exhibit linguistic dexterity and mastery of form as the poet mixes lyrical paragraphs, sonnets, and interview-style poems with free verse.

Taken together, the poems present the coming-of-age story of a girl born in the mountains of rural eastern Kentucky, tracing her journey into a wider world of experience. While the early poems are steeped in Appalachian speech and culture—a hybrid of a child’s diction and regional dialect—the language shifts as the collection progresses, becoming more standard. The speaker engages with hard issues surrounding gender and violence in contemporary life and explores what it means to be an artist in a culture that favors a literal interpretation of reality. Exploring issues of identity, place, and the call to create, this collection tackles subjects that will shock, touch, and bewilder readers while giving voice to an underrepresented and perhaps even unprecedented perspective in poetry.

The New and Collected Poems of Jane Gentry

Jane Gentry (1941–2014) possessed an uncanny ability to spin quietly expansive and wise verses from small details, objects, and remembered moments. The hallmarks of her work are insight into nature, faith, the quotidian, and—perhaps most prominently—the grounding of her home and family in the state of Kentucky. This innovative poet and critic was for many years one of the animating spirits of literary life in the region.

Gentry and her daughters collaborated with editor Julia Johnson to organize this definitive collection. The result is an important literary anthology that assembles Gentry’s most celebrated poems alongside new, previously unpublished works. Johnson uses Gentry’s own methodology to arrange the poems in sequences comparable to those found in her previous collections. This organization showcases the range of the poet’s work and the flexibility of her style, which is sometimes ironic and humorous; sometimes poignant; but always clear, intelligent, and revelatory.

This volume includes two full-length collections of poetry in their entirety—A Garden in Kentucky and Portrait of the Artist as a White Pig. The final section features Gentry’s unpublished work, bringing together her early poems, verses written for loved ones, and a large group of more recent work that may have been intended for future collections. Alternately startling and heart-wrenching, The New and Collected Poems of Jane Gentry offers a valuable retrospective of the celebrated poet’s work.

The Price of Scarlet

A honeycomb long vacated by honeybees still possesses an “echo of the swarm, / a lingering song.” Living things are made and make themselves: “My bones came first. / Like long needles, / they knitted muscle / and tendon / and tissue and skin. / Filled themselves / with marrow.”

In her debut collection, Brianna Noll fuses the scientific and fantastic, posing probing questions that explore the paradoxes of experience. Interweaving themes of creation, art, and nature, the poet gives voice to animate and inanimate figures such as woolly mammoths, star-nosed moles, cells, mylar balloons, and puzzle boxes. Her vivid poems obscure the line between what is literal and what is figurative. The result is alchemic and ethereal—each verse intricately layered with sharp observation as well as emotional and intellectual exploration and questioning.

Collectively, the poems draw significantly on Japanese culture and language in their imagery, with cultural nuances and implications embedded in words and expressions. They tend to be tied, not to subjects, but to ways of seeing and considering the world. Noll’s lyrical voice reflects a curious and imaginative approach that results in tight poems, typically enjambed, which build together into a thoughtful collection. Her work offers ways of seeing and considering the world that exceed our lived experience, begging the reader to consider how far we are willing to go when faced with roadblocks, doubts, and uncertainties.

Kentucky Crafted 2019

The Kentucky Crafted Market is March 15-17 at the Alltech Arena of the Kentucky Horse Park. Come out to enjoy the live music, specialty food, arts and crafts, and all of your favorite Kentucky/regional books from UPK. Organized by the Kentucky Arts Council, the Market will include nearly 200 exhibitors, and you can find us at booth #241, on the left of the public entrance and the west concourse. We will be near the concessions, as well as right beside Acclaim Publishing.

Here are some of our new and recent releases that will be available during the Market!

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Be sure to stop by our booth on Saturday, March 16 between 3:00 and 6:00 pm. Author Mike Norris will be signing copies of Mommy Goose: Rhymes from the Mountains, singing a few songs, and playing guitar!

Friday the 15th is exclusively for wholesale buyers—more information found here—but doors open to the public at 10 am on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets can be ordered in advance online and will be $8 at the door. Parking is $5. See you there!

UPK’s Spring 2019 catalog is here!

The University Press of Kentucky’s Spring and Summer 2019 catalog is now out! Featuring such titles as The US Senate and the Commonwealth, Sir Barton and the Making of the Triple Crownand Adolph Rupp and the Rise of Kentucky Basketball, there’s something for everyone.

Check out our new releases!

UPK is also proud to announce the launch of two imprints: Andarta Books (in partnership with Brécourt Academic, publisher of Global War Studies) and South Limestone. Combining original research and top-level scholarship, Andarta Books will publish works in a variety of subject areas such as military/naval history, air power studies, diplomatic history, and intelligence studies. Decision in the Atlantic: The Allies and the Longest Campaign of the Second World War is the first title from Andarta Books, while Wildflowers and Ferns of Red River Gorge and the Greater Red River Basin and Wild Yet Tasty: A Guide to Edible Plants in Eastern Kentucky are the first titles for South Limestone.

Take a look at forthcoming books in the Screen Classics series!

Many of our other series have new titles, too. Sir Barton and the Making of the Triple Crown will be the most recent installment in the Horses in History series, while The Soldier Image and State Building in Modern China, 1924-1945 is part of the Asia in the New Millennium series. Foreign Friends: Syngman Rhee, American Exceptionalism, and the Division of Korea and Lincoln, Seward, and US Foreign Relations in the Civil War Era are forthcoming in the Studies in Conflict, Diplomacy, and Peace series. Coming in April, Biplanes at War: US Marine Corps Aviation in the Small War Eras, 1915-1934 and Lectures of the Air Corps Tactical School and American Strategic Bombing in World War II will be the first members of the Aviation and Air Power series.

Multiple of our Association of the United States Army (AUSA) series have upcoming releases as well. Click here to find them.

The catalog also includes a novel from Aga Khan Prize for Fiction winner Lamar Herrin, a work that explores pop culture and what can happen when people move beyond the borders of law and order, and an edited collection inspired by a recent photography exhibition at the University of Louisville.

And don’t forget to see what is new in paperback!

Johnny Cox Named 2019 SEC Legend

Johnny Cox, a contributor in Doug Brunk’s Wildcat Memories: Inside Stories From Kentucky Basketball Greatswill be the University of Kentucky’s member of the 2019 Southeastern Conference Legends. This group of former stars will be honored during the 2019 SEC Tournament in Nashville, Tennessee.

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(Courtesy of the University of Kentucky Archives)

 

Cox’s time at UK was marked by two SEC Championships and a national championship. He was also a three-time All-SEC performer, as well as a NCAA Consensus First Team All-American in 1959. Over the course of his three seasons, he averaged 17.4 points per game and 12.0 rebounds, and he is one of only a handful of players to have recorded more than 1,000 career points and rebounds. Since his time at UK, his No. 24 jersey has been retired and he has been inducted into the UK Athletics Hall of Fame.

 

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“When my jersey was retired in the rafters of Rupp Arena I remember feeling like I’d done something worthwhile. I suppose I was successful in basketball at UK because I spent a lot of time fooling with the game, kept trying to get better. When you spend a lot of time doing something, and you don’t deviate from it, you get results.”

Johnny Cox in Wildcat Memories

 

Meet the Press: Patty Weber, Production and Publishing Services Manager

Name: Patty Weber

Position: Production and Service Center Manager

Hometown: Baltimore, MD

Social Media Handles: @bookswrangler on Twitter

Alma mater; major; minor: B.A. in Art History from Goucher College; MLA in Liberal Arts from Johns Hopkins University


Tell us a little bit about your position at UPK.

I head up the Production department, and the soon-to-be-launched Publishing Services Center. Production is what happens at the end of the process of getting the book published: doing the typesetting, designing the cover, and getting the book printed and shipped. The Publishing Services Center offers all kinds of solutions to different kinds of projects, from journals to logo design to one-off special printings.

What’s one of your favorite UPK titles and why?

I got caught up reading Kentucky Heirloom Seeds by Bill Best and Dobree Adams when I was checking a book proof; it sucked me in!

If someone was visiting Kentucky for the first time and you were their tour guide, where would you take them? Any specific restaurants, landmarks, etc.?

I am a newcomer to Kentucky; I’m the one who needs the tour guide!

Do you have a favorite font? If so, what is it?

I love Doves Type, for the amazing story behind it.

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Did you know you wanted to work in publishing? When you were a kid, did you want to do something different as an adult?

When I was a kid, I wanted to be the person who names the Crayola colors.

What’s something most people don’t know about you? What’s a random factoid about yourself?

I collect pins! I have a bunch of brooches – some old, some new, some pretty, and some just wacky.

What was the last book you read? Would you recommend it? Why or why not?

I read Uprooted by Naomi Novik after it sat in my To-Read pile for a while, and I love it! It has a classic fairytale or folklore kind of flavor, and I couldn’t put it down.

If someone asked you to give them a random piece of advice, what would you say? Do you have a personal motto?

A positive attitude can be the secret to success. My motto is “It’s going to be great!”

If you could try out any job for a day, what would you like to try?

I still think it would be fun to name the Crayola colors.

patty weber