Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Critical look at Military History: Jean Norton Cru's War Books

After fighting in WWI, Jean Norton Cru realized that the prevailing accounts that made up a widely accepted military history were written by high ranking officials, most of whom never experienced front line combat. War Books is the result of Cru's effort to sift through the romanticized image of a soldier in war. His aim is to get to the true individual accounts of those who lived, toiled, and experienced the war on the front lines and endured life in the trenches.
Cru clearly outlines how he went about the critical process of dissecting military history. He lists age-old legends and common notions that civilians have about war and sets out to dispel them with the compilation of writings from those who really lived it. Cru helps you realize that as a civilian, one really knows nothing about being a soldier.
 
Cru identifies the main flaw in popular military history:
"It is inferior because it concerns itself with special facts, facts which the witnesses, the chroniclers, the historians of the time, all those whose writings constitute our only documents, have exercised their wits to misrepresent, through motives of patriotism, of vainglory, or of tradition."
 and Jean Norton Cru really hoped to provide a work that would prompt people to see that war is not glorious in any way:

"These testimonies will teach...that man comes to the point of making war only by a miracle of persuasion and deception...; that if people knew what the soldier learns at his baptism of fire, nobody would consent to a solution by force of arms; not friends, not enemies, not government, not legislative bodies, not voters, not reservists, not even professional soldiers."
War Books is great because it can knock some sense into any civilian that claims to know what it is to fight in a war and reminds the reader why war is completely senseless and unnecessary. It can also enrich one's perspective because it provides a raw and arguably more accurate military history; a favorable alternative to the common history that is rife with distorting pride.
More specifically, it can provide essential background knowledge for the English literature major because it was compiled by a veteran of World War I; a war characterized by an inhumanity that helped inspire Modernism and some of the greatest English poets and writers.

Get War Books now, on sale from SDSU Press.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Comic Relief for us all!: Hector Ortega's The Comic Trial of Joseph K. from SDSU Press


Hector Ortega’s stage adaptation of Franz Kafka’s The Trial is eerily pertinent to our times. Accused of some unknown crime and put through a wacky, illogical judicial system, Joseph K. feels the strange uncertainty of having his fate in the hands of simple-minded power trippers. What makes this The Comic Trial of Joseph K. is Ortega’s ability to pick up on Kafka’s humor latent in the original. It’s this humor that makes the gravity of Joseph’s circumstances easier to swallow and it breathes a sharp wit into the stage version. The book includes essays analyzing Ortega’s adaptation, giving the reader a better understanding of Joseph’s character and the importance of the comic element. The most beautiful is Ortega’s own essay in which he expresses a genuine passion for Kafka, his personal character, and his work.  Here are some excerpts from Ortega's essay:

"The truth is that the 'Kafkaesque' situation in which we continuously see ourselves involved in the offices of bureaucracy keep on making us experience feelings of impotence; we feel controlled by superior authoritarian forces that manipulate our lives."
Ortega also writes about the common misconception that Kafka had a dire attitude. The truth was that he held out hope for mankind, something so beautiful that we all need to inspire passion and action in us -not from fear- but from a source of love. 

"Kafka, like all prophets, is a man full of rage and pain, but, in spite of all commonplaces, like all prophets of desperation he is a man full of love for mankind, with hope in humanity. From him I have received the most hopeful and desolate phrase I have ever heard; it is a phrase from his diary: 'Even if there is no redemption in this world, we should all live as if there were.' It is the most beautiful example I have found of human dignity."
 It's with that same Kafka attitude that we face things like the Supreme Court saying that corporations are people and Congress passing next year's defense spending bill. Hector Ortega's The Comic Trial of Joseph K. can be inspiring now more than ever. Ortega brings out Kafka's view that no matter how far authority imposes injustice we must keep in mind that there are no "others," we work against injustice all while knowing that eventually everyone will be reminded of the things that make us human. Franz Kafka's convictions are the kind that can help shift the trajectory of mankind for the better.

Purchase a copy of Hector Ortega's The Comic Trial of Joseph K.: Text and Context from SDSU Press.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Perfect Gift for the (Thoughtful) Sports Fan or a Christmas Super Bowl Fan's Delight: Coroebus Triumphs: The Alliance of Sport and the Arts by Susan Bandy



Hit the image above for the the AMAZON instantlink

or here...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Border Lives! On Sale Now on AMAZON.com

Border Lives: Personal Essay on the U.S.-Mexico Border

Harry Polkinhorn, et al., eds.
(translated by Tomàs Di Bella and Harry Polkinhorn)

Border Lives explores the living, changing genre of the personal essay as it is being practiced along the U.S.-Mexico border. The seventh in the Binational Press border series (SDSU Press/UABC Press), Border Lives contains work by James Bradley, David Clayton, José Manuel Di Bella, Carlos Fabián Saravia, Emily Hicks, Ramona Mejía, William A. Nericcio, Harry Polkinhorn, Leobardo Saravia Quiroz, Gabriel Trujillo Muñoz 1995 | Trade paperback: 680 pages; illustrated ISBN 968-7326-43-3; $25 plus shipping/handling OR $5.00 (through January 31, 2012) plus shipping direct from AMAZON.COM

Here are some screenshots of the book:

the covers...



from an essay by William A. Nericcio



from an essay by D. Emily Hicks




Monday, November 07, 2011

A Couple of Scans from Our Massive FEDERMAN RECYCLOPEDIA VOLUME..... | Hardcover edition on sale now via AMAZON.COM

Our amazing Raymond Federman encyclopedia is on sale now via our cyberbookseller outlet mall @ Amazon.com



Below appear a couple of pages scanned at random from this Federmaniac opus!





Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Mind's Organs: Noam Chomsky's Modular Approaches to the Study of the Mind




The processes with which the mind perceives the outer world exist only in the abstract. Compared to the study of the body where we have tangible organs that we can dissect to discover a specific purpose, the mind has"mental representations" that serve to prompt the absorption of an outer concept.

But the thought of how much painstaking and meticulous work it takes to explain in words how these mental representations function can be discouraging. Thankfully, the world has Noam Chomsky and his book Modular Approaches to the Study of the Mind.

Chomsky outlines a way to study the cognitive systems that determine how humans understand external reality and does it with a clarity that dissolves whatever hesitation the reader had about even approaching the daunting subject. The more you read, the better you feel about your ability to understand and explain the concepts yourself.

Purchase a copy of this enlightening work here and click to read an interview with Chomsky about the mind's language organ.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Language by the Border: A phenomenon worth learning about now!


The regions that outline the border between Mexico and the U.S. give off a palpable energy unique to the specific dynamics between the two countries. Although many people can feel or sense this energy, it is difficult to pinpoint and define one of the innumerable aspects that -along with a million other factors- work together to create this atmosphere. Sergio Gómez Montero takes on the task of researching particular facets of border atmosphere and delineates how each of them affect and shape the way people use language along the border. Montero believes that research into the border language phenomenon will become increasingly important and hopes to establish the basis for this branch of study in
The Border: The Future of Postmodernity

Anyone that spends time in the immediate area surrounding the U.S./Mexico border can attest to the existence of a real cultural, economic, and political synthesis that undoubtedly creates a manner of communicating that slightly deviates from the national norm of both countries. Montero recognizes this and seems to be one of the first to develop a scholarly investigation into the formof speech and writing emerging from the one of the busiest international borders in the world.

The Border: The Future of Postmodernity endows the reader with knowledge of this emerging field of communication, giving them an edge on a very novel area of language studies.

Purchase a copy of Montero's pioneering work here.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Steven F. Butterman's Perversions On Parade: An in depth look at the work of Glauco Mattoso.





Perversions on Parade is the first extensive critical analysis of Brazilian author Glauco Mattoso's work. Author Steven Butterman asserts that Mattoso makes a significant contribution to postmodern literature as well as a worthwhile study of the potentialities of human sexuality. Butterman focuses on a variety of effects that Mattoso's work inspires. Rather than just brushing over its evident anti-aestheticism, Butterman discusses what that anti-aestheticism sets out to achieve. The answer is to bring to light the existence of a primal human sexuality that has been obscured and oppressed by the aesthetic standards of civilization. The book goes into how Mattoso's writing dares people to think beyond the societal structures of what's right and wrong or what actions or body parts are considered pleasurably satisfying and which are written off as disgusting. Once people take steps toward questioning the basis and validity of the rules, they are introduced to a new level of freedom and perhaps an unprecedented level of satisfaction.

Butterman also stresses that Glauco Mattoso's work is pertinent to gender studies,
considering how it breaks from the rigid conventions that a person can and should only obtain satisfaction from certain body parts of someone of the opposite gender.

Even more interesting is the connection that Butterman makes between Mattoso's increasingly transgressive work and how it parallels the progressive increase in social and
political freedom that occurred during the same time period in Brazil.

Whether you want to learn more about alternative modes of personal expression, gain a better more well-rounded understanding of human behavior, or study the dynamics between national politics and cultural movements, Steven Butterman's Perversions on Parade is an engaging, compelling, and exciting way of achieving any or all of those goals.

Purchase a copy here.
Click Here to visit Glauco Mattoso's official website!

...Butterman's analysis of Mattoso's work is irresistibly compelling if you're intellectually curious enough to seek an understanding of how or why the human animal develops fetishes. One famous example is Quentin Tarantino's love of feet, as seen here:

Friday, September 30, 2011

New Jane Goodall Movie | Get the "In the Shadow of Man" Distinguished Lecture Series, SDSU

SDSU Press and San Diego State University are big fans of Jane Goodall (and of primates in general). Click the image opposite to read about JANE'S JOURNEY in the LA Times.


After that, give some thought to ordering San Diego State University Press' JANE GOODALL classic, In the Shadow of Man (Distinguished Graduate Research Lecture, 4th) [Paperback]

Here's a trailer from the new film:


...and an interview with Goodall and Angelina Jolie:

Friday, August 12, 2011

Daniel Quirós' VERANO ROJO now available via AMAZON.COM from SDSU PRESS and HYPERBOLE BOOKS

Click the shopping cart for the instalink to some of Latin America's finest crime fiction!  Here's more on Daniel and his work {en Español} and some shots of the books cover materials...








Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Renato Barilli's Thrilling Enterprise: VOYAGE TO THE END OF THE WORD, from SDSU PRESS


Voyage to the End of the Word argues for a deeper literary dive into “intraverbal” play. Following the notion that conventional ways of expression are completely exhausted, Renato Barilli presents us with the idea that shattering the smallest unit of writing opens up a whole new world of unexplored expression for producers of literature. Inside the microscopic space of letters and in between linked syntagms that symbiotically rely on each other for significance, there exists a broad landscape in which one could play and create refreshingly original work. Barilli explains how the further breakdown of the smallest linguistic units facilitates the exploration of this new world. While it inevitably blocks off the conventional path, it forces the writer to turn around and see the vastness within the words and letters themselves. Barilli makes the reader truly feel the importance and excitement of exploring this literary path. If writers adopt the artistic implements of avant-garde art and music, they increase their navigability through this new world. Once the words are broken down, the boundaries of sight and sound are expanded, allowing the writer to create a unique work consisting of novel sounds, synthesized words, and a visual puzzle.

What makes it more exciting is the fact that the creation can be utterly contemporary with the employment of technology like audio recordings, film, typography, graphic design, and photocopies of original hand-written work. On another front, the venture into the word turns a work of literature into an interactive game between the writer and the reader. It becomes the inviting instigator of a playful, witty banter between
producer and consumer. An anthology of such work is provided in the second half of the book so the reader can experience what Barilli is talking about. His preceding arguments certainly build up anticipation in the reader and he or she arrives at the anthology with the eagerness of a child running towards the jungle gym.
This book is a treasure for anyone in search of a better understanding of experimental literature. Its meticulous discussion of linguistics and aesthetics makes terms and concepts easier to grasp and can be a great educational resource for professors. And a writer or poet in need of new avenues of expression can find this book invaluable in helping them discover that new outlet.
Purchase a copy of Voyage to the End of the Word now.


Arrigo Lora Totino is one of the featured writers in Barilli's anthology. The following video is an example of how audio and video enhances the experimental literary journey. Barilli writes:
"So, for example, the opportunity to work "within" the word, below the phrase, is today strongly called for and facilitated precisely by certain technological developments. The instruments of sound recording (records, electromagnetic tape) have enlarged the phonosphere and made it familiar and accessible to us, thereby rendering the phenomenon of homophony more incisive and present than in the past."
Watch Totino perform his work:


Click here for a larger version of the cover of SDSU PRESS's Barilli volume.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Top 5 Reasons to Scoop Up a Copy of Everett Gee Jackson' Goat Tails and Doodlebugs


First reason? It's a gorgeous book! But who is Everett Gee Jackson? and what is Goat Tails and Doodlebugs?  Jackson was a former professor and longtime chair of the SDSU Department of Art (now School of Art, Design, and Art History at San Diego State University). His lavishly illustrated Goat Tails and Doodlebugs reflects on his past, attempting to establish connections to his career as a painter. Unlike his previous books (for instance, Four Trips to Antiquity, also with SDSU Press) that document his experiences painting in Mexico and Central America, Goat Tails and Doodlebugs is a compilation of vignettes tracing all the way back to his early childhood years in Texas up and attempts to discover the progression and development of his artwork (example, below; more here).

Jackson delivers unique stories, both moving and captivating-- each story feels familiar and draws us into this special and intimate part of his life, giving us a real and profound understanding of who he is and how that was bound up with his painting. He shares memories that are emotional and lighthearted at the same time and that have the ability to make us laugh as well as cry. The stories are accompanied by his own illustrations and paintings, beautiful and captivating in themselves, that add much to the overall effect of the book.
The Fishing Barge
Everett Gee Jackson, 1933

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Flight of the Eagle: Poetry of the U.S.-Mexican Border

The Flight of the Eagle: Poetry of the U.S.-Mexico Border transforms the voices of eight different poets from the U.S. and Mexico into a beautiful, unique, and moving project.  If we lost you at poetry- maybe you've had a bad experience with it in the past or it's just not your thing- whatever the case may be, these are not your standard poems and are far from what you're used to reading.  Each poet has his/her own unique flavor; there's something, if not more, for everyone inside.   Every section has a different story to tell and a different way of telling it; however, as a whole they seem to stand together as one and speak the same words.  This collection of poetry is for the most part easy to read and accessible to the general public, however, this is not to say that the poems lack literary or academic value; they are in fact full of complex cultural and literary references.

They deal with issues about life on and beyond the U.S.-Mexican border; it is a fusion of experiences specific to border life such as gaining citizenship, adapting to American life, culture clash, mistreatment, and everyday struggles, as well as those more universal such as family, love, sex, loss, heart break, struggle, pain, death, and war.  While border life is for the most part the central focus of these poems, they are relatable, applicable, and insightful to people of all cultures and creeds.  Moreover, this project is not merely a study of the U.S.-Mexican border, but rather of borders in general, dealing with a broad spectrum of borders and liminal spaces such as sexuality, race, culture, and gender, thus reaching out to
all audiences.

This creative compilation of memoir, history, and voice captures and speaks for and about a community/people that fall beneath the radar, that are underrepresented and mistreated daily, and most importantly that when heard can teach us new ways of seeing, understanding, and living in the world; all we have to do is listen, or in this case read.

Listen to Jose Montalvo, one of the featured poets and also an activist, talk about and read some of his poetry!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Now Available! pacificREVIEW 2011...

The 2011 edition of pacificREVIEW: A West Coast Arts Review Annual edited by Lindsey Messner with undergraduates and graduate students from SDSU and published by San Diego State University Press; contributors include: Melissa Castillo-Garsow, Doug Cox, Jason Joyce, Paul David, Paris Brown, Shane Roeschlein, Joshua Gage, Vivekanand Jha, Alan Britt, Elisabeth Sharp McKetta, Kristin Berkey-Abbott, Frank Scozzari, Deepak Chaswal, Ken Poyner, James B. Nicola, Eric Barnes, M. Kaat Toy, Janice Pisello, Roger Camp, Kent Cooper, Scott McFarland, Guy J. Jackson, Stephen Lackaye, Catherine McGuire, Darren Fernando, Kelly Talbot, Carroll Susco, and Christopher Mulrooney.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

You Know Where You Are Now: A Look Inside Border Lives

There is no faster or more effective way to mainline the feeling of existential vertigo than spending time along the borderlands dividing Mexico from the United States of America. Life along this border is an incongruous, sensory-overloading experience: visions of ludicrous corporate wealth propelled by extreme social poverty; floating, malleable identities and competing histories; no fixed addresses; no clear, concise version of any one lasting truth to tie it all together.

It’s a psychically battering experience, but a rewarding one as well, in terms of expanded insight and cross-cultural empathy, and SDSU Press’s essay collection Border Lives: Personal Essay on the U.S.-Mexico Border/Vidas Fronterizas: La Crónica en la Frontera México-Estados Unidos , has all three—the battery, the insight, and the empathy—in spades.

The ten essays collected in Border Lives (each one presented back-to-back in Spanish and English translations) offer deeply personal and haunting snapshots of life and death along the border, but amidst the varying tones, backgrounds, and approaches employed by the writers here assembled, some common narrative threads emerge to provide the reader with an explosively visceral experience of life along this interzone of cultural, political, and economic conflict.

Strongest amongst these commonalities is the feeling that to live a border life is to experience a sense of disconnect on a daily basis, but a disconnect one cannot disassociate from. It’s always present, a source code of freeway signs and graffiti tags, bible verses and rock lyrics, corporate sloganeering and calls for la revolución, Prozac prescriptions and cocaine addictions, that constantly throw off one’s effort to express a thought as simply cogent as “This is who I am and this is where I’m from.”

In the end, this disconnect is what renders the essay as the perfect literary form to explore the vast complexities of life on the border. As SDSU Press Director Harry Polkinhorn puts it in the collection’s opening piece, essays “provide us with a unique blend of philosophical meditation, travel impressions, character sketch, autobiographical reference, and journalistic observation, all inflected by the wit, irony, or lofty sentiments which color the quality of their writer’s lives.”

The writers of Border Lives present the reader with stories both intimate in emotion and all-encompassing in scale: Gabriel Trujillo Muñoz undertakes a time-traveling dissection of his youth in northern Mexico and coming-of-age as a rock & roll-loving medical student in Jalisco; William Nericcio questions the tenets of memory and truth while exploring the contrast between border towns like Laredo, Texas, where class, not race, is the dominant factor in the social fabric of society, and San Diego, California, where ethnic and political prejudices assign class to each race; Emily Hicks injects a flair of performance art into her story of betrayal, breakdowns, and single motherhood; and James Bradley, amidst his own personal reflections of border life, ruminates on the United States’ shameful history of land-grabs, political power plays, and military interventions in Mexico, Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador.

Border Lives is an excellent resource for anyone hoping to gain a more comprehensive perspective on life along the U.S-Mexico border, but be warned: You may be thrown off by what you find when you get here. The landscape is jarring, jagged, much of it an industrial wasteland bled dry by corporate interests. People here travel through time-loops and commune with ghosts. The weight of history, and the desperate efforts of those who wish to re-write or wish it away, makes it nearly impossible to know where you’ve been, where you’re going, or who you even are anymore. The only thing that can be known along the border is where you are right now; the rest is up for grabs.



Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Fluxus! Our Best-selling Study of Fluxus by Owen F. Smith...

Click to enlarge
Fluxus: The History of an Attitude is based on the Owen F. Smith's exhaustive archival research tracking the physical remains of this fascinating interdisciplinary and international arts movement that began in the 1960s. In his dynamic introduction, Smith recalls how:

Fluxus was once called 'the most radical and experimental art movement of the sixties,' but for anyone seeking to learn more about the historical nature of Fluxus and its conceptual framework it might more readily seem to be just plain frustrating rather than radical. This is in part the case because Fluxus is historically complex and philosophically difficult to define. This very ambiguity, however, is an aspect of its radicality. Fluxus is both an attitude towards art-making and culture that is not historically limited, and a specific historical group. As an attitude, Fluxus is part of a larger conceptual development that is a significant, although often overlooked, current of the twentieth-century Western avant-garde. This attitude is in part traceable to the network of interrelated ideas about culture, politics, and society explored earlier in the twentieth century by the Futurists, the Dadaists, and the Surrealists. Some of these same ideas were later explored after World War II by artists associated with groups such as Letterism, International Situationism, Nouveau Realisme, and Fluxus itself.

Click to enlarge
Also, Smith claims the Fluxus is still very much alive today and that "Fluxus is by nature anti-reductivist, for it does not seek the illumination of some end or fact but celebrates participation in a non-hierarchal density of experience. In this way Fluxus does not refer to a style or even a procedure as such but to the presence of a totality of social activities. Fluxus seeks to shift from traditional utilitarian-based proscriptions to an open-ended, less evaluative participation in the processes themselves." Smith's singular study is emerging as one of the more important meditations on Fluxus--our SDSU Press volume is provided with a comprehensive bibliography and index.

Order it now from SDSU Press via Amazon.com.

New Books from SDSU PRESS and Hyperbole Books! Mark Wheeler, ed.DARWIN 150 Years of Evolution and Spencer Dew's ACKER Learning for Revolution

Buy these new books by Marc Wheeler and Spencer Dew here; high-res covers for the book appear below--just hit the images to enlarge...


Sunday, March 27, 2011

SDSU PRESS Announcing a New Collection of Essays on Charles Darwin

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Hyperbole Books! Studied in Graphic/Rhetoric Textbook


Hit the image to see it huge; this link for the googlebooks source.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

WORKING THE STONE; DIGGING UP THE PAST AND PRESENT

If you recognized either of these men, it was probably the one on the right, American novelist Herman Melville, author of Moby-Dick. But who's the other guy, you ask? 


His name is Paul Metcalf, Melville's great-grandson, and one of the authors of Working the Stone, a special SDSU Press volume published back in 2004--the author passed away in 1999. While they never actually met or had any contact, Melville died years before Metcalf was even born, their shared ancestry has had much influence on Metcalf's writings. Metcalf, in an interview, acknowledges American poets such as Pound and Williams as having been great influences on his writing career, traits plainly in evidence in the experimental style of Working the Stone. {Online you can find a cool interview here where Metcalf talks about his writings and influences, as well as his connection to and inheritance from great-grandfather Herman Melville, the protagonist of Genoa, one of Metcalf's other novels}

Let's get back to the real reason we're here; Paul Metcalf and Lucia Saradoff's Working the Stone: The Natural, Social, and Industrial History of the Village of Farnams, Town of Cheshire, County of Berkshire, Commonwealth of MassachusettsMetcalf and Saradoff take us on a visual and literary journey through the history of a town in New England called Farnams, home of a once booming and successful limestone quarry. The compilation of narratives and oral histories of the laborers who recall their experiences of working in the quarry, including the development of machinery that eventually replaced the need for the workers, not only gives us insight into life in Farnams, but of American life as a laborer as a whole. Metcalf and Saradoff also incorporate the geography and geology of the area into the text dating back hundreds of millions of years, through which we see how it was formed and learn about major events in American history that took place in Farnams or impacted its development, such as it having served as a place of refuge for runaway slaves traveling along the Underground Railroad, as well as the impact the Civil War had on the development of the quarry.

While factual evidence runs throughout the text, it is far from being the conventional fact-based historical documentation we are so used to. Rather, Metcalf and Saradoff play with the presentation of their collection of information and factual evidence, establishing a poetic, collective, visual, and thus beautiful voice that speaks the living history of Farnams.


Here's a glimpse at the photography featured throughout the text...




Wednesday, February 16, 2011

New Books Coming Spring 2011 from SDSU Press and Hyperbole Books! Spencer Dew on KATHY ACKER! Mark Wheeler et al on CHARLES DARWIN