Publications

    Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers: Poems
    Skeets, Jake. Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers: Poems. Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    Selected by Kathy Fagan as a winner of the 2018 National Poetry Series, Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers is a debut collection of poems by a dazzling geologist of queer eros. Drunktown, New Mexico, is a place where men 'only touch when they fuck in a backseat.' Its landscape is scarred by violence: done to it, done on it, done for it. Under the cover of deepest night, sleeping men are run over by trucks. Navajo bodies are deserted in fields. Resources are extracted. Lines are crossed. Men communicate through beatings, and football, and sex. In this place, 'the closest men become is when they are covered in blood / or nothing at all.' But if Jake Skeets's collection is an unflinching portrait of the actual west, it is also a fierce reclamation of a living place'full of beauty as well as brutality, whose shadows are equally capable of protecting encounters between boys learning to become, and to love, men. Its landscapes are ravaged, but they are also startlingly lush with cacti, yarrow, larkspur, sagebrush. And even their scars are made newly tender when mapped onto the lover's body: A spine becomes a railroad. 'Veins burst oil, elk black.' And 'becoming a man / means knowing how to become charcoal.' Rooted in Navajo history and thought, these poems show what has been brewing in an often forgotten part of the American literary landscape, an important language, beautiful and bone dense. Sculptural, ambitious, and defiantly vulnerable, the poems of Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers are coal that remains coal, despite the forces that conspire for diamond, for electricity.
    The Removed: A Novel
    Hobson, Brandon. The Removed: A Novel. New York: Ecco, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

     "Steeped in Cherokee myths and history, a novel about a fractured family reckoning with the tragic death of their son long ago--from National Book Award finalist Brandon Hobson"-- Provided by publisher.

    "Quah, Oklahoma. In the fifteen years since their teenage son, Ray-Ray, was killed in a police shooting, the Echota family has been suspended in private grief. The mother, Maria, increasingly struggles to manage the onset of Alzheimer's in her husband, Ernest. Their adult daughter, Sonja, leads a life of solitude, punctuated only by spells of dizzying romantic obsession. And their son, Edgar, fled home long ago, turning to drugs to mute his feelings of alienation. With the family's annual bonfire approaching-- marking both the Cherokee National Holiday and Ray-Ray's death-- each of them feels a strange blurring of the boundary between normal life and the spirit world." -- adapted from jacket

    Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth
    Smarsh, Sarah. Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth. New York: Scribner, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "During Sarah Smarsh's turbulent childhood in Kansas in the 1980s and 1990s, the country's changing economic policies solidified her family's place among the working poor. By telling the story of her life and the lives of the people she loves, Smarsh challenges us to examine the class divide in our country and the myths about people thought to be less because they earn less. Her personal history affirms the corrosive impact intergenerational poverty can have on individuals, families, and communities, and she explores this idea as lived experience, metaphor, and level of consciousness. Born a fifth-generation Kansas wheat farmer on her paternal side and the product of generations of teen mothers on her maternal side, Smarsh grew up in a family of laborers trapped in a cycle of poverty. Whether working the wheat harvest, helping on her dad's construction sites, or visiting her grandma's courthouse job, she learned about hard work. She also absorbed painful lessons about economic inequality. Through her experience growing up as the child of a dissatisfied teenage mother--and being raised predominantly by her grandmother on a farm thirty miles west of Wichita--she gives us a unique, essential look into the lives of poor and working-class Americans living in the middle of our country. Combining memoir with powerful analysis and cultural commentary, Heartland is an uncompromising look at class, identity, and the particular perils of having less in a country known for its excess. "--Dust jacket.
    The Wind in My Hair: My Fight for Freedom in Modern Iran
    Alinejad, Masih, and Kambiz Foroohar. The Wind in My Hair: My Fight for Freedom in Modern Iran. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "An extraordinary memoir from an Iranian journalist in exile about leaving her country, challenging tradition, and sparking an online movement against compulsory hijab. A photo on Masih Alinejad's Facebook page: a woman standing proudly, face bare, hair blowing in the wind. Her crime: removing her veil, or hijab, which is compulsory for women in Iran. This is the self-portrait that sparked My Stealthy Freedom, a social media campaign that went viral. But Alinejad is much more than the arresting face that sparked a campaign inspiring women to find their voices. She's also a world-class journalist whose personal story, told in her unforgettably bold and spirited voice in The Wind in My Hair, is emotional and inspiring. She grew up in a traditional village where her mother, a tailor and respected figure in the community, was the exception to the rule in a culture where women reside in their husbands' shadows. As a teenager, Alinejad was arrested for political activism and then surprised to discover she was pregnant while in police custody. When she was released, she married quickly and followed her young husband to Tehran, where she was later served divorce papers, to the embarrassment of her religiously conservative family. She spent years struggling to regain custody of her only son and remains in forced exile from her homeland and her heritage. Following Donald Trump's immigration ban, Alinejad found herself separated from her child, who lives abroad, once again. A testament to a spirit that remains unbroken, and an enlightening, intimate invitation into a world we don't know nearly enough about, The Wind in My Hair is the extraordinary memoir of a woman who overcame enormous adversity to fight for what she believes in and to encourage others to do the same."–Jacket
    Mind Platter
    Zebian, Najwa. Mind Platter. Kansas City, MO: Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "Mind Platter is a compilation of reflections on life as seen through the eyes of an educator, student, and human who experienced her early days in silence. It is written in the words of a woman who came from Lebanon to Canada at the age of sixteen and experienced what it was like to have fate push her to a place where she didn't belong. It is written in the voice of every person who has felt unheard, mistreated, misjudged, or unseen. The book contains over 200 one-page reflections on topics we encounter in our everyday lives: love, friendship, hurt, inspiration, respect, motivation, integrity, honesty, and more. Mind Platter is not about the words it contains, but what the reader makes of them. May this book give a voice to those who need one, be a crying shoulder for those who yearn for someone to listen, and inspire those who need a reminder of the power they have over their lives."–from Amazon
    Crying in H Mart: A Memoir
    Zauner, Michelle. Crying in H Mart: A Memoir. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "From the indie rockstar of Japanese Breakfast fame, and author of the viral 2018 New Yorker essay that shares the title of this book, an unflinching, powerful memoir about growing up Korean-American, losing her mother, and forging her own identity. In this exquisite story of family, food, grief, and endurance, Michelle Zauner proves herself far more than a dazzling singer, songwriter, and guitarist. With humor and heart, she tells of growing up the only Asian-American kid at her school in Eugene, Oregon; of struggling with her mother's particular, high expectations of her; of a painful adolescence (; of treasured months spent in her grandmother's tiny apartment in Seoul, where she and her mother would bond, late at night, over heaping plates of food. As she grew up, moving to the east coast for college, finding work in the restaurant industry, performing gigs with her fledgling band–and meeting the man who would become her husband–her Koreanness began to feel ever more distant, even as she found the life she wanted to live. It was her mother's diagnosis of terminal pancreatic cancer, when Michelle was twenty-five, that forced a reckoning with her identity and brought her to reclaim the gifts of taste, language, and history her mother had given her. Vivacious and plainspoken, lyrical and honest, Michelle Zauner's voice is as radiantly alive on the page as it is onstage. Rich with intimate anecdotes that will resonate widely, and complete with family photos, Crying in H Mart is a book to cherish, share, and reread"–
    Interior Chinatown
    Yu, Charles. Interior Chinatown. New York: Vintage, 2020. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "Every day Willis Wu leaves his tiny room in a Chinatown SRO and enters the Golden Palace restaurant, where Black and White, a procedural cop show, is in perpetual production. He's a bit player here too, but he dreams of being Kung Fu Guy-- and he sees his life as a script. After stumbling into the spotlight, Willis finds himself launched into a wider world than he has ever known, discovering not only the secret history of Chinatown, but the buried legacy of his own family, and what that means for him in today's America." -- from publisher's description.
    Caste Matters
    Yengde, Suraj. Caste Matters. Gurgaon: Penguin Viking, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "In this explosive book, Suraj Yengde, a first-generation Dalit scholar educated across continents, challenges deep-seated beliefs about caste and unpacks its many layers. He describes his gut-wrenching experiences of growing up in a Dalit basti, the multiple humiliations suffered by Dalits on a daily basis, and their incredible resilience enabled by love and humour. As he brings to light the immovable glass ceiling that exists for Dalits even in politics, bureaucracy and judiciary, Yengde provides an unflinchingly honest account of divisions within the Dalit community itself-from their internal caste divisions to the conduct of elite Dalits and their tokenized forms of modern-day untouchability-all operating under the inescapable influences of Brahminical doctrines. This path-breaking book reveals how caste crushes human creativity and is disturbingly similar to other forms of oppression, such as race, class and gender. At once a reflection on inequality and a call to arms, Caste Matters argues that until Dalits lay claim to power and Brahmins join hands against Brahminism to effect real transformation, caste will continue to matter." – Book jacket
    The Souls of Yellow Folk: Essays
    Yang, Wesley. The Souls of Yellow Folk: Essays. New York: W.W. Norton, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

    "One of the most acclaimed essayists of his generation, Wesley Yang writes about race and sex without the jargon, formulas, and polite lies that bore us all. His powerful debut, The Souls of Yellow Folk, does more than collect a decade's worth of cult-reputation essays – it corrals new American herds of pickup artists, school shooters, mandarin zombies, and immigrant strivers, and exposes them to scrutiny, empathy, and polemical force.

    In his celebrated and prescient essay "The Face of Seung-Hui Cho," Yang explores the deranged logic of the Virginia Tech shooter. In his National Magazine Award-winning "Paper Tigers," he explores the intersection of Asian values and the American dream, and the inner torment of the child exposed to "tiger mother" parenting. And in his close reading of New York Magazine's popular Sex Diaries, he was among the first critics to take seriously today's Internet-mediated dating lives.

    Yang catches these ugly trends early because he has felt at various times implicated in them, and he does not exempt himself from his radical honesty. His essays retain the thrill of discovery, the wary eye of the first explorer, and the rueful admission of the first exposed."–Dust jacket

    The Nickel Boys
    Whitehead, Colson. The Nickel Boys. New York: Doubleday, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    " As the Civil Rights movement begins to reach the black enclave of Frenchtown in segregated Tallahassee, Elwood Curtis takes the words of Dr. Martin Luther King to heart: He is "as good as anyone." Abandoned by his parents, but kept on the straight and narrow by his grandmother, Elwood is about to enroll in the local black college. But for a black boy in the Jim Crow South of the early 1960s, one innocent mistake is enough to destroy the future. Elwood is sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called the Nickel Academy, whose mission statement says it provides "physical, intellectual and moral training" so the delinquent boys in their charge can become "honorable and honest men." In reality, the Nickel Academy is a grotesque chamber of horrors where the sadistic staff beats and sexually abuses the students, corrupt officials and locals steal food and supplies, and any boy who resists is likely to disappear "out back." Stunned to find himself in such a vicious environment, Elwood tries to hold onto Dr. King's ringing assertion "Throw us in jail and we will still love you." His friend Turner thinks Elwood is worse than naive, that the world is crooked, and that the only way to survive is to scheme and avoid trouble. The tension between Elwood's ideals and Turner's skepticism leads to a decision whose repercussions will echo down the decades. Formed in the crucible of the evils Jim Crow wrought, the boys' fates will be determined by what they endured at the Nickel Academy." (Publisher's summary)
    A Little Life
    Yanagihara, Hanya. A Little Life. New York: Anchor Books, 2016. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    A Little Life follows four college classmates-broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition as they move to New York in search of fame and fortune. While their relationships, which are tinged by addiction, success, and pride, deepen over the decades, the men are held together by their devotion to the brilliant, enigmatic Jude, a man scarred by an unspeakable childhood trauma. A hymn to brotherly bonds and a masterful depiction of love in the twenty-first century, Hanya Yanagihara's stunning novel is about the families we are born into, and those that we make for ourselves.
    Carpentaria
    Wright, Alexis. Carpentaria. New York: Atria International, 2006. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    Steeped in myth and magical realism, this story exposes the heartbreaking realities of Aboriginal life as indigenous tribes fight to protect their natural resources, sacred sites, and above all, their people.
    Uncensored: My Life and Uncomfortable Conversations at the Intersection of Black and White America
    Wood, Zachary R. Uncensored: My Life and Uncomfortable Conversations at the Intersection of Black and White America. New York: Dutton, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

    "Rooted in his own powerful personal story, twenty-one-year-old Zachary Wood shares his dynamic perspective on free speech, race, and dissenting opinions--in a world that sorely needs to learn to listen. As the president of the student group Uncomfortable Learning at Williams College, Zachary Wood knows all about intellectual controversy. From John Derbyshire to Charles Murray, there's no one Zach refuses to debate or engage with simply because he disagrees with their beliefs--sometimes vehemently so--and this controversial view has given him a unique platform on college campuses and in the media.

    But Zach has never shared the details of his own personal story, and how he came to be a crusader for open dialogue and free speech. In Uncensored, he reveals for the first time how he grew up poor and black in Washington, DC, in an environment where the only way to survive was to resist the urge to write people off because of their backgrounds and their perspectives. By sharing his troubled upbringing--from a difficult early childhood filled with pain, uncertainty, and conflict to the struggles of code-switching between his home in a rough neighborhood and his elite private school--Zach makes a compelling argument for a new way of interacting with others, in a nation and a world that has never felt more polarized. In Uncensored, he hopes to foster a new outlook on society's most difficult conversations, both on campus and beyond."-- Provided by publisher.

     

    White Like Me: Reflections on Race From a Privileged Son
    Wise, Tim J. White Like Me: Reflections on Race From a Privileged Son. Brooklyn, NY: Soft Skull Press, 2005. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "From his experiences as a white anti-racist activist and white American, Tim Wise has crafted the first history of what it means to be part of the "majority" in America. Combining the emotion of personal stories with insights gleaned from fifteen years as an educator, White Like Me examines the ways in which whites reap the benefits of "racial preferences"--Whether or not they actively engage in racism. By critically assessing the magnitude of racial privilege and its costs - to people of color and whites as well - Wise provides a provocative memoir relevant to activists, educators, and average everyday folks seeking to understand why race continues to shape life in the United States."--Jacket.
    Written on the Body
    Winterson, Jeanette. Written on the Body. New York: Vintage, 1994. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

    From the cover:

    The most beguilingly seductive novel to date from the author of The Passion and Sexing the Cherry. Winterson chronicles the consuming affair between the narrator, who is given neither name nor gender, and the beloved, a complex and confused married woman.

    "At once a love story and a philosophical meditation."--New York Times Book Review.

    Outside the XY: A Bklyn Boihood Anthology
    Willis, Morgan Mann, ed. Outside the XY: A Bklyn Boihood Anthology. Riverdale, NY: Riverdale Avenue Books, 2016. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    An anthology of more than 50 stories, memoirs, poems, ideas, essays and letters–all examining what it looks like, feels like, and is like to inhabit masculinity outside of cisgender manhood as people of color in the world.
    Self-Portrait in Black and White: Unlearning Race
    Williams, Thomas Chatterton. Self-Portrait in Black and White: Unlearning Race. New York: W.W. Norton, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "A meditation on race and identity from one of our most provocative cultural critics. A reckoning with the way we choose to see and define ourselves, Self-Portrait in Black and White is the searching story of one American family's multigenerational transformation from what is called black to what is assumed to be white. Thomas Chatterton Williams, the son of a 'black' father from the segregated South and a 'white' mother from the West, spent his whole life believing the dictum that a single drop of 'black blood' makes a person black. This was so fundamental to his self-conception that he'd never rigorously reflected on its foundations – but the shock of his experience as the black father of two extremely white-looking children led him to question these long-held convictions. 'It is not that I have come to believe that I am no longer black or that my daughter is white,' Williams writes. 'It is that these categories cannot adequately capture either of us.' Beautifully written and bound to upset received opinions on race, Self-Portrait in Black and White is an urgent work for our time." (Publisher's description)
    Educated: A Memoir
    Westover, Tara. Educated: A Memoir. New York: Random House, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her "head-for-the-hills bag." In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father's junkyard. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara's older brothers became violent. As a way out, Tara began to educate herself, learning enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University. Her quest for knowledge would transform her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she'd traveled too far, if there was still a way home. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Tara Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education offers: the perspective to see one's life through new eyes, and the will to change it."–Provided by publisher
    How to fight anti-Semitism
    Weiss, Bari. How to fight anti-Semitism. New York: Crown, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "No longer the exclusive province of the far right and far left, anti-semitism finds a home in identity politics and the reaction against identity politics, in the renewal of "America first" isolationism and the rise of one-world socialism. An ancient hatred increasingly allowed into modern political discussion, anti-semitism has been migrating toward the mainstream in dangerous ways, amplified by social media and a culture of conspiracy that threatens us all. This timely book is Weiss's cri de couer: an unnerving reminder that Jews must never lose their hard-won instinct for danger, and a powerful case for renewing Jewish and liberal values to guide us through this uncertain moment. Not just for the sake of America's Jews, but for the sake of America"–from the publisher
    Lot: Stories
    Washington, Bryan. Lot: Stories. New York: Riverhead Books, 2020. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "In the city of Houston - a sprawling, diverse microcosm of America - the son of a black mother and a Latino father is coming of age. He's working at his family's restaurant, weathering his brother's blows, resenting his older sister's absence. And discovering he likes boys. Around him, others live and thrive and die in Houston's myriad neighborhoods: a young woman whose affair detonates across an apartment complex, a ragtag baseball team, a group of young hustlers, hurricane survivors, a local drug dealer who takes a Guatemalan teen under his wing, a reluctant chupacabra. With soulful insight into what makes a community, a family, and a life, Lot explores trust and love in all its unsparing and unsteady forms." (Publisher's description)

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