Publications on rhetorics of representation in U.S. literature include:
“Introducing Sustainability Topics with Ursula Le Guin’s ‘The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas’ and Richard Powers’ ‘The Seventh Event,” with Rachel Cohen. Literature as a Lens for Climate Change: Using Narratives to Prepare the Next Generation, Rowman & Littlefield: Lexington Books, 2022.
“Consoling Lines: The Edged Vision of Michael Anania.” From the Word to the Place: Essays on the Work of Michael Anania, Ed. Lea Graham. Mad Hat, 2022, pp. 199 – 209.
“Feeding on Truth, Living with Lies: The Role of Food in Imbolo Mbue’s Behold the Dreamers.” ANQ (American Notes and Queries), Routledge. 28 April, 2019. DOI: 10.1080/0895769X.2019.1604203
“Percival Everett’s Truth-Telling Fictions in Word & Image.” African American Review 51.2 (Summer 2018): 111-127. https://muse.jhu.edu/article/699341
Abstract: In Percival Everett’s Percival Everett by Virgil Russell (2013), the author uses words and images to carry out his metatextual investigation of poststructuralist theory even as he builds fictitious worlds of meaning. As in Glyph (1999) and Erasure (2001), Everett’s strong wit enriches the semiotic inquiry that underlies his clever tales. The novel unfolds as a methodological field where the author plays with shifting signifiers and meaning-making systems as he does earlier in various poems, stories, and paintings. Paradoxically, Everett asserts a solid reality located in a place he depicts via various differential modes of signification. His patterning toward abstraction in language and in paint involves not only the repetition of figures, tropes, sonic and visual elements, but also the evocation of earlier twentieth-century conceptual approaches to questions of representation including those that challenge notions of origin, presence, and truth. By examining the way Everett defamiliarizes the world of objects and ideas in Percival Everett by Virgil Russell and several of his paintings, mainly from There Are No Names for Red (2010), co-published with poet Chris Abani, I argue that the very ambiguity, indeterminacy, and contradictions of his forms serve as pictorial elements. His works present and enact the often mysterious and even chaotic human experiences of perception and cognition, and in that way involve elements of realism and mimesis. Everett at once revels in verbal/visual language’s ambiguity and semantic openness, and insists on its power to connect people and lend sense to an unpredictable and often surprising world.
This piece won second place for the Joe Weixlmann prize for best article on 20th/21st century African-American literature.
Lectures on the work of Willa Cather, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Kate Chopin, Zora Neale Hurston, Katherine Anne Porter, Adrienne Rich and Ursula Le Guin (not blind peer reviewed) The Literary Ladies’ Guide (2018).
“Sam Shepard’s Buried Child: Unearthing the Family Drama.” ANQ 29.1 (2016): 40-42. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/0895769X.2016.1180235.
“Aesthetic Radicalism: Langston Hughes’ Lost Translation of Federico García Lorca’s Bodas de sangre / Blood Wedding.” Modern Drama 57.4 (2014): 469-92. Co-authored with Dr. Michelle Woods.
Abstract: Langston Hughes’s long-lost translation of Federico García Lorca’s play Bodas de sangre / Blood Wedding (1933), Fate at the Wedding (1938), demonstrates a synchronicity between two 1930s aesthetic radicals who share a transnational perspective. Through his act of translation, Hughes not only perpetuates and amplifies Lorca’s concern with social issues, but he uses his own version of Lorca’s total theater, with its graphic and sonic effects, to deploy a unique blend of avant-garde European and fringe modernist styles of the Latin American and Caribbean worlds he knew intimately. Hughes’s act of translation opens a politicized space in the play that reveals his own aesthetic project, wrought in terms of color, vernacular discourse, and a hybrid notion of American musicality and culture. He thus melds his subversive message with Lorca’s own, and highlights the latent radicalism of the Spanish playwright’s aesthetics and politics. At a time when he was intensely politicized and often didactic in his writings on race and class oppression, Hughes chooses to infuse the experimental style of Lorca’s play with political potentiality, treating it as an internationalist study of the mechanics of oppression, without reducing it to a single political or racial reading.
“Telling Identities: Sherman Alexie’s War Dances.” American Indian Quarterly 38.2 (2014): 237-55.
Shortened links to the article online:
Project Muse http://bit.ly/Q9DcgI
“Facing Problems of Representation in Robert Olen Butler’s ‘Open Arms’ and ‘Letters from my Father.’” Amerikastudien /American Studies 57.1 (2012). 91-113.
Abstract: Robert Olen Butler carries out a postmodern critique of representation in “Open Arms” and “Letters from My Father” from his story collection A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain (1992). He depicts Vietnamese nationals and émigrés reacting against the limits of linguistic and graphic expression as they wrestle with instruments of communication. Signifying objects such as letters, photos, and film images participate in dramas of desire and loss, emphasizing rupture and distance rather than the meaningful contact they ostensibly promise. In turn, Butler’s two narrators reflect the author’s activity as they participate in acts of fictionalizing and interpreting other individuals. The characters analyze persons as objects, mediating their descriptions through the effects of narrative focalization and reflexive modes of storytelling. Butler’s Pulitzer Prize-winning collection demands careful attention as a work of American orientalist literature and demonstrates the way fiction writing has become politicized in the United States. These stories present an allegory of the late twentieth-century crisis of signification and open a space to explore the consequences of literary ethnographic colonization. Both the subaltern subject and Western imperialism haunt Butler’s fictions and, by extension, destabilize monolithic conceptualizations of the U.S. literary canon.
“Reading Through Fictions in Ursula Le Guin’s ‘The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas.” ANQ: A Quarterly Journal of Short Articles, Notes and Reviews 25.4 (Oct-Dec 2012): 228-32.
“Washington Irving’s Rip Van Winkle: A Dangerous Critique of a New Nation.” ANQ: A Quarterly Journal of Short Articles, Notes and Reviews 23.4 (2010): 216-22.
Publications on poetics, linguistics, and the visual arts include:
“Reframing Nature Within the Garden Walls: Feminist Ecological Citizenship in the Work of Louise Glück, Jeanne Larsen and Anat Shiftan.” Feminist Formations. Summer 2020: vol. 32, no. 2, pp. 136-162.
Abstract: Poets Louise Glück and Jeanne Larsen and ceramic artist Anat Shiftan use the theme of the garden to establish a commons of thought from which to negotiate questions of environmental preservation. Their aesthetic expressions reshape feminist eco-critical discourse to foster connection and frame productive responses to environmental crises. The garden-based work of these women provides a means to restore the lost connection between humans and the natural world, with an emphasis on feminist ecological citizenship. Through formal experiments involving the defamiliarization of human bodies, other natural phenomena, and the material media in which they operate, Glück, Larsen, and Shiftan call attention to ways we conceptualize the natural world and our relationship to it. Without offering technical solutions, they recapitulate complex social forms and structures that perpetuate ecological damage as well as collective actions that could lead to a sustainable future for the planet.
“’Hawk’s Shadow’: Confronting the Signs and the Significance of Sexual Predation on U.S. College Campuses and Beyond.” Engendering Difference: Sexism, Power and Politics. Eds. Victor Kennedy, Vesna Kondric Horvat, & Michelle Gadpaille. Cambridge Scholars (2018): 24-52.
ISBN(13): 978-1-5275-0919-1. Details here.
“Chekhov’s Three Sisters: A Proto-Post-Structuralist Experiment.” Theatre History Studies 36, (2017): 183 – 210.
“Methods and Models for Learning at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art” Journal of Learning Through the Arts 12.1 (2016) (University of California), Co-authored with Jennifer Waldo and Dennis Doherty.
“Janet Kozachek: Mosaic Artist and Poet-Painter.” Groutline 16.3 (Fall 2015): 8-9. SAMA (Society of American Mosaic Artists). [Not peer-reviewed].kozachek-groutline
“Charting the Body in Percival Everett’s re: (f) gesture.” In Critical Approaches to Percival Everett. UP Mississippi, (2013): 126-38.
“Beyond the Veil: Indeterminacy and Iconoclasm in the Work of Robert Hayden, Janet Kozachek, and Tom Feelings.” The Comparatist 36 (May 2012): 264-92. http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/the_comparatist/v036/36.wyman.html
Abstract: Robert Hayden employs innovative modes of signification to unveil and expose race-based violence in the United States. His works thus defy bildverbot traditions, or the customary injunction against representing the sacred or, in secular times, the secret. His strategies of indeterminacy and iconoclasm render his work pertinent to meaning-making debates in contemporary literature. While we live in a time of relative freedom of speech and expression, vestiges of the prohibition against depicting unrepresentable subject matter have led writers and artists to seek alternate aesthetic formulas that insist on historical realities even as they dismantle conventional realism. Hayden’s portrayal of the ostensibly sacred matter of a death by lynching emphasizes the materiality of the medium, (language), rather than the materiality of the desecrated body itself. By treating language as a concrete substance, the poet calls attention to his creative activity, and by extension, to the hidden or forbidden subject matter as well. Thus, the medium’s material qualities anchor the poem as does the space/time referent: Mississippi in the mid 1960s. Two visual works, Janet Kozachek’s Roadside Effigy (1995) and an image from Tom Feelings’ The Middle Passage: White Ships / Black Cargo (Dial 1995) employ parallel strategies of signification via absence and ambiguity. Like Hayden, both artists insist upon historic fact and the materiality of their medium (paint) to establish a sound grid structure from which to pose abstract questions.
“Plotting the Pixel in Remediated Word and Image” CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture. Purdue, 2011.
“How Paul Klee and Frank O’Hara Used Painted Image and Printed Word to Signify Worlds in Motion” Word & Image: A Journal of Verbal/ Visual Enquiry (Routledge 2010): 40-51.
“Imaging Separation in Tom Feelings’ The Middle Passage: White Ships / Black Cargo and Toni Morrison’s Beloved” Comparative American Studies (2009): 298-318.
“The Poem in the Painting: Roman Jakobson and the Pictorial Language of Paul Klee” Word & Image: A Journal of Verbal / Visual Enquiry (Routledge 2004): 138-154.
“Painting the Poetic Image: Lessons James Wright Learned from Modern Hispanic Poets” The Hispanic Connection: Spanish and Spanish-American Literature in the Arts of the World. Praeger, 2004. 399-410.
Sarah Wyman is the author of Sighted Stones (Finishing Line Press 2018). Her poems have appeared in Tiny Seed (2019) Ekphrasis 7.5 (Spring/Summer 2017), AMP (2017) The Vineyard Gazette (August 2016), Reading Objects (2015), Chronogram (June 2015), Home Planet News 2 & 5 (June 2015; Dec 2017), Aaduna (Summer 2014), Petrichor Review 3 (2013), Mudfish 17 (2012), The Shawangunk Review (2007; 08; 09), Riverine (Codhill 2007), and Quarry (1995). She was a finalist for the Richard Eberhart prize in poetry, the Stephen A. DiBaise, and the Judith Siegel Pearson poetry awards. De Medici Press published her prize-winning chapbook Shared Fruit in 1997. Her poem “Wet Exit” appears in A Slant of Light: Contemporary Women Writers of the Hudson Valley (Codhill 2013).