UIUC Poetry Spotlight: Christopher Kempf

Christopher Kempf is Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of English, where he teaches in the MFA Program. He is the author of the poetry collections What Though the Field Be Lost (LSU, 2021) and Late in the Empire of Men (Four Way, 2017).

His scholarly book, Writing Craft: The Workshop in American Culture, is forthcoming from Johns Hopkins University Press. Recipient of a Pushcart Prize, National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and Wallace Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University, his poetry and creative nonfiction have appeared in Best American Poetry (2020), Boston ReviewGeorgia ReviewGettysburg ReviewKenyon ReviewNew England ReviewThe New Republic, and PEN America, among others.

Professor Kempf offers his reflections on a recently published poem by Eavan Boland below:

Eavan Boland’s poem “The Break-Up of a Library in an Anglo-Irish House in Wexford: 1964” offers a haunting meditation on the vulnerabilities and violences implicit in western empire.

“[T]he end of empire is and will always be / not sedition nor the whisper of conspiracy,” Boland writes, “but that // slipper chair in the hallway / that has lost the name / no one will call it by again.”

Boland is writing here about the 17th and 18th century mansions from which a Protestant Anglo-Irish aristocracy ruled over a predominantly Catholic population.  But she is also—and perhaps more importantly—diagnosing how power continues to encode itself in and through language.  Echoing Ezra Pound’s maxim that “if a nation’s literature declines, the nation atrophies and decays,” her words testify beautifully to the importance of an educated citizenry, one able to command language for its own uses rather than be commanded by it.  Boland neither celebrates nor mourns the passing of this aristocracy, but I detect in her tone a note of wistfulness, I think, for a richer, more accurate language—something wondrous has been lost, Boland suggests, even as something powerfully democratic has been gained.

I admire this ambivalence, and I am curious about its implications in the wake of an attack on the U.S. Capitol which, because of her untimely death, Boland never witnessed.

In a culture obsessed with “STEM” education and so linguistically impoverished, therefore, that we cannot distinguish between real and fake news, Boland reminds us that facility with language is the single most important—and contested—political instrument.  And poetry itself, Boland suggests, remains vital to both social justice and democratic belonging.

Watch Professor Kempf read Eavan Boland’s “The Break-Up of a Library in an Anglo-Irish House in Wexford:1964″ and a poem of his own, “National Anthem” on our Instagram!

Twitter Email

Happy Poetry Month!

Here is a roundup of some of the excellent new poetry and books about poets at the Literatures and Languages Library. To keep up on our new poetry, be sure to follow us on Instagram, where we post about all our latest books!

The Power of Adrienne Rich: A Biography by Hilary Holladay

This is the latest biography of the queer feminist icon and National Book award winning poet, Adrienne Rich. The book pays particular attention to Rich’s early life and the role of her parents and events on her development. Through Rich’s and other family members’ correspondence and interviews with people close to the poet, Holladay brings to life the writer whose poetry was at the forefront of American literature for decades.

Foxlogic Fireweed by Jennifer K. Sweeney

Winner of the Backwaters Prize in Poetry, this collection highlights the dynamic nature of place and space and the impacts our relationships and environments have on us- “a lyrical sequence of five physical and emotional terrains—floodplain, coast, desert, suburbia, and mesa—braiding themes of nature, domesticity, isolation, and human relationships.” Sweeney explores these themes from a distinctively feminine perspective. Her poetry and perspective is rooted in the physical rhythms of the natural world.

The Age of Phillis by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

This book is about the life and time of Phillis Wheatley, a Black poet, who was born in West Africa and later stolen and brought to Boston as an enslaved child. In 1773 she published a book of poetry and became a prominent literary figure. Jeffers employs her own poetry, based on rigorous archival research, to recontextualize Phillis’s life, to see beyond Phillis’s fame as a “literary or racial symbol” and find the person she was. Her poetry explores Wheatley’s childhood in Gambia, her life with her white owners, her experiences as a poet who achieved contemporary fame, and her eventual emancipation and life with her husband.

 The Swan of the Well by Titia Brongersma, Eric Miller

This is the first English translation of the works of Titia Brongersma, a 17th century Frisian poet.  Contemporary humanists hailed Bongersma as “Sappho reborn.”  Brongersma’s poetry is incredibly versatile in its scope and mixes genres and disciplines, such as mythology, epic poetry, history, and art. Key themes are: the poet’s love for Elisabeth Joly, her excavation of an ancient monument, her family, patrons, and friends, and the life of women. Eric Miller’s translation includes an introduction that provides context for Brongersma life and time and attempts to uncover some of her aspirations.

The Selected Works of Audre Lorde Edited by Roxane Gay

This book offers a selection of poetry and prose by Audre Lorde, with an introduction by Roxane Gay. Self-described as a “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,” Lorde’s work centers the experiences of Black and queer women. This collection makes clear why Lorde has remained an influential and crucial figure in the field of “intersectional feminism, queer theory, and critical race studies.” This is an essential reader for those new to Lorde’s work and an excellent companion for those who are more familiar.

Owed by Joshua Bennett

“You always or almost

always only the one

in the room

Maybe two

Three is a crowd

Three is a gang

Three is a company

of thieves        Three is

wow there’s so many of you”

Thus begins the poem Token Sings the Blues, one of the first poems in Joshua Bennett’s new book, Owed. The works in this book address the “aesthetics of repair.” They challenge the notion of insignificant aspects of daily life, discussing objects, people and spaces that are often overlooked. With Poems like Ode to the Durag and Ode to the Plastic on Your Grandmother’s Couch, Bennett not only calls attention to these objects, but he also centers the lived experiences of being Black in America.

Whatever Happened to Black Boys by James Jabar

This collection of poems from James Jabar is an exploration of Black maleness. Through his poems, which vary in form and genre, black boys tell their own stories. The black boys in this work are both fictional and real, and Jabar uses this play on reality, to tackle the archetype of Black maleness, both by breaking traditional forms of poetry and by telling stories from a range of perspectives. This is an exploration of identity, storytelling, and poetry, it also challenges the limited presentations of Black maleness in media.

 

Twitter Email

Black History Month: Cinema Studies Edition!

The Literatures and Languages Library houses a rich collection of books on black cinema. We present here a selection that confronts the racism and inequalities persistent in the Hollywood film industry

A Piece of the Action: Race and Labor in Post-Civil Rights Hollywood

by Eithne Quinn

This book details the struggles and transitions in Hollywood after the Civil Rights Movements of the 1960s. It describes the push for changes in the hiring processes, the calls for diversification of films and film crews, and the industry’s “ghettoization” of black made films. The book also discusses the ways that movies made in this period impacted American societal response to the post-Civil rights era. Quinn also discusses the film industry’s response to liberal pushes for equality in films and film making, which mostly culminated in institutional promises that made no real changes in the way things were done.

The Encyclopedia of Racism in American Films

by Salvador Murguia

“Whether subtle or blatant, racially biased images and narratives erase minorities, perpetuate stereotypes, and keep alive practices of discrimination and marginalization.”

This book traces the history of racism in the film industry and confronts instances of racism in specific films. From Birth of a Nation to Get Out, this encyclopedia investigates the use of racist tropes, narratives, stereotypes, and imagery deployed to depict Black and brown people. It discusses the lack of diversity in Hollywood, White Savior films, and the general disconnect between lived experiences and Hollywood depictions of traditionally underrepresented groups. To do this Murguia pulls from the work of film critics, industry people, scholars and activists, adding a “pop culture companion,” to the field of critical race studies.

The Hollywood Jim Crow: The Racial Politics of the Movie Industry                     

by Maryann Erigha

“As gatekeepers, Hollywood decision-makers actively create and maintain racial hierarchy in how they discuss, conceptualize, package, produce, and distribute movies and in how they stratify movies, actors and directors.”

This book focuses on the racial hierarchy in Hollywood, making use of well-known incidents like the #OscarsSoWhiteCampaign, and the leaked Sony emails. Erigha describes the pervasive and continued racial inequalities that are perpetrated by top industry execs and other white industry professionals. Erigha argues that creating and maintaining these racial divisions is an ongoing process, supported by the culture, practices, and discourses in the film industry. Exploring these tendencies and shedding light on the way these practices are harmful for people of color, and make diversifying the industry difficult, this book takes a look at the way Hollywood practices mimics Jim Crow systems.

Framing Blackness: The African American Image in Film

by Ed Guerrero

While this book is a few years older than the other recommendations, it is still a great addition to any Cinema Studies library. Author Ed Guerrero confronts the tropes, stereotypes, and imagery used in cinema to marginalize Black people, and center whiteness. It looks at the various and persistent framing of blackness as other, across movie genres and throughout film history. Guerrero describes the resistance and responses to this framing in Black Cinema, discusses the impacts of Blaxploitation, the growing expectations of Black audiences, and analyzes Black film stars, directors, and movies of the 1980s and 90s.

Twitter Email

Comics in the Time of Corona: Angoulême Prize Winners

Each year, the town of Angoulême in southwestern France plays host to the Festival International de la Bande Dessinée d’Angoulême (FIBD), which is frequently known as the Angoulême International Comics Festival. Started in 1974, the four-day event is devoted to the ninth art (as comics are often called in France) and celebrates achievements in the medium.

The Angoulême International Comics Festival also administers several prestigious prizes, referred to as Fauves (“Wild Cats”) in reference to FIBD’s mascot. The Angoulême Fauves honor the versatility and transgressive power of the art form. Prizes include the coveted Fauve d’Or (“Golden Wildcat”) for best comics album of the year, as well as prizes for best artwork, best script, and best new work in a series.

The festival is internationally renowned and typically attracts around 200,000 artists, journalists, and comics enthusiasts to Angoulême every January. Attendees typically take part in workshops, master classes, and panels dispersed throughout the city. However, as with many other highly-anticipated events, this year was far from typical. To accommodate the travel restrictions and social distancing requirements brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, FIBD was split into two parts. The announcement of the 2021 prize winners took place at its usual time in late January, while the in-person events are delayed until late June.

To celebrate the first part of the Angoulême International Comics Festival, the Literatures and Languages Library is highlighting Fauve winners coming soon to our collection. These French-language works, full of innovative story-telling and stunning visuals, will have you dreaming of Angoulême in June.

Click here to learn more about the prizes and prize-winners.

Cover art for Anaïs Nin sur la mer des mensonges

PRIX DU PUBLIC FRANCE TÉLÉVISIONS: Anaïs Nin, sur la mer des mensonges by Léonie Bischoff

Cover art for Paul à la maison

PRIX DE LA SÉRIE: Paul à la maison by Michel Rabagliati

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

cover art for Tanz!

PRIX RÉVÉLATION: Tanz! by Maurane Mazars

cover art for Black-out

PRIX GOSCINNY DU SCÉNARIO: Black-out by Loo Hui Phang and Hugues Micol

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

cover art for La Mécanique du Sage

PRIX DE L’AUDACE: La Mécanique du Sage by Gabrielle Piquet

 

 

Twitter Email

New Fiction Spotlight: The Secret Lives of Church Ladies

Cover art for the Secret Lives of Church Ladies

“I don’t question God,” declares the titular character of “Eulah,” the first story in The Secret Lives of Church Ladies.

“But maybe you should question the people who taught you this version of God. Because it’s not doing you any favors,” the narrator replies.

This exchange is at the crux of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, Deesha Philyaw’s debut short story collection. The collection is full of hope, heartbreak, hunger, and love. Its protagonists find themselves torn between the demands of church and family and those of their own bodies. They wrestle with their appetites, illicit or otherwise, and usually come out on top in one way or another.

The nine stories that make up The Secret Lives of Church Ladies span a wide array of turbulent and fascinating relationships with mothers, fathers, sisters, and lovers. In “Dear Sister,” a woman writes a letter to the half-sister she’s never met to inform her of the death of their father. In “Snowfall,” the narrator struggles to adjust to both the realities of living in a northern climate and her mother’s disavowal of her relationship with another woman.

Despite these tumultuous relationships, the stories are full of comfort—offered from sister to sister, daughter to mother, and lover to lover. These offerings are often in the form of food, whether it be homemade, fast-food, or frozen.

One of the collection’s most powerful stories, for example, is “Peach Cobbler,” which begins: “My mother’s peach cobbler was so good, it made God himself cheat on his wife.” Like many in the collection, “Peach Cobbler” deals with infidelity, unhealthy relationships, and the ache to be loved with wry humor and compassion.

Each story is told in the first-person, lending the collection a powerful intimacy. The reader is left feeling as though they really have been let in on the secret lives of these powerful storytellers. In The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, Philyaw paints nuanced portraits of vulnerable and resilient women who rely upon each other and create communities worth treasuring.

The Secret Lives of Church Ladies is available now at the Literatures and Languages Library.

Twitter Email

Resource Spotlight: African American Poetry

This week, we are spotlighting one of our databases, which highlights African Americans’ contributions to American literature: African American Poetry

This comprehensive collection allows you to explore the extraordinary early history of African American poetry. This database includes over 3,000 poems from the 18th and 19th centuries, capturing a wide array of subjects and experiences, and relating them as broadsides, ballads, sonnets, Romantic odes, and historical epics. 

And the lives of the poets whose work is featured in African American Poetry were often as riveting as their work. Explore the poetry of Phillis Wheatley, who was abducted from West Africa at a young age, sold as a slave in Boston, and went on to become “one of the major American poets of the Colonial period.” The piercing intelligence, mastery of allusion, and stirring pathos evident in her work led to her becoming the first African-American and the second American woman to publish a volume of poetry.

Or delve into the verses of Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, a staunch abolitionist, suffragist, and one of the first African-American women to publish a novel (Iola Leroy, in 1892). Her political activism is particularly evident in her poetry, which often showcased the horrors of slavery through the lens of motherhood. Her powerful “The Slave Mother, a Tale of the Ohio,” was based on the same real-life events that inspired Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved.

The final stanza of Harper’s moving “Bury Me in a Free Land” reads:

 I ask no monument, proud and high

To arrest the gaze of the passers-by;

All that my yearning spirit craves,

Is bury me not in a land of slaves.

African American Poetry also includes the work of Lucy Terry Prince, Jupiter Hammon, James Monroe Whitfield, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and many more early African American poets. Access African American Poetry here and here.

Twitter Email

Reading Recommendations For Native American Heritage Month

“I’ve been taught bloodstones can cure a snakebite / can stop the bleeding—most people forgot this / when the war ended.” So begins the titular work of Postcolonial Love Poem, the latest  collection from award-winning poet Natalie Diaz. 

November is Native American Heritage Month, also known as American Indian Heritage Month. To celebrate, we are highlighting a few recently published works by Indigenous authors in our collection. The books linked below are as unique and multifaceted as the cultures they depict. They explore such ideas as reconciliation, dream-sharing, feminine power, resilience, and what it means to create a home. They grapple with trauma, violence, and racism in turn, but they are also touched with a deep sense of hope and love.

Mamaskatch: A Cree Coming of Age By: Darrel McLeod

As a small boy in remote Alberta, Darrel J. McLeod is immersed in his Cree family’s history, passed down in the stories of his mother, Bertha. There he is surrounded by her tales of joy and horror. And there young Darrel learns to be fiercely proud of his heritage and to listen to the birds that will guide him throughout his life.

But after a series of tragic losses, Bertha turns wild and unstable, and their home life becomes chaotic. Mamaskatch traces McLeod’s struggles to keep his life and family together, and come to terms with his sexual identity, amidst violence and chaos. 

 

Postcolonial Love Poem By: Natalie Diaz

Postcolonial Love Poem is an anthem of desire against erasure. Natalie Diaz’s brilliant second collection demands that every body carried in its pages—bodies of language, land, rivers, suffering brothers, enemies, and lovers—be touched and held as beloveds. Through these poems, the wounds inflicted by America onto an indigenous people are allowed to bloom pleasure and tenderness: “Let me call my anxiety, desire, then. / Let me call it, a garden.” In this new lyrical landscape, the bodies of indigenous, Latinx, black, and brown women are simultaneously the body politic and the body ecstatic. In claiming this autonomy of desire, language is pushed to its dark edges, the astonishing dunefields and forests where pleasure and love are both grief and joy, violence and sensuality.

Sabrina & Corina By: Kali Fajardo-Anstine

Kali Fajardo-Anstine’s magnetic story collection breathes life into her Latina characters of indigenous ancestry and the land they inhabit in the American West. Against the remarkable backdrop of Denver, Colorado—a place that is as fierce as it is exquisite—these women navigate the land the way they navigate their lives: with caution, grace, and quiet force.

In “Sugar Babies,” ancestry and heritage are hidden inside the earth but tend to rise during land disputes. “Any Further West” follows a sex worker and her daughter as they leave their ancestral home in southern Colorado only to find a foreign and hostile land in California. In “Tomi,” a woman leaves prison and finds herself in a gentrified city that is a shadow of the one she remembers from her childhood. And in the title story, “Sabrina & Corina,” a Denver family falls into a cycle of violence against women, coming together only through ritual.

Rebel Poet (Continuing the Oral Tradition): more stories from the 21st century Indian By: Louis V. Clark III (Two Shoes)

This eagerly anticipated follow-up to the breakout memoir How to Be an Indian in the 21st Century delves more deeply into the themes of family, community, grief, and the struggle to make a place in the world when your very identity is considered suspect. In Rebel Poet: More Stories from a 21st Century Indian, author Louis Clark examines the effects of his mother’s alcoholism and his young sister’s death, offers an intimate recounting of the backlash he faced as an Indian on the job, and celebrates the hard-fought sense of home he and his wife have created. Rebel Poet continues the author’s tradition of seamlessly mixing poetry and prose, and is at turns darker and more nuanced than its predecessor

Twitter Email

Looking for Something to Read? Try These Titles!

Undecided on what to read next? Stuck in a reading slump? We can help! Here are some recommendations you can find in the library catalog:

Mexican Gothic, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

book cover: a woman in a vintage red dress stands in front of a green background

Mexican Gothic, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Click for catalog link.

 

If you’re looking for a book to keep you up at night, Mexican Gothic is the perfect choice. When Noemí receives a worrying letter from her cousin, she travels to High Place, where Catalina lives with her husband and his strange family, the Doyles. When strange dreams and happenings begin to plague her, Noemí suspects there is more to High Place than meets the eye. Mexican Gothic is an eerie, gothic tale of horror that will leave you thoroughly spooked.

 

 

 

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

cover art for dear edward. click for catalog link

Dear Edward, by Ann Napolitano. Click for catalog link.

 

When Edward boards a plane to Los Angeles with his family, the last thing he expects is for it to crash–and to leave him as the only survivor. He goes to live with his aunt and uncle, where, over the course of many years, he tries to find his place and purpose in the world. A haunting coming-of-age story, Dear Edward is a breathtaking tale that will leave you thinking about it for days to come.

 

 

 

The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali

cover art for the stationery shop. click for catalog link

The Stationery Shop, by Marjan Kamali. Click for catalog link.

The year is 1953. Roya loves the stationery shop owned by Mr. Fakhri. It’s her oasis in Tehran, a place she can feel safe. When she’s set up by self-proclaimed matchmaker Mr. Fakhri, a beautiful romance blooms between her and another customer, Bahman. On the day before they’re to be married, they agree to meet in the town square, though due to a coup, they are unable to meet. After attempts to contact Bahman fail, Roya moves on with her life, but years later, fate brings Roya and Bahman together again. And this time, Roya is determined to know what happened all those years ago. If you like literary fiction with a slice of romance, The Stationery Shop is a perfect choice.

 

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

cover art for the secret history

The Secret History, by Donna Tartt. Click for catalog link.

 

Maybe you’re interested in the dark side of academia. If so, The Secret History is a great choice. When Richard leaves his hometown to attend Hampden College, he finds himself introduced to an elite group of Classics scholars, led by the enigmatic Julian Morrow. Soon, though, he finds himself embroiled in a plot to murder one of their own: a fellow student, Bunny. Told through flashbacks leading up to Bunny’s death, The Secret History is a chilling work of fiction deserving of its bestseller status.

 

 

Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara

cover art of djinn patrol on the purple line. click for catalog link

Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line, by Deepa Anappara. Click for catalog link.

 

Nine-year-old Jai considers himself to be one of the smartest kids at his school. So when one of his classmates goes missing, he’s determined to find him, believing the crime-solving skills he’s picked up from watching too much television will help solve the case. But when more children begin to go missing and the police force remains indifferent, Jai and his friends must confront a terrifying reality. Based on real disappearances occurring in metropolitan India, Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line is an emotional thriller sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.

Twitter Email

Spooky Reads for Halloween

Happy Halloween! Whether you’re in the mood for haunted houses or cosmic horror, the library has all sorts of recommendations to get you into the Halloween spirit. To find the books in the library catalog, click the book title.

Happy reading!


Mexican Gothic, Silvia Moreno-Garcia

book cover featuring woman in red dress in front of a green patterned background

 

If Gothic horror is what you’re looking for, then Mexican Gothic is the right book for you! When Noemí Taboada receives a worrisome message from her cousin, she journeys to High Place, where her cousin lives with her new husband and his eccentric family. The longer she spends there, though, the more the walls seem to talk, as if the massive mansion itself is alive…

 

 

The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson

 

Wanting a classic tale within a Haunted House? Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House features unexplained phenomena, spooky happenings, and a house that just may claim one of its visitors as its own.

 

 

 

 

Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe 

 

Edgar Allan Poe is the king of eerie, bone-chilling tales. Looking for classic horror? Try The Fall of the House of Usher, a story of an odd family within an even creepier home. Maybe you’re looking for something even more bone-chilling; if that’s the case, try The Tell-Tale Heart, or The Masque of the Red Death. Whatever story you choose, it’s sure to be perfect for a dark, Halloween night.

 

 

Carmilla, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

 

 

Maybe this year, you want to read a vampire classic. Look no further than Carmilla, a story that predates Bram Stoker’s Dracula. If you want an eerie, romantic vampire story, Le Fanu’s novella is a perfect choice.

 

 

 

Lovecraft Country, Matt Ruff

 

Maybe you want some cosmic horror to read on this Halloween night. If so, Lovecraft Country is the perfect choice. Blending Lovecraft’s monsters with fantasy and historical fiction, while also exploring terrors of life in Jim Crow America, Ruff’s acclaimed novel will keep you on the edge of your seat with every new chapter.

Twitter Email

Translating the Classics, Graphically

What’s on your to-read list?

If you’re anything like us, your to-read list is ever-expanding, as exciting new books jump the queue over hulking classics you’re a little embarrassed you haven’t read by now.

The internet is replete with articles like “Classic Novels Everyone Should Read” and “30 Classics You Should Read Before You Die.” These lists are populated by novels like Great Expectations, Moby Dick, and Animal Farm. Intimidating lists like these can discourage even the most intrepid reader.

Some people give up on the classics before they’ve truly started them, intimidated by their length or density. Others are skeptical of their relevance to modern life. Many more simply lack the time and energy to wade through “the great books.”

But while there is no required reading list for life, who among us would not like to know these classics? Or at least know them well enough to understand what’s so very “great” about them?

A page from Tim Hamilton’s graphic adaption of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451

This is where the graphic adaptation comes in. This increasingly popular format blends words, panels, and illustrations to create a highly readable and accessible new work. Some of these graphic interpretations are so innovative and beautiful they could qualify as literary masterpieces in their own right.

A quick internet search will reveal that an astonishing number of literary classics have been adapted in this way. Everything from The Great Gatsby to Paradise Lost to The Stranger has received the graphic novel treatment.

And why not? Because they distill stories into essential dialogue and visuals, graphic novels are quick reads. They can thus provide fascinating introductions to topics, ideas, and even genres of literature a reader might have otherwise discounted as out of reach. In this way, a graphic adaptation can provide a point of entry to a whole new world of stories.

Have you read any great graphic adaptations of literary classics? If not, we’ve included 3 of our favorites below to help you get you started.

Thoreau at Walden, adapted by John Porcellino

 Each artist has their own interpretation of the text, and some books are more suited to the graphic treatment than others.  As in any adaptation, sometimes sacrifices have to be made to fit the new format.

John Porcellino’s Thoreau at Walden, for example, distills Henry David Thoreau’s sojourn at Walden Pond into its most essential lessons, telling the rest of the story through deceptively simple illustrations.

 

 

Meg, Jo Beth, and Amy, adapted by Rey Terciero and Bre Indigo 

Some artists use graphic adaptations to put a modern spin on a much-beloved classic. Jo, Beth, Meg and Amy, for example, reimagines the March sisters as part of a multi-ethnic blended family coming up, and coming out, in modern-day New York City. It’s hard to imagine, Louisa May Alcott, a staunch abolitionist and feminist, would object to this adaptation of Little Women.

 

To Kill A Mockingbird, adapted by Fred Fordham

 In 2018, PBS launched an eight-part series called The Great American Read. The series was designed to get Americans reading and talking passionately about books, and encouraged viewers to cast their votes in determining America’s top 100 best-loved novels. The results were a fascinating mix of classic and modern titles included on many people’s to-read lists.

But America’s number one best-loved novel proved to be Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, a coming-of-age story told against the backdrop of simmering racial tensions in small town Alabama. If this classic is on your to-read list, check out Fred Fordham’s graphic adaptation, available in the Literatures and Languages Library’s very own collection.

 

Twitter Email