Cate Marvin possesses one of the most distinctive voices in contemporary American poetry, and in 2015 the College of Staten Island English professor was a awarded a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship. The speakers in her third collection of poems, “Oracle,” are haunting, passionate and sometimes bitingly funny women—and they’re all denizens of the borough where she’s taught and lived for a decade.
Jules Allen spent five years traveling the country photographing African-American marching bands. What he saw through his lens was “a precision art form” as public spectacle and a culture that “breathes the soul and spirit of Africa within the modern world.” The result is the simply titled “Marching Bands.” It’s the fourth book by the long-time Queensborough Community College art and design professor, whose photographs are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian and the National Gallery.
Fashion models lead a glamorous life, right? Far from it, says Elizabeth Wissinger, associate professor of sociology at Borough of Manhattan Community College and of fashion studies at the CUNY Graduate Center. In This Year’s Model: Fashion, Media and the Making of Glamour from New York University Press, she paints a disturbing picture of hard-working 21st-century models who must continually remake their bodies to attain an ever-shifting “right look.”
Think of some famous works of art. Chances are you’ll name a few that are on everyone’s list – if not coffee mug – like Leonardo’s “Mona Lisa,” Grant Wood’s “American Gothic” and Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.” John B. Nici, who teaches art at Queens College, looks at how those and other works reached rock-star status in his book, “Famous Works of Art — and How They Got that Way.” Hint: It doesn’t always have to do with artistic quality.
They were two of 20th Century New York’s largest, most influential–and most contentious–immigrant populations. In his new book, “An Unlikely Union: The Love-Hate Story of New York’s Irish and Italians,” Brooklyn College journalism professor Paul Moses weaves together a great cast of characters to tell the story of an intense rivalry that became a fine romance.
Arlene Alda interviewed dozens of fellow natives of her home borough for “Just Kids from the Bronx.” The Hunter graduate, clarinetist, photographer, author and wife of Alan Alda sat down with generations of Bronxites from Al Pacino to Grandmaster Melle Mel. She reminisces with us about reminiscing with them.
Most people think the Civil War ended at Appomattox in 1865 when Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. But that was just the start of a military occupation of the South that in some states lasted to 1871. In “After Appomattox: Military Occupation and the Ends of War,” City College historian Gregory P. Downs explores how the North carried out martial law and used it as leverage to convince southern states to approve three constitutional amendments that were designed to safeguard the lives and rights of formerly enslaved people.
Brooklyn College professor Vanessa Pérez Rosario examines the life of Puerto Rican poet Julia de Burgos and her growing legacy in New York City. Her book, “Becoming Julia de Burgos: The Making of a Puerto Rican Icon,” has been hailed as the first study on the poet’s life written in English.
Marta Effinger-Crichlow’s book, “Staging Migrations Toward an American West: From Ida B. Wells to Rhodessa Jones”, delves into a century of westward migration by African-American women – migration that’s both physical and symbolic. She chairs African-American Studies and is associate professor of theater and literature at New York City College of Technology.
Gregory Pardlo won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his brilliant and complex collection, “Digest,” where he tackles an astounding range of issues from fatherhood and family to pimps and pop culture. In this podcast, Pardlo, a doctoral student at the CUNY Graduate Center, describes how he chose his subjects and his desire to provoke deep emotion through poetry.