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Bookbeat: August / September 2003

Publications from CLAS faculty.

Celestial Bodies

Celestial Bodiesby Sidney Wade, Department of English
(Louisiana State University Press, 2003)
Available through Amazon

In her bedroom, Sidney Wade writes in the presence of her books and the silence of her house. Like the rotation of the stars, the poems, "Thirteen Moons" and "Little Body Songs," among the many others, revolve in her mind. It has taken six years for them to spin into her fourth book of poems, Celestial Bodies.

At first she wanted to entitle the book Degenerate News, after a line in the last poem, but Wade decided on one that encompasses repeated themes. "I was struck by the abundance of astronomical and corporeal entities and wandered on over to the phrase which eventually stuck," Wade says. "Celestial bodies—I love the sound of it."

Wade gathers ideas from conversations, daily encounters or memories of her travels, all of which she channels into her poems. In composing the poems, she navigates her subconscious and indulges herself in wordplay. The creation of poetry, Wade explains, is a mysterious art, a process unable to be fully explained.

Sidney WadeAs an English professor, Wade has taught at UF since 1993 and has authored Empty Sleeves (19990), Green (1998), and From Istanbul (1998). During the past 10 years, she has discovered her creative juices particularly flow in the spring, when she does not teach classes and her children are in school. If she's lucky, a "good group of the poems arrive in an ecstatic bunch." Wade stops writing for about seven months a year because teaching and family responsibilities swallow up her writing time.

Wade is a mother of two children, and she feels somewhat maternal about her poems. "It is a deeply unfair question to ask which poem is my favorite," she says. "It's like asking which of your children you like best. While none of them is perfect, they each have their individual strength and charm."

—Brenda Lee

Marriages and Families, second edition

Marriages and Familiesby Constance L. Shehan, Department of Sociology
(Allyn and Bacon, 2003)
Available through Amazon

Family values have taken center stage in national debates, and political pundits predict the demise of the American family. Popular culture is filled with stories about the challenges of courtship and marriage; the intense longing many people have to be parents and the lengths to which they will go to bring children into their lives; and the devastation brought by divorce. In the textbook, Shehan attempts to broaden the understanding of the wide diversity of ways in which people organize daily family lives. She interweaves into the text the principle that there are many different forms of intimate relationships beyond the traditional, heterosexual or two-parent family

—Preface

The Novel in the Ancient World

The Novel in the Ancient Worldby Gareth Schmeling, Department of Classics
(Brill Academic Publishers, Inc., 2003)
Available through Amazon

From classics and history to Jewish rabbinic narratives and the canonical and noncanonical gospels of earliest Christianity, the relevance of studying the novel of the later classical periods of Greece and Rome is widely endorsed. Some scholars say those ancient novels are "alternative histories," for they tell history implicitly rather than with the intentional biases of the historian. The Novel in the Ancient World surveys the new approaches and insights to the ancient novel and wrestles with the issues such as the development, transformation and christianization of the novel, e.g. Spirit-inspired versus inspired by the Muses.

—Publisher

World Views, Religion, and the Environment: A Global Anthology

World Views, Religion, and the Environmentby Richard Foltz, Department of Religion
(Thomson / Wadsworth, 2003)
Available through Amazon UK

In an age when life support systems are in jeopardy, the relationship of humanity to nature needs to be re-addressed in spiritual as well as material terms. Within the world of faith institutions, there has been increasing attention in recent years to environmental stewardship issues. Contemporary debates have begun from the assertion that Western values and Christianity, in particular, are to blame for the present global crisis. Is this accusation valid? Are other traditions more "eco-friendly"? Composed of 65 essays, World Views, Religion, and the Environment is a compilation of what various cultural traditions of the world say about human responsibility toward the natural environment.

—Preface

Photo:
Sally Brooks: (Wade)

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