Spring Book Round-Up: English faculty publish new works of fiction, memoir, scholarship, and more

Graphic with spring flowers and a stack of colorful books against a light blue background. Text reads: Spring Reading New Books by English Faculty.

The birds are chirping, the flowers blooming, and it finally feels warm enough to read outside on campus—what better way to revel in spring actually springing than with several new books penned by professors in CSU’s Department of English?

Whether you’re in the mood for an inventive novel about a mother and her daughters (that also happens to center around an expedition to Siberia and a wild discovery—yes, please!) or looking for poetry in translation to celebrate National Poetry Month as April wraps up, the list below is sure to inspire your spring reading buzz. Enjoy!

New books by English faculty

In the Lurch: Verbatim Theater and the Crisis of Democratic Deliberation

Book cover of "In the Lurch: Verbatim Theater and the Crisis of Democratic Deliberation" by Ryan Claycomb. Top half of the cover shows actors on a stage holding umbrellas while a man off stage talks. Below is the title of the book in red and white panels against a black background.

By Professor and Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs Ryan Claycomb

Published by University of Michigan Press, March 2023

From the publisher: Some of theater’s most powerful works in the past thirty years fall into the category of “verbatim theater,” socially engaged performances whose texts rely on word-for-word testimony. Performances such as Fires in the Mirror, The Laramie Project, and the Undesirable Elements Series have at their best demonstrated how to hold hard conversations about explosive subjects in a liberal democracy. But in this moment of the “rightward lurch” of western democracies, does this idealized space of democratic deliberation remain effective? In the Lurch asks that question in a pointed and self-reflexive way, tracing the history of this branch of documentary theater with particular attention to the political outcomes and stances these performances seem to seek.

Buy the book or read online here!

The Last Animal: A Novel 

Book cover of "The Last Animal" by Ramona Ausubel. Background is a gradient of bright orange, green, and yellow and in the foreground there is an image of a woolly mammoth.By Assistant Professor Ramona Ausubel

Published by Penguin Random House, April 2023

From the publisher: Teenage sisters Eve and Vera never imagined their summer vacation would be spent in the Arctic, tagging along on their mother’s scientific expedition. But there’s a lot about their lives lately that hasn’t been going as planned, and truth be told, their single mother might not be so happy either.

Now in Siberia with a bunch of serious biologists, Eve and Vera are just bored enough to cause trouble. Fooling around in the permafrost, they accidentally discover a perfectly preserved, four-thousand-year-old baby mammoth, and things finally start to get interesting. The discovery sets off a surprising chain of events, leading mother and daughters to go rogue, pinging from the slopes of Siberia to the shores of Iceland to an exotic animal farm in Italy, and resulting in the birth of a creature that could change the world—or at least this family.

The Last Animal takes readers on a wild, entertaining, and refreshingly different kind of journey, one that explores the possibilities and perils of the human imagination on a changing planet, what it’s like to be a woman in a field dominated by men, and how a wondrous discovery can best be enjoyed with family. Even teenagers.

Buy the book here!

From Terrain to Brain: Forays into the Many Sciences of Wine

Book cover of "From Terrain to Brain: Forays into the Many Sciences of Wine" by Erika Szymanski with a black and white illustration of a brain against a backdrop of a vineyard.By Assistant Professor Erika Szymanski

Published by Oxford University Press, April 2023

From the publisher: In From Terrain to Brain, Professor Erika Szymanski makes wine science accessible to non-experts. Rather than approach wine science as body of facts about wine, Szymanski explores how wine science can open up multiple ways of seeing, understanding, and appreciating wine.

Too often, wine science is presented as a comprehensive body of knowledge that enthusiasts aiming to become experts should memorize. This book instead uses scientific research to explore wine as an endlessly rich cultural phenomenon. By foregrounding recent research and developments in wine science, From Terrain to Brain presents wine science as a work-in-progress rather than a codified body of knowledge.

Buy the book here!

The Thinking Root: The Poetry of Ancient Greek Philosophy

Book cover of "The Thinking Root: The Poetry of Earliest Greek Philosophy" translated by Dan Beachy-Quick with a bright blue background and the image of a yellow circle with a right triangle enclosed.Translated by Professor and University Distinguished Teaching Scholar Dan Beachy-Quick

Published by Milkweed Editions, Seedbank Series, April 2023

From the publisher: Acclaimed poet and translator Dan Beachy-Quick offers this newest addition to the Seedbank series: a warm, vivid rendering of the earliest Greek intellects, inviting us to reconsider writing, and thinking, as a way of living meaningfully in the world.

“We have lost our sense of thinking as the experience that keeps us in the world,” writes Beachy-Quick, and the figures rendered in The Thinking Root—Heraclitus, Anaximander, Empedocles, Parmenides, and others—are among the first examples we have in Western civilization of thinkers who used writing as to record their impressions of a world where intuition and observation, and spirit and nature, have yet to be estranged. In these pages, we find clear-eyed ideas searching for shapes and forms with which to order the world, and to reveal our life in flux.

Buy the book here!

Transforming Leadership Pathways for Humanities Professionals in Higher Education

Book cover of "Transforming Leadership Pathways for Humanities Professionals in Higher Education" edited by Roze Hentschell and Catherine E. Thomas with a cream background and light green illustration of rays of sunlight reaching outward.Edited by Professor Roze Hentschell and Catherine E. Thomas

Published by Purdue University Press, April 2023

From the publisher: Transforming Leadership Pathways for Humanities Professionals in Higher Education includes thirteen essays from a variety of contributors investigating how humanities professionals grapple with the opportunities and challenges of leadership positions. Written by insiders sharing their lived experience, this collection provides an authentic look at the multiple roles humanities specialists play, as well as offers strategies for professional growth, sustenance, and satisfaction. The collection also considers the relationship between disciplinary areas of study, academic training, and the valuable skill sets and habits of mind that serve higher education leaders.

Buy the book here!

Soil: The Story of a Black Mother’s Garden

Book cover of "Soil: The Story of a Black Mother's Garden" by Camille Dungy with an illustration of bright, vibrant flowers wrapped in the arms of a woman.By University Distinguished Professor Camille T. Dungy

Published by Simon and Schuster, May 2023

From the publisher: In Soil: The Story of a Black Mother’s Garden, poet and scholar Camille T. Dungy recounts the seven-year odyssey to diversify her garden in the predominately white community of Fort Collins, Colorado. When she moved there in 2013, with her husband and daughter, the community held strict restrictions about what residents could and could not plant in their gardens.

In resistance to the homogenous policies that limited the possibility and wonder that grows from the earth, Dungy employs the various plants, herbs, vegetables, and flowers she grows in her garden as metaphor and treatise for how homogeneity threatens the future of our planet, and why cultivating diverse and intersectional language in our national discourse about the environment is the best means of protecting it.

Definitive and singular, Soil functions at the nexus of nature writing, environmental justice, and prose to encourage you to recognize the relationship between the peoples of the African diaspora and the land on which they live, and to understand that wherever soil rests beneath their feet is home.

Buy the book here!

Looking for more? Study English at CSU

Each year the Department of English offers exciting classes in creative writing, literary studies, rhetoric, linguistics, and English education in which students can hone their writing skills, explore new genres and modes of analysis, and put their creativity into practice. Learn more about the department’s undergraduate and graduate programs—and happy spring reading!

P.S. Want to find more recently published books by faculty in the College of Liberal Arts? Explore more at https://www.libarts.colostate.edu/research/faculty-scholarship/