Hisham Bustani’s Interview with recently came out with an article on celebrated author Hisham Bustani and his award-winning book, Perception of Meaning.  In it, Hisham discusses his fascination with poetry as well as his creative relationship with his translator, Thoraya Elle-Rayyes. Take a look at the great article and stay-tuned for our upcoming interview with Mr. Bustani! image


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Banned Books Week (September 27-October 3, 2015) is the US book community’s annual celebration of the freedom to read. We take intellectual freedom seriously at SU Press and have recommended some reads for you. Join the movement by using the hashtag on Facebook and Twitter!

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The World Through the Eyes of Angels, by Mahmoud Saeed

Mosul, Iraq, in the 1940s is a teeming, multi-ethnic city where Arabs, Kurds, Assyrians, Jews, Aramaeans, Turkmens, Yazidis, and Syriacs mingle in the ancient souks and alleyways. In these crowded streets, among rich and poor, educated and illiterate, pious and unbelieving, a boy is growing up. Burdened with chores from an early age, and afflicted with an older brother who persecutes him with mindless sadism, the child finds happiness only in stolen moments with his beloved older sister and with friends in the streets. Closest to his heart are three girls, encountered by chance: a Muslim, a Christian, and a Jew. After enriching the boy’s life immensely, all three meet tragic fates, leaving a wound in his heart that will not heal. A richly textured portrayal of Iraqi society before the upheavals of the late twentieth century, Saeed’s novel depicts a sensitive and loving child assailed by the cruelty of life. Sometimes defeated but never surrendering, he is sustained by his city and its people.

Mahmoud Saeed is an Iraqi-born award-winning novelist. He has written more than twenty novels and short story collections. He was imprisoned several times and left Iraq when the authorities banned the publication of some of his novels, including Zanka bin Baraka (1970), which won the Ministry of Information Award in 1993.

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A Cup of Sin: Selected Poems, by Simin Behbahani

Written over almost half a century, much of her work shows the traumatic experiences of revolution and war that has shaped Iraq’s history.  In the traditional verse of the qhazel, she improvises with meter to echo and provides new interpretations.

Simin Behbahani,who died in August of 2014. She was widely considered to be the greatest living Persian language poet, known throughout the Middle East and much of the world as the “Lioness of Iran”. She began writing poetry under the regime of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, dealing with issues of poverty, orphans and corruption, reflecting her lifelong concern with the marginalized and outcast. Her most popular poem, My Country, I Will Build You Again, was published soon after the 1979 Islamic revolution and expressed the optimism of those who thought they had witnessed a “democratic” revolution.

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My Blue Piano, by Else Lasker-Schuler

The poems collected in this bilingual volume represent the full range of Lasker-Schüler’s work, from her earliest poems until her death. Haxton’s translation embraces the poems’ lyrical imagery, remaining faithful to the poet’s vision while also capturing the cadence and rhythms of the poetry. Critics have long dismissed her poetry as decadent in its romantic use of references to moonlight, flowers, and woodland creatures. Her poetry also resonates with the cultural moment of Sarah Bernhardt’s gender-bending stage performances and Freud’s sexual interpretations of the subconscious.

Before her exile from 1933 to 1945, Lasker-Schüler wrote hundreds of poems and prose pieces, many of which appeared in leading journals. Thirty volumes of her poetry, prose, and plays were published by 1933. She was featured among other banned authors on Natzi Germany’s list for undesirable writing and of Jewish descent.

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The Committee, by Sonallah Ibrahim

This wry take on Kafka’s The Trial revolves around its narrator’s attempts to petition successfully the elusive ruling body of his country, known simply as “the committee.” Consequences for his actions range from the absurd to the hideous. In Kafkaesque fashion, Ibrahim offers an unbroken first-person narrative rendered in brief, crisp prose framed by a conspicuous absence of vivid imagery. Furthermore, the petitioner is a man without identity. The ideal anti-hero, he remains, as does his country, unnamed throughout the intricate plot with a locale suggestive of 1970s Cairo.

Sonallah Ibrahim is an Egyptian novelist and a major literary figure in the Arab world. He’s known for his leftist and nationalist views which are expressed rather directly in his work. Because of his political opinions he was imprisoned during the 1960s; his imprisonment is featured in his first book, a collection of short stories titled That Smell, which was one of the first writings into adopt a modernist tinge.

Chiara and The Photographed Cat

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Chiara Vantaggiato was featured in SU News for the exciting internship she completed this past summer. Instead of working in a corporate office like many of our students she worked with jungle cats at Big Cat Rescue, a nonprofit organization that provides sanctuary for abandoned and abused cats. A biology major at our very own Syracuse University, Chiara prepared meals, fed the smaller cats and helped improve their habitats. She wishes to pursue her passion for big cats by eventually getting a degree in veterinary medicine.

After enjoying this adorable video of the Big Rescue cats playing with paint, we hope you’ll be inspired to take a look at SU Press’s book The Photographed Cat which features over 130 cat illustrations!

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Arnold Arluke and Lauren Rolfe have created an archive and an analytical exploration of the close relationships between Americans and their cats during a period that is significant for photography and for modern understandings of animals as pets. Entertaining, smart, and filled with a collector’s trove of wonderful images, The Photographed Cat pays homage to the surprising range of relationships we have with cats and offers thoughtful consideration of the ways in which we represent them. Whether as surrogate children, mascots, or companions to women, cats are part of modern American life and visual culture.

Stone Houses of Jefferson County

Architectural Digest recently wrote an article on stone house appreciation. We want to share our own appreciation by featuring Stone Houses of Jefferson County on our blog.

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Edited by Maureen Hubbard Barros, Brian W. Gorman, and Robert A. Uhlig

Photographs by Richard Margolis

Featured imageThe Ira Hinsdale House, c. 1820

Jefferson County, New York, has one of the richest concentrations of stone houses in America. Lavishly illustrated with almost 300 photographs, this volume highlights eighty-five stone houses in the region. Whether they’re clustered together; or dotted on the countryside the building’s beauty and stonework radiates the skilled craftsmanship that went into their construction.

The editors explore both the beauty and permanence of the stonework and the courage and ambition of the early dwellers. They detail the ways in which skilled masons utilized local limestone and sandstone, crafting double-faced stone walls to protect against fire and harsh winters. Stone Houses of Jefferson County provides a fascinating look at the intrinsic beauty of these buildings and the historical links they provide to our early settlement.


Yiddish in America

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CBS News’s segment of “Yiddish is alive deep in the heart of Texas” talks about how there’s been a spiked interest in the ancient language at the University of Texas. The feature inspired us here to prove that Yiddish is alive and well At Syracuse University Press.

Before checking out our books, play our Quiz! Which Words are Actually Yiddish?

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The Revolutionary Roots of Modern The Revolutionary Roots of Modern Yiddish, 1903-1917

Barry Trachtenberg

Yiddish, 1903-1917 investigates how three major figures changed the status of the language. From almost abandoning it all together to becoming the dominant language of the Russian Jewish media and the foundation of an ideology of Jewish liberation.

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Recovering “Yiddishland”
Threshold Moments in American Literature

Merle L. Bachman

According to traditional narratives of immigrant assimilation, Jews freely surrendered Yiddish language and culture in their desire for an American identity. The book reveals unexpected and illuminating critiques of Americanization by the Yiddish immigrants in the realm of New York City in the 1890s and 1930s.

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Vilna My Vilna

Stories by Abraham Karpinowitz
Translated from the Yiddish by Helen Mintz

Abraham Karpinowitz (1913–2004) was born in Vilna, Poland (present-day Vilnius, Lithuania), the city that serves as both the backdrop and the central character for his stories. He survived the Holocaust in the Soviet Union and, after two years in an internment camp on the island of Cyprus, moved to Israel, where he lived until his death. In this collection, Karpinowitz portrays, with compassion and intimacy, the dreams and struggles of the poor and disenfranchised Jews of his native city before the Holocaust.

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Classic Yiddish Stories of S. Y. Abramovitsh, Sholem Aleichem, and I. L. Peretz

Edited by Ken Frieden
Translated by Ken Frieden, Ted Gorelick, and Michael Wex

Two early works by S.Y. Abramovitsh introduce the reader to Abramovitsh’s alter ego Mendele the Book Peddler. Mendele narrates both The Little Man and Fishke the Lame. In different voices, he also presents a diverse cast of characters including Isaac Abraham as tailor’s apprentice, choirboy, and corrupt businessman. Reb Alter tells of his matchmaking mishap and Fishke relates his travels through the Ukraine with a caravan of beggars.

Sholem Aleichem’s Tevye reemerges from new translations of “Hodel” and “Chava” in all of his comic splendor. Notes enable students to follow Tevye’s uneven steps through Bible quotations. Four of Sholem Aleichem’s other eloquent monologists come back to haunt us in scintillating translations.

The selections from Peretz include his finest stories about the hasidim, such as “Kabbalists,” “Teachings of the Hasidim,” and the ironic tale “The Rebbe’s Pipe.” A fresh rendering of Peretz’s masterpiece “Between Two Mountains” represents the meeting of an inspirational rebbe and an awe-inspiring rabbi.

Kickoff the Season with These Reads

Tonight is the official start of the NFL season with a game between the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers (8:30 p.m. ET on NBC). If you’re like me, you only knew this because of the new Google Doodle. Before the game starts, why not make it to your favorite recliner and crack open a beer a little earlier than usual? These titles are centered on football and will get your head in the game before it even starts.

syr8Leveling the Playing Field:The Story of the Syracuse Eight by David Marc

During the 1970s at Syracuse University, a group of African American football players (“the Syracuse Eight”) provoked racial tensions when they demanded a change in the school’s treatment of athletes. Syracuse Eight’s four demands were: distribution of assignments based on merits instead of race, equal academic support for both races; better medical treatment for all players; and to incorporate more racially diverse coaches into the staff. After the University ignored their demands, the players boycotted practice and were released from the team. Interviews with the Eight bring the events to life, as well as the frustration for the pursuit of racial equality.

syracuse8During the halftime of Syracuse’s game in 2006, Syracuse alumnus Art Monk, along with Chancellor Nancy Cantor, presented the players with the letterman jackets they did not receive when they were students.

Shaping College Football: The Transformation of an American Sport, 1919-1930 by Raymond Schmidt

shapingfootballRaymond Schmidt examines the major changes that Football underwent after World War I and the battle between university and business. In the 1920s, universities became dependent on the revenue that football brought in. It then became a power struggle between academics and athletics. The book not only introduces the schools that established their reputation for football but looks at stadium building and the cultural tensions that football brought to a head.

The New Cathedrals: Politics and Media in the History of Stadium Construction by Robert Trumpbour

This newcathedralsbook explores the construction of stadiums and how they not only affect the area physically, but reflect an area’s cultural values. Trumpbour begins his examination all the way back to ancient Greece and finishes with the monstrous facilities we attend today. Three historical periods when stadium construction truly evolved were The Progressive Era, when the modern stadiums were first built; the late 1960s, when stadiums were built in urban areas to advance development; and the 1990s when stadiums were built to serve as entertainment spaces. He also analyzes how political institutions, commercial entities, civic leadership, and media organizations influenced new stadium construction.

Summer Road Trip Series with Chuck D’Imperio

One of the most fun chapters in my new book A Taste of upstate New York concerned thebagel fest  Upstate food festivals.  Boy, we have a lot of them and I gave as many as I could their very own chapter.  Take tiny Phelps, NY for example.  They used to be known as “The Cauliflower Capital of America” for all the sauerkraut they produced in the many big manufacturing plants in their area.  They are long gone now, but Phelps still celebrates with an annual “Sauerkraut Festival” that is charming and fun.  They even crown a King Kraut and a Kween Kraut.  And don’t forget the annual Bagel Festival in Monticello. Do yophelps-sauerkraut-festival-grounds-08__552xXXXu know that the NYS legislature declared Monticello as the official state “Bagel Capital?”  One of the great events at this festival is trying to create the world’s largest bagel chain.  They string a rope up all along Main Street, get hundreds of volunteers together and then thread real bagels along it to try and hit the record.  These are just two of the wonderful food festivals in my new book from Syracuse University Press.


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