CFP on "Gayl Jones, Now and Then"
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Monday, June 13, 2022 10:46 AM


Gayl Jones, Now and Then

The What

Post45: Contemporaries seeks to reinvigorate the erstwhile convention of academic critics not only describing past traditions but also actively intervening in current tastes. It provides a forum for writers to converse with one another more directly and informally than in traditional academic publications. These curated conversations, or “clusters,” range from sets of relatively autonomous short essays on a common theme to extended epistolary exchanges.

We welcome pitches from contributors across fields, disciplines, and professions, including those working outside the United States or writing in Spanish, Portuguese, or French. Non-English essays will be made available in the original and in translation. Contributors will also be invited to participate in a seminar at the hybrid ASAP/13 conference taking pace in Los Angeles from September 14-17, 2022.


The Why

The long-awaited publication of Gayl Jones’s epic novel Palmares (2021) has been heralded as the author’s return to the literary world following a two-decade absence. Indeed, Jones’s career has been repeatedly framed in terms of Lazarus-like disappearance and resurrection. But how much of Jones’s supposed “disappearance” is less a historical fact and more a symptom of her works’ exceedingly uneven reception? In other words, to what extent did she disappear, and to what extent have we as readers, critics, and scholars made her disappear? Or, to what extent has her work been disappeared?

This Post45: Contemporaries cluster takes this lopsided reception—whereby novels like Corregidora are widely read, taught, and studied while several of Jones’s works of fiction, poetry, and drama remain obscure or out of print—as an opportunity for two broad interventions: first, to reframe the arc of Jones’s career not as a story of death and resurrection but instead as a longstanding project peripheralized by predominant protocols of reception; and second, to refocus attention on Jones’s lesser-studied works like Chile Woman (1974) and Xarque and Other Poems (1985) in light of the release of Palmares and several additional volumes to be published by Beacon Press over the next year.


The How

Some possible topics for pitches include, but are not limited to:

  • Jones and Afro-Latin America, especially Afro-Brazil (Corregidora, Xarque, Song for Anninho, The Hermit-Woman, Palmares) and Afro-Mexico (The Hermit-Woman, Mosquito)
  • Book-historical and print-cultural perspectives on Jones’s work and reception: publications with Lotus Press; periodical publications; relationship with Beacon Press
  • Jones’s Palmares saga: Xarque, Song for Anninho and Song for Almeyda, Palmares
  • Jones’s unpublished writings or archival materials, especially theatrical work (Chile Woman, African Expressionism, Corrida de Gallo)
  • Jones in/and Germany: The Healing and Die Vogelfängerin
  • Jones in/and translation, language, multilingualism
  • Jones and künstlerroman: Corregidora, The Birdcatcher
  • Jones as critic and theorist
  • Jones and queer love, sex, relation, theory
  • Jones and mental illness, disability, abnormal psychology: Chile Woman, White Rat, Eva’s Man, The Birdcatcher


The When & Where

Pitches are due on July 1, 2022. We expect accepted pitches to be developed into essays of 3,000-4,000 words; after edits and revisions in the fall of 2022, we plan to publish the cluster essays in early 2023.

Contributors to this cluster will be also be invited to join a seminar at the ASAP/13 conference on September 14-17, 2022 in Los Angeles. Due to the conference’s hybrid format, presenters will be able to participate either virtually or in person.

Pitches and questions should be directed to cluster editor Nicholas Rinehart at [email protected]