JHU Press Blog

Why Bother?

by cmt | Wednesday, April 3, 2013 - 8:30 AM

Guest post by Mark A. Largent Four years ago, I set out to do what I had long promised I would once I had the security of tenure: start writing for a broader audience. Over the previous decade, I had met all the expectations of a mainstream academic scholar. I had published a book with a university press, as well as a half-dozen peer-reviewed articles in scholarly journals. I had organized conferences and served as the book review editor for my field’s journal of record. I had taught my classes, served on committees, and even edited a book series. Now, I could finally start publishing works that would be much more widely read and that (hopefully) would have an influence far beyond the ivory tower. I had strong support for my plan. I had taken a position in a public policy college at a land grant university that prides itself on civic engagement. My dean encouraged me to start thinking of myself as a public intellectual, and I spent several years editing dozens of my colleagues’ writings and thoughtfully developing my own writing style. In the summer of 2008 I set to work on a new project, one that...Read More

Baseball and agrarianism

by cmt | Monday, April 1, 2013 - 10:00 AM

Guest post by David Vaught On Opening Day, many a broadcaster waxed poetic over the green grass, blue sky, fresh air, and carefree atmosphere of the downtown oasis of a professional ballpark. But ponder this: Baseball captures the essence of the American rural experience. Whether they know it or not, Americans think of baseball in agrarian terms—from Abner Doubleday and Cooperstown to Kevin Costner and Field of Dreams . We associate the game with nostalgia, romantic imagery, and pastoral flights of fancy. Even in today’s predominantly non-rural culture, rural culture continues to be expressed through baseball. Where else other than a major league ballpark does someone sitting in the middle of a row of thirty seats pass a $20 bill down through the many different hands—black, white, brown, male, female, gay, straight—to the hotdog man with the complete and total expectation that they will get back not only the hotdog but every last penny of change? That innate trust and sense of cooperation is rooted in our agrarian heritage, dating back to the days before the market complicated farmers’ lives. It epitomizes what Thomas Jefferson thought a nation of farmers would become. ...Read More

Work, Fate, Accomplishment

by cmt | Wednesday, March 27, 2013 - 8:30 AM

Executive Editor Vince Burke and Senior Production Editor Debby Bors, JHU Press

Guest post by Val Kells I firmly believe that if you work hard, invest fully in your goal, keep your nose clean, and mix it up with like-minded and similarly-driven people, good things are bound to happen. Yes, fate steps in now and again: a right turn here, a left turn there . . . luck, chance, stars aligning. However randomly paths seem to meander, paths DO cross. Paths can cross in wonderful ways and result in wonderful accomplishments, if you’re lucky. Above is a photo of my fantabulous executive editor, Vince Burke, and my equally fantabulous production editor, Debby Bors. They stand in the hallway of the Johns Hopkins University Press holding our latest achievement: Field Guide to Fishes of the Chesapeake Bay . Behind them are shelves and shelves of other noteworthy books and numerous awards our nation’s oldest university press has amassed. Some five years ago I had an idea: revamp the out-dated and out-of-print Fishes of Chesapeake Bay . I posed the idea to Vince not knowing that he ALREADY had plans to...Read More

Kill Your Darlings: Michele Callaghan's stages of poetry

by cmt | Monday, March 25, 2013 - 8:30 AM

During the Association of Writers & Writing Programs annual conference earlier this month, we challenged our JHU Press authors to write on the theme “Kill your darlings.” We asked: What poem, line, stanza, or piece of brilliant work have you sacrificed for the greater good? Has this piece or well-turned phrase found its way into another poem, short story, or into your subconscious to use at another time? Inspired, we turned to our own talented staff and posed the same questions. Read on to see what they had to say. And check our archives to learn how poets Peter Filkins and X. J. Kennedy responded. By Michele Callaghan, manuscript editor In response to this call for “darlings”—lines of poetry that we loved but had to let languish or even kill because we could not find a home for them—I went through decades of poetry ideas. Some have stood the test of time. Others—scribbled on old papers, envelopes, and notebooks of all sizes and typed on onion skin—are better left to the ages. I realized that my poetry has gone through stages, including the teen-heart-on-a-sleeve phase, the faux-e.e.-cummings phase, and...Read More

March news and new books

by rr | Friday, March 22, 2013 - 9:15 AM

News and Notes

Annette Lanjouw, co-author of Mountain Gorillas: Biology, Conservation, and Coexistence , was interviewed on NPR’s Science Friday during the SciFri Book Club about Dian Fossey’s Gorillas in the Mist.

Daniel Webster, co-editor of Reducing Gun Violence in American: Informing Policy with Evidence and Analysis , was interviewed on Annapolis radio station WRNR 103.1 .

Hot off the Press

Abraham Lincoln: A Life, Vol. 1 & 2 Now in paperback, this award-winning biography has been hailed as the definitive portrait of Lincoln. ...Read More

Critical Advances in the Prevention of Pediatric HIV Infections

by cmt | Wednesday, March 13, 2013 - 9:00 AM

guest post by Robert T. Maupin, Jr. This past week has born witness to reports of a groundbreaking medical breakthrough in HIV treatment resulting in the reported “cure” of an infant believed to have a pregnancy-acquired early HIV infection. The infant described in the New York Times report was born to a mother who was not diagnosed with HIV infection until shortly after she gave birth. Following the woman’s diagnosis, the infant was treated with an aggressive three drug antiretroviral regimen. The infant was reported to have remained on treatment during its first 18 months of life, and was recently determined to have cleared the infection. HIV infectious disease experts think that this finding may signal critical new advances in the understanding of the prevention of pediatric infections. Perhaps it even holds the promise of curing early pediatric infections. However, many experts stress the need for caution in interpreting the report’s findings. Whether or not the infant definitely had an established HIV infection, as well as whether or not this clinical finding can be replicated, will require extensive follow-up and further analysis. The prevention of pediatric HIV infections associated with pregnancy is one of...Read More

The Doctor Is In: Raising a Child with a Physical Disability

by cmt | Tuesday, March 12, 2013 - 8:30 AM

The Doctor Is In is an occasional series where JHU Press authors discuss the latest developments and news in health and medicine.

Guest post by Kay Harris Kriegsman and Sara Palmer

“Being a parent has given me more to live for, more to appreciate about life. I look at the world with a sense of purpose. Having a child has an impact; having a child who has a physical disability has an even greater impact. I can’t separate the two. It’s a lot more work, but rewarding. I have to be positive and tough in a way. I have a lot more love than I knew I had.”—Kathleen, mother of a child with spina bifida

Parenting is one of the most challenging—and rewarding—roles of life, full of anticipated responsibilities and pleasures. When a child has a physical disability, whether at birth or later, parents have to learn to manage both the expected problems of parenting as well as the unanticipated medical and physical needs of their child. Parents may have complex feelings—anxiety, sadness, or anger—as the dream of a “perfect” child is replaced by the reality of a child with...Read More

Kill Your Darlings: The X. J. Kennedy Edition

by cmt | Wednesday, March 6, 2013 - 8:30 AM

With the Association of Writers & Writing Programs annual conference underway, we challenged our JHU Press authors to write on the theme “Kill your darlings.” We asked: What poem, line, stanza, or piece of brilliant work have you sacrificed for the greater good? Has this piece or well-turned phrase found its way into another poem, short story, or into your subconscious to use at another time? Read on to find out what they had to say. Guest post by X. J. Kennedy In writing the first draft of a poem and then paring it down, I murder little darlings all the time. None is especially memorable, nor is it any loss. But I once went through the agony of killing a beloved piece of prose some 20,000 words long. In writing a first novel for children, I was throwing in every idea I had, resulting in a manuscript of cumbersome length. The editor, Margaret McElderry, saw that it would gain from removing several chapters in which the protagonists, a boy and his sister, pilot a blimp to an island inhabited by a bunch of practical jokers. I loved that section fiercely, but recognized the...Read More

Wild Thing: A brief look at starfish biology and ecology

by bjs | Thursday, February 28, 2013 - 1:14 PM

Figure 1: Pisaster ochraceus. Aggregation on a rock shore at Barkeley Sound, British Columbia, removing gooseneck barnacles and small mussels. Photo courtesy of C. Robles.

Wild Thing is an occasional series where JHU Press authors write about the flora and fauna of the natural world—from the rarest flower to the most magnificent beast.

Guest post by John M. Lawrence

Starfish are icons of the sea. Among the most fascinating animals in the world’s oceans, they are one of the classes of echinoderms that also include sea urchins, brittle stars, sea cucumbers and sea lilies.

Starfish live in a variety of marine habitats where they can be major predators that greatly affect their communities. Studies by the University of Washington marine biologist, Robert Paine, on the starfish Pisaster ochraceus of the west coast of North American (Figure 1) led him to develop the concept of keystone species. Just as the keystone holds an arch together, a keystone species is a dominant predator that determines community structure.

Starfish can be notorious for their effect on the environment. The crown-of-thorns starfish, Acanthaster planci , (Figure 2) has had periodic...Read More

Chapter & Verse: The Iliad's Civic Community

by cmt | Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - 8:30 AM

Chapter and Verse is a series where JHU Press authors and editors discuss the literary landscape of poetry and prose, whether their own creative work or the literature of others.

Guest post by David F. Elmer

When I first had the idea for my new book, The Poetics of Consent: Collective Decision Making and the Iliad , the United States was in the midst of the worst phase of the war in Iraq. In hindsight I can see more clearly than ever how the politics of those years shaped my view of the ancient Greeks’ great martial epic.

I took as my subject the ways in which the Iliad depicts politics, which I understand broadly as the project of collectively determining common values, goals, and actions. I became fascinated by the ways in which a poem that focuses so relentlessly on the competition for prestige among powerful individuals (Agamemnon, Achilles) simultaneously projects consensus as the ultimate political ideal. The tension that emerged from my readings resonated, for me, with my misgivings about what I perceived as the unchecked growth of executive power in the American polity. Presidential signing statements and military...Read More