A Celebration of Kenyon Authors

More than 20 faculty and staff who published books in 2022 and 2023 were honored with a special ceremony in Chalmers Library.


Photo by Travis Chi Wing Lau, assistant professor of English.

On the lower level of Chalmers Library are some special shelves filled with particularly precious books: the works of Kenyon faculty and staff.

A ceremony on March 20 welcomed the newest residents of these shelves as officials recognized 28 books produced by 23 authors over the past two years. Contributions ran the gamut from poetry and memoir to textbooks and translations, and included both text and images.

Provost Jeff Bowman said it only makes sense to call attention to published authors at a place like Kenyon, where writing is such an important part of the culture.

“We have a long history and reputation as ‘The Writers’ College,’ and so it’s important to us to be able to celebrate that,” Bowman said. 

Due to a delay caused by the tumult of COVID-19, this year’s event honored authors who were published in 2022 as well as 2023. 

“We have a faculty who at every different level and every different cohort are very engaged in their scholarly and artistic work and extremely productive,” Bowman said. “So it is great to have a moment in a very busy academic calendar to recognize all of the toil and the accomplishments of faculty as scholars and as artists.”

Such works will have an even more prominent home soon, when a new bookshelf is constructed in the library atrium next to Bulmash Exhibition Hall. It will be funded by a special project grant from the Bicentennial Advisory Committee.

Among the books lauded at this month’s event were several from Professor of Spanish Katherine Hedeen, including translations of work by Colombian poet Raúl Gómez Jattin and Hedeen’s spouse and Kenyon colleague, Cuban poet Víctor Rodríguez Núñez (who also published a book of original poetry in Spanish and worked with Hedeen on a translation of work by Spanish poet Antonio Gamoneda).

“My translations are my poetry,” Hedeen said. “It’s absolutely creative in some of the most challenging ways possible.”

Her 2023 book “The Roof of the Whale Poems” translates the work of Venezuelan poet Juan Calzadilla and was a collaboration with one of her former students, Olivia Lott ’15. That book won the inaugural translation competition from the University of Wisconsin Press. (The pair also collaborated on Jattin’s poetry in 2022’s “Almost Obscene”)

Hedeen said she appreciates not only the senior capstone projects at Kenyon — which resulted in what was essentially a first draft of “The Roof of the Whale Poems” — but the College’s encouragement on continued collaboration.

“The fact that Kenyon is so excited about those things makes it a place that nurtures those kinds of relationships,” Hedeen said.

Another work featured at Chalmers Library was “Vagaries,” a chapbook of poems by Travis Chi Wing Lau, assistant professor of English who came to Kenyon in 2020. The book about chronic pain is informed by his own scoliosis-related disabilities. 

Lau said that Kenyon has allowed him the unique opportunity to be both an academic and a creative.

“In graduate school, I had to either pick between being a ‘serious’ scholar and being a poet, and I think at Kenyon those two things cannot be separated,” he said. “I feel like Kenyon as a whole really embraces the compound term I use, which is scholar-creative or scholar-poet. I can be all of these things and not have to choose, and I didn't realize how much that meant to me until I was able to be that and it wasn't questioned.”

The Writers Bloc

The following faculty members and staff published books over the past two years.

• Alex Brostoff, assistant professor of English, co-translated “Life is Not Useful” by Aílton Krenak.

• Katherine Hedeen, professor of Spanish, co-translated (with Olivia Lott ’15) “The Roof of the Whale Poems” by Juan Calzadilla.

• Jodi Kovach, Pamela and Christopher Hoehn-Saric Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs and Education at The Gund, co-edited “Language Learning in Academic Museums: New Paradigms for Cultural Study, Language Acquisition and Campus Engagement.”

• Micah Myers, associate professor of classics, co-edited “Vergil and Elegy.”

• Royal Rhodes, professor emeritus of religious studies (text), and Claudia Esslinger, professor of art (images), collaborated on “Shadows and Imaginings.”

• Reginald Sanders, professor of music, edited “C.P.E. Bach: Miscellaneous Sacred Works IV.”

• Vernon Schubel, professor of religious studies, authored “Teaching Humanity: An Alternative Introduction to Islam.”

• Joan Slonczewski, professor of biology, co-authored “Microbiology: An Evolving Science, 6th edition.”

• Orchid Tierney, assistant professor of English, authored “looking at the Tiny: Mad lichen on the surfaces of reading” and co-edited “Routledge Companion to Ecopoetics.”

• Yang Xiao, professor of philosophy, co-edited “Dao Companion to the Philosophy of Mencius.”

• Joseph Adler, professor emeritus of Asian studies and religious studies, authored “The Yijing: A Guide.”

• Nuh Aydin, professor of mathematics, co-authored “Al-Kashi's Miftah al-Hisab, Volume III: Algebra: Translation and Commentary.”

• Anna Aydinyan, associate professor of Russian, authored “Formalists Against Imperialism: The Death of Vazir-Mukhtar and Russian Orientalism.”

• Phil Brooks, Kenyon-affiliated scholar (text), and Craig Hill, associate professor of art (images), collaborated on “Report from the Surface.”

• Travis Chi Wing Lau, assistant professor of English, authored “Vagaries.”

• Katherine Elkins, professor of comparative literature and humanities, authored “The Shapes of Stories: Sentiment Analysis for Narrative” and edited “Proust’s ‘In Search of Lost Time’: Philosophical Perspectives.”

• Katherine Hedeen, professor of Spanish, co-translated (with Olivia Lott ’15) “Almost Obscene” by Raúl Gómez Jattin and co-edited “Poetry’s Geographies: A Transatlantic Anthology of Translations.”

• Austin Johnson, associate professor of sociology, co-edited “Advances in Trans Studies: Moving Toward Gender Expansion and Trans Hope.”

• Bruce Kinzer, professor emeritus of history, co-edited “Reform and Its Complexities in Modern Britain: Essays Inspired by Sir Brian Harrison.”

• Irene López, professor of psychology, co-edited “The Wiley Handbook of Collaborative Online Learning and Global Engagement.”

• Víctor Rodríguez Núñez, professor of Spanish, authored “La Noche Y Cuba.”

• Víctor Rodríguez Núñez and Katherine Hedeen, professors of Spanish, authored and translated, respectively, “Rebel Matter: Poems 2000-2021.” 

• Víctor Rodríguez Núñez and Katherine Hedeen, professors of Spanish, co-translated “Book of the Cold” by Antonio Gamoneda.

• Ric Sheffield, professor emeritus of sociology and legal studies, authored “We Got By: A Black Family’s Journey in the Heartland.”

• Marie Snipes, associate professor of mathematics, co-authored “Application-inspired Linear Algebra.”