Essays

Flare Out
Peter Gidal
The Visible Press - 21.00€ -

Flare Out: Aesthetics 1966–2016 is a collection of essays by Peter Gidal that includes “Theory and Definition of Structural/Materialist Film” and other texts on metaphor, narrative, and against sexual representation.

Also discussed in their specificity are works by Samuel Beckett, Thérèse Oulton, Gerhard Richter and Andy Warhol. Throughout, Gidal’s writing attempts a political aesthetics, polemical as well as theoretical. One of the foremost experimental film-makers in Britain since the late 1960s, Peter Gidal was a central figure at the London Film-Makers’ Co-operative, and taught advanced film theory at the Royal College of Art. His previous books include Andy Warhol: Films and Paintings (1971), Understanding Beckett (1986) and Materialist Film (1989).

And Then Comes the Chorus
Jon Refsdal Moe
Varamo Press - 6.00€ -

In the high-octane essay And Then Comes the Chorus, Jon Refsdal Moe pursues the imagination of theatre opened up by Alfred Jarry when he slipped an ‘r’ into a profanity as he exclaimed ‘Merdre!’ on stage. ‘What matters is that the words became flesh and that this flesh exploded right in the world’s face. What matters is that literature stood up at the Théâtre de l’Œuvre on December 10, 1896 and cried FUCK! and all hell broke loose and the world has never been the same since.’

Jon Refsdal Moe is a writer and dramaturg from Oslo. He has written two novels, one doctoral dissertation, several essays and a lot of criticism. He was artistic director of Black Box teater in Oslo from 2009 to 2016 and is now professor of dramaturgy at Stockholm University of the Arts.

Published by Varamo Press in the essay series Gestures
First edition November 2022
48 pages, 11.0 x 16.5 cm, sewn perfect binding
ISBN: 978-82-691492-8-9
Graphic design by Michaël Bussaer

Wittig
Émilie Notéris
Les Pérégrines - 16.00€ -

Figure majeure du féminisme des années 1970, icône de l'écriture et de la pensée lesbiennes, Monique Wittig reste une énigme. Tenant à la fois de l'enquête, du récit et de l'étude, ce « brouillon pour une biographie » cherche à percer son mystère et à écrire sa « vie éternelle » – sa vie vécue et celle qu'elle continue d'avoir après sa mort. Nous n'en avons pas fini avec Wittig, cela ne fait que (re)commencer.

Émilie Notéris est une travailleuse du texte. Elle a préfacé les anarchistes Voltairine de Cleyre et Emma Goldman (Femmes et anarchistes, 2014) et traduit des écoféministes (Reclaim!, 2016 ; Manifeste xénoféministe), ainsi que les militantes féministes Sarah Schulman (La gentrification des esprits, 2018) et Shulamith Firestone (Zones mortes, 2020). Elle a publié en 2020 Macronique. Les choses qui n'existent pas existent quand même (Cambourakis, coll. « Sorcières »), texte de réaction écrit entre octobre 2019 et mars 2020 qui établit un relevé des violences policières, et Alma Matériau (Paraguay), une histoire féministe de l'art.

Worms #5 'Impurity'
Clem Macleod (Ed.)
Worms Magazine - 24.00€ -

In this issue, Worms explores New Narrative alongside writers working today that incorporate some of it’s themes. The cover star Saidiya Hartman talks with Rhea Dillon about the limits and processes of creating stories from the archive, while Camille Roy and Dodie Bellamy give insight into New Narrative from their experiences involved in the movement. Savannah Knoop tells about their life playing the character of J.T Leroy, while Calla Henkel delves into ideas of using other people’s narratives as our own. There’s lots of gleaning, lots of stealing and lots of hard truths coming from the human body. There is poetry and fiction and all of the usual bits, as well as an experimental cut up piece demonstrating the appropriation method that Kathy Acker (via William Burroughs) used in so much of her work. Many more worms to be found in these pages.

Featuring:
Saidiya Hartman, Camille Roy, Dodie Bellamy, Lynne Tillman, Estelle Hoy, Rhea Dillon, Savannah Knoop, Lauren Fournier, Madelyne Beckles, Joanna Walsh, Anne Turyn, Cristina Morales, Calla Henkel, Jenny Zhang

Contributors:
ZARA JOAN MILLER, HAYDEE TOUITOU, NICOLE DELLA COSTA, CECILIA PAVON, VALENTINA VON KLENCKE, FEYI ADEGBITE, ALICE PLATTI, VICTORIA CAMPA, ALICE BUTLER, CLEMMIE BACHE, CAITLIN MCLOUGHLIN, JACK STUART MILLS, HONOR WEATHERALL, ARCADIA MOLINAS, AIMEE BALLINGER, WES KNOWLER, ELEANOR WANG, KATY DADACZ, OLIVE COURI, RACHEL CATTLE, ISABELLE BUCKLOW, SARAH BODRI, HOPE ROAFL, MAURA SAPPILO, JODIE HILL, JACQUELINE ENNIS COLE, MARY WATT, DELIA RAINEY.

Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good
adrienne maree brown
AK Press - 20.00€ -

How do we make social justice the most pleasurable human experience? How can we awaken within ourselves desires that make it impossible to settle for anything less than a fulfilling life? Author and editor adrienne maree brown finds the answer in something she calls "pleasure activism," a politics of healing and happiness that explodes the dour myth that changing the world is just another form of work. Drawing on the black feminist tradition, she challenges us to rethink the ground rules of activism. Her mindset-altering essays are interwoven with conversations and insights from other feminist thinkers, including Audre Lorde, Joan Morgan, Cara Page, Sonya Renee Taylor, and Alexis Pauline Gumbs. Together they cover a wide array of subjects—from sex work to climate change, from race and gender to sex and drugs—building new narratives about how politics can feel good and how what feels good always has a complex politics of its own.

Building on the success of her popular Emergent Strategy, brown launches a new series of the same name with this volume, bringing readers books that explore experimental, expansive, and innovative ways to meet the challenges that face our world today. Books that find the opportunity in every crisis!

adrienne maree brown, author of Emergent Strategy and co-editor of Octavia's Brood, is a social justice facilitator focused on black liberation, a doula/healer, and a pleasure activist. She lives in Detroit.

The Tricking Hour
Irene Silt
Deluge Books - 18.00€ -

Part anti-work polemic, part sex worker's confession, the luminous essays in The Tricking Hour envision a world organized around collective autonomy, survival, and care, instead of the compulsory exploitation of the body.

Irene Silt writes about power, anti-work feeling, joy, and deviance. Their essays and poems have been published in Mask Magazine, ANTIGRAVITY, Spoil, LESTE, Trou Noir, Poiesis Journal and in the Tripwire pamphlet series. They live in New York.

Fieldguides for a Preternaturalist 3
Joshua Cohen; Johanna Lot
K. Verlag - 11.00€ -

‘Fieldguides for a Preternaturalist’ is a series of small chapbooks designed to bring collaborators, audiences, and readers together as part of the project ‘Nothing of Importance Occurred: Recuperating a Herball for a 17th-Century Enslaved Angolan Midwife at the Cape’, initiated by South African artist Wendy Morris. Through speculative investigations of plants-as-archive and storytelling-as-method, the project focuses on retrieving a library of botanical-medicinal knowledge that perhaps informed Morris’s enslaved ancestor. The ‘Fieldguides’ invite collaborators to shed light on this from multiple angles. Joshua Cohen and Johanna Lot are the guest contributors of the third edition.

Emotion of Spirits
Sedje Hémon
Archive Books - 15.00€ -

A panorama of the multifaceted and transversal production of Sedje Hémon, with fifteen essays.

Published on the occasion of the exhibition "Sedje Hémon. Imran Mir. Abdias Nascimento. Abstracting Parables", as part of the international Arnhem based art manifestation sonsbeek20→24, at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, in 2022.

Dutch-Jewish painter and composer Sedje Hémon's (born Sedje Frank, 1923-2011) artistic practice was a deep deliberation on natural sciences, as well as an exploration of other ways of knowing. Her work was strongly influenced by her lived experience as a Shoah survivor and a member of the resistance movement. Educated as a violinist, incarceration during WWII left Hémon physically unable to play, upon which she turned her attention to painting—without ever abandoning music. During the 1950s and 1960s, she developed an intricate method for translating her paintings into musical scores. Hémon described her paintings as musical compositions, and their abstract forms are to be read as such—in relation to musical parameters such as duration, pitch, and timbre. Her visual works can actually be performed musically according to the system that she herself developed. Defiantly, Hémon worked to show the common origin and intersectionality of all arts and sciences, culminating in the development of a theory for the "integration of the arts."

Edited by Amal Alhaag, Aude Christel Mgba, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Gwen Parry, Ibrahim Cissé, Krista Jantowski, Zippora Elders.

Contributions by Amal Alhaag, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Ibrahim Cissé, Sophie Douala, Zippora Elders, Krista Jantowski, Aude Christel Mgba, Gwen Parry, Peter Jasper Wapperom, Elmyra van Dooren, Cannach MacBride, Siji Jabbar, Claire van Els, Marianna Maruyama, Maurice Rummens, Romy Rüegger, Jake Schneider.

A World that is not entirely Reflective but Contemplative
Imran Mir
Archive Books - 15.00€ -

A survey of Imran Mir's abstract and contemplative work, with fifteen essays.

Published on the occasion of the exhibition "Sedje Hémon. Imran Mir. Abdias Nascimento. Abstracting Parables", as part of the international Arnhem based art manifestation sonsbeek20→24, at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, in 2022.

Pakistani artist, sculptor, and designer Imran Mir's (1950-2014) oeuvre can be interpreted as a constant refusal to provide comprehensive elaboration beyond what one experiences. The act of contemplation is a guiding principle to interpreting Imran Mir's work, an approach that reverberates into a practice that grew out of conversations with a community of artists, activists, poets, relatives, and other thinkers in Karachi.

Non-figurative, non-representational, geometrical and very bold, Imran Mir's works can be read as theorems and positions on multiple modernisms and abstractions. Without being a critique or a response, he played with the rules, bypassing and expanding them to other realms to explore ways of being, ways of knowing time and space outside of the confinements of the West.

Edited by Amal Alhaag, Aude Christel Mgba, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Gwen Parry, Ibrahim Cissé, Krista Jantowski, Zippora Elders.

Contributions by Amal Alhaag, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Ibrahim Cissé, Sophie Douala, Zippora Elders, Natasha Ginwala, Hajra Haider Karrar, Krista Jantowski, Momtaza Mehri, Aude Christel Mgba, Nighat Mir, Quddus Mirza, Gwen Parry, Nafisa Rizvi.

Being An Event of Love
Abdias Nascimento
Archive Books - 15.00€ -

A survey of the pictorial work of the Afro-Brazilian artist, writer and activist, with fifteen essays.

Published on the occasion of the exhibition "Sedje Hémon. Imran Mir. Abdias Nascimento. Abstracting Parables", as part of the international Arnhem based art manifestation sonsbeek20→24, at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, in 2022.

The life and work of Afro-Brazilian painter, poet, essayist, dramatist, activist, and member of Parliament Abdias Nascimento (1914-2011) is a testament to his active commitment to Black expression and solidarity, both artistically and politically. Above all, Nascimento was a Pan-African activist. He organized the National Convention of Brazilian Blacks (1946) and the 1st Congress of Brazilian Blacks four years later. During the same period, he founded the Black Experimental Theater (1944) and the Black Arts Museum project (1950), both in Rio de Janeiro. While curating the latter, he began to develop his own creative work.

Edited by Amal Alhaag, Aude Christel Mgba, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Gwen Parry, Ibrahim Cissé, Krista Jantowski, Zippora Elders.

Contributions by Abdias Nascimento, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Shade Mary-Ann Olaoye, Amal Alhaag, Ibrahim Cissé, Sita Dickson Littlewood, Sophie Douala, Zippora Elders, Lélia González, Keyna Eleison, Krista Jantowski, Elisa Larkin Nascimento, Aude Christel Mgba, Goia Mujalli, Kabengele Munanga, Gwen Parry, Olabiyi Yai.

Death by Landscape
Elvia Wilk
Soft Skull Press - 17.00€ -  out of stock

From the acclaimed author of the novel Oval comes a book of "fan nonfiction" about living and writing in the age of extinction.

In this constellation of essays, Elvia Wilk asks what kinds of narratives will help us rethink our human perspective toward Earth. The book begins as an exploration of the role of fiction today and becomes a deep interrogation of the writing process and the self.  

Wilk examines creative works across time and genre in order to break down binaries between dystopia and utopia, real and imagined, self and world. She makes connections between works by such wide-ranging writers as Mark Fisher, Karen Russell, Han Kang, Doris Lessing, Anne Carson, Octavia E. Butler, Michelle Tea, Helen Phillips, Kathe Koja, Jeff and Ann VanderMeer, and Hildegard von Bingen.  

What happens when research becomes personal, when the observer breaks through the glass? Through the eye of the fan, this collection delves into literal and literary world-building projects--medieval monasteries, solarpunk futures, vampire role plays, environments devoid of humans--bridging the micro and the macro and revealing how our relationship to narrative shapes our relationships to the natural world and to one another.

Eros the Bittersweet
Anne Carson
Dalkey Archive Press - 16.00€ -  out of stock

A book about romantic love, Eros the Bittersweet is Anne Carson's exploration of the concept of "eros" in both classical philosophy and literature. Beginning with, "It was Sappho who first called eros 'bittersweet.' No one who has been in love disputes her," Carson examines her subject from numerous points of view, creating a lyrical meditation in the tradition of William Carlos Williams's Spring and All and William H. Gass's On Being Blue.

Blueberries
Ellena Savage
Text Publishing - 17.00€ -

Blueberries could be described as a collection of essays, the closest term available for a book that resists classification: a blend of personal essay, polemic, prose poetry, true-crime journalism and confession that considers a fragmented life, reflecting on what it means to be a woman, a body, an artist. It is both a memoir and an interrogation of memoir. It is a new horizon in storytelling.

In crystalline prose, Savage explores the essential questions of the examined life: what is it to desire? What is it to accommodate oneself to the world? And at what cost?

After Institutions
Karen Archey
Floating Opera Press - 17.00€ -  out of stock

The current crisis of museums and the future of Institutional Critique.

Faced with waning state support, declining revenue, and forced entrepreneurialism, museums have become a threatened public space. Simultaneously, they have assumed the role of institutional arbiter in issues of social justice and accountability. The canon of Institutional Critique has responded to the social embeddedness of art institutions by looking at the inner workings of such organizations. In After Institutions, Karen Archey expands the definition of Institutional Critique to develop a broader understanding of contemporary art's sociopolitical entanglements, looking beyond what cultural institutions were to what they are and what they might become.

Karen Archey is curator of contemporary art at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. She is a 2015 Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant recipient for short-form writing. Since joining the Stedelijk Museum in April 2017, Archey has organized solo exhibitions by artists Rineke Dijkstra, Stefan Tcherepnin, Catherine Christer Hennix, Steffani Jemison, Metahaven, Jeff Preiss, Charlotte Prodger, and Hito Steyerl. She has written numerous catalogue essays and is a contributor to several art publications, including Artforum and Frieze.

The Poetry of Translation
Judith Waldmann (ed.)
Mousse Publishing - 18.00€ -

New perspectives on the process of translation from the works of more than thirty international artists.

"[…] what I consider to be one of the most important arts of the future: the art of translation."
—Édouard Glissant

With The Poetry of Translation, Kunst Meran Merano Arte investigates the compelling phenomenon of translation. Over seventy works by over thirty artists shed light on the process of translation from novel perspectives

Inspired by the living multilingual environment of South Tyrol and its eventful history of interethnic cohabitation, Kunst Meran Merano Arte offers the ideal context for a research on translation and questions surrounding identity, multiculturalism, and diversity. The essays and visuals included in the book address translation in its complexity: on the one hand, as a source of inclusion, international understanding, creativity, genius and poetry, while on the other as a cause of misunderstanding and exclusion. It is understood here as a creative process through which something new is always created.

Published on the occasion of the eponymous exhibition at Kunst Meran Merano Arte in 2021-2022, with Amelia Etlinger, Anna Esposito, Annika Kahrs, Anri Sala, Augusto De Campos, Babi Badalov, Ben Vautier, Carla Accardi, Cerith Wyn Evans, Christine Sun Kim & Thomas Mader, Elisabetta Gut, Ettore Favini, Franco Marini, Franz Pichler, Freundeskreis, Jorel Heid & Alexandra Griess, Heinz Gappmayr, Irma Blank, Johann Georg Hettinger, Jorinde Voigt, Kader Attia, Katja Aufleger, Ketty La Rocca, Kinkaleri, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Lawrence Weiner, Leander Schwazer, Lena Iglisonis, Lenora De Barros, Lucia Marcucci, Maria Stockner, Marilla Battilana, Michele Galluzzo & Franziska Weitgruber, Mirella Bentivoglio, Otto Neurath, Siggi Hofer, Slavs and Tatars, Tomaso Binga.

Fieldguides for a Preternaturalist 2
Rachel O'Donnell
K. Verlag - 11.00€ -  out of stock

Fieldguides for a Preternaturalist is a series of small chapbooks designed to bring collaborators, audiences, and readers together within the project Nothing of Importance Occurred: Recuperating a Herball for a 17th Century Enslaved Angolan Midwife at the Cape. Initiated by South African artist Wendy Morris, Nothing of Importance Occurred is an artistic project recuperating missing narratives at the Cape through speculative investigations of plants-as-archive and storytelling as method. It has as its focus the retrieving of a library of botanical-medicinal knowledge that might have informed Morris’s enslaved ancestor, Maaij Claesje of Angola, midwife in the Company Slave Lodge in Cape Town.
 
The investigation follows streams of contraceptive plant knowledge that flowed to the Cape through the bodies of enslaved women from Angola, Moçambique, and Madagascar, and from India, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka, as well as through the bodies of women emigrating from the Netherlands, and Huguenots fleeing France. The investigation traces practices already existent at the Cape in the healing ecologies of Khoi, Nama, and San women. Because upwards of four million Angolans were trafficked to the Americas, the project follows recorded practices among women there too. This project of recuperation leads towards a polyvocal Herball of contraceptive plants, the collaborative Fieldguides, and a part-fictionalized Return from Cape Town to the interior of Angola.
     
The Fieldguides are conceived as generators of collaborations, which is to say that they are a means to invite guides to beam light onto the investigation from multiple angles—historical, anthropological, experiential, ethnobotanical, literary, and more. The guides are influential researchers and writers whose insights, experiences, and reflections shaped the investigation. The guides were invited to write towards the project in a word-of-mouth form; each contribution will, in turn, occasion a set of gatherings during which the text will be read aloud.

Fieldguides for a Preternaturalist 1
Nadia Kamies
K. Verlag - 11.00€ -  out of stock

Fieldguides for a Preternaturalist is a series of small chapbooks designed to bring collaborators, audiences, and readers together within the project Nothing of Importance Occurred: Recuperating a Herball for a 17th Century Enslaved Angolan Midwife at the Cape. Initiated by South African artist Wendy Morris, Nothing of Importance Occurred is an artistic project recuperating missing narratives at the Cape through speculative investigations of plants-as-archive and storytelling as method. It has as its focus the retrieving of a library of botanical-medicinal knowledge that might have informed Morris’s enslaved ancestor, Maaij Claesje of Angola, midwife in the Company Slave Lodge in Cape Town.
 
The investigation follows streams of contraceptive plant knowledge that flowed to the Cape through the bodies of enslaved women from Angola, Moçambique, and Madagascar, and from India, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka, as well as through the bodies of women emigrating from the Netherlands, and Huguenots fleeing France. The investigation traces practices already existent at the Cape in the healing ecologies of Khoi, Nama, and San women. Because upwards of four million Angolans were trafficked to the Americas, the project follows recorded practices among women there too. This project of recuperation leads towards a polyvocal Herball of contraceptive plants, the collaborative Fieldguides, and a part-fictionalized Return from Cape Town to the interior of Angola.
     
The Fieldguides are conceived as generators of collaborations, which is to say that they are a means to invite guides to beam light onto the investigation from multiple angles—historical, anthropological, experiential, ethnobotanical, literary, and more. The guides are influential researchers and writers whose insights, experiences, and reflections shaped the investigation. The guides were invited to write towards the project in a word-of-mouth form; each contribution will, in turn, occasion a set of gatherings during which the text will be read aloud.

Notes on Mother Tongues: Colonialism, Class, and Giving What You Don't Have
Mirene Arsanios
Ugly Duckling Press - 16.00€ -  out of stock

Lebanese writer and editor Mirene Arsanios meditates on the relationships between mother tongues, motherhood, and colonialism. In this pamphlet, she investigates the historical and personal circumstances that led to the loss of her native language.

Written as a fictional essay, NOTES ON MOTHER TONGUES explores language as a field shaped by diasporic histories, class relations, and broken familial legacies. It strives to imagine mother tongues and motherhood beyond the labor of reproduction, languages that exist in troubled ecosystems where lack does not preclude repair.

Mirene Arsanios is the author of the short story collection, The City Outside the Sentence (Ashkal Alwan). She has contributed essays and short stories to e-flux journal, Vida, The Brooklyn Rail, The Rumpus, Guernica, among others. Arsanios co-founded the collective 98weeks Research Project in Beirut and is the founding editor of Makhzin, a bilingual English/Arabic magazine for innovative writing. She teaches at Pratt Institute and holds an MFA in Writing from the Milton Avery Graduate School for the Arts at Bard College. Arsanios currently lives in New York where she was a 2016 LMCC Workspace fellow, and an ART OMI resident in Fall 2017. With Rachel Valinsky, she coordinated the Friday night reading series at the Poetry Project from 2017-19. 

Take Em' Down: Scattered Monuments and Queer Forgetting
Simon(e) van Saarloos
Publication Studio - 11.00€ -

Who determines what is remembered and commemorated, and why? How can we commemorate something that is both in the past and a daily reality? In Take 'Em Down, Simon(e) van Saarloos is inspired by the historically invisibilized lives of LGBT people and queers. They demonstrate the power of forgetting and wonder if and how it’s possible to live without a past. At the same time, Van Saarloos criticizes the way that a ‘white memory’—including their own—treats some stories as self-evident while other histories are erased.

"Amidst a global pandemic that has fundamentally changed our world, along with Black Lives Matter, Me Too, Topple Monuments Movements and ongoing struggles for LGBTQIA liberation, Simon(e) van Saarloos' Take 'Em Downasks us to reenvision monuments and acts of commemoration. They also champion forms of Queer forgetting as acts of resistance. They call upon the work of some of the greatest thinkers, scholars and writers Arendt, Orwell, Halberstam, Rankine, Moten, Hartman and more to raise critical issues around memory, mourning and social justice. In this text Saarloos joins their ranks in creating important new visions and challenges for our world. It’s a text demanding to be contemplated and shared widely."
Pamela Sneed, Author of Funeral Diva, City Lights 2020

Simon(e) van Saarloos is the author of Playing Monogamy (PS Rotterdam).  They were the curator of the 2021 exhibition on Abundance (‘We must bring about the end of the world as we know it’ – Denise Ferreira da Silva) in Het HEM and are also the host of *The Asterisk Conversations podcast. Van Saarloos recently started a PhD in the Rhetoric department at UC Berkeley.

Translation by Liz Waters.  Introduction by Pamela Sneed, New York-based poet, performer, visual artist, and educator.

Rooms: Women, Writing, Woolf
Sina Queyras
Coach House Books - 18.00€ -

From LAMBDA Literary Award winner Sina Queyras, Rooms offers a peek into the defining spaces a young queer writer moved through as they found their way from a life of chaos to a life of the mind.

Thirty years ago, a professor threw a chair at Sina Queyras after they'd turned in an essay on Virginia Woolf.

Queyras returns to that contentious first encounter with Virignia Woolf to recover the body and thinking of that time. Using Woolf's A Room of One's Own as a touchstone, this book is both an homage to and provocation of the idea of a room of one's own at the centre of our idea of a literary life.

How central is the room? And what happens once we get one? Do we inhabit our rooms? Or do the rooms contain us? Blending memoir, prose, tweets, poetry, and criticism, Rooms offers a peek into the defining spaces a young queer writer moved through as they found their way from a life of chaos to a life of the mind, and from a very private life of the mind to a public life of the page, and from a life of the page into a life in the Academy, the Internet, and on social media.

Wound Building: Dispatches from the Latest Disasters in UK Poetry
Danny Hayward
Punctum Books - 21.00€ -

Wound Building is a volume of essays, with digressions, on one group of contemporary poets active in a self-organizing political poetry scene in the UK, most of whom have little to no audience outside of the little magazines that they publish and the reading series they put on. The book is a front-line report on the rapid development of this poetry in the period between 2015 and 2020, with a particular focus on the relationship of poetry to violence and its representation. The poets discussed here write violent love poems and violent elegies as well as violent fantasies composed in stabs of violent verse and violet prose. The poems themselves comprise fantasies of killing David Cameron, dreams of being split open along a seam, basement songs, hundreds of pages of notes on working life in a privatized care home in Hove, East Sussex, a four-line slogan about the Cologne groping scandal of New Year 2016, variations on the Refugees Medical Phrasebook, a life wasted in a factory in Guangzhou, an autobiographical sci-fi internet fever dream, an anarchist elegy, and a refusal to argue. Ultimately, Hayward argues that the lessons this poetry teaches is never to write a "worthy" narrative when a fucked up collage will do. Rather than a cohesive "account" of a "school" of poets, or a "contribution" to the boring tittle-tattle of aesthetic debates over British poetry as an institution, Wound Building is a front-line report on the local disasters of a contemporary UK poetry caught in the grip of the historical cataclysm of capitalist culture.

Wound Building is further concerned with aesthetic problems related to Marxism, anarchism, contemporary trans politics, and class, though its "theoretical" preoccupations are subordinated to its desire to provide a ground-level view on the writing itself, its production, its intellectual aporia, and the ways it finds itself outstripped by the ongoing "march of events." The book will be of interest not only for those concerned with contemporary British political and experimental poetry, but also more generally for anyone who wishes to think carefully about what it means to make art about present-day history and its many horrible enormities.

The book's title is derived from the idea of sublime woundedness that subtends the context of the poets discussed here: the impressions of wounds opening up like LED-lit shopfronts in the night, in a parallel universe in which injury is intoxicatingly impersonal and structural, and which forms the environment in which the poems fight to absolutize the value of every last breath, or face into the reality of extravagantly violent wish fulfillment, or dissolve themselves in a search for new ways of professing love, or transform into a kind of expressionism of vomiting up medical-diagnostic categories found in abstract social labor, or pump their verses full of the convulsive rhythms of surprise and sudden relief, without any guarantee that this is the right thing to do or that anyone will even fucking hear. Wound Building does not historicize this state of affairs as much as it attempts to live alongside the immediacy of this work, in order to see what is still possible for poetry, and criticism, to make and do.

The Front Matter, Dead Souls
Leslie Scalapino
Wesleyan - 16.00€ -  out of stock

This extraordinary new book is essay-fiction-poetry, an experiment in form, a serial novel for publication in the newspaper that collapses the distinction between documentary and fiction. 

Leslie Scalapino is widely regarded as one of the best avant-garde writers in America today. This extraordinary new book is essay-fiction-poetry, an experiment in form, a serial novel for publication in the newspaper that collapses the distinction between documentary and fiction. Loosely set in Los Angeles, the book scrutinizes our image-making, producing extreme and vivid images-hyena, Muscle Beach in Venice, the Supreme Court, subway rides-in order for them to be real. Countering contemporary trends toward interiority, Scalapino's work constitutes a unique effort to be objectively in the world. The writing is an action, a dynamic push to make intimacy in the public realm. She does not distinguish between poetry and real events: her writing is analogous to Buddhist notions of dreaming one is a butterfly, and becoming aware that actually being the butterfly is as real as dreaming it.

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