The Body: An Essay
List Price: $12.95
Comprised of footnotes to a non-existent text, The Body: An Essay
is a meditation on absence, loss, and disappearance that offers a guarded “narrative” of what may or may not be a love letter, a dream, a spiritual autobiography, a memoir, or a scholarly digression, a treatise on the relation of life to book. Christian Bök describes Boully’s groundbreaking text as one that “may simply annotate a fantastic biography from another reality, referring only to itself as a kind of dream within a dream... The reader can only fantacize about the original contexts that might have made such information significant to its author, and ultimately, implies that the body of any text consists of nothing but a void—filled with the exegetical projection of our own imagination.” First published in 2002 and excerpted in such anthologies as The Next American Essay and The Best American Poetry 2002, The Body: An Essay continues to challenge conventional notions of plot and narrative, genre and form, theory and practice, unremittingly questioning the presumptive boundaries between reflection, imagination, and experience.
“From the most minute particulars of intimate confession to the long history of literary forms, from the body of the lover to the body of the text, note for note, Jenny Boully’s The Body: An Essay documents and destroys in equal measure. Retracing a personal history that simultaneously reenacts the history of the footnote itself, Boully has constructed an essay in which every note is a grace note. In doing so, she has deconstructed the essay as ‘creative non-fiction’—where the emphasis falls equally on all three of the words.”
— Craig Dworkin
“A strange and magical performance. It resembles a novella overheard through a keyhole, or a nouvelle vague film beheld through a plume of Babylonian smoke. Jenny Boully's mini-epic makes its statement quietly, and with a devilish, terraced charm, like a Derridean outburst turned into topiary. If only Fauré were alive to set this magical Nocturne for the Left Hand to music!”
— Wayne Koestenbaum
Jenny Boully was born in 1976 in Korat, Thailand, and was raised in Texas. She graduated from Hollins University and received her MFA at the University of Notre Dame, and is currently completing a Ph.D. in English at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Her other books include One Love Affair (Tarpaulin Sky Press.2006) and Book of Beginnings and Endings, forthcoming from Sarabande Books. Her work has been anthologized in The Next American Essay, The Best American Poetry and Great American Prose Poetry: From Poe to Present.
[back to top]
Letters From Abu Ghraib
List Price: $12.95
Letters from Abu Ghraib, a collection of email messages sent by Joshua Casteel to his friends and family during his service as a US Army interrogator and Arabic linguist in the 202nd Military Intelligence Battalion, is the raw and intimate record of a soldier in moral conflict with his duties. Once a cadet at the US Military Academy at West Point and raised in an Evangelical Christian home, Casteel finds himself stationed at Abu Ghraib prison in the wake of the prisoner abuse scandal. He is troubled by what he is asked to do there, although it is, as he writes, “miles within the bounds of what CNN and the BBC care about.” Forced to confront the nature of fundamentalism, both religious and political, Casteel asks himself a fundamental question: “How should I then live?”
“What Joshua Casteel interrogates in Letters from Abu Ghraib is the very idea of liberty. For every enduring work of literature is an epistle from the prison of silence to the possibility of freedom.”
— From The Foreword by Christopher Merrill
“An astounding insider's look at the war in Iraq. Joshua Casteel is an astute observer, a superb writer and a man of deeply held moral and religious conviction. Letters from Abu Ghraib gives us entry into his personal journey from dedicated soldier and interrogator to determined conscientious objector.”
— Emily Mann, McCarter Theatre Artistic Director and Resident Playwright.
“Letters from Abu Ghraib shows us that good and evil are not absolutes, but rather points along the spectrum of decisions that we, as individuals and participants in institutions, all must face.”
— Kelly Dougherty, Executive Director of Iraq Veterans Against the War
Joshua Casteel has authored several plays performed in the US and abroad, including Returns and The Interrogation Room. He has given talks on religious and political matters throughout the United States, Ireland, Sweden, Italy and the United Kingdom. He currently lives in Iowa City where he is at work on a memoir.
[back to top]
A Prank of Georges
Thalia Field and Abigail Lang
List Price: $16.95
A convoy, a motley, a mob of “machines.” Machines? By George! Gertrude Stein cranks the motor, and we’re off to the carnival, the roller-coaster ride across genres, languages, typefaces — and names. American names especially, where Wilson may come from Witkiewicz and Castle from Katzenellenbogen. It’s dazzling. It’s a riot. It self-deconstructs, but it won’t disappoint you.
— Rosmarie Waldrop
In A Prank of Georges Abigail Lang & Thalia Field create a dazzling set of variations in, about, and around lines from Gertrude Stein. Stein’s lines become threads with which Lang & Field weave a text heterolingual and ludic, in which the play of names becomes a matter of meaning’s performing. The question here is not “what the poem says” but how it keeps on keeps on saying.
— Charles Bernstein
For William Carlos Williams a poem is a small or large machine made out of words. Thalia Field and Abigail Lang have taken this proposition seriously, yet playfully. Their luminous pas de deux ludically conjures Gertrude Stein to construct a textual game that leaps linguistic and cultural rifts to find the commonalities of “various sorts of talk” through which “the name is spread from link to link as if by a chain.” Together these poets return us to the primal force of language: naming.
— Susan Howe
Thalia Field is the author of three books with New Directions (Point and Line, 2000; Incarnate:Story Material, 2004; and Bird Lovers, Backyard, 2010). She also published ULULU (Clown Shrapnel) with Coffee House Press in 2007. Her work has appeared in numerous journals, most recently Conjunctions, Tin House, Seneca Review, and Angelaki (Journal of the Theoretical Humanities.) Thalia teaches in the Literary Arts department of Brown University.
Abigail Lang is the author of Le monde compte rendu. Lectures de Louis Zukofsky (ENS editions, forthcoming) and the co-editor of Double Change, A Film Archive of Poetry, 1 and 2 (Motion Method Memory / Presses du réel, 2009). A translator of American poetry into French, she teaches at the University Paris-Diderot.
[back to top]
List Price: $12.95
For over two decades now, Albert Goldbarth has been cultivating his own hybrid essay variety. A marriage of warmth and intelligence, his essays are narratively driven but poetically lyrical, and openly personal while remaining dedicated to the pleasures of arcane research. “These are a whole new breed,” Robert Atwan writes. “Albert Goldbarth has spliced strands of the old genre with a powerful new gene, and the results are miraculous.”
In Griffin, that crossbred creature comprised of eagle, lion, and serpent, Albert Goldbarth joins two essays to form one animal. “Roman Erotic Poetry,” written on the cusp of a friend’s divorce, explores that strangely compound beast we call marriage. “Wuramon,” written on the cusp of a friend’s struggle with cancer, considers that strangely compound being every one of us is: an amalgam of spirit and physical body. The resulting book is eccentric, learned, and moving.
"Albert Goldbarth is a master mixer, moving from the colloquial to the highbrow, from the decent to the circumspect, from sex to quantum physics... His interests are various and judicious. He is also supremely entertaining."
- Village Voice
"Goldbarth marries emotions, thoughts, and events we never thought to see in proximity to one another: through his genius we rediscover the world's history and our own."
- Frederick Busch
"Supercharged with eclectic information and often quite moving, Goldbarth's literary essars are an unmitigated delight."
- Publisher's Weekly
Albert Goldbarth is the author of four previous books of essays, including Many Circles: New and Selected Essays, which received the annual PEN West Award for Creative Non-Fiction. He is also the author of a novel, Pieces of Payne, and of numerous collections of poetry, two of which have received the National Book Critics Circle Award.
[back to top]
List Price: $14.95
Adorno’s Noise is a collection of experimental, poetic, and conceptual essays. Adorno's Noise takes a stunning plunge into a kaleidoscopic world of globalization, female sexuality, the place of art and artist, and the looming power of the state. Phrases from Theodor Adorno’s aphoristic philosophical text, Minima Moralia, serve as catalysts for an explosion of thought and language that quickly breaks Adorno’s orbit.
"This work by Carla Harryman, startlingly astute, once again proves how necessary an encounter with her writing has become for us today. Her grasp of theoretical and poetic exigencies is unbypassable, and she moves lightly, lifting the prose poem into the amplitude of a new articulation."
– Avital Ronell
Adorno’s 'noise' may be nothing more than the consonance of late modern capital talking to itself, but Carla Harryman listens to Adorno listening, and what she hears is a very different sort of dissonance, something Adorno himself may have been deaf to. Listening for a noise that can’t be heard, Harryman attends to the disruption of signal the aesthetic artifact called a corpse at the limit of Adorno’s magisterial eloquence, where thought steps over the body.
Atonally faithful to his negativity the afterglow of torment passing through figures of speech while refusing the authority of a masterful dialectic, Harryman makes our unthought horizon “normality is death” audible, presencing a body that can’t be redeemed by aesthetics the body wants to be art and fails at it. From Gender The Status of Dogs to works by Sun Ra, Anais Nin, Robert Smithson, and Kenzaburo Oe, This radically asynthetic writing moves thru polyphonic configuration of word, image and concept. Synthesia? Emotional truth? The intersection between abstraction and narration? Practicing a militant ethic of non-mastery as every one of its sentences sounds like a sensory organ in the process of becoming its own theoretician. Adorno’s Noise reinvents the "essay as form," but it doesn’t stop short of reinventing thinking."
Carla Harryman is the author of fourteen books of poetry, prose, plays, and essays. In 2008, Essay Press will publish Harryman’s genre-bending work Adorno’s Noise, a collection of conceptual essays. Harryman is widely acknowledged as an innovator in poetry, prose, and inter-disciplinary performance.She is a frequent collaborator and is a participant in the multi-authored experiment in autobiography The Grand Piano that focuses on the emergence of language writing, art, politics, and culture of the San Francisco Bay area between 1975-1980. She is co-editor of Lust for Life, a volume of essays on the novelist Kathy Acker and has published articles on women's innovative writing by and on poets’ theater and performance. Her poets' theater and interdisciplinary performance works have been presented nationally and internationally. She lives in the Detroit Area and serves the faculty of the Creative Writing Program at Eastern Michigan University.
Other books by Carla Harryman include the experimental novels Gardener of Stars (Atelos 2001) and The Words: After Carl Sandburg's Rootabaga Stories and Jean-Paul Sartre (O Books, 1999); two volumes of selected writings, There Never Was a Rose without a Thorn (City Lights 1995) and Animal Instincts: Prose, Plays and Essays (This, 1989); and many other collections of poetry, prose, and new genre writings, including Open Box (Belladonna, 2007) and Baby (Adventures in Poetry, 2006).
[back to top]
I, Afterlife: An Essay in Mourning Time
List Price: $12.95
Much admired by her contemporaries for her experiments in poetic form, Kristin Prevallet now turns those gifts to the most vulnerable moments of her own life, and in doing so has produced a testament that is both disconsolate and powerful. Meditating on her father’s unexplained suicide, Prevallet alternates between the clinical language of the crime report and the lyricism of the elegy. Throughout, she offers a defiant refusal of easy consolations or redemptions. Driven by “the need to extend beyond the personal and out toward the intolerable present,” Prevallet brings herself and her readers to the chilling but transcendent place where, as she promises, “darkness has its own resolutions.”
According to Fanny Howe, “here elegy and essay converge leaving only a sense of the poetic itself to comfort a person facing a catastrophic loss.” Forest Gander calls I, Afterlife “the quietest and most intimate book by one of our best poets.”
Kristin Prevallet’s previous books include Shadow Evidence Intelligence (Factory School, 2006), Scratch Sides: Poetry, Documentation, and Image-Text Projects (Skanky Possum, 2002), and Perturbation, My Sister: A Study of Max Ernst’s Hundred Headless Woman (First Intensity, 1997). Her essays, poems, and translations have appeared in several magazines including Jacket, The Nation, Chain, Poetry New York, Poets and Writers, Conjunctions, Seneca Review, Bombay Gin and The Chicago Review. From 1994-1997, she served as one of four editors of apex of the M, a literary magazine based in Buffalo, NY that published six issues of exciting work from both emerging and more established writers. She recently co-edited Third Mind: Creative Writing Through Visual Art with Tonya Foster (Teachers & Writers, 2002), an anthology of essays about the challenges and rewards of uniting art and writing in the classroom. Her selected edition of Helen Adam’s ballads and collages, The Helen Adam Reader, has just been released by the National Poetry Foundation.
[back to top]
The Age of Virtual Reproduction
List Price: $13.95
Spring Ulmer’s The Age of Virtual Reproduction disrupts and redefines established patterns of seeing as she looks both at and beyond suffering and slaughter for an ethical way to live. Relentlessly in relation and in isolation, Ulmer meditates on moral and emotional anaesthesia–our age of numbing. On the road in Rwanda, investigating executions, meditating on photographs of the past, Ulmer interrogates her own and others’ often romantic obsession with what is disappearing and asks how to be in touch with the real and reality–either through the self or through its loss. Looking at work by August Sander, Walter Benjamin, Congolese painter Tshibumba Kanda Matulu, John Berger, William Gedney, Jean Genet, Kenzaburo Oe, Wim Wenders and others, she finds, with Benjamin, that there is no cultural document that is not at the same time a record of barbarism. The Age of Virtual Reproduction offers a catalogue (of people, stories, nature, and art) that maintains that more than just surviving, life can be overwhelmingly and beautifully patterned, and thus, critically, recognizable.
[back to top]