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 bosy wants tobe 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.” – Rob Halpern
Carla Harryman is the author of fourteen books of poetry, prose, plays, and 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 Sanburg’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).


Essay Press is pleased to announce the two winners of the 2016 Essay Press Open Book Contest judged by Carla Harryman: Litany for the Long Moment by Mary-Kim Arnold and Of Sphere by Karla Kelsey, which will be published in Fall 2017.