EP16circle For He Who Will Never Know How Pornography Kills the False Woman and Prevents the Live One from Breathing
Kristin Prevallet

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In EP 16, Kristin Prevallet creates a space between “Occupy Wall Street” and 50 Shades of Grey, containing seas of misplaced desires, broken dreams and fantasies of revolt.
An excerpt from EP 16:
“What meanings might I mine, beyond meaning enough?

We all are provoked to ask that question occasionally. When I converse with my lover over dinner, I will understand perfectly well all that we say, but when next day I awaken to find that he and his belongings all are gone, I will revisit our dinner conversation to look for additional meanings in what he said to me then (did he warn me he was leaving, and I didn’t catch the warning?) and even in what I said to him (did I imply something I didn’t intend to?).

I began a correspondence with a lonely accountant named Jack who agreed to read my novel in exchange for my reading and commenting on his own fantasies. It was a perfectly civil exchange and a good example of the gift economy in action. Except that he only read the first few pages of my novel, reporting that he found it to be too extreme without enough character development. So much for that.

And so I decided to translate the novel into an essay, figuring that perhaps this is what it was all along. The essay—“Hear Me Roar: Essay on the Emancipation of Bondage Fantasies” by Mia K. Lloyd—is a failure in another kind of way. It seems both to mock and indulge bondage fantasies at the same time. Regardless, I put it up as a Kindle essay on Amazon, hoping to throw a strange loop into the search results of people looking for Fifty Shades of Grey.

Still not satisfied, I decided to translate it once again into a manuscript of innovative poetics that crosses genre lines and erases narrative or explication. Because the story seems to be one I cannot adequately tell in any other way. Perhaps it’s not really a story at all. Perhaps it’s a theory disappearing into slogans and images.”

Kristin Prevallet is the author of five books of conceptual essay poetics, including most recently Everywhere Here and in Brooklyn (A Four Quartets). She edited A Helen Adam Reader, and is on the faculty of Bard College’s Institute for Writing and Thinking. A 2015 writer-in-residence at Spalding University, she also works as a hypnotherapist and with a private practice in Westchester.


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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.