Friday, January 12, 2018

Second Reflection, Second Innocence: Linguistic-affect and Anti-debt Prefigurement in Corina Kennedy’s Tender for All (Essay)


The new Afterimage double issue features an essay I wrote about Corina Kennedy's "Tender for All," an exhibit which appeared at PC4 gallery in Yonkers in the fall of 2016. The following is from the essay:

As Thomas Gokey remarks in conversation with [Chris] Kraus in the pamphlet Lost Properties, “Debt is such an immaterial thing, but I feel it in my body. I feel the stress of it, I feel the weight of it.” By laboriously scoring the language of debt—both in its Canadian and United States contexts, and in English and French, and English and Spanish respectively—Kennedy registers debt as an immaterial force weighing upon our consciences, organizing the subject through ressentiment—Frederick Nietzsche’s term for ways of remembering that prevent action, creativity, and conatus. Related to this effort is a sustained attempt to capture debt’s mood or tone. Encountering the language of debt writ large, albeit in hushed shouts, Kennedy reestablishes a distance necessary for experiencing certain uses of language as endemic to our emergence as subjects within the debt economy[.]



Wednesday, January 10, 2018

On Renee Gladman's Prose Architectures (review)

The following is from a review of Renee Gladman's Prose Architectures written for Hyperallergic:

Gladman imagines writing in English (would the experience be different in an iconographic or hieroglyphic language?) as a form of drawing, a sequence of lines. She recalls Gertrude Stein’s preoccupation with the “continuous present” of composition, and her frustration with repeatedly “beginning,” a quality she associated with the 19th Century Novel and which she attempted to transcend with her word portraits. Through the cube, a form that is both Platonic and ultra-Modern, Gladman begins to think about sentences and, eventually, paragraphs architecturally. “Were you building the present?”, she asks, closing this section of Calamities with the statement: “For a while, I hadn’t actually been writing but doing a transcription that fell in the deep space between drawing and landscape.” What links writing and drawing (in English) is their sequentiality — one word or line leads to another — as well as their essentially architectural character. Crossing over from writing to drawing, as Gladman does in Prose Architectures, therefore seems no crossing at all.


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

unbag Issue 2: End


unbag Issue 2: End is now available for pre-orders! This issue features critical essays, literary works, visual art, and web-specific projects that begin with the notion of “end.”
Featuring projects from: Morehshin AllahyariDevin Kenny and Justin AllenAmerican ArtistThea BallardDaniel CerrejonFayen d'EvieJesse Darling, Benjamin Davis, Thom DonovanShawné Michaelain HollowayBaseera KhanWill Lee, Ishmael Marika, Precious OkoyomonAshwin RavikumarJoe RileyJonty Tiplady, Calvin Warren, and Intersectional Lexicon Against Xenophobia, Racism, Sexism, Ableism, Homophobia, and Transphobia, Etc.
First 50 pre-orders receive a limited edition risograph print by Paul John, Too Woke to Live, Too Dumb to Die.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Being Gone To Be Here

Sell snowballs and plunge outside
Be the noise you want to see
No authority just you and me
Making common shadow

Recovered from visibility
From this body when a hood would do
You go to them flashing
Fleeing authority through hair, fleeing form

When black and blue would do
Where hoops are insanely tall
And everything can be remade
The world is never the world
Being gone to be here

Friday, November 17, 2017

Reading at Segue Series 4/15/2017

Here is an audio recording of a reading I gave from "Ressentiment," the second part of my ongoing anti-memoir, Left Melancholy, at Segue last April.

https://www.mixcloud.com/SegueReadingSeries/thom-donovan-for-segue-reading-series-041517/

Thursday, November 16, 2017

MEATYARD, MY NEIGHBOR for Pre-order at Apport Editions

https://apporteditions.wordpress.com/books/


Originally intended as the beginning of a collaboration with another writer, Meatyard, My Neighbor was composed when I first arrived in Manhattan in the fall of 2005, and has been edited and worked over many different times in the past decade, often as part of unpublished poetry manuscripts. During that time I was steeped in the work of the Lebanese writer and artist Jalal Toufic and his many theoretical and aesthetic reference points that I shared an interest in, including the Kentuckian photographer, Ralph Eugene Meatyard. Meatyard’s work appealed to me since it seemed to use photography as a means of visualizing the metaphysical, therefore making the ‘otherworldly’ available through an ensemble of “aesthetic facts” (Toufic’s phrase). Like other poems I was writing during this time, it also became a way of mediating—albeit obliquely—ongoing geo/political crises, such as the USAmerican wars in the Middle East, and widespread racism against Arab subjects. Much of the poem is ekphrastic—a relationship anyone can see who is familiar with Meatyard’s photographs—but with something else in the mix both highly speculative and oddly New York Schoolish (see Hannah Weiner’s The Magritte Poems, for instance) in excess of the verbal description of works of visual art (ekphrasis). Like other poems I was writing in the mid-2000s, it also embodied a melancholy attempt to understand my encounters with the world as a Bardo or state of transmigration. Since the poem has been in a transmigratory state itself for quite some time now, I’m relieved that it has finally found rest in print. –Thom Donovan, 11/2017

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

An Online Compendium & Accompaniment



ON Contemporary Practice is proud to announce An Online Compendium and Accompaniment, edited by Rob Halpern and Robin Tremblay-McGaw. Intended as an appendix to From OurHearts to Yours: New Narrative as Contemporary Practice, an anthology of critical essays regarding New Narrative writing practices and literary community, the editors write: “In the process of editing From Our Hearts to Yours: New Narrative as Contemporary Practice, we realized that the book’s appearance in the world could also be the occasion for making available a set of archival documents and fugitive texts intimately related to our approach to New Narrative. These materials will serve ongoing scholarly and critical inquiries, while also enhancing any reader’s engagement with the book. In addition, we solicited three interviews with New Narrative writers, and these interviews are housed here exclusively. We also prepared an exhaustive Index of Keywords and Concepts to accompany the book as a finding aid in addition to the Index of Proper Names and Places included in the book itself (and even on its own, this second index offers its own pleasures as a poetic form!).”
Featured contents include: the introduction to From Our Hearts to Yours, “A Generosity of Response,” composed by Halpern and Tremblay-McGaw; transcripts of the 1981 Left Write Conference, edited by Steve Abbott; archival documents related to the Left Write conference; Soup 2 The New Narrative Issue (also edited by Abbott); exclusive interviews conducted by Jocelyn Saidenberg with Bruce Boone, Robert Dewhurst with Dodie Bellamy, and Miranda Mellis with Kevin Killian; the opening section to “Scandalous Narratives,” from Earl Jackson’s seminal 1995 scholarly study of New Narrative writers, Strategies of Deviance: Studies in Gay Male Representation; a Bibliography of Works Cited in From Our Hearts to Yours; and an Index of Key Words and Concepts from the anthology. 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Friendship

Capital doesn’t really want us to be friends

Neither does whiteness

Friendship under racial capital is a structure or system of debt

Facebook is its IMF/World Bank

I wanted to give you everything but capital wouldn’t let me

Whiteness wouldn’t let me

Only to have everything taken away anyway

How many children’s books have been written about friendship and how many really instruct children how to be friends?

When will having a coke with you just be having a coke with you?

When will capital die? 

When whiteness? When debt? When coke?



Sunday, September 24, 2017

This is not a poem for J.A.

I need my space
The t-shirt with stars says
While the malls burn all around
The barricades being built
Until they are one with violence
The night comes it is all
They have left after
The world has ended again
This is not a poem
For John Ashbery who
Killed the subject quietly
With the kitsch of elites
We would imitate until
Our actual voices fade
Or the spaces a public didn’t make
Are finally recognized.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Some Notes on Note-Taking (after Bhanu Kapil’s Ban en Banlieue) [in Tripwire 13]

The new Tripwire contains some notes I took about Bhanu Kapil's Ban en Banlieue and composition through note-taking.


TRIPWIRE 13 : DIALOGUES

Now available as a special free PDF issue, with discounted print on demand versions from lulu, TRIPWIRE 13: DIALOGUES is full of interviews, collaborations, poetics essays and reviews, and new poetry and translations.  

TW13covernoborder
Soleida Ríos (translated by Kristin Dykstra) * Tongo Eisen-Martin * Lionel Fogerty (introduced by Matt Hall) * Nat Raha * Ed Luker * Johan Mijail (translated by Amaury Rodriguez) * Yedda Morrison * Lisa Jeschke & Lucy Beynon * Sara Uribe & John Pluecker * David Lau & Brian Ang * Lara Durback * Jennifer Cooke & Andrew Spragg * Emily Abendroth & Levi Bentley * John Chávez * Hugo García Manríquez* Lesego Rampolokeng & Douglas Valentine * Oki Sogumi & Cassandra Troyan * Carlos Soto Román & Frank Sherlock * Ryan Eckes * Olive Blackburn * Gail Scott & Andy Fitch * Alireza Taheri Araghi & Rachel L’Abri Tipton * Sodéh Negintaj (translated by Alireza Taheri Araghi) * Andrés Anwandter * Ajit Chauhan * Jeanine Onori Webb on Lisa Robertson * Megan Kaminski on Leslie Scalapino * Marcelo Morales (translated by Kristin Dykstra) * Tanya Hollis * Eleanor Perry on Frances Kruk & Sophie Seita * Grace Shuyi Liew on Nests and Strangers (ed. Timothy Yu) * Kathy Lou Schultz on Julia Bloch, Megan Kaminski, & Robin Tremblay-McGaw * David W. Pritchard on Dawn Lundy Martin & Frank Lima * Chris McCreary on Gil Ott * Saretta Morgan on Douglas Kearney * Katharine Peddie on Marianne Morris * Brittany Billmeyer-Finn on Tessa Micaela Landreau-Grasmuck * Thom Donovan on Bhanu Kapil * Orchid Tierney on Kristen Gallagher.
Cover image: Yedda Morrison, from “ReGenesis” (detail). Courtesy Republic Gallery, Vancouver. 285 pages. FREE PDF.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Melissa Buzzeo's The Devastation (review)

My review of Melissa Buzzeo's The Devastation just hit the streets: She writes “not writing” (90), which is to say, writing at a threshold where to write is to enact the threat of the withdrawal of the very thing one would seem to be making: “a book that could be but isn’t” (118); “[B]ooks that lack cover or are all cover.” (20) It is to give the language the book would otherwise contain back to primary content, to matter after form, to text after words. It is to give the reader over to a process of healing towards the organization of new relations, new bodies, new books, new loves.

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Communal Presence: New Narrative Writing Today (conference)

Excited to be participating in the big New Narrative jam in Berkeley later this October. And to be on a panel with Mike Amnasan, Sara Larsen, Ted Rees, and Jean-Thomas Tremblay. We will also be celebrating the launch of From Our Hearts to Yours: New Narrative as Contemporary Practice.

Here is a link to the complete schedule:
https://communalpresence.com/complete-schedule/

Monday, August 28, 2017

From Our Hearts to Yours: New Narrative as Contemporary Practice

From Our Hearts to Yours: New Narrative as Contemporary Practice offers the first comprehensive anthology of essays regarding New Narrative writing and community practices by a younger generation of practitioners and scholars. As editors Rob Halpern and Robin Tremblay-McGaw write in their introduction, “We are not interested in offering an ‘authoritative’ canon of New Narrative work, nor are we interested in consolidating an official version of New Narrative’s history. Rather, we want to use this as an opportunity to foreground New Narrative as a movement that is still coming into focus, a more or less unstable object that doesn’t want to be ‘fixed,’ codified, or hardened into a limited & limiting list of names and works. One of our motivating questions is Why New Narrative now? Or, What are the stakes of New Narrative for our contemporary moment? In other words, while we remain committed to a set of past works that have been identified as ‘New Narrative,’ we are equally committed to maintaining New Narrative as a dynamic and ongoing project, one with consequences for our present writing.” Roomy in the collective vision that they manifest, the twenty-four contributions to From Our Hearts to Yours address the AIDS crisis, the politics of race, the structural impacts of neo-liberalism on urban space, and the movement across queer, straight and transgender subject positions. Other topics of investigation include the category of queer art, the importance of “feeling,” the fiction of personality, the necessity of risk, the function of pedagogy, the strategy of appropriation, as well as scandal and gossip as these topics have been important to New Narrative and its expanded sphere of influence. Contributors include: Lindsey Boldt, Brandon Brown, David Buuck, Amanda Davidson, Robert Dewhurst, Thom Donovan, Joel Fares, Ariel Goldberg, Rob Halpern, Carla Harryman, Colin Herd, Kaplan Harris, Arnold J. Kemp, Trisha Low, Jason Morris, Trace Peterson, Ted Rees, Camille Roy, Kathy Lou Schultz, Eric Sneathen, Brian Teare, Robin Tremblay-McGaw, Catherine Wagner, and Stephanie Young.
Special pre-order price of $30 includes shipping. Order via PayPal here or send checks to:
 
Michael Cross
2556 Frances St.
Oakland, CA 94601
 
For a more comprehensive preview of the anthology's contents check-out PDFs of Rob Halpern's and Robin Tremblay-McGaw's introduction, "'A Generosity of Response': New Narrative as Contemporary Practice," and the Table of Contents.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Miranda Mellis on Visceral Poetics

"Justine’s regression to moaning inarticulateness, to apolitical idiolect, is like a detoxification from the suspect health she is surrounded by, which is predicated on the exclusion of the entire world from the single setting of the film. A rich citadel, until a world arrives to destroy it. Justine’s woundedness that cannot understand itself nor make its meaning known is arguably the very site of and condition of possibility for beginning to make meaning at all. Health, on the contrary, seems to entail, Stecopoulos argues, the paradoxical absence of a body altogether: the erasure of the body not only as mortal impingement and somatic vicissitude, but also as a poetic or hermeneutic agent. Justine is limited to being the unwilling, symptomatic recipient of unwelcome messages. She is not a hermeneut with no object; she is an object subjected to hermeneutics."
--Miranda Mellis on Eleni Stecopoulos' Visceral Poetics at The Believer Logger