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The Unpublishables

Here’s a link to Publishing The Unpublishablean incredible project that’s “edited” (although I would call it curated) by Kenneth Goldsmith. Goldsmith writes:

What constitutes an unpublishable work? It could be many things: too long, too experimental, too dull; too exciting; it could be a work of juvenilia or a style you’ve long since discarded; it could be a work that falls far outside the range of what you’re best known for; it could be a guilty pleasure or it could simply be that the world judges it to be awful, but you think is quite good. We’ve all got a folder full of things that would otherwise never see the light of day. 

Invited authors were invited to ponder to that question. The works found here are their responses, ranging from an 1018-page manuscript (unpublishable due to its length) to a volume of romantic high school poems written by a now-respected innovative poet. You get the idea. 

The web is a perfect place to test the limits of unpublishability. With no printing, design or distribution costs, we are free to explore that which would never have been feasible, economically and aesthetically. While this exercise began as an exploration and provocation, the resultant texts are unusually rich; what we once considered to be our trash may, after all, turn out to be our greatest treasure. 

The series will conclude when the 100th manuscript is published. 

Please note that the series is by invitation only. 

Publishing The Unpublishable features work by Bruce Andrews, Robert Fitterman, Doug Nufer, Claude Closky, Stephen Dirle, Kimberly J. Rosenfield, Simon Morris, Craig Dworkin, Peter Manson, Jamba Dunn, George Kuchar, Tim Davis, Brian Kim Stefans, Brian J. Davis, Mary Jo Bang, Michael Scharf , Tan Lin, Mónica de la Torre, Jeremy Sigler, Jon Cotner & Andy Fitch, Christian Bök, Tom Johnson, Ara Shirinyan, Stephen Ratcliffe, Eiríkur Örn Nordahl, Charles Bernstein, Michael Coffey, Raphael Rubinstein, Kenneth Goldsmith, Alan Licht, Elisabeth S. Clark, Derek Beaulieu, Eleanor Brown, Barry Schwabsky, Mairéad Byrne, Mark Peters, Dannielle Tegeder, Stephen McLauglin, Vladimir Zykov, Gregory Laynor, James Carpenter, Vincent Katz, Vanessa Place, Dana Teen Lomax, Hans Ulrich Obrist & Rirkrit Tiravanija, Erik Belgum, Ryan Trecartin, Anna Gray & Ryan Wilson Paulsen, Christian Bjoljahn & Martin Johs. Møller, Franck Leibovici, and Joachim Georg Schmitt.

So how do I get invited to this party?

John Madera's fiction may be found in Conjunctions, Opium Magazine, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and many other journals. His criticism may be found in American Book Review, Bookforum, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Rain Taxi: Review of Books, The Believer, The Brooklyn Rail, and many other venues. Recipient of an M.F.A. in Literary Arts from Brown University, John Madera lives in New York City, where he runs Rhizomatic and manages and edits Big Other.

4 thoughts on “The Unpublishables

  1. Thanks for drawing our attention to this amazing project.

    In February I’m presenting a paper at a conference with Goldsmith and many of the other people on this list — gonna sweet talk and see if I can get a manuscript considered.

  2. I’d imagine that the entire line-up is secured and then some, but it’s worth a try. I’d love to have a place to deposit my juvenilia. And I have another monster thing I could offer too that nobody would ever publish.

    I’ve read Dana Teen Lomax’s Disclosure as a chapbook. J.A. It takes a different form in Goldsmith’s anthology. Tyler’s written a review of it for The Chapbook Review that will be appearing soon.

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