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The Official Catalog of the Library of Potential Literature

From potentialbooksbook.com:

Dear Internet,

We are very excited to announce the coming existence of The Official Catalog of the Library of Potential Literature. The Catalog is to consist of a series of blurbs/short descriptions of books that do not exist. In order to compile that Catalog, we have asked many of the writers, theorists, and text-makers we most admire to imagine that they’ve just read the most amazing book they’ve ever encountered and then write a brief blurb about the imagined text.

As many of you know, The phrase ‘potential literature’ is highly associated with the Oulipo group. We choose to use the phrase here because, as the Oulipo says, their project, properly, is to conceptualize forms and potential works: not necessarily to bring them into being. Literature is potential literature when it is that shimmering non-work of total possibility. Though Official only by way of titular hyperbole (itself, like the blurbs contained within, a kind of unfulfilled and unfulfillable promise), the Catalog will evoke a library of wonderful–maybe even impossible–books; books that, in spite or even because of their non-existence, excite and fascinate. Each paragraph will be the promise of the unopened book in the moment before reading.

That said, we are opening the project to public submissions because, while we’re excited about the writers and theorists with whom we are currently corresponding, we are still looking for more talented minds whose texts should also fill the pages of our book. We have full confidence in you, readers, and would love to see your blurbs among the other terrific blurbs we’re collecting.

We have decided that the best way to go about exploring public contributions is to blindly review your texts, should you be interested in submitting a blurb for consideration. In this way, we will be able to consider the work you submit in an objective and relatively professional manner.

Also, know that we are discussing the possibility of an extended, online edition of this book–to be released after the book’s initial printing. We might find it wholly appropriate to save some of your blurbs for this edition, as we need strong contributions for both versions. All submissions will be considered for both print and online publication. Please note if you do not wish for your work to be considered for publication online.

So, to the meat of things! Submission Process:

If you are interested in submitting a blurb for consideration, please email potentialbooksbook<at>gmail<dot>com. Your subject heading should read: [Name], Open Blurb Submission. While it’s okay to have your name and maybe a cute message in the body of the email, your actual blurb should not appear in the body of the email. Instead, please send your blurb as an attachmentThe attachment should NOT include your name. A third party will have access to the potentialbooksbook account and s/he will collect, number, and print each of your attached submissions for our consideration. Only after we have thoroughly read your submissions will we then pair them with their respective emails.

The deadline for submissions is July 15, 2010.

If you have any questions (not submissions) about the project or the submission process, please email either benbensegal<at>gmail<dot>com or erinrose.mager<at>gmail<dot>com. We’re happy to try and answer your queries and will be totally excited to learn of your initial interest!

Finally, if you have any suggestions of other writers we ought to contact (whether they’re your friends who are doing cool stuff or more prominent writers, thinkers, and text makers from whom you’d love to see a blurb), please send your ideas to either of the above personal email addresses. Your thoughts are greatly appreciated.

Thank you for reading this far and thank you, preemptively, for your mind blowing submissions.


Ben Segal and Erinrose Mager

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