- Books, Reading, Small Presses, Writing

Most Anticipated Small Press Releases: September-December 2021

Here are some compelling September-December 2021 small press books that captured my attention, including Big Other contributor Edwin Torres’s Quanundrum: [I Will Be Your Many Angled Thing], which includes several poems originally published in Big Other.

 

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William C. Anderson’s The Nation on No Map: Black Anarchism and Abolition

From AK Press: “The Nation on No Map examines state power, abolition, and ideological tensions within the struggle for Black liberation while centering the politics of Black autonomy and self-determination. Amid renewed interest in Black anarchism among the left, Anderson offers a principled rejection of reformism, nation building, and citizenship in the ongoing fight against capitalism and white supremacism. As a viable alternative amidst worsening social conditions, he calls for the urgent prioritization of community-based growth, arguing that in order to overcome oppression, people must build capacity beyond the state. It interrogates how history and myth and leadership are used to rehabilitate governance instead of achieving a revolutionary abolition. By complicating our understanding of the predicaments we face, The Nation on No Map hopes to encourage readers to utilize a Black anarchic lens in favor of total transformation, no matter what it’s called. Anderson’s text examines reformism, orthodoxy, and the idea of the nation-state itself as problems that must be transcended and key sites for a liberatory re-envisioning of struggle.”

 

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D. Harlan Wilson’s Jackanape and the Fingermen

Anti-Oedipus Press: “Audiences were immediately outraged by D. Harlan Wilson’s first play, The Dark Hypotenuse, when it opened in Copenhagen in 2012. Not only did it bear the weird, estranging aesthetic that distinguishes his novels and short fiction, the play contained scenes in which viewers were attacked by actors as well as a variety of endangered animals, among them an African elephant that was euthanized onstage. The Dark Hypotenuse appeared in Wilson’s first collection of dramatic entertainments. This second collection includes his latest work in the field. In Jackanape, a murderous dinner jacket wreaks havoc on a community of innocent narcissists who struggle to stay alive while negotiating the rigors of the School of Life. The Fingermen focuses on a support group whose members have each lost an index finger; their stories reveal their insecurities and anxieties as much as the nonsense that typifies contemporary existence. In both cases, Wilson satirizes with a hammer, oscillating between hilarity and solemnity as he invites us to think about the relatinship between self-delusion and (in)sanity.”

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Eugene Lim’s Search History

From Coffee House Press: “Search History oscillates between a wild cyberdog chase and lunch-date monologues as Eugene Lim deconstructs grieving and storytelling with uncanny juxtapositions and subversive satire. Frank Exit is dead—or is he? While eavesdropping on two women discussing a dog-sitting gig over lunch, a bereft friend comes to a shocking realization: Frank has been reincarnated as a dog! This epiphany launches a series of adventures—interlaced with digressions about AI-generated fiction, virtual reality, Asian American identity in the arts, and lost parents—as an unlikely cast of accomplices and enemies pursues the mysterious canine. In elliptical, propulsive prose, Search History plumbs the depths of personal and collective consciousness, questioning what we consume, how we grieve, and the stories we tell ourselves.”

 

Aisha Sabatini Sloan’s Borealis

From Coffee House Press: “Art about glaciers, queer relationships, political anxiety, and the meaning of Blackness in open space—Borealis is a shapeshifting logbook of Aisha Sabatini Sloan’s experiences moving through the Alaskan outdoors. In Borealis, Aisha Sabatini Sloan observes shorelines, mountains, bald eagles, and Black fellow travelers while feeling menaced by the specter of nature writing. She considers the meaning of open spaces versus enclosed ones and maps out the web of queer relationships that connect her to this quaint Alaskan town. Triangulating the landscapes she moves through with glacial backdrops in the work of Black conceptual artists and writers, Sabatini Sloan complicates tropes of Alaska to suggest that the excitement, exploration, and possibility of myth-making can also be twinned by isolation, anxiety, and boredom.”

 

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Emmanuel Alloa’s Looking Through Images: A Phenomenology of Visual Media, translated by Nils F. Schott

From Columbia University Press: “Emmanuel Alloa retraces the history of Western attitudes toward the visual to propose a major rethinking of images as irreplaceable agents of our everyday engagement with the world. He examines how ideas of images and their powers have been constructed in Western humanities, art theory, and philosophy, developing a novel genealogy of both visual studies and the concept of the medium. Alloa reconstructs the earliest Western media theory—Aristotle’s concept of the diaphanous milieu of vision—and the significance of its subsequent erasure in the history of science. Ultimately, he argues for a historically informed phenomenology of images and visual media that explains why images are not simply referential depictions, windows onto the world. Instead, images constantly reactivate the power of appearing. As media of visualization, they allow things to appear that could not be visible except in and through these very material devices.”

 

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Dean Caivano and Sarah Naumes’s The Sublime of the Political: Narrative and Autoethnography as Theory

From Columbia University Press: “In an age of immediate and global exchange of information, the ability to theorize about political conditions remains largely an elite, technocratic, and esoteric enterprise. In this timely intervention, Dean Caivano and Sarah Naumes argue that storytelling in the form of narrative and autoethnography creates an emancipatory potential through its ability to theorize from below, welcoming marginalized and excluded voices. Drawing from the disciplines of political studies, philosophy, and literary studies, this volume offers a new assessment of political texts through the lens of the sublime as a fertile terrain to challenge who can write and disseminate political ideas—and how.”

 

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Julia Kristeva’s Dostoyevsky, or The Flood of Language, translated by Jody Gladding

From Columbia University Press: “In this book, Kristeva embarks on a wide-ranging and stimulating inquiry into Dostoyevsky’s work and the profound ways it has influenced her own thinking. Reading across his major novels and shorter works, Kristeva offers incandescent insights into the potent themes that draw her back to the Russian master: God, otherness, violence, eroticism, the mother, the father, language itself. Both personal and erudite, the book intermingles Kristeva’s analysis with her recollections of Dostoyevsky’s significance in different intellectual moments—the rediscovery of Bakhtin in the Thaw-era Eastern Bloc, the debates over poststructuralism in 1960s France, and today’s arguments about whether it can be said that “everything is permitted.” Brilliant and vivid, this is an essential book for admirers of both Kristeva and Dostoyevsky. It also features an illuminating foreword by Rowan Williams that reflects on the significance of Kristeva’s reading of Dostoyevsky for his own understanding of religious writing.”

 

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Matthew Calarco’s The Boundaries of Human Nature: The Philosophical Animal from Plato to Haraway

From Columbia University Press: “In this accessible and engaging book, Matthew Calarco explores key issues in the philosophy of animals and their significance for our contemporary world. He leads readers on a spirited tour of historical and contemporary philosophy, ranging from Plato to Donna Haraway and from the Cynics to the Jains. Calarco unearths surprising insights about animals from a number of philosophers while also underscoring ways in which the philosophical tradition has failed to challenge the dogma of human-centeredness. Along the way, he indicates how mainstream Western philosophy is both complemented and challenged by non-Western traditions and noncanonical theories about animals. Throughout, Calarco uses examples from contemporary culture to illustrate how philosophical theories about animals are deeply relevant to our lives today. The Boundaries of Human Nature shows readers why philosophy can help transform not just the way we think about animals but also how we interact with them.”

 

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Radna Fabias’s Habitus, translated by David Colmer

From Deep Vellum: “Subversive, visual, and bold, Curaçao-born Dutch Radna Fabias’ explosive debut collection Habitus marks the entry of a genre-altering poet. Habitus is a collection full of thrilling sensory images, lines in turn grim and enchanting which move from the Caribbean island of Curaçao to the immigrant experience of the Netherlands. Fabias’ intrepid masterpiece explores issues of racism, neo-colonialism, poverty, and sexism with a heartbreaking rhythm and endless nuance.”

 

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Ludmilla Petrushevskaya’s The New Adventures of Helen, translated by Jane Bugaeva 

From Deep Vellum: “At first glance, the stories in The New Adventures of Helen seems simple, even child-like, but a deep reading reveals satire and darkness manifested through classic fairy tale tropes characteristically upended by Petrushevskaya. These “adult fairy tales” ask deep questions about gender, love, history, memory, and the future, taking place in times between history and the now. These stories, quirky but yet inspired by a confident hopefulness, will inspire and provoke English-speaking readers across the globe.”

 

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Lance Olsen’s Skin Elegies

From Dzanc Books: “Skin Elegies uses the metaphor of mind-upload technologies to explore questions about the relationship of the cellular brain to personhood, memory, and where the human might end and something else begin. In a dystopian future, an American couple flee their increasingly authoritarian country by transferring to a quantum computer housed in North Africa. The novel’s structure mimics a constellation of firing neurons—a sparking collage of many tiny narraticules flickering through the brain of one of the refugees as it is digitized. Those narraticules comprise nine larger stories intersecting with memorable moments in human time: the Fukushima disaster; the day the Internet was turned on; the final hours of the Battle of Berlin; John Lennon’s murder; an assisted suicide in Switzerland; the Columbine massacre; a woman killed by a domestic abuser; a Syrian boy making his way to Berlin; and the Challenger disaster. With his characteristic brilliance and unrivaled uniqueness, Lance Olsen delivers an innovative, speculative, literary novel in the key of Margaret Atwood, Stanislaw Lem, and J.G. Ballard.”

 

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Susan Daitch’s Siege of Comedians

From Dzanc Books: “Award-winning author Susan Daitch returns with Siege of Comedians, a novel in triptych told through interconnected threads pulled taut by crimes long ago relegated to history. In the first piece, an American forensic sculptor, reconstructing the faces of three victims receives a midnight, visit from a man who threatens her life unless she alters the faces she’s almost completed. The twists and turns of the mystery lead her to a new life, working with forensic archeologists at a site near the Prater amusement park in Vienna. In the second section, an accent coach discovers that the man implicated in the death of his girlfriend in 1970s Buenos Aires was once a censor and Assistant Minister of Propaganda in Vienna during World War II. When bodies start turning up under the former Propaganda offices, some date from the war period—but others are much older, their origins going back to the Ottoman siege of Vienna. In the final arc, in the aftermath of the last battle between the Austrians and the Turks, a local businesswoman finds three displaced women from Istanbul—former wives of the sultan—wandering in Vienna and gives them shelter in her brothel, located on the site of the future Ministry of Propaganda. Connected across time by intersecting crimes and themes of language, cultural assimilation, and nationalist conflicts, Siege of Comedians, part political thriller, part comic noir, reflects on aspects of the current refugee crisis, human trafficking, and identity.”

 

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Gil Z. Hochberg’s Becoming Palestine: Toward an Archival Imagination of the Future

From Duke University: “In Becoming Palestine, Gil Z. Hochberg examines how contemporary Palestinian artists, filmmakers, dancers, and activists use the archive in order to radically imagine Palestine’s future. She shows how artists such as Jumana Manna, Kamal Aljafari, Larissa Sansour, Farah Saleh, Basel Abbas, and Ruanne Abou-Rahme reimagine the archive, approaching it not through the desire to unearth hidden knowledge, but to sever the identification of the archive with the past. In their use of archaeology, musical traditions, and archival film and cinematic footage, these artists imagine a Palestinian future unbounded from colonial space and time. By urging readers to think about archives as a break from history rather than as history’s repository, Hochberg presents a fundamental reconceptualization of the archive’s liberatory potential.”

 

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David Boarder Giles’s A Mass Conspiracy to Feed People: Food Not Bombs and the World-Class Waste of Global Cities

From Duke University: “In A Mass Conspiracy to Feed People, David Boarder Giles explores the ways in which capitalism simultaneously manufactures waste and scarcity. Illustrating how communities of marginalized people and discarded things gather and cultivate political possibilities, Giles documents the work of Food Not Bombs (FNB), a global movement of grassroots soup kitchens that recover wasted grocery surpluses and redistribute them to those in need. He explores FNB’s urban contexts: the global cities in which late-capitalist economies and unsustainable consumption precipitate excess, inequality, food waste, and hunger. Beginning in urban dumpsters, Giles traces the logic by which perfectly edible commodities are nonetheless thrown out—an act that manufactures food scarcity—to the social order of ‘world-class’ cities, the pathways of discarded food as it circulates through the FNB kitchen, and the anticapitalist political movements the kitchen represents. Describing the mutual entanglement of global capitalism and anticapitalist transgression, Giles captures those emergent forms of generosity, solidarity, and resistance that spring from the global city’s marginalized residents.”

 

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Jason A. Hoelscher’s Art as Information Ecology: Artworks, Artworlds, and Complex Systems Aesthetics

From Duke University: “In Art as Information Ecology, Jason A. Hoelscher offers not only an information theory of art but an aesthetic theory of information. Applying close readings of the information theories of Claude Shannon and Gilbert Simondon to 1960s American art, Hoelscher proposes that art is information in its aesthetic or indeterminate mode—information oriented less toward answers and resolvability than toward questions, irresolvability, and sustained difference. These irresolvable differences, Hoelscher demonstrates, fuel the richness of aesthetic experience by which viewers glean new information and insight from each encounter with an artwork. In this way, art constitutes information that remains in formation—a difference that makes a difference that keeps on differencing. Considering the works of Frank Stella, Robert Morris, Adrian Piper, the Drop City commune, Eva Hesse, and others, Hoelscher finds that art exists within an information ecology of complex feedback between artwork and artworld that is driven by the unfolding of difference. By charting how information in its aesthetic mode can exist beyond today’s strictly quantifiable and monetizable forms, Hoelscher reconceives our understanding of how artworks work and how information operates.”

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From Duke University: “The contributors to Assembly Codes examine how media and logistics set the conditions for the circulation of information and culture. They document how logistics—the techniques of organizing and coordinating the movement of materials, bodies, and information—has substantially impacted the production, distribution, and consumption of media. At the same time, physical media, such as paperwork, along with media technologies ranging from phone systems to software are central to the operations of logistics. The contributors interrogate topics ranging from the logistics of film production and the construction of internet infrastructure to the environmental impact of the creation, distribution, and sale of vinyl records. They also reveal how logistical technologies have generated new aesthetic and performative practices. In charting the specific points of contact, dependence, and friction between media and logistics, Assembly Codes demonstrates that media and logistics are co-constitutive and that one cannot be understood apart from the other.”

 

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Bharat Jayram Venkat’s At the Limits of Cure

From Duke University: “Can a history of cure be more than a history of how disease comes to an end? In 1950s Madras, an international team of researchers demonstrated that antibiotics were effective in treating tuberculosis. But just half a century later, reports out of Mumbai stoked fears about the spread of totally drug-resistant strains of the disease. Had the curable become incurable? Through an anthropological history of tuberculosis treatment in India, Bharat Jayram Venkat examines what it means to be cured, and what it means for a cure to come undone. At the Limits of Cure tells a story that stretches from the colonial period—a time of sanatoria, travel cures, and gold therapy—into a postcolonial present marked by antibiotic miracles and their failures. Venkat juxtaposes the unraveling of cure across a variety of sites: in idyllic hill stations and crowded prisons, aboard ships and on the battlefield, and through research trials and clinical encounters. If cure is frequently taken as an ending (of illness, treatment, and suffering more generally), Venkat provides a foundation for imagining cure otherwise in a world of fading antibiotic efficacy.”

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Eric A. Stanley’s Atmospheres of Violence: Structuring Antagonism and the Trans/Queer Ungovernable

From Duke University: “Advances in LGBTQ rights in the recent past—marriage equality, the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and the expansion of hate crimes legislation—have been accompanied by a rise in attacks against trans, queer and/or gender-nonconforming people of color. In Atmospheres of Violence, theorist and organizer Eric A. Stanley shows how this seeming contradiction reveals the central role of racialized and gendered violence in the United States. Rather than suggesting that such violence is evidence of individual phobias, Stanley shows how it is a structuring antagonism in our social world. Drawing on an archive of suicide notes, AIDS activist histories, surveillance tapes, and prison interviews, they offer a theory of anti-trans/queer violence in which inclusion and recognition are forms of harm rather than remedies to it. In calling for trans/queer organizing and worldmaking beyond these forms, Stanley points to abolitionist ways of life that might offer livable futures.”

 

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From Graywolf Press: ” Integrating archival research and declassified documents, Yellow Rain calls out the erasure of a history, the silencing of a people who at the time lacked the capacity and resources to defend and represent themselves. In poems that sing and lament, that contend and question, Vang restores a vital narrative in danger of being lost, and brilliantly explores what it means to have access to the truth and how marginalized groups are often forbidden that access.”

 

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Maggie Nelson’s On Freedom: Four Songs of Care and Constraint

From Graywolf Press: “Drawing on a vast range of material, from critical theory to pop culture to the intimacies and plain exchanges of daily life, Maggie Nelson explores how we might think, experience, or talk about freedom in ways responsive to the conditions of our day. Her abiding interest lies in ongoing ‘practices of freedom’ by which we negotiate our interrelation with—indeed, our inseparability from—others, with all the care and constraint that entails, while accepting difference and conflict as integral to our communion.”

 

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From Graywolf Press: “Percival Everett’s The Trees is a page-turner that opens with a series of brutal murders in the rural town of Money, Mississippi. When a pair of detectives from the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation arrive, they meet expected resistance from the local sheriff, his deputy, the coroner, and a string of racist White townsfolk. The murders present a puzzle, for at each crime scene there is a second dead body: that of a man who resembles Emmett Till.”

 

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Khadija Abdalla Bajaber’s The House of Rust

From Graywolf Press: “The House of Rust is an enchanting novel about a Hadhrami girl in Mombasa. When her fisherman father goes missing, Aisha takes to the sea on a magical boat made of a skeleton to rescue him. She is guided by a talking scholar’s cat (and soon crows, goats, and other animals all have their say, too). On this journey Aisha meets three terrifying sea monsters. After she survives a final confrontation with Baba wa Papa, the father of all sharks, she rescues her own father, and hopes that life will return to normal. But at home, things only grow stranger. Khadija Abdalla Bajaber’s debut is a fabulist coming-of-age tale told through the lens of the Swahili and diasporic Hadhrami culture in Mombasa, Kenya. Richly descriptive and written with an imaginative hand and sharp eye for unusual detail, The House of Rust is a memorable novel by a thrilling new voice.”

 

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From Graywolf Press: ” Almada enlarges the tradition of some of the most distinctive prose stylists of our time. In Brickmakers, she furthers her extraordinary exploration of masculinity and the realities of working-class rural life. This is another exquisitely written and powerfully told story by a major international voice.”

 

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Javier Serena’s Last Words on Earth, translated by Katie Whittemore

From Open Letter Books: “In exile from his home country of Peru, Ricardo Funes embodies the ultimate starving artist. Fired from almost every job he’s held—usually for paying more attention to literature than work—he sets himself up in a rundown shack where he works on writing stories to enter in regional contests across Spain, and foisting his judgements about literature on anyone who will listen as one of the last remaining members of the negacionismo poetry movement. Completely dedicated to an unwavering belief in his own art, Funes struggles in anonymity until he achieves unbridled success with The Aztec and becomes a legend . . . at least for a moment. Diagnosed with lung cancer a few years later, Funes will only be able to enjoy his newfound attention for a short time.”

 

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Rafael Chirbes’s Cremation, translated by Valerie Miles

From New Directions: “Along the Mediterranean coastline of Spain, real-estate developers scramble to transform the once pastoral landscape into tourist resorts, nightclubs, and beachfront properties with lavish bars and pools. The booming post-Franco years have left everything up for grabs. Cremation opens with the death of Matías, a paterfamilias who had rejected all of these changes and whose passing sets off a chain reaction, uncovering a past that had been buried for years, and leading those closest to him to question the paths they’ve chosen. In a rich mosaic narrative, filled with a hypnotic chorus of voices, Cremation explores the coked-up champagne fizz of luxurious parties shadowed by underworlds of political corruption, prostitution, and ruthless financial speculation. The novel enters that melancholy ouroboros of capitalist greed that led to the financial crash and captures something essential about our values, our choices, and our all too human mistakes. Like William Faulkner or Francis Bacon, Chirbes stares, clear-eyed, into the abyss, and portrays us as we really are.”

 

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Will Alexander’s Refractive Africa: Ballet of the Forgotten

From New Directions: “‘The poet is endemic with life itself,’ Will Alexander once said, and in this searing pas de trois, Refractive Africa: Ballet of the Forgotten, he has exemplified this vital candescence with a transpersonal amplification worthy of the Cambrian explosion. ‘This being the ballet of the forgotten,’ he writes as diasporic witness, ‘of refracted boundary points as venom.’ The volume’s opening poem pays homage to the innovative Nigerian-Yoruban author Amos Tutuola; it ends with an encomium to the modernist Malagasy poet Jean-Joseph Rabearivelo—two writers whose luminous art suffered ‘colonial wrath through refraction.’ A tribute to the Congo forms the bridge and brisé vole of the book: the Congo as ‘charged aural colony’ and ‘primal interconnection,’ a ‘subliminal psychic force’ with a colonial and postcolonial history dominated by the Occident. Will Alexander’s improvisatory cosmicity pushes poetic language to the point of most resistance—incantatory and swirling with magical laterality and recovery.”

 

László Krasznahorkai’s Chasing Homer, translated by John Batki

From New Directions: “In this thrilling chase narrative, a hunted being escapes certain death at breakneck speed—careening through Europe, heading blindly South. Faster and faster, escaping the assassins, our protagonist flies forward, blending into crowds, adjusting to terrains, hopping on and off ferries, always desperately trying to stay a step ahead of certain death: the past did not exist, only what was current existed—a prisoner of the instant, rushing into this instant, an instant that had no continuation. Krasznahorkai—celebrated for the exhilarating energy of his prose—outdoes himself in Chasing Homer. And this unique collaboration boasts beautiful full-color paintings by Max Neumann and—reaching out of the book proper—the wildly percussive music of Szilveszter Miklós scored for each chapter (to be accessed by the reader via QR codes).”

 

Rosmarie Waldrop’s The Nick of Time

From New Directions: ““If memory serves, it was five years ago that yours began to refuse,’ Rosmarie Waldrop writes to her husband in The Nick of Time. ‘Does it feel like crossing from an open field into the woods, the sunlight suddenly switched off? Or like a roof without edge or frame, pushed sideways in time?’ Ten years in the making, Waldrop’s phenomenally beautiful new collection explores the felt nature of existence as well as gravity and velocity, the second hemisphere of time, mortality and aging, language and immigration, a Chinese primer, the artist Hannah Höch, and dwarf stars…Love blooms in the cut, in the gap, in the nick between memory and thought, sentence and experience. Like the late work of Cézanne, Waldrop’s art has found a new way of seeing and thinking that ‘vibrates on multiple registers through endless, restless exploration.'”

 

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Peter Kropotkin’s Mutual Aid: An Illuminated Factor of Evolution, Illustrated by N.O. Bonzo

From PM Press: “One hundred years after his death, Peter Kropotkin is still one of the most inspirational figures of the anarchist movement. It is often forgotten that Kropotkin was also a world-renowned geographer whose seminal critique of the hypothesis of competition promoted by Social Darwinism helped revolutionize modern evolutionary theory. An admirer of Darwin, he used his observations of life in Siberia as the basis for his 1902 collection of essays Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution. Kropotkin demonstrated that mutually beneficial cooperation and reciprocity—in both individuals and as a species—plays a far more important role in the animal kingdom and human societies than does individualized competitive struggle. Kropotkin carefully crafted his theory making the science accessible. His account of nature rejected Rousseau’s romantic depictions and ethical socialist ideas that cooperation was motivated by the notion of “universal love.” His understanding of the dynamics of social evolution shows us that the power of cooperation—whether it is bison defending themselves against a predator or workers unionizing against their boss. His message is clear: solidarity is strength! Every page of this new edition of Mutual Aid has been beautifully illustrated by one of anarchism’s most celebrated current artists, N.O. Bonzo. The reader will also enjoy original artwork by GATS and insightful commentary by David Graeber, Ruth Kinna, Andrej Grubacic, and Allan Antliff.”

 

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Edwin Torres’s Quanundrum: [I Will Be Your Many Angled Thing]

From Roof Books: “Edwin Torres’s quanundrum emerges from his “many angled” selves—writer, father, Puerto Rican, No’merican, worker, designer, acolyte, master—for readers to revel in. Torres’s poetry is always driving for transformation. The poetics of his language bridges his neo-immigrant identity to the universal situation of humans finding their place in the cosmos. quanundrum explores these problems of hybridity in bodies, themes, and the physicality of Torress’ visual poetics that refracts through an ecology of language as a call for readers to invent new possibilities every time they turn the page. Torres’s skills at shaping these pages, composed of word forms, word meanings, and words interacting into poetry, speak ‘to the positive motivating force within my life.’ The power of his writing derives from that tension as he simultaneously chooses which world to write as his world chooses him. quanundrum is a shock to the system as he settles into fluid motion—pretty sure you will feel better after reading Edwin Torres’s [I will be your many angled thing].

 

 

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Jesi Bender’s Kinderkrankenhaus

From Sagging Meniscus Press: “In a vaguely familiar time and place, children gathered inside the grey walls of a hospital are given diagnoses they don’t understand and told to work towards correcting their ills, or face the consequences. Kinderkrankenhaus explores neurodiversity, the pathologizing of difference, and the complexity of labels in a world where the unspeaking are seen as unthinking. Can the children learn to live in this place where concepts like love are indefinable but they are still expected to know when something does not conform to its boundaries?”

 

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Joshua Kornreich’s Cavanaugh

From Sagging Meniscus Press: “Cavanaugh is not Kavanaugh, and Kavanaugh is not Cavanaugh. Yet when Cavanaugh, a pencil-pushing, number-crunching, ‘middling, middle-aged middleman,’ reluctantly buys a bobblehead of the controversial Supreme Court justice for his innocent young daughter at a minor league baseball game, past traumas are retriggered, households unravel, and a mysterious inner voice reawakens, knocking Cavanaugh off the wagon and steering him headlong into the hillocky and tortuous terrain of the surreal and absurd. With a narrative that charms and intoxicates sentence-by-sentence, Cavanaugh is not only a bleak comedy of the reverberating repercussions set off by a single fraught decision, but also a darkly poignant reminder that no matter how rigorously we endeavor to seek refuge from what haunts us, memory will always find a way to creep into the din of our surroundings, forcing itself upon us against our will and, inevitably, of those we love most.”

 

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Sean Avery Medlin’s 808s & Otherworlds

From Two Dollar Radio: “808s & Otherworlds: Memories, Remixes, & Mythologies announces a bold and incendiary new voice in Sean Avery Medlin. Against the backdrop of the Phoenix suburbs where they were raised, Medlin interrogates the effects of media misrepresentation on the performance of Black masculinity. Through storytelling rhymes and vulnerable narratives in conversation with both contemporary Hip-Hop culture and systemic anti-Blackness, 808s & Otherworlds pieces together a speculative reality where Blackfolk are simultaneously superhuman and dehumanized. From the gut-wrenchingly real stories of young lovers unmythed by segregation or former classmates appropriating Black culture, to the fantastic settings of Hip-Hop songs and comic characters, Medlin weaves a tapestry of worlds and otherworlds while composing a love letter to family and self, told to an undeniably energetic beat.”

 

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.

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