An Interview with Yuriy Tarnawsky, Part 1

I first encountered Yuriy Tarnawsky‘s writing in 1998, when I stumbled across a copy of Three Blondes and Death (FC2, 1993) in a Philadelphia bookstore. (A college professor, having noticed my interest in less-than-realist fiction, encouraged me to be on the lookout for any books published by FC2 or Dalkey Archive Press.)

Three Blondes was unlike any other book I’d ever seen: it consisted of hundreds of short chapters, each one a solid block of prose, describing in meticulous detail the simultaneously outlandish and banal lives of the protagonist, Hwbrgdtse, and three blonde women—Alphabette, Bethlehem, and Chemnitz—that he grows, in turn, infatuated with. The chapters are not always presented in chronological order, and more than half of them relate the characters’ dreams. It very quickly became one of my favorite contemporary novels. (When I moved to Thailand in 2003, it was one of the few books that I brought with me.)

Later, in the summer of 2004, I met Yuriy in New York, at Ron Sukenick’s memorial service; we began talking, and soon became friends. I’m pleased now to be able to post here, in multiple parts, a lengthy interview I’ve conducted with him. I’ll also be posting and linking to excerpts from Yuriy’s writing; my hope is that this will encourage more people to seek out his unique and deliriously fascinating work. Continue reading


the inside and the outside: marina abramović and her dresses

One thing I like about Marina Abramović’s performance – ‘The Artist is Present’- at the MoMA (till May 31st – [see Jac Jemc’s related post here]) is the significance of the dresses she’s been wearing. She alternates between dresses of three different colors – red, dark blue, and white – each pertaining to a mood or energy level she believes will help sustain her at different times throughout the exhibition, which is two and a half months long, and which involves her sitting in silence across from any number of museum visitors almost every day.

Below are pictures of her in the three different dresses. If you click on any of them (during exhibition hours) you’ll be connected to a live streaming video of the performance.

Continue reading