A little less than two years ago, I went to the Center for Fiction to see Anne Carson read. The piece she read there was called The Albertine Workout, and it found Carson applying her considerable skill in literary scholarship to the works of Marcel Proust–specifically, the character Albertine in À la recherche du temps perdu. The piece consisted of a series of paragraphs, some very short, some not so much, along with a series of appendices. Besides its inquiry […]
The latest installment in Sarah McCarry’s generally essential chapbook series Guillotine comes from Sarah Gerard. The title here is BFF, and the focus is on a now-estranged friendship between Gerard and an unnamed friend of hers. As with all of Gerard’s work, the prose is immediate, intimate, and harrowing–closer to the rapid-fire narration of her novel Binary Star than her earlier chapbook Things I Told My Mother. It’s written as a direct address to the friend in question, but it […]
As New York’s all-too-briefspring begins to transform into summer, aided and abetted by an abundance of humidity, I’ve opted for the only logical response, and made with the reading of zines. That seems to fit, right? This particular edition of the column will focus on two: one collection of poetry, and one issue that includes an host of prose and poetry centered around a particular topic.
This week’s theme seems to be chapbooks: each of the works here is an essay contained between two covers; each is decidedly personal, yet resonant on a larger scale, whether economic or cultural. Each is also by an author whose work I’d already been familiar with, and provides a concise take on their areas of expertise.
One of the best literary works I’ve encountered this year is Pity the Animal, the new chapbook from Chelsea Hodson. I don’t want to say too much about it: much of its power comes from the way it juxtaposes seemingly unrelated elements: a retrospective of Marina Abramović’s art, scenes from Hodson’s life, economic musings, and considerations of adventure. The way these eventually coalesce is immeasurably powerful; the accumulated effect is devastating, and hits harder than many works ten times its length. I checked […]
Good writing can take its inspiration from almost anything, from true-life experiences to speculation to riffs on objects and scenarios encountered in passing to the culture we encounter every day. The two chapbooks covered in today’s column take inspiration from wildly disparate topics. One is written in a reflexive voice, surrounding its point of origin and corresponding with it in numerous ways; the other takes the stuff of classical works — seasons, romance — and channels it through an abrupt, […]
Late last year, I read Imogen Binnie’s novel Nevada after reading an excellent interview with the author conducted by Sarah McCarry. From there, I ended up ordering several issues of Binnie‘s zine Stereotype Threat; its subtitle, “Trying to frame graduate school as a radical // queer // punk endeavor,” gives a pretty solid idea of what to expect from the words inside the cover.
Joseph Riippi’s emotionally searing writing serves as an exhaustive overview of whatever subject he chooses to write about. In Because, that subject was himself. In the chapbook Puyallup, Washington: An Interrogation, out now on Publishing Genius, his subject is the city of the title. Throughout, Riippi delves into the city’s occasionally improbable history, along with its precarious location. I checked in with Riippi via email to learn more about the chapbook’s origins and its connection to his other recent work.