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OVERWRITTEN: Writing the Failure, Impossibility, and Resurrection of the Book, April 6, 2019 2:00-5:00 PM

OVERWRITTEN: Writing the Failure, Impossibility, and Resurrection of the Book

April 6, 2019 2:00-5:00 PM

Led by Thom Donovan
Capacity: 12 participants
Cost: $20-50 (sliding scale)
Register here

This seminar will look at four seminal ante-generic texts, all of which address the book as an objectification of failure, impasse, impossibility, crisis, and/or withdrawal: Anne Boyer’s Garments Against Women, Renee Gladman’s To After That (TOAF), Bhanu Kapil’s Ban en Banlieu, and Stephanie Young’s Ursula or University. Pressing for our discussion will be questions and problems these books raise regarding genre, and particularly the impossibility for certain subjects to write in certain genres (e.g., memoir and the novel), as well as the necessity of the invention of new genres for impassed subjects. I also hope to discuss a question that is both practical and ontological: What happens when we return to, rewrite, and revise previous works, particularly works that, for any number of reasons, never found publication/objectification in print/as a book? Of what does this encounter consist, and what possibilities does it open up for the writer? In the case that the work’s publication was avoided, abandoned, or withdrawn, how might the work be “resurrected” (overwritten, rewritten, written-into, extended, re-contextualized, and supplemented in/for the present)?

Thom Donovan is the author of numerous books, including Withdrawn (Compline, 2017), The Hole (Displaced Press, 2012) and Withdrawn: a Discourse (Shifter, 2016). He co-edits and publishes ON Contemporary Practice. He is also the editor of Occupy Poetics (Essay Press, 2015); To Look At The Sea Is To Become What One Is: an Etel Adnan Reader (with Brandon Shimoda; Nightboat Books, 2014), Supple Science: a Robert Kocik Primer (with Michael Cross; ON Contemporary Practice, 2013), and Wild Horses Of Fire. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Literary Studies at Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts and an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Graduate Writing Program at Columbia University. His current projects include a book of poems and other writings based upon the compositions of Julius Eastman, a book of critical essays regarding poetics, political practice, and the occult, and an ongoing "ante-memoir" entitled Left Melancholy.

This seminar is organized as part of unbag’s residency at Wendy’s Subway in March and April 2019. The Wendy’s Subway Residency Program is made possible through a Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation Art and Social Justice Grant, and through public funds from the Decentralization Program of the New York State Council on the Arts, administered in Kings County by the Brooklyn Arts Council.

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OVERWRITTEN: Writing the Failure, Impossibility, and Resurrection of the Book

April 6, 2019 2:00-5:00 PM
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unbag is an arts & politics publication and community arts organization
based in New York.

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