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To love an artist

Valerie Hsiung’s 𝘛𝘰 𝘭𝘰𝘷𝘦 𝘢𝘯 𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘪𝘴𝘵 is a work composed of dislocations--or rather, durations, expanses of dislocated voices, bodies, and narratives. It is a series of studies on ductility and leaching--what we are at our base and what we become when brought, whether violently or voluntarily, in proximity to others, other species of being, other modes of existing, other methods of naming: the lines we cross, “Language from bronze infects language from copper.” When the poet writes, “Today, I speak a language of brutes,” I read the enfoldment of the cruelty our collective and respective histories into the languages of our subjectivity. Any expression of self or free-
ness or united-ness is laden with material and intentions that do not belong to us. We have been mixed forever, we have been poured and burned through borders always, and are ourselves burned and poured through. And that is why it is useful to invent forms for the expression of our alloyed selves, to be non-knowing. To love an artist presents a despondent, broken, scattered form. Yet, it pulses with nuance and engagement. It’s beautiful, irreverent, and dangerously incoherent. It stays with you when you’ve stopped reading it and puts your seeing in disarray. It nourishes and it fails and it teaches. This is a book of refusal. It is a cosmography written as metallurgy; it wants to be the dust and it wants to be the friction.

- Renee Gladman

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Featured on March 20, 2023


“Not even trees falling/ from fruit can pick / my body off this ground.” In Nico Vela Page’s 𝑨𝒎𝒆𝒓𝒊𝒄ó𝒏, conventional distances between bodies, land, gender, and language are thrown into new embrace, gardened into poems with sweet, lush aplomb and tenderness. 𝑨𝒎𝒆𝒓𝒊𝒄ó𝒏 swallows up the slur within its title with the hot ecopoetic breath of queer, translanguaging multi-grammars. With halted breath—“Sm,all trees/Scrib,bled brush/Low cact,us”—and love of kin, from hummingbird pecks to ditch bitch politics, this is a book that lovingly expands the endpoints of the continuum.

—Sawako Nakayasu

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Featured on March 13, 2023

Mine Eclogue

Jacob Kahn’s magnificent first book Mine Eclogue sings in the pastoral-ish tradition of all that’s beautiful and fucked at once. But even the shepherds of antiquity were aware you can’t just write about cheese, sex, and weather—the lords are out there, plotting our diminishment. Mine Eclogue addresses our current predicament with wit, despair, ecstasy, and courage. I’m taking it with me to the verdant vale where we daydream the lord’s gory disappearance together, mapping beauty’s victory lap.

—Brandon Brown

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Featured on February 6, 2023

It Got So Dark

"It is alarming to find what you are looking for, which is what I have found in the work of Ben Krusling. His writing is sensitive, skittish, seems to have no proper skin; its unmediated effects are both intoxicating and mystifying, insofar as he appears to have no truck with literary fashions or forms. While the surface of the work is magical; the interior is confrontational and wise."

– Simone White

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