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A storied, oscillating breath-scape, a wondrous tertium quid, Valerie Hsiung’s You & Me Forever maps a world that moves as simultaneously paradoxical, relational, and permutational. Edged with the epic, speech-based and strange, the writings enact the promise of dreams as they address matters of hauntings and bodies, displacement, and the nature of capital, exile, and art. Here the narrative ripples, achieves both temporal and spatial possibilities, works both boundariness and dissolve. A destabilizing marvel.—Hoa NguyenView playlist
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
You can’t cut a cross-section of the Action Books catalog without getting covered in the radical, political, visionary, gorgeous, grotesque poetical blood that runs through our veins; you can’t map the international span of the Action Books roster without turning the globe in every direction. We are extremely proud of these impossibilities. This playlist is culled from some of our recently released books from here and afar, from the translated collections we’ve published in the past by groundbreaking Korean poets Kim Hyesoon and Kim Yideum, and from two of our upcoming releases, THIRD MILLENNIUM HEART by Ursula Andkjaer Olsen (Denmark) and ADRENALIN by Ghayath Almadoun (Syria).View playlist
from To love an artistMy mother worked at a desk. My father worked at a desk. My mother’s mother’s family owned desks, beautiful hand-carved desks, cabinets, bureaus, and they owned land, when the red guards took over. They were considered landowning intellectuals who needed to be imprisoned or executed in a public square publicly. / /
from To love an artistIn the black box, a revolution might occur. In the black box, two students might escape. In the black box, two students might become two lovers. In the black box, one student who doesn’t speak English might give up on theater. In the black box, one foreign exchange student whose country is torn apart by a civil war might discover the language of insignificance. In the black box, the shades are already drawn. In this country that leads in innovation of magnificent warships, rocketships, etc, we must practice in a black box and accept the fact that this black box is, too, a stage but not the actual stage of war. You are not allowed to leave this black box until the war is over. / /