Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Random Photos

A bit more jaunting around New York means one thing: random photos!

Here are a few, from recent weeks (and the first three are from much earlier in the summer), including  one showing the new business that occupies what had been my former workout spot, Steel Gym. It was right across from here that domestic terrorist Ahmad Rahami set off one of his bombs, which blew a Dumpster straight across 23rd Street. The mangled remains landed right in front of the new Scottrade office!

Remember, if you click on them you can see them at full size!

Super-fro (Cumulofronimbus)
At Triple Canopy, in Brooklyn
In Dumbo
Filming in Union Square Park 
Outdoor bazaar
The fake--and real--pigeon seller
Modern Furniture, in the street 

A cup of (Hillary) Clinton
Loading prints on 19th Street 
A doored cyclist, on 6th Avenue
At work, on a flatbed 
Mounting a door 
My former gym's façade, now a Scottrade office
(and right across from where the 23rd St.
Dumpster bombing took place)
Same as it ever was: sleeping
in a Manhattan doorway
New World Trade Center
skyline, from Hoboken
Grove Street, Jersey City
Outside MoMA PS1:
the sign reads
"CONTEMPORARY ART
IS OUTDADED
THE FLORAISSANCE
HAS BEGUN
Searching for the right selfie spot,
World Trade Center 
Tourists (note the person
in the knee-high, Italian
flag-colored socks)
Polish veterans, Jersey City
Shoe change, 19th Street
Fruit vendor, Upper West Side

Monday, September 19, 2016

Brooklyn Book Festival & New York Art Book Fair

Until Sunday, I had never attended the Brooklyn Book Festival.  More than once, though, despite the required trek, I had thought about attending, but I never managed to do so. And then, through the graces of Park Slope Community Bookstore in Brooklyn, I was invited to participate in a reading and conversation, titled "Inventing History in New Fiction," with authors Susan Daitch (The Lost Civilization of Sollucidir) and Jeremy Davies (The Knack of Doing), and New York Magazine critic Christian Lorentzen, at St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights.

Before we took the stage, I had an opportunity to chat with Sarah Schulman (who shared a copy of her acclaimed new book, Conflict Is Not Abuse: Overstating Harm, Community Responsibility, and the Duty of Repair, Arsenal Pulp Press, 2016, with me) and also see Jaci Jones LaMon, among others.  I won't recap the event, which went very well, beyond saying that we had a good crowd for 10 am; that it was great to to meet and hear Daitch, whose work I'd been reading since the late 1990s when she published Storytown, learn about and hear Davies's work as well, and to be in conversation with Lorentzen, a superb critic. Our hour raced by, and then we signed books and I bought a number myself.

Many thanks to friends and fellow writers who headed over to hear us, buy books (we sold quite a few), and ask excellent questions!

Me, Susan Daitch, Jeremy
Davies, and Christian Lorentzen

***

Outside MoMA PS1
After leaving the Brooklyn Book Festival I head north to Queens, where the final day of the annual NY Art Book Fair, mounted by Printed Matter at MoMA PS1 was underway. I had attended the NYABF a number of times, though I'd missed it last year. This time I had more incentive, since ITI Press was there with copies of GRIND, as was New Directions. The trip on the G was pleasant enough, but the day had begun to warm considerably time I got to Court Square, so I found myself crinkling a bit in the kiln of the exhibition rooms, which were packed with artists, authors, and people taking in the dizzying array of options. (I can only imagine how hot it must have been on Saturday, when a supposed 15,000  people passed through MoMA PS1's doors.

Dread Scott
At ITI Press's table
(artist Sebastian at center)

At the New Directions table, which was on the first floor, I picked up copies of the new double-novella volume by Laszlo Krasznahorkai, and the distilled Emily Dickinson envelope poem collection, among other goodies, while at the ITI Press table I signed books and chatted with founders and artist-authors Catherine Taylor and my co-author Nicholas Muellner, as well their as their cool interna (whose name escapes me) and a number of people who passed by. Afterwards I wandered around and though I'd vowed not to pick up so many books, I ended up with several bags worth, as well as very affordable prints, drawings, and photostats.

More people browsing ITI
Press's offerings
Mieke Chew at New Directions' table,
with designer Alvin Lustig's ND cover
 posters behind her

I even grabbed a book and signed poster by the artist Dread Scott, whom I'd last seen performing his fire hose piece beneath the Brooklyn Bridge a few years ago, and a massive volume, on discount--which were legion on Sunday, something I have to remember--of Robert Ashley's graphic scores and several of his operas, which I'd love to see performed live. (I missed one that was staged just not long ago in...Brooklyn!) Here are a few photos from the event. Next year if it's as hot a day I hope they at least consider a few more strategically placed fans.

















Inside the Dome



The Zine tornado machine

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Contrenarrations: the French Edition of Counternarrations On Bookshelves

On August 24, the French edition of Counternarratives, published by Éditions Cambourakis, retitled Contrenarrations and superbly translated by Bernard Hoepffner, hit bookstores. (As I may have written before, Hoepffner was one of the most perspicuous editors I have ever worked with, and perfectly complemented my excellent New Directions editor Barbara Epler.) Cambourakis chose a painting by the great Bill Traylor to grace the cover, maintaining the theme and style of the New Directions cover, but endowing it with its own distinctive look:



There have been several short prose reviews so far; the first, by Emmanuel Requet, on the website of Librairie Ptyx, was one that the translator, Hoepffner, forwarded directly to me. It's very good. A brief quote:

Ce n’est pas Le Noir, La Négritude, L’opprimé qui est le cœur de Contrenarrations, mais sa parole. Brimée, bridée, brisée, mais jamais éteinte, conservant dans la possibilité de son advenue toute sa force. Mieux encore, enfouies sous des couches de silence forcé, semblent y avoir mûri des manières plus subtiles et fécondes de rendre compte. Jamais inutilement post-moderne, ni victimaire, ni doloriste, Contrenarrations consacre génialement le rôle impertinent et salvateur de la forme.
[Rough translation: It isn't Black Person [or Blackness], Blackness, the Oppressed who is the heart of Counternarratives, but their speech. Bullied, constrained, broken, but never extinguished, keeping all its force in the possibility of its occurrence. Better still, buried under layers of enforced silence, seeming to have ripened in more subtle and fruitful ways of taking account of things . Never uselessly postmodern, nor playing the victim, nor lugubrious, Counternarratives brilliantly consecrates the impertinent and saving role of form.]
On their Facebook page, Éditions Cambourakis also features this review by Damien Aubel from the French monthly magazine Transfuge's coverage of the August rentrée littéraire:



I also came across the following tweet, by Olivier Lamm, about Contrenarrations' appearance at a recent Rentrée littéraire in Paris (I think): he says that the book was winner by knockout (and evil spirits--referencing several characters in the collection)! It's nice praise and I'll take it!