Tim Yelvington has written a really great review of my book Entrance to a colonial pageant in which we all begin to intricate. Here’s an excerpt:
In her book Imperial Leather: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Colonial Contest, feminist scholar Anne McClintock examines colonial explorers’ use of fetish objects — spears, rifles, helmets, leather — to assert their domination over the unfamiliar landscape they fear will engulf them. In entrance to a colonial pageant in which we all begin to intricate, it’s too late, we are already engulged. Johannes presents many of the familiar symbols and images of colonialism and nation-building — there are horses, a colonel, “innocent” children — but presents them corrupted, perverse, refusing to function in service to any sort of narratively or ideologically coherent agenda. In Johannes’s sentences, all language, like all nations, is always already forged, contaminated.
Also, I think this is a great compliment:
For me, this book is now a go-to resource, an open idea file of images and sentences that are simultaneously hilarious, delightful and discomfiting. It is a book I will continually return to, that has already influenced my own writing and thinking and will continue to do so.
I love the idea of the book as an “open idea file of images and sentences.” This seems to generate “counterfeits” or “bad copies” as opposed to the academic idea of lineage and “canonicity” – as in Tony Hoagland emphasizing the originality and uniqueness of every poet he chooses to endorse – they have to run counter to the “poets of our time,” those great mannerists (ie open text writers). Also relevant to my own writing because, as I often say, a lot of my “own” writing projects are generated from sentences I’ve taken from Genet and Nabokov etc.Or words and sentences in translation. Ie I’ve used “open source” resources.
Tim expresses some anxiety about writing about the book (if I understand him correctly, because I’m so opinionated) but I think the “open source” is a great way to approach not just reading a book but reviewing a book as well: it’s an open source. You do with it what you want.
Thanks! …I think my anxiety was less about you being opinionated and more about feeling unsmart and inarticulate.
I too like this idea of “open source” reviews. There’s a lot of talk in online lit circles about the form and ethics of reviewing, and what an appropriate review ought to look like, and how to like, keep alive the historical discipline and style of a “proper” review, and I think all that business is also a source of anxiety for me completely unrelated to you.
Molly is really intent on having the Lit Pub recommendations look less like reviews, as she understands them, and more like folks vouching for their favorite texts. I actually removed some acamademic-ish analysis of the book from my initial draft to add more personalization at her request.