Alex's Picks

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How I Became One of the Invisible, new edition (Semiotext(e) / Native Agents) Cover Image
By David Rattray, Chris Kraus (Editor)
ISBN: 9781635900729
Availability: In Stock (but it is always wise to call ahead to confirm!)
Published: Semiotext(e) - September 17th, 2019

This book is impossible to comprehend but it's the sort of text that sticks with you. Rattray's work is like a contact high because in it you feel the urgency of a mind pushing at the boundaries of what language can do.

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Creature Cover Image
ISBN: 9780984469383
Availability: In Stock (but it is always wise to call ahead to confirm!)
Published: Dorothy a Publishing Project - November 1st, 2013

Former Chicagoan Amina Cain's mysterious, carefully honed stories pitch you into a strange state of suspension. Like Monica Vitti's character in Red Desert, the creatures who populate Cain's world never seem sure of their position vis a vis geography: where does landscape end and selfhood begin?

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Revenge of the She-Punks: A Feminist Music History from Poly Styrene to Pussy Riot Cover Image
ISBN: 9781477316542
Availability: Not in stock. Usually arrives in 2-7 business days
Published: University of Texas Press - May 7th, 2019

A kind of shadow oral history, this book preserves the talkiness and loose, associative quality of an interview. Goldman's feminism is refreshingly intersectional: women of color like Poly Styrene, Palmolive, Grace Jones, and Neneh Cherry are placed at the center of the discussion, and the complexities of their subject positions are engaged head on.

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The Book of Frank Cover Image
ISBN: 9781933517490
Availability: In Stock (but it is always wise to call ahead to confirm!)
Published: Wave Books - November 1st, 2010

Conrad's writing is always confrontational, which can be a great relief in a time when even poets don veneers of staid professionalism. Insistently queer, working class, witchy, and anti-war, Conrad speaks their truth and doesn't care whether you're ready for what they have to say.

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Justice Piece // Transmission Cover Image
ISBN: 9781937421250
Availability: In Stock (but it is always wise to call ahead to confirm!)
Published: Timeless, Infinite Light - September 21st, 2018

Just after Trump got elected, Levin toured across the country with poet Eric Sneathen reading the same essay condemning Reaganism night after night. Their latest book emerged out of a set of questions the poet JT Jennifer Tamayo posed: "What does it mean to you to be a white? How does that show up or not in your work? What is justice?" Levin's self-critical response takes the form of fragmentary notes, giving voice to the complex interplay of learning and everyday life.

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The Uprising: On Poetry and Finance (Semiotext(e) / Intervention Series #14) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781584351122
Availability: In Stock (but it is always wise to call ahead to confirm!)
Published: Semiotext(e) - October 19th, 2012

This 2012 book, galvanized by the Occupy movement, looks at the abstraction of life under finance capital and analyzes this in relation to the slippage between sign and referent that occurs in poetry. Unlike finance, which alienates people and subjects language itself to an increasingly mechanized role in society, poetry “reactivates the social body” and makes possible new forms of relationality outside of those prescribed by capital. Funny, weird and sweet, you could easily knock this out in a single sitting. See the 2018 sequel of sorts, Breathing, for a more freewheeling elaboration of the book’s ideas.

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Sun Cycle Cover Image
ISBN: 9780914946090
Availability: In Stock (but it is always wise to call ahead to confirm!)
Published: Cleveland State University Poetry Center - September 10th, 2019

High-stakes writing that imagines an outside to empire while trapped inside its blinding glow. Attending to the connections between subjecthood and state terror, the text continually circles back on itself as if to put theories of fugitivity into practice via poetic form. (What the hell is form? is among the questions the collection ponders.) A riotous book that refuses available representational paradigms, never content to accept the conditions of appearance that colonizers take as the given reality.

Spain Cover Image
ISBN: 9780999418642
Availability: In Stock (but it is always wise to call ahead to confirm!)
Published: Rescue Press - November 1st, 2018

A terrible artist residency in Spain becomes the basis for a hilarious, sometimes frightening examination of the possibilities of friendship within patriarchal society. The internet’s down, the stove’s broken, it’s always raining... As a web of bad situations and adversarial relationships builds around her, the speaker pushes narrative back into her surroundings, finding systems of power where others see specificity of place. Honest and demanding, like a good friend, this book will make you look at the world differently.

Notes on the Cinematograph Cover Image
By Robert Bresson, Jonathan Griffin (Translated by), J.M.G. Le Clézio (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9781681370248
Availability: Backordered. Will not ship for 2 weeks or longer.
Published: NYRB Classics - November 15th, 2016

Watching the complete filmography of Bresson is one of the best things a person can do with their time on earth. This strange little book, the only text the influential filmmaker published during his lifetime, originally came out in French in 1975, two years before his deeply pessimistic penultimate film The Devil Probably. In a series of short, aphoristic statements, he succinctly outlines the philosophical ideas that inform his style and working methods. Famously preferring nonprofessional actors who deliver their lines impassively, many of his theories center on a rigorous disavowal of artifice. He seems to sincerely believe that people have essences or souls apart from their historical conditions, yet his films are also profoundly anti-capitalist and anti-fascist. The seemingly contradictory analytic lenses of his spirituality and politics can be hard to parse, and the text, like his films, leaves a lot open to interpretation. He does not expound upon Catholicism, capitalism, suicidality--key themes of his oeuvre. Instead, he uses words to effect something more akin to his signature close-ups of hands. At once mysterious and didactic.

Unsolved Mysteries Cover Image
ISBN: 9781931824897
Availability: Backordered at least 2 weeks or possibly unavailable.
Published: Roof Books - November 1st, 2020

This book rocks. For something that's so much about death it's surprisingly vital. Written in a lucid, hypnagogic mode where anything can turn up, beautiful or horrible, it's also about how poetry is not enough, how we depend on one another to transform the social world off the page. Marie doesn't pretend to know the answer to survival, let alone utopia, but they do take sides; for example they're not against promiscuity, or revenge. After reading I felt inspired to sing to my cat, then I went back to worrying again.