Reading is both a virtue and duty. The editor invites authors she considers to be good readers. She agrees with Nabokov that a good reader, a major reader, an active and creative reader, is a re-reader. She knows her writers and they know her, even when they have not yet met. They have read each other, or believe themselves to have done so. They are flirtatious, ruffling pages. She likes those who do not hesitate to buy the books she publishes, but under certain circumstances will make excuses for those who do not. She promises to do her best. The best is reading.
MA BIBLIOTHÈQUE publishes four series:
Rebecca La Marre, Love is the Language that Sex Speaks
Fabienne Bideaud & Sharon Kivland, Our Libraries / Nos Bibliothèques
New in The Good Reader series
Derek Beaulieu, L’Echec de Perec
Penny McCarthy, La Biblioteca de Babel
Rona Lorimer, Livre, Livret, Liver
Paul Buck, Library. A Suitable Case for Treatment
LIBRARY contains four essays and two interviews, with the pre-dominant concern of sexual questions: the subjects in art, film, and literature—the issues tied to Rivette’s La Belle Noiseuse, Madonna’s sexual assault in Dangerous Game, Clunie Reid’s use of language, Richard Prince’s obsession with books, and Paul Meyersberg’s articulation about sex.
'Like Carol Reed’s crippled trapeze artist now devoted to sensuality, Paul Buck is more than a suitable case for treatment. A personable deviant, Buck’s culpable, desiring proximity steeps these writings, inasmuch as they are apostrophised by his appearance in cameo, inside and outside the text. Buck stalks his work, addressing us in collusive asides. Rather than the disinterest of resistable objectivity, Buck’s criticism is moved by a profound personal investment in his subjects; he does not elide his complicity, nor does he quiet moral considerations. Discussing Richard Prince’s library or Madonna’s instrumentality, Buck makes the possessive, accountable case throughout. His underlying subject is the snarl of art and life, and the perils that abound in their confusion in the personal and their forced dichotomy in culture at large. Art, for Buck, cannot be an apology for the failures of experience, but instead is a compulsive and risky exposure, like a heretical grace, modelling life for our benefit.' Ed Atkins
'Translator, poet, collagist, archivist, novelist, and all-around intellectual impresario, Paul Buck has a formidable knowledge of culture that he shines like a laser in LIBRARY on Richard Prince, Madonna, Abel Ferrera, and the erotics of painting and representation. He approaches the critical essay like a crime scene investigation. LIBRARY is a fantastic read'. Chris Kraus
'These writings by Paul Buck with all their joyful refusals, radical and playful, work on each other at a pace that opens up to writers, artists, and filmmakers. This is a luminous book, as Gertrude Stein’s writing is luminous, casting its glow with and on the act of writing. Buck is a writer, poet, performer, and publisher who asks how to approach, look, make, write, or even listen to the writer writing, asking what constrains, what puts art before us or does not, as well as admitting the slide into critique or the sheer fury and disgust when the risk of art encounters its institutions. What impresses is Buck’s oblique approach to keeping the reader open to the nature of what the subject might be. We hear him through the rhythms of his writing; it is impure—and it is a pleasure.' Denise Robinson
Riccardo Boglione sent copies of Shakespeare’s The Tempest to twelve artists living in Europe and America, each copy in the language of the country of residence of the artists, asking them to leave the book outside to the weather for as long as they wanted. The pages from those mistreated volumes reconstruct a Frankensteinian version of the play. In an extension of the metaphor of the tempest, the author gathers a small collection of injured volumes, mimicking Prospero’s book. Simultaneously he produces a version of Shakespeare’s play that shakes notions of authority (who is the real author? The invited artists? The English Bard? Boglione? The translators? Bad weather? Time?) and aesthetics (the ‘work’ of rain, snow, wind, and sun transformed the text’s characteristics, giving it a sculptural dimension that obfuscates its literary one). At stake once again, the perpetual dualisms: objects and words, nature and culture, Old and New World.
'In 1919, Marcel Duchamp sent his sister a wedding present from Buenos Aires. He proposed that she leave a book outside, at the mercy of the elements, to be wind-warped and roughly read by its environment. It was referred to as the Readymade Malheureux. Almost a century later, Boglione offers some dozen such gifts anew, but in place of the geometry textbook used by Suzanne Duchamp, the book in question is William Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Prospero famously promises to bury his magic staff ‘certaine fadomes in the earth’ and then drown his grimoire ‘deeper then did euer Plummet sound’. Despite his abjurations, however, Prospero continues to command and enthrall with his charms. Here too, the gorgeous resiliency of text perpetuates enchantments with new spellings and ‘seuerall strange shapes’. Behold the rough magic that remains.' Craig Dworkin
'The monuments of Classical Literature: adored, dead. Traditionally, we bring them back to life by engaging with their time-tested ideas: ideas that have been manufactured and handed down by institutions of learning. A pin-hole view that can also be necrophilic. It Is Foul Weather In Us All contests this relationship to received ideas, inviting artists and writers to use Shakespeare—literally. By instructing the participants to leave their copies of The Tempest out in the rain, Boglione constructs a transformative reader-writer dialogue that is truly present—what can be more present than our daily weather?' Robert Fitterman
'As if by a miracle, Boglione’s sacrilegious instigation to book ruination proves to be a profession of love to book culture and literature. He turns out to be a sorcerer capable of converting destruction into production, whose mastery is on a par with Prospero’s magical power. Prospero’s words could be Boglione’s own calming words addressed to the very likely alarmed reader: ‘Be collected. / […] tell your piteous heart / There’s no harm done.’ Annette Gilbert
Field Poetics explores five different places, each with a story to tell, each with a unique mode, form, and vocal register through which to tell it. The writing journeys through a sequence of Andrei Tarkovsky’s ‘film images’, the multi-dimensional, interconnected space machine of the Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles, maritime pockets on the edge of the city of Lisbon, a history of silence and surveillance in a derelict wing of the Cork City Gaol, and the transposition of a centuries-old landscape aesthetic through video, performance, and pop in fourteen locations across the Kansai region of Japan. Sometimes documentation, sometimes score, and sometimes the work of a poet and an architect engaging with these sites, Field Poetics spins, suspends, and extends a relation to place.
Field Poetics is the second volume from this longstanding partnership between a poet and an architect. With fluidity and thoughtfulness it uses what such a meeting may enable. Through sparse and precise poetic pieces and diagrammatic ink sketches, this work operates like a dystopian travel journal, making up a universe of flat lines and temporary stations through a series of real and unreal places. Architexture of un-dwellings. Caroline Bergvall
The field here features buildings, waste, trees, pools, deadliness, aliveness, the real, the unreal, a watch, bees, and the smell of roses; in other words, it maps the wilds of everyday being-in-the-world. The poetics concern the making, taking, sharing, layering, writing, and invention of the field’s images. Field Poetics is a work of (and primer for) firsthand, politicised, transformative observation for looking closely at complexity that is so exacting and so exciting at the level of the line, and so expansive in its thinking and its forms, it quite took my breath away. Kate Briggs
Kristen Kreider and James O’Leary’s Field Poetics makes reference to a book entitled Wild Fields: Looking Closely at Complexity—a book that might be entirely fictitious, but whose sub-title might equally be applied to Kreider and O’Leary’s text. Field Poetics presents close observations of cultural ruin, loss, and hope by straddling the formal boundaries among lyric poetry, theoretical discourse, and visual image. The text echoes Charles Olson’s notion of composition by field, to the extent that Kreider and O’Leary recast poetic activity as an alterative mode of research on form, history, and the mythologies of contemporary culture. Peter Jaeger
THE DESIRE FOR HAIKU
For two years we have been reading The Preparation of the Novel by Roland Barthes, the collection of the series of lectures he gave at the Collège de France between 1978 and 1980, completed shortly before his death in 1981. He declared his intention to write a novel, and in this pedagogical experiment, explores the trial of novel writing. This year we are reading his lectures on his favourite literary form, the haiku, a poem of seventeen syllables in three lines of five, seven, five, usually containing a seasonal reference. He confronts the problem of how to pass from Notation (of the Present), ‘a short fragmented form’, to the Novel, ‘a long continuous form’. For Barthes, the haiku is an ‘exemplary form of the Notation of the Present’, ‘a minimal act of enunciation’ that ‘notes [...] a tiny element of “real”, present, concomitant life’.
Violence is in language and violence is language. The violence of language stratifies voices into those that matter and those that do not, using ideas of appropriate form and structure as its weaponry. It claims propriety and politeness are the correct mode of address, when urgency and anger are what is needed. Where languages intersect, hierarchies of language become means for domination and colonization, for othering, suppression, negation, and obliteration. The demand for a correctness of grammar, the refusal to see what is seen as incorrect, the dismissal of vernacular in favour of the homogenised tongue: all are violent. The narrative of history is a narrative of violence. The contributions herein refuse this narrative. They explore how violence permeates and performs in language, how language may be seized, taken back to be used against the overwhelming force of structural and institutional violence that passes as acceptable or normal. Violence may be a force for rupture, for refusal, for dissent, for the herstories that refuse to cohere into a dominant narrative.
‘This powerful collection forces us to look beyond definitions of violence as either intentional harm or impersonal force, and our belief that systemic cruelty is the exception rather than the norm. These authors discriminate in the best sense, offering rare insights and perverse pleasures, while showing that violence is not only a matter of categorising and eliminating others, but also is tied up with how we distinguish and articulate ourselves.’ Paul Clinton
THE CONSTELLATIONS: A group of stars forming a recognisable pattern that is traditionally named after its apparent form or identified with a mythological figure. A group of associated or similar people or things.A new series of books from MA BIBLIOTHÈQUE.
Sarah Wood, Civilisation & Its Malcontents, 2017
Caught up in the vortex of this bellicose age, adrift on the sea of digital information and misinformation, without perspective enough to glimpse the future that is actually forming, I am finding it hard to think.
‘Sarah Wood reads Freud through a twenty-first century lens—updating his view of civilisation with considerations of algorithms, automation, Brexit, border controls, and non-linear warfare. A poetic, provocative book.’
Claire Potter, Round that way, 2017
But the air lays thin and low in the towns around here. Precipitation from the hills causes the pressure to drop off, it puts distance between the air’s molecules, bringing on headaches and low spots where storms kick up. Round that way is Claire Potter’s second published book. It brings together CHAVSCUMBOSS, a poetic experiment in writing while watching the performance of masculinity by the YouTube user of the same name—and a short story, PRESSURE, in which a house fire raises painful heat in the residents of a small northern town.
‘Claire Potter’s writing is like a wicked eye, scanning behaviours, angles and dimensions. This new work turns
Sean Ashton, Living in a Land, 2017
Living in a Land is a novel written almost entirely in the negative, consisting mainly of things the narrator has never done, no longer does or will never do. Given that what he has not done is more diverse than what he has, there is much ground to cover, and he approaches the task with arguably greater zeal than a conventional diarist. A study of the conceivable versus the actual, the personal versus the universal, idiocy versus logic, black versus white, circles versus squares, renting versus buying, Living in a Land is a chronicle of a mind fighting its own oppositional nature, a portrait of a hypothetical man.
‘Sean Ashton’s Living In A Land takes the old adage that we could define ourselves by what we are not for a new ride. Each sentence of the novel offers personal and social insights through the negative—a concept that allows Ashton to flood us with Proustian details and a dizzying imagination of unexpected confessions: “I have never stinted on the garlic, or gone too far on the nutmeg…” Readers will feel invited, even compelled, to respond: Me too! Never!’
‘Buy this book rather than anything else. It’s just the funniest, most enjoyable and oddest read I’ve had in years.’
‘Like Christine Brooke-Rose or Georges Perec, Ashton works within his self-imposed limits with energy, wit, and inventiveness
‘Buster Dachy put his finger on the nail. And the hammer on top.’
‘This novel is nothing short of a remarkable proof of the difference between “vain substance” and “crucial insignificance”.’
'At last the return of the possibility of refusal.’
‘I might not have understood everything but I agreed with it all.’
‘This comedy brings dignity to those who know how to laugh.’