Dead Day and I’ll Drown My Book

Posted by Natalie Strobach on June 09, 2012
Curated Confections / No Comments

Well, it’s Dead Day at UC Davis. I know I keep saying it, but I can’t believe I’m done teaching French and Comparative Literature here. I was pretty choked up when I said “au revoir” to my French 2 class yesterday. When Spring quarter began, I didn’t yet know that I would win the Provost’s Fellowship and I was busy beginning to organize my COM 4 Great Books course for the fall. My last COM 4 was on perversion and it was a hit, so I was thinking of ways to expand and develop that topic while including more conceptual poetry (à la my obsession with Bergvall). I will post about that stillborn syllabus later, but for now let me share one of the main books I wanted for the class: I’ll Drown My Book, which Caroline Bergvall co-edited with Laynie Browne, Teresa Carmody. and Vanessa Place.

My copy just arrived this week and I haven’t been able to put it down. With about 500 pages of the most exquisite poetry coming out today, it is easily my best book purchase this year. I didn’t even know when I first ordered it, but this little baby wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for Kickstarter. (Oh how I wish I could go back in time and show my support; I am so grateful for those who funded it.) Check out the video used for the Kickstarter post:

[kickstarter file=https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1359907001/ill-drown-my-book-conceptual-writing-by-women /]

And look at this amazing lineup of contributors (!!!):

Kathy Acker, Oana Avasilichioaei & Erin Moure, Dodie Bellamy, Lee Ann Brown, Angela Carr, Monica de la Torre, Danielle Dutton, Renee Gladman, Jen Hofer, Bernadette Mayer, Sharon Mesmer, Laura Mullen, Harryette Mullen, Deborah Richards, Juliana Spahr, Cecilia Vicuna, Wendy Walker, Jen Bervin, Inger Christiansen, Marcella Durand, Katie Degentesh, Nada Gordon, Jennifer Karmin, Mette Moestrup, Yedda Morrison, Anne Portugal, Joan Retallack, Cia Rinne, Giovanni Singleton, Anne Tardos, Hannah Weiner, Christine Wertheim, Norma Cole, Debra Di Blasi, Stacy Doris & Lisa Robertson, Sarah Dowling, Bhanu Kapil, Rachel Levitsky, Laura Moriarty, Redell Olsen, Chus Pato, Julie Patton, Kristin Prevallet, a.rawlings, Ryoko Seikiguchi, Susan M. Schultz, Rosmarie Waldrop, Renee Angle, Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Tina Darragh, Judith Goldman, Susan Howe, Maryrose Larkin, Tracie Morris, Sawako Nakayasu, M. NourbeSe Philip, Jena Osman, kathryn l. pringle, Frances Richard, Kim Rosenfeld, and Rachel Zolf.

I’m going to share with you just snippet of one of my favorites (so far), a short piece by Juliana Spahr called “The Remedy.”

Another day, after I was done masturbating, I might see about the delivery of 1,000 sub-machine guns to Liberia along two parallel tracks, one originating in Moldova and the other in Liberia. Then I would divert sub-machine guns to Liberia through an elaborate bate-and-switch scheme that spanned three continents. And at the same time, I might continue to think about how to make collaborative art and suggest to my collaborator that we make a lyrical poem and how in this poem there could be a list of all the cars that drove by the small plot of land in two minutes and how much gas was being consumed by cars as they drove by the small plot of land and that perhaps this poem would then be about both the bourgeois individualism of the lyric and the extremities of consumption that define us. And while thinking about the poem, I might masturbate with a brown, medium-sized dildo and think about my lover or sometimes the small breasts of a woman I knew and then when I came I might say my lover’s name or I might say jesus.

I want so much to teach this alongside Cixous’ The Day I Wasn’t There-drawing out that heavy space, that black hole of a baby gap, that appears in both pieces. Or perhaps it could have just been an entire course about women writing about writing and about masturbating; Spahr’s piece would shine next to “The Laugh of Medusa.” jesus.

Go buy the book, now.

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