Translations of Poems from The Shape of Things in Literatura and IDIOT

More translations of poems from my second book, The Shape of Things (Salò, 2017), are in the August 2019 issue of Literatura. Marko Bauer and Andrej Tomažin translated into Slovenian “An Ode to 2013: We Are the National Security Agency’s Children,” “Desertification Is Not Just the Earth’s Pastime,” “The Decibel Curfew Does Not Apply,” “That Was a Bad Idea,” and “I Am a Mechanic,” and they appear in Literatura under the general title “Oda letu 2013: Smo otroci Nacionalne varnostne agencije.”

Bauer and Tomažin previously translated “The Shape of Things I,” “Winter, or, Some (Future) Ambiguities,” and “We’re Just Like Yesterday’s Headlines” in  the December 2016 issue of IDIOT. (The title of the translations are “Oblika reči I,” “Zima ali neke (prihodnje) dvoumnost,” and “Smo kot včerajšnje naslovnice.”)

MLA 2020 Panel: Bad Books

At this year’s Modern Language Association Convention in Seattle (January 9-12, 2020), I will be speaking on a round table discussing Bad Books. I have included the information about the panel and a tentative abstract for the paper I will be presenting below.

 

338. Bad Books

Friday, January 10, 2020, 1:45-3:00 pm, 617 (WSCC)

Presiding: Eric Loy

Presentations:
1. “Notes on Notes on Notes: Glenn Ligon Reads James Baldwin,” Paul Benzon (Skidmore C)
2. “Books Behaving Badly: The Raison d’Être behind Perec’s La Disparition,” Priya Wadhera (Adelphi U)
3. “Debilitated Forms and Forms of Debility: On Writing a Failed Book,” Sharon Tran (U of Maryland Baltimore County)
4. “The Space of Megatexts: ‘Reading’ Mark Leach’s Marienbad My Love,” Bradley J. Fest (Hartwick C)

 

The Space of Megatexts: “Reading” Mark Leach’s Marienbad My Love

At over seventeen million words and consisting of seventeen volumes printed in dense eight-point font, the second edition of Mark Leach’s Marienbad My Love (2008; 2nd ed., 2013) currently holds the record as the world’s longest novel and is what I have elsewhere called a megatext. Composed over the course of thirty years using a number of digital techniques, the result is one of the more spatially imposing works of literature to ever sit on a shelf. Because of this, it also appears that no one has really bothered to read it. Whether this is due to some prejudice against self-publication or critics’ perceptions of authorial vanity, the sheer unreadable size of the text has discouraged anyone from taking Leach’s work all that seriously. I believe this is a mistake and this paper aims to seriously consider a remarkable project that rebelliously pushes against the conceptual, temporal, and physical boundaries of the codex novel. The revisions made to the second edition of the text indicate that not only does Leach intend for people to actually read his book, but also that Marienbad My Love is in fact a complex theoretical statement about the novel in the digital age and a meditation on the present and future of literary writing. In this paper, I will argue that accounting for Marienbad My Love’s material size by finding ways to speculatively (and actually) read this unreadable text will encourage us to rethink how we theorize the novel in the twenty-first century.

 

For previous essays of mine on megatexts and unreadable texts, see:

“Toward a Theory of the Megatext: Speculative Criticism and Richard Grossman’s ‘Breeze Avenue Working Paper.'”

“Reading Now and Again: Hyperarchivalism and Democracy in Ranjan Ghosh and J. Hillis Miller’s Thinking Literature across Continents.”

“Writing Briefly about Really Big Things.”

“The Megatext and Neoliberalism.”

“The Time of Megatexts: Dark Accumulation and Mark Z. Danielewski’s The Familiar.”

Guest Appearance on The Jabsteps: Review of LeBron, Inc., by Brian Windhorst

I made another appearance on The Jabsteps podcast filling in for Salvatore Pane in episode 116: “The Review of LeBron, Inc. with Dr. Bradley J. Fest.” Geoff Peck and I talk about Brian Windhorst’s new book, LeBron, Inc.: The Making of a Billion-Dollar Athlete (New York: Grand Central, 2019). For our previous review of  Brian Windhorst and and Dave McMenamin’s book, Return of the King (2017), check out episode 57, Jabsteps Book Review with Dr. Brad Fest! Return of the King (LeBron not Tolkien).”

“Blason I,” “Blason II,” and “Blason III” in Queen Mob’s Teahouse

Honored to have the poems “Blason I,” “Blason II,” and “Blason III” in Queen Mob’s Teahouse. These are the first published poems from a brand new project endeavoring to see everyday objects anew by mediating their perception through lenses of poetic and cultural influence. (Former students may recognize in these my own answers to a question I sometimes pose on the first day of class.)