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Punctum Newsletter for April 2022

Published onApr 27, 2022
Punctum Newsletter for April 2022
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Punctum Books Hit the Best-of Lists

Anna Backman Rogers’s Still Life: Notes on Barbara Loden’s “Wanda” Selected as One of the Best Books of 2021 by The White Review and Reviewed in LARB

STILL LIFE: NOTES ON BARBARA LODEN’S “WANDA” by Anna Backman Rogers (Punctum) is a fresh, beautifully-written response to this milestone of a film; Rogers brings scholarly rigor to her account of the film’s creation and why it is such a crucial feminist document.

Check out The White Review’s Books of the Year here: https://www.thewhitereview.org/feature/books-of-the-year-2021/

Also, make sure to read Adèle Cassigneul’s rave review in the Los Angeles Review of Books: https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/on-wanda-as-carrier-bag-feminist-film/

Rogers has invented her own carrier-bag version of film criticism, highly engaged and reparative. It never uses the language of power, never brags or lectures. It does not speak from above but from within Loden’s film.

Craig Dworkin’s Helicography Makes It to Derek Beaulieu’s List of Most Engaging Books of 2021

At the close of every year, for over a decade, I have taken a moment to reflect upon the year’s publications. Like in previous years, my “most engaging books” list reflects what I found most fascinating / useful / generative in terms of form & content from the books I read in 2021.

Seek out these volumes; every one will reward the search (your local, independent, bookstore can help; an excellent choice as many continue to struggle under the pandemic). This is the cream of the crop for 2021, seriously.

Check out Derek Beaulieu’s list of most engaging books of 2021 here: https://derekbeaulieu.ca/2021/12/15/most-engaging-books-of-2021/

Universities and colleges are always changing things up, but never really in the ways that we want them to. Thank god for the good people and professors in art colleges who struggle against their institution’s dysfunction to actually prepare students for the real world. Out of Place, edited by Zoë Charlton and Tim Doud, lets artists and collectives working both within and outside of art academia examine the ways they teach and have been taught and how this informs their own practice.

Check out the Bmore Art 2021 book highlights here: https://bmoreart.com/2021/12/tension-and-endurance-the-year-in-books-from-baltimore-dc.html

KJ Cerankowski’s Suture: Trauma and Trans Becoming Selected as One of Best 2020–2021 Non-Fiction Books by Entropy

Combining memoir, lyrical essay, and cultural criticism, KJ Cerankowski’s Suture: Trauma and Trans Becoming stitches together an embodied history of trauma and its ongoing impacts on the lived realities of trans, queer, and other marginalized subjects.

Check out Entropy’s full selection of best non-fiction books of 2020–2021 here: https://entropymag.org/best-of-2020-2021-nonfiction-books/

Reviews and More

Will Clark Reviews Bullied by Jonathan Alexander in LARB

Bullied confronts experiences of abuse with safety, care, and growth, modeling a process of queer resilience in the process.

Read Will Clark’s full review on the Los Angeles Review of Books: https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/beyond-abuse-modeling-repair-in-jonathan-alexanders-bullied/

For more, also read “My Uncle, Pedophile: On Writing the Difficulty” by Jonathan Alexander on Avidly: https://avidly.lareviewofbooks.org/2022/03/14/my-uncle-pedophile-on-writing-the-difficulty%ef%bf%bc/ and listen to his podcast interview with Matt Baume on Southern Decadence: http://www.mattbaume.com/sewers-shownotes/2022/1/27/southern-decadence-ep-372-the-chronicles-of-narniajonathan-alexander

Mary Rambaran-Olm on Sexual Misconduct and Anti-Racist Activism in Academia

Rambaran-Olm has been publicly speaking about Orchard’s allegedly predatory behaviour since 2018, three years before Al Jazeera published its report. She helped Bertie Harrison-Broninski — a UK-based journalist who was working at Cherwell, Oxford’s student newspaper — to investigate the allegations against Orchard when no one was talking about them in public. She also urged the International Society for the study of Early Medieval England (ISSEME) — then known as the International Society of Anglo-Saxonists (ISAS) — to revoke Orchard’s lifetime membership. 

Check out this important article on Mary Rambaran-Olm, a crucial figure in anti-racist activism in the university and especially on behalf of contemporary racist appropriations of premoden histories as "white": https://thevarsity.ca/2022/04/04/andy-orchard-investigation-u-of-t-mary-rambaran-olm/

Joe Sacksteder and Jan Baetens Review Craig Dworkin’s Helicography

In perhaps its most stunning passage, which begins by imagining Spiral Jetty played like a record, Dworkin goes further to wonder "What variety of lines, occurring anywhere, could not be put under the needle and sounded?" Helicography comes as close as any text might to such a daring and impossible dream. 

Read Joe Sacksteder’s full review on The Rupture: https://www.therupturemag.com/rupture/helicography

[N]othing is as concrete, material, precise, and razor-blade sharp as Helicography.

Read Jan Baetens’s full review on Leonardo: https://leonardo.info/review/2022/04/helicography

“I Will Wear the Mask”: Punctum Author Jeff T. Johnson (Trouble Songs: A Musicological Poetics) in Conversation with Emily Abendroth

Jeff T. Johnson and Emily Abendroth exchange perspectives on how modular, nonlinear writing can open into enactive relationships that press readers and listeners alike beyond individual experience toward “critical empathy” and its relational tactics and strategies for living in common amidst social struggles that require collective reflection and navigation

Listen to the podcast on Jacket 2: https://jacket2.org/podcasts/i-will-wear-mask

Novelist Jeff VanderMeer Currently Features Multispecies Storytelling in Intermedial Practices on Lit Hub’s Book Marks

And, finally, I’m working my way through Multispecies Storytelling in Intermedial Practices edited by Ida Bencke and Jorgen Bruhn. I’m rather thrilled that my sister, Elizabeth VanderMeer, has an essay in the anthology that’s of use in writing my new novel: “Creating Distance or Proximity? How Wild Lives Are Told Through Remote Camera Viewing.”

Check out Jeff VanderMeer’s reading list here: https://lithub.com/jeff-vandermeer-on-ursula-k-le-guin-tove-jansson-and-ottessa-moshfegh/

Punctum Author Joseph Nechvatal on Avant-garde Artist Abigail Susik's Surrealist Sabotage and the War on Work

[A] fever-dream history of subversion as sex machine invites you into a contemplation of your intimate erotic life, put in relationship to its oppression.

Read the full review on The Brooklyn Rail: https://brooklynrail.org/2022/03/art_books/Abigail-Susiks-Surrealist-Sabotage-and-the-War-on-Work

Talisman Publishes a Special Issue on Punctum Author Murat Nemet-Nejat (Turkish Voices)

I remember him standing on a sidewalk and moving his hands, arms and body to make his point. Almost like a fighter. So, it may or may not be of any relevance at the end of the day, but (or course!) his writing incorporates him, too.
 
And, that is my image of the man and his writing: non-linear, jagged, like lightning.

Read the special issue of Talisman here: https://www.talisman46.com/

Punctum Author Christian Montag (Animal Emotions: How They Drive Human Behavior) on Affective Neuroscience and How to Navigate Our Digital World

Listen to the full podcast on Digital Business Magazine: https://digitalbusinessmagazine.info/season-2-episode-13-dr-christian-montag-is-guiding-us-through-a-digital-world/

Jeff Pooley Dissects Surveillance Publishing

Scholarly publishing is its own, emerging surveillance economy. We can call a company a surveillance publisher if it derives a substantial proportion of its revenue from prediction products, fueled by data extracted from researcher behavior. On that definition, we already have surveillance publishers in our midst

Check out the full essay on Elephant in the Lab: https://elephantinthelab.org/surveillance-publishing/

Douglas Penick Presents Excerpts of Punctum Book Li Bo Unkempt by Kidder Smith on Berfrois

Buddha, sitting there with millions on Vulture Peak Mountain, picks up a flower and blinks, and Kasyapa smiles, starting our Zen lineage. Some people think this blinking constitutes a secret language, and by comparison the spoken teachings are superficial and thin. They claim that human words are the only thing the assembled millions can understand, and thus the flower language is secret from them.

Read all of Douglas Penick’s selections here: https://www.berfrois.com/2022/02/douglas-penick-presents-kidder-smith-presenting-dogen-zenji/

Punctum Author Alessandro De Francesco (((() Performs Live at the Conference “eins: zum andern – ein Gesprächsexperiment zwischen Lyrik und Wissenschaft”

Check out the full performance on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NiRJMSkw-Cc

New Releases

Constantin Noica – The Romanian Sentiment of Being

Lajos Brons – A Buddha Land in This World: Philosophy, Utopia, and Radical Buddhism

Martin Paul Eve – Warez: The Infrastructure and Aesthetics of Piracy

Forthcoming

Elliot C. Mason – Building Black: Towards Antiracist Architecture

Will Daddario and Matthew Goulish – Pitch and Revelation: Reconfigurations of Reading, Poetry, and Philosophy through the Work of Jay Wright

Janet Sarbanes – Letters on the Autonomy Project

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