Christopher Rey Pérez from [Forum]

                                                                                 --from Pérez 's [Forum]

This summer in the Hudson River Valley I met Christopher Rey Pérez and heard him read some work from a forthcoming manuscript. I liked him and his work very much. 

This is what he writes about the piece he has generously shared with us:  [forum] is roughly a 30 page text that sets up a personal curriculum of angelology in preparation for a forensic investigation of a series of crimes. Part of a larger manuscript called gauguin’s notebook, the text begins to write through Gauguin’s Tahitian journal, published in 1901, that chronicles an intense period of artistic, amorous, and colonial production for the painter.

The excerpt below weaves a variety of voices, building an epistolary and urgent community in a tonally resonant but anonymous place as in social media, but more local than that. There is vulnerability, silence, assertion, and insertion, textured depth. I look forward to reading the whole project.

Christopher Rey Pérez is the author of the chapbooks, On the Heels of Our Enemies (98Editions, Beirut) and 427-375 (LIKE Editorial, Mexico City). He is also the recipient of the 2014-2015 Madeleine P. Plonsker Emerging Writer’s Residency Prize from Lake Forest College. Currently, he writes for Intelligentsia Gallery and edits a risograph publication, called Dolce Stil Criollo. In December of 2015, he left Palestine, where he taught at al-Quds Bard Honors College for a period of 2 ½ years.


Announcing Dear Reader

Dear Folks,

I am very pleased to announce that my book Dear Reader has just been published by Ithuriel's Spear of San Francisco. The cover art is a detail from Amy Trachtenberg's stunning painting "Feelings Are Facts II."  You can find the book at Small Press Distribution.

Here's a peek inside:


But who shall be the master? The writer or the reader?
                --Denis Diderot, Jacques le fataliste et son maître, 1796

My friend Simone notes there are so many quotes. A sign of anxiety? The talkers and listeners in the rooms, or out on the highway.

The fatalist and his master narrate, desire, philosophize, serve, relate, exchange.

Out of master one might pull a mast, rig a ship, invent a star to navigate by.

The writing in this book was composed over a number of years. The three distinct series or projects--"after Oppen & Howe," "The Melmoth Letters," and "making mARKs"--begin in reading. "other lands" from the making mARKs series began with a book serendipitously found on the shelves at the San Francisco Public Library. It was a history of the bottom--asses, buttocks, fesse, and fissum. I took notes from the book but not a citation, and for some reason, I didn't check it out. When I went back to find it on the shelves, it wasn't there. The catalog contained no trace of it. The missing book: was it de-accessioned? Taken out of commission, hallucinated?

Google searches turn up "history from the bottom up," but no history of the bottom. "History from the bottom up" provides a useful starting point, however. Jacques is a servant, a valet, after all; he's good at unpacking a peripatetic, self-conscious labyrinth that turns continually astray. At the same time, history is gendered and sexed.

the nomadic "I" restless restive sometimes resistant, even
                                extant, recylces returns.

to the site/sight.

Everyday experience--gendered though not only, marked by class though not only--of words meaning more than what they say. Thus, words erupt out of, as if under pressure to be writ large, speak more. They struggle against autocorrect.

Sometimes for the pleasure of the local--the "nary" in binary--and other times for commentary as in:

pRimOgeniTure.  The  rot  in  such  a  system.

There is  pleasurable revision askance; the majuscule underscores as it works to unseat gendered subjectivity from the bottom up. The object--her--wrestles the presumed subject--he--in a playful revision of a children's song:

tHE subject takes a wife.


Or, sometimes a stutter:

organs InTerrupted by happiness bITter bijoux in the dark bITters.

"Reading NegativIty" emerged out of found (and then manipulated) language from Jocelyn Saidenberg's Negativity.

In "after Oppen & Howe," I wanted to apply Susan Howe's history lesson to talk back to George Oppen whose writing seduces, leaving no marks on the skin. I wanted to mark it up, while acknowledging the pleasure of its porosity, the sonorous holes gaping. A gap in which feeling enters. I want to call down and out history's [absent] feeling. Feeling and counter-claim enter the gaps.

To gape. Agape.

Reading and writing offer a model of transgression--of the individual subject and all its architecture--gender, class, sex, race. The subject--ideology's morphine.

The subject provides the tools for the struggle to come--a wall to chip away at with a spoon or unfolded paper clip. We seek a tunnel to the outside from at least this side. Guided by the stars of:

A [failed] belief in poetry.            nonetheless.

An intervention, intercession.

A record on the cave wall of the present.

Thursday October 22nd I will be reading with Jim Brashear at the Green Arcade in San Francisco. Hope to see you there!