:: Interviews

His Shadow Book: Jordan A. Rothacker Interviewed published 08/02/2021

The writerly answer would be that it is a totally fictional creation, but all me, as all the characters I create come from me, out of me, and are me. But this writing process was one of method acting. I developed this character out of my own pain and frustrations and then gave him life in his own journals. When I thought thoughts that fit him, I wrote them in there. That journal — which became several journals — was always in my pocket and I wrote in it out in the world. The text itself bleeds in and back out of reality and life and the clues within it support this idea and crazy experience. References to Anna Kavan and Rimbaud’s “Je est un autre” tease out the lie that Maawaam is me and that he isn’t.

Jordan A. Rothacker interviewed by Chris Kelso.

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The English Fear of Cities and Europe: Patrick Keiller published 28/01/2021

Then there are Herzen’s “absence of Continental diversions”; the absence of a credible London newspaper — it seemed to me that the Evening Standard was written for and read mostly by commuters on trains to dormitory towns and suburbs all over south-east England; the absence of metropolitan government, abolished in 1986; and, finally, that London was characterised by all this absence. When he said, in the next-but-one sentence, “London was the first metropolis to disappear”, I don’t suppose he meant that London was physically absent — that would be silly — but that it’s absent as an idea.

Andrew Stevens in conversation with Patrick Keiller.

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Beyond Sugar Hill published 22/01/2021

When I talk about female friendship, I feel a kind of ambivalence: there’s a whole school of chick lit and soppy movies about the redemptive qualities of female friendship, how your female friend is gonna be there no matter what and is more important than anyone else out there. I don’t mean that friendships like that don’t exist, but what I’m more interested in are depictions of friendships Lila and Lenu’s in Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Quartet, which is all over the place — both dangerous and nurturing — depending when you drop in.

Linda Mannheim in conversation with Kit Caless.

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Of Musil and his Translator: An Interview with Genese Grill published 08/12/2020

The greatest challenge in translating Musil is also the greatest joy. And both the challenge and the joy are embodied in the third noun of your question: “Surprise”. Musil is a writer at war with what he calls “congealed metaphors”—clichés, received ideas, “dead words”. The freshness of the words, the images, and the sentences’ syntax is as important as the ideas they carry, and a translator must always resist the temptation to replace his surprising arrangements with common phrases or more conventional concepts.

Joseph Schreiber interviews Genese Grill.

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Oikeiôsis: An Interview with Steve Finbow published 14/11/2020

I certainly do not worry about backlash, but I don’t write books just to provoke people. If people are offended, that’s their problem. I usually write books because I am interested in a subject but I cannot find books that are related to that subject, and so I research and end up with enough material for a book. Grave Desire came out of my fascination with taboo subjects and serial killers but also out of my interest in the Marquis de Sade, Lautréamont, Hans Bellmer, Jean Benoît, JG Ballard and so on. And we have to remember that what is transgressive in some cultures is accepted in others; what is transgressive in one century is conventional in another. What I am drawn to is limit-experience and how humanity blurs, pushes at and breaks through the boundaries of morality, ethics and aesthetics (a sort of an-aesthetics).

Chris Kelso interviews Steve Finbow.

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Maybe the People Would Be the Times published 16/10/2020

We are all in our youth training to enter a mode of life that will have ceased to exist by the time we attain the right age to enter it. I was born into the world of paper and ink, of arranging social life by pure chance because nobody answered their phone, of learning about the world by scanning the contents of the nearest newsstand, etc. I employ the digital world and have done so for 23 years, but I will never be comfortable there, and while I think the Internet is an enormous convenience I also think it’s an enormous social mistake, at least as great as the private automobile. I have a home, but I am not at home in the world now — but can any of us say they are, between fascism and climate change, not to mention the pandemic?

Luc Sante interviewed by Oscar Mardell.

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Invitation to Stillness: An Interview with Kate Wyer published 01/10/2020

I unconsciously relate the word silence to a lack of human speech. Lack of voice, rather than lack of all sound. When I was young, I went through years when spoken language was not available to me—I had a form of mutism. It was painful; it drove me into writing to communicate. I carry that period of silence in my body to this day. I don’t think I’m intentionally inviting people into more silence, but I would say I invite them into stillness with my work. Quiet observation. My use of white space invites this too.

Babak Lakghomi interviews Kate Wyer.

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Unearthed: An Interview with Yvette Greslé published 25/09/2020

I think that readers always bring their own subjectivities and life experiences to any text. I like the idea that they will see things in it that I had not thought about or anticipated. The unearthing pertains to the ways in which the worlds I inhabited (and indeed continue to inhabit) are indistinguishable from the violence embedded in histories of slavery, colonialism, empire, apartheid and their afterlives. I write in the first person — mobilise the ‘I’ — to argue that there is no ‘we’ within the parameters of these histories. I don’t exist in a neutral sphere somehow removed or detached from historical and contemporary iterations of violence.

Fernando Sdrigotti interviews Yvette Greslé, author of Unearthed.

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entangled narratives and dionysian frenzy: an interview with dimitris lyacos published 18/09/2020

You are absolutely right, the epistemological struggle is part of it and it is part of the complex behavior hardwired in our brain, at least since the age of “behavioral modernity, about 70.000 years ago. The question is, however, why is it worth engaging in such a struggle? And why do we need to interpret anything, including texts, and why do we struggle to do so? With texts we do it in various ways, intertextuality being one among those. Here we mentioned a few texts that might deepen our understanding of Angels and Leviathans. My intention, however, was not to come up with a new version that would cast light on the biblical story. My two characters are not Jacob and Angel, not even their mundane counterparts. I had no intention to focus on the epistemological struggle, the same way that people that engage in an actual fight do not think about the knowledge they are acquiring during the process. But you are right, in the sense that for us humans to prepare for a struggle is as important as the struggle itself – and the time we spend training and studying our opponent lasts usually longer than the actual fight against them.

Dimitris Lyacos is interviewed by Andrew Barrett.

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Expanding Fields of Study: Jake Reber and Mike Corrao Explain Themselves published 14/09/2020

The pages can be navigated visually, wandering across the spread, eyes moving up and down pages. It can also be navigated through tactility—flipped through, started from the middle, skipping forward and back, fingers running down the edges of pages. It feels a bit misguided for me to think that anyone will approach this differently from any other book—especially considering all the standard conventions of the book that are embedded in this project—but I hope the entire experience of reading and extracting information/knowledge/meaning is relaxed. There is not much to extract, and (I think) it can be accessed through light reading and blank stares.

Jake Reber and Mike Corrao interview each other.

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