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Susan Gevirtz

////// 164 pages
Size: 14.5 x 21 CM


Burns is a tour of documents of the unperceived, an archive of investigations of investigation staged in lyric prose, poetry and a play. Each offers a tray of excluded data; each examines research itself and its conditions. Through skewed ethnographic method strung on overhearing, taxonomy robbery, on being both the participant and the observer --outlines of present conditions emerge, their impossibilities and imagined escape routes.


Anomalistics reign here as Charles Fort’s bright marvel: the discovery that seemingly unrelated bits of information are, in fact, related. Each piece falls into an infinite regress of questions: how do we know or imagine that we know? Inside the confines of whose known do we live? Here the confines are economies of finance, family, gender, the political, the carceral. What is possible to give to one another? What can be experienced as giving or receiving, in these containers? What can a girl expect; how can she navigate within the beautiful brutal masques and requirements of the passage from girl to womanhood? What is possible to say, read, speak, imagine, from inside prison?


Each confine recalls a different song and its demands: a Pindarian ode, the repeat crash of waves, a melody a grandmother uses to hum, a children’s rhyme danced as circle game, movie soundtracks a musician Grandfather conducted, the note a bee strikes to make a manzanita bloom. Echoing and dismantling these, each spin divergent myths that all lead to the marvelous road the “assembly of the Hyperboreans” -- the realm of the unexplained and unexplainable north or to any mythic coordinate of escape its bright compass lands on.




Susan Gevirtz's books of poetry include Hotel abc (2016), Aerodrome Orion & Starry Messenger (2010), Thrall (2007), Hourglass Transcripts (2001), Black Box Cutaway (1999), PROSTHESIS :: CAESAREA (1994, reissued by Little Red Leaves, 2009), Taken Place (1993) and Linen Minus (1992). Susan’s critical books are Coming Events (Collected Writings) (2013) and Narrative's Journey: The Fiction and Film Writing of Dorothy Richardson (1996). 


Gevirtz works with Prison Renaissance and Operation Restoration as a writing mentor to incarcerated people. She has collaborated with many sound, visual and performance artists. In 2004, Susan and Greek poet/restorer of maritime antiquities, Siarita Kouka, founded the Paros Symposium, an annual translation and conversation meeting of Greek and Anglophone poets. With Kouka and guest organizers Helen Dimos, Eleni Stecopoulos and others, the Symposium has met since 2004.

Susan Gevirtz | Burns

  • Restless Messengers: Poetry In Review.

    Review by Jeanne Heuving


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