Pathetic literature : an anthology

Format: Print Book 2022
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An utterly unique collection composed by the award-winning poet and writer, a global anthology of pieces from lesser-known classics by luminaries like Franz Kafka, Samuel R. Delany, and Gwendolyn Brooks to up-and-coming writers that examine pathos and feeling, giving a well-timed rehab to the word "pathetic"

"Literature is pathetic." So claims Eileen Myles in their provocative and robust introduction to Pathetic Literature , a breathtaking mishmash of pieces ranging from poems to theater scripts to prose to anything in between, all exploring the so-called "pathetic" or awkwardly-felt moments and revelations around which lives are both built and undone.

Myles first reclaimed the word for a seminar they taught at the University of California San Diego in the early 2000s, rescuing it from the derision into which it had slipped and restoring its original meaning of inspiring emotion or feeling, from the Ancient Greek rhetorical method pathos . Their identification of "pathetic" as ripe for reinvention forms the need for this anthology, which includes a hearty 106 contributors, encompassing canonical global stars like Robert Walser, Jorge Luis Borges, Rumi, and Gwendolyn Brooks, literary libertines like Dodie Bellamy, Samuel R. Delany, and Bob Flanagan, as well as extraordinary writers on the rise, including Nicole Wallace, Precious Okoyomon, and Will Farris. Wrenching and discomfiting prose by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio, Jack Halberstam, and Porochista Khakpour rubs shoulders with poems by Natalie Diaz, Victoria Chang, Lucille Clifton, and Ariana Reines, and butts up against fiction from Chester Himes, Djuna Barnes, Chris Kraus, and Qiu Miaojin, among so many others, including Myles's own opening salvo of their 1992 presidential campaign. The result is a completely anomalous and uplifting anthology that encourages a fresh political discourse on literature, as well as supplying an essential compendium of pained, awkward, queer, trans, gleeful, and ever-jarring ways to think differently and live pathetically on a polarized and fearful planet.

Untitled / by Alice Notley
We're the only colored people here / by Gwendolyn Brooks
People without names / by The Friend
Loveland / by Kevin Killian
Yesterday I was / by Ama Birch
Afterword : the great punctuation typography struggle / by Andrea Dworkin
Truth or consequences / by Ariana Reines
Excerpt from The pain journal / by Bob Flanagan
A description of the camp / by Baha' Ebdeir
Would you wear my eyes? / by Bob Kaufman
August 6, 2011 / by Brandon Shimoda
Excerpt from The Romanian : story of an obsession / by Bruce Benderson
My faggot Kansas blood confessions to the Earth and My faggot blood on his fist / by CAConrad
Reading my catastrophe / by Camille Roy
Soap Bubbles in the dirty water / by Can Xue
Excerpt from Texas : the great theft / by Carmen Boullosa
Excerpt from My mother laughs / by Chantal Akerman
Before you go / by Charles Bernstein
Excerpt from If he hollers, let him go / by Chester Himes
Excerpt from I love Dick / by Chris Kraus
Excerpt from Some other deaths of Bas Jan Ader / by Dana Ward
Being close to data / by Dara Barrois/Dixon
Excerpt from God Jr. / by Dennis Cooper
Excerpt from Fat chance / by Dodie Bellamy
Excerpts from Nightwood / by Djuana Barnes
Campaign letter for president of the United States, 1991 / by Eileen Myles
That flaming brand and Boulder/meteor / by essa may ranapiri
Excerpt from Sitt Marie Rose / by Etel Adnan
A child in old age and A vision / by Fanny Howe
There is religious tattooing / by Fred Moten
Play it again, S / by Gail Scott
Excerpt from Letter to his father / by Franz Kafka
Excerpt from Lenz / by Georg Büchner
Excerpt from My dog Tulip / by J.R. Ackerley
My struggle / by Jack Halberstam
This dark apartment / by James Schuyler
Chronicle / by Frank B. Wilderson III
Excerpt from Winter in the blood / by James Welch
28 / by Jerome Sala
An obituary / by Joe Proulx
Stop / by Joan Larkin
The merry widow and the rubber husband (or how I caught HIV : version 4; fall 1983) / by Joe Westmoreland
The copyists / by Jocelyn Saidenberg
Catullus tells me not to write the rant against the poem Good bones by Maggie Smith / by The Cyborg Jillian Weise
Selections from The Hotel Wentley poems / by John Wieners
The cult of the phoenix / by Jorge Luis Borges
A woman is talking to death / by Judy Grahn
You better come / by Justin Torres
New Haven / by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio
Small/medium/lust / by Andrea Abi-Karam
Excerpt from Great expectations by Kathy Acker
38 / by Layli Long Soldier
Excerpt from Light while there is light / by Keith Waldrop
Shadow janitor / by Kim Hyesoon
Excerpt from Children in Reindeer Woods / by Kristín Ómarsdottir
In case I don't notice, God gives you what you can handle, and The only good / by Laura Henriksen
Excerpt from The life and opinions of Tristram Shandy, gentleman / by Laurence Braithwaite
Worms make heaven / by Laurie Weeks
The mother's story and Slave cabin, sotterly plantation, Maryland, 1989 / by Lucille Clifton
Excerpt from No lease on life / by Lynne Tillman
Excerpt from All the battles / by Maan Abu Taleb
Selections from Bluets / by Maggie Nelson
East River Park oak tree / by Marcella Durand
Excerpt from Potatoes or rice? / by Matthew Stadler
For the death of 100 whales, Flower garland froth, and Fleshy nave / by Michael McClure
Polishness / by Michelle Tea
Haiku, Untitled 8, 5 years old, and Untitled 2 / by Mira Gonzalez
Sum, People like monsters, How to, and Great / by Morgan Võ
Wedding loop / by Moyra Davey
My brother, my wound / by Natalie Diaz
Excerpts from Goner / by Nate Lippens
It doesn't matter how you fall into light, she said, and Think of the words as angels singing in your vagina, she said / by Akilah Oliver
Los Angeles / by Porochista Khakpour
NIIZH / by Nicole Wallace
Letter three / by Qiu Miaojin
Intercepts / by Rae Armantrout
The gift of sight / by Rebecca Brown
Selection from The activist / by Renee Gladman
April 4 Friday / by Rose "Rosebud" Feliu-Pettet
Kleist in Thun / by Robert Walser
Ed and the movies / by Robert Glück
Four times over, I see you and I am getting closer, and Strain / by Sallie Fullerton
Yesterday I went to him full of dismay / by Rumi
Manual for general housework / by Saidiya Hartman
Excerpt from Molloy / by Samuel Beckett
Excerpt from Times Square red, Times Square blue / by Smauel R. Delany
Selections from The pillow book / by Sei Shōnagon
Excerpt from Notes toward a pamphlet / by Sergio Chejfec
Letter I : hesitations concerning baptism / by Simone Weil
Stingray / by Simone White
It's dissociation season / by Precious Okoyomon
Total LOL / by Sophie Robinson
The slow read movement and Lincoln's lost speech / by Sparrow
Inez, I have to gloat : you're gorgeous and Inez, when someone tells you you're a bitch / by Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz
Where I left off / by Susie Timmons
Falling for you / by Tim Johnson and Mark So
Selections from Up your ass / by Valerie Solanas
Goodbye forever / by Steve Carey
Excerpt from La bâtarde / by Violette Leduc
Selection from The tyranny of structurelessness / by Tom Cole
Time / by Victoria Chang
A story that the United States is made of and Pass / by Tongo Eisen-Martin
Excerpts from The man who laughs / by Victor Hugo
MW duet, Awake, Body, and Orlando / by Will Farris.

Published Reviews
Publisher's Weekly Review: "In this powerful anthology, poet Myles (I Must Be Living Twice) shares a wide-ranging but deeply focused reading list linked by the concept of pathos. Excerpts from classic modernist novels like Samuel Beckett's Molloy and Nightwood by Djuna Barnes stand with works by New Narrative writers, including Dodie Bellamy's Fat Chance and Dennis Cooper's God Jr., demonstrating a continuum of formal experimentation and vulnerability on the page. Several of the pieces touch on the AIDS crisis, such as the story "Ed and the Movies" by Robert Glück, in which the narrator describes watching horror movies with his terminally ill partner, as well as on the ongoing struggles for racial and gender equality, such as Saidiya Hartman's essay "Manual for General Housework," which riffs on the various meanings of the word "manual" to describe how Black women's bodies are objectified and their work exploited. Myles explains in the provocative introduction the criteria for choosing each piece: "Each of these writers has a discomfort or a restlessness that exceeds their category somehow. Work that acknowledges a boundary then passes it." The collection amounts to a solid argument for the value of literature that lays bare its author's personal investment. (Nov.)"
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Additional Information
Subjects Pathos -- Literary collections.
Literature, Modern.
Literature, Modern -- Translations into English.
Creative nonfiction.
Publisher New York :Grove Press,2022
Edition First edition, First Grove Atlantic hardcover edition.
Contributors Myles, Eileen, editor.
Language English
Description xxi, 645 pages : facsimiles ; 24 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN 9780802157157
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