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December 10, 2020 at 10:00 pm #152305Dee LouviereGuest
Garments Against Women
by Anne Boyer
- Genres: poetry, essays, feminism, memoir, philosophy, womens, theory
- Publisher: Ahsahta Press
- Release date: March 16, 2015
- ISBN: 9781934103593 (1934103594)
- Author: Anne Boyer
- Language: english
- Format: paperback, 90 pages
About The Book
Garments Against Women is a book of mostly lyric prose about the conditions that make literature almost impossible. It holds a life story without a life, a lie spread across low-rent apartment complexes, dreamscapes, and information networks, tangled in chronology, landing in a heap of the future impossible. Available forms — like garments and literature — are made of the materials of history, of the hours of women’s and children’s lives, but they are mostly inadequate to the dimension, motion, and irregularity of what they contain. It’s a book about seeking to find the forms in which to think the thoughts necessary to survival, then about seeking to find the forms necessary to survive survival and survival’s requisite thoughts.
“Here Anne Boyer accounts for a form of life — form of life of a woman in this century living in Kansas City apartment complexes or duplexes with names like The Kingman or Colonial Gardens, form of life of a low-rent, cake-baking intellectual parenting a Socratic daughter, form of life of a person whose body refuses to become information or pornography, which are the same. These are the confessions of Anne Boyer, a political thinker who takes notes and invents movements, social and prosodic. Ta gueule, Rousseau.” —Lisa Robertson
Anne Boyer Artist Statement:
I read a lot, old works and new ones, but there were so many books that I couldn’t find. These were the books that should have contained an answer to the problem — how do we survive our survival? If a work of literature approached an answer, the answer was bent, asemic, obscured, distorted into sentimental accounts, melodrama, or pornography by literary convention established to make knowing what we needed to impossible.
Sometimes the answer was deformed by the failure of survival itself — there were texts severed by their author’s severed lives, by madness, by social isolation, by early death or a long life passed always wanting it. Literature, like garments, had so often been against so many of us, enforcing and sustaining the hostilities of a world with the unequal distribution of resources and the corresponding unequal distribution of suffering.
The libraries I needed were full of works written by ghosts of the dead so common their graves lacked stones, the literature of those humans whose names were never their own, whose names were mostly said aloud so that someone might make a command of them, whose names were never used as the mark of their own property — what was it they had known? How did the great human majority — women and girls, those without property, the poor and the workers and enslaved people — resist? In what forms, what languages, what codes were their poems? What possibilities inhabited their thinking, their philosophies, their politics? What names would they be called if they could choose their own?
During much of the time Garments Against Women was being written, I wanted to stop writing. I wanted to stop wanting and needing to write. This was so that my daughter and I could better survive; this was also because of my disappointment with literature.
But Garments Against Women exists because I failed. I failed to find the literature I needed, so I had to try to write it down. I failed, also, at refusal, failed at failing, failed at self-negating, failed at being ruined despite all that would ruin us, failed at keeping survival bare, failed at obeying history’s prohibitions, failed at being intimidated by the centuries of hostile traditions. What I failed at was not writing despite all the conditions that had been relentlessly calibrated to keep not writing sustained.
Some of us write because there are problems to be solved. My life is different than it was when I wrote Garments Against Women, but there’s still a problem: the world as we know it remains the world.
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