By Renee Gladman
Publication Date: June 20, 2017
ISBN# 9781940696461 (10.75x8.5 144pp, trade hardcover)
A book of ink drawings that regards language as an exposed nervous system, uncovering the moment whereby architecture emerges out of prose, the sentence becomes a drawing, and the act of writing narrative can be examined from bodily movements. Gladman beautifully uses the drawings as an extension of her writing process, as a way to free language from constraint.
Excerpt from Prose Architectures introduction by Renee Gladman:
"Drawing extended my being in time; it made things slow. It quieted language. It produced a sense that thinking could and did happen outside of language: I saw it as a line extending from the body, through the hand, as if something were being poured or pulled out of oneself, but here, finally, because it is impossible to achieve this in writing, in time with thought rather than chasing thought through syntax, as something already over, a moment we can now only describe. Drawing was going into time; it was pulling the process of thought apart, and what was most profound was that it left a record behind, a map: the drawing itself."
The 100-plus drawings that follow evoke cityscapes and city shapes. But they resist figurative representation, instead creating richly imagined abstract spaces.
Just as a descriptive writer may “draw” a scene using words, Gladman’s drawings seem to trace the contours of her thinking — notes without syntax, maps without scale, blueprints without measurement...The genius of Gladman’s drawings lies in their ability to capture the original process of thought accurately, without tying it to anything we already know.
Iris Cushing, Hyperallergic
Renee Gladman is a writer and artist preoccupied with lines, crossings, thresholds, geographies, and syntaxes as they play out in the interstices of poetry and prose. She is the author of ten published works, including a cycle of novels about the city-state Ravicka and its inhabitants, the Ravickians; Calamities, a collection of linked essays on writing and experience, which won the 2017 Firecracker Award in Nonfiction; and a monograph of ink drawings, Prose Architectures. She lives in New England with poet-ceremonialist Danielle Vogel.
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