Vanessa Place - A sky-writer, an aviator of words: she loops the loop, stalls and re-starts, dips her wings, then lands on a dime, delivers the mail

Vanessa Place, La Medusa, Fiction Collective 2, 2008.

"La Medusa is a polyphonic novel of post-conceptual consciousness. At the heart of the whole floats Medusa, an androgynous central awareness that anchors the novel throughout. La Medusa is at once the city of Los Angeles, with its snaking freeways and serpentine shifts between reality and illusion, and a brain—a modern mind that is both expansive and penetrating in its obsessions and perceptions.
Vanessa Place’s characters—a trucker and his wife, a nine-year-old saxophonist, an ice cream vendor, a sex worker, and a corpse, among others—are borderless selves in a borderless city, a city impossible to contain. Her expert ventriloquism and explosive imagination anchor this epic narrative in language that is fierce and vibrant, a penetrating cross-section of contemporary Los Angeles and a cross-section of the modern mind."

"Is the brain all these little movies, one synapsing into the next? Or I mean is culture that? Who are all those people on the freeway next to me, or dying in the blink of an eye when I forget about them. Vanessa Place's La Medusa is a novel of a million (I am sure there is a more precise count) brilliant suggestions about the mind and time and us. What seems impossible is that she is pulling "it" off in this impressive tome that moves like traffic when you have gotten it impossibly incredibly light. No wrong moves here. We get home fast." —Eileen Myles

"Dazzling and daze-inducing, Vanessa Place dares to ask the dangerous question: What happened to Modernism? Why did what was ambitious, difficult, serious and experimental in Joyce, Eliot, Pound, Stein, and Beckett give way to a glittering string of infinite jests - high-wire acts, virtuosity, transcendental Camp?
La Medusa returns to James Joyce's Ulysses to find the inspiration for an investigation into the nature of experience. Los Angeles takes the role of Dublin. The brain and its double cortex generate the stylistic intricacies that the organs and senses do in Joyce.
And this is above all a Female Epic in which the swirling city-universe is explored and shaped by the petrifying eye and intellect of the wily Medusa, her coiling locks extending everywhere. " —Michael Silverblatt

"La Medusa, Vanessa Place's monumental polyvalent, polyglot epic novel of Los Angeles in which the postmodern morphs into random-access postcontemporary, in which the device of the narrative text in film script form has replaced that of the epistolary novel, is like a shocking rock slide of polished stones of the first water, cut by master jeweler, faceted into ten thousand-and-one sides — and the whole spill run in relative slow motion with no drag, no yawns, all be-bop, hip-hop Now. And sardonic: it zaps, out Fante-ing Fante and out-Rechy-ing Rechy. Looked at metaphorically in terms of motion pictures, Medusa is an epic silent, as long as Von Stroheim's Greed and every bit as cumulatively powerful. But one thing is certain: no matter how good the picture may turn out to be, the book will definitely have been better." — James McCourt

"La Medusa and the sprawlish, sweltering city of Los Angeles are both shifty terrains for recurring exploration, and the brave minds of both those who inhabit and delve into these parallel universes are not short of a challenge. Much like the mythological horror and fascination of Medusa herself, this novel carries the weight of its fate -- to be loved by those who relate to its labyrinthine thread of excess and perhaps despised by those who fail to comprehend and revere the beauty and sheer force of such a charming, deadly siren. The Gorgon Medusa is also commonly associated with female rage and maliciousness, but who is say whether or not Los Angeles possesses the spirit of such a venomous persona, or if this city and its migrant souls are just misunderstood?
An innovative take on typography, littered with visual stimulants (not just a catchy HOLLYWOOD sign and white trash redemption bumper stickers, but much more), uncharted geographies, filmic directives (FADE IN:), geometric voids, literary references (Joan Didion noted, "The city burning is Los Angeles' deepest image of itself"), phrenological definitions (Cingulate Sulcus: Implicated in spontaneous emotion; induction site for amygdala, involved with pain "affect" [pain as perception of sensory upset]; separates cingulate gyrus, involved in emotional behavior, learning, memory, and the automatic nervous system, from the frontal gyrus, involved in voluntary movement, personality, insight, and judgment), playful emoticons ♥, unsolved equations, infinities π, concrete poetry, conditional ad libs (If so, ______), and islands of embedded sensualism (I live for love, which lives for this -- kiss. ~ Hic Jacet Narcissus), pallets of psychologically ambiguous ink blots, unfinished scientific charts, practical questions with fantastical answers, unnerving rows of floating ellipses, right-justified free verse, bilingual imperative lists (Pas lacher plu sou nous / Do not deluge us with rain) or Things You Will Need, revised mythologies, flirtations (I'm yours, you've got me baby, so put your arms around me, call me baby), fairy tale interludes:
Once upon a time called Now,
a beautiful woman floated above a choppy holographic sea; she had a hole in her bright belly from which two children fell, one continued falling, down to the blue, and salt water suffused his nose and mouth and sand sprinkled through his golden hair like broken bits of light, and the child laughed as he sank to the bed of dancing weeds he was born to spread, and the other child did not laugh but smiled quietly as she turned perfectly pink and daringly disappeared.........................................................................................................

La Medusa is an assemblage like no other -- a semi-fictional collage of poetic tangents momentarily touching, occasionally difficult to push through. As is life for most in Southern California's La La Land. To really read is sometimes to be a dedicated, mental athlete; we can thank Place for this unpredictable, literary training leading some to a euphoric finish line of both meaningful yet justifiably askew impressions of the beast America -- both its now-present illusions and the histories it harbors. Place's remix of THE HISTORY CHANNEL (In 1934, after F.D.R.'s well-publicized trip to Cap-Haïtian, American troops withdrew from the island, leaving behind an automated telephone system, better highways, and modern sanitation) with veritable, digressing footnotes contrasting one take on history from another expresses that even history has been manipulated, stretched and spread for centuries, that documentation is relative, that the urgency of a political moment becomes complicated with time and experience, that an era's coordinates are often displayed via subversive means - yet, "Every epic begins with a look in the mirror."There is a sense that every little thing in La Medusa is cosmically linked -- for better or worse. The novel's omnipresent perspective is linked to the motivations of La Medusa's characters is linked to the situations they find themselves in is linked to a reader's response. Is there are a correlation between the phrenological anatomies and the literary content of each sub-section -- or are these sections only a metaphor for the city's overlapping inscapes? This is difficult to answer. Place allows room for the imagination by sometimes excluding specific images, choosing to write, more or less, "insert image X here," instead of inserting the actual image in question. What is gained by the absence of an actual image? Place's preference to include actual images vs. contextualizing the possibility of image insertions reminds us: there is a fine line between black and white, rich and poor, gay and straight -- that this blurred middle ground encompasses Los Angeles, and that one misleading direction can, in a way, lead one just as easily to Skid Row as it can to Bel Air.
Some of La Medusa's characters are more gripping than others. Among them: a precocious nine year old saxophonist, an ice cream vendor, an all-seeing corpse, an "entertainment" worker, potty-mouthed thugs and tricksters, one-track-mind truckers, their promiscuous wives In the Pink and their secret lovers. The steamy interludes between Rocki and Stella provide us with a peep hole into one of many under-the-radar affairs that buzz their way into the groin of America ("Rocki kisses Stella. She loves Stella. She love the width of Stella, her length, her depth, and the beat of her hummingbird heart. How Stella sips the sky and sinks underneath dizzies Rocki with delight. Rocki takes her hand and circles Stella's breast, then lauds the nipple with a deep pinch"). As cultural critic and historian Norman Klein observed: Los Angeles is America. In summation, Place has not only written an innovative fiction about America's entertainment nexus, but she examines an entire country in our new century transitioning, akin to Robert Altman's Short Cuts or James Joyce's Ulysses from our previous one." - Jacquelyn Davis"In 1832, Louis Albert Necker described a "sudden and involuntary change in the apparent position of a crystal" during his observation, his perception having spontaneously shifted while the observed object stayed unchanged.
In 2008, Vanessa Place likened the epic narrative of the city of Los Angeles to "the modern mind that is both expansive and penetrating in its obsessions and perceptions."
What Necker's cube and La Medusa relate is the idea that the original presentation of reality itself is metaphorical, that what is seen is always inextricably bound up with how one sees. What Necker's cube offers as a metaphor for consciousness is also a metaphor for a difficult text, recalling the consequences of facing the creation of an impossible perceptual world occurring in a physical one. La Medusa takes on the impossible challenge: to write a book about the legendary city of Los Angeles, a city so de-centered that no book could possibly encompass its vastly different representations, no book could avoid the ephemerality of an attempt at a concretization of LA, no book could represent the gaze, tame the city as monster and insert it into the artificially rendered pages of a book. But this is why La Medusa can, and does, knowing that the city is something that is constantly becoming but never is.
Los Angeles is a city that is there and here, a city constantly remaking itself and artificially rendered as well, so that the various consciousnesses that make up Place’s epic novel are not meant to be definitive, rather artificial versions of artificial realities that have left some feelers behind in the "real world."
Vanessa Place's La Medusa is described as a "polyphonic novel of post-conceptual consciousness," yet this novel is more than just a return to a Joycean experience, as Michael Silverblatt comments, and it is more than just a theoretical description of the phenomenal properties of consciousness in narrative. Rather, the novel resists Daniel Dennet's famous claim that consciousness is simply a kind of illusion or epiphenomenon and provokes the reader into a consideration of the wages of consciousness and the agency we so fervently believe it comes along with—that is, consciousness is often taken for granted as innately tied to everyday perception but is something rather more artificial and flexible. Not only does the novel offer a literary enactment of the kind of consciousness that drives the dream of Los Angeles, the reader must construct her own phenomenological self-model during the process of reading.
Vanessa Place has written elsewhere, "Ergo no single story can be told because there is never just one." Yet there is an ontological paradox of quantum physics, as she continues, "for it is only the single observer who can create wholecloth reality from piecemeal particles—the singular consciousness in all its individual multiplicity transforms the multiplicity of the quantum flux." Place's own book is an ambitious architecture of human consciousness mapped over the vast landscape of a sprawling city. Yet, as the reader delves in and out of the minds of characters (a doctor, a trucker, an ice cream vendor, a corpse—to name a few), what they learn to see is not the world through another character's eyes, but to see the world differently through their own again. The reader's own process of narrativizing-as-reading becomes mapped onto the narrative architecture of the multimodal world of the page. The text is fragmented into bursts of language and emotion, for as Max Planck discovered, on the quantum level, energy works in bursts, not in a steady Joycean stream.
So how does this text operate, on a quantum level or on a greater one? How does it look to the history of literature, mending the broken bodies of texts, tattered from history and time? It is easier to repair a broken pump than it is to heal a broken metaphor, especially when we have forgotten the difference. La Medusa maps a sprawling metropolis and metaphor for an artificial consciousness, ultimately asking the reader to reconsider their own preconceptions of the way their own minds work. It is in the constellation of lack, built upon the intrusions and disruptions of an architectural narrative, that we as readers realize that none of us are really in complete control of our own perceptions. In reading a text where we must learn how to read again, where does the dream of Los Angeles lie? La Medusa echoes softly: We are in the dream, and yet the dream is inside us." - Janice Lee

"Punctuated equilibrium is a theory of evolutionary change. Long periods of stasis are broken by bursts of rapid transformation, leading to the development of new species. This is also an apt metaphor for life as it is lived in Los Angeles—right here, right now. Life here is discontinuous; change comes in sudden explosions—sometimes predictably, often out of nowhere. Both human acts and acts of nature erupt seemingly ex nihilo and jolt us from our rest. The homeless sleep in downtown doorways; the police cruise in and roust them. Suddenly, Skid Row is rife with unwanted activity. The housing bust has been extreme here. The High Desert belongs again to the cacti and the jackrabbits, the builders’ bulldozers silent and rusting. The fragile calm of Los Angeles cracked open in flaring violence when riots roiled the city in 1965 and 1992. Unlike hurricanes and snow storms, earthquakes cannot be foreseen. No scientist can yet tell us when the earth will shake and shudder. Los Angeles is a city of disruption. That is why gang life so epitomizes the city in many ways: the ennui of hanging out on the corner is suddenly interrupted by the sound of gunfire. The stillness is gone; the action begins.
Vanessa Place aims to take on the cacophony that is present-day Los Angeles. La Medusa is a sprawling and many-layered book that pokes its nose into crevices and cubbyholes all over the city—from Venice to Hollywood, from Beverly Hills to South Central Los Angeles. The characters too come from multiple casting couches: a nine-year-old sax player, her closet-voodoo grandmother, a soon-dead doctor, big rig truckers, a vato ice cream vendor, and the human brain itself. Their stories pop up, trail off, and then pick up again, mirroring the snapshots and vignettes that truly define our lives.
Myles and Stella drive a big truck painted pink. On the side, Stella has another woman, her lover Ricki. The passions of the two women light up their trucking journeys along the freeways that dissect and divide Southern California. Place plays the snake-head/freeway metaphor lightly and well. Feena is a precocious woodwind player. Her grandmother (Grandmere) has a larger-than-life influence over Feena and her mother, Athalie. Grandmere wears real diamonds drilled into her long fingernails. Jorge sells his wares amidst the gang-infested streets of the infamous Oakwood area of Venice Beach. There are many others, whose narratives run in sections, short and long, throughout the book. The brain has its own chorus, with speaking parts reserved for the regions of its anatomy—Cerebellum, Medulla, Thalamus, etc.
La Medusa is described as a “conceptual” (or “post-conceptual”) novel. I struggle with the term. The label evokes lost cachet in the visual arts, and, to me, it does not fit fiction very well. Barton Zwiebach’s A First Course in String Theory (2004) is a conceptual book. It is a physics text. I have not taken calculus in twenty years. The book is difficult, cerebral. As I try to read it—in its language of mathematics equations—only my brain is engaged.
In my view, fiction—like all other art forms—must provide primarily an emotional experience. At its best, art is a gut punch. When I confront great art, I yearn to be short of breath. Not as stricken with the flu, but as breathless as after sex.
Los Angeles poses a mind-body problem of its own: the locus of sex and chiseled bodies also has more book buyers than any other city in the nation. LA is classically the body, but truly the mind. To her credit, Place tries to navigate both—the cerebral and the emotional. But the book vacillates on the issue. It becomes both a strength and a weakness of the novel.
Place describes in an email exchange the origins of her novel: “The book began as a procedural piece: to write down everything that occurred to me for 41 consecutive days, in 15 minute installments. As I was reading in cognitive science at the time, I had a suspicion that if I kept going after that time, narratives would begin to emerge. Or narrative fragments, some of which would ripen (or bloat) into narratives, some of which would simply stay shards.”
Place’s process largely succeeds. Narrative indeed emerges from fragments. If indeed all narrative emerges from two people coupling in the night, then story’s origins are chaotic and untidy. At the novel’s highpoints, an appropriately messy narrative of the contemporary City of Los Angeles emerges from its pages, the owl here flying classically in the night.
In La Medusa, the gripping parts and the sensual parts are the best parts. As they drive in their truck through Needles, California, snaking the LA freeways like mythical Medusa’s serpentine hair, Stella and Ricki make love. When Ricki adores Stella’s broad, brown nipples, I yearn for and cheer for their passion. Near the end of the book, when Grandmere hooks up with her voodoo priestess, Place’s writing hits full stride. The prose hooks you hard: “Grandmere craves essence like a bat wants blood….”
Describing a drive along the Wilshire Corridor—Jorge and Doctor Bowles serendipitously coupled in the same car—Place writes:
'let’s go AWOL all the way now to the graceful steel wave which symbolizes the ongoing gem of the ongoing ocean, which bestrides a plath of slap-happy auto dealerships as Wilshire Boulevard prattles on to the heavily arcade’d Pier, off whose heavy wooden end lies the cool green aland of the Pacific. Ocean, that is.'
The brain sections, though apparently important to the novel, work less well. Set off in boxes of type and heavy-handed in delivery, they distract from rather than drive the book. I have to believe Place could have found a more subtle and less intrusive way to assert the interiority of the work.
In Los Angeles, it is hard to pick a theory of change. Punctuated equilibrium, yes, but what of an ordinary, unpunctuated Tuesday evening? Is it Heraclitus’s river (“Upon those who step into the same rivers, different and again different waters flow”)? Or rather is it the conservation of energy idea—that matter is neither created nor destroyed—that fits the city better? The Ambassador Hotel, where RFK was killed, will open next year as a new public school. The neighborhood is now one of Salvadoran immigrants. Things are both different and the same simultaneously.
La Medusa attempts to tackle the kaleidoscopic jangle of current day LA, and, for that, it deserves it kudos. Neither the book nor the author lack ambition. I am a fan of ambition. Most contemporary American fiction chooses the comfort of the living room over the confusion and cacophony of the world outside. Place does not make that mistake. Her novel is too long, and—at times—arcane and frustrating. Frankly, deliberately dense novels like this one are not typically my taste. Rare authors can pull it off; most slide into pretension and showboating, the literary equivalent of playground basketball. Despite its flaws, this book works as a biography of twenty-first-century Los Angeles because of Place’s appetite and passion.
Most American fiction is formally mired in the nineteenth century, let alone the twentieth. Yet the first decade of the twenty-first century is now already behind us. Fiction needs new forms—not self-reflexive navel-gazing, or incomprehensible language games—but forms that convey the rhythm and the story of our times, a paradoxical age where information is instantaneous and more equally shared, where poverty and inequality are growing, where wars are endless and unwinnable, where the postmodern has yielded back ground to the pre-modern, and where our biggest problem—our changing planet—is primordial and intractable. All our issues are now conjugal. Of course, La Medusa does not cover all this ground. But as for the new fictional forms that might grasp our times, Vanessa Place has staked her claim." - Larry Fondation

"At the end of last year, I read Vanessa Place’s mammoth novel of forms recently out from FC2, LA MEDUSA. Though it is a monster of a book, in size in mind, I found I could not stop reading it once I started, blasting through all 616 pages in 4-5 days of continuous reading. Among its many forms and voices, it contains one of the most vivid scenes I think I’ve ever read: simply consisting of one of the main characters eating at a Mexican restaurant by himself, getting more and more drunk, and eating among a kind of mental fury, almost as if over the other pages of the book encasing him. It is truly a definition of how words can capture moments in a way no other art form is equipped for.
LA MEDUSA, I think, is a book of appetites, and cataloguing. There is something post-Beat in it in that way: lists (a list of strange barbies, a list of synonyms for vagina, though worked into the narrative thread somehow, a kind of shapeshifting that continually occurs in midst of the reading without managing to interrupt), and hyper consciousnesses, and combining the high with the low in these really rhythmic and syllabic and smart sentences. LA MEDUSA reminds me a lot of Lynne Tillman’s AMERICAN GENIUS, which is another of my all time recent favorites." - Blake Butler

Vanessa Place, Dies: A Sentence, Les Figues Press, 2005.

"In Dies, Place withholds the period for 130 pages and one long night as its legless narrator recounts the war journey that has lead him to his final point of final truth, next to an armless man making stew. Place’s single sentence unmoors time and space, subject and object, victim and perpetrator, in a voice sanctifying everything and elegizing nothing. As poet and scholar Susan McCabe says in her introduction, “Roll over, dear Whitman. Here’s our new original.”

“In a single sentence as bloody and crazed as the history of the 20th century, Place offers up “the untamed cadence of ten thousand feet.” Caught somewhere between Beckett’s The Unnamable, Kathy Acker’s Don Quixote, James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake and Ann Quin’s Passages, Dies is an extravagant and ferocious book, a real and uncompromising marvel.” —Brian Evenson

“The architectonics of Dies calls upon the aural touchstones, not only of Pound, but of Dante, Rabelais (beware of a scatological extravaganza), Eliot, Whitman, Stein, the Bible, Beckett, Joyce, Remarque, even ‘the ghost of mark twain‘—a babbling horde that makes this sentence both humbling and beyond paraphrase, both mythic and contemporary.” — Susan McCabe

"Dies is a marvel of sustained synergy. Editors live to encounter such work, that thrills, provokes, and finally deeply gratifies its reader. Not recommended for the faint-of-heart, Vanessa Place pulls out all the stops. — John Witte

“If (and I like to believe it is) a single sentence is a unit of thought, then this present thought of Vanessa Place is dizzyingly complex, compound, and full of miraculous side trips as well—not so dissimilar to the world that contains it.” —Jim Krusoe

[Place is] “a sky-writer, a kind of Beryl Markam aviator of words—she loops the loop, stalls and re-starts, dips her wings—then lands on a dime, delivers the mail,” her sentence “up in the air, drifting continuum.” - Carol Muske-Dukes

An excerpt:

"The maw that rends without tearing, the maggoty claw that serves you, what, my baby buttercup, prunes stewed softly in their own juices or a good slap in the face, there’s no accounting for history in any event, even such a one as this one, O, we’re knee-deep in this one, you and me, we’re practically puppets, making all sorts of fingers dance above us, what do you say, shall we give it another whirl, we can go naked, I suppose, there’s nothing to stop us and everything points in that direction, do you think there will be much music later and of what variety, we’ve that, at least, now that there’s nothing left, though there’s plenty of pieces to be gathered by the wool-coated orphans and their musty mums, they’ll put us in warm wicker baskets, cover us with a cozy blanket of snow, and carry us home, walking carefully through the rubble and around the landmines, or visa versa, poor little laddy’s lost his daddy, pauvre unminted lamb, you’d give him a chuck on the chin if you still had arms, sure as I’d pitch myself into a highland fling for the sake of the neighbors, but they say or at least said once and if we’re very quiet we might hear them again, that all of us will reune with all of us when the time comes, our bits and pieces will cling-a-ling to our cores like fillings rag a magnet, think how big we’ll be then, we’ll spread from sea to see, sky’s the limit for philomel and firmament, and there will be Indians and buffalo and a hero’s welcome, I’ve always wanted a hero’s welcome, it’s due,"

"(a) I’d like to open our discussion of La Medusa by asking about its birth in you, as an idea. Over the span of its 500 pages, the text manages to worm through quite an insanely number of shells and forms, I believe I read somewhere that you worked on La Medusa for quite a number of years, so I am particularly interested in how the shape of the book continued to evolve and expand within itself as you found yourself deeper in the pages.
(b) What I find really interesting, is that among this huge sprawl, too, is that the bulk of the narrative consists of a set of interwoven strands that focus on the main ‘camps’, if you will, of the discourse, which are in a way defined in the very first sentences of the book:

“Doctor Casper Bowles eyes his mirror’d visor.
Feena checks her pink Barbie mirror
while Athalie her mother looks at her own hand.
Jorge can’t see for shit ‘cuz of the sun,
And the golden-bellied woman stands blind as a proverbial bat.
Then there’s me, flattened & weeping in one hundred and one windows”

These strands are attended to so fervently, and with great poise, so that often it seems like some scenes in the book that may occur over a short period in the timeline of the narrative, actually sprawl out as if minute by minute, almost in the way that David Foster Wallace managed to capture time as time in ‘Infinite Jest,’ and also how Gass used language to define space in ‘The Tunnel.’ I was wondering if you could speak more about directing the complex trajectories of each of these narratives over time and perhaps some of the process involved in how the evolving form dictated content and vice-versa.
- I think I will collapse your two into one, just for fun. /Medusa/ began as a conceptual project: write everything that pops into the head for 41 days. One day longer than Moses spent in the desert, because I’m no mouthpiece of the divine. The characters are “camps,” as you note, though I hadn’t thought of them in these terms. But the term does fit the project: I wanted to write all of Los Angeles because they said it couldn’t be done, because Los Angeles is a city of many camps and no core. Similarly, the fragmented nature of the book reflects Los Angeles as fragmented city, the self as fragmented memory and the brain as fragmented whole which works in phase-space or chunks that operate more or less simultaneously with more or less coordination between parts. Thus /Medusa/ became a place of plate-spinning, dashing between spinning narratives sets to keep them going with sufficient attenuation to let myself go further in the in-between. As you also know, the entire work of fiction (and this is the closest thing to a pure novel I’ve written) is to attenuate. Delay. Delay more. Delay past the point of perception. Beckett knew this, and so studied Proust, and both perfected the ability to blow seconds up out of all proportion but not beyond sentiment. I have failed in this, and plan to continue failing: my current project is an attempt to go past time and my single-sentence book, /Dies: A Sentence/, to be in all time. I like the Gass comparison for /Medusa/, as I am an admirer of /The Tunnel/, as well as of Pound’s Cantos, and for the same temporal-spatial reasons. Pound cut space into time, Gass time into space. And the carving of the page into more than one space and the carving of the text into more than one time in /Medusa /spawned some typographical fluctuations and many text-boxes, which are a somewhat unsatisfying answer to the problem of multifarious existence.
I like the delineation of ‘everything that pops into the head’: does this mean to say that you write in floods and bursts, sentence by sentence? I am interested greatly in the manners of controlling syllables and rhythm via confines of tiny spaces in large fields. In that, /Medusa/ is another kind of wonder for its array of self-contained rooms and structures, in the form of the aforementioned text boxes, as well as columns, clips, stage directions, etc. I was wondering how much of narration you develop was incurred or controlled by these spaces that you set up within the book, and at the same time how much perhaps the text dictates the space. I know from reading an earlier interview with you that /Medusa/ a lot of the text’s spaces were jarred out of ekphrastic responses to art objects, which made me wonder if there were some system to the objects chosen that then led into a larger intentional framework, or if this was something you allowed to develop out of itself via association and intuition?
- No floods & bursts, but crawling & crabbing, forwards, back & to the side. I work very slowly and with a jeweler’s eye. One great craft lesson I learned with Medusa was to set my screen margins to reflect an actual book page: there was a great deal of revision needed for the final to contain what had been in the larger/longer draft. And even so, certain visual elements had to be eliminated or otherwise significantly recomposed. Medusa was somewhat ekphrastic, though the project I’m now working on is much more so, in part because of the limits of Medusa. I was constrained in the novel by novelistic conventions, so the art objects chosen had to hover around or emanate from things already associated with other things. But what I began to do in Medusa, and have done deeper since, to quite literally treat the page as canvas, both procedurally and substantively. In other words, there’s not so much the cause/effect that you suggest, but more of a cut of temporal/visual space.
Would you talk about the particulars of setting parameters on a text before or during its creation, and how those parameters, whether rules or dimensions, or other kinds of constraints, end up in a way dictating the text, or at least making you, the author, bring out words or ideas that you likely would have not without the imposition of constraint? I am particularly interested in how this method of controlled germination continued to change (or perhaps not change at all) over the creation period of Medusa?
- My parameters tend to be conceits: Medusa was dictated in part by the parts of the brain represented. The choice of brain parts was, in turn, dictated by some obvious tropes (wanting the language centers, for example), and some less obvious (wanting the sections to be half limbic, half cortical). Each section then became self-generative in the sense that there were plot/character/language turns that occurred simply as a result of the extended metaphor of that particular cerebral constraint (anger/fear in the amygdala section, asphasia in the Broca/Wernicke’s areas). Too, there was the plane of the page: using boxes (mirror frames) to enclose the Skull passages (up until those begin to break down and the seepage becomes apparent) meant that text had to be set in certain sized boxes, creating a variant of the lyric line break. (This fit nicely with the excess subjectivity being enacted.) These frames/breaks had to be constantly reconfigured as the dimensions of the page changed, and as the text waxed and waned. In my current project, I’m working with a set page dimension, and a ekphrasitic conceit, leaning more into the constraint/conceit of the page as image/text as image. This also comes into play in some of the appropriation work I’m doing. I suppose you could say it’s a combination of rules & rulers, of both the physical and subject variety.
I really like your description of the containing and the contained, and how the shell in some way dictates itself innards. I wonder, then, how much of the progression of Medusa could be seen as cultivated more than purely dreamt: that is, if your process, in fitting to the forms, is more akin to a sculptor chiseling a form out of an amorphous face of stone, than say, someone taking photographs?
- I like the sculptor analogy as opposed to the photographic analogy, though only if we can agree that the sculptor is not finding the statue inherent in the marble, but putting form into another form. I might like the photographer comparison if we can carve out the part where the photographer is also creating artifice from the occasional real– sometimes the readymade isn’t quite ready enough. The progression here is thus neither cultivated nor dreamt but constructed and contained; certain angles surprise me in retrospect because they facet in ways I hadn’t anticipated.
I’m curious, too, in particular, about the way the extremely varying styles and voices are arranged and affected by the forms as they shift. For instance, the character who speaks mostly as if freestyle rapping: I was pretty amazed by the great control you managed to assume over every single line, even in as free a form as freestyling. And, too, how spot on your were in nailing such a difficult format of voice. Rap is such a difficult style to incorporate into fiction, or written word, I think, in that so much of it is about tone and delivery, and yet there was honestly no point among all the rap sections that I thought you wavered from full on high wire prose. How did this particular voice germinate for you?
- Hours of dissecting pleasure." - Interview with Blake Butler

Vanessa Place & Robert Fitterman, Notes on Conceptualisms, Ugly Duckling Presse, 2009.

"As Ron Silliman notes in his June 3rd 2009 blog post devoted to Vanessa Place and Robert Fitterman's Notes on Conceptualisms, while this attractive, pocket-sized, sky blue book from Ugly Duckling Presse appears to be unimposing, it makes a big noise. The currency of the topic might account for some of the sound, but the intensity and quality of the blast directly results from the book's density of ambition and content. Packed into its 76 delicately set pages are four sections: Fitterman's Forward outlining the genesis of the project; the propositional collaboration between the two authors titled "Notes on Conceptualisms;" Place's theorization of the image named "Ventouses;" and an Appendix of further reading suggestions. I will focus this essay on the collaborative section, "Notes on Conceptualisms," which takes up the bulk of the book, and for which the volume is named.
Readers familiar with the history of the term "conceptual writing" will hear the text more accurately than those new to the idea. The term "conceptual writing," as a classification, is a 21st century phenomenon. However, the driving notion—the creation of artwork wherein the "art" resides in the idea of the piece rather than in the art object that results from the execution of the idea—is not a new phenomenon. The labeling of such visual artwork as "conceptual" began with experimental visual art of the 1960s and 70s, carrying through to Neo-Conceptual work of the 80s and 90s.
In their volume, Place and Fitterman often refer to the artists and theorists of Conceptual Art, but they do not provide readers with an explicit history of the term "conceptual writing." Some readers may find this absence to be disappointing or even puzzling, given the fact that readers who have this history, and who can distinguish the source of certain lines of thought, will derive the most benefit from the volume. Readers aware of the history of the term will clearly see the places where Place and Fitterman join and depart from an already established context.
In addition, while the authors of "Notes" often reference the conceptual work of Craig Dworkin and Kenneth Goldsmith (the writers who coined the movement and first began to theorize the term), the authors of "Notes" do not explicitly attribute particular ideas to Dworkin and Goldsmith even though much of "Notes" is deep in conversation with this source. However, there are many significant reasons Place and Fitterman may have decided to omit an explicit recounting of this history. For example, the currency of the subject may make a rehearsal of context irrelevant; the easy access readers have to Dworkin and Goldsmith's texts online would make the summarizing of their thoughts (at best) second rate; the desire to define conceptual writing otherwise than have Goldsmith and Dworkin may render address of their theories too consuming; the spare, propositional form and style of "Notes" may place such tracing of context outside of the project's scope.[ii] Although Place and Fitterman have chosen not to recount the history of the term I will do so—in brief—to set a context in which we can more clearly hear the work.
The term "conceptual writing" cribs its name from Conceptual Art and came into the lexicon in 2003 with the birth of the UbuWeb Anthology of Conceptual Writing edited and introduced by Craig Dworkin. In his tight, immaculate Introduction, Dworkin employs the term to designate what he sees as an already existing and currently proliferating tradition of "non-expressive poetry," which stands as an alternative to the tradition of expressive poetry handed down from Romanticism. Dworkin tells us that instead of seeking to express the "emotional truth of the self," conceptual writers manifest tensions between "materiality and concept" wherein "the idea is more important than anything else as a writing in which the idea cannot be separated from the writing itself: in which the instance of writing is inextricably intertwined with the idea of Writing: the material practice of écriture." The texts in the anthology consist of literary writing that would qualify as Conceptual Art or Conceptual Art that employs text as its major mode. The lion's share of the texts in the anthology are pre-21st century works from writers associated with movements such as OuLiPo, Fluxus, and Language Poetry, and from well-known Conceptual artists such as Joseph Kosuth, John Baldessari, and Robert Rauschenberg.
While Dworkin's UbuWeb anthology coins the category "conceptual writing," and delineates a lineage shared by visual, sound, and literary artists, Kenneth Goldsmith has been at the forefront of describing the conceptual writing movement as it has shaped itself in the 21st century. Goldsmith's writings on the topic not only make engaging reading material, but they have been prominently and accessibly displayed via his posts for the Poetry Foundation's Harriet blog, thus introducing the movement to mainstream audiences. While I will treat you to sound bites of Goldmsith's ideas, you can find original posts here.
According to Goldsmith's "Conceptual Poetics 'Journal' Dispatch" for the Poetry Foundation dated January 26, 2007, this movement
obstinately makes no claims on originality. On the contrary, it employs intentionally self and ego effacing tactics using uncreativity, unoriginality, illegibility, appropriation, plagiarism, fraud, theft, and falsification as its precepts; information management, word processing, databasing, and extreme process as its methodologies; and boredom, valuelessness, and nutritionlessness as its ethos. Language as material, language as process, language as something to be shoveled into a machine and spread across pages, only to be discarded and recycled once again. Language as junk, language as detritus. Nutritionless language, meaningless language, unloved language, entartete sprache, everyday speech, illegibility, unreadability, machinistic repetition. Obsessive archiving & cataloging, the debased language of media & advertising; language more concerned with quantity than quality.Goldsmith's work provides excellent example of these uncreative tactics, and Place and Fitterman often cite one of his books, Day, to illustrate particular facets of conceptual writing. For example, in creating the 900-page Day, Goldsmith re-typed the September 1, 2000 copy of The New York Times. Such a project exemplifies tactics of uncreativity, unoriginality, appropriation, plagiarism, information management, and word processing, along with the ethos of boredom, valuelessness, and nutritionalessness. Goldsmith asserts that, as the art of Conceptual Art is in the idea, not in the manufacture and consumption of the art object, conceptual writing is writing that does not need to be read. Day provides an example of this because the interesting things to be thought and said about the project are predicated on the concept, not on the words of the book itself: we've already consumed those in newspaper form. Such works demand not readership, but "thinkership"—a term invented by David Antin and used by Dworkin, Goldsmith, Place, and Fitterman—all—to describe the type of response conceptual writing gears towards.
Notes on "Notes"Given the landscapes surrounding conceptual writing—Dworkin's writing-as-art-art-as-writing and Goldsmith's language-as-junkpile—the austere literary-philosophico tone of "Notes on Conceptualisms" immediately indicates Place and Fitterman's fresh contribution to the subject. Their work adds yet another line to the conversation rather than simply entrenching what has already been said by others. Built in the style of Wittgenstein's propositional masterpiece, the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, "Notes on Conceptualisms" manages to be both concise and airy. Created of 12 propositions and their supporting elaborations, "Notes" results in a concision that demands serious attention. By employing the form of the direct statement, Place and Fitterman create an authoritative tone which charms and lulls the reader into head-nodding agreement with such assertions as such as proposition 1: "Conceptual writing is allegorical writing" (13) and statement 9a1: "There are two fundamental mimetic responses: fidelity and infidelity. Fidelity is an advantage of maturity, infidelity of immaturity. Fidelity is a problem of maturity, infidelity of immaturity" (41). Even after having read the work several times over, I found myself often nodding "yes" to statements that I didn't, in retrospect, know that I fully understood or necessarily agreed with. Such is the power of propositional statement and logical tone.
At the same time, Place and Fitterman imbue the volume with a remarkable airiness that requires readers to question and undercut their own impulse towards blind agreement—and in this tension the genius of the project resides. For example, while the direct statement form of 9a1 wears the hat of authority, the second and third sentences of the proposition create a near contradiction. These sentences (again) read: "Fidelity is an advantage of maturity, infidelity of immaturity. Fidelity is a problem of maturity, infidelity of immaturity." Each trait (fidelity or infidelity in representation) is seen to be both an "advantage of" AND a "problem of" their respective relationships to maturity and immaturity. As we do not usually consider advantageous things to be "problems," this notion of problematic advantage, or the advantage that is also a problem, becomes a mental tongue twister, dislodging the fixity implied by the proposition's logical, straightforward tone. Such moments of displacement are common in "Notes on Conceptualisms" and playfully (in the most serious of fashions) kick the reader out of head-nodding acquiescence and into a mode of thought geared towards teasing out multiple meanings.
As with all well-crafted works, this stylistic tension does not only reside on the surface of the text, but indicates a fundamental tension within the project as a whole: on all levels "Notes on Conceptualisms" works towards the opposite impulses of definition and inclusion. As such, the stylistic impulse towards direct, concise proposition furthers the definitional aspect of the project. At the very same time, the underlying impulse to pry open definition in service of inclusion supports the airy, stylistic drive towards playful dislodgement and polyphonic meaning. It is this intentional, oppositional movement towards definition and inclusion that I want to focus on now, because it is one of the most individuating elements of the book, and because it is the element underlying much that promises to bother readers.
From the very first proposition of the work the tension between definition and inclusion rises to the forefront of the project. Proposition 1, "Conceptual writing is allegorical writing," bears great significance because it not only constitutes the first statement of the book, but it is primary in that it sets the stage for the entire book: all of the essay's subsequent propositions can be traced back to a relation to allegory. Obviously, the construction of this statement is definitional: "x is y" is the most basic form of definition possible. And, in many ways, this definitional action, like all definitional action, excludes. The statement means that conceptual writing is not (for example) symbolic writing, it is not purely imageless writing, and it is not writing situated in a particular genre. However, at the same time, rather than constricting the field of conceptual writing, the work that Place and Fitterman do with the notion of conceptual-writing-as-allegory creates a classification that operates expansively in two fundamental ways.
The First Fundamental Expansion:
As Angus Fletcher, author of Allegory: The Theory of a Symbolic Mode, observes, the notion of "allegory" is, itself, protean and expansive, shifting in definition and employment throughout literary history. Allegory employs many means to its ends of saying one thing while meaning another and "destroys the normal expectation we have about language, that our words 'mean what they say'" (Fletcher 2). In addition, allegory operates as both a mode of reading and a mode of writing. Allegory itself is of a definition that one is better off tracing rather than pinning down: allegory has many possible ways to mean.
Place and Fitterman acknowledge the protean nature of the mode in statement 1a: "The standard features of allegory include extended metaphor, personification, parallel meanings, and narrative. Simple allegories use simple parallelisms, complex ones more profound. Other meanings exist in the allegorical 'pre-text,' the cultural conditions within which the allegory is created. Allegorical writing is a writing of its time, saying slant what cannot be said directly, usually because of overtly repressive political regimes or the sacred nature of the message. In this sense, the allegory is dependent on its reader for completion (though it usually has a transparent or literal surface)" (13).
The authors render this dense list of feature and function useful by employing it to suggest the many ways conceptual writing comes to mean. This is important, for it is easy to say that the meaning of conceptual work resides in its idea, rather than in its object, but difficult to do the thinkership that begins to piece together how so, and why, and so what does it matter that this happens. Place and Fitterman show us that the notion of allegory can help us towards such thinkership, and the bulk of "Notes" reads as a guide to using allegory as a vehicle for thinking through constellations of meaning. In this way the book addresses the way that conceptual writing comes to mean in its relationship to elements such as narrative, the written object, the body, feminism, completeness, context, and representation.
It is important to note that Place and Fitterman's method of guiding is, itself, open and inclusive. While they are concise in saying particular things about (for example) the constellation of conceptual writing, allegory, and narrative, they work hard to keep the nature of the relationship between these elements flexible, open, and plural. For example, proposition 2 addresses the ways in which conceptual writing, as allegory, means through narrative. Place and Fitterman write: "Note that pre-textual associations assume post-textual understandings. Note that narrative may mean a story told by the allegorical writing itself, or a story told pre-or post-textually, about the writing itself or writing itself" (15).
This statement manages to be both particular and expansive because, while asserting that narrative takes place in all allegorical writing (a particular claim), the statement asserts that there are many locations narrative can inhabit. Narrative may be what the writer "says" on the surface level of the text. As such, narrative becomes the object that must be thought through in order for the reader to construct allegorical meaning. Or, narrative may be the pre-textual story that the writer uses as the basis for the textual object. In this way we can consider the "idea" of the conceptual work to be the narrative of focus. Or, the narrative might be the path through the piece, the interpretation of the text created by those engaging with the work. Any given work of allegorical writing might have narrative operating on one or more levels at the same time. The flexibility of the term "allegory," and Place and Fitterman's elastic use of the concept, allow us to see the possibility of many different forms of making meaning.
The Second Fundamental Expansion:
The plural form of "conceptualism" employed by the work's title indicates the second way in which "Notes on Conceptualisms" operates as an expansive text. Under Place and Fitterman's definition of conceptual-writing-as-allegorical-writing, many different modes of work can be classified as "conceptual." Obviously, "conceptualisms" means to include non-literary genres of art making, but it also includes modes of writing that, it seems, would not be admitted into the fold by other definitions.[vi] While Place and Fitterman's "conceptualisms" has room for what they term "pure" conceptual writing (writing wherein the materiality of text operates as visual Conceptual Art (Dworkin) or writing wherein concept or idea takes precedence over the body and execution of the writing (Goldsmith)), Place and Fitterman open the field to include what they term "impure" or "post-conceptual" writing. In section 3b Place and Fitterman directly address the nature of "impure" conceptual work and the place it has under their umbrella:
What is an "impure" conceptualism or post-conceptualism in writing? A post-conceptualism might invite more interventionist editing of appropriated source material and more direct treatment of the self in relation to the "object," as in post-conceptual visual art where the self re-emerges, albeit alienated or distorted (see Paul McCarthy) (21).
Adding on to and/or editing the source material is more a strategy of post-conceptualism; so is reneging on the faithful execution of the initial concept. The most impure conceptualism may manifest in a symptomatic textual excess/extravagance such as the baroque (22).If we know our history of the term we can see that this definition and description of strategy provides many points of departure from what Place and Fitterman call "pure" conceptual work—conceptual writing as it is theorized by Dworkin and Goldsmith. For example, Dworkin's Introduction to the UbuWeb anthology begins by contrasting the nature of conceptual writing with the ethos of subjectivity that drives writing in the (normative) Romantic tradition. Under this rubric conceptual writing is born out of asking and answering such questions as "what would a non-expressive poetry look like? A poetry of the intellect rather than emotions? One in which the substitutions at the heart of metaphor and image were replace by the direct presentation of language itself, with 'spontaneous overflow' supplanted by meticulous procedure and exhaustively logical process?"
From considering these questions we can clearly see that Dworkin's framing of conceptual writing shows the movement to be one that pulls away from focusing writing on the question of subjectivity. As such, the UbuWeb notion of conceptual writing seems to have little room for the "impure" conceptual focus on what Place and Fitterman call "a direct treatment of the self in relation to the 'object,' as in post-conceptual visual art where the self re-emerges." Where "impure" conceptual writing might invest in re-emergent selves, "pure" conceptual writing seems to ask us to build writing and reading strategies that invest otherwise than in questions of the self, be they questions of "re-emergent," emergent, submerged, or merged subjectivities.
Furthermore, the "impure" conceptualist strategy of "interventionist editing" assumes that the textual object resulting from the conceptual idea is, itself, a thing of value that might be made better or differently or more meaningfully than it otherwise would be if the author strictly followed the rules of concept. Compare this emphasis on editing the made object with Dworkin's assertion that the test of conceptual writing is "no longer whether it could have been done better (the question of the workshop), but whether it could conceivably have been done otherwise." Employing "interventionist editing" tactics implies that, well, yes, this particular work of writing could have been done otherwise, and that there is a good to be had from making it better. Place and Fitterman assert that such work might still qualify as "conceptual" nevertheless. In addition, such strategies emphasize the result of writing—emphasize a thing that will be read, engaged with, and evaluated by an aesthetic standard that is antithetical to the "pure" conceptualist emphasis on concept over resulting object, on an ethos of the boring, the valueless, and the nutritionless.
Some readers may worry that in pluralizing conceptual writing to include elements such as interest in subjectivity and investment in improving the resulting written object, Place and Fitterman water down the ultimate value of conceptual writing practices. Rather than shrinking away from this worry, Place and Fitterman ask themselves: "Do these broken promises point to a failure in a conceptual writing text?" The answer that they give is: "Failure is the goal of conceptual writing." So, in virtue of the fact that they fail to achieve the goals of "pure" conceptualism, "impure" conceptualisms gain a place within the movement.
Whether or not you buy this response, Place and Fitterman's forays into the "impure" bring intriguing questions and quandaries to the table. The resulting volume takes on the relationship of conceptual work to such elements as feminism, ethics, representation, commoditization, failure, possibility, and of course, allegory. I encourage you to believe the testimonials of Ron Silliman, Marjorie Perloff, Mary Kelly, Kenneth Goldsmith, and Christian Bök declaring that this book is well worth the read."- Karla Kelsey 

Vanessa Place,  Parrot 11: Forcible Oral Copulation, Insert Blanc Press (Parrot Series), 2012.
1.  You could just write a short summary of the chapbook, which is artfully arranged and darkly comic legal testimony of, no surprise, forcible oral copulation. You could mention that it’s part of Insert Blanc’s Parrot series, provide an excerpt like the one below, and write something to the effect of writing a review of Strict-Lift Conceptual Writing is sort of like writing a review of a rock: is it a good rock?  Does it fulfill its implicit goals of being a rock?  And so on.
When asked if he orally copulated his victims, appellant said he hadn’t; when asked if he’d forced his victims to orally copulate him, appellant said he hadn’t; later, appellant said maybe he had.
2.  You could breeze through description and head straight into a discussion of Strict-Lift Conceptual Writing (henceforth SLCW), outlining the history and current state of it and then providing your opinion of it, writing maybe that unlike the more engaged conceptual writing found in great books like I’ll Drown My Book SLCW is sort of like the kind of joke that’s only funny the first time. The novelty wears off yet you keep hearing the same joke and you’re too bored to laugh so the joke-teller tries to confront you with titillating and/or shocking subject matter and you yawn because SLCW is SLCW is SLCW.
3.  You could breeze through points numbers one and two and throw down a gauntlet maybe something like Forcible Oral Copulation would be right at home on Paul Ryan’s bookshelf next to his Rush Limbaugh books because SLCW is inherently neoconservative in its negation of creativity, complexity, and pleasure in favor of dumb objects. SLCW the opposite of Conceptual Art’s dematerialization, a fetishizing of the material and content-free vs. anything remotely avant or provocative, and you could maybe say that SLCW is not going to hurt you but it’s sort of like trying to swat a dead fly with a completely numb arm. You’d go on to shore up your dragging in of capital P Politics by paraphrasing Adrian Piper’s statement that all art is political, whether explicitly or implicitly, and you’d compare the production of SLCW unlike thrilling freeform conceptual writing as a shutting down of possibility, a reduction, conservatism in the literal sense and so in the political. Or maybe you’d avoid politics because SLCW is maybe the it-girl of the 21st century alt lit scene and knocking it would be like yelling back at the television in a room full of people who want you to shut up and just watch like a reasonable person or else leave quietly.
4.  You could talk about your history as a rape survivor and wrap your discussion of Forcible Oral Copulation around its ability to do anything other than function as the outcome of an idea, simple curation that puts you on edge even though you’re supposed to be clinically distant and Over It anyway.
5.  You could zoom through points one through three and go light on the politics in favor of discussing why conceptual writing, along with The New Sincerity, are relics of Bush-era willful ignorance because both SLCW and The New Sincerity are not sincere but naive in their fumbling mimicry of something past or lost and serve the purpose to present a literary angle of attack that reduces literature to something fundamentally unchallenging and unnecessary. You could maybe bring politics in at this point but maybe not.
6.  You could maybe just skip the politics/naiveté stuff because you’re going to get called out on it and it’s more gut than thought-through strategic position and focus instead on the formal qualities of the curation in the pamphlet/chapbook, finding zest in the way Place has crafted her found language re: oral rape.
7.  You could just sing.  Loud, off-key.  “Everything’s Coming Up Roses.”
8.  You could hit it through points one and two and then admit that as brief as it is you didn’t even bother to read the whole work, and let that stand as its own review.
9.  You could skip points one and two and be radical and just wonder how a writer as brilliant as Vanessa Place and a press that regularly publishes great writers come up with something equivalent to salty oatmeal. Nothing wrong with salt, nothing wrong with oatmeal, but nothing you would necessarily want to spoon up, so you’re confused re: the lukewarm lumps with respect to evidence of brilliance you could document ranging from La Medusa to Place’s use of Facebook as a format for conceptual writing and you could list the great writers Insert Blanc has published or just link to their website. And you could be kid-gloves about this because it’s not as if Forcible Oral Copulation is a steaming pile, more that it just reads as lazy, even the provocative nature of the subject matter.  More could have been done here, you could say, but maybe that’s the whole point, you could counter, and you could leave it up to readers to decide what to do re: purchasing decisions based on your cursory summary without either endorsing or naysaying the chapbook because opinion re: a rock is not the point either.
10.  You could simply excerpt the text in its entirety and let readers decide what to do from there.
11.  Finally, you could be kind of coy and write a sort of meta-review that jabs a few sticks in a few directions but ultimately doesn’t address the work and make a point out of not addressing it because the whole idea is that writing a review of SLCW is cracker-jack because it’s beside the point.
- Nicholas Grider

How to do silence: a conversation with Vanessa Place at Lemon Hound

A Poetics of Radical Evil by Vanessa Place

What is Gaga by Vanessa Place

The Allegory and the Archive by Vanessa Place

I am not content: Kara Walker/Lawrence Weiner: Identity as Language/Language as Identity by
Vanessa Place

Vanessa Place: Poetry and the Conceptualist Period by Andrea Quaid Mar

Seven discourses with Vanessa Place by Divya Victor

Excerpt from The Gates by Vanessa Place

Enter COUNTESS LOVELACE with Servant girl by Vanessa Place

Hanne Darboven by Vanessa Place

Poetry Is Dead, I Killed It: an Essay by Vanessa Place

Statement of Facts by Vanessa Place (pdf)