The Work-Shy (Wesleyan Poetry)

BLUNT RESEARCH GROUP

Published by Wesleyan, 2016
ISBN 10: 0819576786 / ISBN 13: 9780819576781
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Synopsis: The Work-Shy documents a secret network of overlooked communities that work in ways that defy work as we know it. Its poetic assemblages offer direct testimony from the first youth prison in California (the Whittier State School) and from asylums for the chronically insane (preserved in the Prinzhorn Collection in Germany and the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in New York City). Activating what poet Susan Howe calls “the telepathy of the archive,” these poems occupy identities rooted in the demimonde and in places of confinement; they build portraits of individuals at once denied work and subjected to its punishing routine. As “translations” of apparently unredeemable texts, the poems convert the dubious paradigms of degeneracy, solipsism, and madness into a mutable archive of infidel culture. Published under the collective, anonymous signature of the BLUNT RESEARCH GROUP, this work nevertheless harbors the proper name of every voice it records. By converting the procedures of appropriation and sampling into a poetics of close listening, The Work-Shy operates at the crossroads of lyric and documentary poetries, of singularity and collectivism. An online readers companion will be available at bluntresearchgroup.site.wesleyan.edu.

Review: "The chorus of voices raised in this book refuses isolation."--Henk Rossouw "Boston Review" (2/1/2017 12:00:00 AM)

"In its every aspect, The Work-Shy, is generative of thinking, and that should be counted a true achievement. Books of poetry often have a take-it-or-leave-it air. The Work-Shy, though is worrying and when shut continues to worry its reader, not least because there are poems in the second sequence that make much admired poetry of the present look posturing and paltry."--John Wilkinson "Critical Inquiry" (3/23/2017 12:00:00 AM)

"The Work-Shy 'wrest[s] poems from the lived experience of incarceration as if poetry could be a jailbreak ... The success of BLUNT RESEARCH GROUP's undertaking rests in their soft but persistent demand that we as readers listen.'"--Eli P. Mandel "Make literary magazine" (5/1/2017 12:00:00 AM)

"To striking, uncomfortable effect, the collection illuminates the eugenicist movement's ties to state schools for the so called 'work-shy'--children deemed incorrigibles by the state--and mental health institutions in the early 20th century."--John Wilkinson "Publishers Weekly" (12/1/2016 12:00:00 AM)

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Title: The Work-Shy (Wesleyan Poetry)
Publisher: Wesleyan
Publication Date: 2016
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: New

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