Renee Gladman Juice

ISBN 13: 9780932716552

Juice

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9780932716552: Juice

Poetry. African American Studies. Gladman wields an idiosyncratic skill with description and characters that has drawn praise and attention from her contemporaries. JUICE describes a world where seemingly minor obsessions and details (like the narrator's almost random preference for juice) can structure and develop an entire story, down to its tone and style. As her narrator puts it: "So far it has been sex and leaves that keep me alive."

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About the Author:

Renee Gladman lives in Boston, Massachusettes, where she publishes Leon Works, a press for experimental fiction and cross-genre writing. Her books include NEWCOMER CAN'T SWIM (Kelsey Street Press, 2007), A PICTURE-FEELING (Roof Books, 2005), THE ACTIVIST (Krupskaya, 2003), JUICE (Kelsey Street Press, 2000), NOT RIGHT NOW (Second Story Books, 1998), and Arlem (Idiom Books, 1996). A novella Event Factory is forthcoming from Dorothy, a publishing project in fall 2010. She teaches at Brown University in the Program for Literary Arts.

From Publishers Weekly:

"About the body I know very little, though I am steadily trying to improve myself, in the way animals improve themselves by licking," begins Gladman's agreeably personal and expansively philosophical first collection of four fictional prose poems. Like the recent debut from fellow San Franciscan Pamela Lu (Pamela: A Novel), Gladman describes the strange dilemmas of selfhood when basic assumptions about who we are and why we do what we do have collapsed under various pressures, linguistic and otherwise. The opening 12-page "Translation" adopts various sociological poses to describe a people who "migrated off the `declining' coast" intent on discovering, via archeology and some odd logistical gestures, the secrets of its occluded past. In "Proportion Surviving," the "juice" of the book's title gets a delightful metaphorical ("I was happy. I mean, I was in my juice") and recollective workout from a Proustian glass of apple juice, to stalking the bottled aisle of the grocery store, to a love "crisis" that finally gets the speaker off it, seemingly for good. In "No Through Street," the narrator's sister wins fame for painting a series of functional but nonstandard street signs, setting off a series of oblique meditations on race, intimate relationships ("if this woman is the directionalist whom everyone knows about, who is my sister?") and cultural capital. In the most fragmented but most evocative piece, "First Sleep," the search for a "Mrs. Gladman" is carried out amidst a series of "sleeps," as if identity itself can be discerned only in the synthetic, but punctuated, moments of the subconscious. Though one wishes at times for a more vividly descriptive language or more concentrated elaboration of the ideas, this is a rich and unusual collection, like an alien codex from a culture in one's own backyard.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Renee Gladman
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