field guide to autobiography


Product Details

Operating System
Publish Date
April 12, 2018
5.06 X 0.2 X 7.81 inches | 0.22 pounds
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Lynne DeSilva-Johnson is a nonbinary queer artist, scholar, curator, educator, and facilitator working in performance, exhibition, and publication in conversation with new media. She is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at Pratt Institute, and taught at the City College of New York for over a decade. A seasoned freelance editor and book designer, for years on the team of the critically acclaimed 306090 Books, Lynne is the founder and Managing Editor of The Operating System, (a radical open source arts organization and small press) as well as Libraries Editor at Boog City. She is the author of GROUND, blood atlas, Overview Effect, In Memory of Feasible Grace, Sweet and Low, and Progeny Restoration Corpoation, as well as co-author of A GUN SHOW with Adam Sliwinsk/Sō Percussion, and co-editor of the anthologies RESIST MUCH, OBEY LITTLE: Poems for the Resistance, and In Corpore Sano: Creative Practice and the Challenged Body. For The OS, she has edited and designed nearly 50 books to date, with many more on the way. Lynne and her work have been featured at a diverse array of venues, including The Dumbo Arts Festival, Naropa University, Artists Space, Bowery Arts and Science, The NYC Poetry Festival, Eyebeam, LaMaMa, Undercurrent Projects, Mellow Pages, The New York Public Library, VON, Launchpad BK, The Poetry Project, Temple University, Industry City Distillery, Happy Lucky No. 1, Howl Happening, Independent Curators International, Hell Phone, WCKR 89.9 FM NY, Unnamable Books, The Sidewalk Cafe, Parkside Lounge, Dixon Place, Poets Settlement, Karpeles Manuscript Library, Holland Tunnel Gallery, the Cooper Union, and in many publications. A deeply committed futurist, Lynne is always seeking (r)evolutionary possibility, through the building and reshaping of increasingly intelligent systems, institutions, and processes. For more, see: http: // http: //


What is a species autobiography? An autobiography not written through the convention of the senses? What is the bone mouth, what is it to break the surface? If autobiography is a particular history of body and bodies, then what kind of book is this? What does it permit itself: not to know? Does the book accomplish its non-human (human) aims? I like that there is a wren in it. I like that there is a whale.

-- Bhanu Kapil

This book earns its title. It's a field guide to the ecosystem that is being human. And that means it is also an autobiography. It is unclear in most of the poems where the human begins and ends, and this is how it should be. The world that comes out of these poems is luminous and difficult. This isn't conventional poetry; it's a poetry that helps us understand the future and the world that embeds us.

-- Juliana Spahr

Forage the wilds of language with Melissa Eleftherion's field guide and find yourself bodily reconstituted in sensate particles of taste and sound. Saturated in the langauge of insects, these poems expose identity's viscera down to its protoplasmic and mineral compositions, its Latinate roots, its collectivizing and individuating compulsions. Passing through syllabic way-stations of consciousness in formation, attention is brought to bear upon that which is irreducbly alien in us, yet common as fur and delectably female in its reproductive capacity--not to mention, badass! Here are whorls and bursts of light, where to fly is to sing is to fly, where "soft noises" compose a listening to instruct your ontological imagination. Following Eleftherion's exertion towards classification, we are led to its (im)possibility. Read this book! You never know what form you may be compelled to assume.

-- Elise Ficarra