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The Work-Shy (Hardback)

P&S History > Humanities > Poetry

Imprint: Wesleyan University Press
Pages: 160
Illustrations: 13 illus.
ISBN: 9780819576781
Published: 27th December 2016
Casemate UK Academic

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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.

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