[05/01/24] Hsiung, Valerie: The Naif

[05/01/24] Hsiung, Valerie: The Naif

Regular price $20.00 Sale

Ugly Duckling Presse, paperback

Publication Date: May 1, 2024

Publisher Marketing: The Naif lives in a practiced state of naivety—a language-fasted, resource-starved loop—and it lives as a test: of what awareness, what becoming, what imagination is possible under the scarcest of conditions, conditions that can make it impossible to deceive or beguile (others or oneself). It is a book as glass house reversed, where the person walking by can see all the way in, but the person inside can't see halfway out—and yet the person inside has made this house. Perhaps because of the danger to the writer's life that would result from any direct address to the Apparatus, the writer will have to commandeer the Apparatus's own terms of "neutrality" to forge a secret path and get word (past the Apparatus) into the right hands. As though she, a language worker, under the watchful eye of the Apparatus, has been forced to create these daily logs, to send news to the other world that all is ok. So she must be careful what she says and what she doesn't; so she does her job, and yet leaves clues throughout: all is not ok. Valerie Hsiung is a poet, interdisciplinary artist, and the author of multiple poetry and hybrid writing collections, including The only name we can call it now is not its only name (Counterpath), To love an artist (Essay Press), selected by Renee Gladman for the Essay Press Book Prize, outside voices, please (CSU), selected for the CSU Open Book Prize, YOU & ME FOREVER (Action Books), and e f g (Action Books). Her writing has appeared in print (Annulet, BathHouse Journal, The Believer, Chicago Review, digital vestiges, Gulf Coast, The Nation, New Delta Review), in flesh (Treefort Music Festival, Common Area Maintenance, The Poetry Project), in sound waves (Montez Press Radio, Hyle Greece), and other forms of particulate matter. Her work has been supported by Foundation for Contemporary Arts, PEN America, and Lighthouse Works. Born in the Year of the Earth Snake and raised by Chinese-Taiwanese immigrants in Cincinnati, Ohio, she now lives in the mountains of Colorado where she teaches as Assistant Professor of Creative Writing & Poetics at Naropa. PRAISE "Halfway between Kafka's Singer and Melville's Scrivener, Hsiung's Naif wields syntax as both tuning fork and sensor, sounding a singular diphthong at once cosmic and quasi-comic. With minute adjustments to eyeline and plumbline, this naif induces us to perceive human interaction as at once present and potential, threat and promise, banquet and gambit, culture and cult." —Joyelle McSweeney "A philosophical rumination that pulls us all the way into its depths, The Naif is an abstract painting made of words and sentences and punctuation or lack thereof, a distant memory whose skin you get to touch and feel as you attempt to find your way through its centers and peripheries. The Naif is an attempt for 'reconciliation' between what we try to do in life while we have 'already gone off course,' while we navigate an intimate piece of clothing dangling on a chair, cheese, mouse, juice gone bad, a lamp, a gift shop, all the what and the who of the everyday guiding us toward the word 'transcend.' Kneading a slippery 'new way of life' into a shape that is shifting and grounding, Valerie Hsiung shares with us her being in and out of community, in intimacy and in selfness. She invites us to 'conduct ourselves according to the pulse of each other without losing the pulse of ourselves' while we immerse ourselves in the pulse of her beautiful language offering." —Poupeh Missaghi