Once again, after a bit of a hiatus, we are pleased to present Double Room Issue #9. I remain committed to publishing great prose poetry, short fiction, reviews, art work, interviews chapbooks and more, even if on a bit of an inconsistent and irregular basis. We appreciate the support and interest of our many readers and will continue to publish issues when possible.
This current issue is guest edited by Tan Lin. Tan Lin is the author of numerous works of poetry, fiction, and, perhaps most significantly, work that dismantles or 'explodes' genre categories. In fact, much of Lin's work is difficult to quantify or describe. Take, for instance, BIB., Rev. Ed. (Westphalie Verlag, 2011), which has been called "unpublishable." Lin describes it in the following way:
"The work aims to record nearly everything I read in the period(s) in question, detailing the time I read it, the place, sometimes a "tag" on the nature of the content, and sometimes an excerpt of the content itself. The work is a document of reading – not only what was read but the manner in which and the location of things read, which is to say it is a loose and non-systematic procedure for tagging or cataloging and digesting the elements that taken together constitute a reading process or reading environment. This environment of reading does not make it clear what the document itself is, which remains as blurry as reading, regarded as a practice or a system or an emerging genre: is it a catalog, a diary, a work of creative writing, a digest, anautobiography, a bit of typing, a cut and paste job, an example of data mining, an analog version of geo tagging?"
You can find BIB., Rev. Ed. on ubu.com in Kenneth Goldsmith's "Publishing The Unpublishable"(http://www.ubu.com/ubu/unpub.html). The two multi-authored Heath projects are equally as genre-bending and consist of news feeds, a history of performance art, a defense of plagiarism, a history of the search engine, a Blimpie advertisement, autographed photos of Jackie Chan and Heath Ledger, diary entries, and much more.
One of my personal favorites is Insomnia and the Aunt (Kenning Editions, 2011), which is effectively described here by SPD (I particularly like how even basic genre categorization requires six labels):
Saddle-stitched chapbook with wraps. Fiction. Literary Nonfiction. Cross-Genre. Art. Asian American Studies. Tan Lin's INSOMNIA AND THE AUNT is an ambient novel composed of black and white photographs, postcards, Google reverse searches, letters, appendices, an index to an imaginary novel, reruns, and footnotes. The aunt in question can't sleep. She runs a motel in the Pacific Northwest. She likes watching Conan O'Brien late at night. She may be the narrator's aunt or she may be an emanation of a TV set. Structured like everybody's scrapbook, and blending fiction with nonfictional events, INSOMNIA AND THE AUNT is about identities taken and given up, and about the passions of an immigrant life, rebroadcast as furniture. Ostensibly about a young man's disintegrating memory of his most fascinating relative, or potentially a conceptualist take on immigrant literature, it is probably just a treatment for a prime-time event that, because no one sleeps in motels, lasts into the late night and daytime slots.
In addition to Insomnia and the Aunt, Tan Lin's publications include the following:
- BIB., Rev. Ed. Westphalie Verlag (Vienna), 2011
- Heath Course Pak. Counterpath Press, 2011
- Insomnia and the Aunt. Kenning Editions, 2011
- Purple/Pink Appendix. Edit Publications, 2010
- Blurb. Edit Publications, 2010
- 7 Controlled Vocabularies and Obituary 2004. The Joy of Cooking, Wesleyan University Press, 2010
- Heath. Plagiarism/Outsource, Notes Towards the Definition of Culture, Untilted Heath Ledger, Project, a History of the Search Engine, Disco OS. Zaesterle Press, 2007
- Kruder & Dorfmeister. With M.E. Carroll. Madrid: Centro Cultural Montehermoso, 2007
- ambience is a novel with a logo. New York: Katalanche Press, 2007
- BlipSoak01. Berkeley, California: Atelos Press, 2003
- Lotion Bullwhip Giraffe. Los Angeles: Sun and Moon Press, 1996
His work has appeared in numerous journals including Conjunctions, Artforum, Cabinet, New York Times Book Review, Art in America, and Purple. His video, theatrical and LCD work have been shown at the Marianne Boesky Gallery, Yale Art Museum, Sophienholm Museum (Copenhagen), Ontological Hysterical Theatre, and as part of the Whitney Museum of American Art's Soundcheck Series. Lin is the recipient of a Getty Distinguished Scholar Grant for 2004-2005 and a Warhol Foundation/Creative Capital Arts Writing Grant to complete a book-length study of the writings of Andy Warhol. He has taught at the University of Virginia and Cal Arts, and currently teaches creative writing at New Jersey City University.
This list of works and short bio provide an idea of Tan Lin's aesthetic sensibility and perhaps the choices he makes as an editor. However, since he is a colleague of mine at New Jersey City University, I thought I might relate a more personal description of his 'mind at work,' as related to me by one of our mutual students. Our student said this recently about taking a basic creative writing course with him: "He begins the class with Tender Buttons by Gertrude Stein. So, it's kind of a total mind fuck to begin with. It's really wild. He changes the way you think about poetry and about what poetry is." I think you'll find this very impulse at work in this issue.
Consider, for example, Charles Bernstein's intriguing and comic call/response poem "I Used To Be a Plastic Bottle" or Kieran Daly's prose poem / play / story, "Testing Water: A Play." Both 'test the waters,' so to speak, of logic, language, form, and understanding. "Outcomes" by Chris Sylvester—a list of supposed results, achievements or states becomes an exploration of self, identity and even the narration of a life—stands in radical juxtaposition to John Yau's imagistic and deceptively simple urban snapshots.
Enjoy the issue and stay-tuned for information about upcoming issues and future reading periods.