POETRY

PUBLISHER
Siglio

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Paperback, 6 x 8 in. / 328 pgs / 184 bw.

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Pub Date
Active

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D.A.P. Exclusive
Catalog: SPRING 2020 p. 74   

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ISBN 9781938221248 TRADE
List Price: $28.00 CDN $39.00 GBP £25.00

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In stock

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SIGLIO

The Saddest Thing Is That I Have Had to Use Words: A Madeline Gins Reader

Edited with introduction by Lucy Ives.

ABOVE: A spread from 'The Saddest Thing Is That I Have Had to Use Words: A Madeline Gins Reader.'

A revelatory anthology of poems, experimental prose and previously unpublished work by Madeline Gins, the transdisciplinary writer-artist-thinker famed for her “Reversible Destiny” architecture

Poet, philosopher, speculative architect and transdisciplinary artist, Madeline Gins is well known for her collaborations with her husband, the artist Arakawa, on the experimental architectural project Reversible Destiny, in which they sought to arrest mortality by transforming the built environment. Yet, her own writings—in the form of poetry, essays, experimental prose and philosophical inquiries—represent her most visionary and transformative work. Like Gertrude Stein before her, Gins transfigures grammar and liberates words. Like her contemporaries in conceptual art, her writing is attuned to the energized, collaborative space between reader and page.

The Saddest Thing Is That I Have Had to Use Words: A Madeline Gins Reader is a revelatory anthology, edited and with an introduction by the writer and critic Lucy Ives. It brings never-before-published poems and essays together with a complete facsimile reproduction of Gins’ 1969 masterpiece, WORD RAIN (or A Discursive Introduction to the Intimate Philosophical Investigations of G,R,E,T,A, G,A,R,B,O, It Says), along with substantial excerpts from her two later books What the President Will Say and Do!! (1984) and Helen Keller or Arakawa (1994). Long out of print or unpublished, Gins’ poems and prose form a powerful corpus of experimental literature, one which is sure to upend existing narratives of American poetics at the close of the 20th century.

Born in the Bronx and long a resident of New York City, Madeline Gins (1941–2014) participated in experimental artistic and literary movements of the 1960s and ‘70s before developing a collaborative practice as a philosopher and architect. Alongside her own writing, Gins collaborated with her husband, the artist Arakawa, on a theory of “procedural architecture,” an endeavor to create buildings and environments that would prevent human death.


ABOVE: A spread from 'The Saddest Thing Is That I Have Had to Use Words: A Madeline Gins Reader.'

PRAISE AND REVIEWS

Ursula

Randy Kennedy

[A] radical reinvention of fiction.

Publishers Weekly

Editors

Stimulating and consistently surprising, this is a treat for those interested in interdisciplinary artists such as John Cage.

Brooklyn Rail

Megan Liberty

This collection brings to light the literary achievements of conceptual artist and speculative architect Madeline Gins.

Frieze

Steve Zultanski

This generous selection of texts is an opportunity to engage with the full scope of [Gins's] thinking.

4 Columns

Quinn Latimer

A startling collection of essays, novels, artist books, and poems.

Hyperallergic

Karla Kelsey

Exploratory, playful, participatory: these are the “design-elements” Gins employs to interface with the permeable form of being-human that she imagines for us. To this list I must also add generosity, as she delivers to us a version of ourselves, and of language, that is fluid and abundant. The editing and publishing of The Saddest Thing Is That I Have Had to Use Words: A Madeline Gins Reader reflects this generosity, fluidity, and abundance. I’m hard-pressed to think of any other attributes more crucial to cultivate in our present time.

PIN-UP

Alice Bucknell

Though her style fluctuates, Gins’s keen interest in the embodied relationship between writing and reading remains constant throughout the collection [...] For Gins, words are nothing if not physical... Experiencing Gins’s writing in print — at long last — is so necessary.

The Saddest Thing Is That I Have Had to Use Words: A Madeline Gins Reader

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FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 4/24/2020

In Siglio's new Madeline Gins Reader, the plot thickens and thickens, line by line, item by item

In Siglio's new Madeline Gins Reader, the plot thickens and thickens, line by line, item by item

Featured poem, "GHOSTING," is reproduced from The Saddest Thing Is That I Have Had to Use Words: A Madeline Gins Reader, releasing this week but already a critic's pick in Publishers Weekly, Frieze, Design Observer and on the Poetry Foundation website, to name just a few. Published by Siglio and edited by Lucy Ives, it's a bookseller favorite too, collecting poems, experimental prose and previously unpublished work by transdisciplinary writer, artist and thinker Madeline Gins, normally best known for her “Reversible Destiny” architecture, produced in collaboration with her husband, the artist Arakawa. Ives calls "GHOSTING" one of the most intriguing poems in Gins's Trans-P series, drawing parallels with the "schematic, recursive poems the artist Dan Graham was making around the same time, in the late 1960s, with the significant difference that while Graham was engaged in a sort of war of attrition with respect to meaning and context, Gins’s list poems invite infinite additions of meaning and context… Gins does not reduce words to their grammatical functions but rather encourages the reader to discover along with her what words will do, once they have been stripped bare of grammar. This is, after all, the affordance of a list: it provides structure and a kind of time, without resorting to the hierarchies of grammar-based sense. Lists are associative and sometimes freeing, playful. They also cannot help but evoke the deductive logic of a philosophical syllogism, an effect exploited by Gins to produce a sense of possibility and entailment in the poems of Trans-P, something along the lines of, if '-1. ON THE SUBWAY,' then, '1. IMBROGLIO.' In other words, the plot thickens and thickens, line by line, item by item." continue to blog


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