Authorship and the Collective: Kyle Minor on Montevidayo and Percussion Grenade

by on Jun.25, 2012



Et In Montevidayo Ego…

Montevidayans, I wanted to post this really interesting review of my new book on HTML Giant, not only because I’m really proud of it, but also because of the way Kyle Minor  reads my book through the prism of our collective authorship/readership here at Montevidayo. It’s exciting. It suggests to me that we have really made something here.  Here’s his characterization:


The Montevidayans, a loose group of writers and poets and visual artists (including Joyelle McSweeney, Johannes Goransson, Lara Glenum, Danielle Pafunda, and, more loosely, Kate Bernheimer), are distinguished from the preponderance of those who are identified (or who self-identify) as avant-garde or experimental or “new” or otherwise willfully other, by their willingness to embrace and explore rather than to exclude, and by their idea that art can accommodate the high, the low, the middle, the sideways, the backwards, the constructive, the destructive, the deconstructive, the narrative, the anti-narrative, the lyric, the dramatic, the miniature, the epic, the restrained, the willfully artful, the willfully artless, the garish, the respectable, the kitschy, the hybrid, the hi-bred, the high bread, and the red hype. Where others out of explicit big-timing (and implicit self-protection or self-promotion) construct ever smaller boxes within which art might reside — and say, implicitly (and sometimes explicitly): because I reject your standard notion of rules, which are meant to bind and shame me, I will make an idiosyncratic notion of rules, which are meant to bind and shame all who are not like me — the Montevidayans, in general, say: Yes.


6 comments for this entry:
  1. Kent Johnson


    For I see that the bizarre moniker “Montevidayans” is currently with much currency in the bazaars of the literati!

    Though I, for one, am not a “Montevidayan,” I am surely satisfied to have coined the term from air in a lost comment whose theme I cannot now recall. O, I did notice that many began to use it as soon as I did coin it.

    And it is quite appropriate that I would have done thus, having grown up in Lautreamont’s Montevideo, I think I have mentioned, for the irony of it. By the way, has anyone ever seen State of Siege, the great Costa Gavras film, with Yves Montand as the CIA torture-instructor Daniel Mitrione, who was executed by the Tupamaros, the latter who now happen, strange history, to run the country? What a great movie! Mitrione’s kids were classmates of mine at the Uruguayan-American School, population 47.

    But truly, you’re welcome, Montevidayans. Literary history so much depends, forsooth, on collective nominals beside the white chickens, and though I will never be graced for it openly, I know you must all always hold in your folded hands a soundless disc of thanks from your alabaster avant tombs.

  2. Johannes

    Yes, it’s an interesting nationality to be from – the nationality of misspellings in mistranslation.

    As for alabaster wombs, I would quite like one of those. I also like amethysts. And assassination movies.


  3. Michael Peverett

    I guess you’re aware, but just in case you’re not, that Flet is splashed big on Dennis Cooper’s DCs today…

  4. Kent Johnson

    Speaking of misspellings, alabaster *wombs,* Johannes, is better than ‘tombs’ and almost as good as ‘chambers.’

    Really, ED’s poem is a spooky sort of premonitory elegy for the poetic avant-garde, in the grander scheme of the a-g’s historical arc and mechanically repeating fate. Check it out:

    Safe in their alabaster chambers,
    Untouched by morning and untouched by noon,
    Sleep the meek members of the resurrection,
    Rafter of satin, and roof of stone.

    Light laughs the breeze in her castle of sunshine;
    Babbles the bee in a stolid ear;
    Pipe the sweet birds in ignorant cadences, —
    Ah, what sagacity perished here!

    Grand go the years in the crescent above them;
    Worlds scoop their arcs, and firmaments row,
    Diadems drop and Doges surrender,
    Soundless as dots on a disk of snow.

  5. Kent Johnson

    And meant to say that the excerpts I’ve read from Percussion Grenade are quite stunning. From what I’ve seen, the notices should continue coming.

  6. Danielle Pafunda

    I <3 Kyle's Montevidayo capsule. It is exciting. & indeed an interesting review, especially the speculation about where PG sits in the Joyelle oeuvre.

    Anyone remember that alabaster (porcelain?) chamber that Julianne Moore moves into at the end of Todd Haynes’s Safe. Total womb/tomb/chamber of the untouch.