by Punctum Books

Wound Building: Dispatches from the Latest Disasters in UK Poetry
Danny Hayward
Punctum Books - 21.00€ -

Wound Building is a volume of essays, with digressions, on one group of contemporary poets active in a self-organizing political poetry scene in the UK, most of whom have little to no audience outside of the little magazines that they publish and the reading series they put on. The book is a front-line report on the rapid development of this poetry in the period between 2015 and 2020, with a particular focus on the relationship of poetry to violence and its representation. The poets discussed here write violent love poems and violent elegies as well as violent fantasies composed in stabs of violent verse and violet prose. The poems themselves comprise fantasies of killing David Cameron, dreams of being split open along a seam, basement songs, hundreds of pages of notes on working life in a privatized care home in Hove, East Sussex, a four-line slogan about the Cologne groping scandal of New Year 2016, variations on the Refugees Medical Phrasebook, a life wasted in a factory in Guangzhou, an autobiographical sci-fi internet fever dream, an anarchist elegy, and a refusal to argue. Ultimately, Hayward argues that the lessons this poetry teaches is never to write a "worthy" narrative when a fucked up collage will do. Rather than a cohesive "account" of a "school" of poets, or a "contribution" to the boring tittle-tattle of aesthetic debates over British poetry as an institution, Wound Building is a front-line report on the local disasters of a contemporary UK poetry caught in the grip of the historical cataclysm of capitalist culture.

Wound Building is further concerned with aesthetic problems related to Marxism, anarchism, contemporary trans politics, and class, though its "theoretical" preoccupations are subordinated to its desire to provide a ground-level view on the writing itself, its production, its intellectual aporia, and the ways it finds itself outstripped by the ongoing "march of events." The book will be of interest not only for those concerned with contemporary British political and experimental poetry, but also more generally for anyone who wishes to think carefully about what it means to make art about present-day history and its many horrible enormities.

The book's title is derived from the idea of sublime woundedness that subtends the context of the poets discussed here: the impressions of wounds opening up like LED-lit shopfronts in the night, in a parallel universe in which injury is intoxicatingly impersonal and structural, and which forms the environment in which the poems fight to absolutize the value of every last breath, or face into the reality of extravagantly violent wish fulfillment, or dissolve themselves in a search for new ways of professing love, or transform into a kind of expressionism of vomiting up medical-diagnostic categories found in abstract social labor, or pump their verses full of the convulsive rhythms of surprise and sudden relief, without any guarantee that this is the right thing to do or that anyone will even fucking hear. Wound Building does not historicize this state of affairs as much as it attempts to live alongside the immediacy of this work, in order to see what is still possible for poetry, and criticism, to make and do.

Pedagogics of Liberation: A Latin American Philosophy of Education
Enrique Dussel
Punctum Books - 22.00€ -  out of stock

Enrique Dussel is considered one of the founding philosophers of liberation in the Latin American tradition, an influential arm of what is now called decoloniality. While he is astoundingly prolific, relatively few of his works can be found in English translation - and none of these focus specifically on education. Founding members of the Latin American Philosophy of Education Society David I. Backer and Cecilia Diego bring to us Dussel's THE PEDAGOGICS OF LIBERATION: A Latin American Philosophy of Education, the first English translation of Dussel's thinking on education, and also the first translation of any part of his landmark multi-volume work Towards an Ethics of Latin American Liberation.

Drawing heavily from the ethical philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas, Dussel examines the dominating and liberating features of intimate, concrete, and observable interactions between different kinds of people who might sit down and have face-to-face encounters, specifically where there may be an inequality of knowledge and a responsibility to guide, teach, learn, care, or study: teacher-student, politician-citizen, doctor-patient, philosopher-nonphilosopher, and so on. Those occupying the superior position of these face-to-face encounters (teachers, politicians, doctors, philosophers) have a clear choice for Dussel when it comes to their pedagogics. They are either open to hearing the voice of the Other, disrupting their sense of what is and should be by a newness beyond what they know; or, following the dominant pedagogics, they can try to communicate and instruct their sense of what is and should be to the (supposed) tabula rasas in their charge. Dussel calls that sense of what is and should be "lo Mismo."

This groundbreaking translation makes possible a face-to-face encounter between an Anglo Philosophy of Education and Latin American Pedagogics. "Pedagogics" should be considered as a type of philosophical inquiry alongside ethics, economics, and politics. Dussel's pedagogics is a decolonizing pedagogics, one rooted in the philosophy of liberation he has spent his epic career articulating. With an Introduction by renowned philosopher Linda Martin Alcoff, this book adds an essential voice to our conversations about teaching, learning, and studying, as well as critical theory in general.

ENRIQUE DUSSEL was born in 1934 in the town of La Paz, in the region of Mendoza, Argentina. He first came to Mexico in 1975 as a political exile and is currently a Mexican citizen, Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the Iztapalapa campus of the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (Autonomous Metropolitan University, UAM), and also teaches courses at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (National Autonomous University of Mexico, UNAM).

Queer Ancient Ways: A Decolonial Exploration
Zairong Xiang
Punctum Books - 25.00€ -  out of stock

Queer Ancient Ways advocates a profound unlearning of colonial/modern categories as a pathway to the discovery of new forms and theories of queerness in the most ancient of sources. In this radically unconventional work, Zairong Xiang investigates scholarly receptions of mythological figures in Babylonian and Nahua creation myths, exposing the ways they have consistently been gendered as feminine in a manner that is not supported, and in some cases actively discouraged, by the texts themselves.

An exercise in decolonial learning-to-learn from non-Western and non-modern cosmologies, Xiang's work uncovers a rich queer imaginary that had been all-but-lost to modern thought, in the process critically revealing the operations of modern/colonial systems of gender/sexuality and knowledge-formation that have functioned, from the Conquista de America in the sixteenth century to the present, to keep these systems in obscurity.

At the heart of Xiang's argument is an account of the way the unfounded feminization of figures such as the Babylonian (co)creatrix Tiamat, and the Nahua creator-figures Tlaltecuhtli and Coatlicue, is complicit with their monstrification. This complicity tells us less about the mythologies themselves than about the dualistic system of gender and sexuality within which they have been studied, underpinned by a consistent tendency in modern/colonial thought to insist on unbridgeable categorical differences.

By contextualizing these deities in their respective mythological, linguistic, and cultural environments, through a unique combination of methodologies and critical traditions in English, Spanish, French, Chinese, and Nahuatl, Xiang departs from the over-reliance of much contemporary queer theory on European (post)modern thought. Much more than a queering of the non-Western and non-modern, Queer Ancient Ways thus constitutes a decolonial and transdisciplinary engagement with ancient cosmologies and ways of thought which are in the process themselves revealed as theoretical sources of and for the queer imagination.

Desire/Love
Lauren Berlant
Punctum Books - 18.00€ -  out of stock

In this small theoretical novella-cum-dictionary entry, Lauren Berlant engages love and desire in separate entries. In the first entry, Desire mainly describes the feeling one person has for something else: it is organized by psychoanalytic accounts of attachment, and tells briefly the history of their importance in critical theory and practice. The second entry, on Love, begins with an excursion into fantasy, moving away from the parent-child structure so central to psychoanalysis and looking instead at the centrality of context, environment, and history. The entry on Love describes some workings of romance across personal life and commodity culture, the place where subjects start to think about fantasy on behalf of their actual lives.

Whether viewed psychoanalytically, institutionally, or ideologically, love is deemed always an outcome of fantasy. Without fantasy, there would be no love. Desire/Love takes us on a tour of all of the things that sentence might mean.

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