Triple Canopy and Dalkey Archive Press present an afternoon of failure, to celebrate the release of the Review of Contemporary Fiction’s “Failure” issue, guest-edited by Joshua Cohen. The program will include attempted readings from the issue by Eileen Myles, Helen DeWitt, Sam Frank, Travis Jeppesen, and Keith Gessen; a botched tribute to the classics of American literature by John Collins and Scott Shepherd of the theater group Elevator Repair Service; mangled covers of pop songs by US Girls; and an effort to resurrect William Gaddis.
Joshua Cohen’s most recent novel is Witz (2010). He is the guest editor of the Review of Contemporary Fiction’s “Failure” issue.
Eileen Myles’s Inferno (a poet’s novel) is just out from OR books. For the essay collection The Importance of Being Iceland (2009), she received a Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation grant. Sorry, Tree (2007) is her most recent book of poems. In 2010, the Poetry Society of America awarded her the Shelley Prize.
Helen DeWitt is author of The Last Samurai (2000) and, with Ilya Gridneff, coauthor of Your Name Here (2007).
Sam Frank is an editor of Triple Canopy. His essay for the issue, “The Document,” has been reprinted by Triple Canopy here.
Travis Jeppesen is a novelist, poet, and art critic based in Berlin. His books include Victims (2003), Poems I Wrote While Watching TV (2006), Wolf at the Door (2007), and a collection of art criticism, Disorientations: Art on the Margins of the “Contemporary” (2008).
Keith Gessen is an editor of n+1. His translation of Voices from Chernobyl won the National Book Critics Circle award for nonfiction in 2005. His first novel, All the Sad Young Literary Men, was published by Viking in 2008.
Elevator Repair Service, a theater ensemble, was founded by director John Collins and a group of actors in 1991. At MoMA PS1, ERS presents a sneak preview of a new collaboration with installation artists Ben Rubin and Mark Hansen. They will playfully mine several of their past shows and reimagine the material as it falls apart and reforms itself into unexpected new scenes. The work will feature Scott Shepherd, star of the group’s acclaimed Gatz, a six-hour enactment of The Great Gatsby.
US Girls (Meg Remy) has released two albums, Introducing and Go Grey, both on Siltbreeze, and singles and CD-Rs on Chocolate Monk, Not Not Fun, Hardscrabble Amateurs, Cherry Burger, and Atelier Ciseaux.
William Gaddis (1922–1998) was the author of five novels, two of which won National Book Awards. He taught a course titled “Literature of Failure” at Bard College in 1979.
Triple Canopy is an online magazine, workspace, and platform for editorial and curatorial activities. Working collaboratively with writers, artists, and researchers, Triple Canopy facilitates projects that engage the Internet’s specific characteristics as a public forum and as a medium, one with its own evolving practices of reading and viewing, economies of attention, and modes of interaction. In doing so, Triple Canopy is charting an expanded field of publication, drawing on the history of print culture while acting as a hub for the exploration of emerging forms and the public spaces constituted around them.
The Review of Contemporary Fiction was launched in 1981 to provide a critical discourse around innovative literary works of the highest caliber that have largely been ignored by the mainstream media. Over the years, the Review has provided an alternative canon for contemporary fiction and has introduced such writers as David Foster Wallace, David Markson, and Gilbert Sorrentino, well before they were embraced by the critical establishment. (Wallace served for a time as an editor of the journal, and guest-edited a “Future of Fiction” issue, in 1996.) The Review has also published numerous anthology issues dedicated to new writing from foreign countries, special issues dedicated to innovative publishers (Grove Press, Editions P.O.L), and special topic issues, including the present “Failure” issue.