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Gail Scott

Furniture Music

Furniture Music

      • In Furniture Music, Montreal legend Gail Scott chronicles her years in Lower Manhattan during the Obama era, in a community of poets at the junction between formally radical and political art. Immersing herself in a New York topography that includes St. Mark’s Poetry Project and the Bowery Poetry Club, Scott writes from a ‘Northern’ awareness that is both immediate and inquisitive, from Obama’s election to Occupy Wall Street and Hurricane Sandy. Here, readers are situated in conversations around citizenship, gender performance, class, race, feminism, and what it means to write now. And the author is less a single voice than an assembler, ventriloquizing not only present voices but also a host of earlier writers and philosophers, notably, Gertrude Stein, Viktor Shklovsky, Walter Benjamin. The result is a staggering work of insight and hope during a critical time in American politics and art. 

      • Stunning and completely compelling, Gail Scott’s Furniture Music revisits the disappeared years between 2008-2013, the years when everything went blurry. During that time, Scott left her home in Montreal to conduct an informal study of the New York City avant-poetry world and she celebrates the achievements of writers like Akilah Oliver, Brenda Coultas and Rachel Levitsky with an insider’s insight.
        Chris Kraus

        Scott offers a portrait of this stretch of history as it occurs, interweaving, layering and overlapping commentary, events, lines from other writers (a combination of Scott’s own reading, attending readings and further in-person interactions), politics (the newly-minted President Barack Obama, for example, as counterpoint to our then-Conservative Prime Minister), language, translation and multiple other threads, interwoven across a text akin to the journal-lyrics of the (since) late New York School poet Bernadette Mayer. Scott seeks, as she offers at one point, a new way of thinking about prose through interacting with experimental poetry and experimental poets.
        Rob McLennan

        Scott is adept at using staccato sentences to create immediacy... the swirl of language invigorates more often than it frustrates. For readers willing to take the plunge, this is worth it.
        Publishers Weekly

        Gail Scott is a legend of the Montreal literary community, so I was thrilled to see that her latest book would be released by Wave Books, one of the most innovative US-based publishers around. Furniture Music did not and does not disappoint; Scott is concerned with the City as a place of plurality and singularity—the throng-loneliness of urban life—and here turns her attention to Lower Manhattan, thinking with and through a legion of voices, from Mina Loy and Renee Gladman to Heath Ledger and Barack Obama. The result is a text that is part memoir, part long-poem, part cityscape, part polyphony, part living thought. It’s excellent.
        Benjamin Bush, Librairie Drawn & Quarterly

      • Gail Scott’s prose works are laboratories for concocting tales about cities across language/genre/gender boundaries. Her 2021 poetics, Permanent Revolution (Book*hug Press 2021), engaging with radical prose writers across the continent, was short-listed for Le Grand Prix du livre de Montréal. Other acclaimed city novels include The Obituary (Coach House Books 2010), a fractalled tale of suppressed diversity in post-millennial Québec, also a Grand Prix finalist; Heroine (Talon Books 1987), about radical art and politics in turbulent 80s Montréal; and My Paris (Dalkey Archive Press 1999), about a sad diarist looking for a lost avant-garde in 90s Paris. Her translation of Michael Delisle’s Le désarroi du matelot was a Governor General finalist. She won major studio grants (Le Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec) for New York and Paris. She was an invited writer at Brown, UCSD, University of Alberta, and Université de Montréal, where she taught creative writing for fifteen years. Scott lives in Montréal.

Publication: October 2023

ISBN# 9781950268863 (6 x 8.5, 176pp, paperback)

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