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Author: erica kaufman

Publisher: Roof Books (2019)

Following her 2011 collection INSTANT CLASSIC, erica kaufman returns with the fierce and fiery POST CLASSIC. It is juicy; it is adamant; it is “sapphic emo sewage.” Culling from homoerotics of the epic tradition, lesbian pulp, parodies of academe-speak, and texts of resistance, POST CLASSIC is as delicious as it is audacious.

POST CLASSIC tunes into the way supposedly radical thought and action becomes institutionalized and pacified. “sing to me o institutional hashtag,” kaufman invokes and then proceeds to offer us manifold rebellious, monstrous forms to rage against the neoliberal university cultural industry and refuses “to replicate the experience / of being summarized repackaged / for a world where spelling counts.”

How does atrocity linger and haunt? What is the use-value of fishnets? kaufman navigates these questions and more through her remix and remake of language, braided together with explorations of inherited trauma, post memory, and literary histories. She reveals with precision how systems of oppression and domination render living bodies invisible or devalued, only to capitalize on them once dead in the postmortem wake brought to you by the “memorial industrial complex.”

In the face of rampant violations, POST CLASSIC enters as a superheroic combatant in combat boots and “wrangles institutional gods.” This book torques with the packaged language used to quell us while pushing us toward a greater disobedience—one that takes playfulness and rigor in the same fist. Her lyricism is epic; epic quakes in comparison.

POST CLASSIC offers the reader new spaces of desire, merging desire with disobedience as a way to combat the order of the world. She disrupts conventional understandings of use and valuation, offering us latex, nail polish, and the chant: “this is victory this is war this is protest fatigue a brief gestural eulogy.”

kaufman shows us the stakes and shows us the way to confront, to confound, to exacerbate. She reorients ways of knowing away from an authorative historical that and toward a vast sensorium that rejects “vocabularies / of management.” In that rejection the poems folds together periphery and center, canon and margins, Paradise Lost and The Dyke Diagnostic Manual, to generate a grammar as strange as it is enticing, as humorous as it is revelatory. She inaugurates a recombinant revolution from which the lyric ingenue of her selections, arrangements, citations, and her own language both light the way and guide us through.