Judge’s Citation by Bhanu Kapil

In “hogtied,” the archive distorts its own memory so that, reading, I experienced the book as an artifact printed on the inside matter of something once or still alive. Impossible paper, in other words. Do human beings produce their own literature only because they know there is something to receive it? At times, the alternative surfaces of this book stuck together and came off, and the wrong letter, or a different letter, was substituted in turn, or adhered. This, for example, is a place in the manuscript where an n became m: “Some images need coaxing from the archive. Some images need pause, a meditative withholding of their act, a mindful demonstration of what is presemt.” Presemt. That’s the last word of the book, actually, a place where time does its work deep inside what the words already, always are. The courage of the “mistake” lets me know that I am in the domain of visceral life, something that, of course, is embedded in the relations of the work: between the one who is imprisoned and the one thinking about prisons; the parent, a son; a teacher, the many students; one person writing and another person reading in turn. If somatic writing is a category of political writing, then this is that — or: this is writing that is this. I want to think more about the diagonals that recur in this book, for example. What is happening along the line of those slow, deep cuts? What receives the blood?