by Steven Seidenberg

"Itch" front cover "Itch" back cover

writing sample


Many failed attempts. Perhaps this is the first. Of my many failed attempts, perhaps this is the first. The first in what will soon appear a series of such failures—surrendered to the obloquy of having yet to happen, or having happened…I say surrendered, and I say attempt, the language of a game which attempts…I say the saying and the saying says…


Perhaps this is the first of all the many claims to primacy required to claim any claim to primacy a proof, an incidental figurement of problems and procedures near to happening…near to constituting happenstance as it stands fore right now…


If this is sure the first where there has not yet been a second…If this attempt to…If this trope yet amounts to the surrendered primogeniture of other tropes predicted to surrender sometime soon, then how can one presume to think…to mean those varied instances within the nearing preterit and certitude of having passed and purposed themselves into…


If this is sure the first of what I know will soon be many…But that’s not where this portent finds its bearing—so its aim. What saying this is first without first having said that this is something…something like…that this that I will soon contrive as something like the subject of…of this and this alone…


A person awoke with an itch and really wants to tell you about it. Itch is a sequence of meditations, an introspection on introspection. “A being in a body in a world” spins a tale about the body and the mind, about absence and extension, emotion, sensation, outside and inside, foreground and background, motion and stasis. Each paragraph is a jewel of repetition and reduplication, correspondence and progression, a dance that reels from waltz to gavotte to minuet. The words say, “I form an image…”—read it and see!
By Norma Cole, author of To Be At Music

Densely lyrical, immensely crafted, committed to writing a phenomenology of failure. And failing that, Itch is quite pleasurable in the interstices of sense, in its love of interwoven syntax and rare and preposterous words. I also enjoy how the narrator -- the "presumptive inculcator" -- feigns to know and not know about its auditors' capacity to follow and presume to get ahead of the narrative-replacing train of thought. This book is wholly experimental, which is refreshing, unlike anything Hegel, Beckett, or Joyce ever dreamed of awaking from.
By Jeremy Crean


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