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Stingray Clapping

Stingray Clapping

Andrew Choate

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Reprint of a handbound edition
Paperback, 62 pages B&W
ISBN 13: 978-0-9961696-9-1
Dimensions: 5" x 7" x 0.15"


Of his new book, Stingray Clapping, author Andrew Choate says: In 1999 I got a job working for Crain's Business Insurance magazine, proofreading entries in their Directory of Corporate Buyers of Insurance. I was primarily responsible for editing the half-sentence to one-sentence long descriptions of corporations. Never having been so intimately exposed to technical language before, I fell totally in love with the quality of the writing required to convey the much-vetted specificity of a corporate description. The fact that the words were crafted for the sake of clear legal and bureaucratic meanings, rather than for the sake of literature, encouraged me to read them as if they were both specific and evocative.

Considering the glut of language we're inundated with, it's difficult for a writer sensitive to that inundation to want to generate more text to send out into the world. My writings here attempt to do what those corporate descriptions do: be exact and polyvalent.

I like short texts that respect the reader's ability to read rather than pander to their manufactured desire to be overloaded. I like texts that avoid narrative, plot, concept, character and structure; texts that focus on these things feel like they are trying to dominate the reader. That's not what I am trying to do at all, I'm trying to give the reader an opportunity. Rather than explain every little thing, can't we consider words like colors to put on the page to savor. I mean actually generating (imagining/writing) phrases that can be read the way one listens to a favorite record: at different times of day and with different desires actively in play.

The words in Stingray Clapping are simply words without any kind of justification: not conceptual, narrative or otherwise. I imagined them and arranged them and was pleased and surprised by them.

Praise for Stingray Clapping

"I could read Andrew Choate all day long. My family is a miniature fan club: from 'necktie popcorn' to 'You can run/but you can’t/aquarium'. Choate knows what we need even before we do. Part alarm clock, part applause light, and part sea creature, Andrew Choate’s poetry refurbishes our mental dining rooms. More guests can join us at dinner parties now, and look! We’re swimming!" —Dana Teen Lomax, author of Disclosure (Black Radish Books, 2011), Letters To Poets: Conversations about Poetics, Politics, and Community (Saturnalia Books, 2008), and Curren¢y (Palm Press, 2006)

"At first glance I thought Stingray Clapping by Andrew Choate was (simply) hilarious, & it is! Its humor, aphoristic & mordant, activates some space of poetics situated between Robert Grenier’s Sentences & “now time” as a game that’s summed up in a chain of leaden zeroes. For a while the book’s humor made me glow, & then slowly I wondered if I hadn’t been contaminated some, as if these short poems were blasts of radiation from the (supposed) busted reactor of writing. Like the fish in the legendary waters near Springfield I promptly grew out a third eye. Through it I could see the disastrous bathos of my life in certain phrases like 'exuberant subjective/rationalism.' Then the book became somewhat personal & scary, & its humor felt delicious & cold. I was grateful for that, & thus recommend this book for its intelligence, severity & suddenness that’s really no surprise." —Dana Ward author of This Can't Be Life (Edge Books 2012)

“Stringray Clapping is composed of particles swirling at the first remove from the proto world, casting torched breath into the phonemic.”—Will Alexander, author of The Sri Lankan Loxodrome (New Directions Publishing, 2010) and Compression & Purity (City Lights, 2011).

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Translation missing: en.Andrew Choate

Andrew Choate was born and raised in South Carolina and studied music and literature at Northwestern University and the California Institute of the Arts. His first book, Langquage Makes Plastic of the Body, was published by Palm Press in 2006. He has been publishing his writings on music and art since 1998 and his work has appeared in Urb, Coda, Wire, Signal to Noise, Art Ltd, d’Art International and Facsimile. His writing has been translated into Spanish, French, Hungarian and Czech. His radio plays and sound works have been broadcast on WDR in Germany, Radioarte Mobile in Italy, Hipersônica in Brazil, Resonance FM in England and various outlets in the US. His visual work has been exhibited at the Yerevan Center for Contemporary Art, the Torrance Art Museum, Barnsdall Art Park, High Energy Constructs and Overca$h. He has given lectures at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles ("Picturing Language"), CalArts ("Writing for Video Performance") and Hofer's Studio Roof ("I'm Turning Sideways In This Crowded Train So You Can More Easily Pass Me By").