With Andy Fitch
In collaboration, two become one, but the process isn’t always easy—it requires constant negotiation. Who speaks and who is silenced?In “June 17th” two figures attempt to tell one story, in the process raising questions about how we narrate and construct our lives, who we are, and what we know.
Based on Borsuk and Andy Fitch’s As We Know (Subito, 2014), an erased and redacted diary that presents the most unmediated-seeming idiom—the diurnal, journalistic record—as itself the consequence of methodical and whimsical extraction, this project foregrounds the tensions of authorship that arise within the text.
The book attempts to invert the gendered history of editorial intervention as it has played out in the famous cases of figures such as Dorothy Wordsworth (whose Grasmere Journals get appropriated quite extensively, without attribution, in her brother William’s poems) and Emily Dickinson (whose posthumously edited corpus has produced any number of recalibrated iterations—from Thomas Wentworth Higginson and Mabel Loomis Todd’s early disciplining of the text, to Susan Howe’s emphatically personal My Emily Dickinson, to the hybridized scholarly/curatorial installations of Martha Nell Smith and Marta Werner in the Dickinson Electronic Archives).
At the same time, it repositions erasure procedures at the origins of (rather than in response to) a published text. Here Amaranth Borsuk has taken a summer diary project of Andy Fitch’s and reshaped 60 passages into a new form of collectivized confession or constructivist collage that brings her own voice into the text. Embracing Barthes’ call for a “corrected banality,” As We Know presents nonfiction subjectivity as the product of, not just the source for, erasure poetics. As in Barthes’ own elided memoirs, the resulting work calls into question exactly who we are and what we know.
Poet-performers Amaranth Borsuk (http://www.amaranthborsuk.com) and Andy Fitch collaborated on the book As We Know (Subito, 2014), an erased and redacted diary that explores constructions of self. Borsuk’s most recent collection of poems isPomegranate Easter (Kore Press, 2016). Her previous books include Handiwork, selected by Paul Hoover for the Slope Editions Poetry Prize; and Between Page and Screen, a book of augmented reality poems that can only be read with a webcam, created with Brad Bouse. Her intermedia project Abra, a collaboration with Kate Durbin and Ian Hatcher, received an NEA-funded Expanded Artists’ Books Grant and was recently released as a limited-edition artists’ book and free iPad/iPhone app. A trade edition was published by 1913 Press. Borsuk teaches at the University of Washington, Bothell. Andy Fitch’s most recent books are Sixty Morning Walks and Sixty Morning Talks. Ugly Duckling Presse soon will release his ebook Sixty Morning Wlaks. With Cristiana Baik, he is currently assembling the Letter Machine Book of Interviews. He has dialogic books forthcoming from 1913 Press and Nightboat Books. He edits Essay Press and teaches in the University of Wyoming’s MFA program.