Circle of Dogs
Kit Schluter & Jocelyn Spaar
"This poem lingers and moves like slime mold across language in patterns similar to Allemann’s Babyfucker
and Krasznahorkai’s Animalinside
, taking the “corpse of words and mix[ing] words with words” to summon language as an alchemized, feral mixture brewing below the surface of an absurd politics. André conjures a devotional to the breakdown of the border between mind and body in a world where the most resonant gesture against an overwhelming violence is the shoe of Muntadhar al-Zaidi spiraling through time, space, and media towards the idea of G. W. Bush’s blank and inscrutable masks. Power functions on the world stage as language degenerates in poetry: here is a poem about dogs giving head to head; here is a poem reminiscent of your own powerless and beautiful life."
A placeless atopia is occupied by a canine society and an enslaved, disembodied head, which it impregnates to subsist. Narrative is replaced by a perverted resemblance as dogs become words, genitals stand in for the bodies from which they hang, and the differences between orifices of the body are negated. In this world of dominance and submission, power is unable to gain stability as regimes rise and fall in terrifyingly short pulses. Understandably, this is not a book that will tell you what you already know. As Amandine André writes in her preface, the book depicts "a hermetic world, an isolated logic and isolated rhythm, a domination." André's writing is as circuitous as it is rhythmic, and her thought as impenetrable as it is crystal clear. This translation by Kit Schluter and Jocelyn Spaar, with an afterword by the former and original illustrations by the latter, introduces the work of this important Marseille poet into English for the first time.
About the Author & Translators
Amandine André lives in Marseille, France. Her work assisting choreographer Bernardo Montet and others at the National Center of Choreography in Tours has led her to write a number of critical texts on dance. These have appeared, among her other essays on philosophy, literature, and the social sciences, in the online revue laviemanifeste.com, which she originally conceived with Emmanuel Moreira as a web radio show, A Bout de souffle. Her publications include Cercle des Chiens (Attaques, Editions Al Dante), Pourpleurer (Technologiques, La Pharmacie de Bernard Stiegler, ed. Alain Jugnon), Thatcher is Dead (Face A face B, alongside a philosophical text by Frédéric Neyrat, ed. La vie manifeste), Imprécations (AKA, ed. Stéphane Korvin), and Quelque chose (Éditions Al Dante).
Kit Schluter lives in Providence, Rhode Island, where he is co-editor of O’clock Press. His previous and current translation work from the French, Occitan, Portuguese, and Spanish, has focused on works by Anne Kawala, Clamenç Llansana, Marcel Schwob, Jaime Saenz, Alice Sant’Anna, Michel Surya, and others. His personal writing can be found in Boston Review, BOMB, and Elective Affinities, as well as Inclusivity Blueprint, a chapbook recently published by Diez.
Jocelyn Spaar is an artist, translator, and poet. She has translated work by Albert Cossery for the Paris Review Daily, Birago Diop for Archipelago Books, and Albertine Sarrazin for New Directions. Her drawings and poems have been published in Gigantic, Stonecutter, Vice, Bridge, and Storychord. She has exhibited her text-art installations and films at The Bridge PAI, NOoSPHERE Arts, the 2ANNAS Film Festival, and elsewhere.