Litscapes: Collected US Writings 2015

Caitlin M. Alvarez and Kass Fleisher, eds. An anthology of writing from 82 contributors across the US, both established writers and relative newcomers, Litscapes includes poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and work that defies genre. The result is a bracing view of today’s vital literary landscape.

Dead Woman Hollow

Dead Woman Hollow

“This scalpel-sharp novel cuts swiftly (and for the reader, breathlessly) through the thin layer of America’s pretend-righteousness, to expose the bloody violence that fuels our consumption and still directs our lives. One epic century’s lies are pulled off like an animal skin by this skilled hunter. Kass Fleisher’s people live inside American violence longer than they live in their houses. Amazingly, they remain tender and true. Dead Woman Hollow takes its place alongside True Grit, My Antonia, and Deliverance as a take-no-prisoners classic in the American grain.”

Andrei Codrescu, author of Whatever Gets You through the Night: A Story of Sheherezade and the Arabian Entertainments _______________________________________________________________________________________________

Talking out of School: Memoir of an Educated Woman

Talking out of School: Memoir of an Educated Woman

“Fleisher goes against the grain in her work and her thinking, doing so in richly considered, evocative, original, and provocative fashion that in every way promises to make a genuine difference in our understanding of the broadest definitions of what it means to write and learn, and to live and love, in an age of new media, global consciousness, and shifting notions of what it means to be human.”

Michael Joyce, author of Paris Views

“A shockingly honest examination of the academy. Calling this book a feminist critique of higher ed would be to read the book too narrowly given the discussions of class and race. Should be required reading for everyone in academia.”

Steve Tomasula, author of The Book of Portraiture


The Adventurous

“The Adventurous is a breakaway satire that behaves like a free being on a raging adventure. Funny, base, brainy, and big, its multi-pitched prose is a self-unsparing and timely assault on stupidity produced by normalizing regimes and the repressive gender systems we intellectuals like to pretend only exist someplace else.”

Carla Harryman, author of Baby

“Scraps of webchatter, half-erased pentimenti, meandering gutter talk, and elided phonemes, Kass Fleisher’s page is your daddy’s garage, a backyard boxful of extravagant, gaudy life. It smears the agon of he said/she said across 80-odd screens, a recto-verso of what was once-upon-a-time cyberspace, and leaves behind the rut of his and her coming together. It is not a story! It is most magnificently not a story! Fleisher’s mania for documentation is an uncomprised self-comprising. Don’t take my word for it. Mark hers. Kass Fleisher names the ache unbecoming here.”

R. M. Berry, author of Frank

Accidental Species: A Reproduction

“In Kass Fleisher’s wild and wonderful universe, ‘the traffic was horrible and lots of people were late with their periods,’ or again, the poet busies herself trying to ‘express debt on a sly chart meant to show asset retribution.’ If there is a ‘question of the day’ for her young couples, who ‘naturally’ refuse to share their food, it’s ‘who ate the oreos? who drank the tab?’ The reader, turning the brilliant and hilarious pages of Accidental Species, hardly has time to come up for air before s/he is taken on yet another verbal space shuttle, engaged in language games at once preposterous and yet deadly in their accuracy. If you want to know what it’s like to navigate the shoals of intellectual-life-on-a-shoestring, as it plays out today across mediated America, Accidental Species is the book you cannot afford to miss.”

Marjorie Perloff, author of Unoriginal Genius: Poetry by Other Means in the New Century

“Exploring (exploding) language to uncover gender’s syntax and undo the sentencing of women to specific (and limited) roles in the compelling narratives of marriage and family, Accidental Speciesis tough-minded, brilliant, gorgeously written, completely original, and extraordinarily freeing. ‘say a poem when you can’t breathe,’ one of its many multilayered, contradictory voices advises – and this is the poem ‘[…this is not poetry]’ to say: Fleisher’s words loosen all false stays against confusion to allow a transformative laughter ‘[knot poet tree]’ which opens the hope chest ‘[nota bene]’!

“‘N.b.: These words are not chains binding you to any one specific construct of hardwood forests.’

“With Accidental Species, Fleisher’s mother wit and creative fury give us a ‘novelpoem . . . – or is it poememoir,’ undoing knots (and nots) to loosen breathing room in all our lives.”

Laura Mullen, author of Dark Archive

“Imagine an evolution where each generation sets up an expectation for the next, which in turn satisfies in ways that couldn’t be expected, and you’ll get some sense of Kass Fleisher’s Accidental Species. At the level of the sentence, it evokes the prose poetry of Gertrude Stein; at the level of the story it is a chimera of personal and public, past and present – a defamiliarization of the pathways of mind, where men and women, mothers and daughters, tread leadenly, each wondering why the other is such a strange animal. At the level of the book, Accidental Species is a stunning achievement, a constantly surprising collection that word-by-word, sentence-by-sentence, story-by-story generates a picture of what we are by exposing the grammars we live in and unwittingly reproduce.”

Steve Tomasula, author of VAS: An Opera in Flatland

The Bear River Massacre and the Making of History

“Feminist activists and theorists have been challenging the systematic rape and abuse of women for over three decades. Questions about violence against women of color, historically and contemporarily, continue to perplex those engaged in the struggle. In this remarkable book, Kass Fleisher exposes and analyzes perhaps the best concealed mass rape in the U.S. experience, the Bear River massacre and rape. Her probing analysis forces us to consider how racism and sexism have converged to silence victims, protect abusers of power, and advance the interests of colonialism.”

Maria Bevacqua, author of Rape on the Public Agenda: Feminism and the Politics of Sexual Assault

“Kass Fleisher puts (and turns) postmodernist narrative into practice, making space for nothing less than redemption, which is her ambition here and after all the epic ambition of any narrative, including history. This is a troubling book in the way that any stirring up troubles surfaces, whether surface understandings, feelings, memories, or the wounds that mark the white space of conventional history like strangled words. These are stories you feel, which she has felt, stirrings and troublings which flow from the wounds of the raped and dead of the Bear River Massacre over space and time, eventually becoming a dark blanket from which, again and again, a dreamer awakens and walks forth. We are the dreamer awakening, we are the massacred, ours are these stirring stories.”

Michael Joyce, author of Was

“The most intriguing dimension is the thrust, from a fascinating variety of viewpoints, to achieve redemption – a great and signal effort encompassing and, however awkwardly, transcending race and ethnicity, religion and non-religion, tribal generations and tribal factions and, very basically, the skeletal hand of History.”

Hunter Gray, activist and author (as John R. Salter, Jr.) of Jackson, Mississippi

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