Manual: As of pertaining to the hand or hands. The hands to be outmoded or made obsolete by the machine. Of or pertaining to the mule more than the machine. Worked with the hands, finished with the hands. No more than a pair of hands. Hands cracked and swollen from harsh soap and ammonia. Hands burnt taking the pies out of the oven. Hands stiff and disfigured from wringing cold sheets and towels outside in the winter before hanging to dry on the line. Hands, no longer yours, contracted, owned, and directed by another, like a tool or object. The hands that handle you. The hands up the dress, the hands on your ass, the hands that pull down your undergarments, the hands that pin you to the floor. The hands that pay you two dollars for the day or thirteen dollars for the week. Manual: as of subject to use, made a tool, handled, grasped, palmed, slapped, fondled, hugged, harassed, caressed; as of pertaining to the hand.
Manual: as opposed to contemplation, or theory. As opposed to the use of the intellect. As opposed to looking, viewing, contemplating. As opposed to thinking, reflecting, scheming, plotting, planning, weighing, brooding. The use of the hands as opposed to a conception or mental scheme or paradigm. Manual: the concrete, the physical, the embodied as opposed to abstract knowledge and the formulation of it… — Saidiya Hartman*
Stop by the Poetic Research Bureau this weekend for the Los Angeles launch of PATHETIC LITERATURE, a selection of over 125 texts edited by Eileen Myles—poems, narrative excerpts, essays, ranging from works by Alice Notley and Robert Glück to CAConrad and Jerome Sala—“all of which explore those so-called pathetic or sensitive feelings around which lives are built and revolutions are incited.”**
Selections from the book will be read by contributors Dodie Bellamy, Tom Cole, Mira Gonzalez, Porochista Khakpour, Chris Kraus, Myles, Maggie Nelson, Ariana Reines, Mark So, Michelle Tea, Julie Tolentino, and Frank B. Wilderson III.
Hosted by Tom Cole and Eileen Myles
Saturday, December 10, at 7 pm
Poetic Research Bureau
2220 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles
*Saidiya Hartman, “Manual for General Housework,” in Pathetic Literature, edited by Eileen Myles (New York: Grove Atlantic, 2022). Originally published in Hartman, Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Social Upheaval (New York: W.W. Norton, 2019). Text © Saidiya Hartman.
**Pathetic Literature, Grove Atlantic.
From top: Collier Schorr, Eileen Myles, image © Collier Schorr, courtesy Alice Austen House; Eileen Myles, editor, Pathetic Literature, cover painting by Nicole Eisenman, cover image courtesy and © Grove Atlantic.