128 pages, 6" x 8.125"
Publication Date: 14 Sept 2018
Justice Piece // Transmission is a perverse and anxious attack on the concept of justice, asking “If I am the symptom, what is the cause?” Ranging from The Rocky Horror Picture Show to feminist sci-fi, white supremacy to the Berkeley Parents Network, gendered violence to Led Zeppelin, disciplinary heterosexuality to hypochondria, these twin poems tackle questions of how personal history and pop culture both build us up and tear us to shreds. Levin’s writing lives in a space of contradiction, a call to “Make everything ugly / No aesthetics left / no mysteries / only problems.”
Praise for Justice Piece
“Talking about loyalty to the present," Lauren Levin's book takes its rightful place beside recent ones by Bhanu Kapil and Chris Nealon, as poetry of real, essayistic inquiry and open, immediate life writing. Half in lines, and half in prose paragraphs, this work of bodied intellection and rigorous self-assessment operates also as a compelling daybook that sorts and processes both the onrush of terrible American news and the repositioning developments of the author's new motherhood. The whole thing pulses with living, ongoing thinking.
Lauren Levin wrestles with the impossible in Justice Piece // Transmission: white supremacy, gender, the medical establishment, anxiety, ethnicity, mothering, sexuality, family, revolution… It’s all there. And she manages to win this match against the impossible, writing a new form of confessionalism that is at moments shocking, at other moments moving, and yet always attentive to the responsibilities of care for the world larger than the self. A stunning book.
Not since college have I read a book that begins with the question: “What is Justice?” In college, the book was Plato’s Republic, where I learned about the “noble lie.” There is no “noble lie” in Lauren Levin’s Justice Piece // Transmission. There is no answer to the question “What is justice?” accessible to the individual / lyric subjectivity. Instead, the question leads her in unexpected directions, to more questions – about motherhood, race, ethnicity, gender, misogyny, racism, feminism – about all kinds of things: “I try to read about justice and stumble into libertarian thought experiments / about my right to sell my organs and sexual services // I try to read about St. Vincent and stumble into a thread called ‘Fuck Lena Dunham[.]’” But while Levin can’t tell her readers what justice is, she isn’t leading them into a post-modern rabbit hole either. Throughout Justice Piece // Transmission, Levin’s questions usefully uncover what justice isn’t, which is the most honest place to start. This is the kind of book that years from now, when I find myself in one quandary or another, I will think about, pick up & read again.
Review of Justice Piece // Transmission by Jason Morris on Entropy
Lauren Levin is a genderqueer woman and/or art fag and the author of THE BRAID (Krupskaya) and Justice Piece // Transmission (forthcoming, Timeless, Infinite Light 2018). Lauren is currently a columnist at SFMoma's arts and culture platform Open Space and from 2011-2014, co-edited the Poetic Labor Project. Lauren is from New Orleans and lives in Richmond, CA.
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