The History of Art by Rae Gouirand

The History of Art by Rae Gouirand

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“…Some roads go nowhere,” writes Rae Gouirand in The History of Art, “and just keep going.” The process of reading The History of Art is at once familiar and estranged, as all complex love affairs are wont. The lovers in this lyric essay trace memories through lust, desire, obsession, and are part of a kaleidoscopic pronouncement of feelings. The questions probed are rendered with phenomenological focus, a touch blooming queerly in the New Mexican heat of summer. The insects buzz hot with the existential resonance as women watch and wet other women, hours and days condensing into memory. The sexual energy radiates, but slack in these howling lapses is the loneliness of many. A hand reaches out and touches skin, and we are within that skin. Gouirand asks us to wonder, “What comes in when you touch someone” and she can’t help but note the solipsism of this touch. “Even if her body speaks my hand around my hand, she is alone. Even if she opens her eyes, she is alone.” This chapbook stuns with its gorgeous questions, how onely and singular we can be, even (and especially so) tangled in damp sheets next to one another. Gouirand astonishes in this chapbook.

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More advanced praise:

“Holy mother of fuck. If Adrienne Rich wrote prose, it would come out something like this. This work is more powerful to me than Twenty-One Love Poems and that. is. saying. a. lot.” — Lidia Yuknavitch

The History of Art is wide open, complex, dirty, clean, revelatory, and flat-out amazing.” — Daniel Mahoney