‘Some Assembly Required': A Les Figues Press and MFA Writing Program Book Launch

Les Figues holds readings for ‘I’ll Drown My Book’ this weekend in Los Angeles.

By Nicholas Katzban / Special to 24700

Every anthology of conceptual writing deserves its own conceptual release event.

On Saturday (Oct. 27), Les Figues Press and the CalArts MFA Writing Program presents a “distributed book launch,” happening simultaneously at three separate art spaces in Los Angeles’ Chinatown. Between 8-11 pm attendees are invited to move from each location—all walking distance from one another—in whatever order they choose to see six different Les Figues authors reading “both as themselves and others.”

The six readers include CalArts School of Critical Studies faculty members and book contributors Christine Wertheim, Teresa Carmody, Jen Hofer as well as Vanessa Place, Frances Richard and Giovanni Singleton, whose work is included in the book. Les Figues’ event flyer explains, “Conceptual writing asks you to experience time and space in multiple ways, and this reading does too.”

Published this past April, I’ll Drown My Book: Conceptual Writing by Women boasts being the first anthology of its kind. At 455 pages and 64 contributors, it’s certainly an encompassing volume. Edited by Les Figues founders Carmody and Place along with Caroline Bergvall and Laynie Browne, authors include contemporary favorites such as Haryette Mullen and Kristin Prevallet alongside the sometimes controversial—always groundbreaking—feminist writer, Kathy Acker, who sadly, passed away in 1997.

In June the online literary magazine stalwart, HTML Giant, ran a weeklong—five part feature on I’ll Drown My Book with sections written by the book’s designer and other Les Figues collaborators. In Part 3 author and CalArts alumnus, Nicholas Grider (Interschool BFA 08), writes, “I’ll Drown My Book offers approaches to encountering and writing text as various as the writers included and as familiar as ‘appropriation,’ ‘intertextuality,’ ‘hybrid’[…] and thirteen other broad categories as forms that conceptual writing might take.” He then goes on to add, “What’s important and unique about the writing in I’ll Drown My Book isn’t what strategy is being employed but the fact that there is a strategy, and often a structure.”

I’ll Drown My Book: Conceptual Writing by Women is available directly from Les Figues and at bookstores across Los Angeles, such as Skylight Books in Los Feliz. Saturday’s launch event is taking place at Human Resources, Institute For Figuring and Automata Arts between 8 and 11 pm. A map of the galleries can be viewed here.

I’ll Drown My Book: Conceptual Writing by Women
Oct. 27

Automata Arts
504 Chung King Court, Los Angeles
Readings with Frances Richard and Vanessa Place at 8:05-8:20 pm or 9:05-9:20 pm

Institute for Figuring
990 N. Hill St. #180, Los Angeles
Readings with Christine Wertheim and Giovanni Singleton 8:25-8:40 pm or 9:25-9:40 pm

Human Resources
410 Cottage Home St., Los Angeles
Readings with Jen Hofer and Teresa Carmody at 8:45-9 pm and 9:45-10 pm

Reception at Human Resources from 10-11 pm

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