dead letter office: an imprint of BABEL and punctum books
Series Editor: Eileen Joy (email@example.com)
I am tired, Beloved,
of chafing my heart against
the want of you;
of squeezing it into little inkdrops,
And posting it.
~Amy Lowell, “The Letter”
Don’t fear anything for your letters, they are burnt
one by one and I hope you do the same with mine.
Dead Letter Office publishes small chapbook-style works, of anywhere from 30 to 80 or so pages, representing work that either has gone “nowhere” or will likely go nowhere, yet retain little inkdrops of possibility and beauty and the darkling shape of a more full-bodied form and structure — to whit: the conference or seminar paper that will never become an article, the stray pages for a half-baked article that will never become the full-baked article, the half-finished chapter that will never make it into the book or the dissertation, the outlines and notes and semi-polished pages for manuscripts that are simply unfinish-able, the essay that can find no welcoming harbor (and that you half-suspect is ill-conceived but likely isn’t), the prospectus for the project you can never seem to find your way to start, the prolegomenon and preamble without follow-up, the stray children of your pen, the letter you wrote then tucked away in a drawer, fearing to mail it, or the one you sent and received again, with the stamp, “return to sender,” or which was never received nor returned, that you perhaps lost (then re-found). We seek, also, experiments in whimsy, in over-reaching, in idle speculation, in prospecting for fool’s gold, in working mountains into molehills, in marking and then forgetting a path in a wild wood of visible darkness. In short, the Dead Letter Office invites you to take those letters out of the drawer or shoebox, to re-visit and re-polish them, without worrying about conclusions or ultimate destinations, and send them to us. We will also consider actual letters to the dead: belated eulogies, posthumous transmissions to the underworld, love (and hate and other) missives to the departed, funerary telegrams, and various notes and commentaries to be used as devices to water the graveyards where, to cadge from Walter Benjamin, some of the dead are turning by a strange heliotropism toward the sun that is rising in the sky of history.
. . . it is a fine consolation among the absent that if
one who is loved is not present, a letter may be embraced instead.
~Isidore of Seville
Lauren Berlant, Desire/Love (December 2012)
M.H. Bowker, Ostranenie: On Shame and Knowing (December 2012)
David R. Cole, Traffic Jams: Analysing Everday Life through the Immanent Materialism of Deleuze & Guattari
Denzil Ford, Suite on “Spiritus Silvestre: For Symphony (December 2012)
Benjamin Hollander, Memoir American (January 2013)
Phil Jourdan, John Gardner: A Tiny Eulogy (November 2012)
Maxwell Kennel, Dialectics Unbound: On the Possibility of Total Writing (Spring 2013)
Milcho Manchevski, Truth and Fiction: Notes on (Exceptional) Faith in Art (May 2012)
Adrian Martin, Last Day Every Day: Figural Thinking from Auerbach and Kracauer to Agamben and Brenez (October 2012)
Michael Munro, What Is Philosophy? (October 2012)
Gary J. Shipley, The Death of Conrad Unger: Some Conjectures Regarding Parasitosis and Associated Suicide Behavior (March 2012)