hurry up please its time
From 2005–2013, the TrenchArt book series was the cornerstone of Les Figues Press. The series took its name from “trench art”—artistic creations produced by soldiers made in wartime using whatever material was at hand, from shell casings to scrap metal to bone. It is art born of conflict and forced community: here we are, together in the trenches.
Each year, the Press published four TrenchArt titles. Accompanying and preceding the release of each annual set was one hand-bound collection of aesthetic essays distributed exclusively to Les Figues members. TrenchArt Monographs: hurry up please its time collects these essays and brings them, for the first time, to a wider readership.
The books in the TrenchArt series are experiments in language, and the aesthetic essays in this anthology investigate the why of those experiments. The essays challenge, too, what an essay looks like, what an essay can do. Manifestos, lists, performative pieces, visual art, critical essays, marginalia, and the entirely unclassifiable—these pieces pull, prod, and play with the concept of “language” from all directions, misdirections, and sometimes no direction at all. This is critique pregnant with poetry, with image, with mutilated lips, with the scent of camphor in hot celluloid.
The text that emerges from TrenchArt Monographs: hurry up please its time is intuitive and revelatory. “Les Figues,” as Vanessa Place writes in her editor’s preface, “was very much born from the desire for cross-talk as conversation,” between writers and artists, between texts. As the why of writing is offered up, it is immediately given up in favor of other possibilities for reading, writing, and listening. And, if you listen closely, you’ll hear the swelling cross-talk, looping in on itself, transmuting, proliferating.
About The Authors
Jen Hofer is a Los Angeles-based poet, translator, social justice interpreter, teacher, knitter, book-maker, public letter-writer, urban cyclist, and co-founder of the language justice and literary activism collaborative Antena. Her translation of Negro marfil by Mexican poet Myriam Moscona, published as Ivory Black by Les Figues Press in 2011, won the 2012 Harold Morton Landon Translation Award from the Academy of American Poets and the 2012 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation.
Her other translations include the homemade chapbook En las maravillas/In Wonder (Libros Antena/Antena Books, 2012); sexoPUROsexoVELOZ and Septiembre, a translation from Dolores Dorantes by Dolores Dorantes (Counterpath Press and Kenning Editions, 2008); lip wolf, a translation of lobo de labioby Laura Solórzano (Action Books, 2007); and Sin puertas visibles: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry by Mexican Women (Ediciones Sin Nombre and University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003).
Her most recent books are the handmade chapbook Lead & Tether (Dusie Kollektiv, 2011); a series of anti-war-manifesto poems titled one (Palm Press, 2009); and The Route, a collaboration with Patrick Durgin (Atelos, 2008). She has poems, essays and translations forthcoming from Dusie Books, Insert Press, Kenning Editions, and Litmus Press. She teaches in the MFA Writing Program at CalArts and the Graduate Writing Program at Otis College of Art & Design, and works nationally and locally as a social justice interpreter through Antena. Most recently she has been hand-sewing quilted poems; her installation “Uncovering: A Quilted Poem Made from Donated and Foraged Materials from Wendover, Utah” is currently on view at the CLUI.
Myriam Moscona is from Mexico, of Bulgarian Sephardic descent. She is the author of nine books, from Ultimo jardín (1983) to De par en par (2009). Two of her published books are outside the realm of poetry, yet remain connected to poetry: De frente y de perfil (literary portraits of 75 Mexican poets) and De par en par, which explores the phenomenon of poetry beyond its traditional construction. When Negro marfil was conceived, Moscona focused on the use of visual materials (inks, pastels, graphite and acrylics), which led her to explore alternate means of expression. In this way she came to visual poetry: drawn in through the side doors of writing. Moscona has received numerous awards, including the Premio de Poesía Aguascalientes and the Premio Nacional de Traducción; she is a grantee of the Sistema Nacional de Creadores de Arte, and she was awarded a grant from the Guggenheim Foundation.