I came up with the idea of writing these notes, or talks, out of a primary desire to not read from Book of Mutter, and instead to keep gesturing to its incompleteness and ongoingness, which connects, for me, to the fragmentary project of literature, and what I long for in writing.
Inspired by the lectures of Roland Barthes, Anne Carson, and Jorge Luis Borges, Kate Zambreno’s Appendix Project collects eleven talks and essays written in the course of the year following the publication of Book of Mutter, Zambreno’s book on her mother that took her over a decade to write. These surprising and moving performances, underscored by the sleeplessness of the first year of her child’s life, contain Zambreno’s most original and dazzling thinking and writing to date. In Appendix Project Zambreno thinks through the work of On Kawara, Roland Barthes, W.G. Sebald, Bhanu Kapil, Walter Benjamin, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Marguerite Duras, Marlene Dumas, Louise Bourgeois, Doris Salcedo, Jenny Holzer, and more.
‘“But still it interests me”—so writes Kate Zambreno in Appendix Project, a powerful, necessary, and defiantly untimely defense of what Richard Howard, translating Roland Barthes, called continuance. By way of the books she persists in reading and rereading, the mother whom she is still mourning, the questions she keeps on asking, rephrasing, and finding new ways of asking, Zambreno claims her right to stay with what is not yet exhausted. This is a book about how things—interests, attachments, experiences, projects—don’t finish; in Zambreno’s hands, this means it is also a book about openness.’ — Kate Briggs
‘This collection of 11 talks and essays reveals [Zambreno] anew as a master of the experimental lyric essay….the calm inquiry, wise voice, and poignant urgency behind every sentence will coalesce into a deeply reflective meditation on art, loss, and how “time makes the intensity of mourning pass—and yet, nothing is soothed.”’ — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
‘Kate Zambreno’s oeuvre is not just a series of books but a body of thought, an interrupted exhortation on incompleteness and the intersections of life, death, time, memory, and silence’ — The Paris Review
‘A revelatory project of exclamation and understanding.’ — The Los Angeles Review of Books
‘I love these talks, these essays set in the specificity of a day, this generous thinking about photography, sleep, time. As much a form of artful reading as of writing, Zambreno makes an exhibition of the text, a space you can walk through with her, inhabited like a conversation. I am grateful for the chance to mark time with this writer, to move through the world of the appendices with this original and surprising thinker.’ — T. Clutch Fleischmann