||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (July 2012)|
May 10, 1968 |
United States Army
|Occupation||novelist, poet, lawyer|
|Notable work(s)||La Medusa, Tragodia|
Vanessa Place (born 1968) is an American writer and criminal appellate attorney. She is the co-director of the Los Angeles-based Les Figues Press, a contributor to X-tra Art Quarterly, and contributing editor for The Iowa Review. Place has also worked as an occasional screenwriter, working on television shows such as Law and Order: SVU and Xena: Warrior Princess with producer Liz Friedman. Place additionally authored The Guilt Project: Rape, Morality, and Law, an analysis of the prosecution of sex offenders.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning Language poet Rae Armantrout has remarked that "Vanessa Place is writing terminal poetry." In 2011, Kenneth Goldsmith published Uncreative Writing: Managing Language in a Digital Age, in which he indicated that Place's work is “arguably the most challenging, complex and controversial literature being written today.” Considered one of the leading figures in the Conceptual Writing movement, Place has lectured and performed internationally, including at the Sorbonne in Paris, London's Whitechapel Gallery, and the Andre Bely Centre for Experimental Writing in St. Petersburg. In 2012, Place was the first poet to perform as part of the Whitney Biennial. A content advisory was posted. In 2013, Place had her first solo art exhibition, The Lawyer is Present, at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, where she listened to confidential confessions from volunteers, then performed them for the public. Place has been called a danger to poetry, and at her performances, audience members have booed, catcalled, complained to organizers, and frequently walked out. Literary critic Calvin Bedient referred to Place as "spokesperson for the new cynical avant-garde," while scholar and critic Marjorie Perloff says that "most of all, [Place] will make you THINK."
Her published works include Dies: A Sentence (a fifty-thousand-word, single-sentence prose poem), the epic post-conceptual novel, La Medusa (published by FC2), and the conceptual poetry trilogy, Tragodía, which includes Statement of Facts, Statement of the Case, and Argument. Other works are Boycott, in which Place rewrote 15 iconic feminist texts, replacing all references to women with references to men, so that the works are only about men; her multi-volume Factory Works, where she outsources the writing and publishing books of poetry "by Vanessa Place"; and Rape Jokes Outside the Jewish Museum, an artist's book of anti-jokes. Place was also featured as a murderer in the short film, "Poetry is Dead, I Killed It," based on her statement, "Poetry is dead and I killed it." A proponent of what she calls "radically evil poetics," Place claims that there is nothing to poetry except its identification as poetry, saying, "Authorship doesn't matter. Content doesn't matter. Form doesn't matter. Meter doesn't matter. All that matters is the trace of poetry. Put another way, I am a mouthpiece."
Place is CEO of VanessaPlace Inc., the world's first poetry corporation, a trans-national corporation whose sole mission is to design and manufacture objects to meet the poetic needs of the human heart, face, and form. Its motto is "Poetry is a Kind of Money," and its first product, a chapbook of 20 one-dollar bills ($20) initially on sale for $50 each, sold out within an hour.
- Dies: A Sentence (Les Figues Press, 2005)
- La Medusa (FC2, 2008)
- Notes on Conceptualisms (Ugly Duckling Press, 2009), with Robert Fitterman
- The Guilt Project: Rape, Morality and Law (Other Press, 2010)
- Tragodía 1: Statement of Facts (Blanc Press, 2010)
- Tragodía 2: Statement of The Case (Blanc Press, 2011)
- Tragodía 3: Argument (Blanc Press, 2011)
- Gone with the Wind (oodPress, 2011)
- ONE (Roof Books, 2012), with Blake Butler and Christopher Higgs