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Jared Daniel Fagen

Jared Daniel Fagen is the author of The Animal of Existence, which is forthcoming from Black Square Editions in 2022. He is the editor of Black Sun Lit, a PhD student in Comparative Literature at the CUNY Graduate Center, and an English instructor at the City College of New York.

In Conversation

Mary Ann Caws with Jared Daniel Fagen

In an essay on Joseph Cornell’s shadow boxes, Mary Ann Caws writes: “The memory and the prophecy are not different: we must remember to remember.” Whether familiar with or new to her work, one immediately encounters, here, the infinitive: the not yet that is and from where all else will come. More than just the genius of art criticism, more than merely a marvelous instance which is the surrealist’s desire to keep intact, this single line of poetry—penned more than twenty years ago—remains one of the very principles of her poetics. Like Cornell’s Proustian remembrances, Breton’s haunting “Who am I?” and Char’s aphoristic-elliptical enjoinders, Mary Ann Caws makes us aware that life—that primordial passage—must be looked at anew and with ever-renewed looking, if we are ever to see the red chili pepper affixed with wings that form the dragonfly, or fall madly in love and at the same time lovingly into madness.


This is how the mind degenerates … How the world reverts to simpler forms. Somewhere, close behind me, is the echo of a woman’s voice … I dismantle each word as it reaches me, patterning syllables into curves of miscellaneous gradients along the walls of my asylum.


The Brooklyn Rail

NOV 2023

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