By Leora Skolkin-Smith
Wreckage of Reason II: Back to the Drawing Board, edited by Nava Renek and Natalie Nuzzo and recently published by Spuyten Duyvil Publishing, is a collection of thirty-three experimental pieces written by women. It stands on its literary merits alone, but it also elicits questions that point far beyond its own physical presence in the publishing arena—questions primarily to do with the threatened future of experimental and literary writing itself, with the questionable health and well-being of our current literary culture and its openness or lack thereof to work that isn’t consumerist in intent. As if the standing of experimental writing in our literary culture weren’t enough of a problem, the troubling statistics testifying to the glaring inequality in attention given to women writers in comparison to their male counterparts present a serious crisis in writing, as both problems conflate to confront us with several critical questions we seem unable to table away: for instance, how does our current literary culture make room or recognize experimental writers, not as marginal guests at the buffet but as essential contributors? How do experimental literary writers continue to foster their literary legacy, to offer up profound depths, language, and soul, to grow as writers willing to risk and to toss up, around, and about meanings and connections in ways that rise above entertainment? In other words: to do this thing we still call “prose” and “story” as it evolved during the decades before it was oppressed by the omnipresent forces now censoring writing and writers?
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