Name Date of Birth Emergency Contact (The Gleaners, 2020)

Name Date of Birth Emergency Contact

Name Date of Birth Emergency Contact is a book of poetry and hybrid texts by artist
Valerie Hsiung.

Date: November 8, 2020
Publisher: The Gleaners
Format: Digital
Genre: Poetry, Performance

Out of circulation

“Name Date of Birth Emergency Contact’s structure is a recurring fever dream; a reeling, tearing whir of ‘hospital English,’ ‘vesuviated faces’ and operatic leprosies during a late capitalist ‘germ time’ of ‘ubiquitous emergencies.’ In all this stunning leering and wheeling, Valerie Hsiung resists blur; her searing details take an uncanny clarity, a grotesque accumulation that places the terrible absurdity of life and death under colonialism in high-def. These are her stakes. This book is a walloping critical lamentation of local excesses with global tolls, a prescient account of life in pandemics, a sickbed stretched over the world with the patient still in it, racked and furiously clutching the bill. Hsiung is here to tell us what this mess costs. It isn’t pretty.”
        - Douglas Kearney

“Never has the apocalyptic nightmare of technocratic neoliberal capitalism been more clearly rendered than in Valerie Hsiung's Name Date of Birth Emergency Contact, a dizzying hybrid collection of myths and folktales gone awry, theory and art critique, personal account, and attempt to define what it means to be ‘a very bad poet.’ Bold, fiercely innovative, and infinitely chaotic, this collection depicts what it feels like to be caught in the talons of 21st century late capitalism. It seeks to pry our voices open from its grasp, revelling in what is possible when these systems break down, and I believe her vision. When Hsiung declares, ‘Let our bodies belong to the quake right now forever,’ I catch myself saying aloud, ‘Yes, let us.’”
        - Muriel Leung

“In Name Date of Birth Emergency Contact, a shift in the idiom spawns an alternate reality. Say rock, paper, needle and reveal the Englishes in which we’re not surprised to learn tear gas sterilizes, the diagnosis is available, words can actually communicate pain. In which walkway and cell are obvious synonyms. Hsiung’s slang reveals an English capable of mapping traffic in women and the traffic in trash: coin slot, washing machine, gluts. Wishing machine. This proliferation of speech vaudevillian and oracular as Joyelle McSweeney and Alice Notley, cool-brained as Adrienne Rich, sure-footed as Sarah Vap, grotesque and precise as Kim Hyesoon or Hiromi Ito, playful and piercing, by turns imperious, impervious, and totally permeable interrogates the violent pageants we’re obligated to call living, while creating the phenomenological space in which we may relate anew. The composite you of this book suggests a formation in which I might eventually find myself able to hold and hold out. Where I/thou can operatically travel the extremes of two-headed time--Jurassic, futuristic--it also checks the singular moment of missed opportunity. Finally again, two demigoddess girls throwing voided checks at the paparazzi. Spit-take funny, soul-wrenchingly accurate Hsiung crafts this physically inhabitable tome. Play it: tome, time, tomb, womb, to me...”
        - Danielle Pafunda

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