YOU & ME FOREVER (Action Books, 2020)


YOU & ME FOREVER is a book of hybrid poetry by artist
Valerie Hsiung.

Date: April 1, 2020
Publisher: Action Books
Format: Print
Genre: Poetry, Performance
Order from AsterismBookshop, McNally Jackson, Brazos Books & Action Books 

Interview in Tarpaulin Sky
Review in Angel City Review
Review in DIAGRAM
Excerpts in Verse
Feature in Dennis Cooper’s Favorite Books of 2019

"A storied, oscillating breath-scape, a wondrous tertium quid, Valerie Hsiung’s You & Me Forever maps a world that moves as simultaneously paradoxical, relational, and permutational. Edged with the epic, speech-based and strange, the writings enact the promise of dreams as they address matters of hauntings and bodies, displacement, and the nature of capital, exile, and art. Here the narrative ripples, achieves both temporal and spatial possibilities, works both boundariness and dissolve. A destabilizing marvel."
          - Hoa Nguyen

"The first time I read Valerie Hsiung’s You & Me Forever, I had a vision of a bonfire in which countless volumes of love-twisted and love-twisting works of literature, including sculptures and films, were reduced to ash, and from the ashes were intuitively yet precisely drawn filaments on which were inscribed prophetic dialogues that voiced the poet’s relationship with the forces that would come to make, and perpetually threaten to unmake, her world. The second time I read You & Me Forever, there was neither filament nor fire, but an animated frieze, or maybe rainfall, or serrated light, of intimate retribution, that is retributive intimacy. I say read, but that is not exactly what happened."
          - Brandon Shimoda 

"How do we speak of the unspeakable? In the long, incantatory You & Me Forever, Valerie Hsiung creates meaning from the extra- and almost-linguistic (italics, punctuation, an echolalia-like repetition, numbers, empty space), since language, or ‘human words,’ with their ‘complicit incompleteness,’ seem to hurt to speak. Meaning is supplemental to the language. The poems become almost a filibuster of avoidance, describing a violence by circumventing a violence (’an unfathomable crime’) or the violence, violence as ongoingness. Dramatic but quiet, ‘This is a not a book written as a not a love letter—’"          
            - Elisa Gabbert

"More than original, You & Me Forever is the afterlife of the original, a hand-drawn map of memory animated ‘when we breathe on a page to translate it’ and sense the entire book a ‘fluttering yearning being capable of mass loss capable of feeling when touched.’ And as in every afterlife, Valerie Hsiung's book is bruised by personal and historical monsters but is also proof of endurance, of refusal to ‘tell us anything we want to hear.’ What should we want? To metabolize through our very bodies Hsiung's gorgeously ‘sublingual language,’ 4 EVER & EVER."
          - Rosa Alcalá

"In the fleeting, quicksilver language of Valerie Hsiung’s You & Me Forever, accumulated peripheries jostle, rock on the waters, gain some traction, but they never quite settle. The worlds Hsiung delicately folds together create friction, a low steady hum builds and then disperses — only to try and build again. We, the reader, are invited to sit inside the hum of this continual construction, to place our bodies in the chamber alongside the many other bodies that fill You & Me Forever. A thread pulls us along. What saline logic this book holds."
          - Asiya Wadud

"These are some of the things I love about Valerie Hsiung’s You & Me Forever: How wolves and magnets and clowns augur the end of girlhood but also announce it (to whom?). The combination of shame and boredom, as in, I just want to drink my coffee and eat this biscuit. How great loves break something in order to be something: a clasp. The way ‘[w]hole rituals can be unmade - and will be - as part of the ritual.’ How Aliens sleep-kick their way through each wet night, and the way nothing is safe and at the same time somnolent, ultra-dreamy, like the vision of the earth from a distant spot. Themes of loyality, power and extreme vulnerability converge in this beautiful and complicated book. ‘Or...or....or.’ Where: everything is beautiful until it’s not."
         - Bhanu Kapil

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