Starlight in Two Million
A Neo-Scientific Novella
Amy Catanzano‘s “neo-scientific” novella is a metafictional tour de force: a tour of the forces that compose the cosmos, a recomposition of the music of the spheres. Here, narrative flow becomes a kind of quantum fluid, bifurcating into character systems and poetry. Tinctures of the inhuman spread through this writing, causing language to convulse in forms as vivid and varied as the multiverse itself. Alternately explosive and meditative, at once lyrical and conceptual, Catanzano’s work renews the pataphysical claim of literature on science. In this work, American literature has found its own Jarry.Andrew Joron
Amy Catanzano‘s writing is a vector, releasing sparks. To read her work is to emit/receive—something. From a distant yet intimate point. What will happen next? Where will you go? This novella is a guidebook to a future that has not arrived yet. To “predicate.” To “devolve.” To “shimmer.” In a book that is a like a nerve.Bhanu Khapil
Amy Catanzano’s second book, Multiversal (Fordham University Press, 2009), received the PEN USA Literary Award in Poetry. Multiversal was selected for publication by Michael Palmer for Fordham’s Poets Out Loud Prize. Her first book, iEpiphany (2008), was published by Anne Waldman’s independent publishing venture, Erudite Fangs Editions. An e-chapbook, the heartbeat is a fractal, was released by Toronto/Tokyo-based Ahadada Books in 2009. Her speculative essays on the intersections of poetry, science, and ’pataphysics have been published in Jerome Rothenberg’s Poems and Poetics, and a collaborative discussion project on poetry and science in which she participated appears in Jacket2. Originally from Boulder, Colorado, she is an Assistant Professor of English and serves as Poet-in-Residence and Director of Creative Writing at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. She has an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
Reviews and News
The hybridity of Starlight in Two Million lends itself at least in part to assisting in Catanzano’s depiction of 4th person narration. In particular, her poetry (“U+F+O+L+A+N+G+U+A+G+E”) suggests a sense of malleability and nonspecificity, power in disruption and deviation from the linear hierarchy. Take for a specific and more focused example, the TAZ (temporary autonomous zone) located “where the poetic imagination is free to reign.” The site of poetry is a catalyst for a chain reaction that moves outward, uncoiling, asking questions that produce yet more questions. Inquiry expands into infinite space and non-linear time: “In TAZ the practice of framing a rule as a ruin makes even more ruins, as anyone familiar with the latest studies has been informed.” The prose form overlaps with the poetic, the hybridity presenting scientific inquiry within a framework of imaginative speculation and the powerful disruptive force of deviation from traditional form.
Starlight in Two Million: A Neo-Scientific Novella is a spacetime ship that travels. Unlike ships of the sea or rockets to outer space, my book moves by warp drive. What this means is that my book achieves travel through space and time by being stationary while moving spacetime around it. This is how ships move when traveling at warp drive in Star Trek, and scientists are now exploring warp drive for travel in our solar system and beyond.
In May 2015 Jace Brittain and Rachel Zavecz interviewed me about my third book, Starlight in Two Million: A Neo-Scientific Novella (Noemi Press, 2014). The book combines narrative fiction — in which three characters, two of whom are named for Greek concepts, join forces to stop a war — with lyric poetry, visual poetry, and memoir. We discuss the book’s cross-genre form, ’pataphysics, quantum poetics, fourth-person narration and the fourth dimension, and more. In addition to talking with me about Starlight in Two Million, Jace and Rachel wrote a collaborative review of the novella for the online arts magazine, Queen Mob’s Teahouse.
Amy Catanzano’s Starlight in Two Million: A Neo-Scientific Novella is a mind-full, mine-filled, field of literary, aesthetic, scientific, and imaginative constructs that take forms as collage, cultural allegory, anti-war expression, epistolary conversation, and song-of-joy-in-risk-taking, to list merely a few.