The Brightest Thing in the World

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from 7-9pm on MAY 7th, 2012: Matthew Goulish’s new book, THE BRIGHTEST THING IN THE WORLD: 3 LECTURES FROM THE INSTITUTE OF FAILURE arrives at Defibrillator Gallery

“Why is it the most incomparable books are the ones for which we seek comparison? Perhaps it is, as Matthew Goulish might himself sug- gest, that the failure to find apt parallel offers the most truthful de- scription. Suffice it to say, The Brightest Thing in the World is not any of these books, though it might gladly suffer confusion with them: W.G. Sebald’s perambulatory gatherings, Guy Davenport’s imaginative geography, Montaigne’s humane depths, and Emerson’s demand for readers creative enough not to “know” a work, but to enter it. Goulish has in the most humble of ways shown here how negative capability is no longer only the ability to linger in mystery and doubt, but is the active pursuit after those honest ways in which writing must fail in order to succeed. I want to say the failure of the bud results in the blossom — such ruptures lovingly unfold as failure’s larger gifts — but am no botanist. What I can say is that this book not only typifies Marianne Moore’s thought that “to explain grace requires a curious hand,” it also lovingly points to a thought just as profound — that curiosity replaces explanation with grace. Here is a gracious, graceful book, gentle of mind”and capacious of heart: the full-blown blossom.” Dan Beachy-Quick, author of A Whaler’s Dictionary.

The Green Lantern Press is pleased to announce the release of The Brightest Thing in the Word: Three Essays from the Institute of Failure by Matthew Goulish.

In honor of this book’s entry into the world, Defibrillator Performance Art Gallery (located at 1136 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL, 60642) will host an evening of 2 performances At 7pm on Monday, May 7th 2012.

Hannah Verrill and Matt Shalzi will perform a collaborative work, Matt will Eventually be in Hannah’s Area, after which Goulish will present one of the lectures from his new book. The performance is free and open to the public. Those who buy a book at this event will receive a complimentary, limited edition broadside signed by Matthew Goulish.

THE BRIGHTEST THING IN THE WORLD: 3 ESSAYS FROM THE INSTITUTE OF FAILURE is a collection of essays that touch on seating strategies, Dick Cheney, cuckoo clocks, the Fibonacci series, butterflies and old friends. These threads weave together like a tapestry and by their accumulated resonance create an impression of loss and longing. As in Sebald’s Rings of Saturn, the reader passes through an associative experience. These are the essays of a poet; like a performance of words, each verb is as active as a muscle. While every sentence tends to its end, the reader resists its inevitable conclusion. This book was published in an edition of 500, the first 100 of which were made with silkscreened covers by Sonnenzimmer. It is available in two versions: silk screen editions are available for $22, through our in-house bookstore, The Paper Cave, and non-silk screen editions are distributed by our friends at SPD and available for $12. 70 pages, perfect bound, 978-1-4507-4217-7

Matthew Goulish co-founded Goat Island in 1987, and Every house has a door in 2008. His 39 Microlectures – in proximity of performance was published by Routledge in 2000, and Small Acts of Repair – Performance, Ecology, and Goat Island, which he co- edited with Stephen Bottoms, in 2007. He was awarded a Lannan Foundation Writers Residency in 2004, and in 2007 he received an honorary Ph.D. from Dartington College of Arts, University of Plymouth. He teaches in the MFA and BFA Writing Programs of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

“… A few possible answers gleaned from this book include: how to mourn a blur, analyze ‘an accident shaped like an umbrella,’ or create a lecture that thinks like a poem. This book sets itself up to fail, calling itself ‘The Brightest Thing in the World.’ And then suddenly it is.” Jen Bervin, author of The Desert.

“In these three of Matthew Goulish’s lectures on failure, language, thought, and feeling add up with stunningly multiplicative affect, where scope — conceptual, historical, political, intimate — expands and contracts across discontinuous trajectories of domains and sources. They are lectures resonant without intra-subjective expertise, on failure, of failure, of only the most active, transparent and absorbing synapse-firing, generous kinds.” Jesse Seldess, author of Left Having.

Matt Shalzi lives and works in Chicago.  Matt is currently working on a new project with the performance group Husband and with Hannah Verrill on subsequent versions of the piece, Matt will Eventually be in Hannah’s Area.

Hannah Verrill is studying towards an MFA degree at SAIC, focusing on performance.  In her work she explores choreographic and collaborative strategies through time with devices, structures, and directives.



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