City Books is proud to present the most recent project of Doug Rice Homage to Duane Michals from November 2 – December 28, 2019. An opening reception will be held on November 16 from 7-9 PM. Refreshments will be served. The event is free.
Describing the project, Rice says, “Photographs are forever in mourning. They tend to be trapped by a desire that has disappeared, a moment that has slipped away, but one that suffers from being neither here nor there. We have yet to discover a tense for a photograph. Grammar, in a photograph, at best is a wound that cannot heal. In every photograph there is always a sensation of the just-missed or of the not-yet-appeared. A waiting that is trapped by time, but also a waiting that has been set loose from time.
Photographs are evocative forms and styles of time travel, being both here and there while also being both not here and not there. I am mostly interested in what cannot be seen. What can only be suggested. I am more curious about what a moment caught in time feels like than what it looks like. And, like Duane Michals, text gives me a way out of my photographs to express and complicate this impossible remembering. This moment soon to be erased before now becomes then. Each photograph is a question. Each text is an uncertain desire.”
A native Pittsburgher, Doug Rice is the author of Between Appear and Disappear (revised new edition, 2019), When Love Was (2019), Here Lies Memory (2016), Blood of Mugwump (selected by Kathy Acker as runner-up Fiction Collective First Novel Award, 1996), Das Heilige Buch der Stille (Solitude Press, Stuttgart, 2013, an original book, German translation by Nicolai Kobus), Between Appear and Disappear (Jaded Ibis Press, 2013), Dream Memoirs of a Fabulist (Copilot Press, 2011), Le Sang des Mugwump (French translation of Blood of Mugwump by Heloise Esquii, Desordres Laurence Viallet, Paris, France, 2007), Skin Prayer (Eraserhead Press, 2002), A Good Boy is Hard to Find (CPAOD Books, 1998). He is the co-editor of Federman: A to X-X-X-X (San Diego State University Press, 1998). His fiction, memoirs and creative nonfiction have appeared in numerous anthologies and journals including: Avant Pop: Fiction for a Daydream Nation, Kiss the Sky, The Dirty Fabulous Anthology, Alice Redux, Phanthoms of Desire, Zyzzyvya, Gargoyle, Fiction International, Discourse, 580 Split, and others.
His books of photographs include: An Erotics of Seeing (2015) and Faraway, So Close (2013).
Rice studied creative writing with John C. Gardner at SUNY-Binghamton, and teaches at Sacramento State University and has been awarded an international Writers-in-Residence at the Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, Germany, 2011-2014. He has taught at Kent State University and LaRoche College. He received his BA from Slippery Rock State College, his MA from Duquesne University, and studied for his Ph.D. at the University of Pittsburgh. He was also a book reviewer for The Pittsburgh Press.
His work has been translated and published in German, French, Spanish, and Polish.
Rice is currently working on Fathers of the Rivers, a second novel in a trilogy of novels called The Pittsburgh Trilogies. He is also completing a book of texts and photographs called, After Michals Homage to Cavafy.
Praise for Doug Rice’s most recent works:
In Japan, the concept of ma (間) – literally “the gap,” “the space,” or the interval that glues one space to another, people, people to objects, and even what we are as human beings – predominates how we live, who we are, and how we interact with things around us. In Doug Rice’s Between Appear and Disappear, this concept appears again and again: the muted space between Mai and “Doug,” the tension between photographs and texts, fiction and nonfiction, meditation and action. What is this book – is this a philosophical book on loss and time? A book about aesthetics of photography? A love story? A memoir? A book of photographs with texts, or a narrative with photographs? But this is what is apparent: the world in this hybrid book is the in-between ma, where what is visible and invisible, knowable and unknowable, what is uttered and what isn’t uttered, gentleness and terribleness, mythic and mundane, all come together to show us, through Rice’s exacting words, a new way of looking at this world that is both cruel and beautiful. This is a terrifying book to read – illuminating, wise, philosophical, and, at the end, devastating. –Mariko Nagai, author of Irradiated Cities
I consider that the action of taking photographs by Doug Rice in the case of this book—Between Appear and Disappear—had in part the function of replacing the activity of writing when the latter became overfilled with jouissance. I imagine that when taking photographs was not enough to replace the activity of writing words and syntax overfilled with jouissance, he placed whatever he wrote that had an affinity with and close association to his earlier jouissance-overfilled book Blood of Mugwump not below the lower borders of the photographs he had taken, as captions to them, but on their backs, as one does with postcards, and then printed the photographs facing the “reader,” thus burying the words written on the photographs’ backs. The book is, thus, between appearing and disappearing, between the words one can read and the words buried under the printed photographs, a hidden treasure. –Jalal Toufic, author of Forthcoming
Like accessing someone’s private diaries, Doug Rice’s translucent Between Appear and Disappear is a collaboration of syncopated narratives, a lyrical photography that “invites and denies touch.” Rice notes, “When words fail, photographs capture the appearance that slips away.” And, his lover and primary speaker, Mai, moves unlike a mirror, trapped in the abducted, discordant syllables of her Vietnamese past: a nightmare in which dust could not even clothe his memory of her. Rice, through his ecstatic visual and poetic splendors, invites her to move like rain, language, silence, skin, and inadvertently through the invitation, she opens like a lotus flower to the love letters of his photographs. Through both Rice’s acute photographic tenderness and linguistic sensitivity, he has opened into the postwar body of his former lover a hyphenated water filled with the hem of her dress, ancient dreams, garlic and lemongrass, burnt dictionaries, dead infants, bombed villages, pluvial shadows, repetitive patterns from memories, “languages rooted in mud”, and wings of weeping trees. Developed and captured through his gentle and seductive hands, Rice’s incandescent meditation is a matriarchal waterfall made of silence and eyelids as he marries exilic sorrow and beauty with his beloved quiet innocence. As he photographs them onto our “tongue made of [womb] and ash”, we become moonlit flowers and twigs floating down one riverbed of his/her loss to the next. –Vi Khi Nao, author of Fish in Exile