Experience in the Medium of Destruction

Sara Jane Stoner

$16.00 Paper

Lambda Literary Award Finalist: Lesbian Poetry

The anti-heroism of Sara Jane Stoner’s Experience in the Medium of Destruction is a kind of queer-critical atomization—an expression of desire for a practice and a pedagogy toward an auto-necromancy of our own nuclear dust. A book harboring a raucous community of questions, enormous and tiny, personal and political, dense and light and hard and soft, questions as numerous as bodies: what boundaries serve both self and world in motion? what do we sacrifice in self production, in legibility? what utterances raise the stakes of the present and show us to our senses? what do we need from language in order to broaden our shared understanding of the overlapping fields of our relation? how can a poetics act toward consciousness? Experience in the Medium of Destruction submits to the loss of control and constant error that is fundamental to any act of perception, relation, and signification—any act of learning. The sonic and aleatory confessions of poetry are subject to the explanatory cadences of prose, making essayistic arguments for the senses. Orifices overflowing with the desire to participate in a rhetoric that defeats itself, a power that gives everything away. And that the actual permeability of the body is the best model for conceptualizing social bodies—reaching for a kind of "limit language" through the figure of sex, which is everything, a sticky inclusivity of touching, naming, and being touched, being named—with an ethical understanding that as far as we know, we also do not know who it is we touch, who we are, touched.

Born and raised in Colorado, Sara Jane Stoner has been pinned between multiple genres, writerly imperatives, and identities too long to say, but has been certain since college that her deepest loves were a queerness that forced no distinction between politics and art, and the body of the sentence. She pursued an MFA in Fiction from Indiana University, where she continued to study and write between genres. After working in publishing, she had the enormous fortune to join the PhD program in English at CUNY Graduate Center, a community of scholar-artists and critical pedagogues, where her desire to read and study writing and identities which live or appear at the margins or in the crosshairs of multiple genres and subjectivities found a home. She has taught writing and literature at Brooklyn and Baruch Colleges, as well as at The Cooper Union, where she has also worked in the Writing Center for almost a decade, in addition to teaching classes on queer theory, Gertrude Stein, and “radical” education. Her dissertation focuses on the constitutive relationship between subjects in embodied teaching and writing, particularly in the contexts of queer theory, contemporary experimental writing, and composition instruction. Presently, she serves as the Reviews Editor for The Poetry Project Newsletter, works on her dissertation, and continues to boldly, speculatively hire people to work at the unaccredited free college she will help found in the not-so-distant future. She lives in Brooklyn with Madness, her cat.