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Frank Smith

Frank Smith is a French radio producer, nonfiction writer, and the author of multiple books of post-poetry including the recent collections Guantanamo (Seuil, Coll. 2010), États de faits (L’Attente Editions, 2013), and Gaza, d’ici-là (Al Dante Editions, 2013). He has worked...

Vanessa Place

"Vanessa Place killed poetry." —Anonymous, via Twitter. The Boston Review called Vanessa Place “the spokesperson for the new cynical avant-garde,” The Huffington Post characterized her work as “ethically odious,” literary critic and philosopher Avital Ronell stated that...


Frank Smith

Vanessa Place

Translated by Vanessa Place
Introduction by Mark Sanders
Prose | $17.00
ISBN 13: 978-1-934254-53-0
Size: 10.75″ x 7″
Pages: 160
Binding: Softcover, Perfect
Published: July 15, 2014


Shortlist Selection: PEN Award for Poetry in Translation

Longlist Selection: Best Translated Book Award Poetry

In January 2006, responding to pressure from the American press, the Department of Defense released three hundred and seventeen verbal trials from Guantanamo naval base, the prison camp used to house accused terrorists. From these documents comes Guantanamo by Frank Smith. Appropriating language from the interrogation minutes, Smith shapes these questions and answers into a literary world as faceless and recursive as the interrogations themselves, leading us away from the comfort of reason and the hope of resolution. In this bilingual edition, translated into English by Vanessa Place, Guantanamo unsettles the categories of law and poetry, innocence and guilt, translation and interpretation.

Praise for Guantanamo:

“A mutant offspring of Kafka, Lyotard, and William Carlos Williams, Frank Smith’s volume haunts the precincts of a world-class ethical blight. Poignant, disturbing, and skillfully translated by a leading voice in contemporary thought, Guantanamo remains the name of pernicious irresolution and offshore strike back. Our own rogue penal colony, Guantanamo becomes the site for provoking a cannonade of interrogatory language and testimonial breakdown. Facing the Military Tribunal’s relentless pursuit of unnerving detail, Detainee, in a sudden if unbearable ironic swerve, asks as a final plea to be deported to the United States—home ground of his dream world. As if all this torture had been merely an initiation, a hazing ritual souped up by the protocols of some border patrol bureaucracy. . .”

—Avital Ronell

“[Vanessa] Place turns the stark French (provided en face) into inescapable English.”

Publishers Weekly

“The antiseptic nature of the interview model, modded by Smith to read in bursts of verse, seem somehow at once menacing and whitewashed, like we are skirting around something so fucked it almost has no feeling on the page.”

—Blake Butler, Vice

“A composition with a strange status, which lays a finger on the heart of the links between humanity, justice and language.”

—Blandine Sorbe