Things American: An Introduction to Buffalo

This week for Things American, we’re excited to share the work of Kim Chinquee, Brian Mihok, and Ted Pelton, who are writers and/or artists and/or publishers based in Buffalo, New York. I asked them to contribute and share their experience of the city because it has been on my mind lately, what with the bankruptcy of Detroit; and because I’m from Western New York, although I haven’t been to Buffalo since the &Now conference in 2009; and because it’s hot every day here in Austin, and I’ve been dreaming of the words “lake effect” and “snow;” and because I have just learned a new phrase: ruin porn–those uncomfortably seductive images of the decay of cities and buildings.

Maybe you’ve seen them: the city’s abandoned theater, Central Station, or state asylum. Or maybe what you know of Buffalo is the university’s English department, and its legendary past faculty: Robert Creeley, Susan Howe, Charles Bernstein, John Barth, J.M. Coetzee, and Raymond Federman, among many others.  Or maybe you know it not just because of that film you might be thinking of, but because of its role and influence on the experimental and proletarian stitched texts and photographs of Mark Nowak’s Shut Up Shut Down. Or maybe you love the city, or you live there and were lucky enough to hear Alissa Nutting read at “An Evening of Filth & Music.” Or maybe you’re like MSNBC, and you have no idea where it is.

MSNBCmapofNY

 However you know or don’t know this city, my hope is that, after this week, you might know or not know it differently.

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