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Kit Schluter with Garrett Caples – Book Launch Party

May 22 @ 7:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Kit Schluter with Garrett Caples – Book Launch Party

Kit Schluter celebrates the publication of Cartoons published by City Lights


Garrett Caples celebrates the publication of Proses: Incomparable Parables! Fabulous Fables! Cruel Tales! published by Wave Books

About Cartoons:

Set in the uncanny valley between Bugs Bunny and Franz Kafka, Cartoons is an explosive series of outrageous, absurdist tales.

“The true surrealist is unblinking, convulsive, and cheerfully open to the mysterious flow, into their texts, of mythic and archetypal elements operating beyond their conscious control. In Cartoons, Kit Schluter vaults into the zone of Julio Cortázar, Richard Brautigan, and late Giorgio di Chirico, where the reader breaths the air of pure freedom attained rattling inside the chains of self.”–Jonathan Lethem, author of Motherless Brooklyn

More than simply a book, Cartoons proposes itself as a genre of imaginary writing in opposition to the realism of most contemporary U.S. fiction, aligning itself with the French symbolism and Latin American fabulism its author is known to translate. A giant cricket with a tiny Kit Schluter in a jar, The Girl Who Is a Piece of Paper, an umbrella who confuses the words porpoise and purpose in its quest for self-fulfillment, these are just a few denizens of its pages, suffused with a fairy tale-like animism. A pair of slugs go on a bender. A microwave oven decries microaggressions. A beer bottle is filled with regret. An escalator mechanic’s shoe conceals a terrible secret.

As befits its title, Cartoons defies the laws of physics and fiction alike, eschewing tonal consistency in favor of a simultaneity of joy and horror, ecstasy and disgust, wrapped in an extravagant layer of black humor. The stories blur the boundary between microfiction and poet’s prose, featuring impossible transformations and surrealistic events, even as they wrestle with urgent psychic and moral dilemmas. Heightening the atmosphere of pervasive unreality are a number of drawings by the author, which don’t so much illustrate as parallel the tales with their own fantastic scenarios.

Kit Schluter’s recent work has appeared in Boston Review, BOMB, and Brooklyn Rail. He is author of the poetry collection Pierrot’s Fingernails (Canarium Books) as well as numerous chapbooks and artist editions of poems and stories. Schluter is included in the latest edition of Best American Experimental Writing (Wesleyan UP, 2020), edited by Carmen Maria Machado, Joyelle McSweeney, Jesse Damiani and Seth Abramson. He has translated widely from the French and Spanish, including works by Rafael Bernal (New Directions), Copi (Inpatient Press, New Directions), bruno darío (Ugly Duckling Press(e)), Mario Levrero (& Other Stories), Marcel Schwob (Wakefield Press), and Olivia Tapiero (Nightboat Books). He recently illustrated Sebastian Castillo’s novel SALMON. Kit coordinates production and design for Nightboat Books and lives in Mexico City.

About Proses:

In the grand tradition of poet’s fiction, Proses: Incomparable Parables! Fabulous Fables! Cruel Tales! is a collection of nine phantasmagorical stories by beloved poet and City Lights editor, Garrett Caples.

Resolutely turning its back on the ethos of traditional narrative, Proses draws on Marcel Schwob, magical realism, and speculative fiction for inspiration, projecting worlds dominated by dream logic and impossible (and often hilarious) dimensions. Spectral nuns, xenobots, explosive phraseology, and even Ringo Starr are just some of the unexpected dilemmas confronting the various protagonists of Proses. Poets such as Andrew Joron, Kit Schluter, and Claude Grind of Verdoux Books, make cameo appearances—including, at times, Caples himself! While each story is a standalone, the collection amounts to an intricate whole, as themes, objects, and even characters recur, encouraging readers to enjoy the book sequentially. Regardless of how it is enjoyed, Proses is at once a satire of the world of contemporary poetry and publishing and a celebration of that world’s fantastic and infinite imagination.

Garrett Caples is the author of Lovers of Today (Wave Books, 2021), Power Ballads (Wave Books, 2016), Complications (2007), and The Garrett Caples Reader (1999), a collection of outtakes, The Rise & Fall of Johnny Volume (2020), and a bilingual selection, Noches Apátridas (Unstated Nights, 2019). He’s also written a book of essays, Retrievals (2014), and a pamphlet, Quintessence of the Minor (2010). He’s the editor of Philip Lamantia’s Preserving Fire: Selected Prose (2018), Samuel Greenberg’s Poems from the Greenberg MSS (2019), and Michael McClure’s Mule Kick Blues and Last Poems (2021), as well as the co-editor of The Collected Poems of Philip Lamantia (2013), Particulars of Place (2015) by Richard O. Moore, Incidents of Travel in Poetry: New and Selected Poems (2016) by Frank Lima, and Arcana: A Stephen Jonas Reader (2019). He is an editor at City Lights Books, where he curates the Spotlight Poetry Series.

This event is made possible by support from the City Lights Foundation


May 22
7:00 pm - 7:30 pm


City Lights Bookstore
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City Lights
261 Columbus Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94133 United States
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