One of our QTRL Emerging Projects, The End of the Line Press, a publisher of poetry, prose, and visual art monographs by trans, non-binary, and two-spirit artists, recently celebrated a successful launch on January 13, 2024 at Glad Day Bookshop! Authors Mandy Gutmann-Gonzalez and Arielle Burgdorf joined us in Toronto to discuss their works A/An and Prétend, which can be ordered from End of the Line Press’ online store.
Learn more about the authors and their works below:
Mandy Gutmann-Gonzalez (mandygutmanngonzalez.com)
Mandy Gutmann-Gonzalez, a Chilean poet, novelist, translator, and text-based artist, is the author of the novel La Pava (Ediciones Inubicalistas). They teach creative writing at Clark University.
A/An by Mandy Gutmann-Gonzalez
Using 17th-century court records of the Salem Witch Trials as a sounding board, A/An mines the archives to uncover the power and violence residing within the language of the legal system. As state-legislated violence, witch hunts were constitutive to the colonial order, reinforcing what was normal and what aberrant. Rather than regarding the witch hunts as historical curiosity or speculating to fill the gaps, A/An considers the court examination as poetic form, a hybrid of legal language and lyric utterance. In these poems, English becomes foreign to itself, having distorted through time and slipped through the sieve of law, through the inevitable erasures of matter and the ideological erasures of the archive: the gaps marked “[illegible due to fold in paper],” and the silences that remain unmarked. In a poetics of the “[…]”, A/An engages with textual gaps as lacunae. In A/An, poetry and archive wrestle, shattering these legal documents that act as gravestones and spilling the voices caught therein.
Arielle Burgdorf (arielleburgdorf.com)
Arielle Burgdorf is a writer originally from Washington, D.C. They received their MFA from Chatham University in Pittsburgh where they taught in the Words Without Walls program at Allegheny County Jail. Their writing and translations have appeared in Lambda Literary, Broken Pencil Magazine, Exilé Sans Frontières, Maximum Rocknroll, and elsewhere. They are currently pursuing a PhD in Literature at UC Santa Cruz focused on queer and feminist experimental writers from Québec.
Prétend by Arielle Burgdorf
Prétend follows a young translator from Montreal whose name and identity are in constant flux. Our protagonist begins the story as Jean, a woman trapped in an abusive marriage to a dangerous man named Konstantin. Isolated and alienated in London, Jean soon becomes John, and her relationship with Konstantin starts to unravel when he asks her to translate his poems from Russian. After she begins to uncover some of Konstantin’s deceits, she agrees to meet a reclusive artist in Canada named M., and leaves Konstantin, becoming Jeanne upon her return to Montréal.
Working with M. on a new translation is magical and restorative for Jeanne, as she learns for the first time in her life what it might be like to have a translator-author relationship free of dated ideas on fidelity, domination, and the invisibility of the translator. Jeanne also starts to realize she has feelings for M. and wants more than just a business relationship together. But M. has a secret too, and just when it comes to light, Konstantin lands in Montréal and creates chaos. Jeanne uncovers Konstantin’s biggest secret and becomes determined to expose him, forcing him to leave her alone once and for all—but will he give in so easily? And will she find a way to work things out with M., or leave Montréal behind for a new city and a new identity?