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CLMP Publishers Literature & Fiction - Literature

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The Present Voice

ISBN: 9781734691115
Binding: Paperback
Author: Ryoko Sekiguchi
Translator: Lindsay Turner
Pages: 80
Trim: 5 x 7 inches
Published: 08/15/2021

If the voice is present, it can also disappear. Ryoko Sekiguchi's The Present Voice (translated by Lindsay Turner) is a series of poetic meditations on the materiality of the voice. What, Sekiguchi asks, remains of the voice when the person it belongs to is no longer living? Sekiguchi's work extends into musings on the voice and its relationship to images, to odors, to all sensory experiences—and most poignantly, into a timely commentary on the body, media, mortality, loss, and time. Evoking thinkers and writers from Giles Deleuze to Edouard Glissant, Rene Char to Atiq Rahimi, The Present Voice gently and sensitively theorizes what the voice means to us today, at a moment of global displacement, exile, and "social distance," when so much of our communication occurs through the medium of the recorded voice.


Born in Tokyo, Ryoko Sekiguchi has lived in Paris since 1997. Her work has appeared widely in French and Japanese. Her book of prose poetry adagio ma non troppo, translated by Lindsay Turner, was published in 2017 by Les Figues Press. In addition to recent performances and writings on food and aesthetics, Sekiguchi has also collaborated with visual artists and sound artists including Suzanne Doppelt, Christian Boltanski, and Ranier Lericolais. Her translations into Japanese include works by Jean Echenoz, Mathias Enard, Atiq Rahimi, and Daniel Heller-Roazen.

Lindsay Turner's first collection of poems, Songs & Ballads, was published in 2018 by Prelude Books. Her translations into English include poetry and philosophy books by Stéphane Bouquet, Souleymane Bachir Diagne, Anne Dufourmantelle, and Frédéric Neyrat. She lives in Denver, where she is Assistant Professor in the Department of English and Literary Arts at the University of Denver.


"In this extended meditation on voice, Sekiguchi troubles the distinction between presence and absence, suggesting the voice as absence made ineradicably present through technologies as contemporary as recordings, as ancient as memory, and as ubiquitous as the ghost. Is the voice not always, in a sense, a ghost—indelible, yet untraceable, made of thin air, and always right here. This deeply moving work is itself haunting in its piercing beauty and provocative insights." - Cole Swensen

"Unbearable analog static fuzz feedback slippages etchings ghostings holograms hisses hiccups echoes emissions—behold Ryoko Sekiguchi's temporally troublesome re/incarnations of 'the perishable body' and 'the archived voice.' Lindsay Turner sinks her dark evanescence into a new idiom of sadness and anomie. An elegy to techno-dispossession, the desire to touch in 'the devastated world,' from contemporary French's most iconoclastic poet." - Yasser Elhariry

"What does the voice speak of? It speaks of time; and time is engrained in the voice. The Present Voice is a reckoning with what the voice is, and therefore what the present is, what time is, what listening is, what death is. In this elegant but insistent treatise, Ryoko Sekiguchi reminds us that our 'hunger' for voice is a desire to slip the bounds of time." - Lauren Elkin