SITU is a hesitant unfolding of demise, a text that occupies the interstices between diegetic, philosophical, and poetic discursive timbres. From this tension—which finds form in an indeterminate subject's relationship with a bench, his anguished site of rest and motion—the subsequent flux at the center of the narrative voice facilitates a kind of epistemology of volition that both proves and parodies the necessity of the philosophical system for a narrator whose instability gives such exploration its emergent poetic urgency. In the wildly despairing and circular machinations that ensue, this attempt at "thinking thinking" moves in and out of the body of the thinker it observes, displaying a devastating picture of the paradoxes at the basis of all representation, whether willful or inadvertent, an aesthetic act or a causal order inferred through polemic and reasoned pursuit. SITU is Seidenberg's signature style raised to the next level, an accomplishment that calls to mind the literary contributions of Blanchot, Bernhard, and pre-impasse Beckett.
Praise for Situ:
“To engage with the narrative flow of Steven Seidenberg’s Situ is to pass through the looking glass of consciousness into a seriocomic world of ‘mnemonic throes’ and ‘the null of place.’ I think, therefore where am I? And what? And when? We feel the phenomenal world slip-sliding away, even as we marvel at the charged field of language and thought thus brought to light.”
—Michael Palmer, author of The Laughter of the Sphinx
“Steven Seidenberg has confected a stanza out of trains of thought that falter as explanation turns on itself too many times to grasp. He gives us the most amiable of mad narrators who twists gorgeous epistemological filigree, never escaping ‘captive selfdom’ as the lonely audience of his own powerful articulation, an ‘inner other.’ Situ is the fruit of the philosophical quest: a horror of the body—’face flush with the rancid muck that covers his cadaver’—and the rational mind in its infinite regress. ‘The point’ is to capture the moment of knowing—the happy ending where truth is completely expressed. But the unknown overwhelms the known as it becomes known as unknown, a terrain hidden between what can and can’t be said. This terrain is full of wonder, tenderness, laughter, failure, chatter. Our narrator enlarges it by increments as each stanza glides inexorably to its cliff. He hurls us over, only to start again with new faith in hundreds of fresh beginnings.”
—Robert Glück, author of Jack the Modernist
“A feat of extreme smarts, folding in iterative density and intense decay, Situ does philosophy as labyrinthine lit. It’s the private demo of an unheimlich maneuver, a novel of raveling, a vagrant meditation, with its protagonist assuming a metaphysical/mind-body position (bent over himself, inverted) that leads to a voyage around his brume, a roam of his own. This is outsider metaphysics, insider epistemology, inside-out methodology, limning limits of knowledge, will, action, language, memory, and unity in the creation, the scansion, of self and world. Literalizing notions of ground and point of view, and elaborating an abstract analytical baroque, a syntactical sublime, and an abject disoriented philosophy, Seidenberg creates a novel of sui generis reduction, full of dark, dreck humor, deep obsessional disorder, and relentless musical propulsion. Its intestinal yet Latinate formalism, its agonistic wit and ruinous wonder, its keen bent for passivity, would make Beckett chortle, Husserl mull, Descartes nod, Spinoza correspond, Melville wax fanciful. An original, gutsy book.”
—Mina Pam Dick, author of Delinquent