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Melissa Buzzeo’s For Want and Sound is a philosophical lyric in two parts. Part I, Book, is fashioned from a series of testimonial statements investigating boundarylessness—in language, in body, in different states of being, in sites of memory and geography—in water. Part II, Breach, Recoil, acts as a kind of embankment to the uncontained, and possibly contaminated, space and water in Part I, creating the possibility for commentary. Juliana Spahr has described Buzzeo’s work as “something shimmering and fully complicated.”


For Want and Sound is published as part of the TrenchArt: Surplus Series, with an introduction by Rob Halpern and visual art by Klaus Killisch.


PRAISE FOR For Want and Sound

“For Want and Sound is a book about the body and the sentence, at once grammatical and juridical. It concerns language and law, force and longing, and the fate of love that can’t be contained by our sentences, there being no socially sanctioned form for that excess. How is one to communicate a sentence whose subject wants more than grammar allows? And what might this want sound like?”

— Rob Halpern


Melissa Buzzeo embodies contemporary thought as it circulated around the body, when the house, when the given structure: fails. A writer with incredible lyric gifts, Buzzeo has written through trauma, architecture and place to create a work that is completely original and vibrant. For Want and Sound is not simply a test of form; instead, it displays this writer’s willingness to let what is written have its own body, its own intensity, and to track that to the place where materials, cells and communities: explode.

— Bhanu Kapil



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