"Souvenirs of a Shrunken World" is a collage of startling, unsentimental prose poems written by the Spanish-speaking midwesterner Holly Iglesias. Contemporary and vertiginously terrifying, this important collection about the 1904 World's Fair, also known as the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, was written after 9/11 when there was a lot of rhetoric flying about savages and barbarians. The poems are a textual analog for the snapshots taken at the fair, which took four years to build and three months to raze to the ground, thus creating a sort of 'instant nostalgia'. It was the largest fair ever held, and the largest collection of 'uncivilized peoples' ever put on display - Pygmy, Ainu, Patagonian, Bontoc, Igorot, and Native American. A wonderland and a nightmare, full of opportunities for uplift and cheap amusement, a showcase of consumer goods and of a nation's prowess, it held the dreams and sins of (unconscious) white America. Spoken through the voices of figures as diverse as Geronimo (who was there as a prisoner of war), Helen Keller, and African pygmies, this work reveals the dangers of accepting the stories we are handed.
Astonishingly timely in a moment such as ours, when all manner of simulacra are offered up in place of the real world and real experience, "Souvenirs of a Shrunken World" reminds us that, though what is false ultimately fails, failure exacts its price, and, even when it all comes crashing down, 'admission will be charged to view the wreckage'.
Publisher: Kore Press
Number of pages: 104
Weight: 136 g
Dimensions: 178 x 152 x 8 mm