The House That Hijack Built explores the possibilities of meaning production when language is pushed to its limits of “logical” or normative semantic patterns. If “to hijack” is “to steal in transit,” this text focuses on how language, with its idioms and ideologies, is appropriated—hijacked and transported—to unknown destinations in the act of its transmission. In her fifth collection of poems / collages, Karasick explores the intersection between das Wahre (the true) and die Wahrheit (the truth), as a language at war with itself re-presents a “real world” reworded between narrations of “the real”—inscribed in ruptures, betrayals and unfulfilled promises—and speaks to a ‘real world’ that wreaks havoc with the very truth it seeks to inhabit.
Included in this collection is a homolinguistic “trans’elation” of the first chapter of the Sefer Yetzirah. Known as The Book of Creation or The Book of the Letters, it is the oldest and most mysterious of all Kabalistic texts, dating back to 100 BCE. Its focus is on the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet—how they were formed, how they inter-relate, how they make meaning—the text itself inscribed through slippage, elision, rupture and undecideability, foregrounding language as a continuum of letters, names, mathematical equations and gates of meaning. By a technique of slight displacement, slipping one word under another, Karasick mimics Nietzsche’s Geschichte Eines Irrtums History of an Error, announcing the narration of a fabrication: how the “true world” finally becomes a fable.
Adeena Karasick is a media artist, performer, cultural theorist, and the critically acclaimed author of seven books of poetry and poetic theory. She teaches Literature and Critical Theory for the Humanities and Media Studies Department at Pratt Institute in New York. Karasick is also co-founding Artistic Director of the KlezKanada Poetry Festival and Retreat. In 2017 the Adeena Karasick Archive was established at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia.
Her writing is marked with an urban, Jewish, and feminist aesthetic that continually challenges normative modes of meaning production and blurs the lines between popular culture and scholarly discourse. It has been described as “electricity in language” (Nicole Brossard), “proto-ecstatic jet-propulsive word torsion” (George Quasha), and noted for its “cross-fertilization of punning and knowing, theatre and theory” (Charles Bernstein), its “twined virtuosity of mind and ear which leaves the reader deliciously lost in Karasick’s signature ‘syllabic labyrinth’” (Craig Dworkin).
Karasick’s most recent publications are Salomé: Woman of Valor (University of Padova Press, 2017), a Jewish-feminist revisiting of the Biblical story of Salomé, and The Medium is the Muse: Channeling Marshall McLuhan (NeoPoiesis Press, 2014).
Karasick has lectured and performed worldwide, participated in international conferences, telepoetic colloquia, and literary festivals. She regularly publishes articles, reviews, and dialogues on contemporary poetry, poetics and cultural/semiotic theory. She also produces videopoems and sound recordings of her work, which highlight its radical performativity (find them on YouTube), and she was also featured on the TV series Heart of a Poet, produced in conjunction with Bravo! TV.
More information on Karasick and and her work can be found on adeenakarasick.com
“Perhaps the strangest, most irreverent and utterly shameless of possible responses to a tragedy, Karasick’s is also, finally, deeply, and compellingly human.”