Standard American English by EL_S_TH H__ST_ON

Litmus Press

Books / / pp

ISBN 978-1-933959-50-4


In Standard American English, writer and multidisciplinary artist Elisabeth Houston brings her readers deep into the world of baby, a persona she has been developing in performance contexts for nearly a decade. The poems in this debut collection emerge from the abject dialectic of baby’s psyche—where a self in formation staggers under the weight of sexual abuse, body image dysmorphia, rapacious materialism, fame obsession, and racial fetishism. What is witnessed here is the way late capitalism unfolds brutal games of power, affecting all dimensions of life, with the potential to consume and ravage individual actors, as well as entire communities and cultures. Standard American English is a blistering satire of contemporary American values. In the tradition of literary “outlaws” such as Kathy Acker, Marguerite Duras, and Jean Genet, Houston pulls out all the stops.

EL_S_TH H__ST_ON aka ELISABETH HOUSTON WROTE AN AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY and then deleted said biography and then decided instead to write a paperback romance novel, which riffed off the prolific priestess of romance Miss Danielle Steel; this romance novel also required an encyclopedia to accompany its reading, a long thick index which contained towering columns of notes which distinguished facts from fiction, fiction from friction, words from gibberish, gibberish from poetry, and on and on. The books stalled at the final stages – printers got jammed, machines convulsed, ink and bodies and language run amok. Elisabeth Houston refused to write a proper author biography to be penned on the book’s final page, and readers were tired and angry. Then the readers decided to riot. They demanded authorial integrity, they demanded coherence, and so they violently destroyed the book.