The much-ballyhooed demise of geography has proved to be premature. Instead, we use our now-ingrained cyber-intelligence to navigate the rotting urban infrastructures that surround us. Amira Hanafi moves through Chicago’s industrial past the way we surf the web, guided in equal parts by intuition and purpose, resulting in a Cageian writing-through of urbanity. Forgery is an act of purposeful purposelessness, whereupon eons and histories — both cultural and personal — meld into one rich derive of language. — Kenneth Goldsmith
Joining the illustrious company of other poet architects: Michael Ondaatje (In The Skin Of A Lion), Rene Gladman (Event Factory), Walt Disney (Disneyland), and Matthew Sharpe (Jamestown) Amira Hanafi takes us on a walking tour that refabricates the history of a city (Chicago) as a live performance cooling on the window sill to feed hoboes, and enabling them (us) to walk on into the next story. History in Amira Hanafi’s hands is serious and weighty fun. — Eileen Myles
Review by Lily Robert-Foley at AngelHousePress (PDF)
Collaged from language collected using the obscure keyword “Finkl”—obituaries, case histories, old Chicago legends, gossip columns, political speeches and online posts—FORGERY is a lyrical essay on industrial and personal dislocation—a strange choreography of urban conquest and collapse—centered on a 130-year-old Chicago steel forge. Founded in 1879 by German immigrant Anton Finkl, A. Finkl & Sons Co. still operates today on Chicago’s Near North Side. Last vestige of an industrial era, the company produces die forgings noisily and with a good deal of dirty emissions alongside one of the city’s more affluent neighborhoods, where spas and plastic surgeons, shops for handmade cosmetics and luxury chocolates extend off one of the busiest commercial corridors in Chicago. Starting from this intersection of forces, the narrator embarks on a walk to the seven forgotten homes of the forge’s founder, on the way meeting settlers, Indians, Bob Fosse and Richard Daley, gangsters, workers, a K-pop girl group, and a cast of other peculiar characters whose fused stories recount the multifarious history of an evolving city. Whether tied up at gunpoint in the garage of a basketball player or floating at the bottom of Lake Michigan, FORGERY revels in disorientation. Printed in an edition of 500 with silk screen covers by Crosshair and an introduction by Stephen Lapthisophon.
Buy the book