Like the propositions of Brainard, Schuyler, or Wittgenstein, Andy Fitch's declarations of ambulatory fact--of "mere" observation--are barbed with genius: clever, defamiliarizing, cushioned by a hum of meditative stillness. His sweetly Oulipian sentences give back to the ordinary its modicum of glow. And when he starts talking with the profound Jon Cotner, a latter-day Plato, we remember that philosophical inquiries have every right to take root in daily curiosities and drolleries, like the "smell of hip-cream," or the metonymic relation of "my first oral sex experience" to the "mace flavor" of a cup of tea. Neurasthenia never had finer spokesmen. --Wayne Koestenbaum
Perambulating with Jon Cotner and Andy Fitch in TEN WALKS/TWO TALKS makes me wonder if conversation leads anywhere, nowhere, or everywhere. Their meandering is an aesthetic and intellectual stretch, since they walk and think artfully, poetry in motion. Maybe 21st century dandies or rootless homeboys, they observe the unexpected in urban landscapes, notice people stunned or easy. Their weirdly astute dialogues flirt with being a novel or a play of manners. What stops them in their tracks or starts them? Why are they fascinated by what fascinates them? Their boasts, vulnerability, and modesty presume a profound and unusual friendship, itself in motion, treading on and between the lines. --Lynne Tillman
Perhaps it was in the 5th century--I know this for a fact--that a certain government official in China chose to drop out of public life and devote himself to music and poetry, drunkenness and pure conversation. Soon he had a group of friends who had also left their "lives" and this group became poster children for the ideal life in Asia for a very long time. Even today. When Jon and Andy walk around Manhattan talking about things I feel like they are a moving page from that very fine idea in which small talk is large and nothing is more interesting or full or more entrancing than allowing the city to model for you--and walking among it too, becoming it. --Eileen Myles
About the Author
Jon Cotner and Andy Fitch are the authors of TEN WALKS/TWO TALKS, which was chosen as a Best Book of 2010 by THE WEEK, THE MILLIONS, TIME OUT CHICAGO, and BOOKSLUT. They recently completed another collaboration called CONVERSATIONS OVER STOLEN FOOD. Cotner and Fitch have performed their dialogic improvisations across the United States and internationally. Fitch's book NOT INTELLIGENT, BUT SMART: RETHINKING JOE BRAINARD is forthcoming from Dalkey Archive Press. Cotner teaches in Pratt Institute's Creative Writing Program. Fitch teaches in the University of Wyoming's MFA Program.