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Ten Walks/Two Talks Paperback – January 15, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 88 pages
  • Publisher: Ugly Duckling Presse; First Print edition (January 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193325467X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933254678
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 4.8 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #979,025 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

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.

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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I enjoy getting caught up in the rush of a New York street.
R. Rooney
My larger issue: a work like this is dependent upon the good humor and intelligence of the authors ~ and both seem capable and curious.
Andrew R. Briggs
And I feel strangely a part of that friendship--like I've made two new friends whom I can't wait to hear from again soon.
Laura Wetherington

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Vanessa Carlisle on March 26, 2010
Format: Paperback
Idiosyncratic descriptions. Real conversations. Men in the city trying to understand. This is like a Goddard film on paper. Gorgeous and somehow melancholy--but not maudlin. For New York, which has been overrepresented, these representations are fresh and stinky, bright and clouded, and so they feel true, true, true.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Sir Scotty Wolftronix on June 28, 2010
Format: Paperback
"Ten Walks" is a brilliant meditation on the modern city and mind, the product of two manbabies evoking, for the reader, what it must have felt like to be Moses emerging from his basket the first time. The smells, the light, the shadows, the constant murmur of New York come alive in this riveting random narrative of life in the present tense. Mr. Cotner and Mr. Fitch have shown us a new way to walk, and to see.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Standard_Deviance on June 21, 2010
Format: Paperback
Ten Walks/Two Talks is a quick read, but one that stays with you. Cotner and Fitch have an eye for idiosyncratic urban observation and their friendship as revealed in the talks is quirky and infectious.

The book does what poetry as its best can do: make you experience the world anew. For weeks after I read it, I walked through New York with a delightfully heightened awareness of its many small wonders and I imagine that would be the effect wherever you live.

My only complaint is that I wish the book were longer, so that it wouldn't have to end so soon.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By C. F. Hamilton on May 16, 2010
Format: Paperback
I was reading books less frequently than I should when I found Ten Walks/Two Talks; they seemed to require too much stepping-out from my increasingly busy mental existence. Ten Walks/Two Talks is instead as rooted in the world as the reader, and its conversations are as simple or dense as a reader wishes them to be. While Jon and Andy might appear to slow down their own experience through dialogue and reflection, I felt a quickness in reading, along with the rare sensation that much, much more could be gained from the time that I have.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Laura Wetherington on March 25, 2010
Format: Paperback
What do you get when you cross David Antin's talk poems, William Carlos Williams' Paterson, and Ezra Pound's "In a Station of the Metro"? Ten Walks/Two Talks. That's what. This book by Jon Cotner & Andy Fitch composed in four parts, depicts the urban ecosystem as its living, breathing protagonist. Here New York plays the hero. A constellation of character sketches, including, "two blonds...thrilled to be tall," the "guys losing hair color, sporting metallic tones, with refined but somewhat stodgy taste in music," and a "scared spaniel" form the aleatory action of the book. The reader is met with meditations about American Elms and references to Thoreau and Emerson; the writer is met with a guy carrying a load of bricks. Everything and nothing happens in this book. That's the beauty of it. That, and the artistic recollection of the scenes. In addition to the Hiroshige frontispieces, there are brilliant washes of color throughout the book. The authors' cogitation of the lavender sky evolves into conversation about Japanese paintings. Descriptions of the city contain this precise attention, like when we find "one Asian girl in gold tights and sneakers" who "helped an ancient couple cross Catherine. Upon close inspection all three looked gray." I can imagine these lines coming from the study of a painting. But no, this is these men's lives, recorded in technicolor and consonance.

The four parts (Early Spring, Early Winter, Late Spring, and Late Winter) alternate between promenades and conversations. The conversations were recorded and later formatted into an alternating dialogue, which, formally, doesn't do justice to the sometimes-simultaneous talking.
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