cover image Traffic


Kenneth Goldsmith, . . Make Now, $16.50 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-9743554-8-1

Well, we could spend an hour talking about the Hudson River right now,” begins the third entry in the 144 sections of Goldsmith’s outrageous appropriation of New York area radio traffic updates (from WINS), but the anonymous narrator cannot spend such an hour: he has to spend the entire day talking about bridges, tunnels, gridlock, weather conditions, police activity and street-parking rules that apply or not to any interested motorists and commuters as a holiday weekend begins in the Big Apple. Goldsmith, the high-priest of what he has called “uncreative writing,” has pulled other similar stunts—such as a year of radio weather reports (The Weather ). A theoretician’s field day, this Goldsmith project also activates narrative and storytelling in an unadorned and absolutely original state. The conversational radio voice (“Well, we’ve talked about what’s not running but, what is running is trains’’) presents New York City as a kind of destination character, with constant appraisals as to how to get inside of or away from it. Gotham evolves in his handling into a sentient, complex figure out of Swift, a giant about whom much is surmised, but little is known. In the end, the only certainties are that its best to travel at 3 a.m., and that alternate side of the street parking rules are axiomatic. (Feb.)