"…But I Could Not Speak…"

By Jono Schneider


O Books
Original Language(s)
Additional Credits
Cover art by Leslie Scalapino
Design by Guy Bennett
Edition, Year
First Edition, 2002
In Print

In Jono Schneider’s “…But I Could Not Speak…” every sentence is its time there. In each sentence, slow rigorous satisfying, relation to life “outside” and to “living” is that. We don’t slip out of the sentence or look elsewhere. Nothing is simply demonstrating something else. The reader is held again and again in this occurrence. It is as if a form of automatic writing to make a slow voice.

Jono Schneider
Jono Schneider is the author of the poetry collection “...But I Could Not Speak…” (O Books, 2002) and four chapbooks: The World (Instress, 1999), Walking and Talking Read More

In his famous essay, “The Storyteller,” Benjamin claimed that sanitized information (i.e. the news hour) has supplanted the traditional narrative of the storyteller, and it is into this absencethe story’s absencethat Schneider commits his voice. Instead of telling a seamless narrative or relating an epic trajectory, Schneider speaks from a multitude of perspectives through use of a fluid and expansive “I” that cannot be associated with the author, a stable narrator, or a character. In this mode each of his fragmentswhether sentence or paragraphoperate as a discrete narrative unit. Speech here reminds us of the archipelago, where each sentence is an island that introduces us to the immensity of an unbounded ocean.

— Kevin Fitgerald, VeRT


Praise for "…But I Could Not Speak…"

“…But I Could Not Speak…” occurs in and as a moment, one that it has opened for itself in the midst of a story so that its meanings can emerge. This is what Julia Kristeva has termed “the moment of accomplishment.” I belongs to the time of appearance, the temporal zone that everyone brings to the stories they are involved in. As readers of this wonderful book, our own involvement begins within its exquisite, noticeable sentences, which flow unimpeded except by the excitement they produce in the reader; we want nothing better than to pause at each of them, not in aesthetic wonder but so as to participate in the action that is this book.

— Lyn Hejinian

The horizon to which Jono Schneider returns again and again is not so much disclosed as shaped and reshaped: it ceases to be a thing and admits only to a rhythm. The painter Leonora Carrington asserted that magic is “being aware of presence without definition.” Here you will find a book in which such enigma is enacted.

— Elizabeth Robinson

The characters in Jono Schneider’s prose have names like “hunger” and “silence.” They are more than words. You encounter them in passing, as in a narrow street. They come a bit too close. You must reconcile their passing and their staying with you.

— Gil Ott

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