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The Library is an Ambush

For the past several weeks, Lightsey Darst has been holed up inside the Walker’s resource library. A dance critic, poet, and author of Find the Girl (Coffee House Press, 2010) and the forthcoming Dance (September 2013), Darst was the first writer selected to participate in The Writers and Readers Library Residency Program, an initiative presented by Coffee House Press […]

One of four volumes of the short-lived surrealist periodical VVV. Published in the 40s by sculptor David Hare, VVV's editorial advisors included Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst and Andre Breton.

One of four volumes of the short-lived surrealist periodical VVV. Published in the 1940s by sculptor David Hare, VVV‘s editorial advisors included Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, and Andre Breton.

For the past several weeks, Lightsey Darst has been holed up inside the Walker’s resource library.

A dance critic, poet, and author of Find the Girl (Coffee House Press, 2010) and the forthcoming Dance (September 2013), Darst was the first writer selected to participate in The Writers and Readers Library Residency Program, an initiative presented by Coffee House Press through a grant from the McKnight Foundation. She entered the library well-intentioned: exhausted from a long semester of teaching, she hoped to explore library choreographies, to further her research into the private life, and to compose new poems.

In a space filled with more than 13,000 artists monographs, 30,000 exhibition catalogues and some 1,800 artists’ books, Darst found more than a few distractions.

“I believe in encounter — it’s why I’m here,” Darst wrote in her final dispatch from the library. “Research in the library is difficult. It is an encounter with actual and irreducible difference.”

The distractions, it seems, proved to be helpful. “I am here trying to find a thing that sparks a certain kind of question and seeking,” wrote Darst. “I am here to do something new.”

“At some point all books open to all other books,” Darst concluded. “Even a relatively small library becomes inexhaustible in terms of paths through it.”

With its Writers and Readers Library Residency Program, Coffee House Press aims to create a body of work that will inspire a broader public to engage with their local libraries in a new and meaningful way, and to encourage artists and the general public to think about libraries as creative spaces.

Join us in the Lecture Room here at the Walker on Thursday, June 20 at 7 pm to hear Darst and Walker archivist Jill Vuchetich discuss the residency. To read more of Lightsey’s dispatches, visit the Coffee House Press blog, Unfiltered.