Elizabeth HooverDec 2, 2023
The Archive Is All in Present Tense
Barrow Street Press 2022
The Archive Is All in Present Tense (Barrow Street Press, 2022) attempts to capture the feeling of archival research, which, despite being an attempt to access information about the past, has a way of infusing the present; research unfolds in real time as you touch and handle objects that radiate with presence. In the archive we follow a researcher who is exploring a fantastical, limitless archive and though she attempts to research the history of war crimes, she keeps encountering objects from her personal past and memory. Ultimately, it explores both the falling in love with big institutions of learning (libraries, archives, museums) and the exhilaration of discovery, but also the ways these institutions violently exclude and how to reconcile that love with the past wrongs these institutions have committed.
The Archive Is All in Present Tense is an intensely cinematic collection of poems, intensely erotic and equally cerebral, where you will descend into archival folds making the body negative space in a restless, inescapable, eternal now. To write is to rewrite with alphabets of the past, surging into the present, being remade, where the self is both trapped and sublime.
Elizabeth Hoover is the author of the archive is all in present tense, winner of the 2021 Barrow Street Book Prize. Her creative nonfiction has appeared in the North American Review, the Kenyon Review, and StoryQuarterly. She teaches in the English Department at Webster University in St. Louis.
You can learn more about Elizabeth's work here.