The Grid

Book launch + conversation with Eli Payne Mandel and David Velasco
December 7, 2023
6pm - 8pm

Join us at Printed Matter / St Marks for a conversation between Eli Payne Mandel and David Velasco to celebrate the launch of The Grid, Eli Payne Mandel’s debut book published by Changes Press.

The Grid explores the end of worlds, ancient and modern. In three sequences of poems, interspersed with Mandel’s translations from classical texts, figures of obsession and loneliness attempt to decipher what Maurice Blanchot termed ‘the writing of the disaster.’

The title sequence, resembling a detective novel, pieces together archival fragments into a lyric essay about Alice Kober, the half-forgotten scholar behind the decipherment of the ancient writing system called Linear B.

Mandel adapts typography and formatting from archived papers across different wartimes, revealing a collection that, although sometimes written as prose, unfolds as poems. From Ovid’s bitter letters of exile to the prime minister’s instructions to nuclear submarine captains, The Grid narrates stories spanning four thousand years of apocalypse. Strange, humane, and deeply rooted in the ancient world, Mandel’s debut book surveys the ruins of the West with no nostalgia.

Eli Payne Mandel, a poet and psychoanalyst in training, studied English literature at Yale and Princeton. Based in Brooklyn, New York, his poetry and essays have appeared in PN Review, New Poetries IX, Raritan, The Harvard Review, Ploughshares Solos, The New Inquiry, and more. The Grid is his first book.

Changes Press is a new independent publisher in NYC, edited by Bennet Bergman, Kyle Dacuyan, and Kay Gabriel. In 2022, the press established the Changes Book Prize. The Grid is the second book published by Changes.

David Velasco is a writer and editor. He was the editor-in-chief of Artforum magazine from 2017 to 2023.