PIXEL FLESHby Agustín Fernández Mallo
Translated from the Spanish by Zachary Rockwell Ludington
July 22, 2020
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“Fernández Mallo’s verse captures our 21st-century pixelated lives—full of brusque kaleidoscopic juxtaposition—and yet remains remarkably moving, poignant, even timeless. Pixel Flesh is a deep dive into love, loneliness, space, and time. In Ludington’s beautiful English translation, Fernández Mallo’s slim collection crackles with urgency. This is poetry for lovers, poetry for mathematicians and astronomers, poetry for your grandmother. Read it now.” — Lisa Dillman
“In Pixel Flesh, superbly translated by Zachary Rockwell Luddington, Agustín Fernández Mallo posits and then destabilizes hypotheses, unifying apparent opposites by revealing them as the poles of a single surface. With inexhaustible curiosity, bracing inversions of logic, and a refusal to hierarchize forms of knowledge, Fernández Mallo zooms in until what appears concrete is returned to abstraction, creating a self-reconfiguring system wherein a map is also an emptiness; algebra, a flame; heat from a circuit board, sweat; and the world, a form of disappearance. Pixel Flesh may begin as a project of postpoetic enumeration, but its poems are permeated with irrepressible feeling and lyricism, suggesting the inseparability of logic and intuition and drawing us to the place where ‘a human being is something more than a bit of saliva.’”—Lizzie Davis
“Fernández Mallo occupies something of a similar position in the Spanish literary sphere as David Foster Wallace in terms of their shared insistence on the naturalization of the screen as an interface for the reception of reality.” —Jorge Carrión
Agustín Fernández Mallo was born in La Coruña, Spain in 1967 and he has a degree in Physical Sciences. He is a specialist in Hospital Radiophysics, and he has been working in this profession over the course of twenty years.
In 2000 he coined the term “Poesía Postpoética” (Postpoetic Poetry), which investigates the connections between art and science. This is a topic he’s explored in his poetry collections Yo siempre regreso a los pezones y al punto 7 del Tractatus (I always go back to the nipples and to point 7 of Tractatus) (2001, 2012), Creta Lateral Travelling (2004, Premio Cafè Món), Joan Fontaine Odisea (2005), Carne de píxel (2008, Burgos City Poetry Prize), Antibiótico (2012), and in the volume Ya nadie se llamará como yo + Poesía reunida (1998-2012) (Seix Barral, 2015), which gathers together all of these previous works and includes a long collection written between 2012 and 2015 in León and Palma de Mallorca. His essay, Postpoesía, hacia un nuevo paradigma, was a finalist for the Anagram Essay Prize in 2009.
Fernández Mallo’s recently published novel, Trilogía de la guerra, was awarded the 60th Seix Barral Premio Biblioteca Breve. His previous novels include Nocilla Dream (2006), Nocilla Experience (2008), Nocilla Lab (2009)—collected in the volume Proyecto Nocilla (2013)—, El hacedor (de Borges), Remake (2011) and Limbo (2014). His first novel, widely acclaimed by the public and critics alike, has been called one of the most important novels of the first decade of the 21st century by journals such as Quimera. Its English translation, Nocilla Project (published by Fitzcarraldo Editions, and soon in the United States by Farrar, Straus & Giroux), was chosen in 2015 by The Guardian as one of the best novels of the year. Agustín Fernández Mallo is an essential writer in the contemporary landscape of Spanish literature, and is one of the authors who has had the greatest influence on the new narrative voices in Spain’s literary scene.
An electice writer, considered one of the foremost literary renovators, Fernández Mallo’s artistic production spans other genres as well, combining video art, the written word, and music. Alongside Eloy Fernández Porta, he’s created the spoken word duo, Afterpop Fernández y Fernández, and with Juan Feliu he’s formed the band, Frida Laponia. His blog is called “El hombre que salió de la tarta” (The man who came out of the cake). Fernández Mallo’s books have been translated into English, French, Portuguese, Italian, Croatian, and Serbian.
Zachary Rockwell Ludington is currently Assistant Professor of Spanish at the University of Maine, where his research focuses on the poetry of Spain’s historical avant-garde. He earned master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Virginia and a bachelor’s from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His poetry and translations have appeared in Hardly Doughnuts, Numéro Cinq, PEN America, Drunken Boat, and elsewhere. His translation of Fernández Mallo’s Pixel Flesh won a grant from the PEN/Heim Translation Fund in 2014.