Fiction. Spanning the years 1987-2001, from just before the rise of the internet to just before 9/11, REMEDIA: A PICARESQUE engages readers in an unruly spiritual odyssey where, in Laynie Browne's words, "Vision becomes not just what we see with our eyes, but all that lodges itself in the inner eye—accompanying a traveler." REMEDIA's hero, a postmodern-day pícaro, joins a quirkily connected and diverse band of characters traveling together and separately via multiple planes in time on an unruly spiritual quest. Through its millefeuille of scrims, screens, apertures, and lenses the narrative creates what Kiese Laymon characterizes as "a lushness, a specificity and a fleshy spectacle." Its narrator's peregrinations take him to France, Ireland, San Francisco, and the Utah desert before he makes a phantasmagoric first foray through one of the portals.
Thereafter REMEDIA's exploration of late 20th century media culture prophetically transforms into a transgressive and tragicomic apocalypse taking the traveler to distant deserts and islands, both actual and spiritual. "The sequence of events is made to make sense by sheer deftness of Joyce's skill as a narrator," writes Johanna Drucker, "[a] willingness to use the unexpected as a structuring device, as well as an excuse to delight." As an exploration of our current, everyday dystopia of manufactured visions and trumped-up authoritarian spectacles, REMEDIA: A PICARESQUE takes its place alongside Joyce's gameworld novel, Disappearance (2012) also published by Steerage Press.
Remedia likewise follows upon what the American Book Review called the "glorious mash-up of references, found texts, allusions, mixed voices—plus characters, situations, travels, and travails" of its prequel, the "novel of internet" Was: Annales Nomadique, published by FC2. Yet where that prequel was fleeting, REMEDIA is grounded, and where each immerses readers in a forest of mirrors, in REMEDIA the mirrors give way to portals. Was presented readers with a relay of shifting narrators, but in REMEDIA its nameless narrator is a long-distance runner of the kind that, writing about Joyce's earlier work, Hélène Cixous termed "a subliminal explorer [who] sets off to explore mental regions that are generally neglected, as if they were forests or deserted islands."
Michael Joyce's fourteen books and several digital works—most recently the novel REMEDIA: A PICARESQUE (Steerage, 2018) and the poems A HAGIOGRAPHY OF HEAVEN AND VICINITY (Broadstone, 2017)—span a career as novelist, poet, critic, theorist, digital literature pioneer, and multimedia artist. His poems have appeared in Agni, Beloit Poetry Journal, Fence, Gastronomica, /nor (New Ohio Review), New Review, OR (Otis Review), Parthenon West Review, TAG Journal, The Common, The Iowa Review, and THE SHOp (Cork). With Gabriella Frykhamn he has published translations of the Swedish modernist poet Karin Boye in Spoon River Poetry Review, Metamorphoses, and Notre Dame Review. Two book-length sequences of poems, PARIS VIEWS (2011), and BIENNIAL: POEMS (2015), were published by BlazeVOX [books]. He lives along the Hudson River near Poughkeepsie where he is Professor of English and Media Studies at Vassar College.Author City: POUGHKEEPSIE, NY USA