Davis Schneiderman (born 1974) is an American innovative writer and academic.
Schneiderman earned a B.A. from the Pennsylvania State University (1996), an M.A. (1998) and Ph.D. (2001) from Binghamton University. Since 2001, he has been a professor of English at Lake Forest College, receiving tenure in 2006.
At Lake Forest, Schneiderman is Chair of the American Studies Program. He co-directs the Lake Forest Literary Festival, the On the Run lecture series, and was recently named Director of the Lake Forest College Press / &NOW Books. He edits The &NOW AWARDS: The Best Innovative Writing, a biennial anthology. He is a national board member of the &NOW organization, which holds a biennial conference, The &NOW Festival, dedicated to innovative art and writing. Schneiderman is also Director of the NEH-funded Virtual Burnham Initiative , a project to create 3-D models of the 1909 Plan of Chicago.
He lives in the Chicago area with his wife Kelly Haramis, an improv actor and journalist (formerly of the Chicago Tribune), and their two daughters.
Schneiderman is a writer who has garnered attentionfor his sometimes aggressive prose styleas well as for his literary criticism on innovative writing and writers, particularly his criticism on William S. Burroughs. Schneiderman is a contributor—along with the likes of Andrew Hussey, Barry Miles, and DJ Spooky—to the volume Naked Lunch@50: Anniversary Essays, edited by Oliver Harris and Ian McFayden, and he spoke at the volume's commemorative events in Paris during the summer of 2009.
Schneiderman’s creative work is marked by a number of literary stunts including the sandpaper cover of his 2006 work Multifesto, so that the book might damage those it is placed against. In 2008, Schneiderman made two videos for YouTube for a "Deconstructing Books" project. In one, he cuts Stephen Colbert’s book I am America (and So Can You) in half with a handsaw in an unsuccessful attempt to be invited onto the The Colbert Report, and in the second, he boils several novels in order to make noodles with writers Raymond Federman and Lidia Yuknavitch. Federman’s 1971 novel Double or Nothing is centered around a conceit of noodles. His Busted Books "YouTube" channel, released in summer 2010, extends this project by physically deconstructing books, including a first edition of Moby Dick, Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose and his novel Drain. At the 2009 Association of Writing Programs conference in Chicago, Schneiderman invited book-fair participants to use implements such as scissors, white-out, and markers to "deconstruct" his novels Abecedarium and DIS. Shortly after, at a reading at Chicago's Hull House, Schneiderman debuted a method of stroboscopic flicker poetry based upon the work of Brion Gysin and Burroughs's Dreamachine invention. While the visiting artist at the University of Central Arkansas in the spring of 2010, Schneiderman first threaded a 100-foot rope through the crowd, attached the rope to his belt, and let the audience pull him up the terraced levels of a large auditorium. He has continued to use this rope reading at various other locations.
Additionally, Schneiderman is known for his collaborative works, including the novel Abecedarium, written with Carlos Hernandez, and had recently produced a series of short works with a variety of experimental writers including Lance Olsen, Blake Butler, Mark Spitzer, Nick Mamatas, Cris Mazza, and Stacey Levine, and others. His Google Earth-based collaboration with Les Figues editor Teresa Carmody and Alexandra Chasin debuted in Los Angeles in June 2010, with a print excerpt in the 2010 issue of Mandorla. He worked with Lily Hoang on a story in her forthcoming collection Unfinished; Hoang "finished" a series of works sent to her from other authors. William Walsh, at The Kenyon Review blog (KR Blog), curated a feature on Schneiderman's collaborations in September 2010. In 2010, he also became a contributor to the collaborative blog bigother.com and the arts and culture site The Nervous Breakdown. At The Nervous Breakdown, Schneiderman writes occasional essays on literary culture, and conducted a 2011 interview with John Waters. In 2011, Schneiderman started blogging at The Huffington Post
His novel Drain was published by TriQuarterly/Northwestern University Press in June 2010, and centers the conflict between an apocalyptic cult and a planned-community corporation in an emptied-of-water Lake Michigan. Excerpts appeared in "TriQuarterly", "The Collagist," and "The Nervous Breakdown" and Schneiderman's book tour brought him to Live from "Prairie Lights" (Iowa City), the University at Buffalo, Cherry Bomb (Grand Rapids), Binghamton University, Printer's Row (Chicago), and the University of London Institute in Paris.
His novel Blank was published by Jaded Ibis Press in March 2011. The novel consists of 20 chapter titles that Schneiderman has claimed in an HTMLgiant.com interview follows morphological structures in line with the work of Vladimir Propp. The titles, such as "A Character" or "Another Character" are separated by blank pages that contain 20 randomly spaced pyrographic or burn illustrations by artist Susan White. Additionally, the work has a "soundtrack" of three remixed Bach tracks from DJ Spooky. These tracks are available as part of a $7500 fine-art edition of the novel, which comes encased in a plaster. The plaster must be broken by the reader to access the blank novel. Jaded Ibis does full-spectrum publishing, and Blank is will be available in an e-book edition and a color edition, to supplement the black-and-white commercial edition.
Blank signals Schneiderman's move toward conceptual writing, which is also reflected in a number of his recent web publications called the "Un-Death of the Author" series. In these, Schneiderman "publishes" well-known literary works under his name, as per the prologue to The Canterbury Tails (in Middle English) that appeared in a 2010 edition of the website Publishing Genius.
At the 2011 Association of Writers & Writing Programs conference in Washington, D.C., Schneiderman wore a mime costume at the large conference bookfair as a way of promoting Blank, and gave an off-site reading in mime costume where he read selections from Glenn Beck's novel, The Overton Window, stating to the audience that they could buy that book, or a blank one.
Blank has caused some controversy as a work of art, since it seems to challenge the conventions of publishing. Several web discussions, again at HTMLgiant.com, focus on the tradition that Blank may draw from, including precursors such as John Cage and contemporary conceptual writers Kenneth Goldsmith and Vanessa Place.
- Blank: a novel. (Jaded Ibis, 2011.)
- Drain. (TriQuarterly/ Northwestern, 2010.)
- DIS, Or, in the Shadow of the Dome of Pleasure. (Buffalo, NY: BlazeVox Books, 2008.)
- Abecedarium. [w/ Carlos Hernandez] (Portland, OR: Chiasmus Press, 2007).
- Multifesto: A Henri d’Mescan Reader. (New York: Spuyten Duyvil Press. Limited-edition art book, 2006);
- The Exquisite Corpse: Chance and Collaboration in Surrealism's Parlor Game. Eds. Kanta Kochhar-Lindgren, Davis Schneiderman, and Tom Denlinger. (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2009).
- Retaking the Universe: William S. Burroughs in the Age of Globalization. Eds. Davis Schneiderman and Philip Walsh. (London: Pluto Press, 2004).
- Memorials to Future Catastrophes (with Don Meyer and Tom Denlinger). (Kansas City, MO: Jaded Ibis Productions, 2008).
- "Zombies Alive" (with Don Meyer, Tin Pan, and Jody Christopherson. (New York, NY: Exquisite Corpse Festival, 2011).
- The City of Omni+Baal, or, Nature is an Infinite Dodecahedron Whose Centre is Everywhere and Whose Circumference is Nowhere. (Buffalo, NY: BlazeVox Books, 2004)
- Davis Schneiderman’s Official Website and blog.
- Busted Books, including the trailer for Blank: a novel.
- Schneiderman at The Huffington Post.
- A conversation between Schneiderman and John Waters
- Blank interview at HTMLgiant.com
- On Collaboration, VI: Davis Schneiderman and the Riddle of Collaboration.
- Excerpt from Drain at The Collagist
- Excerpt from Drain at The Nervous Breakdown
- Interview (2009) with Davis Schneiderman at Salt Magazine.
- Interview (2008) with Davis Schneiderman at Rain Taxi: Review of Books.
- Interview (2008) with Davis Schneiderman and Carlos Hernandez about Abecedarium at Chiasmus Press podcast.
- Interview (2008) with Davis Schneiderman for the BLEED project.
- Virtual Burnham Initiative .
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