Titles 1998-2018

Syzygy, Beauty: An Essay, T Fleischmann


The word “syzygy” refers at once to the alignment of celestial bodies in astronomy, repeating relationships in mathematics, and male/female pairings in Gnosticism. T Fleischmann’s Syzygy, Beauty, then, is an essay ordered by complimentary needs: art criticism, the narrator's construction of a house, and the direct address of a lover. Playing with scale and repetition, the speaker keeps us off-center, and therefore always looking, as we are led through an intimate relationship that is complicated and deepened by multiple partners, gender transitions, and itinerancy. In language both plainspoken and startling, Fleischmann attempts a reconciliation between the sadness and beauty that come with a love that must always be, in some ways, distant.

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T Fleischmann lived by the Great Lakes until attending the University of Iowa and completing an MFA in Nonfiction Writing. Their essays have appeared in Fourth Genre, Pleiades, Indiana Review, Gulf Coast, and The Pinch, as well as in the feminist magazine make/shift, and have been Notable Essays in The Best American Essays, 2009 and 2010. A Nonfiction Editor at DIAGRAM, T has settled in rural Tennessee after traveling for several years across the United States.


"T Fleischmann's Syzygy, Beauty shimmers with confidence as it tours the surreal chaos of gender, art, and desire. Its declarative sentences—seductive, abject, caustic, moving, informative, and utterly inventive—herald a new world, one in which we are blessedly "here with outfits like strings of light and no future." I hail its weirdness, its "armpit frankess," its indelible portrait of occulted relation, and above all, its impeccable music."
—Maggie Nelson

" How to describe the indescribable might as well be the title of this blurb, if we titled blurbs, since like any good essay, cowgirl, or wandering ghost, T Fleischmann's Syzygy, Beauty is electric and resists being fenced in. Sometimes solid, sometimes not, like magma or the household magic of corn starch and water, Fleischmann works and perforates the spaces between body and nobody; desire, declaration, and dream; whiskey, sex, and subjectivity; art, ecstasy, and surface tension. Spectral and spectacular, Syzygy, Beauty will haunt you in a way you'll remember."
—Ander Monson

" Let me say first that T Fleischmann’s writing helps us see ourselves.  Helping us see clearer what has been muddled in our lives is marvelous, and is the best possible endowment of strength.  What better substance?  “Gluing fur to logic” as T writes.  “There is imagination in truth,” and while T brands this an essay I sense it as poetry because I live through poetry.  Whatever you call it, you too will be transfigured.  Those who say reading a book changes nothing have been wasting their time reading the wrong things.  Do you also know someone who says so?  Send them this one."
—CA Conrad, author of The Book of Frank