In PAIN.TXT, Alan Sondheim and Sandy Baldwin explore the limitations of expression at the borders of human sensation. Derived from a dialog between Sondheim and Baldwin on extreme pain, this essay considers how one signifies intensity and another attempts to interpret that intensity, and the challenges this process poses for affect, imagination, and ultimately intersubjectivity. In keeping with the content of this piece, the two preserve the dialog format, recreating for readers a discourse on pain that never finds its center.
On the occasion of the 2003 Fitzpatrick O’Dinn Award publication, Alan Sondheim asks some questions of formally constrained literature. The more strict the constraints, the more open, free, and plentiful the questions.