The Brightest Thing in The World: 3 Lectures from the Institute of Failure is a collection of essays that touch on seating strategies, Dick Cheney, cuckoo clocks, the Fibonacci series, butterflies and old friends. These threads weave together like a tapestry and by their accumulated resonance create an impression of loss and longing. As in Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn, the reader passes through an associative experience. These are the essays of a poet; like a performance of words, each verb is as active as a muscle. While every sentence tends to its end, the reader resists its inevitable conclusion. Layout and design by Sonnenzimmer. 2012 IndieFab Award Finalist
“A few possible answers gleaned from this book include: how to mourn a blur, analyze ‘an accident shaped like an umbrella,’ or create a lecture that thinks like a poem. This book sets itself up to fail, calling itself ‘The Brightest Thing in the World.’ And then suddenly, it is.” — Jen Bervin,The Drunken Boat
“Goulish — using text (and image) to investigate the potential failure of text (among other failures) — resolves to “treat the page as specifically, as a form of direct address, as the lecture treated its moment” and so make each page an act in the service of creative thought. At stake is not the boundary of genre, in other words, but the possibility of the imagination to contain everything at once — from catalogs of ships, to disquisitions on whaling, to a poem, to photographs of a walking tour of Suffolk — and to allow each thing, the real and the unreal, to contribute to imagination’s ability to, as [Ali] Smith puts it.. “know us inside and out.” Writing of this kind contains the magnificent suggestion that there are not two kinds of things in the world — that each is part of one system of thought. It reaches for whatever materials will best serve it, and in doing so, enlarges its scope beyond the present of the page.” — Jenny Hendrix, LA Review of Books.