The Republic of Exit 43: Outtakes & Scores from an Archaeology and Pop-Up Opera of the Corporate Dump

#40 in a series of 50 books from the cross-genre publishing project Atelos Press

Order from Small Press Distribution here

The Republic of Exit 43 is a verbal/visual archaeology of the hazardous waste sites across the street from home and school, tucked behind the portal of an expressway: domains mute and seemingly inert. Composting Alice’s adventures underground, verse channels unearthed disputes surrounding a noxious landfill and adjoining copper rod mill through the throats of nether and overworlds, from Eurydice to CEOs—mining landscape as retribution, baffle, legal battle and real estate speculation, deregulation, rogue digging and pastoral pipe dreams on the part of the harmed. Amidst the stupefaction of innumerable private and state ruses, these pages lay out how the entrails of postwar industry might be reclaimed toward a music of nonconsensual citizenship where poetry is unregulated and fully integral.

"A book written against a copper and bacterial backdrop or cloth or hologram or site. To breach, to fluoresce: and in this way: the book performs its conductivity and tenderness as a relationship to suffering that resembles justice. I was deeply moved by Jennifer Scappettone's book. Book as voltage: the colors yellow and silver, red and black. Another color, a color we cannot see, a color there's no word for: folded many times. The pressure before the word arrives. The wet paper. How the fold decays and becomes a part of this other landscape. What is possible in this moment, in this light, at this time? Images hold one kind of memory in Scappettone's book; narrative another. The larger question of territory is placed next to the landfill, for example: the labyrinth, the space beneath or between. The air. The particles of the air. And, after all this time, the ground." —Bhanu Kapil


"Jennifer Scappettone animates the materiality of her subject: literary scholarship is still catching up to syntax of slow violence still buried under landfills. Yet The Republic of Exit 43 foregrounds the persistent encounters with archives of abjection in which we, by our humanity, are all implicated. At stake is the fate of ecocritical discourse in light of the proposal H.R. 861, a bill recently introduced to terminate the Environmental Protection Agency. The future erasure of environmental security intersects with the current alienation of the landfill-cum-recreation park. Histories are still caught in the undertow of leaking garbage." —Orchid Tierney, Jacket2

"I admire Jennifer Scappettone’s The Republic of Exit 43: Outtakes & Scores from an Archaeology and Pop-Up Opera of the Corporate Dump; her title barely begins to cover the performances, essays, collages, analyses, and rigorous rage within." —Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Poetry

"Jennifer Scappettone's new book is poetry barely containable in book form. The text is a relentlessly inventive and exhausting survey of a landfill visible from space and located across the street from the poet’s childhood home. Lyricism spurred from personal agony alternates with legal jargon from EPA lawsuits and is threaded through with anaphora reminiscent of Alan Ginsberg’s “Howl".... The size and chemical complexity of this poetry, mirroring its subject’s, suggests a post-human audience, perhaps the landfill itself, or some future population able to find meaning in what our present society discards." —James Yeary, Boston Review

"[Scappettone's] journey in waste becomes an ecocritical exercise in memory that—like Robert Smithson’s mixed-media account of polluted areas in Utah—casts light on obscured scenes of trauma and geographical displacement deeply embedded in the cartographies of modernist America....  Given that investigative journalism is at risk today, Scappettone’s ecopoetry steps in to serve the documentary purpose of detecting sensitive regions depleted by the dark economy of the waste business, thus deeply affecting the cultural memory and the distinctive anthropological dimension of those violated territories.... In disclosing the poisonous debris of exhausted consumption, her combination of poetry and pictures is a radical act of environmental responsibility." —Daniela Daniele, University of Udine

"The Republic of Exit 43 shows how the world colonized by Alice has been “cultivated”, how the extra-human has been appropriated and introduced into the economic circuit, how its growth can be obtained through added chemical substances, fertilizers that accelerate its production, the consequences of visibility, knowledge etc.... Jennifer Scappettone might provide the best answer for...those questions that demonstrate how literature can become a performative act. Although an art of memory, of memoirism or, quite the opposite, of possible worlds, utopias, it can sometimes position itself on the line that separates them, thus becoming a frontier art through which the archived past that was passed on in the form of ascertaining descriptive discourse  becomes action, present action played out for the receiver not through the technique of representation but via direct participation.... Performative literature therefore remains a laboratory where history is replayed, reassembled in order to make use of its waste." —Iulia Militaru, "Literature As Performative Writing," published in Romanian and in English for ARTA, December 2017