Thanks to Blake Butler, at Vice we're reminded how very cool and essential Fence and Fence Books have been over the years. Before digging into some of his favorite Fence titles, Butler introduces thus:

Since 1998, Fence magazine has been independently publishing a biannual journal of prose, poetry, art, and criticism; in 2001, they began publishing several lines of innovative, ambitious books. While most magazines (this one excluded, of course) and literary journals can be dry and tedious, each issue of Fence seems to raise its own benchmark. There’s always something in there to befuddle you, to challenge the idea of what could appear on paper, to make you wonder how or why a thing was made. Fence occupies a rare place in new language, and has charged itself with the noble “mission to encourage writing that might otherwise have difficulty being recognized because it doesn’t answer to either the mainstream or to recognizable modes of experimentation.” Editor Rebecca Wolff is unique in that she doesn’t aim to control or even codify the work the press presents: the work is the work, thank God, and understanding is a product of the experience of reading, rather than a kernel to be swallowed.

A fine list of books follow with commentary. Go to Vice to check out the whole thing. While you're thinking about Fence, we realized that over the years we've picked up quite a few poems by Fence authors. Check out poems in our archive by these folks:

Catherine Wagner

Hannah Gamble

Laura Sims

Ariana Reines

Sasha Steensen

Harmony Holiday

Michael Earl Craig

Chelsey Minnis

Originally Published: May 31st, 2013
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