Abstract

This essay is a broken elemental thing composed of cuts, by which is meant outtakes. Outtakes are scenes or sequences that never make it into a film. The scenes collected here have been retrieved from the cutting floor of the editing suite in its author's mind and reassembled in ways that hold onto an ambitious claim—to think of narrative cuts and silences as interruptive forces in the operation of writing and the imaginative rendering of the abattoir. Working with outtakes helps the author approach, in a new way, questions the author has been exploring for a while now: How can writers critically respond to the existence of abattoirs? What strategies might writers engage to render normalized forms of violence against animals strange and even intolerable through particularly literary practices, strategies, and generic forms? Literally, caesura means “cutting.” It evokes pause. Space for breath, for detours in modes of multispecies literary representation. If the line—working on the assembly line and writing a certain kind of poetic line—is an orientation that draws literature and the abattoir together, as Joseph Ponthus's autofictional poem essay On the Line: Notes from a Factory (2021) suggests, this essay also suggests that the slash is an allied critical-creative orientation that equally requires engagement.

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