Assistant Professor of English Lou Bury
Hostos Assistant Professor of English Lou Bury has written his first book, Exercises in Criticism: The Theory and Practice of Literary Constraint, and the former professional poker player is gambling readers will enjoy its unique subject matter just as much as he enjoyed writing it.

Exercises in Criticism: The Theory and Practice of Literary Constraint uses rules and procedures to write poetic and autobiographical criticism about works of literary constraint. Literary constraint refers to writing that imposes rules and restrictions upon itself, such as Georges Perec's novel, A Void, which was written without using any word containing the letter "E," or Doug Nufer's novel, Never Again, where no word is repeated twice.
Book cover of "Exercises in Criticism: The Theory and Practice of Literary Constraint"
Bury said his use of constraint to write criticism functions as a commentary on how and why we write and talk about books, culture, and ideas, suggesting, ultimately, that academic work is a means of indirect self-exploration.

“I always loved to play sports and games, long before I began to play poker on a professional basis,” Bury said. “When I discovered literary constraint, particularly through the work of the French writer Georges Perec, it resonated with me because it made reading and writing feel game-like and fun. In teaching writing and literature, I try to bring that same playful attitude to my classroom exercises and assignments.”

The book was published by Dalkey Archive Press, a long-standing and well-regarded American small literary press.

Bury’s critical and poetic work has appeared in magazines such as Bookforum, The Brooklyn Rail, Jacket, The Volta, and The Believer, among other publications. Before joining the faculty at Hostos in Fall 2014, he taught writing and literature at New York University and was a part-time professional poker player.

Exercises in Criticism: The Theory and Practice of Literary Constraint can be purchased on Amazon here.

About Hostos Community College
Eugenio María de Hostos Community College is an educational agent for change that has been transforming and improving the quality of life in the South Bronx and neighboring communities since 1968. It serves as a gateway to intellectual growth and socioeconomic mobility, as well as a point of departure for lifelong learning, success in professional careers, and transfer to advanced higher education programs. The College’s unique "Student Success Coaching Unit" provides students with individualized guidance and exemplifies its emphasis on student support services.
Recently named one of the top 10 finalists for the 2015 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, Hostos offers 27 associate degree programs and two certificate programs that facilitate easy transfer to The City University of New York’s (CUNY) four-year colleges or baccalaureate studies at other institutions. The College has an award-winning Division of Continuing Education & Workforce Development that offers professional development courses and certificate-bearing workforce training programs. Hostos is part of CUNY, the nation’s leading urban public university, which serves more than 500,000 students at 24 colleges.