The Sugar Book

by on Feb.03, 2015

Hey, just wanted to mention that you can now “pre-order” my forthcoming book The Sugar Book from Tarpaulin Sky – here.


This is a book I’ve been writing for years – in South Bend, in Seoul, in Malmö, in Berlin. I wrote this in an interview from 4 years ago when Blake Butler asked me what I was working on:

BB: What are you working on now?

JG: A murder mystery novel/poem/notebook about Images and infection, atrocity kitsch and The Law. A Starlet has been murdered, terrorist attacks happen, children are born and get pregnant in mysterious fashion (constantly multiplying), the son is locked in a tower with his favorite horse toy, the penis is a death prong through which – on the ouiji board – the murdered children of the Vietnam War finally gets to “speak,” they talk about the mall and the law, there are twitter feeds about motorcyclists who come from the castle outside of town, terror suspects who are given rubber gloves and led through the mirror, “Kingdom of Rats” it says above the mirror, it’s all about photography, hares, the body in snow, the body covered by a plastic bag, Art as Death. Etc. It’s always a staging, a pageantry, a b-movie. I hope that gives you some idea. I’m calling it The Sugar Book.

There’s an excerpt from a little essay Kim Hyesoon wrote about my poetry on the Tarpaulin Sky page:

…I that follows the I that observes. I that records and condenses. Johannes Göransson’s poetry is a bang bang – art of these I’s.

A film of the Earth’s paths seen through the eyes of someone with an out-of-body experience. And poetry that has smashed the boundaries of genre. Like the mandala of Potala Palace I have seen in Tibet, Göransson condenses within a single poem the inside and outside of Nature’s and Earth’s time. It’s as though his poetry takes us to the forest in Lar Von Triers’ Anti-Christ, where it’s filmed, but then suddenly we find ourselves standing in front of a vanished movie theatre of our home. Göransson’s poetry is a film that Death peeks at, the scene of shooting the film, the film shot on a roll of film, the movie theatre, the Arcadia. A single poem is the world’s interior and exterior, it convulses wildly like an animal that has eaten the poem’s interior and exterior all together with silver. bang bang.

There are some excerpts from the book online:

Ampersand Review

Lana Turner

The Volta


Also, Joyelle wrote this post a while back:

“…Kirsten Hudson’s work, in addition to its own ‘botched’ fertility, provides set of images and concepts which helps me think about Johannes Goransson’s entire work, basically, including his upcoming work, Sugar Book. All his work is made of spectacular, debriding series in which each part burns up and provides a wound we can poke our attention through to see the next installment in the series. Not only do his work host incredible (well, actually, credible) violence, but they do a kind of cutter’s violence to themselves, cutting away the thin white wrist skin of the paper to get at the infection that runs underneath as busy as a freeway in a city that shits movies:

“I am supposed to find a killer but I am feverish in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles tastes like iron in my mouth.

Maybe I’m dying of a disease brought home to me from my daughters. They are conduits of contagion. They bring the outside into the inside and the inside into the outside. They stand by the stairs and stare at me. They have dark dark hair and blue eyes. Their dresses look clean but their mouths are soiled.

We live inside The Meadow. That’s not its true name of the hotel but that’s what I call it because of the lamb masks.”

Infection: white cells. White skin. Black masks. Irony is a crowbar in the teeth. Sugar races in the streets, metabolism burns the strip mall down. Race, gender, violence– the mouth of the poem is stuffed with girls, and the girls in the poem are stuffed with contagion. The face of the poem is stuffed with mask, and the masks are stuffed with race. The poem destroys itself by being read. The Sugar Book must be consumed, cuts and degrades the teeth, hygiene is deplorable in this abbatoir-cum-motel, a space where the ‘gender wars’ deploy themselves in an ominbody, city, book, family, cuttering, dilation and cutterage, & montage & frottage, decapitation, reanimation. The Internet tells me:

“Sugar Melting Point Varies Because Sugar Doesn’t Melt; It Decomposes”

This is what makes Johannes a feminist.”


Basically this is a book I’ve been working on for so long, that I’ve been so feverishly absorbed by, that it’s hard for me to say much about it, or to write anything else.

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