Porn

“James Pate Should Be Famous” (Pt 1) – On Fan Fictions, Fake Fame and Atmospheric Aesthetics

by on Jan.18, 2013

A while back, Gene Tanta set up a facebook page called “James Pate Should Be Famous.” The page makes a very startling point: I think Gene and I are the only members of the group.

The only reason Gene and I know James’s work is that we somehow ended up in MFA school together in the late 90s (three strange people – the Swede, the Romanian and the guy who grew up in a crack neighborhood in Memphis). This facebook page sets up an alternative world in which James Pate is famous.
james
In that it’s a bit like the ASCO “No Movies” I’ve talked about quite a bit on this blog. ASCO, a group of Chicano artists from East LA, made “promotional stills” from movies that did not exist, imagining an alternative world in which they would have the movie and power to actually make movies, rather than just stills. ASCO should be famous.

First-Supper

(As Joyelle just put it this morning , “Montevidayo is our “no movie”.” IE, it imagines a fake academic/poetic world which is the way we want it to be. )

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I love how Asco’s “no movies” stills create rather than a definite (prize winning, famous) film, an indistinct atmosphere, a glamorous and violent ambience that has no limits. I often recount how when I watched Twin Peaks over a couple of weeks – several episodes a day – one summer in the late 90s, all the flaws in the plot made it all seem like “fan fiction,” and I when I started to dream about Laura Palmer, the dreams seemed as legitimate as the actual episodes – that’s the space I feel Asco dwells in.

They even made “no movie” still from a fake award ceremony….
2977_Patssi670343
In the book accompanying the recent exhibition, “Elite of the Obscure” (I guess they finally became famous!), one writer quotes Jean Paul Sartre’s Nausea to define “asco” (which mean nausea):

“The Nausea is not inside me: I feel it out here in the wall, in the suspenders, everywhere around me. It makes itself one with the café, I am the one who is within it.”

(continue reading…)

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"Maybe this is the reason I have no intestines": Aase Berg, Lovecraft, Fan Fictions, Juvenilia, Guinea Pigs

by on Dec.26, 2012

I was really pleased to find Mattias Forshage’s online anthology of poems by members of the Surrealist Group of Stockholm, ranging from the early days in the 1980s until today. This group had a strong influence on me when I was writing in the 90s (through Aase’s books, through their journal, Stora Saltet), while I was living in New York. (Funny how “influence” works – I was living in NYC but felt no affinity to the poetry going on there.)

Anyway, since my translation of Aase Berg’s Dark Matter is now for sale on the Black Ocean web site, I thought I would translate a couple of Berg’s poems from that anthology. This also relates to my post the other day about my interest in “fan fiction.”

Here is Berg’s poem from 1993 (a few years before With Deer was first published), which is excerpted from an autobiographical piece in the journal “Mannen på gatan” (#2), and it’s overtly a fan fiction of one of Aase’s favorites, HP Lovecraft:

Lovecraft’s creatures on the opposite roof

The roofs have started to worry me. They belong to the wild. One hopes for innocence from the roofs – in these areas where nothing every happens. But why are there so many sickeningly slow creatures crawling on them? This happens every night, in the twilight when the lamps blink in all the rooms and I start to get nervous. They are part humans but part not. They have strange little gazes which glow sometimes, and which seem mindlessly empty. I often sit much too close and look at their twitchy silhouettes. If they saw me it would mean death. That’s why I don’t dare move. That is how one should handle the evil, earned that in childhood: remain motionless. Sometimes a strange odor enters the room when I look at them – a smell that is not part of the human sense of smell. They seem troubled by the light from the windows, but they do not seem to have any plans on breaking in. I actually realize that they live in another domain; they come from another world that stay on its side and that, as long as nothing unexpected happens will never converge with reality. If we confront each other we will be annihilated, but such a confrontation seems unlikely. And above all of this, above the creatures on the blue-purple roofs, hoves a nervous starry sky that does not look like the normal one.

And then there’s this early guinea pig poem that is obviously a precedent for guinea pig poems that are in the actual book:

The Guinea Pigs

The guinea pigs naturally live in the vents. Especially in those fluttering and unexpected moments when I look up and see a guinea pig there, looking bored. IN the kitchen there’s a vent and also in the bathroom. There is moss growing in the vents. There is thankfully a grate in front of the vents in the bathroom. The bathroom ceiling is suspiciously low compared to the ceiling in the other rooms. I have a feeling that it is in this between-space that the guinea pigs reside when I want to get a hold of them to use them for something. When I lay in the bathroom I can hear the senile thumps up there, as they happen to run into each other. Sometimes I wonder what they eat. I suspect tht they are eating their own bodies from behind and from the front. Further, I suspect that it is the guinea pigs that are eating me from within when I sleep. Maybe this is the reason I have no intestines.

Relevant might also be Mattias Forshage’s post about the connection between horror movies (“splatter” movies) and Surrealism (in English). Excerpt:

Partial in favour of horror? To this crime I plead guilty. Friends of mine have noted that I will seek out and enjoy odd remarkable scenes and atmospheres even in such movies that are quite obviously poorly done, poorly held together, largely banal, or quite despicable. There is an important overall lesson hidden here, in that surrealist appropriation of cinema is shamelessly hedonistic in the sense that it focuses on anything that manifests and stimulates the poetic spirit, regardless of the quality of the craft, the smartness and brilliance, the cultural value, sociological interpretations, deconstructivist interpretations, deliberate populism, cult value or irony. On the other hand, the banalities I happily endure for the sake of these scattered moments and aspects are dependent on my selective affinity for this particular genre – confronted with the same level of banality in action or science fiction, or especially comedy or porn, it won’t take me many minutes to give up the waiting for moments of poetic productivity, which are probably there in those genres too.

Nevertheless, I will argue that horror is one of the major forms of popular surrealism. It very often represents that necessary fundamental break with realist conventions, both in literature, film and other media, and in life experience. Indeed, in life experience such realist conventions are even more stifling than in fiction, by reducing everything to a banal version decided by the least common denominator, represented by the least ambitious or hopeful reconstruction of a normality, denying all deep ambiguity, the complex sum of possibilities and determinations, the entire sphere of the unknown… This entire sphere of unusual events, overdetermined and multilayered reality, significant chance, adventure and radical doubt, calling all conventional consensus views and all lazy dull habit into question, is typically labelled as “supernatural”, and, wherever the contrast becomes acute with the conventional reductive interpretation of things and thus the strategy of habitual work-consumption-rest treadmill, as “horrifying”. So all of this fiction, the popular representations of this entire sphere of events, the popular imagination about its implications, are typically grouped together under the heading of “horror”.

This of course is an interested comparison with “The Manifesto of Parapornography” by another Surrealist Group member, Carl Michael Edenborg, which we discussed a while back on Montevidayo (Action Books will soon publish the entire book).

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"The morning / dew / is alien cum": David Applegate on Dan Hoy

by on Dec.16, 2012

[David Applegate, frequent commentor of this site and maker of strange music, wrote this piece about Montevidayoan Dan Hoy:]

“Revelations & Confessions: Blood Work Volume II” by Dan Hoy, an occult science-fiction chapbook

Dan Hoy’s new chapbook “Revelations & Confessions: Blood Work Volume II” from Slim Princess Holdings introduces so many ideas, it seem to overflow its short length.  Thoughts on sexuality, technology, pornography, and free will explode from its thirty-three pages.  Taking the pulp science-fiction trope of aliens versus humans as its central conceit, the chapbook follows a narrative arc which begins with the invention and subjugation of the human race by aliens and culminates with the reclamation of human autonomy.  In the opening poem, Hoy writes: “Aliens / invent human beings / out of aliens / and fuck them.” A few poems later: “People are… / forced to fuck each other” as sex slaves under alien authority.  When we arrive at: “The morning / dew / is alien cum / on my face” it becomes clear the aliens are functioning in these poems as a metaphor for nature at large; the nature which invents human beings out of itself and lays them low by imbuing them with a sexuality which appears, at first, as a degraded drive which can only lead to misery.

Cthulhu-hp-lovecraft-31770799-1280-828
(continue reading…)

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Fassbinder's Berlin and Franz's Angels

by on Dec.12, 2012

For years, I’ve been meaning to watch Fassbinder’s Berlin Alexanderplatz, and I finally got around to it last summer. Quite a few critics have called it one of the best films ever made, and I agree, though it does have an unfair advantage, being more than fourteen hours long. Should it even be called a film, and not a TV show? It was produced for German television, after all.

It’s a debate that goes back since it was first produced. Sontag was adamant that is was a film, not a TV series. She even argued it should be seen in one viewing if possible — which would be quiet a feat. Others have been as adamant in the other direction.

I think it’s best comparable to Eisenstein’s gloriously weird Ivan the Terrible, with its two separate but adjoining halves. Both are histories with a deliberately staged quality, both bring together elements of “high art” (artistic shots, for example) with “low art” (both are dramatic as hell), and both films are incredibly stylistically diverse (the epilogue in Fassbinder’s film seems to almost have been made by a different filmmaker).

Susan Sontag in her famous review of the film said that it had achieved something in cinema that had never been done before: because of its extreme length, it has, she argued, the elasticity of a novel, with some scenes and scenarios being drawn out almost to the breaking point, and others snapping closed in only a few minutes.
(continue reading…)

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"Loaded": Undead Romanticism

by on Nov.29, 2012

[I first wrote this as a response to Teemu’s post about Clark Ashton Smith, but since it’s pretty long I decided just to post it as a separate post.]

Teemu,
This is such a rich post… It seems to really speak to issues of kitsch and modernism in intriguing and new ways.

I love the idea of the heuristic imitation, a kind of anachronistic translation (of course translations are often anachronistic, as Benjamin makes clear in his famous essay). But I’m not so sure that he gets it all wrong so to speak. To some extent Smith is in fact doing what the Romantics and – as you note – Symbolists did. So much of that poetry is totally b-movie stuff (Keats and Baudelaire write about vampire women etc etc). And of course Poe is such an essential poet for both American and European symbolists. As Daniel Tiffany shows in his new book, the origins of kitsch has to do with the poetic, with romanticism, more than anything else.


(From our favorite blog, Runwayward)
(continue reading…)

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Graffiti of the Pig Boy: Pichação and Hilda Hilst’s The Obscene Madame D

by on Nov.21, 2012

Before embarking on her pornographic trilogy (whose first book I’ve written about as “porn for children”), Hilda Hilst had to meet her calling.   She had to profane the sacred, tearing God out of a birdshit-ridden sky.  The result was The Obscene Madame Dher first work to appear in English via a unique partnership between Nightboat and the Rio-based A Bolha, and co-translators Nathanaël and Rachel Gontijo Araújo.

“What is obscene?” Hilst once asked in an interview.  “To this day nobody knows what’s obscene.  Obscenity, to me, is poverty, hunger, cruelty.  Our era is obscene.”  Hilst’s pronouncement finds resonance in the very mega city where she lived before secluding herself with nearly 100 dogs in a rural refuge known as Casa do Sol.  São Paulo, a city where wealth and destitution brutally clash, happens to be the birthplace of pichação—a practice of class warfare in which young, poor Brazilians scale and spray-paint the facades of monuments, chic high-rises, and government buildings.  As an NY Times article points out, pichação can be fatal.  While defacing structures, gang members not only risk falling to their deaths from dizzying heights but are prone to brawls with rival groups who are also vying for prized buildings.  The drama of these stakes is, to say the least, notable.  The pichador, you might say, is ready to die for his art-crime, itself a visionary execution at once urgent and extravagant.  Because it smears that which is exalted—literally staining upward mobility with the threat of precarity—his weapon bleeds out societal extremes with its own brand of crude, black scarring. (continue reading…)

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"Vlada's green-eyed superalert face everywhere": Kitsch and the Foreign in Lidija Praizovic's Poems

by on Nov.12, 2012

Carina:

What makes the metaphysical dilemma special, if not unique, is that it exists in the space just after the effort and before the completion of the tear. The body and soul are not yet rent, but they are somewhere in the midst of that process. What emerges from the ongoing rupture is delicate, baroque vomit, an undeniably human substance, the existence of which is totally outside bodily limits.


I’m reading Lidija Praizovic’s new book “PORR FÖR VLADA/HJARTAHJARTAHJARTA!!!/MITT LIVE SOM MUN” [Or: “PORN FOR VLADA/HEARTHEARTHEART!!!/MY LIFE AS A MOUTH”] (from the brilliant new Swedish press Dockhaveri Förlag (“Doll Wreckage,” very gurlesque, also published first book by Montevidayoan Aylin Bloch Boynukisa)). And in particular how her foreignness (as an immigrant, as an cobbler together of foreign words and phrases) creates undulations in a poem like this:

Belgrade Beer Fest

enorma halmhattar och homofobier
Vladas grönögda superspända ansikte överallt

suck me
lick me
fuck me
(pulseringar inom mig)

majskolvar/popcorn
koliko kostaju rogovi
bebisöversvämningar

[or:
Belgrade Beer Fest

enormous straw hats and homophobias
Vlada’s green-eyed superalert face everywhere

suck me
lick me
fuck me
(pulsations within me)

corn-on-the-cob/popcorn
koliko kostaju rogovi?
babyfloods]
(continue reading…)

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The Veil: Laura Mullen's Parapornographic Bride

by on Oct.23, 2012

At a recent panel on “the poetics of kitsch” at the Poet’s House in NYC with Sianne Ngai, Daniel Tiffany and Joyelle, I talked, among other things, about this video by Laura Mullen.

I talked about Timothy Morton’s idea of a “Dark Ecology”:

“… a sugary sentimentality whose gaze is down, as opposed to the sublime upward gaze of the masculine mountain-climber…. The Ancient Mariner and Frankenstein are gothic and tacky. The tacky is the anaesthetic (unaesthetic) property of kitsch: glistening, plasticized, inert, tactile, sticky… […] Beyond its cutenesss (a reified version of Kantian beauty), an element in kitsch ecological imagery maintains this abejction, a formless, abject element, Bataille’s informe… The bourgeois subject would rule forever if fascination and horror always resulted in spitting out the disgusting object. Ecological art is duty bound to hold the slimy in view.” (Ecology Without Nature, 158-159)

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I talked about the way that “surrealism” is used as a stand in for kitsch in a lot of discussions (“soft surrealism,” “candy surrealism,” glittering surrealism, sticky surrealism, cute surrealism…). Now obviously I use “surrealism” in a very loose way to represent this kind of sugariness that is so reviled by so many in contemporary poetry.

So I discussed “The Veil” as “surrealist,” not in any traditional sense. Though the question-and-answer rhetoric of the piece obviously invokes all those Exquisite Corpse games of Surrealism (Maybe “Exquisite Bride”). The video asks us to imagine all of the rubble as possible “veils,” that most precious and virginal of objects, and as a result, to see the catastrophic landscape as a kind of bride. The speaker denies that it’s the veil, but implicitly we’re asked to imagine this debris as the veil, to at least entertain the possibility. The veil generates monstrous brides in our heads.

In this video I love the way the veil, that occluding, feminine object par excellence here does not hide but moves out into the urban rubble of Louisiana; (continue reading…)

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Semen, Film, and Story-telling: History as Media in Reactions in Bolaño’s “Prefiguration of Lalo Cura”

by on Oct.01, 2012

 

 

I wrote a draft of this post a while ago, didn’t publish it, and forgot about it; but  Johannes’ post, “The Violent Pollution”:  Carl-Michael Edenborg’s Parapornography  made me decide to bring the draft back to life, to get it involved in this conversation I’m excited about.

The following passage from Edenborg’s essay is where I saw the connection between Parapornography and my reading of “Prefiguration of Lalo Cura” by Roberto Bolaño.

“The moving images of bodies that rubbed against bodies broke away from the games of identification and projection and moved into a new productivity. It was no longer his penis, her vagina, his sperm, her sighs, her breasts, his buttocks. There were anemones, surfaces without inside, uneven condensations of information and time…they were more real than the homogeneous phantasms that usually accompanies the bloating of the sexual organs, the materials of pornography.”

What I find interesting in this passage and another sentence Johannes quoted– it [Parapornography] can “extract endless excitement from the same skin flap” — is the recognition that there are “more” than the materials/ elements that compose a pornography in Parapornography.  However this sense of “more” is different from  transcendence in the sense of “the sculpture of Madonna is more than  a block of marble” ; what creates this sense of “more” is not that there is something sublime that cannot be fully represented above the materials, but that these materials/elements are in undulation, or if I am to put it in the word I used for my original draft “motions of reaction”. (continue reading…)

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"Asking for IT: A Parapornographic Reading of Emily Dickinson and her Suitors/Translators

by on Sep.05, 2012

I think in her post about Paul Legault, Lara raises some interesting points about Emily Dickinson and the act of translation, the act of homage, the reading act, the writing act. I would like to reach back to my previous post on the “Parapornographic” to read not just Dickinson but also her many suitors, including Legault (and Lara!).

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First of all: what set Lara off on considering the violence and gender dynamics was Paul’s statement that ED was “asking for it,” which certainly evokes all kinds of rape-ish associations. On Facebook Paul said he was beign sloppy and even I rejected the association. But I think we should keep it – even if we have to say that Lara (and I, now) are as much “authors” of that statement as Paul.

I want to know: What is Emily Dickison “asking for”? What is this obscenely obscure “IT”?
(continue reading…)

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"The Violent Pollution": Carl-Michael Edenborg's Parapornography

by on Sep.04, 2012

The thing about all this talk about hipsters and/or kitsch is that it’s about art: all poetry can be kitsch (and is according to many people) and all poetry-writers can be viewed as hipsters. I’m not interested in pro- or anti-kitsch poetry, or anti-hipster or pro-hipster poetry. I am interested in dealing with kitsch in a way that doesn’t fall back on these binaries but I also don’t want to move beyond them (to some pleasant world of American Hybrid or whatever), I don’t want to remove this trouble, this anxiety that is part of Art; an anxiety about looking, about uselessness, about excess, about Art’s occult powers and its drug-like “influence” that may ruin our identities as good, stable, progressive subjects with agency. As I noted in my last post I want the forms to rub up against each other, to chafe, to spasm. I want that excessive “foreign body lodged in the overall system of art” to continue to friction in the “system,” to turn it into a horror movie, a B-movie, a “phantom pregnancy,” a spasming necropastoral, a “parapornography.”

One genre that is often compared or made synonymous with kitsch is pornography: Like kitsch it’s too much about affect, too much about effects, too immediate, not properly mediated etc. And most of all, it’s got the “frenzy of the visual.” I think maybe porn can be a way of thinking about kitsch. Or vice versa. Maybe this is why so many people enjoy porn videos from websites like twinkpornvideos.xxx. So they can compare and contrast kitsch with porn.

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Carl-Michael Edenborg


Just yesterday I read Carl Michael Edenborg’s “Manifesto of Parapornography.” I should mention that C-M runs the important Swedish press Vertigo, which publishes de Sade and Apollinaire as well as contemporary writers like Nikanor Teratologen and Dennis Cooper and Samuel Delaney. He was also once a member of the same Surrealist Group of Stockholm that Aase Berg used to be part of). In this manifesto Edenborg argues is a move away from the rhetoric of both “pro-pornography” and “anti-pornography,” the two prevalent stances on pornography in our “post-pornography” society.

Edenborg argues against the system underlying both anti- and pro-pornography:

According to both, pornography is devoted to men’s fantasies of omnipotence, of a limitless access to and power over women, to never having to take no for an answer. Over and over again, it reassures men that they are phallic. Men will not accept that the very fact that they require this reassurement shows that they are already castrated, because that would subvert their pleasure. Women, on the other hand, are expected to react in the opposite way to pornography: with loathing and disgust.

According to Edenborg: While the pro and the anti depend on uncovering/defending a secret/truth/genitals/interiority, parapornography rejects this model and instead creates something that Edenborg compares to “quantum mechanics”: it can “extract endless excitment from the same skin flap” and “the mucous membranes are prismatic.” Instead of exteriority/interiority we get an undulating figure that admits poisons, a necropastoral pornography of the “spasming membrane” (Joyelle’s quote). This is Edenborg’s list of qualities of Parapornography:

Mechanical repetition
The infinity of revealing
The exploded affection theory
The critical will to power
The violent pollution
Protesology and displacement

(continue reading…)

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ON DAUGHTERTANTRUMS

by on Aug.28, 2012

A few weeks ago I had my first New York party at my East Village apartment. There were miniature raspberry cupcakes and raspberry champagne punch and lavender flowers and three performances: Bathtime with Laura Heckel, Seth Oelbaum’s triolets about blowing up the sun (and channeling of Ted Hughes – incidentally, not a single person in attendance could name a Ted Hughes poem off the top of their heads), and Jennifer Tamayo’s incredible performance about daughterdom.

When I first encountered JT that evening, she was standing in my kitchen literally covered in handmade satin bows and depositing several red cardboard cartons of whole milk into my refrigerator. I could not possibly fathom what she was going to do with them, but I was extremely pleased with the aesthetic affect of the bows and the milk cartons. The last time I had seen her perform was at Patasola’s Parlor, a reading series conveniently located just a few blocks from my apartment rather than on that other planet, Brooklyn, where most of the things I want to go to take place. She read or perhaps rather channeled a long poem about absentee fathers and I have been thinking about it for a long time.

I have still been thinking a lot about Chelsey Minnis and Lana del Rey even though I have not been writing about them. I have not really been wrting because I have been career-ing, which I am doing, primarily I think, because I am tired of feeling daughterly (more on this later, maybe).

What Chelsey Minnis, Lana del Rey, and Jennifer Tamayo all have in common is an adoration for daughterly aesthetics coupled with a total disdain for the concept of parentage, and the knowledge that one cannot really escape it. The perpetual daughter gets stuck in loop because she does not want to give up her bows, she wants more bows, and wearing bows indefinitely throughout time time is an exercise of agency in a faulty system.

This system is a network of influences that have been somehow imprinted upon the body of the daughter. The markings of influence make the daughter a text, but the text does not want to be written-upon, it wants to make itself; at the same time, this generative desire would probably not exist were she not already a text.

The perpetual daughter, upon realizing that she is stuck in this system, has one option; she acts (out). Lana del Rey’s Off to the Races is the perfect example of this – she knows exactly what she’s doing – punishing the parent-figure for keeping her a daughter by simultaneously projecting childlike innocence and behaving in an unacceptable manner – she’s “sorry,” but she’s not. Minnis has, most notably, the Prefaces to Bad Bad, which are an incredibly bratty rebellion-in-form, consuming and regurgitating the gross exposition of her literary forebears by throwing a tantrum in EstabPoDrag, referencing everything she can in the most condensed space, proving that she knows exactly what she’s doing and why and how she’s making a mess of it; or, “I am new and I am not dead.”

JT performed sprawled out on the daybed in my living room. Balancing three large wine glasses on a detached cabinet door, she filled them impossibly full with whole milk and lit candles, as though preparing for some bizarro dairyphile porno. Then, this happened:

 

 

Even before she spoke a single word, everyone knew what she was going to do; at least, there was a silent consensus in the room that the milk in the glasses would be gone from them by the end. (continue reading…)

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Sean Kilpatrick a-go-go

by on Apr.25, 2012

Sean Kilpatrick, author of the marvelous book Fuckscapes (which I, yes, blurbed), has some mistranslations of Rimbaud up on Boston Review:

Heavy under famous gorges, you poison the soil to commandeer my arrival! — Let’s broil our entrails. Let the violence of Venus dupe my member toward regal deformities. Just shuffle my pus. Call hell our eternal puke. Voyage to be fat and bust our comments on demonic foam!

He’s also interviewed by Columbia Review here.

Excerpt (in which he mentions some Montevidayoans):

Full emphasis on revision, hurt the piece. I want fuckscapes cut so bad it thinks sleep’s too dark. I’m trying for these poems as Lara Glenum’s mashed with and warring Gordon Massman’s offspring’d with Blake Butler’s heart, Danielle Pafunda’s knife, and Johannes Göransson is Lord. I was lucky to land David Peak and Ben Spivey’s Blue Square Press. Ken Baumann’s cover is the perfect beauty. Being amalgam, my poems here can’t dominate from their lack. It’s through hatred alone that they anywhere become. My voice wants for hate from rejected worship, weak and simple, scat about the clothes. Nothing can be dominated from below. The violent tone, as it is much meant, and therefore unfriendly reading, comes from a past of having too much loved the wrong people. All movement means porno. Do cumshots subordinate their landing space? I always fluke my origin where without casting. Ah, but if poetry could retaliate.

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