Welcome back to plzplztalk2me, a semi-regular feature in which I talk to people who want to talk to me about stuff they want to talk about.
Recently, I e-mailed back and forth with Moss Angel Witchmonstr. Moss Angel Witchmonstr is author of four books, most recently Sea-Witch v.1 (2fast2house, 2017). She is a scorpio & a transsexual & lives in Portland, Oregon. Follow her on patreon at http://patreon.com/monstr.
In response to a question posed to him by presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, concerning which historical era he believes would best suit his rhetorical style, Barack Obama stated the following: “There is a big part of me that has a writer’s sensibility. And so that’s how I think. That’s how I pursue truth. That’s how I hope to communicate truth to people.”
I’ve read these four sentences many times since they were spoken by the president; not long after Goodwin’s Vanity Fair interview appeared online, in September, I copy-pasted the quote into Adobe Illustrator and printed out a letter-sized inspirational poster, which I hung on my office wall at the spot on which my eyes tend to focus whenever I’m having trouble keeping the writerly juices flowing. While intended to be a goad, my poster has, so far, been a reliable distraction. READ MORE >
There’s a lot of exciting stuff headed our way in 2017 from independent publishers. Here are some of the books I’m looking forward to getting my hands and eyes on this year.
(What books are you looking forward to in 2017? List them in the comments section below!)
Stefania doesn’t really use the internet but still received a package from Amazon Prime. What’s the point, she thinks, in opening the box when I can use it as a table. Plus, I’m so tired, from what, I don’t know. Let’s see, where did I put my shoes. What are all these mangos doing here and what is this new trash can? The moon looks insane outside and it’s not even full. I don’t know where this vase came from. I must be losing my mind.
Clarice can only handle art books. Right now she’s looking at Dorothy Ianonne (Siglio Press) and checking to see how many likes her photo got. She posted “Air de Paris” because it’s a controversial one involving a blow job that Instagram won’t notice because it’s too abstract. She doesn’t even really like hot dogs or donuts. She just put them there. And the white brand-less tennis shoes? Those are abstract too which makes me wonder where she’s going with that. READ MORE >
A Beehive Is Not a Little City (Made Out of Honey)
Tremendous Ache in My Fingers
Are You Reasonable?
In Your Motor Car (Flash Your Lights at Satellites)
Klimt in the Country
Never Break, Day
Fellas Remind Yr Mothers
Cantankerous Oval Godhead
Euphoric and He Looks Like a Baby
Cheeseburgers in Paradise
At Loggerheads w/Reptilians
Murphy and the Solar Bowler Hat
Center of the Earth (Everybody Dances in the)
This Colossal Waste of Time
Preview of a Great Massacre
O Shit I Missed the Brexit Vote
Fan Theory about the Karma Police Video Involving Edward Snowden
Casual Friday (Hazmat Suit)
Something Something Hamilton I Guess
Fodor’s Guide to Antarctica
Anvil Meets Head
I’ll let you fuck me
if you make it quick.
Like we both come
and that’s it.
No funny business
Those four sentences uttered by the narrator of Juliet Escoria’s new book, Witch Hunt, published recently by the critically acclaimed indie press Lazy Fascist, demonstrate the precise composition, emotional wreckage, and elegance of language on display in this powerful text.
The passive first line compared to the assertive lines directly following illustrate the text’s general ethos: deadpan checked-out ghosts of people bumping into one another’s atmosphere where desire forms and floats without anchor. Still, these ghost people transform drug addiction, mental illness, suicide, domestic abuse, political correctness, formal experimentation, epistolary, haiku, conceptual, confessional, visual expectations.
So many ghost people exist inside her sentences. So many performances. From the opening section of the ten-part long poem titled “True Romance,” where the above quote originates, the speaking subject comes into focus so quickly and so resonantly, readers sometimes mistakenly presume to understand Escoria’s speaker way too prematurely. It’s true we come to know a person in the pages of Witch Hunt, but through the course of the book the speaker remains unflinchingly unpredictable. What she does one moment doesn’t forecast what she’ll do in another. To assume to know the narrator, to expect to know what she will say or do or think at any moment proves preposterous. Since this passage appears late in the book, readers who start at the beginning and move forward in the standard reading fashion (as opposed to skipping around) already know they don’t know what’s coming next; what distinguishes this particular moment in the book is the role it plays in the overall structure of Escoria’s fragmented twenty-first century confessional romance narrative. It begins the descent to terminus.
Hopefully the following notes convincingly attest to the raw elegance of Witch Hunt, while nevertheless ultimately revealing my strong admiration for it. As we enter the darkness of 2017 — don’t forget, those Game of Thrones people kept warning us the winter was coming! — let us not forgot this powerful 2016 release. Escoria taps into something vital about our current cultural condition and engages with it in provocative ways. So here’re my thoughts on why I highly recommend it:
January 6th, 2017 / 3:26 pm
Hi! Welcome to plzplztalk2me, a semi-regular feature in which I’ll be talking to people who want to talk to me about things they want to talk about.
The first person I talked to is Eve Ewing. Ewing is a poet, essayist, scholar, and visual artist from Chicago. Her work has appeared in venues such as Poetry, The New Yorker, The New Republic, The Atlantic, The Nation, Union Station, the anthology The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop, and many other outlets. Her first collection of poetry, essays, and visual art, Electric Arches, is forthcoming from Haymarket Books in fall 2017.
We chatted just a few days after the election, so we talk a lot about that, as well as art, hero-worship, and the Harold Washington Library.