Thus spoke Pink, a review

When first encountering Sam Pink’s writing, one may be tempted to dismiss it, as I did, as adolescent misanthropy seasoned with Asperger’s syndrome. It’s hard to get past the graphic violence and misogyny. Though, if there is such a thing as an open mind, on a good day I think I have one, so I asked Sam to send me Yum Yum I Can’t Wait to Die, which he did.

I was immediately struck by how such dense ideas could be evoked/initiated by such simple and direct language. His writing is quite philosophical, yet not in some alienating solipsist way. I found myself re-reading sentences, trying to get my head around certain turns of phrases or concepts. He has a riddle-like way of saying things. Around the seventh page, I said to myself, “This is guy is fucking Nietzsche.” Both of them are able to get to truth while sounding like an asshole.

Yum Yum I Can’t Wait to Die is comprised of little aphorisms and modern pedestrian allegories, of a guy who is, well, completely fucked in the head. This may not be the most original motif, but Pink is less interested in his narrator, and more so on ideas. It’s a mixed bag of philosophy, hilarity, and rare moments of genuine sadness—made striking by Pink’s unlikely empathy. He speaks of a timeless omnipresent wind outlasting all of us; his dog protecting unbaptized babies in purgatory; leaves and twigs distorting the surface of a puddle, spraying the moon with blood, and so on. Each part is a violent haiku. And there are moments of stunning loneliness, marked by self-effacing irony:

Today a telemarketer called and I said, “Please don’t hang up on me. Please.”

Of course, before we start thinking this guy is Basho or Issa, he offers this:

I want to blow my head off with a shotgun, into the open birth canal of whatever pop star is currently cool, so she has to menstruate my splattered skull and brains.

Such hyperbolic violence is either rhetorical device, or Pink is truly a little insane. I doubt Sam Pink is actually his name. I imagine a guy whose snorted his own semen for material (pun intended). The object of his ‘ambivalent’ (to put it lightly) affection is an unnamed and vaguely implied girl, and one forgets the philosophy and realizes that this is just some lonely loser. Maybe that’s why it’s so easy to jump into the narrator’s shoes. We’ve all been lonely, some of us still are. Pink’s words have a way to jumping inside you and moving organs around. To read him is to see things from a new inverted angle. He says, in my favorite line:

And when your mind is a field your tongue is a cloud.

Now my thoughts grow up-side-down towards a voiceless mouth. Thank you Sam Pink, you sick fuck.

Author Spotlight / 18 Comments
October 30th, 2008 / 4:37 pm

Chapbook Publishers E-Panel at EWN

Dan Wickett is getting it done over at the Emerging Writers Network.

He’s just posted a great Chapbook E-Panel, participants in which include Kevin Sampsell of Future Tense Press, Ander Monson of New Michigan Press, C.M. Mayo of Tameme, Kristy Bowen of Dancing Girl Press, Carl Annarummo of Greying Ghost Press, and Justin Marks of Kitchen Press.

It’s a lengthy post, but worth the read. Dan asks the particpants questions about the history of each small press, production details (business and design), submissions policies, the chapbook as a form, etc.

Presses & Web Hype / Comments Off on Chapbook Publishers E-Panel at EWN
October 10th, 2008 / 10:58 pm