My wife says that I “just have a bizarre fascination with him.”
“Him” being “Wolf Larsen,” and she’s right. Like my wife, my literary-minded colleagues—and, I’m guessing, most people—have been content to indulge my fascination for a moment then brush it off, saying, “That’s great, Jamie. Yes, it’s hilarious. The guy’s crazy.”
That’s what happened when I became aware of his existence through a submission to a literary magazine (we were all together for a meeting, sitting around a large table). I kept going back to that submission, laughing intermittently for over an hour as I marveled at this literary accident. How can you not find hilarity in books with titles like Pricks, Cunts, and Motherfuckers, or Ten Thousand Penises in Your Ear? Then there’s God and the Devil Dancing through World War III Together, with my favorite cover copy for a book ever: “The characters in this book include Caligula, Marie Antoinette, Wolf Larsen, yuppie cannibals, crack whores, Adolf Hitler, the Virgin Mary, the entire human race, etc.”
What I can’t figure out is if Wolf Larsen (obviously a pseudonym, taken from the Jack London character) just totally sucks, and that’s why I sometimes find myself going back to his homepage (like rubbernecking), because he knows it and he owns it, or if he’s oblivious, or if he doesn’t care and it doesn’t matter. I’m leaning toward a combination of all these, and tossing in a little plain old crazy to top it off. Still, there’s a paradoxical value to Wolf Larsen’s existence; or maybe that’s just my obsession.
Before this interview I tried contacting Wolf Larsen for over a year. I had forgotten about him till one night with a friend I remembered him and his website and said, “You’ve got to check this fucker out; it’s hilarious.” That friend suggested this interview, so I sent emails that garnered no response. I found some online venues and poetry forums where he’d published or posted and tried getting in contact through those editors’ and other’s emails or avatars: nothing. Then the other day I googled “Wolf Larsen,” and came across a blog (mentioned below). Wolf Larsen had surfaced. A blog comment later, we started up this dialogue.