Sunday, 19 August 2012

'a miscellany of anthropomorphic sea creatures'

Here is Julie Sokolow, author of 'The Lobster Kaleidoscope', describing the brilliant Dadaoism anthology from Chomu Press:

1) Metaphysical Portals:  As a devotee of Borges, Kafka, and Beckett, I get kicks out of masterful meta-ness, psychological terror, and gallows humor, all of which Dadaoism’s opening piece, “Portrait of a Chair”, possesses in levels of toxicity.  In Reggie Oliver’s story, a retired antiques dealer, keenly aware of his mortality, attends an auction where he purchases a captivatingly simple portrait of a chair.  The portrait is not just some symmetrical schlock to mount over a mantel, but rather, a metaphysical portal to a dimension in which inanimate objects are paradoxically conscious, and the narrator, having undergone a paralyzing transformation, must fight through telepathic intellect alone to survive. 
2) Street Cred:  Dadaoism ends with two poems by Bjork and J.G. Ballard’s darling favorite, Jeremy Reed.  Called by the Independent, “British poetry’s glam, spangly, shape-shifting answer to David Bowie”, Reed’s poems read like lyrics to a song you’ll want to air guitar solo to.  That is, before the anxiety-provoking subject sinks in.  In his poem “Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicides”, he samples the true story of Joe Meek, the pioneering record producer, songwriter, and paranoid occultist, who shot and killed his landlady before turning the gun on himself.  Reed weaves together the details of Meek’s particular story and the greater mythos of rock ‘n’ roll’s dark side.  Meek’s loft is “a sounds lab–pop and Ouija and blue pills…”.  Reed canonizes Meek with those other archetypal “death-inducers” (e.g. -Presley, Hendrix, Cobain), “excess bingers hallucinating in the drop/into the roaring underground.”
She goes on to explain that her own story - 'a miscellany of anthropomorphic sea creatures' that sits somewhere between these two poles - was conceived on LSD. Seems pretty fitting considering the perception-altering nature of the anthology itself.

The full article is online on the HTML Giant blog at

Reviewing the anthology on Amazon, I called it the best book of 2012 so far and I've still yet to read a more satisfying or exciting new book this year.

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