The blog of author Dennis Cooper

5 books I read recently & loved: Mike Corrao Rituals Performed in the Absence on Ganymede, Ursula Andkjær Olsen Outgoing Vessel, Big Bruiser Dope Boy Something Gross, Susana Thénon Ova Completa, Rikki Ducornet Trafik

Matt Lee: Reading Ganymede, I often felt this sensation that the book had a will of its own, like I was handling an autonomous organism, as you mentioned. A few pages in, it immediately struck me as a sister to Gut Text, albeit more sinister than its older sibling. Your writing tends to fixate on the relationship between body and text—“This event hurts you. As if your biology had been sutured to the text.” Your depictions of flesh and bone being manipulated are terrifically vivid, oscillating between the clinical and surreal. There’s a tangible sense of physicality in reading your books. What draws you to exploring the corporeal? What makes a text come alive for you, whether your own work or someone else’s?

Mike Corrao: I view the corporeal as something uncomfortably familiar to us. Every bodily ailment and injury is something we can imagine manifesting in our own body. I think the horror or viscerality of the book comes from the way that, no matter how surreal, you can project these events occurring across your own anatomy. It gives the text power. The book knows that it can make you react / squirm / uncomfortable. It knows that it has influence over you. And I think that makes it feel more alive than any kindness would.

Your label of the autonomous organism is great. I think it very much hits what I’m getting at. The aliveness of a text in part comes from its ability to respond to you / interact with you. It’s difficult to make something narrative feel alive, because it has a set path. There’s the potential for a reader to predict upcoming events. But when the text is an entity the reader isn’t trying to figure out what will happen. They’re trying to read expressions and gestures. It’s more likened to analyzing someone’s posture than to recognizing tropes / trajectories.

I think that there’s a certain ludological element here as well. Drawing from the interactivity of video games. A large part of the process is trying to create a means for the user to interact with the text. At times, this happens in Ganymede with pages that require the reader to turn the book ninety degrees, or text in the gutter that tempts them to pull the book apart. In other projects I’ve tried including dice rolls and pages that asked to be cut or torn. I think rooting the book in our world does a lot in making it feel like a living thing.


Mike Corrao Site
Mike Corrao @ Twitter
Podcast: Rejoinder: Mike Corrao – Rituals Performed in the Absence of Ganymede
“If He Vomits Then I Will Too”: an Interview with Mike Corrao
Buy ‘Rituals Performed in the Absence on Ganymede’


Mike Corrao Rituals Performed in the Absence on Ganymede
11:11 Press

‘To properly orientate oneself before entering Rituals Performed in the Absence on Ganymede, one must first think about the rituals suggested in the title as a physical act. Of course, all books require a collaboration between the text and the reader’s imagination, but the interaction here needs to be reframed as an act between two living organisms rather than one holding the other in its hand. Mike Corrao has created a text that bubbles from the page and wraps itself around the reader. Upon peeling it from their skin, the paragraphs will continue to grow and morph, easily outgrowing and crushing the microscope that it has been placed under. Corrao’s writing constantly mutates, mimics, and takes the form of other texts, websites and PDFs that it might have encountered, all the while revealing its true form – the concrete poem of a beast driving this chaos. All hail its dizzying and glorious reign of confusion!’ — Thomas Moore



New Body-Ware

GUT TEXT reading GUT TEXT by Mike Corrao




Morten Høi Jensen: You’ve studied musicology and worked as a music critic for many years. How has this influenced your poetry?

Ursula Andkjær Olsen: The music I know is the classical, European tradition which is fantastic and in some ways also kind of monstrous. If you think of a person singing a song as a kind of basic musical expression and then think of all the imaginative and “technological” power of the harmonic, rhythmical, and instrumental structures involved in a two-hour-long Bruckner Symphony played by more than a hundred people—you get the monstrosity. It takes a lot of abstraction and construction, a lot of math-like structural thinking, to go from this one person singing to the symphony. In that sense music is doubly rooted. It is related to both mathematical, even cosmic, systems and to the human voice—the most distant and the most intimate. I feel very connected to this double inheritance. Beyond that I think my whole way of thinking about literary form is something I’ve taken from music. I “compose” my books, work with sentences as if they were motifs, turn them and weigh them, repeat them, vary them, and often several voices emerge.

MHJ: I wonder if you could say something more about the structural choices—split lines, one-sentence poems, equations/equal signs, the role of italics, the all-capped words. You made up words too.

UAO: Since the book is an organ, a heart, it has a network-like structure in which every cell (every poem but also in the extreme: every word) is supposed to be connected with every other cell/poem/word. This is part of what I think of as the music-like structure of the book, but also what makes it a network. Musical form is maybe more than any other art form network-based because of its level of abstraction, of not referring to an outer world. The lines in italics are like the canal system of the book. The equations maybe also. The all-capped words might be seen as signals in the blood stream. I also think of the language and the structures in general as having a kind of clinical harshness to them. I wanted to make the feeling of the cuts—for instance the line breaks and the very short poems—all the more brutal. A biblical-clinical ambivalence.


Ursula Andkjær Olsen Site
Ursula Andkjær Olsen @ Action Books
Cellular Portals
Ursula Andkjær Olsen @ Poem Hunter
Buy ‘Outgoing Vessel’


Ursula Andkjær Olsen Outgoing Vessel
Action Books

‘Danish poet Ursula Andkjær Olsen’s compelling work travels through dark chambers of desire, power, and creation, conjuring up a feminist space where culture and nature wage war with one another, where psychology and anatomy merge to create a uniquely modern mytho-poetics. Katrine Øgaard Jensen’s masterful translation has a strong rhythm all its own, and captures the book’s jarring quality in a remarkably smooth rendering. By the end of this insidious text, the reader is just as “namedrunk” as the book’s enigmatic lyrical subject, and discovers that their own “heartspace,” too, has been torn open, dissected, and beautifully recreated.’ — 2018 National Translation Award judges’ statement

‘Like a supercollider smashing together exotic subatomic particles just to see what happens, Olsen accelerates language to the very limits, detonating it to watch what knowledge comes forth from ecstasy.’ — The Believer


so many dead
their eyeballs are filling this vessel


the earth is a slow fire

re: counting the dead:

I have a strategy in place



longing moves in all directions
like a spherical light scattered around me
I brush my hair in its circle

to be more concise:
human longing scatters like a
BIG BANG around this

around the human
out in the wet grass

it’s this BIG BANG that must be returned in its original condition,
an infinitely solid sphere;
must be moulded into a hard, smooth material
and placed in the hole below the heart

where it must remain



I have tied the knot with a
it’s taken 1,000 years inside me
I have wrung myself to create
the necessary loop

wrungness caused by external violence
wrungness caused by the exercise of violence
wrungness caused by flight
wrungness caused by care

It’s all there, in the loop created
when I lay my head in my lap

and close the gate



to have marble skin
not as an invitation
but as a bulwark
the strongest there is
the most comfortable
the sacrosanctest




I’m thinking of training my body
until it becomes a rock
that is my objective
the most precise expression of it

it’s better to cut a new one,
to cut anew, and hew from it
a perfect orb
any shape I want
hew from it a
rectangle, cube, almond, moon
AND THEN move in
once it’s done



Ursula Andkjær Olsen: Poetry of Tentacles and Threads




Nathaniel Kennon Perkins: Do you expect your readers to “understand” your work? Does that matter?

Big Bruiser Dope Boy: I don’t know what there is to understand in my work. The words are there and the reader reads the words and they have that experience. If a reader feels they understand my work, or understands something from my work, then that is their understanding that they have. People are trained to be shallow consumers of simple, entertainment-oriented art. They want to understand. They want there to be a purpose, a point, a meaning, and become frustrated and feel as if their time is being wasted when they can’t find one, dissatisfied with a lack of distraction.

NKP: Tell me about the history and vision of Gay Death Trance.

BBDB: I wanted to start a website that looks good to me and publish writing on it that I like. Giacomo Pope, the guy who created Neutral Spaces, helped me design it and taught me how to do the basic HTML necessary to add work. There will be t-shirts soon, courtesy of Steve Anwyll.

NKP: What living poets, early in their careers, do you admire and recommend people read?

BBDB: I don’t admire or recommend people read living poets with careers.


Gay Death Trance
69 Remakes
Big Bruiser Dope Boy @ goodreads
“Walking Through”
Buy ‘Something Gross’


Big Bruiser Dope Boy Something Gross
Apocalypse Party

‘This genre-defying account (novel? narrative poem?) of the troubled love of a young man for an emotionally stunted older one in the bars and apartments of megalopolitan Denver is written with such a spooking purity of line and with such an audaciously stark, grave wisdom that it already feels like a classic of its kind. Big Bruiser Dope Boy’s undecorated, indecorous sentences cut right through you and into the soul you might not have even known you still had. Something Gross is his most triumphant book yet. You are sure to wish you had written it.’ –– Garielle Lutz


When my mother drove out to celebrate my finishing school, four years after she retired, she got lost forty-five minutes outside town

She could only describe her immediate surroundings, and not very well

“I’m by a . . . uh . . . um . . . a biiiig uh-place—there’s a uhhh—siiiign”

My upstairs roommate’s boyfriend, who grew up in the area, deduced that she was parked at a school he knew of

He was right, we found her

She was standing outside her car, looking exhausted and confused

Beautiful gray hair hovering and swirling in high plains gusts

“I’m gonna drive, mom”

“I can drive”

“Yeah I know, but you’ve been driving all day so I’ll drive”


Peaches and I took her to a show at a dinner theater

A show about Patsy Cline, one of her favorites

Sitting across from a mother, father, and a clearly gay tweenage boy

All wearing Disney attire

This family said they had been to the parks, both land and world, over a dozen times

whiteI’m crazy, crazy for feeling so lonely

Driving back, my mother straddled two lanes in the dark, and I pointed it out to her

It was night, she said, and old people had a hard time driving at night

Fair enough

Peaches and I were broken up and trying to show her a good time

She was loudly singing fragments of songs


A few days before Peaches broke up with me, I was FaceTiming with my mother

Telling her our plans to move to New Orleans together

She was so happy, she was crying

Telling her that he broke up with me was intensely painful

I wanted her to feel like I was going to be okay in life

And now I could not give her that, because I was not sure if I would be okay in life


My mother gave me my late grandfather’s watch as a graduation gift

We both cried when she gave it to me

I never ended up completing my degree, letting my I/Fs expire over the summer

I did not take my academic advisor’s condescending advice and “use the energy” of my breakup

I did not graduate, but I finished school

I was finished with it

I knew I was the best writer in the program at the time (which was not saying much) and probably one of the best writers to ever go through that academy of mainly boarding school brats


Naropa University

Founded by an alcoholic, drug-addicted, womanizing cult leader and his lost, beatnik/hippie devotees

Chögyam Trungpa

And a pedophilic poet

Allen Ginsberg (look up the essay he wrote about becoming a NAMBLA member, or just look at a picture of his face)

A flea clinging to the silver nuthairs of Walt Whitman

Bob Dylan’s coattail jockey

He wrote one, maybe two good poems in his entire life

“Howl” is not even that good

“Kaddish”? I would rather get deepthroated by a daikon radish

Howl-about you go fuck yourself?

He Kad-dish it out, but he cannot take it

Oh, and while I am at it, suck my dick, Elf Boots

You know who you are

You pompous, vest-wearing douche

Your reading voice is repellant

You have published one book

I have published two, and I am your teenage son’s age younger than you

I am writing my third right now

They are all better than yours

I got your “outrider lineage” right here, pal (cups genitals)

I hope your school attains nirvana (goes bankrupt)

I am never making another loan payment

Broke for life, son

My human karma explodes hell into heaven, drags clawing and yelping the devils of delusion back into the reality of God’s heart where they were all along

Some people call me Big Bruiser Dope Boy, others call me Ben

You can call me dad

It is nice to meet you

You are late


I am playing

Nobody is good at writing


Big Bruiser Dope Boy At the Inkwell

Sam Pink / Big Bruiser Dope Boy / Samuel Robertson MOON PALACE BOOKS




‘Susana Thénon (Buenos Aires, 1935-1991) was an Argentine avant-garde poet, translator, and artistic photographer. The daughter of the psychiatrist Jorge Thénon, she was a member of Argentina’s Generación del ’60. Although she was a contemporary of Juana Bignozzi and Alejandra Pizarnik, Thenon was not part of any literary group. She affiliated within the marginal construction that works in her poetry, without adhering to any reigning movement.

‘Her relationship with other poets of her generation was minimal, with the exceptions of Maria Negroni, who later became one of the compilers in Thenon’s posthumous books (La Morada Impossible I and II) and the aforementioned Pizarnik with which she frequented, and along with that published in the literary journal Agua Viva (1960), which was perhaps one of the few signs of her openness to the poetic environment. A gap in her publications occurred between 1970 and 1982 when she was actively engaged in photography, although she continued to write during that period. Thenon also wrote some essays.’ — collaged


Susana Thénon @ Wikipedia
Susana Thénon @ Ugly Duckling Presse
Two Poems by Susana Thénon
ST @ The PIP Blog
Buy ‘Ova Completa’


Susana Thénon Ova Completa
Ugly Duckling Presse

‘Susana Thénon (1935–1991) is a key poet of the ’60s generation in Argentina. In OVA COMPLETA, her final, most radical collection, Thénon’s poetics expands to incorporate all it touches—classical and popular culture, lyrics to songs and vulgarities, incoherence and musicality—embodying humor and terror while writing obliquely of femicide, Argentina’s last dictatorship, the Malvinas / Falklands war, the heritage of colonialism. Or, as Thénon writes, “me on earth; me with the others; me ignorant, rude, all mixed in Latin, Greek, shit, noodles, culture and barbarism…” OVA COMPLETA is a collection full of stylistic innovation, language play, dark humor, and socio-political insight, now available to English-language readers for the first time.’ — udp



god help us or god don’t help us
or god half help us
or he makes us believe that he’ll help us
and later sends word that he’s busy
or he helps us obliquely
with a pious “help yourself”
or cradles us in his arms singing softly that we’ll pay for it
if we don’t go to sleep immediately
or whispers to us that here we are today and oh tomorrow too
or tells us the story of the cheek
and the one about the neighbor and the one about the leper
and the one about the little lunatic and the one about the mute who talked
or he puts in his headphones
or shakes us violently roaring that we’ll pay for it
if we wake up immediately
or gives us the tree test
or takes us to the zoo to see
how we look at ourselves
or points out an old train on a ghost of a bridge
propped up by posters for disposable diapers

god help us or not or halfway
or haltingly

god us
god what
or more or less
or neither



who’ve read Dante in folio
you let yourself drift
through those little drawings
so-called illuminated miniatures
and you swallowed it all
from ay
to bi

but it’s a lie

that hellish bin of complications is pure rubbish
made on purpose to make you waste time
calculating in which circle
the bones of your soul
will end up

and you know something?
this famous inferno
has an admirable simplicity
it’s not for nothing, the master’s cunning

you get there and they tell you

you’re free
go ahead and do as you like



Y Vos También

there’s saccharine here
the flock of albatross
or what do I know
I mean about albatross
about albatrosdollars
I never saw a bird pishing that’s not saying much
the canadians pish even if you don’t see it
and the fish
the fish pish the sea
you’re a poet, no?
or Sappho hecho en Shitland
don’t you see she’s a woman?
come on woman
and if you don’t get the chance to talk to God
why ask him if I ever
I’ll tell you honestly
in fact
at some time or other I’ve stopped adoring you
but English is more practical
you make plans all over
in other words in the pudenda
do it———–don’t
and even if you pronounce it poorly
they’ll still understand you
do it————don’t
or express yourself with gestures
if you’ve seen how you do it
how you learn to do it
how you don’t get used to
how you make do how you want
it how you


Ova Completa Book Launch and Reading with Rebekah Smith, Silvina López Medin, and Asiya Wadud

Biografías de la literatura: Susana Thénon




George Salis: You have a novella forthcoming from Coffee House Press titled Trafik. What can you tell us about it?

Rikki Ducornet: Trafik was written in warp drive and provides a wild ride through the galaxies with Mic, a robot with a passion for Al Pacino and Al’s plumbing, and Quiver, an astronaut in love with a virtual redhead she glimpses when running each morning in a virtuality called The Lights.

GS: I would be remiss if I didn’t mention an interesting factoid. This comes from Wikipedia and I was wondering if you can shine some light on its veracity or lack thereof because, as you can see, some citations are needed: “Ducornet is the subject of the Steely Dan song “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number.” Steely Dan singer Donald Fagen had met her while both were attending Bard College. Ducornet says they met at a college party, and even though she was both pregnant and married at the time, he gave her his number.[citation needed] Ducornet was intrigued by Fagen and was tempted to call him, but she decided against it.” Additionally, the lyrics of the song seem quite problematic, particularly these lines: “You tell yourself you’re not my kind / But you don’t even know your mind”. Is this something that has bothered you, particularly because you can’t reply in defense?

RD: We met in the coffee shop. Why the heck would he have known I was pregnant? I had been going to listen to the music at the Red Barn; it was phenomenal. He gave me his number, I lost it, but! whenever I walk into a sushi restaurant or an airport and hear it, I think of it as a koan, and I think he was right. At the time I did not “know [my] mind”!

GS: Lastly, you’ve talked about a flattening of the arts, of culture, and more. Has it gotten flatter since or are you beginning to see some formations of dimensions? Is the future bleak and bleached or is there something that can be done to counteract the flattening, to give it color and depth?

RD: My apologies! I am answering your questions after too many months, and so much has happened. Answering in the time of COVID-19. The flattening is palpable in a country suffocating beneath the knee of a madman who is at war with everything alive. But we are also seeing an extraordinary awakening, the realization that we must reconsider everything, that we have lost our way, lost it long ago, and that there is very little time to come together as one people, to salvage what we can, to learn to embrace the other, to cherish the world’s children, the creatures, the creative thinkers, and save our one very small planet, a planet unlike any other. I fear we cannot animate a graveyard; that we have no choice but to find a new way of being—and find it right away!—inspired and inspirited by loving kindness and rooted in a fearless looking into ourselves. As Bachelard said, “Poetic revery, unlike somnolent revery, never falls asleep.”


Rikki Ducornet Site
A Conversation with Rikki Ducornet By Sinda Gregory and Larry McCaffery
Rikki Ducornet @ Conjunctions
Rikki Ducornet @ goodreads
Preorder ‘Trafik’


Rikki Ducornet Trafik
Coffeehouse Press

‘Quiver, a mostly-human astronaut, takes refuge from the monotony of harvesting minerals on remote asteroids by running through a virtual reality called the Lights, chasing visions of an elusive red-haired beauty. Her high-strung robot partner, Mic, pilots their Wobble and entertains himself by surfing the records of the obliterated planet Earth stored on his Swift Wheel for Al Pacino trivia, recipes for reconstituted sushi, and high fashion trends. But when an accident destroys their cargo, Quiver and Mic go rogue, setting off on a madcap journey through outer space toward an idyllic destination: the planet Trafik.’ — Coffeehouse Press

‘Surrealism meets space opera in Trafik, Rikki Ducornet’s startlingly original look at a post-human and non-human pairing wandering through space while obsessed with the scattered fragments of a world they never knew. At once funny and absurd, Trafik peers at our own time through the lens of the future to reveal what we should regret losing and what would be better gone.’ — Brian Evenson


Gracefully folded into her hamok, Quiver says: “Mic. I am overcome with longing. I am longing for a sky that never stops moving. I am longing for cumulous clouds; I am longing for a buttermilk sky.

—– I am longing for a clamor of children. Lamplight in a cabin by a river on a fall evening. To pick oranges from a tree. I am longing to see a freshly laid egg. A river of fresh water enter a salty ocean. The animals of Africa. Above all: a tiger! But also bees! Pollinating flowers! A beetle making its way across a bank of moss.

—– I am longing for a small planet, a green planet, a blue planet. I could use some city congestion. I could use a cantaloupe, an artichoke, a microscope! If we had a microscope, we could, at the very least, watch things moving about!”

—– “I move about!” Mic says it defensively. “I may not ‘be alive’—but I am as alive as I was intended to be; I do my best, and—”

—– Admirably, Quiver unfolds, leisurely steps down from her hamok, languidly moves toward Mic and, seductively, in human fashion, and gently caressing what stands in for the top of his head, says: “Dearest Micosan. We have been through this a thousand times. You know how much I appreciate your bountiful—bountiful! Mic!—capacities. I am stir-crazy is all. I am needing to move about. I am not fed up with your company, but my own.”

—– “Ah,” says Mic, filling the sounds of Home Free with Habib Koité. “You need this.”

—– Together, they gaze up at the Plonk Sidereal Atlas. An abundant number of significant destinations litter the path forward. Far dexter a planet appears blinking. “What is it?” Quiver asks just as the Atlas pings, clears its soundbox, and speaks:

—– “You are swiftly approaching AM Locus, the jewel of a magnificent helical galaxy, the breathing shrapnel, lava and rock of First Beginnings.”

—– “Oh, for MAGA’s sake,” sighs Quiver.

—– “AM Locus,” the Atlas continues, “is the very planet where the first seeds of extraterrestrial multigenesis—conceived and elaborated by Rosalind Von Pfeffertitz, were made manifest!”

—– “Von Pfeffertitz!” Quiver mumbles. “I have heard of her!”

—– “Who has not heard of Von Pfeffertitz!” the Atlas continues. “Her unprecedented collection of genetic variants survived terrestrial collapse. It is here, on AM Locus, that the process of multigenesis was not only perfected, but accelerated by Von Pfeffertitz’s brain after her demise!

—– Quiver winces. “Am I the only one in the universe who finds this drivel aggravating?” she asks Mic. “And look—see the date there? This drivel was imbedded ages ago—so, who knows what’s ahead of us!” She gasps as the Atlas’ Space Eye is, in its entirety, overtaken by a virtual brain as wrinkled as the skin of what was once called a Shar-Pei—not that they could know it.

—– “This,” says Quiver decisively, “is not an option.” Mic, too, is not eager to get any closer. He, too, is stretched to his limits and out of sorts. His ferroelectric transducer barely glows, and he notices an alarming surge in the oxygen vacancy, a sudden decline in the Wobble’s dialectic permittivity.

—– “All systems are faltering!” Quiver shouts as, despite their best efforts, they are irresistibly drawn to AM Locus, its unwanted mysteries and dubious artifact—Von Pfeffertitz’s brain.

—– The Atlas’ high resolution spectroradiometer compounds their frustration, for now they see every knurl, pock, cyst, and gyre of that troubled terrain, and the grim towers of a campus built of extemporaneous and biologically modified (and they could not be uglier or more cheesy) printed potluck pavers, tiles, and bricks. So powerful is the planet’s magnetic attraction, Quiver’s face—cheeks, lips, and the lids of her eyes—swell so badly that for a quik or two she looks like a fish (Mic). As for Mic, he is harassed by corporeal statik, his basal zipper perilously hot. All this settles down, however, as they approach the designated landing strip. A shiver, a shudder, a thump—and they come to a stop. Once hydrated, oiled, and suited, they step out into a manageable frost.

—– AM Locus has a fabricated atmosphere, humid and breathable, unexpectedly dense in the organic compounds of living things once there in profusion, but now long gone. Of the landscape, all that remains are deep creases and ridges gyring in all directions, with barely a trace of biological activity. They note what appears to be wormholes, the dens of small mammals, the sorrowful collapse of any number of greenhouses, an artificial lake in need of water, an array of what might well have been the mounds of disorderly—if innovative—termites.


Mic and Quiver now come to a dusty path that takes them to the abandoned campus directly—a pretentious edifice built of the detestable potluck (Mic)—its grand front gates askew—and enter a lounge illumed by skylights and furnished with faded sofas, the upholstery overrun by the creatures of Von Pfeffertitz’s imagining—all hopelessly coneco (Mic)—bushy tailed and smiling. The walls surge with sporadically functioning surface Lights all manifesting clusters of enriched transcriptomic motifs: flossy, fleecy, and google-eyed enough to trigger a hyperglycemic crisis.

—– A large virtual head now appears suspended in their path, sputtering in fits and starts before managing to cohere. It is the head of Von Pfiffertitz: florid, rosy cheeked, and round as a beach ball. Welcome it says in any number of languages, known and unknown, imminent, inevitable, likely and unlikely. The welcome is apparently endless, and as they have examined the Lights and the furniture, they move on avoiding bloated descriptions of terrains and creatures that for a brief moment flitted and soared, swam and surged, google-eyed, bushy tailed, and smiling on AM Locus.

—– “Enjoy your stay!” the head calls after them. “Levitating,” says Quiver, “like a forking blimp.”

—– “Be sure to explore the greater org of Rosenblatt and WeiWeiSing—named after my two husbands, yes! The very husbands who invented and perfected pseudotemporal myeloids! And be sure not to miss the small chamber, its green door—to the dexter as you are leaving—for everything you are about to see began there.”

—– Like a silent and old-timey terrestrial firework display, the head appears to explode and then it is gone. It does not take much poking about before they locate the green door. At their approach, it opens.


CalArts Writing Now Reading Series: Rikki Ducornet

Painted Scrolls by Rikki Ducornet & Sculpture by Margie McDonald




p.s. Hey. ** Dominik, Howdy!! Yes, the hacker is still at it full speed without pausing. The only question is whether they/it will gradually figure out my password or whether it’s just being mindlessly assaultive. I would think that if they’re going to reschedule their tour they’ll announce that fairly soon since we seem to finally be in the easing out of the hardcore restrictions phase. Did you see your friend? I hope that was joyous. My weekend was a big fat almost nothing other than working on stuff and a bit of outside time, but that was okay. If I was a betting man, I would say the dungeon was indeed that slave’s destination. Ha ha. Love deposing every world leader and replacing them with teenaged furries, G. ** David Ehrenstein, Lucky you indeed! ** Misanthrope, Yes, he or she or they started out -aphasia, that’s right. I remember C, of course. I always hope the old timers will pop in to say hi, but they almost ever do. They’ve outgrown us. Oliver did pop in here, oh, years ago now, to say hi. I tried to engage him, but he vanished anyway. atomic too, right. I would kill, almost literally, to have an amusement park as my immediate surroundings. ** Damien Ark, Hi, D. Thanks, I’m happy it hit your obsession. Totally get the cave obsession. I could totally go there. I am obsessed with secret passages, which is sort of in the ballpark. xo. ** John Newton, Hi, John. No, I’d like to believe in chaos magic, but I don’t, although one of my novels, ‘Guide’ was built partly using chaos magic principles and has sigils hidden in it. I have a couple of friends who can talk forever about the exotic worlds that DMT allowed them to travel in. I think, for some people, once you’ve done the handmade/super low budget film thing and moved up, you don’t want to go back, I don’t know why. I’m friends with John Waters, and he couldn’t get anyone to finance his films at a certain point, and I among many others suggested he go back to his original cheap method, and he said, ‘no, been there, done that.’ I’m  counting on international travel being possible by late spring at least. We’ll see. No, I actually hate the taste of liquorice. It’s weird, but I can’t stand it. I ate a lot of frites with mayonnaise though. And rijsttafel. Boy, I miss rijsttafel. I think I deal with my over-obsessions by writing about them. Milking them, in other words. You and yours? ** Jack Skelley, Jack of Skelleyville! Right, John, I think I knew that, duh, right. Oh, my god! Wait, maybe we talked about our mutual Napili history years and years ago? Faint memory. That’s nuts! We Mauian people considered the Napili Kai to be where the fancy people stayed. The Mauian was sort of like the peasant huts next to the castle. Wow. Didn’t see the Fargo series just because I haven’t really watched TV since I moved over here other than some French reality shows occasionally. I’ll try to get over my TV aversion long enough to check it out. God, even going to Vegas sounds so dreamy right now. There’s more puff where that came from, Smokey. *devil horns*  ** Kyler, Hi, Kyler. Nice to see you. Ah, Regardie is in your realm, of course. My pleasure, and, I presume, 5strings’ pleasure as well. I hope you’re doing great through all and sundry. ** Steve Erickson, Yeah, the Grammys were never cool or wise or fair or anything, at least in my lifetime. I’m still waiting for France to lower the age limit re: the vaccine. It’s still 75, I think, although the rumor is it’ll be fairer soon. ** Mark Gluth, Hi, Mark, great to see you, maestro. Oh, sure, I’m very happy to. Everyone, the great writer and dude Mark Gluth asks you to please help with a very worthy cause if you can. Here’s the cause: ‘A pal of Erin’s (and I’s to a lesser extent) has started a Gofundme to raise money for a legal defense to fight his being deported to country he last lived in when he was 8. I wont bore you with the details here but he’s an awesome, kind person and in no way deserves any of this crap. Not that anyone does.’ Dalibor’s Defense Fund. Please help out if you can. ** Brian O’Connell, Hi, Brian. Do people call you Bri? Nice, nice, yum re; your Ghibli watch, even if it was only the one example. There are so many, many reasons to go to Japan, I’m telling you, man. It’s so great there. I think your weekend pretty much ruled. Still does. Mine was without relatable interesting occurrences, but oh well. The week ahead could scarcely be any younger, so … May yours and mine be the exciting kind obstacle courses. ** Okay. I read and loved 5 books recently that I hereby suggest you might love or at least like. Give them a chance, please? See you tomorrow.

5strings presents … Solve et Coagula: An Introduction to Israel Regardie



Francis Israel Regardie was an occultist, author and one time secretary to the legendary Aleister Crowley. As an adept of the now defunct secret order known as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, he became infamous among the occultists of his day for breaking his oath of secrecy and publishing the order’s complete rituals in his book The Golden Dawn. Today this book is a classic best seller and has been revised and re-issued several times. Overshadowed by his association with Crowley, much of his work has been left unappreciated by those outside of the realms of high magic and occultism.

Regardie was born Francis Israel Regudy in London, England on the 17th November 1907. His parents were poor Jewish immigrants and during the course of WW1 when his older brother joined the army, his name was accidentally written down as “Regardie”. Rather than change it, it was then adopted as the family name. Later Regardie also dropped the use of Francis, preferring to be known simply as Israel Regardie.




After reading Part I of Magick (Book 4) by the occultist Aleister Crowley, Regardie initiated a correspondence which led to his return at 21 to the U.K. at Crowley’s 1928 invitation to become his secretary. When the two parted company four years later, in 1932, Regardie distanced himself from Crowley personally, but still retained a great deal of respect for his writings. Shortly after this period he published The Tree of Life, a guide to magick, largely derived from Crowley’s work, and A Garden of Pomegranates, a primer on Qabalah based on notes he had taken while working for Crowley. Regardie would later write a biography of Crowley, The Eye in the Triangle, and continue to edit and republish Crowley’s works up until the 1970s.

In 1934 Regardie joined Stella Matutina, a successor organization of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. When the group disbanded, Regardie acquired the bulk of the Order’s documents and compiled the book, The Golden Dawn, which earned him the enmity of many of the other former members and the reputation of being an oath-breaker because of the information it revealed. However, the book transformed the work of the Order into an entirely new branch of the Western Occult Tradition. As Regardie observed in his work A Garden of Pomegranates, “…it is essential that the whole system should be publicly exhibited so that it may not be lost to mankind. For it is the heritage of every man and woman – their spiritual birthright.” The various occult organizations claiming descent from the original Golden Dawn, and the systems of magic practiced by them, owe their continuing existence and popularity to Regardie’s work.

In 1937, at the age of 30, Regardie returned to the U.S., entering Chiropractic College in New York City. In addition, he studied psychoanalysis with Dr. E. Clegg and Dr. J. L. Bendit, and psychotherapy with Dr. Nandor Fodor. He opened a chiropractic office and taught psychiatry – Reichian, Freudian, and Jungian – retiring in 1981 at the age of 74, when he moved to Sedona, Arizona.



‘First published in 1937, Israel Regardie’s The Golden Dawn has become the most influential modern handbook of magical theory and practice. In this new, definitive edition, noted scholar John Michael Greer has taken this essential resource back to its original, authentic form. With added illustrations, a twenty-page color insert, additional original material, and refreshed design and typography, this powerful work returns to its true stature as a modern masterpiece.

‘An essential textbook for students of the occult, The Golden Dawn includes occult symbolism and Qabalistic philosophy, training methods for developing magical and clairvoyant powers, rituals that summon and banish spiritual potencies, secrets of making and consecrating magical tools, and much more.’ — Llewellyn Publications


The Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram

Take a steel dagger in the right hand. Face east. Touch thy forehead and say Ateh (thou art). Touch thy breast and say Malkuth (the Kingdom). Touch thy right shoulder and say ve-Geburah (and the Power). Touch thy left shoulder and say ve-Gedulah (and the Glory). Clasp thy hands before thee and say Le-Olam (forever). Dagger between fingers, point up and say Amen.

Make in the air towards the east the invoking pentagram as shown and, bringing the point of the dagger to the centre of the pentagram, vibrate the deity name—Yod He Vau He—imagining that your voice carries forward to the east of the universe. Holding the dagger out before you, go to the south, make the pentagram, and vibrate similarly the deity name—Adonai.

Go to the west, make the pentagram, and vibrate Eheieh. Go to the north, make the pentagram, and vibrate Agla. Return to the east and complete your circle by bringing the dagger point to the centre of the first pentagram.

Stand with arms outstretched in the form of a cross and say: Before me,
Raphael; behind me, Gabriel; at my right hand, Michael; at my left hand, Auriel; before me flames the pentagram—behind me shines the six-rayed star.

Again make the Qabalistic cross as directed above, saying Ateh, etc. For banishing use the same ritual, but reversing the direction of the lines of the pentagram.


The Uses of the Pentagram Ritual

1. As a form of prayer the invoking ritual should be used in the morning, the banishing in the evening. The names should be pronounced inwardly in the breath vibrating it as much as possible and feeling that the whole body throbs with the sound and sends out a wave of vibration directed to the ends of the quarter.

2. As a protection against impure magnetism, the banishing ritual can be used to get rid of obsessing or disturbing thoughts. Give a mental image to your obsession and imagine it formulated before you. Project it out of your aura with the saluting sign of a Neophyte, and when it is about three feet away, prevent its return with the Sign of Silence. Now imagine the form in the east before you and do the Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram to disintegrate it, seeing it, in your mind’s eye, dissolving on the farther side of your ring of flame.

3. It can be used as an exercise in concentration. Seated in meditation or lying down, formulate yourself standing up in robes and holding a dagger. Put your consciousness in this form and go to the east. Make yourself “feel” there by touching the wall, opening your eyes, stamping on the floor, etc. Begin the ritual and go round the room mentally vibrating the words and trying to feel them as coming from the form. Finish in the east and try to see your results in the Astral Light, then walk back and stand behind the head of your body and let yourself be reabsorbed.


Task Undertaken by the Adeptus Minor

This, then, is the task to be undertaken by the Adeptus Minor. To expel from the Sephiroth of the nephesch the usurpation by the evil Sephiroth; to balance the action of the Sephiroth of the ruach in those of the nephesch. To prevent the lower will and human consciousness from falling into and usurping the place of the automatic consciousness. To render the king of the body, the lower will, obedient to and anxious to execute the commands of the higher will, that he be neither a usurper of the faculties of the higher, nor a sensual despot—but an initiated ruler, and an anointed king, the viceroy and representative of the higher will, because inspired thereby, in his kingdom which is man.

Then shall it happen that the higher will, i.e., the lower genius, shall descend into the royal habitation, so that the higher will and the lower will shall be as one, and the higher genius shall descend into the Kether of the man, bringing with him the tremendous illumination of his angelic nature. And the man shall become what is said of Enoch. “And Chanokh made himself to walk with God, and he was not, for God took him.” (Genesis 5:24)

Then also this shalt thou know, that the nephesch of the man shall become as the genius of the evil persona, so that the evil persona itself shall be as the power of the divine in the Qlippoth, as it is said: “Whither shall I go from thy spirit, or whither from thy presence shall I flee? If I ascend up to heaven, thou art there. If I make my bed in hell, behold thou art there.” (Psalm 139)

Therefore even the evil persona is not so evil when it fulfilleth its work. For it is the beginning of a dim reflection of the light unto the Qlippoth, and this is what is hidden in the saying that “Typhon is the brother of Osiris.” Hear thou, then, a mystery of the knowledge of evil. The 5°= 6 Ritual of the Adeptus Minor saith that even the “evil helpeth forward the good.” When the evil Sephiroth are expelled from the nephesch into the evil persona, they are, in a sense, equilibrated therein. The evil persona can be rendered as a great and strong, yet trained, animal whereupon the man rideth, and it then becometh a strength unto his physical base of action. This mystery shalt thou keep from the knowledge of the First Order, and still more from that of the outer world, that is as a formula, seeing that it is a dangerous secret.

Now then shalt thou begin to understand the saying “He descended into hell,” and also to comprehend in part this strength, and thus begin to understand the necessity of evil unto the material creation. Wherefore, also, revile not overmuch the evil forces, for they have also a place and a duty, and in this consisteth their right to be. But check their usurpation, and cast them down unto their plane. Unto this end, curse them by the mighty names if need be, but thou shalt not revile them for their condition, for thus also shalt thou be led into error.

There is also a great mystery that the Adeptus Minor must know, viz.: How the spiritual consciousness can act around and beyond the sphere of sensation. “Thought” is a mighty force when projected with all the strength of the lower will under the guidance of the reasoning faculty and illuminated by the higher will. Therefore it is that, in thy occult working, thou art advised to invoke the divine and angelic names, so that thy lower will may willingly receive the influx of the higher will, which is also the lower genius behind which are the all-potent forces.

This, therefore, is the magical manner of operation of the initiate when “skrying” in the spirit vision. Through his own arcane wisdom, he knows the disposition and correspondences of the forces of the macrocosmos. Selecting not many, but one symbol, and that balanced and with its correlatives, then sendeth he a thought ray from his spiritual consciousness, illuminated by his higher will, directly unto the partof his sphere of sensation which is consonant with the symbol employed.

There, as in a mirror, doth he perceive its properties as reflected from the macrocosmos, shining forth into the infinite abyss of the heavens. Thence can he follow the ray of reflection therefrom, and while concentrating his united consciousness at that point of his sphere of sensation, can receive the direct reflection of the ray from the macrocosmos. Thus receiving the direct ray as then reflected into his thought, he can unite himself with the ray of his thought so as to make one continuous ray from the corresponding point of the macrocosmos unto the centre of his consciousness.

If, instead of concentrating at that actual point of the sphere of sensation he shall retain the thought ray only touching the sphere of sensation at that point, he shall, it is true, perceive the reflection of the macrocosmic ray answering to that symbol in the sphere of his consciousness. But he shall receive this reflection tinctured much by his own nature, and therefore to an extent untrue, because his united consciousnesses have not been able to focus along the thought ray at the circumference of the sphere of sensation. And this is the reason why there are so many and multifarious errors in untrained spirit visions. For the untrained seer, even supposing him free from the delusions of obsession, doth not know or understand how to unite his consciousnesses and the harmonies between his own sphere of sensation, and the universe, the macrocosmos. Therefore is it so necessary that the Adeptus Minor should correctly understand the principia and axiomata of our secret knowledge, which are contained in our rituals and lectures.



Other Works:

The Tree of Life

My Rosicrucian Adventure

The Middle Pillar

The Philosopher’s Stone

A Garden of Pomegranates

Eye in the Triangle



“It really makes little difference in the long run whether The Book of the Law was dictated to [Crowley] by preterhuman intelligence named Aiwass or whether it stemmed from the creative deeps of Aleister Crowley. The book was written. And he became the mouthpiece for the Zeitgeist, accurately expressing the intrinsic nature of our time as no one else has done to date.” –Israel Regardie 1970 (Introduction to The Law Is for All)

“On the other hand, I cannot separate Crowley from The Golden Dawn, because Crowley was The Golden Dawn and The Golden Dawn was Crowley.” — Israel Regardie (An Interview with Israel Regardie: His Final Thoughts and Views 55)

“This elaborate Golden Dawn system became part of Crowley’s own inner world … He carried it further than even the Golden Dawn principals had envisaged. I know of nothing within the Order documentary that even hints at the kind of visionary and spiritual experience that Crowley managed to get out of it.” — Israel Regardie 1970 (The Eye in the Triangle)

All that can be said with truth of this Absolute and Supreme Reality is that IT IS. This must suffice. — Israel Regardie (1972) ‘The Tree of Life: A Study in Magic’



When you wake up, do you have a feeling that something special is going to happen during the day? Do you ever successfully summon spirits or powers? Do you ever hear the sounds of the etheric spheres? So many questions to which Israel Regardie, a group created in Lyon in 2012 and borrowing its name from the figure of Anglo-Saxon esotericism, could not answer. We congratulate them! And we urge you to banish the word “occult” from your vocabulary.’ — Vice

Israël Regardie ‘Eternal Light’

Israel Regardie ‘Dead Birds’



Regardie 1

Regardie 2

Relaxation 1

Relaxation 2


Hermetic Order Of The Golden Dawn

The original Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (HOGD), founded in 1888, became the origin of magical activity of the twentieth century. Though short-lived, it members went on to found and lead groups that carried on its traditions. The main body of documents generated by the order have been published, beginnings with the several published by Aleister Crowley in his magazine Equinox. In the 1930s, Israel Regardie (1907-1985) oversaw the publication of the basic body of the HOGD rituals. In the meantime, the primary thrust of ceremonial magic continued through Crowley’s thelemic teachings.

During its short lifespan from 1888 to 1903, the “classical” Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was the pivotal esoteric order in fin-de-siècle Britain. Despite its quick lapse into disorder and schism, it managed to create a social platform for the study and practice of ritual magic, operating four temples in England and one in Paris. Among the better known members were the poet William Butler Yeats; the actresses Florence Farr and Maud Gonne; and Mina Bergson Mathers, the sister of philosopher and Nobel laureate Henri Bergson.

In the 1970s, contemporaneous with the revival of Crowley’s Ordo Templi Orientis, some magical students, including Chris Monnastre, began to seek a revival of the HOGD and turned to Regardie as a teacher in the tradition who was still available. He took in a few students to train them in the belief and practice of the HOGD. Then, in 1982, with Regardie’s blessing, Monnastre resurrected the Golden Dawn and founded the Osiris Khenti Amenti Temple. Simultaneously, Regardie gave her several of his personal magical tools which she gave to the new order. The order exists in two divisions, the Golden Dawn and the Ordo Rosae Rubeae et Aureae.

Since the founding of the original temple, subsequent temples have been formed. The order has also brought together individuals and small groups possessing lineages and charters from the various groups evolving from the original HOGD, including the Stella Matutina and the Holy Order of the Golden Dawn (founded by writer Arthur Edward Waite ). These groups have been brought together in the United Confederation of Independent and Autonomous Temples.



Homer saw it, so did Shakespeare: “As flies we are to the wanton gods, they kill us for their sport…” But unless you’ve been singled out for that – and you haven’t because they pick ’em young and bless them with everthing before they top them – and that hasn’t happened to you – the general rule is that you never go to the wall as long as you’re doing the gods’ work. Now go to it!”

‘And good luck and may the gods bless you.’




p.s. Hey. 5strings thought this very unspiritual blog could use some occultism, and who’s to argue with that? Not me. So you are invited to spend your weekend getting to know that figure of metaphysical import Israel Regardie who, I admit, was news to me until now. Enjoy the trip please. ** Dominik, Hey, hey!!! Really, you too? My last night was better if not amazingly blissful by any means. I’ll take it. I’m assuming MCR will restart their reunion tour again once freedom reigns, unless they started hating each other (again?) in the meantime, which does seem to happen with reunion bands a fair amount. Wow, you have lots of tats. Cool. I think maybe you told me before about that ‘Closer’ tat and I spaced. That is so cool. That is pretty much the coolest thing ever (for me). Of course I didn’t know Jake Cooper before, even though, with that name, you would think I would. Anyway, he’s a charmer, isn’t he? And that gap certainly doesn’t hurt. Love either rescuing this poor German slave or taking him down into the dungeon, he can’t decide which, G. Have a great weekend, my pal! ** David Ehrenstein, Interesting. I’m going to go see what I can find out about Mike Sarne. ** Misanthrope, Ouch, your bone(s)! Since the hacker has continued ‘hacking’ without any success 24/7 for a week now, I’m beginning to suspect he or she or, most likely, it are just being obnoxious, and, yes, I’m guessing there are many targets, but I don’t know. Happy your mom is upswinging. Oh, man, lucky, lucky Kayla. I would give my right arm and most of the rest of me to go to Disneyworld and Universal and all those parks at the moment. Wow. That’s painful, but I hope she has the hugest blast. ** Bill, Ah, someone else who’s actually seen a Sidney Peterson film. Cool. I’m broke, so I tried to be judicious on bandcamp, and kind of succeeded. 80 minutes of ‘Scorpio Rising’ sounds like way too much ‘Scorpio Rising’, and yet … ** Jack Skelley, Jackie baby! I don’t really have a favored nickname, I don’t think. Not Dennis the Menace please. My nicknames are pretty predictable: Den, Denny, Coop. You snorkelled on Maui! Cool. Pass the joint. Where? I snorkelled on Napili Beach/Cove because my family always stayed at a little hotel there, the Mauian Hotel. Hm, I don’t know what tattoo I’d get. Probably something very small and personal and cryptic and meaningful, but no clue. I used two know this guy who was super incredibly cute, and everybody’s tongues dangled out about him, and his brother died, and he tattooed his brother’s name in huge black letters across his stomach and ribcage thereby knowingly lessening his desirability for the vast majority of his crushed out fans, and I thought that was really impressive. Apropos of nothing, I guess. Yay re: you finishing your thang! Congrats to you and the world! Sad there’s no little Paris in LA. Let’s build one, what do you say? Saturday and Sunday are yours to rock like their backs ain’t got no bones. ** Steve Erickson, Hi. Oh, the talk was good, thanks. The budget is a bit higher than we were hoping, though not outrageously so, but they said they budgeted on the high end, and I’ve already found some expenses that can be easily trimmed. We’re going to go through it and get to a lower and more precise budget early next week. But the current budget is fine for the fundraising purposes, and that’s what it’s for. I don’t know that Eric Baudelaire film. I’ll look into it, thanks. People do seen to care about the Grammys. I never have in my life because it has always been garbage mainstream even back when actual very interesting music was highly successful. ** John Newton, Hi, John. Based on my limited experiences, the film world is very tough. That’s why Zac and I are determined to make films for as little money as possible because that seems to be the only way to make something you truly want to make. Interesting reading on your part. Yeah, when one can travel, I go to other countries around here, Holland and Germany mostly for whatever reason. To show our films or often to visit amusement parks because I’m obsessed with them. I lived in Amsterdam for a few years in the 80s, so it’s kind of homey for me there. Do you get out of the US much? ** ae, Hi! Sorry, yeah, your comment must have arrived as I was doing the p.s. I often miss things. Thank you a lot about the package! Great, I really look forward to it. My mailbox has been a war zone, but I’m trying to train the hacker alert mails to go into my Junk folder, and it might be working. Coming and going is super okay. I hope your work is going really well. Me too: head down. Where else would one put one’s head that isn’t kind of pointless these days. Take care. ** Brian O’Connell, Weekend entrance bell ringing sounds, Brian. My fingers are crossed for us both re: no cave death. Your Pasolini celebration sounds completely pleasant, well, except for the trolling. God, people can be boring. I wound up eating donuts from that great donut place, yum. Ghibli night, nice. What are you watching? You probably know that Ghibili is building a Ghibli amusement park in Japan, and I’m very excited. I’m pretty positive you’ll enjoy the Goya show. And the City too, of course. My weekend is blank at the moment, but I’ll fill it in. Compare notes on Monday? All the best, sir. ** Right. See you at the other end of the rabbit hole on Monday.

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