The blog of author Dennis Cooper

5 books I read recently & loved: Ange Dargent The Others Lived As Me, Bert Meyers Bert Meyers: On the Life and Work of an American Master, Alice Notley Early Works, Doug Lang In the Works, Sara Nicholson April


DC: How old were you when you wrote your first poem, and what was it about?
Ange Dargent: I wrote my first poem when I was eight, during holidays, to impress mom. It was (already) a silly poem on death. Here is picture of it, it’s hard to read and full of spelling mistakes, but here is what I say: “Oh demonic force, why did you come here, I was born yesterday, and because of you, I will die tomorrow. Why, between thousands of houses, did you choose mine? Why? Why? Because your…”

DC: If you were to name poets who either especially influenced you and who you feel a special kinship with, who would they be and why?
AD: A lot of poets are important to me, and it’s hard to classify them. Like many French people, I discovered poetry with Rimbaud and for a long time he was my friend, my hero, the person I wanted to be. But to avoid a déjà vu feeling, I’ll talk of the others.
Those with the biggest influence on me would be: Paul Verlaine, Fernando Pessoa (as Alvaro de Campos), Anna Akhmatova. Pessoa for the themes he boards, Akhmatova for the mood she sets up, Verlaine for the way he speaks.
I think Verlaine reaches a perfect musicality. All his poems are not amazing but when they are, hell, he is the best. He expresses the deepest, saddest, and dirtiest thoughts with the prettiest words and the purity of a child. He plays around with sentences, repeat them, changed them slightly, and varies emotionally around them. Also, he is obsessed by his souvenirs, for all of this, I’d say he is the most influential on me.
Akhmatova, it’s more like a crush I didn’t expect, like this kind of person you kiss in a nightclub, that you’re supposed to forget right away, but strangely the day after, you keep a warm and close feeling of the person. Like if, during this kiss, you had understood something about yourself. I read her book “Requiem” when I was living in a maid’s room. I had no idea of who she was, I just went in a bookshop and there was a very good review written by one of the sellers. I was really impressed by the unity and mood continuity of it. She made me understand that book of poetry can have a narrative.
Pessoa was so important to me, not so much in his style, but I completely relate to his way of seeing the world. That his inner life doesn’t match the outside one, that everything is dreamlike, and that he doesn’t feel the principle of causality. ‘Tabacaria’ was for a long time my favorite poem.

DC: You’re an actor as well as a writer. Please describe how the reward you feel from writing and from acting are different or alike.
AD: I’d say that when I write, I get a creation reward feeling, to finally catch time and trap it somewhere, to go against death, and I get a reward of being able to work again on words and to only stop when it’s finally better.
When I act, I have the feeling to be more alive, but I have no idea of what is happening, it’s blurry, and, if I understand it, then it’s bad. As an actor I must turn my brain off. I mean what is nice about acting, it’s the experience of living the deepest moment of a character, and then, to pass to another thing, leave the character behind you. I think you fully experience life and get an idea of death when you are an actor. But I never felt like I was creating something by myself when I was acting. The reward feeling would be more to be part of something that might be beautiful, deep, and true.

DC: Is a poem a grave? If so, why, and if not, why not?
AD: In a way, yes, it is. I think a poem, is the expression of a sensation, and when I succeed to transcribe it, if I want to go visit the sensation and say hello to it, all I have to do is remember the words and to gather on them, like on a grave. But the sensation is not dead. The sensation still lives in me, just now, in a weird way, I understand it better and I’m allowed to forget it. Also, what is nice about grave, is that we can project all of what we want on it, the grave belongs to the visitor, and poems are the same. I think a poem is different for every reader. And people should be able to talk to the poem, with the poem, for the poem, like we do with a grave, we imagine over it, we cry over it, but honestly, it’s just a personnel thing, a grave, as a poem, is loaded by us.

DC: Describe the ceiling of the room you are sitting or standing in.
AD: Right now,
The ceiling is almost black.
It’s night and I should sleep.
During day this ceiling is white
If the sun goes on it,
It turns to golden
But I hope
That when you’ll read this,
I’ll be far away,
Of night,
Of day.
I hope
I’ll be moving,
And the ceiling
Will be sky
Or whatever.

Thinking about it, it might be a grave’s ceiling.


Ange Dargent @ Agences Artistique
Ange Dargent @ Instagram
Ange Dargent @ Facebook
Buy ‘The Others Lived As Me’


Ange Dargent The Others Lived As Me
Kiddiepunk Press

‘A little book of sad poems about childhood, memory and loss. “The Others Lived as Me” is presented in a bilingual English-French edition.

‘Ange Dargent is a writer an actor. He has starred in numerous films including Michel Gondry’s ‘Microbe et Gasoil’, Michael Salerno’s ‘The Masturbator’s Heart’, and Dennis Cooper & Zac Farley’s ‘Room Temperature’ (forthcoming) — Kiddiepunk

68 pages, perfect-bound. Paperback.
Size: 12 x 18 cm



Bande démo Ange Dargent

Entretien avec… Ange Dargent




‘Bert Meyers was born Bertram Ivan Meyers in Los Angeles on March 20, 1928. The son of Romanian and Polish Jewish immigrants, he maintained strong lifelong ties to his Jewish cultural heritage without being religious. Always rebellious and a questioner of authority, he decided to drop out of high school and become a poet.

‘For many years he worked at manual labor jobs, including janitor, farmer worker, house painter, and printer’s apprentice, until he became a master picture framer and gilder. Here he finally found some satisfaction in the process of craftsmanship and attention to detail, the same approach he used in composing his poetry. Throughout these years he continued to write, feeling that a poet should be immersed in the world, not ensconced in academia, and should have real world things to write about. As he wrote in his journals “I worked for more than fifteen years at various kinds of manual labor and during that time I met many men and women who could see and speak as poetically as those who are glorified by the printing press and the universities.”

‘Meyers wanted to be self-taught. He read everything he could get his hands on and had a prodigious literary memory. He frequented the vibrant circles of LA poets at the time, with Thomas McGrath among others. Fiercely independent and nonconforming he strove to find his own path. In the words of his fellow poet and friend Robert Mezey, “Bert Meyers belonged to no school or coterie and had no use for fashion. He was that rarest of creatures, a pure lyric poet. His poems are very much what he was – gentle, cantankerous, reflective, passionate and wise.”

‘Although he had never taken undergraduate classes, and had no high school diploma, in 1964 he was admitted to the Claremont Graduate School on the basis of his poetic achievements. By 1967 he had completed a Masters degree and all the work necessary for a Ph.D in English Literature and was hired to teach poetry and literature at Pitzer College in Claremont where he taught until 1978. Bert Meyers died of lung cancer in 1979, at the young age of 51.

‘During the last period of his life as a professor Meyers not only finally had the time offered by academia to focus on his writing, he also had an important and lasting influence on some of his most talented students, a new generation of poets and writers, including ; Dennis Cooper, Amy Gerstler, Garrett Hongo and Mauyra Simon among others.’ —


Bert Meyers Website
Fire Undressed My Bones: Remembering Poet Bert Meyers
A Gardener in Paradise
On Bert Meyers
Buy ‘Bert Meyers: On the Life and Work of an American Master’


Bert Meyers: On the Life and Work of an American Master
Pleiades Press / The Unsung Masters Series

‘Bert Meyers is an American original—a brilliant poet whose use of tone and figurative language was so emotive, intelligent and nuanced, it became inimitable, became its own unique perspective on our world. I wouldn’t be surprised if mid-21st century scholars announce that in Bert Meyers we have overlooked the best poet of his generation. Immense gratitude to Dana Levin and Adele Williams for this rediscovery.’ — Ilya Kaminsky



The world’s largest ashtray,
the latest in concrete,
capital of the absurd;
one huge studio
where people drive
from set to set and everyone’s
from a different planet.

For miles, the palm trees,
exotic janitors,
sweep out the sky at dusk.
The gray air molds.
Geraniums heat the alleys.
Jasmine and gasoline
undress the night.

This is the desert
that lost its mind,
the place that boredom built.
Freeways, condominiums, malls,
where cartons of trash and diamonds
and ideologies
are opened, used, dumped near the sea.



Stars Climb Girders of Light

Stars climb girders of light.
They arrange themselves
in the usual place,
they quit before dawn,
and nothing’s been done.

Then men come out.
Their helmets fill the sky;
their cities rise and fall
and men descend,
proud carpenters of dew.

Man brief as the storm,
more than five feet of lightning,
twisted and beautiful.
Man made like his roads,
with somewhere to go.



Driving Home at Night with My Children After Their Grandfather’s Funeral

See how the moon follows us?
That’s Grandpa’s face in the sky.
It smiles; so, he’s still the same.
Sleep. The way home’s always
shorter than the way you came.

Shh …  the car’s a steel measure
that swallows the road like a tape;
and we’ll all live twice as long
as it takes the snail to go
around the world on its crumpled skate.



The Poets

There he sat among them
(his old friends) a walking ash
that knows how to smile.
And he still dreamed of a style
so clear it could wash a face,
or make a dry mouth sing.
But they laughed, having found
themselves more astonishing.

They would drive their minds
prismatic, strange, each wrapped
in his own ecstatic wires,
over a cliff for language,
while he remained to raise
a few birds from a blank page.


Bert Meyers recorded 2-20-75 at the Poetry Center





‘You always remember the first time you read – or hear – a poem by Alice Notley. I was in my early 20s, sitting in a cold room in a house in Oakland late in the evening. A friend played a recording of ‘At Night the States’ (1985), from a reading Notley had given in Buffalo in 1987. Her voice spilled into the bedroom like a pearl-grey fog rolling over the Bay: ‘At night the states / I forget them or I wish I was there / in that one under the / Stars.’ I bolted upright. Notley was a name I had always heard in connection to her husband, the poet Ted Berrigan, a grandee of the New York School who still loomed large over poetry students like us, though he had been dead since the early 1980s. ‘At Night the States’ is her final elegy for him, written two years after he died; I almost always fail to describe its power when recommending it to friends. Just listen, I say. The recording lasts for 8 minutes and 55 seconds. ‘Play that again,’ I asked that night in Oakland. And again, and again.

‘Next month, Fonograf Editions will publish two new collections by Notley – The Speak Angel Series and Early Works. The first of these brings together six interrelated volumes of an epic poem that follows her 1992 book The Descent of Alette. Tantalizing excerpts have appeared for some years now. Expect this lyric narrative to resemble her other experiments in long-form poetry, constructed out of some voices that are decidedly alive and others raised out of the numinous ‘beyond’. ‘Dead people talk to me,’ she told the Los Angeles Review of Books in 2016. ‘I don’t know what they are doing precisely. A lot of my recent work is trying to find out what they are doing.’ Early Works will see into print, for the first time in decades, Notley’s first four books, as well as 80 pages of previously uncollected material from the 1970s and ’80s – all essential reading.’ — Andrew Durbin


Alice Notley @ Wikipedia
Alice Notley @ Twitter
Alice Notley and the Art of Not Giving a Damn
Seeing the Future: A Conversation with Alice Notley
Buy ‘Early Works’


Alice Notley Early Works
Fonograf Editions

‘In the author’s note that begins Grave of Light: New and Selected Poems 1970-2005, Alice Notley writes, “My publishing history is awkward and untidy, though colorful and even beautiful.” I have always been enamored of this sentence, which reminds us that an array of dispersed and varying publishing contexts are the original sites that give shape to such a book’s form. It is also something of an invitation into that color and untidiness, a prompt to become more curious about the awkwardness and beauty of Notley’s publishing history. This book, Early Works, accounts for a significant portion of that history by bringing back into print the complete versions of her first four books, a little-known 22-poem sonnet sequence, and a large selection of early uncollected poems gathered from little magazines. In doing so, Early Works joins an important set of recent volumes that put Notley’s earlier poetry back into circulation, including Manhattan Luck (Hearts Desire, 2014), which collects four long poems written between 1978 and 1984, and Songs for the Unborn Second Baby, originally published by United Artists in 1979 and reissued in a facsimile edition by London-based Distance No Object in 2021. Each in their own way, and especially taken together, these books continue to confirm that, as Ted Berrigan writes in The Poetry Project Newsletter in 1981, “Alice Notley is even better than anyone has yet said she is.”’ — Nick Strum



You’re not a giver
You’re a taker & tolerator


I’m a natural born person
And don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about


Like me
I kill people
And throw their entrails into the sea




I’m so weak! and rain
again instead of noble
anger I cry some and talk
like a fish, underwater and
little bubbles words breaking

because we love each other
noble stands against each
other are out of the question
not of the question

everyone’s crying today
the baby and I the sea
is the sky

out of another spell that’s
a circle
———————-Concentric circles
like bangle bracelets slipping
over in and out of each other

Maybe I’m supposed to spend
this life finding out by
finding out about not succeeding
I don’t believe like that, yet
I’m writing holding a baby
and I realise, myself, I haven’t
myself, haven’t a self
and me wanting to impress you
with my universal and wise and
crystalline beautiful flowering
and form, O my person!
——————————————–My person
is smears of prints
from all the touchings—–layers
of prints
——————right down to
the one fist of crystal
I mean the one
the one that smashes through
like death and power




broke the bed fucking
morning tears
poems guests chatty birds

friendly neighbor zero
typically interesting dump
new flowers yellow pink scarlet

& sometimes looking pretty cold
grand piano
grandly inaccurate pianist


everyday life

2022.4.21 Alice Notley, atelier Michael Woolworth, Paris




‘Doug Lang has been one of those poets and writers who publish extremely sparingly, and except for his first book, the novel FREAKS, published in 1973 by a commercial paperback publisher (New English Library) his work has come out from relatively obscure small presses. Including this latest book (Primary Writing in Washington DC).

‘But among aficionados of alternative poetry (or whatever term we use now for poetry that is not what the general public thinks of when they think of poetry) Lang has always been a deeply admired but too well-kept secret favorite. Full disclosure, I’ve known and admired and been a friend of Doug’s for decades now (as I am with the people who were able to get him to put this collection together and help publish it, but also as I happen to be with thousands of poets and writers so it’d be pretty difficult to avoid writing about folks I know personally), but I have plenty of creative friends whose work I am not afraid to criticize harshly. If I didn’t know Doug Lang I’d still love and admire his work, especially this latest book.

‘The gift Lang gives his readers is not just his reinvention of the sonnet form, but using every approach to reinventing how the content of these sonnets could be created, from found writing and sampling to acquisition and excerpting to original content with parody, homage, scholarship, tips-of-the-hat(s) and more, often fragmentary, never seen before in sonnet form and all structured by juxtaposing these techniques and many others with often seemingly arbitrary frames determined by what also often seems like chance or arbitrary determinants.

‘Ah, there’s hardly a language for what the variety of techniques seem to be, at least not for me. I can’t reproduce the look of many of these sonnets here because most of the lines are too long for this computer format unless I were to reduce the type to unreadable (for me).’ — Michael Lally


Doug Lang in America (Terence Winch)
Remembrances: Doug Lang (1941–2022)
Buy ‘In the Works’


Doug Lang In the Works
Edge Books

‘The delight of play and the play of light, atolls of wit and the wit of soul, the hilarity of the words and worlds of hilarity: Doug Lang’s saucy, irresistible impishness and explosive intelligence make his poetry as intoxicating as it is inimitable. In his fortune cookie poem Lang writes, “Your sense of humor is of no use to you” –– but it is to us. This is nude formalism avant la lettre. And then some.’ — Charles Bernstein

‘Doug Lang’s poems are the only poems that matter, the only poems to undo matter and matter’s semolina mango afore the great splatter — he has written the only sestinas I can stand, much less admire amidst the undead security guards & golfers lying dude fried. As the great Patrick Ewing told his boys once he made the NBA & played against Larry Bird for the first time, this motherfucker is the Truth! I can attest that Irish Americans know that change is bad — & in the future you will look at me and say, “No kidding?” All the diction, all the play, all the prosody, all the graphs of the mind moving and retooling, all the if you see someone, why not have doubts are here. This is a hell of a book, the soulful revolution of wild flying crab language beyond sex with microbes. Are you sure you deserve it?’ — Anselm Berrigan



Charlie Green was a member of Fletcher Henderson’s
Orchestra, played trombone, cut 38 sides with Bessie
Smith, froze to death on the doorstep of a Harlem
Tenement during the depression. The snow keeps coming
Down. Well, let it come down. The city gets
Kind of white. Your body is cool.
I forget when I look in your face how far back.
Details, standing around. Everything goes out.
Face back. Heat eases
Up. Suspended. You bring wine, you talk. I like
To hear you talk, the way you talk.
I get nervous, anyway. Follow me up, through
The clocks, Mister B.
B for boss. The book I toss.
She who longs for the red hot songs of Robert Johnson.
And so the bread is baked by you now, maybe draw
Some beer & sit for hours, you had it spaced wrong.
Saturn a bromide & Irish cream & footsteps on Sullivan
Street & Burgundy from the mountains, the mountains
Of romance, talk to me. Fat chance.
Tight wire risk.
The onion & onion.
Umbrellas from you, all broken.
Drunk & stoned & crazy 3 in the morning phone ringing.
The most difficult a relationship
Of air & what is wrong.
Trying to remember where the wall is.
Margaret Johnson came in from Kansas City &
Played piano on one record date with Billie Holiday,
Buck Clayton, Dickie Wells, Lester Young,
Freddy Greene, Walter Page & Jo Jones.
& Lester Young said, “I have eyes & I can see.”



For Corliss Skicki

Be warned if you should feel like doing this quest I think it has been nerfed.I have an agnostic enchanter and I cannot get the Ogres to let me do the turn ins.
I’ve slaughtered many Dwarf guards and still nothing. I cannot even do the newbie
Lizardman Meat quest to raise faction. Clurg and the Warrior guildmaster are

indifferent to me, and its not good enough. I’ve finally raised my faction enough to
do the Lizardman Meat quest and after tons of tons of turn in Clurg still does not
like me well enough and the alliance line of spells do not work on him anymore. As
much as I would like to do this quest for old times sake it just doesn’t seem I am

going to be able to. I’ve tried Ogre illusion and DE illusion both to no avail.
Just trying this quest so my chanter could bake some more and as of today Frostbite
is still broken. After reading many posts on other pages and such, I see that you
must now cast idenify on the Regurgitonic to see if it’s bad or not. Guess I’ll try

that and go get a new one. That’s a long run if it is so I would try it before you run all
the way back to Frostbite in West Karana. Hope this helps everyone, i.e. fuckwits




Please, what is this process to which we refer as semolina?
Hello? Spending all your time in the cantina?
Please, I got these words from a page in a book of poems by Mina
Loy. Now I see that over the whole of Washington there is a strange blue patina.
And you know how much we all miss Corinna.
Like as much as there are as many ducks in all of Carolina.

Carobola. Carobingo. Carolampus. Carolina. Carolingus. Carolina.
Semi-Demi. Semolana. Semalapon. Semolina.
Corri. Corridora. Corrigendum, Corinna. Corinna.
Cannoli. Cannula. Canononical. Canopry. Cantina.
P’p’p’p’p’p’p’p’p patina.
Mama mia. Mama mama. Mama Mina.

Mina Loy. Mi. Na. Mina. Mindbending mindbending mindblowing mindboggling Mina
Loy. Blue mountains to the north of the walls in Carolina.
Munching on a plum a patina
Of your desolation. This is what you call semolina?
Unchanging motion in a straight line? Resulting from the absence of a force in the cantina?
This is a portrait of somebody, some other than Corinna.

The memory of the memory of Corinna.
With the publication of Galileo’s Discorsi in 1638, Mina
Loy started spending all her nights praying in the cantina
Gravitationally collapsing thermal particles all over Carolina
Frontal lobe all semolina
Zero-angular-momentum state of the patina

You are the mystic boss of Lobachevskian space: and time is a patina
You use to unlock the grid confining Corinna
As the photon’s wave function impinges on the semolina
Unlike Smoot’s God ? more like Hawking’s evaporation time now under the spell of Mina
Under the spell of Poincaré under the spell of Mozart in the continuum known as Carolina
And after the Turing machine comes to a halt, you might leave the cantina

Who is not afraid of the cantina?
Who is not in love with the patina?
Who is not alone in Carolina?
Who is not beguiled by Corinna?
Who is not Mina
Loy? There is no authentic semolina.

Dante conceived it: the cantina. Beyond Tuscany there is Corinna.
This black snake dualism is all patina. With Mina
Smoking like a fissure deep in Carolina, I am the semolina


Doug Lang reading ‘The Americans’ 1 May 2013

Doug Lang & Ron Silliman




‘Sara Nicholson’s allusive poetry of inquiry is composed with close attention to syllable and syntax. In a 2015 review of The Living Method for A Perimeter, Hajara Quinn observes that “Nicholson establishes a metaphysical attraction to a multi-disciplinary poetics,” while on the Public Books blog list of the best poetry books of 2013-2014, poet Geoffrey G. O’Brien chose The Living Method, stating, “the method is more than meter, it’s meter’s living purpose: Nicholson wields the authority of archival rhythms and the forceful syntax of a logician, but she constantly attaches these certainties to a wildness of premise and a brevity of figure: instead of self, ruled utterance; instead of help, poetry.”

Joshua Edwards has noted, “Nicholson’s poems, diverse as they are, are all intensely bold. Sure, they are often aphoristic and declamatory, but this is not the sort of boldness that I mean. I mean a boldness akin to that of Catullus and Dickinson. Like them, Nicholson makes the page into an eye that stares directly.” In an author’s note for her poem “The Burden,” Nicholson states, “A creative writing teacher once told me that I didn’t know how to use prepositions. I’m still not sure I’ve mastered them. Not knowing’s not exactly a burden I carry along with or inside or behind me. Instead, I think of it as my refrain.”’ — Poetry Foundation


Sara Nicholson’s “The Art of Symmetry”
Ten Lyric Pieces, by Sara Nicholson
Two Poems by Sara Nicholson
Sara Nicholson – six poems
Buy ‘April’


Sara Nicholson April
The Song Cave

‘Deadpan, heartfelt, and everything in between, Sara Nicholson is a reluctant mystic who can both make us laugh and point us toward magical truths within a single poem. Her third collection of poems, APRIL, is filled with the perverse and the sacred, whether the subject is art, love, or sex, whether it’s ancient or contemporary. Nicholson’s interests are timeless, and by the end of April, the reader may be convinced that they’ve brushed up against a somewhat strange and singular poet who is inventing a new way of seeing specifically for them.’ — TSC



Having never been to Spain
I left for it, as one who
Hazards faith in vagueness. The rose
Shrieks each autumn, dies
Tragically. The pomegranate, too,
Has nothing of interest to say.
All fruit trees flower
But in Spain, they florecen—minor Differences of sounds like these
The traveler must learn.
One must occasionally allow oneself Bourgeois imaginings
As of wine flights by the sea
Or the carpeted staircases
Of castles, renovated by the state.
I am a very rich woman
Who winters in Tenerife, the Spanish crown Seeks my guidance on all matters Tenerife-related. I feel
Melancholy when it snows
Over the Atlantic, from the window
Of my castillo. Mere presence
With no cause for concern
My life is lived
For me by others, portioned out In intervals of rest and music
(It should be obvious
By now that I have many servants. All are well paid).
The white buildings of Cádiz Communicate in pictures other truths Than those intended.
The act of reading
Has become for me a form
Of blunt force trauma to the head.
Thus was I persuaded
To enter this sanitorium
Where beneath the well-clipped ilex Acorn-fed swine roam wild
Until the peasants slaughter them
For their sweet flesh, rumored
To have healing properties—I am here For my health, trusting
That the Mediterranean will work
Its slow miracle on the brain. I was born For convalescence, the daughter
Of Doña Maria, Baronesa.
Each September
I leave a flower on her grave.



The Archetype

Even Cézanne painted her, naked of course,
reclining on a chair. The mythical
Leda, mother of Helen, raped by a metamorphosed
Zeus in the guise of a swan.
She faces front, and we can almost see
everything—the hips, the uneven
Breasts, the nipples that echo her blush-pink
knees and cheeks, but not
Her vulva, as it’s cloaked by a twisted
piece of cloth. She looks bored.
Unlike Delacroix’s Leda, who appears to be choking
the neck of the swan, her back
Facing us, hiding from view her naughtier
bits which, however, I think,
The swan can still see. Cézanne’s Zeus
bites Leda’s wrist. Or maybe he’s
Shaking her awake? Like the way Yeats’s bird
pecks at her, grabs her “nape”
In his “bill” in mid-air; this is a sonnet
and by the volta we learn
Her vagina is Troy. I don’t like the modern
paintings of her story. I prefer
Those Renaissance Ledas, plopped in
landscapes rich in Arcadian
Cliché—chasms, mountains, and clumps
of woods; palazzi with views of
The Florentine hills. Michaelangelo painted them
fucking. Correggio, too, who stuffs
His canvas with babies and angels, lyres,
flutes, swans, and naked ladies
Who bear witness to the mytho-erotic act.
But Da Vinci’s Leda forgoes
The sex, depicts instead the hatchlings
Castor and Pollux, Helen
and Clytemnestra, sons and daughters of
Zeus who bears the Aegis,
Her fledgling brood, all pudgy, balding,
and bandy-legged, tenderly
Dwarfed by their shells. Still others chose
to depict her inside, to move from
The public to the private sphere, as in Veronese’s
Leda, where we, the voyeur,
Watch the two embrace, she with a hand
at the base of his tail, he sticking
His beak in her mouth. She’s naked, apart from
her jewelry. The boudoir’s
Draped in velvet, her hair bedewed
with pearls. We are meant
To be titillated—this is adultery, after all,
however grotesque—so it’s ok
If you feel a frisson as you eavesdrop
on the primal scene.

My favorite Leda is also en couchant, splayed
wide before divinity, so wide
We get an unobstructed view of her
vagina while the swan
Peers into it, transfixed as by the void of
archaic memory. Call it
The ornithological gaze. This Leda
has no author, is attributed
to François Boucher, master of the Rococo
nude, the plump and idle
Venus on a chaise. Each of the above
mentioned artists paints
The sex as consensual, as seduction rather than
rape. Therefore Leda’s story
Is the story of interpretation itself
in every possible style—
There are Pre-Raphaelite Ledas, cubist,
surrealist and neoclassical
Ones. You can find her in miniature
and on the decorative
Lids of snuffboxes, in mosaic and frieze.
Yet Twombly’s is the only Leda
To eschew both nudity and naivete. Its subject
is, we might say, movement
Itself—the flapping wings, the shock and
clash, the chaos and the strife.
Crazy brushstrokes, lines and dripping paint
suggest feathers, maybe
Blood, too. He has obviously painted
a rape. I was inspired
By my research to look up YouTube
videos of swans mating and
As you might’ve guessed, swan sex is difficult
to watch—the male grabs
The female’s neck, holds her head
underwater for so long
She occasionally drowns. A user named
Geof commented “Um there
Bangin” and not to kink-shame the natural
but with Mr.Bright68 I’d have
To agree: “This is not normal not love.”
The Old Masters, I’m shocked
Not one of them ever chose to paint
the egg-laying, or to pair her
With another of those mythical feminine
archetypes—the Fates and Furies,
The loathly lady, a huntress or gorgon
with snakes for hair. I’d like
To see Leda in Heaven, or like Persephone
rule death, restore flowers
To usher in Spring. To see her wander
like Odysseus to Circe’s
Island, wave at Scylla and Charybdis
on her way to Hell.
She might have murdered Tyndareus,
her husband, a King of Sparta.

Like Medea, she could’ve smashed her eggs.
The oldest works of art
To depict Leda’s story—a Greek amphora
now in Los Angeles, a fresco
In Pompeii—show her kissing and fucking
the swan, respectively. In one
She stares right at us, from the ruins
of a Roman bedroom. In one
She is naked, but in the other, clothed.


Sara Nicholson – Holloway Reading

Sara Nicholson + Mei-mei Berssenbrugge @ The Lab, SF (4.24.23)




p.s. Hey. ** Dominik, Hi!!! It seems like all of her novels individually are out of print. I think the only book in print, or at least close to being in print, is a collection called ‘Three Novels’. Love reminded me to print out the docs and sign them but not to walk to the FedEx office to send them, but he cut me some slack as long as I walk over there this morning. Love writing an epic poem entitled ‘Bite Me’, G. ** A, Hi. Zac is still out of town until, I think, tomorrow. Ha ha, dude, you are relentless. Is that a Greek thing? Me too: imprisoned in my town working until the leaves turn brown again. ** Nightcrawler, Hi, my pleasure. ** Jack Skelley, Cool, yeah, they’re nice, right? Uh, there’s a kind of style intersect between her paintings and novels, but the novels are kind of wackier, you know, very sort of late 60s playful a la McGuane and ‘Electric Kool Aid …’ but slightly noir or something. Her stuff is way out of print. Maybe Ruben can dig around in the now darkweb-locked zLibrary and find something? I’m … fiddling with pre-existing writing more than writing, although the fiddling is writing, so … yeah? Sounds like a fun gig. I’ll go see what I can listen to re: Double Naught Spy Car. I guess you didn’t go to Cruel World? I saw videos. Iggy looks like a pile of mud. Ooh, excerpt! Everyone, You can take a sneak peek at Jack Skelley’s legendary and soon-to-be republished masterwork ‘Fear of Kathy Acker’ via an excerpt on the Mousse Magazine site here and also read a bit of Sabrina Tarasoff’s outro while you’re there! Do what you have to do to keep that outflow of crazy new shit a gusher. Coucou, Dennis. ** Bernard Welt, You didn’t talk to me, but hi anyway. xo. ** David Ehrenstein, Yes, I didn’t even mention her plays, silly me. ** Nick., I know I’m romanticising wildly, but I miss the days when I didn’t know what was going to happen anymore. But, yeah, when it’s love or lack of love related, that’s a special, unpleasant case. At a certain point, I got really into friendship and decided fuck love, but I’m basically wedded to writing so maybe that’s why it seems to work. And then there’s drugs, yeah. I survived caring about things that didn’t care about me by writing tons of poems about that. I guess it worked? Sorry, though. I know that’s hard. Consider me an open ear. ** Jim Pedersen, Hi, Jim! So awesome to have you here! I can imagine Hudson liking her work for sure. Maybe he told me so. Anyway, damn, that would have been a great and very Feature-y show too. You good, pal? ** Cody Goodnight, No apology necessary of course. Wow, New Orleans. Safe trip if you haven’t headed off yet. I’m very fond of Steely Dan. And, of course, ‘Evol’. I wanted to title one of my novels ‘Evol’ but my publisher wouldn’t let me. So it ended being called ‘Try’. Zac and I often go on toad trips and we almost always listen to the first two Pinback albums — ‘Pinback’ and ‘Blue Screen Life’ — at some point on the drives. Have a fanatic time, pal! ** Misanthrope, I long for the days when big music venue weren’t the name of the company that owns them. The big music venue in downtown LA is called Arena for goodness sake. Sad that KIX ended their long and storied career by sucking. I think Martin Amis is/was a very clever and even gifted conventional sentence writer. I personally preferred his non-fiction, but, sure, RIP. ** Telly (formerly loser and twelve), Hey there! Telly is a fun name. ‘The Cosmopolitan Girl’ is o.o.p. and pricey, but it seems like you could probably pick it up for chump change at the right thrift store. Where can I see your comics? Tell me please. The SF Zine Fest would be insane not to take you, I can tell. ** _Black_Acrylic, Nice, your Leeds day. It was almost too warm here yesterday, and now it’s borderline pouring rain. Yeah, I can’t think of a 2000s UK pop act that I was into, come to think of it. There must be someone. ** Minet, No, I don’t know Brisseau’s ‘White Wedding’. Is it named after the Billy Idol song, I hope not? Homerun! I knew you could do it! I do think I remember life being quite weird when I was 23, it’s true. Good weird. I think I do know the type you describe, although the Scott Walker ingredient is an interesting head scratcher of sorts. Anyway, lucky all of them! I sleep pretty okay so you can some of mine if you need. Or you can just do what I do and take Melatonin every night. Enjoy everything! You are, right? Hugs. ** Kettering, Ha ha, that’s very thoughtful of you. Have had a lovely day yourself! ** malcolm, Oh, interesting, yes, I’ll go recheck the Alan Boyce commenting arena. How curious. For his eyes only, gotcha. That certainly seems like the best and most powerful way to go about it, whatever its longterm fate. I’ve written or made things like you’re making, and it’s the best use of one’s talent, if you ask me. 10k words of your most intensely gay thoughts is a pretty charismatic descriptor, so … yes. Keep it going, and see you tomorrow. ** Right. Today I give you five books I read in recent days and loved, and this time they’re all poetry books. Exact your interest on them please. See you tomorrow.


  1. Dominik


    Thank you for yet another excellent “recently read” post! I’m especially drawn to Alice Notley’s and Ange Dargent’s work! (And the beautiful Kiddiepunk edition itself!)

    Oh. Okay. That kind of decides the direction as far as Rosalyn Drexler’s novels go. Thank you for the info!

    Looks like love is a little bit of a dick when it comes to absolutely detestable to-dos nowadays. I’ve been trying to get an appointment at my bank since 9 a.m. I’ve talked to six (6) people so far, and nobody could help me. You’d think it’s something extremely complicated. But I’d just like to exchange some money. So. Love dealing with your FedEx and my bank rounds without any more BS, Od.

  2. A

    Haha. Yeah, “relentless” and “extreme ambition” is something I’ve struggled with. Greek thing? maybe it’s Hercules syndrome. I personally honestly think it’s cause I had cancer/non Hodgkin’s lymphoma at 12 and it changed my relationship to mortality, like “everyday is my last, time is running out, I have to give my all.” Life taught me how to dream big by trying to outrun death. I’m trying to trust the divine timing. Hopefully you see Zac soon. And I was wondering though for the recent indie books you’ve blurbed – have you read physical copies only or digital ARCs? Do you ever do longform reading on iPad or iPhone? Can’t wait! I do need to calm down. Talk tmrw. Yeah time doesn’t function properly when you’re working so much and the world fades away.

  3. Nick.

    Hi! Yeah It’s actually funny because I know I’m sorta crazyyy and everything i do is some sort of semi human thing instead of a normal person thing especially when it comes to boys for some reason. It does feel like I’ve done myself a pretty great service pushing this one away as soon as the actual madness started cause I was sorta able to kill it all??? I think that’s what created a real large dissonance in my emptying space and having to adjust which might not make sense but it’s honestly just more psycho babble nonsense from me but thanks for listening! I do sorta wanna be his friend after my sort of rebirth but I also wanna fuck his brains out to badly to handle him not wanting to do that so I guess we’ll see! Thanks for listening!

  4. Jack Skelley

    DC: Oh Rad. Fresh verse!! (some old yet fresh! Like Notley’s) I love yr questions to Ange Dargent. “Describe your ceiling.” And voila! A ceiling poem. Yes, Double Naught Spy Car are extremely good. They performed in a Gothic cathedral on Wilshire 2 months ago. People still talking about that. Re: Fiddling. I feel like that is 90% of writing anyway. One day let’s all quiz each other on writing habit/strategies. Until then, I remain yr friend, Keith Moon…

  5. _Black_Acrylic

    Despite poetry being far from my specialist subject, Ange Dargent’s verse captures my eye. Looking forward to seeing him in Room Temperature also.

    Hmm unfortunately there ain’t much 2000s UK Pop music that I could recommend. S Club 7 – Don’t Stop Movin’ maybe? You can probably smell the CK One fragrance seeping through the screen.

  6. Minet

    LOL. No relation to the Billy Idol song as far as I remember. It’s about this high school Philosophy teacher who gets involved with a very self-destructive and destitute student (played by Vanessa Paradis, I think in her acting debut? She’s pretty impressive in it). Lots of talk about Simone Weill and other high-minded stuff among the messy erotics. Stunning cinematography too, but that’s par for the course for Brisseau. There’s another movie of his, The Sound and the Fury, that Altered Innocence re-released recently and I think you’d love even more.

    I was wondering if I could ask you something about your novel “Closer” one of these days? It’s probably my favorite of yours (besides Period) and the one I think I return to and have “studied” the most… I’ve always been especially obsessed with David’s chapter, and his whole role in relation to George. So much about it fascinates me, the fact that David’s pretty much the only character who speaks in first person, as if he’s completely aware of the “gaze” of the reader/people in general, versus George who’s always being “observed” from the outside (even by himself, like that brilliant scene when he looks at his ass the mirror). There’s a very interesting shadow x light, two-sides-of-the-same-coin dynamic between the two of them that is alluded to a couple of times (even their sex scene is different from the others, less of a top x bottom thing and more like two reflections kissing themselves in a mirror). David as this very decadent, somewhat vulgar, too-perfect “popstar” and George as the pure, “real boy” (in the words of Pinnocchio) who nevertheless is drawn to this very dark and destructive path almost in an instinctive way. It’s almost like (hope this doesn’t come off as dumb and reductive as I feel typing it out) a Madonna x Whore thing, but in a very interesting and subversive way. Now I don’t even really know what my question is lol, maybe how was some of your thought process when conceiving that whole dynamic? I know you’ve said you don’t think much of your characters as “characters” in like… a psychological way or something, which I agree with, but I guess I’m talking more in terms of the archetypes and concepts that they represent.

    Anyway, guess I already asked it, lol. I really need to make my comments shorter. The Ange Dargent book looks really cool, Salerno’s been posting lots of it on Instagram. Love the Sara Nicholson too. Thanks a lot for the recs. I think your sleep got here, cause last night was pretty decent. Let’s keep it up.

    Hugs to you back

    • Kettering

      Mr. Minet–
      If George is the Madonna and David is the Whore (or is it the other way around?), then who is the Crone?

      • Kettering

        Ha ha– John. The Crone.
        Maybe Steve, too. Ha

        • Minet

          LOL. Yeah, I was thinking of David as Whore and George as Madonna when I typed it. The crone could be Philippe! He’s the worn-down “old man” after all… and there’s somewhat of a dark, witchy quality to him/his chapter. That last part where he’s talking about beauty/death with an unnamed voice, etc. Lol a fun thought experiment

  7. Jamie

    Good morning, Dennis (yes it’s evening for me, but I’m liking the confusing time travel vibe)!
    How’s it going? I’ll happily make you nachos anytime, for sure.
    Like a few other commenters, I’m most inclined to spring for the Ange Dargent book. Nice interview with him by you too.
    What have you been up to? I’m in a frustrating editing phase with my novella. Up to now it’s been going great but this week I’m kind of unable to trust myself and making changes that suddenly don’t seem like improvements. It’s a little maddening. You ever have issues like that and do you have any wise words to help deal with it?
    Apart from that all’s good. I’ve been listening to Khanate nonstop since I discovered them at the weekend. I’m guessing you’re a fan?
    Hope Wednesday treats you kindly,
    Bird just flew so fast past my window I’m questioning whether it was really a bird love,

    • Jamie

      Ps. This seems like it might have been a dream, but did you once do a post about that animation style where the characters mouths are actual human mouths?

  8. Misanthrope

    Dennis, Yeah, I’m supposed to be Mr. Capitalism and all that or whatever, but I fucking hate these venues being named after corporations. I truly do. Fucking awful, imo. Like, if I owned a corporation, which I never will, I’d keep the real name and just like sell my product inside or some shit. Or maybe not even that.

    Yeah, the stage was small, it was outdoors, we were in the back, and the sound was just…not loud. Kinda fucked. Even my friend who loves them was like, yeah, I think I’m over KIX now, hahaha.

    Thanks for that re: Amis. I’ve been seeing lots of people talking shit about him today online, which was of course expected, and the man’s barely cold. Oh, well. Such is life.

    Don’t die before me. You just know there’s gonna be some asshole who says something and I’ll have to duke it out. Save me from committing that murder.


    Speaking of sentences, here’s something I’ve said way more than once in my life: Hmm, Dennis, well, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone in this world who writes a better sentence. And I’ve been saying it since well before I ever met you.

    Cheers. 😀

  9. Darbz🙄

    uh..uh..uh.. I’d rather stay away from that kid…but I do try being nice when I can. We are all human after all and- wait don’t I don’t want to sound very weird.
    I actually hung out with a group of friends this week and we got high, and I felt so happy but stupid for thinking everyone was terrified of me! OH GOOD NEWS. I found out this braindead dick who hates me moved away so now I can skate at the park without seeing him!! : D

    I met this really cool new friend and it was just this immediate connection and i liked that! Hearing about other kids at school almost make me happy that I’m not there. Everybody has something bad about somebody and it’s just messed up.
    Being an adult sound even more terrifying, like who tf wants to talk about taxes and insurance all the time? SO far, it’s just like constantly refilling toilet paper and dish soap. I can’t do that for the rest of my life!! Ahhh!
    Today was a mess in a way. So much writing and feeling like it all just blows. Oh, what do you think German ppl taste like? I was writing about this kid in the book who’s German and I described him as tasting like butter and Swiss cheese. Idk why I found that funny.
    Oh btw I named my snake Joey, like slipknot, ITS NOT A REAL ONE (I should’ve clarified that oops) The funny thing about that name is it would actually weirdly fit the name of my book- but I already have a name for it, so I guess you’ll have to keep pushing!!

    Oh- so last thing…there’s something I found out while with my friends. This kid I have a crush MIGHT like me back. From what they told me! But he’s like 2 years younger than me and ppl at my school g insane about that so I really don’t know. He’s short like me.

    I just realized how this whole comment made me sound super immature and jejune. Uhh shit-taxes TAXES! that’s what adults talk about? How’s taxes?

  10. Jim Pedersen

    Hey there. Yes, I am almost always “here,” even if I don’t make my presence known by commenting. I’m a lurker, I guess! Your page/blog is one of 2 or 3 that I look forward to seeing on the electric interwebs every day.

    Am I ok? Who can say? I played a rare opera on Saturday and it was one of those situations where everything clicks and you get into the zone. Still have a bit of a leftover buzz from it. Otherwise, nasty real estate drama, both in my building, and with the buildings on either side of me. Lawyers, politicians involved. You know what a blood sport it is here. Can’t wait to get out of Dodge. One of my plans involves a possible move to France. Can’t afford Paris, but would still get up there often enough. Not liking the trajectory here in the states.

    I know it’s too soon, but really looking forward to the new movie.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© 2023 DC's

Theme by Anders NorénUp ↑