The blog of author Dennis Cooper

5 books I read recently & loved: Constance Debré Love Me Tender, Kevin Lambert Querelle of Roberval, Johannes Göransson Summer, Caitlin Forst, Editor NDA: An Autofiction Anthology, Ron Padgett Dot

‘This brief, intense novel opens with a meditation that appears at first offhand—“I don’t see why the love between a mother and son should be any different from other kinds of love,” the narrator muses—and perhaps willfully cold. But it reveals itself, as the narrative unfolds, to be a character grappling with grief. Near the novel’s end, the narrator relays a moment of revelation: “It was yesterday, while I was riding my bike, that. . . . I realized that the sadness was over. . . . I realized I’d finished grieving for my son.” Whether this is true or a momentary belief, it recasts the narrator’s opening assertion as defensive, fraught, the statement of a character striving mightily for authenticity and honesty, questioning and rending—pace Camus—the veil of social norms, acknowledging the Absurd, in hopes of finding some more solid, albeit subjective, truth. “For me,” she says, “homosexuality isn’t about who I’m fucking, it’s about who I become. With men there was always a limit, now I have all the space I want, I feel like I can do anything.” And yet that space and freedom come at considerable cost.

‘The urgency of Debré’s account—in which she moves from one precarious living situation to another and records her various sexual encounters with insistent detachment—arises both from the philosophical sincerity of her endeavor, and from justified bafflement that what seem straightforward steps toward a more truthful existence should be so aggressively punished by society. While at the novel’s outset her ex-husband Laurent still hopes for reconciliation, he quickly becomes vindictive, impeding her access to their eight-year-old son. “Since November, Paul’s been staying with his dad, I don’t see him anymore,” the narrator records. “Every time I propose something, Laurent either refuses or doesn’t reply. . . . I don’t threaten to take him to court, I don’t want to make things worse.”

‘Debré’s book portrays the high cost of principled choices: even now, in Paris, in a condition of relative privilege, endeavoring to live honestly and openly results in profound suffering. Late in The Oppermanns, after one of the central characters has paid for his principles with his life, others discuss striking the right balance between idealism and pragmatism. “Common sense. Nothing else counts,” says one. “And Socrates? Seneca? Christ?” asks Gustav. “Were their deaths useless?” To which the younger man, educated in the brutal Nazi reality, replies, “It is wiser to live for an idea than to die for it. . . . It is mere folly to put on the airs of a martyr nowadays.” Debré might beg to differ; and we should celebrate the fact that, despite her hardships, she still has the luxury to do so.’ — Claire Messud, Harper’s

 

Constance Debré @ Wikipedia
“Love Me Tender” de Constance Debré bientôt adapté au cinéma
‘Love Me Tender’ @ goodreads
Podcast: Kate Wolf speaks with Constance Debré
Buy ‘Love Me Tender’

 

Constance Debré Love Me Tender
Semiotext(e)

‘The daughter of an illustrious French family whose members include a former Prime Minister, a model, and a journalist, Constance Debré abandoned her marriage and legal career in 2015 to write full-time and begin a relationship with a woman. Her transformation from affluent career woman to broke single lesbian was chronicled in her 2018 novel Play boy, praised by Virginie Despentes for its writing that is at once “flippant and consumed by anxiety.”

‘In Love Me Tender, Debré goes on to further describe the consequences of that life-changing decision. Her husband, Laurent, seeks to permanently separate her from their eight-year old child. Vilified in divorce court by her ex, she loses custody of her son and is allowed to see him only once every two weeks for a supervised hour. Deprived of her child, Debré gives up her two-bedroom apartment and bounces between borrowed apartments, hotel rooms, and a studio the size of a cell. She involves herself in brief affairs with numerous women who vary in age, body type, language, and lifestyle. But the closer she gets to them, the more distant she feels. Apart from cigarettes and sex, her life is completely ascetic: a regime of intense reading and writing, interrupted only by sleep and athletic swimming. She shuns any place where she might observe children, avoiding playgrounds and parks “as if they were cluster bombs ready to explode, riddling her body with pieces of shrapnel.”

‘Writing graphically about sex, rupture, longing, and despair in the first person, Debré’s work is often compared with the punk-era writings of Guillaume Dustan and Herve Guibert, whose work she has championed. As she says of Guibert: “I love him because he says I and he’s a pornographer. That seems to be essential when you write. Otherwise you don’t say anything.” But in Love Me Tender, Debré speaks courageously of love in its many forms, reframing what it means to be a mother beyond conventional expectations.’ — Semiotext(e)

Excerpt






Extras


Constance Debré vous présente son ouvrage “Love me tender”


Interview Constance Debré

 

 

_____________

‘Kevin Lambert’s Querelle of Roberval is a vibrant storm of gossip and myth. Lambert has plucked his protagonist from Jean Genet’s 1947 Querelle de Brest and set him down in small-town Quebec as a labourer at a sawmill whose workers are attempting to unionize. Leaving Montreal after growing alienated from his friends with loftier and more boring ambitions than his – condominiums, scholarships – Querelle moves to Roberval and becomes the witting object of desire of the town’s men and boys – both the young queer men who flock to his apartment for sex at night, and their homophobic fathers – while a strike at the sawmill becomes increasingly contentious.

‘Lambert explores sex, labour, and violence in a hybridization of contemporary realism and Greek mythology, reminiscent of Anne Carson’s The Autobiography of Red, but more perverse. Familiar scenes of small-town banality and a seemingly recognizable labour struggle unravel into tableaux of fantastical violence and blood sacrifice. The narrative spills out and gains momentum in the same way that a rumour might rip through a small town on the shore of Lac Saint-Jean, where the novel takes place.

Querelle of Roberval was originally published in French (winning Lambert the 2019 Sade prize in France), and translated to English by Donald Winkler. The language of the novel is rich and evocative, a compliment to both Lambert’s and Winkler’s instincts for poetry. Lambert displays his linguistic skill equally in images of the erotic and the abject, in a prose that entices and disturbs at the same time. This effect is most compelling in his descriptions of physicality and embodiment, in which he maps the contours of sex and violence and how the two bleed into one another. His sinister mythology is peppered with reminders of our current context that lace the heavy poetic language with a welcome sense of humour. When Querelle seduces young men in a desperate attempt to “seek refuge in his own abjection”, he finds them on Grindr, and when one character is impaled on a spit and roasted over an open flame to be devoured by the others, he is slathered in Costco barbecue sauce, thinned with wine and water.’ — Alexandra Trnka

 

Kevin Lambert @ Wikipedia
Kevin Lambert @ goodreads
Blood-Soaked Tableau
Toward a More Perfect Union?
Buy ‘Querelle of Roberval’

 

Kevin Lambert Querelle of Roberval
Biblioasis

‘Homage to Jean Genet’s antihero and a brilliant reimagining of the ancient form of tragedy, Querelle of Roberval, winner of the Marquis de Sade Prize, is a wildly imaginative story of justice, passion, and murderous revenge.

‘As a millworkers’ strike in the northern lumber town of Roberval drags on, tensions start to escalate between the workers—but when a lockout renews their solidarity, they rally around the mysterious and magnetic influence of Querelle, a dashing newcomer from Montreal. Strapping and unabashed, likeable but callow, by day he walks the picket lines and at night moves like a mythic Adonis through the ranks of young men who flock to his apartment for sex. As the dispute hardens and both sides refuse to yield, sand stalls the gears of the economic machine and the tinderbox of class struggle and entitlement ignites in a firestorm of passions carnal and violent. Trenchant social drama, a tribute to Jean Genet’s antihero, and a brilliant reimagining of the ancient form of tragedy, Querelle of Roberval, winner of France’s Marquis de Sade Prize, is a wildly imaginative story of justice, passion, and murderous revenge.’ — Biblioasis

Excerpt

Querelle. The name is circulating, is making the rounds, is being passed back and forth under one’s breath in an aisle at Rossy, is being barked out audibly between two hot chickens at the Ski-Doo rest stop, no one’s ever seen the boy but the picture painted is that of a character out of one of those sadistic, frightening stories our cousins tell in summer under the tent.

Querelle is Roberval’s bogeyman, people place bets on his age — sometimes 25, sometimes 50— on the colour of his skin and hair, brown, green, black, on the shape of his mouth and eyes. Like that evil creature, he spirits away adolescents, corrupts them, carves them up, devours them; like the fabled monster, no one knows where he comes from: from Montreal, from the Mafia or from Saudi Arabia, but one thing is certain: he lives in a cave, often roams the beaches, and works side by side with your godchild’s girlfriend. People talk about this troublemaker, legends abound as to his combats and his special friendships. The youths at the student dorm and the Saint-Félicien college revere this striking public enemy, they romance the nights spent in his apartment, laud his impressive member and the words he pours into their ears while he’s spearing them — to such-and-such an ugly duckling he’ll have professed his love, to a student gymnast he’ll have said he has “the most beautiful ass ever,” a so-so player on the Roberval Sabres will have spent three days in his apartment as his boy toy.

A tenacious rumour of unknown origins contends that it’s Querelle who kidnapped little Michaël Bolduc, missing since November, in order to tie him up in his closet and subject him to an array of sexual torments. This story is on people’s lips all around the Lac, it’s been published in the local papers and talked about on the radio in short dispatches that are even shorter on detail: nothing is known except that the boy never returned from his first day at the college in Alma. No peddler of this scabrous news, no hawker of this charming abductor’s vagaries is intent on enlightenment, but only on playing the fabulist: at every twist in the tale a new layer is applied to the pornographic narrative, there is a heightening of alarm and a raising of the voice, and a few more blooms are added to the bouquet of blood-soaked images.

The truth concerning the Michaël Bolduc affair is to be found far from the journalists and nearer to the hairdressers’ armchairs, to the shopping centre restaurants where it’s said that Michaël, of his own free will, fled his large family and his hippieish parents — two doctors who have palped the glands of half of Lac Saint-Jean’s population — so free-spirited and close to their children; he’s the reject of a well-known tribe in the region, and he’s branded with that. Oh! You’re Chantal’s son, your father saved my life! They say that Michaël didn’t like his family, and when he was in crisis, when his parents wouldn’t let him out of the house and were deaf to his theatrics, he said right out that he hated them. Everyone knows that Michaël wanted to free himself from his father and mother’s onerous expectations, the good grades they wanted to see on his report card, the educational program in which they had enrolled him, the part-time job he had to find to pay for his board even if they were as rich as Croesus.

Since the Michaël Bolduc affair, Roberval parents are afraid their defiant adolescent is going to disappear, to run off and lose himself in foul acrobatics in the arms of a beautiful pervert. Going to the grocery store, walking in the mall, Querelle is subject to the hostile glares of the district’s progenitors. Mistaking these glances for desire, he imagines that they are all invitations to rendezvous in the toilets. Or perhaps he’s not mistaken and there is, in the eyes of those fathers who believe their offspring are being threatened by a predator’s lust, a secret desire to drink from the same spring.

Extras


Kévin Lambert – Querelle


Kevin Lambert / Querelle de Roberval – Claudia à la page

 

 

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‘These poems began being about homesickness and its peculiar joys. A year later, when my daughter Arachne died, it seems it was the only language I could use to write about her, or perhaps to write to her, with her. I think it had to do with the intensity of the language, the “overwhelming” quality, as you say, and also the feeling that in the poem I was speaking partly in a language of death, and partly that when I wrote in that language I was partly dead, partly a ghost. The poem became a room where I could be both dead and alive, a permeable room.

‘Arachne lived for two weeks, all of it spent in a hospital room in Indianapolis. It was an intense room. When I came into the chamber and saw my beautiful girl taped-up and hooked up with tubes, I walked up to her and weirdly I started singing this song that I hadn’t heard for literally 30 years, “Vakna Nu Anneli” by Magnus Johansson, a folk pop hit from the early ‘90s: “Wake up now Anneli, the men from Venice have closed the factory and you’re free to go. Put on something sky-blue and a hat…” The fear and sadness jumbled my synapses and this song came out.

‘While I was down there with her I read a lot. I re-read Ballard’s Crash, Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Aase Berg’s Forsla fett, Eva-Kristina Olsson’s Eiderwhite: Extreme writing that deals with the body and its reproduction, its destruction. These poems were incredibly helpful for me. Or I don’t know if they “helped” me; they were there for me. I could enter into them and the intensity of the books measured up to the horror and fear I was feeling. Occasionally I would scroll social media and come across “healing poems”—poems of wise, self-help epiphanies—and I’ve never been so disgusted in my life.

‘The dominant sound in Arachne’s room was the breathing machine that was keeping her alive; the problem she was born with had to do with her lungs, she couldn’t breathe. I thought a lot about the breath, which is supposed to be the source of the poem (in people like Ginsberg and Olson) and it began to feel like this mechanical breath was a kind of poem, or un-poem, something that hovers between life and death, through which she connected to us in that room. I recorded it. That was one of the last things I did before she died. I still have it, but I’ve never listened to it.

‘So basically I think I’m saying that I always interacted with Arachne through art. Art was there in her room, art was how I was with her, and it’s still how I am with her. I didn’t incorporate the grief so much as the grief generated the poem. Grief and terror and, yes, hatred, but also a kind of joy. I never questioned that this would all find its way into my writing, though after I had written the poems I sometimes wondered if it’s a good idea. The poems often make me very sad, sometimes when I read them at readings I feel like I’m about to collapse. I can’t get over her.’ — Johannes Göransson

 

Johannes Göransson Site
‘Summer’ @ goodreads
I Don’t Want to Move On: Johannes Göransson and Niina Polari in Conversation
Poeticism as a Scandal // An Interview with Author Johannes Göransson
Buy ‘Summer’

 

Johannes Göransson Summer
Tarpaulin Sky Press

‘Written into and through the death of his infant daughter from a rare lung condition, Göransson’s elegy/revenge fantasy (to paraphrase his description of the book) captivated me like few collections I’ve read in the past year…. ‘I call the poem Daughter,’ he writes, ‘then I call the hole in her lungs The World.’ The absence that becomes everything. There is no poem. There is no patch.’ — fck yr bookclub

Excerpts

Nobody will be fooled if I bring back
the Bellmer photos
or the death ride with a thousand
beautiful passports showing
my cheekbones to the carcass sun
I’m writing poetry for veterans
of foreign wars
such as the war against pöbeln
or the war against breathing
the song against not breathing
goes like this I’m trying
the song against war
goes like this I’m writing a poem
for the venom it’s taking effect
I play a song about kroppen
it goes like this it’s teeming
I’m shooting a rifle
inside a tunnel this is the inside
song about poetry
I belong to the winter palace
take me to the street
named assassination my childhood
is covered with ett tusen rosor
it is extinction
we are celebrating the end
med allt det där röda
it was softness that I hated
with all my mouth and all my tongues
I was in debt to it so I burned it
down and wrote a song
about murdering millionaires

*

Follow my voice follow
my voice I follow your voice
into the malignant trousseau
into poetry I follow
the rabble the voices
the birthmark on your torso:
a puncture wound
a sign for syre
I don’t want the butterflies
to die in the rabble
so I take my headphones off
so I take my rabbled body
till riddarsporrar till syrener
till den råttiga dikten
about my eyelids mina ögon
lockar I am translating it
till mina döttrar in
the color of oxidized metal
you are the color of stain
glass window I am the color
red where are you hiding
where are your punctured lungs
my beautiful pen inlaid
with bird bone is what I use
to write as I think to myself
I think to my daughter
det står en pöbel pa min trapp
I think to my daughter
dom har tagit fotografier
av tomma plast kassar
och andra krigsgrejer från
sommaren props for
my ratted-out body sound
like the morning after the riot
it should be snowing
I can’t hear a word
I’m cutting flowers for the riot

Flickorna are in thick of it they trash
their cuties while the cops do that
thing with torsos and I have a vision of rats
in the hallucination I look like en oskuld
when I get my killability on for the rabble
I have a femur I have a pain in my ankle
I must have been running through the streets
again pollen is on my skin and in
my beautiful long hair I have solen
as a mother I sing-song for the police
snedsträck the rabble wants to possess me
but the girls they want to kill
me with their candy how can I see it
their mouths are closed
are they in berlin I’m in stockholm
it smells like urine on this street because
I’m wealthy snedsträck I refuse to steal
this painting the teenagers are whistling
in the street how do they know
I’m with them how do they know
I’m watching a movie about innocence
it’s a silent movie men änglarna pratar
in captions speak in numbers
through the radio the interrogators
wear rubber gloves but they can’t
go through mirror they can’t go through
they don’t understand poetry
their pictures are already on a pop music
time is out of whack there’s no place
in heaven for you mina vackra poeter
but the underground is full of heaven
we will never win anything
the poodle is yapping in the street it must
be the devil will you ever come back no

Flowers for the rabble
and I’m scared of being infected
in the lilacs and the infection in
the lilacs will return me to
summer to the movie screen
where I was born
to photograph bodies in
butcher shops poodles so
to speak in the faust
sick afterparty I’m talking ruins
with the devil you have to be
a foreigner to make art out
of other people’s ruins
he tells me you can’t belong
to ruins because you’re
bleeding from the forehead
amazingly he’s right but I say
I can belong to anywhere I can
take a photograph
even if that makes me the killer
but then I see my photo of the dead
girl and she has photographed
my eyes I will bleed
longer in the poem of
the afterworld now that I belong
to the afterparty her lungs
belong to the environment
she has been kissed by it
mercury I have been kissed
too I have been told to slash
the diorama I won’t
I’m not as clean as that I carry
the violent leaf in my mouth

Extras


SUMMER Official Trailer #1


SUMMER Official Trailer #2

 

 

______________

I grabbed her leg on her way out the door at the end of our nights together.

She said, “Aren’t they worried about people finding out?”

I was six years old. I said, “What does that mean?”

“Do your parents care if people know they are dating other people?”

Roger died and mom said the car must’ve not even know what it hit. I found him with his face all mauled in the middle of the road. Dad threw his collar away.

I took scissors to my shirts, so they were small like hers. We leaned against each other, my head on her hip, and stared at ourselves in the mirror. She played French music I didn’t like and showed me pictures on the computer of abstract art. I asked her what abstract meant. “It means shapes that don’t occur in reality.” I copied the paintings by Kandinsky with colored pencils on the flipped pages of old bills. I asked her to write the word abstract at the top of the page, not comprehending the sounds the letters made next to each other.

She told me she used to live in London. She used to dance ballet. Her husband died.

“You have a husband? You’re not even old.”

“I don’t have a husband anymore. And I am old.”

I asked my mom why the babysitter was better at drawing than her, even though my mom was older.

This is when I stopped eating. Sliced turkey from the deli looked like my own skin. I was afraid I’d choke on any food I put in my mouth. Dad said, “Do you know what happens to little girls who don’t eat?” I was willing to know, and I asked him over and over again, but he wouldn’t tell me.

— Caitlin Forst

 

Archway Editions
‘NDA’ @ goodreads
Review: NDA: An Autofiction Anthology edited by Caitlyn Forst
Book Launch: NDA An Autofiction Anthology @ Stories Books & Cafe
Buy ‘NDA: An Autofiction Anthology’

 

Caitlin Forst, Editor NDA: An Autofiction Anthology
Archway Editions

‘Collected autofictions from mainstays of literary, art, and internet avant-garde writing. The contributors in this anthology produce a contemporary, subversive primer of works engaging the relationship between the writer and the text. Featuring: Aiden Arata, Nathan Dragon, David Fishkind, Rindon Johnson, Aristilde Kirby, Tao Lin, Chris Molnar, Vi Khi Nao, Elle Nash, Gina Nutt, Brad Phillips, Sam Pink, Darina Sikmashvili, BR Yeager.’ — Archway Editions

Excerpts





Extras

 

 

______________

The World Without John Ashbery
by Ron Padgett

The world without John Ashbery

has lasted for one day

so far. Soon

one week, one century.

Will people look back

and scratch their heads

the way some do now?

I hope not. But

it’s all out of my hands

anyway, and I

won’t care one whit.

But what he did,

his poetry, that is,

is great.

He gave me a conjunction

and I ran away with it,

though it kept turning

me around, so I ran back.

And here I am

with a conjunction

on my hands.

My idea

was to give it back,

but instead

I’m going to move

the forest six inches

to the left and leave it

at that.

 

Ron Padgett Site
Ron Padgett @ Poetry Foundation
Meet Ron Padgett
“You are next in line”: Moving down the Line(s) with Ron Padgett
Buy ‘Dot’

 

Ron Padgett Dot
Coffee House Press

‘In Dot, Ron Padgett returns with more of the playfully profound work that has endeared him to generations of readers. Guided by curiosity and built on wit, generosity of spirit, and lucid observation, Dot shows how any experience, no matter how mundane, can lead to a poem that flares like gentle fireworks in the night sky of the reader’s mind.’ — Coffee House Press

‘Wonderful, generous, funny poetry.’ — John Ashbery

‘Ron Padgett makes the most quiet and sensible of feelings a provocatively persistent wonder.’ — Robert Creeley

‘Ron Padgett’s poems sing with absolutely true pitch . . . agile and lucid and glad to be alive.’ — James Tate

Excerpts

Extras


“Tea for You, Too” by Ron Padgett


Ron Padgett, “Nothing in That Drawer”

 

 

*

p.s. Hey. ** Tea, Hi, Tea. Yeah, OnLMY was kind of a cult figure within the cult. I’ve seen a few more recent things by him, but they don’t have the same commitment or whatever. No, I haven’t read Mai-chan’s ‘Daily Life’, and I should, obviously? I’ll hunt it. Thanks. Oh, shit, sorry that you’ve been feeling down, much less food poisoned. Maybe that will or has broken the spell? I procrastinate way too much, so yeah. Obviously, I have no problem with unhappy endings, but it’s true I don’t think of my characters as real people. Unless you have the whole world end, there’s probably some way to have some distant hopefulness built into whatever unhappiness you plan to end on? Or, yeah, there’s always porn to write, if not. You can’t lose. ** malcolm, Hi. I hear you. Re: lack of money necessitated brevity. But you can make that work in your favor, and I have no doubt you will. Me too, on the luck front. That’s why even though our film is a little under funded for what it is, I was always sure that once we got to LA and started meeting people, we’d find creative types who were excited and inspired by the project and happy to work with us for the fun and experience (and credit), and that’s what happened. Confidence is almost everything maybe. Yes, shooting is extremely cool and exciting. When we were making ‘PGL’, I started to cry a little more than once when I saw something I’d written be completely realised by the performers. It’s am amazing thing. No, our film is very unsexual, and actually very ungory compared to what people will expect. The Guro is more sort a general research thing, and mainly for my fiction, I guess. It suddenly turned into winter here yesterday, and it’s quite cold, which I love, but I’m imagining it’s long since winter time where you are? Stay warm. ** _Black_Acrylic, Ah, George Eliot is finally history! Her grave isn’t too far away from me. Maybe I should go ‘tell’ her the good news. No surprise that you’re a dazzling chair operator. You gonna customise it at all? How is your new pad treating you? ** Jamie, Hey, J. I’m good. Oh, well, I guess what I’m interested in in Guro is the aspiration to make extremity palatable and the attempts/theories the artists use to crisscross that difficult fantasy to physical representation thing. The success or not of their approaches is subjective, and I don’t know if making that judgement is possible, for me at least. In McW’s case, yeah, a cartoony lightness and comedic approach, but then in, say, Pontax, probably my favorite, it’s more of an outsider artist compulsion and relatively unfiltered style that interests me. I don’t know. I’m just always interested in the possible ways to represent the unrepresentable re: thinking of methods I could try for my own related work. If that makes sense. Your bike ride sounds so nice. I need to get in the habit of renting the public bikes here, although maybe I’ll wait out winter beforehand. I’m going to look at some art today, so it should be an okay one. You? Late 70s B-52s love, Dennis ** Dominik, Hi!!! What about your work exhausted you? Probably a dumb question. But I’m glad the post gave you a symbolic hit of coke. I don’t know ‘Killing Stalking’, no, but I will now somehow. Thanks! I’ve never had a tattoo, so maybe I’m wrong in thinking that getting that Cruoreye tattoo would hurt, ouch. Love singing the praises of the pomegranate, G. ** Minet, Hi! Oh, cool, a like mind. You probably know about Pixiv, but, if not, you can find boatloads of explicitly gay-themed Guro there. I was really into Guro for a while, and then I kind of lost interest for years, and then I got fascinated by it again about two years ago. It’s certainly possible that the LCTG scene was Guro derived in some way, yeah. Good eye. I haven’t seen ‘Kimera’, but, if it’s on YouTube, I can and will, thank you. Things are good here. How’s stuff with you? Have a major Tuesday. ** Dom Lyne, Hi, Dom! Very good to see you, sir and pal. Wow, an intense year indeed! But also a pretty progressive and positive one if I’m reading you correctly. I mean relatively speaking. Man, that’s a lot of you for you to have to know. It seems like your family should be extricated from your radar, but I know that’s not easy. I’m glad you’re able to work on your work. Can you imagine if you weren’t an artist how fucked you would be? I think about that all the time. It’s hard for me to understand how people who aren’t artists find happiness. Not to create a hierarchy with artists at the top, au contraire. I just can’t imagine being any other thing and being alive at the same time. Anyway, … I’m good. New film is progressing well. We’re going to shoot it in March. Take care, man! Love, me. ** Brian Hey hey, Brian. Oh, well, I must admit I’m very happy hear the Almodovar/Berlin adaptation is dead. Jesus. And Cate Blanchett was to be in it?! I’m sorry, but I would be very happy if Cate Blanchett and Tilda Swinton took very, very long vacations from acting or just acted in regional theater from now on. I can’t think of a feature film based on a collection of stories that was any good. I think ‘Short Cuts’ is one of Altman’s worst, for instance. Can you think of any success stories? I’m probably blanking. Man, I’m sorry to hear about the recent difficulty and awkwardness. What’s the source, if you want to say? I hate moving, so I sure understand if that’s part of it. Enjoy Thanksgiving as much as I will enjoy its nonexistence. Any Tuesday emotional upward-flowing? ** Steve Erickson, I’ll check out the Raw Poetic album. Archie Shepp, nice. I think it’s interesting that the crappier and lower budgeted the blood/violence in movies, the more acceptable people seem to find it. What interests me about Guro is that it’s fiction in a visual form, I guess. I’m interested in how that distancing device works, and how it can be rendered highly realistically and yet remain blunted by the fictional status to some degree. Or something like that. ** Ian, Hi. Yeah, it’s playfulness that seems to be the most successful style choice in Guro. Interesting. Right, your kiddo is bursting at his seams. That must be so amazing to observe and live with. Wow. Excited that your book is so close to being born. And I’m excited for the post too. Just whenever you’re ready and want to. Mm, curry. I might zip to the local vegan Indian place today, come to think of it. Have a big day, man. ** Paul Curran, Thanks, Paul. Glad to know I can always count on your fellow interest in the worst/best the human imagination can transmit through its respective fingers. You inspire bigly, dude, be always assured of that. ** Okay. I recently read five more books that I loved and therefore think you should have the opportunity to assess for yourselves. See you tomorrow.

12 Comments

  1. Dominik

    Hi!!

    Thank you for the recommendations! I’m especially intrigued by “Love Me Tender” and “NDA: An Autofiction Anthology.”

    It’s not a dumb question; I could’ve been a bit more specific, haha. I had to proofread a bunch of marketing materials for a business management course yesterday, and though the work itself was straightforward and okay, it was a lot, and I was absolutely uninterested in the topic, so I felt like I’d lost most of my brain cells by the evening. That’s when your guro post came to my rescue.

    Awh, what an innocent love! Thank you! What prompted it? Love finding a broken snow globe and three tiny, dead Santa Clauses in a ditch in front of a liquor store, Od.

  2. David Ehrenstein

    Kevin Lambert’s a BABE!

  3. Sypha

    Some books I’ve read recently include Grant Morrison’s LUDA (his debut novel), Paul Curran’s GENERATION BLOODBATH, Cormac McCarthy’s THE PASSENGER, and Quentin Tarantino’s CINEMA SPECULATION (along with various books on medieval history). Recently I started reading Stephen R. Donaldson’s THE KILLING GOD, a real beast at 682 pages… well, it IS a fantasy novel after all ha ha.

  4. _Black_Acrylic

    I do like the look of KL’s Querelle, though I really should read the original first.

    Re George Eliot, BEE would have it that those 19th century writers were the rock stars of their day, so it makes sense for Mary Ann Evans to reside in a Parisian grave where her fans can congregate. Re the wheelchair, the doctor had asked me if I was a Leeds United fan who would object to a splash of red on there. I just said it’s fine by me.

  5. tomk

    Desperate to read summer…everything i’ve read of it so far has been unbelievably great.

    Hope you’re all good man.

  6. Jamie

    Ahoy Dennis,
    Are you trying to empty my bank account? I’m not complaining really, I’ve asked for Love Me Tender as an Xmas gift and I’ve got sights on Querelle also…so thanks for another one of these posts. I do always love them so.
    My day was a good one, as I finished this draft of my novella, printed it out, and tomorrow I’m going to Ostend, where I’ve rented an AirBnB for a couple of days to try and do another draft. Ostend is one of my favourite places in the world. It’s kind of eerie but gets the most beautiful light at this time of year.
    Thanks for the Guro explanation. It made perfect sense.
    How was your Tuesday? Did you get to enjoy some art?
    Wishing you a lovely Wednesday.
    Coastal love,
    Jamie

  7. Dom Lyne

    Hey Dennis,

    Yeah, it certainly wasn’t the year I thought it was gonna be at the start, but in terms of progress and moving forward it has been mainly positive, and even the negative stuff has been – in the light of everything – more “oh yeah, that now makes more sense” or that’s the bit of the puzzle the last therapeutic team couldn’t find, so a weird-positive.

    I’d hate to think what I’d be like without my many creative outlets. I’m sure after I’ve finished this EMDR therapy for the PTSD, I’m going to read back through some of my earlier, pre-therapy writings and be mind-blown by all the hidden messages I probably wrote for myself within the work. My ex Seb read Wikipedia’s Dahmer page, after watching the Netflix series, and saw that it says that he was diagnosed with the same mental disorders as me, so who knows maybe in an alternative universe I’m a crazy mad serial killer, ha!!

    That’s awesome about the film, where are you guys filming it? Is it gonna be in France/French again?

    Speaking of French… Minnie my little French Bulldog has settled in well and is adorable as ever.

    Much love and hugs.

    Dom

  8. Ian

    new kevin lambert looks great. i loved his first novel, that i found out about because of this very blog. i have been in a reading slump these last few months. hoping to come out of it as i have some really nice books that need some attention.
    caio,
    ian

  9. Ahh! Licks James

    Here in my awning cloth Fella, stuck between the pages of a prized novella… it’s hard to imagine being gotten nowadays when you are 8 times the size of the spectacular page….. (you wrote)….. more like I am gathered by many, and taken forthwith…. unsure whether I will diet or live…. taken to seed a majestic shit…. dun over…. ridden…. forced to submit…. Blah…..

    • Autumn Glint

      I WOULDN’T MIND FINGERING THE BINDINGS OF THAT, OR HAVING SOME SORT OF HOOK UP, ‘Chateaubriand’ HAS ALWAYS BEEN A FOND FAVOURITE OF MINE….

      JESUS THERE ARE SOME FOOKED UP PEOPLE OUT THERE, IT’S A FINE LINE WE ARE ALL WALKING IS IT NOT?

      DENNIS COOPER THANKS FOR THE ‘WAD’

  10. Brian

    Hey, Dennis,

    All wonderful selections today, each of which I will have to do ample further investigation of; especially Lambert’s—as a Querelle admirer myself it’s impossible to resist. I agree with you re: Blanchett and Swinton’s overexposure, although I’ve enjoyed some performances from both of them. I struggle to think of successful feature collection adaptations too. Dreyer’s “Vampyr” is a sort of mishmash of J. Sheridan le Fanu stories and I love that, but Dreyer invented as much as he borrowed so it hardly counts. I may be blanking too. In any case it feels particularly pointless to try and translate Berlin’s prose to the screen—it’s so intrinsically language-based, I struggle to imagine what tack a director would even take to visualizing this material. The awkwardness is a mix of things, but it’s mostly just related to the specific difficulty of this period of my life (and mostly not uncommon difficulties, judging by the conversations I’ve had with friends my age). Struggling to get employment—that’s the really big one—trying to become more independent from my family, looking for new friends, all of that simple stuff. A little angst about moving out—not that I particularly love my lodgings (though I can’t complain), just that feeling that I’ve somehow wasted the few months I’ve spent here, even though that’s not exactly true. And then some stress related to new, mild health issues, arising from my yet-to-be-overcome sort-of eating disorder, which isn’t anything surprising, but it’s putting an extra squeeze on me to change my behavior, and change is difficult. Banal troubles, I know. Tuesday provided some upward flowing in the company of my brother, who’s returned home, like myself, for Thanksgiving. Our plans for Wednesday hopefully promise even better. How is your own week looking?

  11. Tea

    Thought I was on the uptick but nope, got worse, spent most of the day catatonic in bed. It’s a miracle I’m here writing this. It took me all day to get down to it. Enjoy Mai-chan, question mark? It’s even more brutal than I remember.

    Maybe I’m just nuts. Characters will do stuff like dialogue in my head when I’m trying to sleep. I will do shopping for them in terms of clothes and whatnot. I make playlists for them with music I think they’d like. That’s why they feel real to me, even though other authors’ characters don’t. I’m trying to become a more “patient” writer that isn’t hell-bent on mindless wish fulfillment so this exercise may help.

    P.s. Going to buy one of these titles for some retail therapy later 🙂

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