The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Please welcome to the world … Chris Kelso, editor I TRANSGRESS: An Anthology Of Transgressive Fiction (Salo Press)


‘Transgressive fiction encourages the pursuit of knowledge and actively criticises the monolithic, authoritarian aspects of moralistic society. And, honestly, this is what we need to survive the apocalypse. After all, transgressive fiction embodies such fundamental aspects of the human experience. Among these fundamentals are: initiation and the transition from innocence to experience; the nature of good and evil; the consequences of knowledge; and the notion of free will or individual responsibility, and so on. Writers like Samuel Delany acknowledge the need for rebellion and understand that it is indeed natural. The natural urge of the writer is to first create a solid differentiation between good and bad. Once clearly discerned, the writer can explore the grey in between. But reveling in the darkness is interesting and worthwhile. If you’ve read Delany’s Hogg – a story about a pre-adolescent boy called “cocksucker” who is sold into sexual slavery – you’ll know that beauty can be extracted from our darker compulsions. The story focuses on such deviant behavior – coprophilia, coprophagia, molestation, incest, urolagnia, necrophilia – but the writing is ethereal and crisp. There is no grey. Only black transgressive-coloured shadows. Given the recent institutional changes in education, family relations, coupled with the rise of corporate conglomerates, most books are driven by commodity which inevitably dictate the tastes and strictures of fiction. These books aren’t bad, but they’re usually boring. They appeal to the depleted, part-time animal. But literature, like music and all forms of art, will eventually run out of new places to go, so must turn to cannibalisation. If this is the case, then why not cannibalise the parables of suffering? Sodom and Gomorrah, mate.’ — Chris Kelso

Featuring: Laura Lee Bahr, Tom Bradley, Joshua Chaplinsky, Garrett Cook, Dennis Cooper, Samuel R. Delany, Andrew Gallix, C.V. Hunt, James Joyce, Violet LeVoit, Edward Lee, Nick Mamatas, Thomas Moore, Scott Philips, The Residents, Matthew Revert, R.G. Robertson, Michael Salerno, Lauren Sapala, Gary J. Shipley, Iain Sinclair, John Skipp



Order your copy here.


This way …



Iain Sinclair reads from ‘I TRANSGRESS’ // Lima 27/06/19






p.s. Hey. So, this weekend the blog has the pleasure of turning into a red carpet for this rather amazing new anthology edited by the fine young writer Chris Kelso. Its transgressors include big names (Samuel Delany, Iain Sinclair, The Residents, a o.), writers/artists well known to this blog’s readers (Michael ‘Kiddiepunk’ Salerno, Thomas ‘Moronic’ Moore, me, a.o.) and a whole bunch of writers familiar and possibly un-. It also includes the first new fiction work of mine to be made public in quite a while, if that’s a draw. Here’s hoping you’ll spend your local weekend checking out the taste on display and maybe even springing for the anthology itself. Thank you, and thank you so much, Chris, for allowing this place to be one of your book’s pathways. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. Well, I would certainly be interested in reading that large piece. Thanks for the link vis-a-vis Yury. Actually, his interest in fashion is not what it used to be. He’s working in real estate now. ** Steve Erickson, Hi. I personally feel that people who judge others’ relationships, and especially the relationships of people they don’t even know, are not worth wasting time thinking about. Their control freakdom is self-indicting. Huh, interesting about ‘House Warming’. I didn’t know of it. It’s nice that people are still making that kind of experiential, ‘you are the actors’ interactive theater, even if I can’t think of any works of the sort that I’ve attended that actually functioned as well as intended. But the failures are always interesting too, on second thought. Oh, except for a great and weirdly, wholly effective María Irene Fornés piece I saw back in the … 70s? I should see if I can do a legible post about that kind of work. Anyway, cool that you went, and thanks for the obviously very interesting report. ** MyNeighbourJohnTurtorro, Hi, man! His films are not so well known. Shyness is definitely weird, as I well know, but it’s beautiful too. Do you enjoy an itinerant life? Is that a weird question? I’m too neurotic/rigid about having a secure living place, but I know people who thrive on the move and learn a lot. Anyway, the question sprang to mind. Oh, man lucky you to see Yves Tumor! I’ve never seen him live. In fact, I’ve been very curious as to how he replicates (or doesn’t) his music in a live setting as it’s so complex. Does he use tapes? Anyway, if you feel like it, I’d be super interested to know what his live thing is like. Helm should be great. ‘They’ were the time I saw ‘them’. And of course Sunn0))) is singular live. You’ve seen them? Their newest album is probably my favorite of the year or whatever so far, I think. And Xiu Xiu, of course. Very nice itinerary. I’m behind on who’s playing here. I should check up on that ASAP. Thanks for the kind words. Yeah, Disneyland did its thing. Amusement parks are balm, among other things, to me for some weird reason. Have a very terrific weekend! ** _Black_Acrylic, Yes! Everyone, BIG NEWS: The new issue of Ben Robinson’s beautiful and amazing zine The Call is just now available for your visits online, and you simply must head over there and indulge heavily. And doing so is as simple as tapping this. Who-hoo, man! My weekend is sorted! ** Right. I think you know exactly what to do around here between now and Monday. I’ll see you again then.


  1. Shane Christmass

    July 13, 2019 at 10:39 am

    Looking fwd to this.

    Salo are going to send me a PDF to review. Such a great list of writers – a few I’m unaware of to – so keen to dive in and review.

    Will post review here once published…

  2. Lovely “Whitman’s Sampler” of literary goodies this weekend.

    The way Trumpworld is going these days the MPAA should re-rate Pasolini’s “Salo” G

  3. First, Chris: Bravo. I like what I see here. It’s a real treat.

    Dennis, I’m glad you had fun at Disney. I like that you do stuff like that.

    Yeah, my friend performs as “Christopher.” He said that Copperfield still consults with him and some others on new illusions. He’ll call them over to his place where he practices and get their opinions on it. My friend considers himself a magician whereas someone like Copperfield is an illusionist. Kind of interesting, the delineation there.

    He said the problem with Criss Angel, who’s just kind of a cock anyway, is that when he had his show MINDFREAK, he was told not to rely on camera angles and all of that for his tricks on the show because he’d someday have a big Vegas stint and would have to re-create a lot of them onstage. Dude refused to listen, did almost everything with camera angles and such, and then when he did get that big Vegas gig, he couldn’t do shit on stage. Totally bombed. Just seems a very hardheaded guy.

    About halfway through “At Swim, Two Boys.” For all the acclaim and the “he’s the gay James Joyce!” stuff, it’s a very conventional narrative. I don’t get the Joyce stuff, other than his use of stream of consciousness, Irish vernacular in some places, and allusions to some other works and stuff. It’s kind of slow going and there are a couple things he does that I think just don’t work. Otherwise, I’m not hating it. Did you know that it won the Ferro-Grumley award too? Hehehe.

    I’m shallow in a lot of respects, you know that, right? I’m really only going to see Spidey 2 to look at Tom Holland. I think he’s hot. Besides, I do like superhero movies in general, the spectacle and CGI and all that. Plus, I get to hang with my friend DR, whom I haven’t seen in a bit.

  4. Excited about the anthology! I haven’t read a lot of Sinclair, and Dahlgren is on my nightstand waiting for me to dive in. This’ll be a good motivator.

    Have you listened to the new Purple Mountains? Berman seems at the top of his game. Slightly bummed I won’t be able to see them live, but happy he hasn’t completely lost his mind entirely and doing well.

    Have you seen Dead Don’t Die? As far as summer movies go it’s holding up as my favorite. Very uncaring of audience expectations, which I enjoyed. Seeing it again today with my sister. Wasn’t psyched on Midsommar as much. Fairly boring, and so much fucking exposition I almost left.

    Seeing Sunn0))) for the first time in September. I’m with you in that ‘Life Metal’ is probably my favorite release this year.

    How was Disney Land Paris? Do you have a favorite Disney Land?

    Take care, happy weekend

  5. Have you heard of Instagram celebrity Belle Delphine? I’m convinced that she’s doing some kind of Rachel McLean-style art project around young women’s treatment as sex objects, kawaii cuteness and blatant marketing via social media influencers. Whatever she intends, she got tons of press for selling her bathwater last week (and her Patreon page offers links to Pornhub videos which apparently aren’t as titlating as their titles make them sound.)

    James Stanley and Jesse Hawley are returning to New York next year to perform another theater piece they wrote, directed and act in together, which takes the form of a reunion concert by an ’80s synth-pop group.

    I’m curious about the direction Tumor is going in now – reports have said that he’s going in an even more rock-oriented direction than SAFE IN THE HANDS OF LOVE and playing new songs on this tour which sound somewhere between “Little Red Corvette” and Def Leppard!

  6. lovely; awesome; looking forward to it

  7. Excited for this collection & to read your new work. I’m wondering why they chose “A Little Cloud”, of all the transgressive Joyce…

    There’s been a Bresson retro going on in Dublin and I was able to catch two early films I hadn’t seen before: Les dames du Bois… and Journal d’un curé de campagne. Les dames… was interesting, despite being conventional for Bresson. I was really taken with Labourdette’s performance and how Bresson’s camera interacted with her. But overall I prefer last year’s Mouret film Mademoiselle de Joncquières from the same Diderot story.

    But Journal d’un curé de campagne immediately struck me as one of the greatest films I’ve ever seen. It’s economical and blunt while staying mysterious and poetic, making religion and “devout life” in general as intense, nuanced, and emotionally complex as it truly is. The clarity of Bresson’s eyes, ears, and feelings…

  8. I just ordered a copy of this from Salo Press and am looking forward to it a great deal! Quite the lineup they have there.

  9. Oh cool, I remember when this was first conceived on Facebook awhile back. At the time it seemed a bit “pie in the sky” thinking to me and I doubted it would come about but glad to see that I was wrong and it became a reality. I’ll have to pick up a copy at some point.

    Got back from the annual Champagne Maine family vacation yesterday. It went okay… except for a bit of rain the last 2 days the weather was sunny and not too warm/cold, and my health was surprisingly good all week, no real stomach upsets or headaches. I decided to restart my 90’s novel from scratch (having first attempted to begin it during the 2018 Maine vacation), and I handwrote over 30 pages (of course, now I have to type all that out, groan). Mostly though I spent a lot of time with the fam, be it watching TV (mainly JEOPARDY or light comedy films from the 1990’s, such as BEAN and, er, MRS. DOUBTFIRE), playing board games/card games (Hearts, Rack-O, Taboo, Outburst, Apples to Apples), playing pool with my dad/brothers (as the cabin has a pool table), helped my brother Tom make a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle (the theme of which was vintage candy wrappers), opened up those Stranger Things collector card boxes I got for my birthday a few weeks back… oh, and of course, our mini-golf outing, which as you know we do every year. Last year I tied with my dad for last place (for individual scores), but this year not only did my team win, but I was 2 under par, and had the second best individual score… I hit a hole-in-one and everything, ha ha. I took along one of those big variety puzzle books and worked on some of those: I even tried out a Sudoku puzzle (for the first time in my life) and actually completed it. One day we took a ride into town to check out the CD/DVD store (which we also do every year) and I purchased two DVDs (TRUE ROMANCE & FIRST REFORMED) and two CDs (Air’s MOON SAFARI and a very expensive Kate Bush box set). Naturally I did a lot of reading as well: I finished reading Quentin S. Crisp’s GRAVES, reread your own GUIDE, and read the first half of Yukio Mishima’s THE TEMPLE OF THE GOLDEN PAVILION.

    I actually want to talk to you about GUIDE, mainly share some of my thoughts on it and maybe ask a question or two, but this entry is already running long, so maybe later on this week.

  10. Great to have you in the anthology, Dennis. The pleasure is all mine. Great to see such strong support in the comments – hope you all enjoy the book. Oh, and I just bought Permanent Green Light on DVD so I can watch it on my projector! Hope you’re all happy and healthy 🙂

  11. Impressive lineup! Dennis, is your piece original to the anthology, or maybe an excerpt from a novel? I don’t see it in Ugly Man, for instance.


  12. Thanks so much for hosting! Honored to be part of the project.

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