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pickles and Jams by cris cheek Now Available!

In Pickles & Jams, cris cheek exposes the very membranes that lie between the sensed-real of the culturally dominant and the barely-sensed hyper-real of the culturally emergent. His poetics (initially spawned and tested in Briton) isn’t of an “epiphany” variety, but rather is borne of a sabre-ready constructivist process, whereby the jettisoning of American Capitalist values is at a premium. And though History’s objects (“nation”, “family”, “self-hood”, “city”, “work-world”) no longer have the capture energy they once did, they are still malignant, and push us around. It is these ghosted objects/identities that cheek takes aim at. Acutely sensible to the post-occupy dilemma of “value the crash / crash the value,” his aesthetic tactics intend on having us both view and act on the spectacle from within. cheek's ever-increasing readership will once again be delighted to take much needed cultural cues from the most significant Anglo-American poet of our time.

—Rodrigo Toscano


The flarfy titles of these lush and brazen poems belie the intensity of their love and outrage, their puns tart and savory, acidic and sweet, and the preserving properties of poesie. The minor obstructions and dilemmas of these “pickles” and “jams” contribute to the texture of life in a neoliberal (though rapidly fascistifying) world, so much so that were life easier, “were you to get just what you wanted every time you read me/ as a bolt of white lightning striking a muddy brain repeatedly/… /
I would cry out please, I can’t stand it anymore, let me go.” cris cheek is one of my poetry heroes and he should be one of yours too.

—Maria Damon


Creative mishearings, extemporized speech, pattern/algorithm/procedure, typos (“Your typos / leak wisdom”), phonemic salad, technological fuckery… this is the stuff that cris’ work seems made of to me. Often he retains a certain syntax—a syntax of official “English,” and of past (official) English poets—deterritorializing it by bringing the arbitrariness of the phrase to a saturation point—and by this means breaking into “englishes.” Yet, when these poems stop playing they become deadly serious, arresting us with their melancholic romance and/or rants against racial capital and/or precise indictments of the (white male cis) liberal subject. Pickles & Jams offers a sustained and multi-modal demonstration of an anti-authoritarian language practice where the poet seeks “not a plain language but / a poetry advocating on behalf of resistance to external authority.” It extends cris’ ongoing investigation into and manifestation of a late-Antinomian tradition.

—Thom Donovan


How to taste impasse. Sniff (out) conundrum. Here is a myriad—cris cheek’s marble-mouthed, sardonic, homages to and parodies of pop and literary cultures. Pickles & Jams offers itself as a cornucopia of whimsy, satire, mimicry and, sandwiched between, moments of lyrical tenderness. Here then is a book of poems that track a human thinking more than planning, feeling more than plotting. Here are bursts of tactics (not strategies), wobbly selves running roughshod over British and American niceties (aesthetic, cultural, social, etc.), brandishing aphoristic wit (““As in framers of wonder but/ farmers of convention.”) and a Joycean delight in linguistic fidelity to experience (coat-tails flapping at the grubby hands of convention). In brief, no wrong notes need app here.

—Tyrone Williams


A Londoner in southwestern Ohio, poet, musician, performance artist cris cheek surveys 21st century life in the wake of Fukushima and Occupy. Channeling the buzz in the air, he stages a shimmering sequence of linguistic action. Pickles, as in difficulties. Jams likewise, but also music, a dense, sensual, wild-ass, shredding music. Burlesque humor of the dysfunctional body politic. Quick verbal combinations demonstrating subtle substitutions with a flick of the writ. Torque, twist, spin, mickey, body English. An antidote to normalization, colonialism, authority, exclusion, boredom. Check out these vibrant works and find out what’s really really real.

—Kit Robinson

The pickles are formal, riddles and riffs, the jams maybe cultural and political. Originally out of London cheek is now in his second decade in Ohio, but I hear his title as English. It refers to homegrown stanzas inventively shaped and occasionally rhymed, as if those clever origins had been run into the “designer chickens” of William Carlos Williams while Lewis Carroll caught the bus trying to escape the scene. cheek has always worked with the demotic and the found, with the surround sound of the everyday, so it’s no surprise that his new poems are more American than earlier work in their frames of reference. Indeed one poem wonders about the difference between framers and farmers, “at the convention.” Another appears to make passing reference to Descartes and then Bo Diddley in just a few lines. Dispersed subjectivities include those critical of what’s at hand and many others more tender or playful. The kind of memorable turns of phrase that experimental poetry too often avoids pass by pretty frequently: "beautiful lounge of the damned / in which i got the good peppermint.” I thought I had a handle on cheek’s practice as a performance writer and documentary poet given to expansive poems and sequences, but these little poems have left me upside down beside the fountain of post-post-objectivist lyric.

—Keith Tuma


cris cheek is a postpunk transatlantis maker and framer of playful marks with alphabetic language, with sound, with voice, with light and with the body

growing up in London is hard-wired through his circuitry:

early influences were with the Consortium of London Presses, working alongside Bob Cobbing and Bill Griffiths in the COLP printshop, and performing multi-voice pieces with PC Fencott, Lawrence Upton, and sometimes Jeremy Adler with jgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjg (. . . as long as you can say it that’s our name)

with Marshall Reese, Kirby Malone, Patty Karl, Nora Ligorano, Chris Mason and others for the festival of disappearings arts in Baltimore

with Mary Prestidge, Kirstie Simson, Sue MacLennan, Philip Jeck, Jacky Lansley and Fergus Early at Chisenhale Dance Space in London’s east end, with book-maker poets Allen Fisher and Ulli Freer

with poet-theareticians Carla Harryman and Steve Benson

with soundart as John and Mary Outchan on Balsam Flex, with Philip Jeck and Sianed Jones, Ansuman Biswas, and Samia Malik as Slant, with Kirsten Lavers as tnwk (things not worth keeping)

with cloven

for the past dozen years cris has lived and worked in south-west ohio at miami (myaamia) university and lives in cincinnati

Book Information:

· Paperback: 114 pages

· Binding: Perfect-Bound

· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books] 

· ISBN: 978-1-60964-273-0

$16

 
 
 

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The Hole in the Den by Michael Martrich Now Available!

When Tory Spry’s hallucinations become more frequent - what start out as a “pinpoint,” extend into an “arc,” and eventually become the blunted but flashing “Fingerprint” - he reluctantly but necessarily retreats inward into the well of himself. Swimming through the blackholed remnants of his outside world - high school, church, diners, home, in the car with his friends - Spry can only find comfort in sleep, the cold, the woods, and in his best friend John, who has a deep internal secret himself. And within our haunting and untouchable loneliness, we are separate but not alone.

 
 
 
 

Vision is all radiance and irritation for a sentimental educator and teenagers alike in a depressed Pennsylvania suburb. Tory is an apt (and entangled) observer of phenomena related to conservancies, pools, schools; he thrives in twilight, traversing a topography of headaches, "flows and hang-ups." Friends and environments are obscured by smoke, so texture is most reliable, here rendered as "the Eternal Fingerprint," or "the wrapping touch.” Floating between the arcs and pinpoints of a migrainous ocean floor, briars and chain-linked fences are an analogue to the helplessness of relationships, the transparency of leftovers through which John, Min, Lucas, and others only fade. "The secrets between us are not so dissimilar.” More than that: they're bonded.

—J. Gordon Faylor, Gauss PDF


The Hole in the Den brings us directly into the tender, shifting stream of adolescence and childhood, and under the water too, with prose that is precise and haunting and like a map leading in circles, drawing us into the indistinguishable place between emotion and intellect, the soft and membranous divisions between self and other, and the halfway majesty of the woods just off the highway.

—Emily Kiernan, author of Great Divide


"All-American alchemy! With The Hole in the Den, Michael Martrich manages the miraculous transfiguration of youthful suburban memories into something far more mysterious and wise. Incantatory sentences swirl and spin, piling on secrets, smells, glances, rocks and cigarettes, names carved in bark and flashes of jarring erudition. Loss and longing, caught in the gravity well of time and language, cast a spell that imbues hard truths with uncertainty and dreams with the lucid texture of the real."


—Jürgen Fauth, author of Kino and Head Cases


Michael Martrich is a writer and musician from Eastern Pennsylvania. He released A Night I Could Have Sworn Was an Ocean Floor (2016) with his band, Sports for Kin, and is the author of “Like a Sewn-up Skin with Salt” Near-Recognizing the Sea: An Idiot Body Without Organs Threatened and Tempted by Becoming (Listening, Whispering) Sea-Ghost (2014). The Hole in the Den is his first novel. He lives in Dakar, Senegal.


Book Information:

· Paperback: 238 pages

· Binding: Perfect-Bound

· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books] 

· ISBN: 978-1-60964-277-8

$18

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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So Long, Napoleon Solo by Patrick Chapman Now Available!

Dublin, 1999. Jerome Williams is a man in denial. When his childhood friend Tom shoots himself dead, Jerome enters a world shaped by the spy games of their youth, as their secret identities re-emerge in unexpected ways. He encounters Tom’s pregnant girlfriend Ro, who might just carry out the death pact she had with her lover—but should Jerome even try to save her? And can he convince Clea, his new oldest friend, to leave her potentially dangerous partner? As he navigates a city where violence and betrayal are personal, he learns that the real damage from suicide is collateral. Jerome begins to see his life and his past with a new clarity, as he faces a future he never imagined.

So Long, Napoleon Solo is a sophisticated comedy about suicide, relationships, and Irish society at the turn of the century. It’s not a Man from U.N.C.L.E. story, it’s the legend of two boys the show inspired, in all sorts of twisted ways.


Patrick Chapman is an Irish-born writer. His books include seven poetry collections and two volumes of fiction. He has written an award-winning short film, audio plays for Doctor Who and Dan Dare, and many animated television shows for children. So Long, Napoleon Solo is his first novel.

Book Information:

· Paperback: 242 pages

· Binding: Perfect-Bound

· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books] 

· ISBN: 978-1-60964-287-7

$18

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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BlazeVOX17 Spring 2017 Now Available!

Hip Hip Hurray

 

Hello and welcome to the Spring issue of BlazeVOX 17. Presenting fine works of poetry, fiction, text art, visual poetry and arresting works of creative non-fiction written by authors from around world. Do have a look through the links below or browse through the whole issue in our Scribd embedded PDF, which you can download for free and take it with you anywhere on any device. Hurray!

In this issue we seek to avoid answers but rather to ask questions. With a subtle minimalistic approach, this issue of BlazeVOX focuses on the idea of ‘public space’ and more specifically on spaces where anyone can do anything at any given moment: the non-private space, the non-privately owned space, space that is economically uninteresting. The works collected feature coincidental, accidental and unexpected connections which make it possible to revise literary history and, even better, to complement it.

Combining unrelated aspects lead to surprising analogies these piece appear as dreamlike images in which fiction and reality meet, well-known tropes merge, meanings shift, past and present fuse. Time and memory always play a key role. In a search for new methods to ‘read the city’, the texts reference post-colonial theory as well as the avant-garde or the post-modern and the left-wing democratic movement as a form of resistance against the logic of the capitalist market system.

Many of the works are about contact with architecture and basic living elements. Energy (heat, light, water), space and landscape are examined in less obvious ways and sometimes developed in absurd ways. By creating situations and breaking the passivity of the spectator, he tries to develop forms that do not follow logical criteria, but are based only on subjective associations and formal parallels, which incite the viewer to make new personal associations. These pieces demonstrate how life extends beyond its own subjective limits and often tells a story about the effects of global cultural interaction over the latter half of the twentieth century. It challenges the binaries we continually reconstruct between Self and Other, between our own ‘cannibal’ and ‘civilized’ selves. Enjoy! 

Rockets! Geoffrey Gatza, editor

Table of Contents
 
Poetry
 
 
Fiction
 
Charlie Hill                             Multitudes
Joshua King                           Poena Cullei
Robert Wexelblatt                Petite Suite des Erreurs Minuscules
Becca Lundberg                    Just Delaney
Lisa Clark                               Modifications
Leigh Ann Cowan                 What Little Girls Are Made Of
Craig Fishbane                      Molly Webber Has Arrived
Emilia Rodriguez                  Nursery
Kate Koenig                           Gentle, Gentle, Gentle
 
Text Art & Vispo
 
ana cancela                from, The Herman, Bartleby of Tales
Mark Young               five visuals
bruno neiva                from, GUY (alt version)
hiromi suzuki            eternal loop
 
Creative Non-Fiction & Experimental Prose
 
Lawrence Upton                   A SONG, through Alaric Sumner
Caitlin Conroy                       Leonid
Diarra English                       Black Faces in Private Places
Elika Ansari                           Read more »
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Extra Pages

Photos on flickr