Dadaoism – a new anthology (from Chômu Press)

image I have just received my contributor copy of the above. It looks wonderful. I think all the words on the cover were chosen by the contributors (i.e. one from each). For the record, I did not choose ‘Nemonymous’ but I did choose ‘Orczone’ a sort of anagram of Zencore, Cone Zero & Cern Zoo. I wonder who chose ‘Nemonymous’?



1 ‘Portrait of a Chair’, by Reggie Oliver
“… out of of curiosity I sometimes test out my eye to see if it is deteriorating…
An aging protagonist not much older than me has an eye for auction bargains and buys a painting of a chair: a story of Provenance, Platonic Forms, Animism, Eschatology (eschairtology?) and Mortality: Mortality obviated or made ‘armless’ by religion or by childhood’s first favourite chair: a rocking horse? Or cynically lodging its back against  Death’s door handle? (12 May 12 – 2.50 pm bst)

2 ‘Autumn Jewel’, by Katherine Khorey
“Ryan’s mind was so far away from his mouth that he thought he actually smiled at her.”
The design on this book’s front cover seems like the Olympic Torch and, in common with all my real-time reviews, I’m anticipating each author being* a torch-bearer passing flame to flame, story to story, leitmotif to leitmotif, to create this book’s gestalt. In the previous story there was a mention of Proust.  And, here, the protagonist’s sister, seen from the perspective of death’s door into the remembrance of some past, forms a series of discrete Proustian selves amid the story’s synchronised shards of random truth and fiction (literally). An engaging story, with undercurrents of destiny working towards its own ends, and Ishiguro-like vibes of ‘clones’ released (I sense) into the world from some ‘school’ ambiance where – something I don’t mind not understanding – pupils have their own R.A.s(?).  And I love the Autumn references, imbued as I was during the whole of last November with reading ‘The WEIRD’ (Edited by Jeff & Ann VanderMeer) whereby Autumn  turned out to be so important both in the book’s subject matter itself and in my reading it then. A beige wool coat, now, as its objective correlative. (12 May 12 – 8.30 pm bst)

*synchronously, i.e. I am not making any judgement on unknown and unknowable authorial or editorial intentions. Also, I am not reading the book’s two introductions or its ‘About the Authors’ section until I’ve publicly reviewed all the fiction. (13 May 12 – 8.00 am bst)

3 ‘Visiting Maze’, by Michael Cisco
“She placed her hand over my mouth.”
An intoxicating refrain of “It is a visiting maze” – and the Proustian unrequited love in the previous story is here exquisitely still “following the thread of memory“. With its own Classical or Stephen-Kingian Dark Tower ‘doorway’ making me interrupt (a word chosen advisedly by me) my own contented thread at this brief story’s end. It threatens me with the “heartless” if not the earlier “armless”.  “The points it connects mean nothing in themselves.” (13 May 12 – 8.45 am bst)

4 ‘The Houses Among the Trees’, by Colin Insole
“Early one November evening, after the unvarying  Thursday meal of hashed meats and tinned peaches, I sought out the remotest landing.”
I know when a story has put me fully back into the 1950s where I once lived with all its madnesses and sanities: i.e. by the desperate need to read it aloud to others. And this story is in many ways the perfect expression in style and thought: the yearning insecurity of the past greater even than that of the then future in competition with the now future: childhood’s tentatively brave exploration of large houses remembered as homes, asylums for the easily mazeable, the meal routines, bait-seeking sea-strands, lonelinesses, the Proustian lack of fixity in self: a prose that is physically redolent, as well as spiritually so. Another intoxicating refrain: “This is none of I” to match the earlier one. All plus an  unbearable Aickman aching, the very first time caught so exactly in literary terms, I suggest. A refabrication of life and textured like dream or nightmare, or both.  A Callimachus to be mixed with the previous story’s Minotaur. Plus a chambermaid to lose one’s job at the IMF for. (13 May 12 – 4.15 pm bst)

5 ‘Affection 45′, by Brendan Connell
“Should she offer him tea, or her bare nates to thrash with mad vigor…”
As with all my real-time reviews, I comment following the initial reading. I sense this story needs several readings!  It is what I call a vexed texture of text. My favourite Elizabeth Bowen fiction has often been appreciated and unappreciated by various critics for similar vexing.  It is now as if Bowen has been bound within a blend of Allen Ginsberg and Joe Simpson Walker, with smidgeons of ee cummings & Gerald Manley Hopkins: irregular gaps between words, top-slicing or churning enjambements, sporadic italicisation: and there is ‘tea’ for the Proustians, metamorphoses for the Kafkans, fig-sucking (I infer) for the Lawrentians (Durrell and D.H.), gardening tips for (or is that from?) the Mexican lawn men, Brendan Connell (as I’ve read him before) for the Connellians, an Affection 45 for Heaven 17, and possibly another chambermaid for that man from the IMF…. (13 May 12 – 9.05 pm bst)

6 ‘M-Funk Vs. Tha Futuregions of Inverse Funkativity’, by Justin Isis
“It’s like dancing in reverse! / Except not in reverse / And without the dancing.”
A mind stretching novella by one of the book’s editors: and when I say stretching, I do mean stretching. Combining Rhys-Hughesian fictionatronics, Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy taking typographical lessons in reverse from torch-bearer Brendan Connell, where music is the new reality and ‘funk’ becomes the new Witold-Gombrowiczian Cosmos of “berg” (whom I took to be Alban) – a space opera worthy of ee doc smith sown with “HEAD-NODDING” (cf the hand jive in the 1950s I used to do) and visions like the psychedelia walls of discos in the 1960s together with Jeremy-Reedian ‘Here Comes The Nice’ (all of which I also experienced for myself in real-time if not retrocausally), and my own collaborative ‘silver saraband‘ – and “chromatic Wagner techniques“. A Star Trek funkathon.  The language is stunningly Joycean. The mind-stretching eventually becomes Whovian onanism with vast civilisations, nay the very religions involved with mind-Proustianising, at stake that you survive the moto-perpetuo-stimulatory, simulatory read.  Plus “drone clone workers” escaped from ‘Autumn Jewel’… (14 May 12 – 1.45 pm bst)

7 ‘Spirit and Corpus‘, by Yarrow Paisley
“Should you fail to take a breath, you would surely wheeze and cough, fall from your chair…”
I happened appropriately to be absorbing Sorabji’s Organ Symphony as I picked up this book and took myself through the next story, i.e. what turned out to be three compelling, mind-high, mind-rarefied prose monologues about the ‘characters’ that ‘swim’ around meeting their own Proustian selves in various bodies and shapes [please see my own prose piece published in 1994 aptly in hindsight called ‘Gestalt‘ that more crudely and quite inadequately (by comparison) tries to deal with part of this theme]: shifting selves that home in on a plot situation of people with real lives (some moribund), their bodies, emotions, loyalties, relationships. I think this story is a revelation for me, showing me how powerfully – in the embracing context of this book so far – such concepts can be evoked. A torch-bearer supreme for this book. Also it neatly resonates with the typographies in earlier stories: here with references to “kerning” & “splanchnes” all filtered, no doubt, via “strabismus“… a bonus leitmotif for me: factoring into my own ‘corpus’-roaming which seems so very divorced from both truth & fiction – and from even dream or/of death. “The sphere of zero, which also is the center of the sphere! If the sphere is misaligned, then merely shift the axes.” (And it even has a yellow carpet.) (14 May 12 – 7.50 pm bst)


8 ‘Timelines’, by Nina Allan

9 ‘Jimmy Breaks up with His Imaginary Girlfriend’, by Jimmy Grist

10 ‘Body Poem’, by Peter Gilbert

11 ‘Testing Spark’, by Daniel Mills

12 ‘Noises’, by Joe Simpson Walker

13 ‘Romance, with Mice’, by Sonia Orin Lyris

14 ‘Grief (The Autobiography of a Tarantula)’, by Jesse Kennedy

15 ‘Orange Cuts’, by Paul Jessup

16 ‘Instance’, by John Cairns

17 ‘Kago Ai’, by Ralph Doege

18 ‘Fighting Back’, by Rhys Hughes

19 ‘Nowhere Room’, by Kristine Ong Muslim

20 ‘Koda Kumi’, a Justin Isis re-mix of ‘Italiannetto’ by Quentin S. Crisp

21 ‘The Lobster Kaleidoscope’, by Julie Sokolow

22 ‘The Eaten Boy’, by Nick Jackson

23 ‘Poppies’, by Megan Lee Beals

24 ‘Abra Raven’, by D.F. Lewis

25 ‘Pissing in Barbican Lake’, by Jeremy Reed

26 ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicides’, by Jeremy Reed


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5 responses to “Dadaoism – a new anthology (from Chômu Press)

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