Author: playhaus2015

Five poems and ten vispo published in Otoliths 63

A new issue of Otoliths is always an event. The quarterly online literary and arts journal presents an encyclopedic cross section of current avant garde literary and visual experiments from a host of international contributors. It’s a one stop shop for a view of the contemporary experimental scene. Otoliths #63, the “Southern Spring issue” was released yesterday, and it is no exception. Essential reading and viewing.

I’m pleased to be represented in this issue with a selection of visual and text poems from my most recent work. There are ten pieces of vispo composed from a treasure trove of junk I found on the street over decades of scrounging. They can be viewed here. This series can be considered “junk asemic” visual poems, but I really need to come up with a better title for it. The text pieces are part of a large stash of my newest poetry, much more fragmentary in style. These include “If you’re there,” “What awesome was,” “told best,” “Nowhere and Whittaker,” and “recall this dimmer.” You read them here.

“Sea of Shadows” published in Rat’s Ass Review

Fresh off the digital press, the Winter 2021 issue of Rat’s Ass Review is once again full of great poetry. I’m pleased to be included once again with my poem “Sea of Shadows.” This piece is sort of “mermaid horror” in a darker and more formal style than I usually work in. You can read the full piece here. The pieces are arranged alphabetically by author’s last name.

“All the World’s an ATM” (featuring Ouija) published in Mad Swirl

My poem “All the World’s an ATM” appeared in the online lit journal Mad Swirl yesterday. Just in time for Halloween, the piece is part of a series featuring Ouija as a character, contemplating the world through the vagaries of language. You can read it here. I also have a poetry page on the Mad Swirl site which contains all my poems they’ve published.

“Tomb of a New Religion” and “Swimming to Shangri-La” published in BlazeVox

An “online journal of voice,” BlazeVox just published its Fall 2021 issue (being #21 in a series), featuring contemporary poetry, vispo, fiction and nonfiction. The issue includes two of my poems from the Civilization’s Lost series: “Tomb of a New Religion” and “Swimming to Shangri-La.” These are the last pieces from that series to be published. You can read them here.

“Tomb of a New Religion” is loosely based on a legend of the native people of Pohnpei, in Micronesia, which goes back to the time of the sunken city of Nan Madol. This island culture is known for megalithic constructions build from massive volcanic basalt columns.

My story “The Robot Shell” published in The Chamber magazine

The Chamber is an online magazine of contemporary dark fiction and poetry, with new issues release weekly. Yesterday’s issue included my story “The Robot Shell,” billed as “cyberpunk horror.” The story is set in a near future world where robot police control a population that lives mostly in vast slums. The heroine, Giga, ends up in jail after destroying one of the robots, where she meets her dissident hero and discovers the truth about the police. You can read it here.

Mask Over the Mask Mail Art show

Mask Over the Mask is a mail art project coming from Brescia, Italy, hometown of avant-garde, “neo dada” artist Guglielmo Achille Cavellini (GAC). Organized by Italian mail artist Pier Roberto Bassi, the project called for artists to print out a silhouette mask based on GAC’s face, then add a surgical mask in response to the COVID crisis, along with any other additions the artist chose. The mailing component of the project ended August 31, and received 501 works from 343 artists in 34 countries. I’m among these artists, having contributed 13 works (documented here), and I may boast that’s more than anyone else mailed in.

Needless to say, I went nuts over this mail art concept. My first pieces followed the prescribed format pretty closely, but then I found the above image of a pretty model on the beach in a magazine I was cutting up for the Gonch project. I realized the GAC face would fit perfectly in her arms. This is still my favorite piece among all those I created for this show: the model cradles Cavellini’s head so lovingly, and the goofy grin of the mask shows just how much he enjoys the attention! After that, I began seeing images everywhere that could accommodate the GAC mask. I found a giant photograph from the infamous 1960s Altamonte concert in an old issue of The Washington Post; pictures of a kangaroo and an emu in a book on Australian animals; and my own “Pere Ubu for President!” poster. I was goaded on by the opportunity to witness the latest arrivals to the show on the blog Bassi created. Each work was wonderful, and the mass of pieces, each bearing the absurd and profound GAC visage, seemed more and more wonderful as the numbers grew. As of this moment, the site has received 15,945 views, but half of those are probably mine as I revisited the site to obsessively review all the works.

And then I started to learn something about Cavellini. By chance, another mail artist, Adam Roussopoulos in Minnesota, found a copy of “Cavellini in California and Budapest” in a book sale. On the cover were two 1970s mail artists, Picasso Gaglione (editor of Stamp Zine) and Buster Cleveland, each wearing outfits covered in a Cavellini sticker. I managed to procure a copy of that book on the Internet, and a couple others. It turns out Cavellini was a rather radical artist who pioneered “self-historicization,” which involved performances where he wore white suits inscribed with his “life story” while writing his “life story” on naked women! He was also deeply involved in mail art, and was rather controversial in Italy for his supposed egotism. To me the guy seemed like a Johannes Baader style Dadaist–willing to go further out than anyone else to ridicule the status quo of the gallery system and its commercial deathgrip on the arts.

I had already felt that the “Mask Over the Mask” concept was arguably the best I’d ever seen for a mail art show. Founding it on a common element for all the works really unified it and allowed for the highlighting of individual artistic visions. It had something profound to say about individual responses to COVID and the isolation the pandemic imposed. And then there was the GAC connection, in which each work seemed to further extend the self-mythology propagated by Cavellini himself.

Here’s another of my favorite pieces for the show:

This one is possibly the weirdest:

In this one, I swear the guy struggling uphill with his Sissyphus-like burden is none other than David Tennant, of Doctor Who fame!

The artworks are scheduled for public exhibition in October in Brescia. Or you can view them all on the blogspot page!

Five vispo published in Word For/Word

Word For/Word is a journal of new writing in online and print on demand formats. Issue 37 was recently published, including a wide range of text and visual poetry, as well as an interesting article on “liminalism.” I’m pleased to be included with five visual poems with asemic elements, part of a series that represents a kind of diary from an extraterrestrial colony world. You can check it out here.

Ten pieces of asemic vispo published in Otoliths

The Southern Winter edition of Australian based online lit mag Otoliths, Issue #62, was released today. Every issue of Otoliths functions as an index or encyclopedia of the current streams and practitioners of the literary avant garde, and this one is no exception. As editor Mark Young writes: “It’s another lively issue with a mix of short story, review, photography, poetry, painting, & collage in a variety of styles, by an outstanding list of contributors, often in collaboration, from around the globe.”

I’m pleased to be represented in the mix with ten pieces of asemic visuals created last summer using a stash of junk I found on the street over the previous couple decades. You can check them out here.

“Milking an Elephant for Toothpaste in the Jungle” and one other poem published in Datura

A bilingual literary journal (texts in French or English) with outsider leanings, Datura just released its 12th issue today featuring poetry, rants, a book review, and interesting collages by Claudio Parentela. In France it’s available in print, online for rest of the world. The issue also includes two of my poems: “Milking an Elephant for Toothpaste in the Jungle” and “Sucking Soap on a Rope.” You can read them here.

Ten visual poems published in Utsanga

The June 2021 issue of online Italian literary journal Utsanga (#28) was released yesterday. As always, it presents a broad range of text and visual works from the international avant garde literary scene, encompassing asemic scripts, visual poems, video works, art installations, criticism, and extended literary modes. I’m pleased to be represented with another installment of my “Xtro diary” series, featuring tape sampled images and asemic writing. You can check it out here.