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Marc Anthony Richardson has found a way to describe in words the inability to understand other people—he uses dense prose that circles on itself and leaps from present to flashback, depicting a muddled mind at work

Year of the Rat
Marc Anthony Richardson, Year of the Rat, Fiction Collective 2, 2016.
read it at Google Books

Winner of the FC2 Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Prize
In Year of the Rat, an artist returns to the dystopian city of his birth to tend to his invalid mother only to find himself torn apart by memories and longings. Narrated by this nameless figure whose rants, reveries, and Rabelaisian escapades take him on a Dantesque descent into himself, the story follows him and his mother as they share a one-bedroom apartment over the course of a year.
Despite his mother’s precarious health, the lingering memories of a lost love, an incarcerated sibling, a repressed sexuality, and an anarchic inability to support himself, he pursues his dream of becoming an avant-garde artist. His prospects grow dim until a devastating death provides a painful and unforeseeable opportunity. With a voice that is poetic and profane, ethereal and irreverent, cyclical and succinct, he roams from vignette to vignette, creating a polyphonic patchwork quilt of a family portrait.

Two hundred and some-odd pages of… something.
This debut novel by Philadelphia-based writer and artist Richardson won the FC2 Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Contest for 2015, for what it’s worth. For mainstream readers, it will be virtually unreadable. Written in some sort of flash fiction/automatic writing style, the book is essentially one long rant punctuated by untranslated Latin phrases, footnotes nodding to sources ranging from F. Scott Fitzgerald to the Bible, and the occasional reproduction of an abstract painting. Technically, there’s a plot: a 35-year-old artist returns to the city of his birth to care for his ailing mother. “Sick women live forever,” he bemoans. Other than those basics, the book is violently difficult to parse. Early on, our nameless narrator spits on a little girl. “I forget her name: a name is nothing more than a cage. She is the archetype stuck between Scylla and Charybdis, an ungodly urban ugliness and a tumultuous racial myth: black sloth.” Later, musings on art: “Squinting is god. It negates detail and yet proposes it. It reduces everything to simple geometric shapes, the building blocks of a good drawing, revealing only the foundation the very thing that makes a thing what it is.” Still later, the protective son: “I want to shield you the way I want to shield the virginity of my mother who has not yet consummated her marriage to death, for whenever I imagine her without her fold-up shopping cart, waddling up walks and wheezing with quadpod canes and walkers, with pocket books and packages and plastic grocery sacks, her body, when she tries to do anything for herself I tell her she’s going to fall.” The book is certainly unique in voice and style, but it’s also frightening, ugly, dense, and borderline offensive. Even the most challenging of transgressive writers pales in comparison with the aimless rambling at work here.
Technically a novel, it will make all but the most experimental of readers throw it across a room. -
Kirkus Reviews

The unnamed narrator of Richardson's first novel returns to his unspecified home city to live with and care for an ailing mother in a cramped apartment. Over the course of a year, readers watch him navigate a return to his own history. The narrator's older brother is obsessed with status and religion and his younger brother is in jail; he himself is a failing artist and an alcoholic, and possibly has other mental health issues. Like Gogol's Poprishchin, the narrator is combative, racist, judgmental, self-hating, misogynistic, and overtly sexual. He makes decisions based on a code that is difficult to understand. Richardson has found a way to describe in words the inability to understand other people—he uses dense prose that circles on itself and leaps from present to flashback, depicting a muddled mind at work. Richardson effortlessly weaves quotes from a wealth of other texts into his work, creating in his narrator a sort of human callback to Western culture, or an embodiment of Ezra Pound's Cantos. The novel is certainly challenging, but once readers enter the story it's easy to be swept into its stormy momentum, and to acknowledge the very promising start of the author's career.
- Publishers Weekly

“Trust me, you've never read anything like Marc Anthony Richardson's Year of the Rat, and you must stop everything you're doing right now and make time for it. Gorgeous, unsparing, heartbreaking, the book is a prose poem of a testament to motherhood, to manhood, to lost generations, to hope itself."
Cristina García

"In language that is at times phantasmagoric, at times ribald, and always beautiful, Marc Anthony Richardson's debut novel astounds. Bold, provocative, and ambitious: we have a new, indispensable voice in American letters."—Micheline Aharonian Marcom

“Here is the debut of a breathtaking talent, a writer of relentless intelligence and vision. Marc Anthony Richardson’s writing is at once ecstatic and gritty, fierce and tender, gorgeous and as potent as a bomb.” —Carolina De Robertis

“As word-drunk as Joyce, as sharp-eyed as Ellison, Richardson has a mesmerizing voice that grabs you by the ears and won’t let go. This poignant tale of a young man’s devotion to his family while he struggles to succeed in a surreal art world introduces Richardson as an important new voice.” — Cornelia Nixon

"Haunted by the sign (maria) of the moon, Marc Anthony Richardson's remarkable and necessary debut, Year of the Rat, is an abject linguistic entity scrabbling through a complex underworld of love and disgust—a world of damaged, systematically marginalized black bodies from which Richardson's narrator continuously rises, bringing news, rage, and redemption in beauty and the irresistible connections of family."—Michael Mejia

Ádám Lovász - a wonderful mashup of critique and mysticism, deconstruction and speculative realism. It's like Dialectic of Enlightenment on bad acid and crammed with scientific research

Image result for Márk Horváth and Ádám Lovász, The Isle of Lazaretto,
Márk Horváth and Ádám Lovász, The Isle of Lazaretto, Schism Press, 2016.

Books are there to amaze us: Márk Horváth and Ádám Lovász have certainly done that. I'm not sure I've read a more paranoiacally invigorating and inclusive text since Negarestani’s Cyclonopedia. This book is a wonderful mashup of critique and mysticism, deconstruction and speculative realism. It's like Dialectic of Enlightenment on bad acid and crammed with scientific research. The reach of scholarship in here amazes me: we’ve got OOO and Deleuze, but we also have Lyotard and Irigaray and Blanchot. This book is an invaluable polemic against the idea that breaking down the boundaries between things is always best. Global warming is doing an excellent job of reducing the “islands of ice” (the icebergs) to their oceanic environments. Is that good?– Timothy Morton

This book exhibits the beauty of a random encounter between a sewing machine and an umbrella on a dissection table; it is consistent with its self-inflicted predicament: the shadow of Maldoror haunts it like it should, no less, no more, lightly and deeply. At this particular juncture (passim), Mark Horvath and Adam Lovasz write: Immanence has become horrific, but this does not mean that we should seek and escape from the terror. (114). I endorse it like any poet would, in awe of its dramatic mastery over nihilism, . Junking Isidore-the-first, I offer: may it please heaven that the reader, emboldened, and become momentarily as fierce as what he reads, find without loss of bearing a wild and sudden way across the desolate swamps of these somber, poison-filled pages; for unless he brings to his reading a rigorous poetry and a tautness of mind equal at least to his wariness, the deadly emanations of this book will dissolve his soul as water does sugar. All we need to know is what is digesting the mummies (45) that, and injection of 5T increase aggression in crayfish (56), the rest only means that withdrawal has THE UPPER HAND in this battle (64). At some point during this glorious Saturday morning of my reading, entranced by its verb, I invoked Ah Pook the destroyer himself and shouted “on reparation do carbuncle, in it euphemism, and rendition my bootleg”. By the power of junk, may they be blessed. For them like me, for us then – “necronauts, modern lovers of debris, radio and jetstreams—there is only one option, to let things thing, to let matter matter, to let the orange orange and the flower flower… speak about the thing itself and not just ideas about the thing, of saying ‘jug, bridge, cigarette, oyster, fruitbat, windowsill, sponge’.” To my pleasure, they added: Menger sponge (73). Lazaretto Island, formerly known as Agios Dimitrios (after the military saint and martyr) before it became the name of a suburb, successively bearer of a monastery, a leprosarium, a military hospital, another, the same, leprosarium, a concentration camp, the headquarters of the Italian army, a small church, and a wall against which those condemned to death were shot, is the heraldic arms of its vortex, the Menger sponge of its past, present, and future. Given the chance, when all the souls of the drowned refugees, soldiers, prisoners, and other martyrs of history will find transitory shelter somewhere else, in the company of other illness-boxes set free of their miseries, a self-sufficient community of onanistic-sex-craving Gynoids will colonize it. The Isle of Lazaretto will be their breviary. – Isidore Sebastian

Ádám Lovász, The System of Absentology in Ontological Philosophy, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2016.
extract (pdf)

This volume deals primarily with absentology, an ontological and social-scientific epistemological mode, dedicated to the analysis of absence. The book is drawn by manifestations of absence wherever they may be encountered. It deals with three terms, the shadow economy, corruption and pollution, while constructing a non-realist ontology predicated upon the emptiness of all predicates, as expounded by certain strands of Hindu and Buddhist philosophy. According to the absentological viewpoint, there is nothing outside, beyond, below or above relations. Relations exist on their own, enchained within an immense, infinite regress, opening and closing upon one another. Absentology is, by consequence of its nonattachment to phenomena, a form of social inquiry fundamentally alien to each and every social form, and it abandons any illusions about the possibility of an escape from the realm of relationality. This book will appeal to students and academics interested in ontological philosophy.

"Burning all it touches in the fires of omnipotent passivity from which nothing - not even the nothing itself - will ever escape, Adam Lovasz's System of Absentology is an apotheotic orgy of synthetic thought or 'philo-mutational analysis.' Ringing with alchemical newness and unborn anonymity, the voice of this text respires with the wayward fidelity and breathless conviction of a new Eriugena, writ(h)ing like a void-cold serpent in the love-infested, mystical white ash of philosophy and religion. We the inexistent joyfully stamp it with a hyper-Petrine, inverted papal imprimatur, repeating words that the Periphyseon, some three centuries after its composition, sucked from the mouth of Honorius III: totus scatens vermibus haereticae pravitatis - wholly swarming with worms of heretical perversity." - Nicola Masciandaro

"The Hidden God plays hide and seek. Can one capture the net-weaver with words? This Trickster god is a tricky god, whose shapes shift and whose faces vanish when one tries to define them. Adam Lovasz has dedicated most of his heart, and much of his work, attempting to evoke the unsayable with words of rare beauty and passion. One cannot define this Hidden God, who created all definitions with invisible escapes. But if he or she or it or they cannot be defined, they can be surrounded and seen, sometimes darkly, but sometimes as bright as a butterfly. Adam Lovasz has drawn those shapes and faces the Hidden God channels, and has taken the clearest photographs of ghosts that I have seen for a long, long time. This is a gorgeous and disconcerting book." - David Tibet
Image result for Ádám Lovász, Tracing the Inoperative: Outlines of a Non-Oriented-Ontology,

Ádám Lovász, Tracing the Inoperative: Outlines of a Non-Oriented-Ontology, 2015.

This book seeks to introduce a new philosophical concept: Non-Oriented-Ontology. Our lives are pervaded by a sense of absence. This new discipline of philosophy seeks to make the presence of absence truly tangible through a variety of examples. From Bible-burning Zimbabwean Christians to junk DNA, misbehaving prep boys to black holes, 'Tracing the Inoperative' paints a complex picture of the various absences that surround us, and attempts in the process to construct a mode of interpretation that would be adequate to fully grasping the sheer amount of absence we find ourselves surrounded with, while also striving to transmit an understanding of events that makes us capable of embracing these many and diverse forms of emptiness. In the final instance, the best way to fill absence is to accept the invitation of the black hole and enter into its realm, a world that resembles our own in more ways than one...

//What would our message be? What is the goal of the discourse we intend to present to the reader? Our discourse contains the explication of what we call Non-Oriented-Ontology (N.O.O.), a concept of philosophy hitherto unknown, at least in this verbiage. We denote as „non-oriented” anything that pertains to an immanent negativity, any event, be it a singularity or a process, that leads to an increase in entropy, leading, ultimately, to an apotheosis that explicates the givenness of Emptiness. „Ontology” entails anything observable, for we limit ourselves to interpretation of events and processes that are, in some manner, empirically observable and measurable to anthropomorphic actants (“scientists”). Otherwise, this work would degenerate into idle speculation. Although we are not opposed to speculation, and find nothing wrong with engaging in philosophical free-thinking from time to time, we feel it is nevertheless important to stress that this work only incorporates that which may be observed in some way by perception. Nevertheless, the postulation of a vista in no way limits perception to what is merely human. The interactions of objects play a very important role in this discourse. In summary, the non-oriented is the horizon of warming; a warming that is, as will become apparent, that is far more general than what is commonly known as „global warming”. From a methodological standpoint, we would utilize an intensive science, a scientific discourse that is, in spite of its discipline, crazy and, through its craziness, open to speculation. (DeLanda 2002) Intensive science is, in our use of the term, a „crazy wisdom” akin to the concept as outlined by Chögyam Trungpa. (Trungpa 2001) Crazy wisdom would denote a knowledge that seeks to go beyond all boundaries, while nevertheless not degenerating into complete insanity. It is wisdom, but an unbound, limitless wisdom, a discourse that does not restrict itself, without thereby compromising its own disciplinedness. It is right concentration, achieved through an intensification of preexisting conceptualizations and experimentations. Crazy wisdom is the density of appreciation, the intensification of a knowledge pertaining to givenness. Through utilization of these two concepts, intensive science and crazy wisdom, we hope to arrive at knowledge and acceptance of the given. – Introduction, Tracing the Inoperative //

“All things are alike in their difference, all of the same abyssal signature. As such, our own book cannot hope for any unique ontological status. All is emptiness. Nevertheless, at this juncture, how would we nevertheless recommend it to the reader? How should Tracing the Inoperative be bisected, dissected, or…? Every language partakes of the night, a night where there are no living witnesses or strata. Those layers of interpretation, those games of signification that do flitter around the void are principles of non-encoding, always already decoded fragments, materials that testify to the impossibility of any systematic, purified rendition. Our discourse, one that may be termed „absentological”, is an interdisciplinary exercise in nonstandard hybrid thought. Of the materials contained within, not one equates to anything more than what one might call a system of nonactions addressed to our own death, and the world’s foreclosure. We cannot, indeed, should not, attempt to reverse the absence and aggressively force it to yield its secrets. Nevertheless, in spite of this unequivocal injunction, Tracing the Inoperative nevertheless has a lot to say about epistemological and ontological issues. It is an attempt at hybrid thought, an experiment that should not be interpreted merely as a symptom of cosmic death and erasure. Yes, those too are valid ontological conditions, given in their sheer poverty. But in the book there is at stake an alternative mode of epistemology, a chaotic way of knowledge and awareness. Energy strata, once lifted, come into contact with a zone with no witnesses, a zone open to the pure immanence of proliferation and restoration. One who reads this book shall be able to visualize, through a range of meditations, systematic de-codings of each and every similarity. Behind every similarity, there is difference. And lurking behind difference is similarity. The concrete examples (and of these, there are many among the pages of our dark tract) have all been selected with one imperative in mind: namely, awareness of emptiness. For instance, when we opt to include the voices of Bible-burning Zimbabwean Christian iconoclasts, our reason for doing so is to help the reader envision a mode of belief founded upon self-exhaustion. Where all phenomena have dissipated themselves, there can be no instantiations that deviate from pure and empty Chaos. When we speak of equating each and every individual object with leaky black holes, in the manner of Graham Harman, we ourselves are exhausted in the heat of this absentological gesture. And how would „restoration” fit into the picture? Exhaustion may only occur when the end is absent, far distant from the place of our work. When a great distance separates the hollowed out One (the One-Zero) from its self-realization, each and every action comes to be viewed as futile. The black sun of universal futility cannot be escaped; death, a fiery flux already burning our cells and membranes, at varying speeds, is already in operation, even as we write these introductory statements. Death is a system of soups, a liquidity that contains mysterious connections. Tracing the Inoperative is, above all else, an attempt to delineate inoperative connections, forms of hollow communication. If there exist connections between things, autonomous webs of data, it could very well be that these bridges are the sole existents. Indeed, such is the meaning of emptiness: relations are the only true existents, relationalities with neither substance nor essence. Instead of a mesmerizing, albeit hypocrite re-encoding, our discursive strategy is a mode of unfolding raw data, treating each and every phenomenon as irreducible. We do not seek to reduce A to B, but rather, to enlighten perception and allow the integration of multiple connectivities into scientific discourse. Absentology and Non-Oriented-Ontology are fundamentally intensive sciences, accentuations of scientific data that exhaust themselves in the process of identification, independently of whatever raw material is being processed. Such an operativity, the unworking we seek to „write”, to render legible, is an inoperative transgression, a sacrilege so impotent that it unwinds itself into the night. No other presences are identified, in the final instance, the final heartbeat, apart from the immense black night, the night from where God is absent and all the stars are dead. Immanence is deferred, permanently; without reserve, without holding anything back, immanence has hurled itself into impossibility. We must follow immanence down into the reintegration of proliferation within the cosmic Womb/Tomb. It is our sincere hope that the reader shall find this book to be of help in following the traces of absent objects into that unknown kingdom.”  – Adam Lovasz

Ádám Lovász, The Nudity of Absence: (To the Idol Worshippers), Smashwords Edition, 2015. 

Colorful in every sense of the word, The Nudity of Absence is, above all else, a work of speculative ontology. Drawing on scientific discoveries and metaphysical truths, the essays contained in this book attempt to delineate the contours of the current vacuity, emptiness and senseless negativity of the world we presently live in, while resisting the all too common imperative in most of philosophy that would force us to limit negation. Negativity is, by its very nature, limitless. The ambition of the author at this juncture, is to progressively debunk, so to speak, positive thinking through the exposition of an empirically-grounded negative ontology, a theory of being that contains nothing, for it limits itself to description of things as they are, of the very emptiness of all that is.


Ádám Lovász, Refutation: ...or A Playful Attempt at a Dialogue Containing Various Discourses and their Deconstructions, iAuthor, 2014.  

Dear Reader,
In this book, you shall find everything from Chaos to sea snakes and much more. This is a book for free spirits, people willing to put their prejudices aside and embrace a new approach to human affairs, a recipe for a happy life that is actually older than it seems. It is a thesis of mine that all of us must choose between living as the majority does, that is, in continous self-doubt, or adopting a new solution to life's problems. The old way I chose to call Refutation, whereas the alternative solution I chose to call Oblivion. A riotous, at times even outrageous exercise in philosophy and fiction, this is a book that pushes genre limits to their breaking point. While its content may appear to be obscure, at times even random or paradoxical, it was written with a clear purpose in mind. As to what it's purpose is, I would very much like you, Dear Reader, to decide for yourself.

I am the light at the end of the tunnel. I am the water in a puddle, a torch burning in the wilderness. The words emanating from my hands are the beginning and ending, from start to finish. My writing may seem hastily-contrived, at times it even appears to be the very epitome of madness. And yes, there is madness among my lines. But the very best writing is born in the frenzied heat of insanity. Therefore, though I cannot vouch for the sanity of my work, what I can guarantee is that the books born from my pen, so to speak, are at least as richly-endowed as my mind is, if "richness" is the right term for what goes on inside of my head. In order to better direct prospective readers and better inform them of what lies in store for them, should they decide to open one of my writings, I would like to list those thinker who have influenced me most profoundly. I owe an intellectual debt to, among others, Buddha, Plato, Meister Eckhart and Friedrich Nietzsche. When the passion for knowledge burst forth from me like a stream in the summer of 2011 and I set forth on the path of spiritual realization, a path that has led me to what I believe to be Oblivion, these were the thinkers I held in my hands. Or did they hold me, this reborn soul, in theirs? Who knows? This is a mystery only the seers can have knowledge of. However, in the course of my literary development, the events and experiences of my life have shaped me even more profoundly than any readings. Very often, one encounters peculiarly familiar themes in one's readings, for the truth is common to all those with the openness to feel it. It is my firm conviction that reality must be felt, rather than known. This sums up my worldview fairly adequately.

(Im)potentiality by Adam Lovasz


Lauren Hilger - a masterful expose of filmic proportions. In each poem is a film beckoning to be viewed, emotional resonance pulling you in for a full embrace

Lauren Hilger, Lady Be Good, Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2016.

Lauren Hilger’s debut is a masterful expose of filmic proportions. In each poem is a film beckoning to be viewed, emotional resonance pulling you in for a full embrace. Lady Be Good is a delight and declares Hilger as an important voice in contemporary poetry.
The Damascus Room
Against the ear a message from one world,
the cold of another, everything lit lurid by
skilled craftsmen. During the day, the escalators keep moving for no one. There remains that list of the last

things in the life of Prince Nikolay Bolkonsky.
Chapter 6 of The Last Tycoon.
Every other page not seen
in the book on display at the museum.

There was a message unmuted,
uninjured, talisman, all ivory hilt,
all of that paper, that manmade
tile, the window.

A seat for everyone— let’s just meet here again.

Palinode“, Blackbird“The Dark Ages”, Massachusetts Review “Monk’s Dream”, Literary Orphans“As Tolstoy’s Natasha on the Hunt”, Berkeley Poetry Review“Spare a Traveler Some?”, The Nervous Breakdown“Claude Thornhill Composition”, Minola Review“Two Stanza Republic”Gulf Coast“Binary”North American Review“Hard Hat”“Wanted as Handled”Hunger MountainΔTime“, “On the Town (1949)“, “Double Indemnity (1944)“, Prelude (Print)
“As Vera-Ellen”“Red Paisley”“The Seven Year Itch”Prelude Online“Birthday”Four Way ReviewThree PoemsLUMINA Online“The Platonic What’s at Stake”Harvard Review Online“Exotica”The Cortland Review“The Nude as Champagne Swallow”Redivider“It Sails Off”The JournalThree Poems3:AM Magazine“The Announcement”Black Warrior Review“LHOOQ”Alaska Quarterly ReviewTwo PoemsSonora ReviewTwo PoemsThe Carolina Quarterly
co-authored with Kay Cosgrove
“Jumping,” “Love Poem,” and “‘The Moon Rides like a Girl—through a Topaz Town'”, Yes, Poetry“Hero Book,” “Score for Invention,” “To January,” Witch Craft Magazine“The Lap Pool”, Cosmonauts Avenue“Goodbye, Hot-Dot!”Puerto del Sol“The Emergency”Washington Square Review“Worn as a Toga”“House Guest”Cimarron Review“The Real/Polly Pocket”, “A Real Knack for It”, The Blueshift JournalInterview,  The Blueshift Journal“Flour”Salamander Magazine
Workers of the Real Estate Wealth Expo, North American ReviewPantry, Lilah HegnauerKenyon Review OnlineDirecting Herbert White, James Franco, DIAGRAMVideotape, Andrew Zawacki, Green Mountains Review (Print & Online)
Signaletics, Emilia Phillips, Green Mountains ReviewChapel of Inadvertent Joy, Jeffrey McDaniel, Green Mountains Review3 Sections, Vijay Seshadri, Green Mountains ReviewAs Long as Trees Last, Hoa Nguyen, The Café ReviewCompass, Luc Phinney, Green Mountains ReviewThe Imaginary City, Michael BazzettGreen Mountains ReviewCharms Against Lightning, James Arthur, The CollagistHer Familiars, Jane Satterfield, Green Mountains ReviewIn the Kingdom of the Ditch, Todd Davis, Green Mountains ReviewMayakovsky’s Revolver, Matthew Dickman, CutBankRefuge, Adrie Kusserow, Green Mountains ReviewDarkening the Grass, Michael Miller, Green Mountains ReviewDark Square, Peter Marcus, Green Mountains Review

Larissa Pham - a meditation on power and the self, in addition to being an erotic thriller

New Lovers 9: Fantasian
Larissa Pham, Fantasian, Badlands Unlimited, 2016.

An unnamed narrator’s life at Yale takes a dizzying turn when she meets a girl who looks just like her. Drawn into each other’s social worlds, they spiral deeper and deeper into a house of mirrors made of each other.

A young Asian woman's life at Yale takes a dizzying turn when she meets Dolores—her doppelgänger—at a party. As they begin to merge into each other’s social and sexual worlds, it becomes impossible to tell where one girl ends and the other begins. When Dolores' boyfriend and his twin brother enter into this pas de deux, identities and couplings spin off into a sinister and perverse web of illusions. Fantasian is Single White Female for the dawn of a new sexual fluidity.

Fantasian by Larissa Pham is one of the New Lovers, a series of short erotic fiction published by Badlands Unlimited. Inspired by Maurice Girodias’ legendary Olympia Press, New Lovers features the raw and uncut writings of authors new to the erotic romance genre. Each story has its own unique take on relationships, intimacy, and sex, as well as the complexities that bedevil contemporary life and culture today.

interview at Electric Literature

New Lovers author Larissa Pham did a piece for Catapult about the writing process behind her book, Fantasian and how writing it helped her find her creative voice:"I wrote and instead of trying to mak... more

Recent publications are marked with an asterisk (*).
The Intentional
Summer Under The Bee Tree, a short story
HWY MagazineOf Endless Distance, an ekphrasis
The Nation*Tony Tulathimutte’s Worst-Case Scenarios
A Larger Life
Mask Magazine
How to Hurt
Fuck No One, Get Nothing

Complex Life*Why Do We Like BDSM?
Lenny LetterBreaking Down Getting Off: The Industrial Design of Vibrators(Also published at
GuernicaThe Architecture of Racism at Yale University 
NerveCum Shots, a weekly column in the form of an email newsletter, June 2015 - February 2016. Archive available here.
Broadly (VICE)Working at a High-End Sex Shop
Adult MagazineHouse on FireI’m Not Myself, You See
The HairpinShowing My Hand
BuzzFeed IdeasWe Don’t Talk About Mental Illness In My Family
Notes On An Eating Disorder
Wag’s RevueThree Lessons
The Daily DotThe Two Types of Trans Women You See on Television
GOODEkene Ijeoma, the designer humanizing data for a more compassionate society (GOOD 100 issue profile)
Vulture (New York Magazine)The Venice Biennale as Let’s Go Guide
MaximThe Gentleman’s Guide to the Venice Biennale
Courting Death at the Swatch Skiers Cup
GawkerInside My Shopping Cart: Food, Culture, and Geographic Yearning
The RumpusThe ProphecyThe Last Book I Loved: The Hours
Full Stop Magazine (selected columns)S&M SellsWhere The Wild Things WentIn Praise of Tender MachinesReview: I Called Him Necktie, Milena Michiko FlasarThe Insensitivity of Autocorrect“Hey, Check Out My Blog!”: Curating Taste and the Future of ArtSnaps of America
HWY Magazine

Vela MagazineOur Own Ocean
Yale Daily NewsThe Madama Butterfly Effect (WEEKEND cover)
IvyGateThe Problem of Consent
Out Of Order MagazineInterview with Leif Podhajsky (p.169)
Art, Lux, et Veritas: Essays, 2012 (print)“Painting,” Ad Reinhardt

poem, mylar, hair, pillowcase, acrylic paint, gel medium, wet n wild eyeliner jet black, bodily fluids


Jen George - Combining slapstick, surrealism, erotica, and social criticism, Jen George's sprawling creative energy belies the secret precision and unexpected tenderness of everything she writes

The Babysitter at Rest
Jen George, The Babysitter at Rest, Dorothy, 2016.

 Five stories—several as long as novellas—introduce the world to Jen George, a writer whose furiously imaginative new voice calls to mind Donald Barthelme and Leonora Carrington no less than Kathy Acker and Chris Kraus. In "Guidance/The Party," an ethereal alcoholic "Guide" in robes and flowing hair appears to help a thirty- three-year-old woman prepare a party for her belated adulthood; "Take Care of Me Forever" tragically lambasts the medical profession as a ship of fools afloat in loneliness and narcissism; "Instruction" chronicles a season in an unconventional art school called The Warehouse, where students divide their time between orgies, art critiques, and burying dead racehorses. Combining slapstick, surrealism, erotica, and social criticism, Jen George's sprawling creative energy belies the secret precision and unexpected tenderness of everything she writes.

"I had to judge a story contest of 600+ anonymous stories and I read each one and without hesitation Jen George's story was my favourite. I'm so happy this collection exists. I feel drunk with love for these stories. They're so funny and weird and true."—Sheila Heti

"Reading THE BABYSITTER AT REST is an immersion into a hidden world. It's a place which is at first recognizable, before it becomes completely warped. Jen George has a way of bending the narrative which is distinctly her own. Her stories are at once poignant and disciplined in their abstraction, and hilarious in their inappropriate and reckless abandon."—Matthew Barney
"With a weird, beautiful energy, George explores the challenges of woman-being: singlehood, self-doubt, motherhood, the dismaying fact of aging, the (dis)ability to love. A modern-day Jane Bowles, George engages these mysteries in prose that is funny, charming, dark, and insightful."—Deb Olin Unferth

Reading the stories of Jen George’s debut collection The Babysitter at Rest was akin to witnessing a distress signal explode directly into my face—a flare made out of the remnants of garbage, used paint brushes, thimbles full of absinth, giant mirrors, ice cream cones, dirty bikini bottoms, expired weight loss tea, dead horses, and black spinal fluid. There is absurdity in every story (a “forever baby,” a hospital’s “Mummification Room”), and yet I felt like I knew these absurdities from the reality of my own life—or, rather, I’d encountered them in a kind of danger that comes with age and knowledge. The wounds of self-doubt and painful self-awareness manifest in a myriad of ways throughout life, and, despite myself, I related deeply to the inner landscape of George’s narrators.
What unites these five stories is a distinct and alarming female loneliness—George’s characters wallow in a pool of stagnancy, the missed opportunities of their twenties. They are not, in any apparent way, successful, are possibly barren, and seem consumed by their failures. However, what saturates this loneliness is George’s deadpan humor. In the first story, “Guidance/The Party,” the narrator (a thirty-three year old woman) is given an unsentimental pep talk from “the Guide,” who will be her ethereal coach in preparation for a party she must host in order to be saved from her own inability to transition into adulthood:
‘Though you’re visibly aging, you’ve failed to transition properly and now is the last hour.’ The Guide enters my kitchen and looks over my tea collection: teas for energy, for shitting, for sleep, for being calm, for being present, for liking what I’ve been given, for being my inherent self—most of which are long expired.
Implied in this, the collection’s opening scene, is the image of a subject embodied by all she lacks, a woman who at thirty-three is already decaying. No babies, no boyfriends, no husband, no semblance of cherished stability, no book or art deal, a body that is going. That’s what you need a Guide for—to make you right, to make you whole, to force you back into the light of productivity no matter how undisciplined of a human you’ve become. (What has she been doing all this time, the Guide would like to know. “‘Looking around. Watching stuff on TV. Having weird dreams. Eating sandwiches.’”)
But there are remedies to all this. Roll your neck, whip your arms, elongate your neck to stave off the turkey wobble. No more sitting in the shower; no more television; no more social anxiety; no more complaining about not being a genius. Like a weird mash-up of a gender-neutral angel and bored Kardashian-like neighbor friend, the Guide wanders around the narrator’s apartment dispensing the implied wisdom and subtext of every self-help book and women’s magazine I’ve read: If you are not happy, you are failing. If you are not trying to be happy, you are losing. Even a faker of happiness is a winner in some way, or at least inspiring. That adage “Fake it ‘til you make it” seems forever apropos.
It is both hilarious and heartbreaking that the defining characteristic of George’s narrators are their earnest and damnedest attempts to flit through the narrow gates of acceptable 21st century adulthood, in this story portrayed to the hilarious extreme—the narrator takes it for granted that 10,001-ingedient mole sauce (with albino peacock talon paste), a self-given enema, diuretic “shit” teas, and large quantities of flower bouquets adorning a party everyone will show up to and probably rank as poor to middling are not just impressive, but sure proof of inhabiting an authentically adult sphere. This is her “last hour” party after all, and the stakes are high, at least in the eyes of the Guide, who, even so, leaves mid-story to get back to its own life. In the end, it’s left ambiguous as to if this party is truly a defining moment for the narrator’s continuing forward momentum, and something more than just a formidable and desperate public display of getting her shit together. Even after she throws the party, we won’t know if she ever does.
On the flip side, however, George’s harsh portrayals present us with a mainstream society that now seems rigged, destined towards its own insane horizon. What becomes revealed more than a woman’s various failures is the inherent absurdity of a patriarchal hierarchy where women are equated to sexual treats and the apogee of their existence is procreation. In a world where mothers are debating whether to name their unborn children Whirling Dervish (girl) or Phallus Maximus (boy), we must question everything.
The prize of the collection is “The Babysitter at Rest.” It is messy and perfect, and unlike any story I have read before. “I’ve been given a fresh start, a new beginning,” says the narrator. “It’s almost like being reborn, but without birth and childhood. I get to start as a young adult, when you are capable of looking after yourself and making decisions. When your body is in its prime. The only rules are you start pretty broke, and you have to have roommates.” The narrator is allowed to work in a newspaper office because she is interested in the arts, where her duties include ordering sandwiches and watering potted plants. Hobbies are essential here, so she takes up growing tomato seeds; she paints a little, but her roommate is better at this—she seems better than the narrator at everything. The narrator begins an affair with Tyler Burnett a pedophiliac chemical plant owner who is married to the successful artist she wishes she could be and with whom he has a forever baby, a baby that will never age and becomes the narrator’s main charge.
There’s such a dysfunctional dread to all this—for instance, the inappropriate sex scenes between her and Tyler Burnett who feeds the narrator ice cream and candy on their excursions to the ocean. “ ‘Child,’” he says, “ ‘please don’t pursue obscure aspirations of becoming something, though I know you wouldn’t know how to even if you wanted. It’d spoil you. You are better the way you are.’” To be a prize, she must remain hopeless. She fills her days with trips to the swimming pool, and eventually wears nothing but a bathing suit at all times, having inexplicably lost the rest of her wardrobe. As she watches Tyler’s forever baby, she realizes she can only interact with it a handful of ways, because it’s will never achieve the potential she and others squander.
‘It is a curse to have a forever baby’ [says Tyler Burnett]. ‘The baby will not inherit my property, my good looks. I thought the point of having a baby was so you could age and die. You could be released after cursing someone else into this existence. With this baby sealed in infancy, I fear I may live a very, very long time. I age, but I’m not dying. I can think of nothing worse.’
Tyler’s and the baby’s plight extend to the worlds in each of George’s stories—that there is no such thing as true success without a wink of acknowledgment that success is measured by the lame ideals of a condescending society that celebrates individualism and shuns community. The parody of the self-aggrandizing leader/artist is both a comical and sinister black hole: “ ‘Cry for my little penis, you stupid fucking bitch,’” says a painter to the narrator in “Take Care of Me Forever” as he paints himself into a matador scene with a pile of slain bulls at his feet. And she does, because when it comes to mourning, she could have been a professional, and this, unquestionably, is what the little penis wants.
These stories are weird, and get weirder as they get darker; that’s the beauty of the collection. In “Instruction” a group of art students attend an orientation that includes lying for five days on black trash bags without moving, eating, or drinking. They must vomit, shit, and infect themselves in a kind of pseudo cleanse meant to reveal the smallness of their existences. They have orgies, bury dead racehorses, and compete for the attention of the Teacher/older man with large hands who keeps a jar of nail clippings from the last thirty years on his desk and expects sexual dalliances in his office. The plot and characters descend into a kind of rabid whirlpool of sex, art, and narcissism. This final story makes the collection an homage to lost dreams of identity and recalls the first story “Guidance/The Pary”: ‘I first forgot who I was when I was very young,’ whispers the narrator to the Guide as it sleeps.
…At the moment of realization, I walked out of my backyard and into the street. I was able to see the world spinning. It went very fast and made me dizzy. A police officer pulled over and said, ‘What is a little girl doing out here alone?’ I said, ‘I don’t know.’ ‘Where do you live?’ he said. ‘I don’t know,’ I said… didn’t know the answer to any of his questions. I was someone else after that, and since then I’ve forgotten who I was and have become someone else completely over and over again.
The expectations of domineering authority figures (teachers, husbands, doctors, artists, ovulation machines) moves to obliterate these female narrators. It’s the plight of the protagonists and the hilarity of this kind of culture that creates one of the most tender and grittiest collections I have read. That forever baby haunts me—a baby who never ages, who traps adults into roles they are incapable of transcending, never evolving, who keeps the babysitter in a state of arrested development, forever at rest, but who itself, in a way, is saved from this awful mess, the mess of life, the mess of being a woman or a man: “ ‘Your father’s good looks and his property will never be yours because you will always remain a baby,’” says the narrator. “ ‘It is better this way.’” - Jennifer Christie             


The Time Complex. Post-Contemporary - Human agency and experience lose their primacy in the complexity and scale of social organization today. The leading actors are instead complex systems, infrastructures and networks in which the future replaces the present as the structuring condition of time

The Time Complex. Post-Contemporary, Ed. by Armen Avanessian and Suhail Malik, Name Publications, 2016.


Edited by Armen Avanessian and Suhail Malik, designed by Federico Pérez Villoro with drawings by Andreas Töpfer. Contributions by Benjamin Bratton, Elena Esposito, Victoria Ivanova, Laboria Cuboniks, Aihwa Ong, David Roden, Nick Srnicek & Alex Williams.

Time is changing. Human agency and experience lose their primacy in the complexity and scale of social organization today. The leading actors are instead complex systems, infrastructures and networks in which the future replaces the present as the structuring condition of time. As the political Left and Right struggle to deal with this new situation, we are increasingly wholly pre-empted and post-everything. The contributions in The Time Complex. Post-Contemporary re-localize the present as part of a changed, speculative time complex and draw a precise diagnosis of the situation in order to negotiate speculative predictions of a future presence.


Valery Oisteanu, king/queen/jack of all dada/east village “Absurdistan” – gallops on the hobbyhorse of our blasted times; and the poems here echo the blasts. Poems point to and mock the “Unending killing cycles,” while surreal images abound and become visual realities

Image result for Valery Oisteanu, Anarchy for a Rainy Day,

Valery Oisteanu, Anarchy for a Rainy DaySpuyten Duyvil Publishing, 2015.                            


To read Valery Oisteanu is to enter into yourself and emerge with a vocabulary you never knew existed. To read him is to regret the wasted life you lead before you read him. - Judith Malina

Valery Oisteanu, king/queen/jack of all dada/east village “Absurdistan” – gallops on the hobbyhorse of our blasted times; and the poems here echo the blasts.  Poems point to and mock the “Unending killing cycles,” while surreal images abound and become visual realities.  Dada is reincarnated in Oisteanu’s troubling vision where “Darkness evaporates into more darkness.” Despite the hi-jinks, the ebullient sexuality, dadaistic lust, there’s a deep abiding sadness here – over deaths (see especially “Mostly Unavailable”) and universal madness: poetry “from the forbidden dreams of the Asylum.” Mid-way into the book he cries – “Freedom is still a foreign word,” well, not here, not in the voice of Valery Oisteanu.  - Barry Wallenstein

Geologists have labeled our age the Anthropocene because man has become the most powerful force on earth even as he heads towards extinction, surrounded by clichés and useless artifacts. Valery Oisteanu knows this, and like a surreal Atlas astride the rubble, he rails against the Absurd, but it is a warning sheathed in love. Anarchy for a Rainy Day is a book of poems by a romantic. Read this book, and then keep it close; it is a life preserver. -  Ron Kolm

When I first heard the title to Valery Oisteanu’s new book, I began to sing. On a rainy day with a bit of anarchy in the wings almost anything can happen and, in these poems, often does. The readiness to embrace them is all. Valery Oisteanu is ready.
From his East Village perch in Manhattan, wandering close to home or traveling far and wide – Amsterdam, Bucharest, Paris, the Belgian Shore, Sardinia, Santorini, Venice, Rome, and more, each a place where he writes -- he reveals as only he can what makes living so poignant. Balanced by an incisive sense of mortality, his pleasures, despairs, rages, and humor enliven. Here, deft portraits, incandescent trysts, and solitary somersaults captivate. Here, in his solitude or with his friends, we learn not only “How to be a poem” but how such being in the full light of day can inspire beneficence and revolt. Love, of course, superb and erotic, predominates. And it is from and to love that Oisteanu writes some of his best poems.
In “Dancing with Nudes,” dedicated to the Belgian artist, Paul Delvaux, Oisteanu tells us: “A lonely skeleton strolls into rooms of seduction.” It is a place without “bad dreams, just abandonment in ecstasy” with “Lips touching, red nipples, breasts colliding”; a place of “dream paintings, breathing sexuality into the lifeless.” In another poem, “Khatmandu Prostitute,” Oisteanu chronicles a chance meeting with the same woman in a bus station after her work has finished. No longer dressed to entice, he recalls her as she was, whispering to him: “I love anal,” as she bites his lips in “my horizontal lingam temple”; a metaphorical lever that air lifts the poem but not before we discover that “Erotic carvings on the gates are laughing silently.” “The Jazz of Sex in Flight” paints a portrait of fleshy encounters where “Flashes of toxic psychedelic light/Radiate the bed with a blue glow all night” and “Bullet dreams of incomparable pleasure/…blaze behind the magician’s eyes.” A beautiful homage to his wife, Ruth, “A Miracle in Manhattan,” celebrates their “four-decade-long stream” where “All our desires flow like a dream/A dream within a dream within a dream.”  A second, equally beautiful poem to Ruth, “”The Wilderness of Her Lips,” tell us, almost as a leitmotif to the entire collection: “The astral goddess does her nightly dance.” 
These are heady way stations through the pages of this book, fonts of desire fulfilled that pull back the curtains to other scenes where different issues raise their tensions and laughter. What happens as age increases and “It,” meaning everything related to the body, “only gets worse” – a deep, sweetly serious bass line that configures the poem “Ripened Life Goes On”? Or how, in “A Zen-Dada Cyborg is Born,” Oisteanu emblazons an “absurdly sunny October day” with an unfortunate, nearly mythic fall and broken arm right “In front of St. Marks Church” – that theater devoted to avant-garde culture. In the poem, “Italian Faces and Places,” he studies the “impatient,” “grave,” “long,” “blasé,” “distorted,” “annoyed,” “confused,” “radiant Fellini-like” faces of those he meets or those that pass before him: “faces reminiscent of Dante’s Divine Comedy,” a charged reference within a moment of perception and appreciation. In a real or remembered St. Petersburg, Oisteanu encounters Lenin’s ghost, as he charts in brief the history of the city that carried the revolutionist’s name “for almost 70 years” before returning to its original with Putin, the new proto-czar, in charge, and “Pussy Riot,” our subversive female punk group, imprisoned with “forced labor” as a result. What has changed, in terms of politics and morality, between this new century and its brutal predecessor? Turning to Oisteanu’s immediate locale, the apartment where he lives, who can forget the wry humor of “The Golden Roaches,” unwanted inhabitants of his kitchen stove, their base transformed into “an existential tombstone”. Or his poem to the 9/11 terrorist attack, Manhattan itself become an exemplar of the surrealist game, cadavre exquis, but here envisioned as an “Exquisite Corpse Remembered and Dismembered,” with Billie Holiday’s rich rendition of “Autumn in New York” in concluding, somber counterpoint.
Filtered through the book, especially in the last section, which he dedicates to poets he knew well or fleetingly, but who touched him profoundly, he writes about Gellu Naum, founder of surrealism in their native Romania, and the illimitable Ira Cohen, Judith Malina, Tuli Kupfeberg, Ted Joans, Philip Lamantia, Eugenio Granell, Sarane Alexandrian, Peter Orlovsky, Barney Rossett, Taylor Mead, Harold Norse, and others and more. Oisteanu is one of them but happily with us in the here and now creating poems and his “violin collages”, as he calls them, ten of which appear in the book, in parallel with his many public readings, and his art and literary criticism.
Rooted in Dada and surrealism, which he revivifies, ever present, ever new, sensitive to the least alteration in the cosmic weather, Anarchy for a Rainy Day sings.
Go ahead: turn the dial on your inner ear to these poems and listen. Oisteanu is conducting an ensemble of visible invisibles from "manic panic street", "The sky roaring above Souda Bay" while "cats are flying freely over. secret gardens."
His gardens, but also mine. and yours. - Allan Graubard

Reading the new book of poetry by Valery Oisteanu, Anarchy for a Rainy Day, which is written in Surrealist style, the author himself an avowed member of this school, makes me think of an earlier, critically powerful critique of this literary and artistic movement.
In T.A.Z., Hakim Bey levels a ferocious attack, saying that for one thing — and I will get to his second complaint below — no matter how liberating Surrealism was in principle, the fact that its style lent itself so easily to appropriation by Madison Avenue and other capitalist-friendly users counts heavily against it. He writes, “Advertising, using Surrealism’s colonization of the unconscious to create desire, leads to the final implosion of Surrealism.” Bey argues that any purported avant garde must be judged not only by its productions but its ability to resist coopting.
It seems a bit harsh to blame inventive artists for what use is made of their innovations once they become known to a wider public. However, there is a further implication to Bey’s invective, one which has been heard and responded to in Anarchy. That idea is: while the first generation of Surrealists can be forgiven for not knowing the future, the current crop of Surrealists must acknowledge and confront how traduced and compromised their trademark style has been. To rephrase that, the only neo-Surrealists who deserve continuing respect are those who, like Oistenau, face up to and compose in full awareness of the dangers of dilution and compromise.
Oisteanu faces this problem by providing lyrical elegies for recently deceased male and female Surrealist masters in which he emphasizes that they stayed true to principles and, directly attributable to this, they were shunned or hunted out of existence by the mainstream, dying without recognition in the shadows. The concept is that no matter how much Surrealist styles have been denigrated by marketers, true uncompromising partisans of the movement have upheld its rebel heritage and suffered the consequences.
So, Oistenau hymns Harold Norse, saying he has been left out of
A virtual museum of the Beats
They who have forgotten you so soon
Omission accomplished.
He writes of Peter Orlovsky, left to die in a mental hospital,
Insanity follows him to Creedmore’s mental ward
But on that fragile morning, the last day of May
A sunflower blossomed and began bleeding petals
lone in death, alone and still, alone and naked
Folded arms, closed lips, heart full of unwritten poems.
And he tells a poet, barely known in the U.S.,
Sarane Alexandrian, never forgotten
Forever remembered, even in total silence.
Thus, part of the book is a Surrealist obituary column, memorializing these unknown greats and refusing to participate in the culture of “
Celebs-made USA, everywhere
each product different, flavors of the day … Fame and Name-Game casualties.
By doing so, the author calls on all second generation Surrealists to remain faithful to their remarkable but all-too frequently forgotton Surrealist forbears.
However, let’s return to Bey and his even more savage complaint against this artistic movement. “Surrealism was made for advertising, for commodification. Surrealism is in fact a betrayal of desire.” Why? Because “all projects for the ‘liberation of desire’ (Surrealism) which remain enmeshed in the matrix of work can only lead to the commodification of desire.” To rephrase that, Surrealism, for all its radicalism, did not defend alienated labor. This, Bey argues, can be seen not only in the focus of the movement’s creative attacks but in its affinity for ‘the Communist Party and its Work-ist ideology.”
Certainly, Bey’s assertions are open to challenge, but let’s set aside the question of the validity of his attacks on the earlier figures and take this as a second challenge to the new generation. The demand is that the newer Surrealists once and for all break their ties to contemporary work culture. Has Oisteanu been able to do this? Speaking frankly, I would have to say that in some ways Oisteanu falls short here. As was the case with Breton, Aragon and others, his unrelenting, fiery attacks on the state’s war-mongering, imperialism and environmental degradation are not matched by equally passionate attacks on the slavery of work.
Yet, if one reads with a less literal-minded search for denunciations of the world of labor, one can see in Oisteanu an important transmutation of Surrealist forms that has a bearing on this issue. One characteristic of early French Surrealist poetry (though not of all their novels) was a tendency to abstraction. It was a curious abstraction, of course, that of common nouns doing odd, discontinuous things like the characters in Magnetic Fields, who appear only to be joined to other abstractions: “A man standing in front of a perfume shop was listening to the rolling of a distant drum. The night that was gliding over his head came to rest on his shoulders.”
This type of writing is one reason for Bey’s criticism, his feeling that Surrealism is delinked from the life of ordinary people.
It can be argued that Oisteanu moves against this tendency, not by casting off abstraction, which is central to Surrealism’s self presentation, but by linking these abstractions to daily life. Perhaps, he owes some of this shift to being influenced by the O’Hara wing of the New York School. This means, for instance, he can discuss a mundane affair like stumbling on the street and ending in the hospital. Calling himself, modestly enough, Mr. Zen-dada, he narrates:
Mr. Zen-dada, Bacchus of the East Village
Ready to take off, to fly vertically
Tripped by Peter Stuyvesant’s ghost
Nearly surreally unconscious
Suddenly something snaps, shrinks rapidly
Left humerus on a sidewalk …
Falling like an old tree into a cloud.
Mr. Zen ends up in a hospital to say he has “a metal plate in my arms” and contemplates whether he can still “compose jazzoetry – jazz-inflected poetry.” He asks, plaintively, “Will I ever play the violin-collage as I did before?”
There are still abstractions, “Bacchus,” “a tree falling into a cloud,” and so on, but they are tied into prosaic events, giving them grittiness and reality. The same could be said of poems in which Oisteanu writes of his love for his wife,
Woman and man strung on life’s path
The sound of pleasure and pain
Your breath on my lips
tongue on my nipples
and of the horrors of visiting over-touristed Sicily,
The highway is winding to the east
the scooters, the cars, the trucks
Nearly invisible in the long tunnels
Love Sicily, hate the mass tourism.
In all these poems, Oisteanu braids together the strands of documentary observation with Surrealist ebullience, making Surrealist verse more quotidian.
It’s as if Bey threw down a gauntlet to second generation Surrealists, asking them, “Can you show me a Surrealist who has not sold out?” Oisteanu points a finger at Harold Norse, Sarane Alexandrian and others. Then Bey asks, “Can you show me a Surrealist poem that will speak to every woman and man, dropping the over-reliance on abstractions?” Oisteanu sets about writing them.
Anarchy for a Rainy Day shows that, while literature does not progress, in the sense of each generation producing better writing, it is moved forward by those who, while remaining in one literary current, can dialectically redirect the stream so that it no longer carries all the old silt.

- Jim Feast

Avant-gardist, art critic, hedonist, World traveler, Valery Oisteanu’s Anarchy for a Rainy Day is a poetic celebration of bohemian life. The reader joins the poet as he journeys through Europe, Nepal, South America, consorts with sex workers, activists, memorializes artists, and enjoys a long, loving and lustful marriage to his muse.
Some of these poems seduce with their sly wit and wordplay. 
“So please advise before it’s too late/How can I gauge my mental state? Also imperative that I can self medicate/” from “Letter to My Shrink”. Addressed to Sigmund Freud, who Oisteanu beautifully played in an off Broadway play, the poem resounds with a charming and urbane urgency.
A long time proponent of surrealism, the poet is also an accomplished art critic, and his language is infused with rich and unexpected resonance. “Take it from this poet in Absurdistan, New York/who wants to exchange a poem for a vagina/” from “Smoke of Radical Aggression”. 
Whether he is ranting about travels in Sicily, or reminiscing about a Katmandu sexworker, Oisteanu‘s quest for liberation unifies the dozens of knock out poems that comprise the handsome volume. His own collages add a poignant visual punch to accompanying text. This is the sagacious voice of a seasoned poet, one who mourns his lost friends while keeping an eye on the chaotic and ever changing New York City that is his home. 
A true romantic sentimentalist, Oisteanu memorializes cultural icons like Louise Bourgeois, Allen Ginsberg, Judith Malina, Robert Creeley, Ted Joans, my own beloved friend Janine Pomy Vega, Barney Rossett, and other creative luminaries. His haunting lines, “A sunflower blossomed and began bleeding petals” from the “Forest of Blue Glass Peter Orlovsky” are perfect homages. 
I especially loved the gorgeous love poems addressed to his wife. “I have shamelessly robbed the Garden of Eden/ Stolen a goddess for special sacrifice…” from “The Wilderness of Her Lips” to “A Miracle in Manhattan” ending with “A dream within a dream within a dream.”
This is a book to savor, to read randomly, to remind yourself of how magnified moments enrich and embroider our world. Valery Oisteanu’s voice is that of a true cosmopolitan, his unique sensuality seeping into essential words and images. - Ilka Scobie

Valery Oisteanu is a poet, writer, and artist of the avant-garde. Born in USSR (1943) and educated in Romania. He debuted as a poet with the collection Prosthesis in 1970 (Litera Press, Bucharest). A the age of 20, he adopted Dada and Surrealism as a philosophy of art and life and a few years later English as his primary language. Immigrating to New York City in 1972, he has been writing in English for the past 43 years. He is the author of 12 books of poetry, a book of short fiction, The King of Penguins (Linear Art Press, 2000), and a book of essays, The AVANT-GODS.
Over the last 10 years he wrote art criticism for Brooklyn Rail,, White Hot Magazine, and NY Arts. He is also a contributing writer for French, Spanish & Romanian art and literary magazines (La Page Blanche,, Viata Romaneasca, Observatorul Cultural,,, etc.)
As an artist he exhibits collages and assemblages on a regular basis at galleries in New York and also creates collages as covers and illustrations for books and magazines.  
He has performed in theater and in poetry-musical collaborations with jazz artists from all over the world in sessions known as Jazzoetry.
His work has appeared in international Surrealist publications of the last four decades, including Dream Helmet (1978), What Will Be (Brumes Blondes, 2014), A Phala (Sao Paola, Brazil), The Annual (Phasm Press, 2015). Member of Poets and Writers, Inc., New York (1977-2015) Founding member of PASS (Poets and Artists Surrealist Society) (1973-2015) “It’s the End of the World As We Know It” Award (2000) (Vault Literary Society award for exceptional cutting edge artists who consistently take risks with their art). Awarded CHIVOT Order of the Chevalier of the Tower, for the dissemination of Romanian Avant-Garde in Diaspora, 2010 Recipient of the Kathy Acker Award NYC 2013 for contribution to the avant-garde in Poetry Performance.