Under Forests of Futility

forests of futilityRasu-Yong Tugen, Baroness de Tristeombre. Under Forests of Futility. ISBN-10: 0692174192. ISBN-13: 978-0692174197. gnOme, 2018. 116 pp. $9.99.

“Vast lattices of black shale engulf us while we sleep. Primordial roots hunch over, as if in prayer. Arching acacia and star pine whisper spectral apprehensions. Black opal rains submerge everything permanent.”

A collection of poems by the author of A Natural History of Seaweed Dreams and Songs from the Black Moon.

“In this book is poetry that evokes the impersonal all around us, and deep within us. It is poetry carefully chiselled from the hues of night.”
— Joao da Cruz e Sousa, author of Notebooks of a Black Swan

“This is not a book for human beings. For every reader will, upon reading it, become lost — blissfully, bewilderingly lost — like a sleep-walker in the black forests of lyric.”
— Comtesse Anna de Noailles, author of A Shadow of Days

“A harrowing testament to the luminous uselessness of poetic language. I wish all language was this haunted.”
— Sadegh Hedayat, author of The Blind Owl

UFoF@goodreads

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Liber Exuvia

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Elytron Frass. Liber Exuvia. ISBN-10: 0692053417. ISBN-13: 978-0692053416. 148pp. $13.00.

An interactive grimoire devoted to the sundry incarnations of a self-beheading mantis, Liber Exuvia provides a shadow of insight into its author by way of past-life regressions and encrypted charms. What was once crudely printed and mass-mailed to random households all across the globe—Elytron Frass’s confrontational novella is now bound, barcoded, and available to any daring reader.

Liber Exuvia presents a hypnotic flow of morbid visions of violence and sexuality that sometimes read like Comte De Lautreamont, sometimes like 80s horror cult classics, and, most curiously, often like beautiful lyrical poems, in which the poet is not ‘man speaking to men’ but a conjurer of ghosts.” — Johannes Göransson

“Reading Frass’s work is the taking-in of a great breath and holding it, stretching it to every seam, hallucinating as you beg for air, and falling into a gentle death-lull of captivation. You will travel to another world, many of them. You will leave your body with this book in your hands. You will weep for history, weep for bodies, weep for your planet in the grand scheme of existence. What beauty and terror is conjured here with such absolute innovation of language and form! Frass tells stories, but does so from the inside out, from a dream within a dream, planting you right in the center so you can walk your way out. It is what writing should do.” — Lisa Marie Basile

“Erotic in the most organic and tangible ways, Frass manages to elicit such vicious imagery in so few words.” — Tina Lugo

LE @ goodreads

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Ambroise Lefurgey: Selected Poems

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Ambroise Lefurgey: Selected Poems. Translation and Foreword by Liesl Ketum. ISBN-13: 978-1544920962. ISBN-10: 1544920962. gnOme, 2017. 80pp. $7.00

Lefurgey was a metaphysical wayfarer, a poet-sage who lived his life on the razor’s edge. A walking coincidentia oppositorum, he threw himself full tilt into the Moebius simultaneity of worlds both sacred and profane. Enigmatic and dreamlike, yet not without a recurrent insistence on embodiment, his surreal poems flicker as hot coals do, often flaring between themes of eternity and facticity, body and spirit, love and lovelessness.

“Lefurgey’s poetry—a light / so bright it blinds my eyes / Alive! / Alive! / Alive! / (I’ve died!)” — Daniah Chilcott, director of Le Trident Barattage (from a 1938 critical-creative review first published in VERBANA, the famed Surrealist art journal)

The translation of a poem by February Eglomise had been floating around the island of Montréal during my undergraduate years in that city; it was entitled ‘A Lifebuoys Merger’ and had to do with the alchemical process—indeed, it was said to have divulged the great secret of tinctures, and by dint of this many believed the poet to have been a student of Jean-Julien Champagne, a.k.a. Fulcanelli. The original from which ‘A Lifebuoys Merger’ had been translated was a document no one could find. It is fitting, then, that a student in anglophone Toronto—at the so-called ‘Divinity School’ (a.k.a.School of ‘Divining-Rods’ qua ‘Plumbing-Techniques’) of Torontos Humber College—plumbed the depths of this mystery and discovered that both the name of the poet (February Eglomise) and the name of the poem (‘A Lifebuoys Merger’) were anagrams of Ambroise LeFurgey (and of course, vice versa). Mike Tulles, Humber Colleges top-notch student of plumbing-techniques, anagrammatized his name and then published his findings under this «nom-de-plumb»—a publication that took the form of the present pseudonymous translation (plus prefatory introduction) of an unanagramatized French poet. In order to disguise his institutional affiliation, he simply added an asterisk-dagger to Humber, creating in so doing Humber† College and its ‘Divinity School’ student Liesl Ketum. Lest it be said that I here break pseudonymies, it should be added that Mike Tulles a.k.a. Liesl Ketum might in fact—in reality—be Ellie Muskt (yet another anagram), and that the latter and all of the former might be the daughter (and/or son) of a certain Maye and Errol, to whose surname another asterisk-dagger was added. The mysteries and mysterious/pseudonymous interconnections go on and on and on. In this space—in the space of these plural/plurifold pseudonymies—let me simply suggest, in fine gnOme_Books fashion, that the translator and translated can be signed (either one) as Space-X.” Dan Mellamphy

AL @ goodreads

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The Proverbs of Ashendōn

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The Proverbs of Ashendōn. gnOme, 2017. ISBN-13: 978-1544126326. 96pp. $6.00.

The litany of a parallel, venomous wisdom, The Proverbs of Ashendōn veer from the broken narrative of their initial occlusion, to the lucidity of theologico-literary madness as a new topography of knowledge. As an inverted deity, “Ashendōn comes bearing gifts.”

“Each page herein has a pair of proverbs, each pair apparently procreating further pairs—further proverbial couplings—unto and until the very last one, which understandably stands as a symbol not only of the whole endeavor (The Proverbs of Ashendōn) but also, and all the more so, of these ‘Proverbs’ as ashen ‘Postverbs’: Postmortem/Post«mot» ‘Proverbs’. The Proverbs of Ashendōn are in hindsight—looking back from their last page (Spolier Alert!)—spelled-outspilled-forth and spoiled to the point of putrefactionpetrification, and pulverized carbonation: a return to, and/or turn into ash. In the end, to quote Beckett’s Endon (morphic mirror of Beckett’s Murphy) or better yet—worse still—to quote the unnamed/unnameable Endon of Beckett’s Endgame, all that the reader will have seen in proceeding through The Proverbs will have been ashes, naught but ashes. In the end, in Ashendōn, nothing but ash: ashen grey, deathly white; the final symbol uniting the (w)hole is the ‘debased cornucopia’ (Ashendōn’s words) of a fitting funereal urn, ‘symbol of the age’. What appeared to be couplings—procreative pairings—were in fact only the ongoing onanism (‘onanistic…repetitive patterns as a kind of fuel’: an ongoing funereal fire) of one already expired, already post-pyre. … On the last page, Godot-like (Note herenow, that there is no need for Spoiler Alerts, since everything is already spoiled), the sole proverb states at last that ‘Ashendōn is coming’—ya viene Ashendōn—but at this point, in this pointed proverb (this singular one following page after page of pairings), it is evident that everything which could have come has already/onanistically come.  All is here/herewith Ashendone.” — Dan Mellamphy 

“There is a story of an old wise man who, on a trip to Mount Shasta, wandered into Pluto Cave, a giant lava tube that extends over a mile below ground. He walked deep into the cave, gingerly gliding his fingers against its ashen walls of andesitic lava, his left hand not knowing what his right hand was doing. In a moment of pure perplexity, he soon discovered the small, raised remnants of what felt like braille against his fingers. Upon further inspection, he noticed that they were inverted carvings (like the ones lovers might etch into a tree) from someone writing from the other side of the wall, that is, from inside the ancient rock. The wise man could not read it, so he put his nose up to it and smelled it. It whispered back: ‘205.’ ~ Is that not an odd story? I don’t understand it at all.” — Liesl Ketum, Humbert Divinity School

“The direction of human philosophical development has, for the past thousands of years, mostly been against systems and behaviors that pose an immediate threat to our self-indulgence, both physical and mental. The world from which The Proverbs of Ashendōn arises is a darkly surreal mirror of the world we recognize and live in, in which a fulfillment-seeking human species is snared spider-web like between socialization and total individuation, fastidious materialism and occult speculation, mechanical movement and conscious spirit. In it, humankind is now crossing the dark psychological terrain between every representation of these two poles, taking its writings with it. Ashendōn is the Charon of this crossing. The pages of these Proverbs reverberate with hypomnemata cum anathemata, vague undercurrents, and void-echoed self-suggestions that the current timeline of history is one in which certain eventual discoveries about the human species will reveal some ultimate, true nature or aspect of reality, or some reason or purpose for the existence of everything, an unnamed key to life itself that is given to all humans to understand; but a key that takes the form of a door, to a vast, cryptal librarium of portmanteau coinages and oscillating meanings, of luxuriously worded juxtapositions where the gothic mind and hell-spawned modern thoughts mix, of poetic musings and chaotically pointing typographic arrows. Dually displaying total presence of mind and oracular dementia, The Proverbs of Ashendōn manifests as a backwards/oblivionwards book of hypomnemata, one that implicitly recognizes-slash-solemnizes the protean realities of language, symbols, pictures, and their lost origins in early human history. At the same time, objectivity, cynicism and language all triangulate into words and symbols that are hostilely left to the reader to impart meaning to. All categories, all states of human behavior, sciences, sociolinguistics, events both historic and prehistoric, religions, beliefs, and origins, all are subjects here, as are absence and void. The Proverbs of Ashendōn leaves no stone unshattered.” – oudeís

PoA @ goodreads

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the spiral consilience

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oudeís. the spiral consilience. gnOme. 2016. ISBN-13: 978-1541059979. ISBN-10: 1541059972. 78 pp. $7.00

This chapbook starts by directly addressing humankind’s connection to the vastness of outer space, and sets forth the premise that death (as a permanent state of being) is of the same substance, or soul, as whatever exists outside of the Universe. It then veers off on a tangent into stranger territory, and talks of unnamed worlds, without life yet possessed by some unliving, sentient force, whose spheres have drifted to the most distant regions of outer space; or, more properly, into the nothingness that reigns illimitably outside of space, where it has been speculated that no laws of nature can exist. Gigantic, otherworldly graves abound in rhyming descriptions of lifeless geographies. Monuments, catacombs and buildings, all deserted and of unknown origin, are lyrically narrated into existence deep beneath the surface of the Earth, as well as on and under the surfaces of distant asteroids. Alien cenotaphs resembling something Hugh Ferriss might have sketched from a fever dream are articulated through regular, metered verse. A sinister thread connecting all these massive structures with the aforementioned sentient force, which we are told holds all life and death in its grip, runs through the poems. Hymns to the universe in all its barrenness are juxtaposed with landscapes of horror, all elegantly unscrolled in lurid poetics that are made all the more disturbing by their intentional symmetry. The final poem seems to be a negation of itself, plus all of the other poems in the volume. The book ends with several prose statements of a negative nature concerning the fate of humanity in the Universe.

“Odysseus, in Homer’s Odyssey, plays upon his name—Ou-déis/Ou-tis meaning no-one/no-thing—in order, through nomenclatural disorder (or rather: divisiondivergence), to outwit and outwitness the Cyclops, a creature of singular vision and ultimately also of unbounded blindness. Oudeís, in the spiral consilience, sings a similar siren-song and sets out on a similar voyage, albeit one over the course of which the Ulyssean body, in turn, makes a rather mèticulous U-turn and turns out to be a Mètic Mœbius itself (the Mètic Mœbius stripped Bare by her BachelorsMastersDoctors and Readers). “Time left no corpse but infinite space”: here, in the first words of the spiral consilence, the corpus—the collated collection qua bound book—corporealises out of an excised yet all-the-more exquisite corpse. This excision is, precisely, an exacting and enacted kenosis: an open negation that finds affirmation on the very next page and then onwardon and on, from siren-song to siren-songvoid vocalisation to vocalised void—to the ever-approaching parousia/ousia beyond the vale of the valley of death/revival/regression/recision-and-reclamation. The recitations herein—the{ir} excisionsrecisions, and incantatory reclamations—are those of a rabid iconovore, and each of its devoured figures or forms informs in its deformation and in its devouring the various epitaphs (or rather, chronotaphs: there where time left no corpse but infinite space) of an incomplete whole, of an ongoing hole-complex, full of cross-cutting tunnels as vast as The Great Wall of China: there where they are digging The Pit of Babel qua Garden of Forking Paths (pace Borges and Kafka). Oudeís, in the spiral consilience, engraves in each chronotaph-epitaph—each poetic page—the gist and the widening/planet-wide gyre of the grave-digger, but a grave-digger set adrift on the seas, digging into the tides of today with the oar of Odysseus: that oar of {y}ore which turns out (in yet another Ulyssean U-turn) to be a Golden Rod or Rod of Divination, singing in its Sea-Slicing qua Dowsing-of-the Deep the siren-song of Wor{l}dly Icons and Other Conjurations.” —Dan Mellamphy 

“If God is the tangential point between zero and infinity, the spiral consilience is a reverberant long playing black work of telepathic theology.” — Doktor Faustroll, author of An Ephemeral Exegesis on Crystalline Ebrasions

“My reading of the poems in this book has only confirmed once again that I can no longer respond in any meaningful or robust way to written literature. At this point in my life, I can react only to watching or listening to performances of writing, something that no doubt sounds strange and even pathological to others. Nevertheless it, this is how it is for me. Even my old favorites no longer provoke the interest and emotion they once did. I deeply regret this condition of limitation. I might describe this condition as one of literary anhedonia, likening it to the better known experience of musical anhedonia, from which I also suffer and which I realize is not comprehensible to the majority of individuals. Thus, I must apologize for my inability to offer a blurb to what may very well be a fine book.” —Thomas Ligotti

SC @ goodreads

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