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

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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

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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

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The Filatory: Compendium I

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The Filatory: Compendium I.  gnOme. 2016. ISBN-13: 978-1540567512. ISBN-10: 1540567516. 154 pp. $7.00

This collection marks new experimental domains for The Filatory, an unidentified circle that operates with the intent of concealment: re-creating the impulse of secret societies in an age of instant exposure to all kinds of thought. The specific offering found here is a joint effort of several international factions, textual fragments that are both offered in original English and translated into such. The Filatory: Compendium I generates ideas that displace expression, taking on a life and clearing a space of their own.

CONTENTS: Strands. Book I: Secrecy, Suspicion, The Writing of the Haunt, Architectonics, Counter-Prayer, Collection, Artificiality. Book II: Smoothness, Bones, Laceration, Threading, Layers, Emblems, Apparatus, Saturation, Residue, Slippage, Estrangement, Pockets, Gestures, Distractions, Dreams, The Call.

“A labyrinth woven out of Ariadne’s thread.” — Amy Ireland

“This Compendium is a pandemonic response to the apollonian data-networks. Swarm-written by a legion of damned souls crawling their way through Negarestanian worm-holes to gather in a global conspiracy for committing a multitude of sins, The Filatory Compendium will kindle an ambivalent worldwide revolution of darkness, despair and joy. Inspired by the ancient arts of commentary, collection and murmuring, the writings weaved by this secret society are directed to those few ‘endangering individuals’ onto whose bodies ‘the effects of secrecy are inscribed’ —so they can act as non-ingenuous transmitters of the deepest vibrational pleasures of sin. ‘The secret reveals much more than it conceals at times,’ whispers the acephalous, multi-tendriled beast. The gates of Hell have been ajar for a while, and the old sinners of wisdom—the ones who once witnessed Dante passing by— are walking among us in disguise. Weaponize si(g)ns. The thread is out there . . .” — Germán Sierra, author of Standards (Pálido Fuego, 2013) and Intente usar otras palabras (Mondadori, 2009).

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Geophilosophical Branding

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Maure Coise. Geophilosophical Branding. ISBN-13: 978-1537276588. ISBN-10: 1537276581. gnOme. 2016. 132 pp.

Reputation currency. X file. Anti-humanist/inhumanist perspectives. The colour out of space of reasons: representation, embodiment, and emanation.

Commodities of motherly love found corporate culture. Paranoid materialism refers structure: environment, technology. Human nature ought maintain relations with nonhuman nature, by engaging human body, example, through qigong. Develop body, develop relations with family, with land, some, freedom state, accord with heaven. Alienating the explorers. No, formal, time. But danger, she says, cut off her line. Sight, the same judgment suspended her pursuit. Course, unwritten. Dangerous desire continues her illusory sovereignty. She doesn’t see—like inside blowing her foghorn signals. Not sounding warning, but summoning fog. Only reasoning private property, she says, public service.

“Poetry in the only form it has left to exist in—an exit from poetry, timestamped with your own epitaph. Geophilosophical Branding is a fucked-up, Confucian diagonal that will take you nowhere but into that abyss in which the ever-alienated explorer touches its own incomputable hole. If you’ve ever wondered how to remove your skin, what it is that zero conceives, if you aren’t an island, or what the stakes of bolting reason back onto the earth are, this is for ‘you’. If not, a warning: do not read Coise unless you have a lot of blood to give.” – Amy Ireland

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A Natural History of Seaweed Dreams

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Rasu-Yong Tugen, Baroness de TristeombreA Natural History of Seaweed Dreams. ISBN-10: 0692712097. ISBN-13: 978-0692712092. gnOme, 2016. 118 pp. $9.99.

“Plankton-fed, sleep-drugged eyes cast down in the direction of the sacred.”

“Manta rays bloom in cosmic night.”

A collection of prose poems reduced to their elemental, mineral quintessence. A Natural History of Seaweed Dreams is a companion volume to Songs from the Black Moon.

“One does not read the Baroness’s poems, one inhales them – like air, like mist, like vapour.” Sarojini Naidu, author of The Bird of Time

“Every poem, as it nears perfection, achieves its own silence. If the poems in this book were any more precise, they would disappear entirely.”
Haruo Sato, author of Gloom in the Country

“What we dimly call the natural world is but a decaying and fecund hallucination creeping out of our very bodies. The poems in this book prove it. They are not even poems; they are taxonomies.”
Jean Lorrain, author of Memoirs of an Ether-Drinker

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Annabella of Ely

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Annabella of Ely: Poems I-LXVII. Foreword by Liesl Ketum. ISBN-10: 0692709576. ISBN-13: 978-069270957338pp. gnOme, 2016. $7.00.

Long thought to have been inadvertently thrown on her funeral pyre, this recently discovered text tells the story of Annabella of Ely’s spiritual transformation. In a series of seventy-seven short, distinctive poems, Annabella describes the heights and deep abysses of her mystical journey, one marked by suffering, bliss, and most importantly, Love.

“Annabella of Ely is a miracle. She takes me aside from the multitude. She places her fingers in my ears. She spits and touches my tongue. She looks up to heaven and sighs. She says, ‘be opened.’” – Nicola Masciandaro

“These endeared utterances invoke the poetic abyss of Hadewijch, of Mechthild of Magdeburg, of Lydwina of Schiedam, of a distant and necrophiliac mysticism stumbling higher and higher, ensuring the oblivion of its author.”
~ Rasu-Yong Tugen, Baroness de Tristeombre, author of Songs From The Black Moon

“While little is known of Annabella of Ely, the poetic fragments herein—documenting her physical decline and spiritual ascent—bear the same elements of marked religiosity, mysticism, histrionic behaviour, and annihilative bliss we find in hagiographical accounts of Lydwina of Schiedam. But in the absence of a comparative oeuvre (Lydwina wasn’t partial to poetic experiment), the verses themselves—both in their bewildering brevity and in the stylistic decisiveness with which they ‘chime’ out of a state of extreme anguish—evoke those of another figure, who, in the summer of 1944, was oscillating between convalescence and vigor: Georges Bataille. In Annabella’s feverous writing, in the visceral manner she maps her self-naughting, and in the poetic invectives that quite literally spew from her lips, we are reminded of that life lived at the limit of the impossible: ‘sickness the death of the world / I am the sickness / I am the death of the world.’” – Edia Connole

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