wherein i am sliced into 10 pieces by dennis cooper! (but in a nice way)


having not had time to do anything but WORK for the last year and a half, except for my recent ill-fated afternoon excursion to Toronto’s Ward Island, where i barely escaped entrapment by a Circe-like harridan, I have to say i haven’t been having a lot of fun of late.

however,  there is my blog – the main purpose of which is to let me read something worthwhile while entombed in my cubicle at work or marooned in a meeting with my blackberry – and finding my blog profiled on the great dennis cooper’s essential blog made my day… well, my week, actually:   




more summer reading — with bonus representative quotations!


recent reading: 


forrest gander, as a friend


Lyrical, intense, this novel reads like it was written by a southern James Salter, and is apparently based on me:


I never heard him read anything he’d written, but he would sometimes quote a poem, his own or someone else’s, in conversation. It sounds unlikely, self-conscious or pretentious or bogus, but across the booth from us at the High Hat, he could join the lines of a poem to the flow of talk seamlessly. His face was so weighted down by its brooding handsomeness that he seemed older and more convincing than the rest of us. His gravitas sucked us in. He could lock his eyes on you and draw you toward an alien realm where you were given to suspend your habits of thought. It was as if he’d come from a place where excitement wasn’t taken to be a reverse indicator of intelligence and where it was normal to mention Cocteau and blue channel catfish in the same sentence. None of us had his range, none of his had read so much. The opal blackness of his eyes was magnetic. 

























gilbert sorrentino, aberration of starlight


This novel has four sections, one for each of the four main characters. Each section progress through description, letter, dialogue, questions-and-answers, fantasy, pornography, simple narrative, etc. As with everything Sorrentino wrote, structure is all.


It’s probably no use quoting just a portion of Sorrentino’s language – in isolation most excerpts you could pull from the text simply show off his use of the colloquial language of his childhood:


But all the time Tom was cool as a cucumber, his voice nice and calm, a smile on his face, just a gentlemanly difference of opinions. Marie would look up at him once in a while, blushing to beat the band when he caught her eye, my God, she looked like a peach! Frau Schmidt was as busy as a goddamn bee, Christ only knew what kind of baloney she was giving that long drink of water, Mrs. Copan, the poor bag of bones was drinking it all in.




Was Tom indeed a maker of cuckolds? If rumor is to be given credence, the answer is “yes.” Three men putatively so served were: Lewis D. Fielding, a junkman of Ossining, N.Y., through his wife, Barbara; Alfred Bennett Martinez, a plumber of Ozone Park, N.Y., through his wife, Danielle; William V. Bell, a shop teacher of Paterson, N.J., through his wife, Joanne.


But – and this is a big but – the effect of pages and pages of this kind of thing is the production laugh-out-loud black humour: you start to see the jazz-like patterns of repetition and improvisation, and a some point the flatness of the language begins to shift from cliché to grimly ironic understatement.



    Bookseller Photo 


alain-fornier, the wanderer

John Fowles’ favourite book.  Possibly the all-time great portrayal of youthful love outside the pages of Turgenev and Al Goldstein’s seminal (ouch!) Screw magazine.

            (the great edward gorey cover!)


dennis cooper, ugly man


Damn! I left my copy at the Y.M.C.A. 


louis-ferdinand céline, normance

Double damn! I left my copy at the Jewish Y.!  

Normance por Louis-Ferdinand Céline
BONUS: cover art from goldstein’s screw magazine . . . 
which céline no doubt would take as proof positive of the prescience of political views:



short fiction by dennis cooper

A disquieting short story from Dennis Cooper: a model of economy and dialogue, and companion piece to Brian Evenson’s story “The Installation,” as noted in this post from the great http://htmlgiant.com/.



“Graduate Seminar”

By  Dennis Cooper


Artist: . . . and that’s a work on paper entitled Mirror Not Mirror from my recent show at Hilton Perreault Gallery. Any questions?


Art student: I wonder if you would mind talking about your older work, especially Railroad Tie (1972)?


Artist: Do I mind? Yes. Do I know it’s expected of me? Yes. Switch to slide tray number two, please.


Art student: I know you must be tired of talking about Railroad Tie, but, speaking as an aspiring artist, it changed my life, so—


Artist: Yes, I’m sure it did. Changed mine as well, as you are no doubt aware. Please show the first slide.


Artist: That’s Ty Wilson, need I say, who, according to the history books, collaborated with me on Railroad Tie, and who is now of course very famous, more famous in fact than myself, even though he never made a single artwork on his own and did nothing with regards to Railroad Tie apart from appearing in it.


Art student: And being the coolest guy ever.


Artist: I’d love to argue that point, but a court order prevents me. So, for those of you who live under a rock, in Railroad Tie my work’s celebrated (he said ironically) thematic interest in mapping the accidental (in quotes) was adapted to a mode of presentation that was soon to be, shall we say, au courant thanks to my pioneering efforts. Specifically, I photo-documented a teenaged boy’s hitchhiking trip across the U.S. And there he is now hitchhiking. Next slide, please. And there he is getting picked up by the infamous trucker. Any questions so far?


Art student: Did you explain your art project to the trucker?


Artist: Naturally I explained the art project to the trucker, and, yes, he really did say, “So, if I understand your art project, I can kill this boy, and that would be okay because it’s for art, right?” And, as I testified in court, I said, “The term art is being redefined as we speak, so it would be difficult for me to answer that question. Therefore, you must answer it yourself.” Next slide.


Artist: I’m going to go through these quickly because you’ve all seen them a hundred thousand times. That’s Ty being drugged. Ty lying unconscious in the back of the truck. Ty’s reaction upon being relieved of his manhood . . . and of course, finally, there’s the trucker killing Ty. Any questions?


Art student: What was it like being in prison for eight years?


Artist: What was it like? Well, my friends Andy and Jasper and Roy spent those eight years getting very rich and famous, and I spent them making dinnerware out of tin cans. And the millions that Railroad Tie earned on the art market went to a charity for victims of violent crime. And, of course, the late, illustrious genius Ty Wilson spawned a cottage industry of posters and documentaries and tribute songs and memorabilia that makes Jim Morrison seem like Bobby Rydell, a name you no doubt have never heard before in your lives, which is my point.


—from Dennis Cooper’s latest book of short stories, Ugly Man (2009).  


Text online at http://www.fiftytwostories.com/?p=442

and at



Text with NSFW images online at