Recent Schoolboy Errors

•June 17, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Update on recent and forthcoming


Bob Flanagan

5 August 2016:

“Bob Flanagan: Supermasochist”, The Odditorium tent, Wilderness Festival, Oxfordshire


5 October 2016:

In conversation with Dennis Cooper at the University of Sussex, Brighton


13 October 2016:

“Liar! Harvey Matusow aka The Biggest Snitch in American History”, The Catalyst Club, Brighton




“Friendship and the Art of Translation: Lynne Tillman and Kiki Smith.” An essay on friendship, translation, and the dialogue between art and writing for Gorse magazine #5.


“Madalyn Murray O’Hair: The Most Hated Woman in America” and “Bob Flanagan: Supermasochist”. Two essays for David Bramwell and Jo Keeling’s book The Odditorium: The tricksters, eccentrics, deviants and inventors whose obsession changed the world.

Josh Schneiderman @ University of Sussex, 9th April 2015

•March 30, 2015 • Leave a Comment


John Ashbery "Acrobats" (ca. 1972)

John Ashbery “Acrobats” (ca. 1972)

John Ashbery “L’Heure Exquise” (1977)

John Ashbery “L’Heure Exquise” (1977)

John Ashbery “Conservatory” (ca. 1972)

John Ashbery “Conservatory” (ca. 1972)

“The Republic of Postcards:

The New York School, Ephemerality, and Archival Obscurity.”

Josh Schneiderman (Hunter College, CUNY)

University of Sussex Centre for American Studies Research Seminar

Thursday 9th April, 5-6.30pm, Jubliee G22 (click here for map) 

Very excited about this upcoming talk at the University of Sussex where Josh Schneiderman will discuss the poetry, friendship, and art/writing collaborations of New York School poets like John Ashbery, Frank O’Hara, and Kenneth Koch. I’ve been a big fan of Josh’s work since I heard him talk about Ashbery and Joe Brainard’s astonishingly beautiful, little-known postcards in Boston a while ago. He’s a really engaging and generous speaker and his talk will interest anyone with even a passing interest in American literary history, the poetics of the post-War avant-garde, archival research, and the connections between image and text.

Josh works across and in-between disciplines and his research spans a range of interests from modernism and the “New American Poetry” to post-War art and country music. He is a visiting lecturer in English at Hunter College, CUNY, co-chair of the CUNY Graduate Center Poetics Group, and the editor of This pertains to me which means to me you: The Correspondence of Kenneth Koch and Frank O’Hara, 1955-56 (put out by the wonderful Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative).

The way that his hair falls in front of his face

•February 21, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Duane Michals – Violent Men (1982)

as his fingers splayed wide press into his chest. Now he throws his head back and when again he meets the earnest gaze pinned beneath him, he laughs. The same way that he laughs after he accidentally bashes his head on the bedframe and suddenly he’s all worried like this will change something between them and he’ll get up, discreetly pull on his pale blue briefs and cut-off jeans and leave, slipping down the stairs and out the door. But he just laughs, scoots about a bit, and pulls him closer. In this moment, he remembers that he asked him to turn away while he undressed and he unbuttoned his trousers back-to-back. Chaste, cold, timeless in a way. And when he does depart (not now but later, in the morning, after sipping tea and talking with inexhaustible enthusiasm in words he can’t understand), he will again quickly, modestly, pull back on his underwear – the pale blue briefs he’ll wish he’d left behind – bouncing with excitement and exuberance, shaming him in his stupor.

Recent Schoolboy Errors

•February 10, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Update on some of my recent and upcoming pieces in print and online

Not Forgotten” – on Dennis Cooper’s Gone: Scrapbooks (1980-1982) at 3:AM Magazine

As if Rimbaud were on Whatsapp” – on Thomas Moore’s Skeleton Costumes at Full Stop Magazine

Handbook of Transgression” – on Laura Ellen Joyce’s The Luminol Reels at 3:AM Magazine


Zen and the Art of Doctoral Research” – on meditation at University of Sussex Research Hive blog

Up next…

Conversation with Mark Gluth on the publication of his third book, The Goners at Dennis Cooper’s blog (Feb 2015)

Review of Caren Beilin’s The University of Pennsylvania at Full Stop Magazine (March 2015)

“Revisiting Pierre Guyotat’s Eden, Eden, Eden: Splanchnology, Writing, Matter, and the Devastation of Ethics” – French Forum (Spring 2015)

Review: Stephen O’Malley, Brighton Apr 13, 2014

•April 15, 2014 • 2 Comments


Scenario One:

A man walks beside a wide stream at night. He wears no shoes and dry scratchy blades of grass poke between his toes, and are crunched underfoot with each successive step. The hem of his dark jeans is turned up above a pale ankle and he walks lugubriously, occasionally casting his dark, unkempt hair back as he glances up at the trees that crowd the bank, stretching their long skeletal silhouettes across the pale disc of a moon above.


Scenario Two:

You are standing in a wide, shallow stream. Your feet are cool but the rest of your body is feverishly warm: the climate here is stifling – hot and heavy as Florida on a July evening. But the water swishes around your ankles, weaves through your toes and it’s refreshing, if not entirely comfortable. So you decide to walk ahead, water lapping with each step at the hem of your black jeans. The stream winds and your path is not straight. You become acutely aware of the current – its minute alterations of speed, strength, and intensity, its minor rapids and eddies, the way it exerts constant pressure on your quickly fatigued legs like an ineluctable humming.


Scenario Three:

The orgasm doesn’t end; instead it becomes intensified and prolonged indefinitely. Your body collapses and admits the convulsive rhythm that washes it in continual waves rippling down your chest, your thighs, over your ankles and between your toes. It doesn’t end and you think, “I’m beginning to panic.” You become aware of your pulse, throbbing in your ears with extraordinary insistence and, because it’s not as frightening as the other, you decide to capitulate to its alternating drone. As you attach yourself to its sound, however, other things start to fall away: the thin pale form beside you; your limp, leaking penis; a dim lamp on the nightstand; the floral bedspread. Last thing to go is your hearing and suddenly you’re claustrophobically alone with an endless throbbing mass that you suddenly realize is and has always been inside you. The epiphany only momentarily assuages a quickly mounting terror.


Scenario Four:

I try very hard to climb onto a platform made out of shiny, black marble, which stands about eight feet above the ground. My fingers grip its edges and I pull myself up by straining muscles, toes pressed against the cool stone. I hoist myself up and see my prize in the distance: a gleaming something or other flickering like lightening above a white altar. My hand reaches out towards it but it recedes from me. The air vibrates, the rock shimmers, and I am back where I started, faced again with the obsidian surface of the platform’s edge.


Scenario Five:

All previous scenarios are attempts to hem the outlines of an abstract form that has neither shape, nor colour, nor smell, and which is monstrous or transcendent in part because it resists such enfolding.


Scenario Six:

Moonlight shows the dark figure of a man step lithely from a slowly coursing brook, onto a bank covered in shadows of spindly, reaching trees. He will walk away through the thicket, out through the fields, far from the stream, getting smaller and smaller until finally he is lost to the black.

The Void Looks Black

•October 4, 2013 • 1 Comment


Sth I wrote a while ago in response to my friend Vincent Como‘s show at Minus Space, BK this summer. This is not a review.

Vincent Como: Paradise Lost

May 10 – June 15, 2013

Minus Space, 111 Front St, Suite 226, Brooklyn, NY.

Down under the Brooklyn overpass, it’s hot, it’s sunny and I don’t know where I am. Drawing out a phone, I peer into the screen. The tip of the right index finger depresses the phone’s ON button as the right thumb types into the map application “M-I-N-U-S – S-P-I-C-E [sic] F-R-O-N-T-S-T”. I appreciate the phone’s reassuring weight centred in the palm of the right hand; the bevelled edge around which little, ring and middle fingers curl. It’s too bright to see the results, however: rounding a street corner, reveals a wall of midday sun and suddenly the obsidian surface reflects only a dim face in the glare; my features sheened with sweat, my brows drawn together, my lips pursed in irritation.

At Minus Space I read that monochromatic artist Vincent Como’s show, “Paradise Lost,” takes its title from John Milton’s seventeenth century account of Satan’s fall and biblical man’s banishment from Eden. Como’s paradise appears to be a world in which idealism or univocal signification held sway: thus, the artist contends that his works are vectors of a post-Edenic era, “manifest ideas with multiple meanings.” Yet it seems to me that the blackness perceived by Milton’s blind eyes while envisioning paradise in his epic poem, also intrudes upon the fringes of Como’s pieces.

Eight rectangular black canvases are evenly distributed along three walls of Minus Space’s rectangular gallery. A black shelf two inches beneath each varnished canvas holds between three and nine black candles, protruding at irregular intervals from dark stalagmites of mounting waste wax. Excrescences of hardening wax cascade over the shelves, casting dark, reaching shadows on the wall below. Here and there a dark pearlescent glob haltingly descends from the lighted tip of a candle; some of these have dropped splattering onto the floor. It’s an imposing, somewhat sepulchral scene, made more oppressive by the intense heat generated by so many lighted candles in this small space.


I snap a photo with my phone that I’ll post on Facebook later. As the candles’ flames bounce and flicker, reflected in their shiny black backing, I’m five years old again, golden-curled and uncomprehending, as my mother places a Christmas candle in the window of our home in rural Ireland. “To guide the baby Jesus on his way,” I’m told, so: a messianic ritual. Wind moans through our house on a hill in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by nothing: outside it’s pitch black and I imagine a figure stalking towards the winking flame. I remember that I haven’t been home in a while.

The phone’s camera doesn’t pick up tones well, however: the candle flames are fuzzy orange smudges, black is washed out to the miserable charcoal of an old band t-shirt and, in the canvas, a spooky human shape in darker grey. After “Paradise Lost 006,” whose nine candles have together excreted a monstrous but seemingly immobile accumulation of waxy detritus, comes “Paradise Lost 015.” Another trinity of candles erected before another jet black window, it initially seems indistinguishable from works like “Paradise Lost 007,” which has attracted three other visitors – all now gazing into its glassy depths.

It is different, however; or rather it shows its difference more plainly: here the surface is slightly scorched in two places, dull teardrops tarnishing the burnished coating of the canvas. My reflections are quickly interrupted: the flames are slowly burning these artworks, imperceptibly cooking varnish, oil and, eventually, linen. Incremental and almost imperceptible, too, is the coagulated accretion of wax created by them. Their evolution or devolution as artworks proceeds regardless of a viewer; changes in size, shape and shadow occur behind one’s back. The epiphanic effect is more than disconcerting: looking around the room, all appears as it was, but a vague unease has imposed itself upon the scene. My engaged appreciation is quickly supplanted by an indeterminate, but palpable sense that, all around, these artworks may be alive, partaking of an organic but inhuman vitality… The sudden bleep and throb of an incoming text message is a welcome distraction, and I depart, eyes locked upon the screen.

Issue 11 of One+One Filmmakers Journal out now!

•July 23, 2013 • Leave a Comment


My introduction to the eleventh issue of One+One Filmmakers Journal, available to download for free here

Introduction to the Issue: 11

11 – its form familiar and predictable, but alien to the work of this magazine’s writers: one, one. Its repetition, that of the same without alteration, a recurrence without modulation. Without affirmation: not a Derridean yes, yes but a “yeah, yeah” (whatevs). So predictable – is this a re-run? No invocation of the monstrous outside, no addition of something new through the middle: no conjunction here. Just two parallel lines (of thought, behaviour, creativity) that never intersect, carrying us, swaying, toward some known destination, determined in advance.

Put the eyeball on a dolly though; come around and a little below, and the two bars of 11 look like they intersect (the left one is in fact tilted back at an angle of about 30 degrees and is much longer than it appeared from the front). Better: just shove them together, spin them round so they’re perpendicular. The articles assembled in One+One Filmmakers Journal do just this: approaching their subjects askew, turning old ideas around, combining them with new ones.