4/16/14

New Review of House on Fire!

Everything is burning but the golden body inside 

Nostrovia! offers a new review of Susan Yount's "House On Fire" (Blood Pudding Press, 2014). Thank you NOSTROVIA! and Whinnie Khaw.

"Yount expertly negotiates between morbid, horrifying implications and authentic feeling."

Read it all here - http://www.nostroviatowriting.com/8/post/2014/04/everything-is-burning-but-the-golden-body-inside.html


And turn your own House on Fire here - https://www.etsy.com/listing/177826146/new-house-on-fire-by-susan-yount-2014?

4/12/14

Happy creepy gross delightful disturbing poetry reading!

Read one of my older poems ("A Few of the Motives" from my 2008 chapbook, Planchette) at Crisis Chronicles Press Cyber Litmag -http://library.crisischronicles.com/2014/04/12/a-few-of-the-motives-by-juliet-cook.aspx AND THEN read (AND listen to me reading) some of my newer poems in the brand new edition of Menacing Hedge -http://www.menacinghedge.com/spring2014/.

At least I think they're poems. I wasn't sure what to call my last piece in Menacing Hedge, "Evacuation", because it's three pages of oddly grossed out poetic language in fictional/revised diary shape. Is that prose poetry? I don't know, but it's SOMETHING getting undressed below the waist and being extracted.

Really looking forward to reading/listening to the other pieces this weekend too! Like really. Like really REALLY!

4/7/14

My reaction to “Secret Letters” by j/j hastain, published by Crisis Chronicles Press (CC #47)

Intro:

This isn’t going to be a standard book review, so much as a small array of thoughts and feelings derived from partaking of its content.

Well, I guess the first part could be perceived as akin to a semi-standard mini-review – but then the red part in the middle is focused on personal divergence regarding female blood flow and clots and positive/negative creative horrific overly personal goop – and then when the font color turns black again, the two perspectives fuse together and end my review. I’ll go ahead and number them into three sections, in case some people would rather avoid the overly personal section two.

Part 1: (Mini-Review)

“There are ways to turn the orbs inside out without having to break them.”

Like most of j/j hastain’s poetry collections that I’ve read, much of the content fuses visceral imagery with the mind’s perception of mental/physical relationships, how the body responds and why.  The mind and body fusion is not just focused on the outer body, but also inwardly.  In “Secret Letters”, this inward focus includes positioning, the liquids inside, and different kinds of perception of (experimentation with) insemination and reproduction, both mental and physical.

“I told them to tie me to the cross that had never been forced upright.”

The liquids inside could be explored as an attempt to discover one’s own non-traditional mind/body connections and/or desires and/or spirituality - to find oneself (and/or another variation of oneself and/or a partner for oneself) on a deeper level.

“Digging in the moist meadow I unearthed a set of swan wings that had been dyed red. The wings were
somehow animate and flapping without them having a center”

Much of j/j’s work is described as having a cross-genre, trans-genre focus and while I don’t disagree with that, most of the recent content I’ve read by j/j strikes me as uniquely feminine, in which the primary genre amalgamation seems womanly and earthly – female mind and body combined with the ground, dirt, water, plants (transplants), animals, birds, and blood flow.  Underground, buried down, dug up, re-birthed, renewed and open to more exploration.

***

Part 2:  (Overly Personal Goop)

Of course not every male or female or gender-perception or genre-perception (or everyone’s viewing of gender and genre) is the same – but regarding how I view some of j/j’s content, one way in which its bodily perception feels different from mine is regarding female blood flow (or at least the way I interpret its perception of female blood flow).  

Here are a few more lines from the “Secret Letters” and how they got my mind and body flowing:

“This morning I am bleeding in the meadow, trying to read my clots, to perform translations by way of them while on my knees.
I see lace ladders in the red. I want these lace ladders to be edible to you”

My perception of such lines could differ depending on my state of mind when I read it, but when I read it the other day (and various other parts of the “Secret Letters” too), I initially had a hard time with it, not because of its writing style, but because its body based content seemed female blood flow positive to the point of desiring to explore one’s own menstrual clots like edible art and share them with “you”.  

Since I personally happen to be in the midst of feeling uncomfortable with my own body (partly based on a middle aged mini mid-life crisis, no partner, not even sure what appeals to me relationship-wise or sexually anymore, and not enthralled by repeatedly exploring my own body by myself), partaking of body based exploratory content caused me to feel even more aware of/bothered by my own stomach, as if the lines were going straight into my stomach and causing it to stick out more.

Those lines got me thinking about menstrual blood and how I’ve never related on a personal level to how some people seem to perceive the menstrual cycle/ovulation/fertility as an empowering force field of womanhood, the choice to give birth, the choice to not give birth, life/death power.  It’s not that I don’t understand that perspective, but I view menstrual blood as more akin to horror movie gore art.

I desire to create art, but I have never had any desire to give birth to another human being. For me personally, I don’t feel stronger (or weaker) and more life (or death) force based than usual when clots of blood are gooping out of my vagina and into the toilet bowl (or inside or outside).   I feel uncomfortable, cramped, grossed out, and relieved I haven’t been impregnated by some other bodily fluid spew.  I’m not against the idea of using one’s own blood as part of creating art, but if I used menstrual blood in my art, it wouldn’t have a positive flow or a spiritual perspective – it would be more like a queasy-licious horror gore abortion scene.

When little clots of dark red goop drip out of my body, I’m not feeling proud to be a powerful woman with a monthly flow of vaginal blood. I’m leaning more towards blood bath and how maybe it looks like I’m oozing out tiny, grotesque, misshapen alien body parts which will soon be flushed down the drain – but then in a month, that mini creature will rebirth itself inside me like an ongoing mutilated suspension cord brimming with on & off cramping horror clots for more than 30 years until the egg sacs finally dry up and I lose my wet cunt sex drive. Not that I’m looking forward to losing my sex drive.  I’d rather deal with clotted cramp horror movie alien life form vaginal goop for another 30 years.

But I don’t feel inclined to explore my own menstrual flow (or non-menstrual flow) and the idea of literally, physically giving birth sort of grosses me out too.  If I don’t relate positively to natural reproduction, is there something unusual about my physical and mental organs? I am willing to question my mind’s contours and I am willing to try to expand them and I am willing to engage in certain kinds of body experimentation, but I am not willing to literally give birth with my body. 

With my body, I tend to feel overly bothered/borderline disturbed by any parts of it that are not small and tight - overly bothered by the parts of my body that naturally get loser as I get older. Any part of my body that stands out too much, sticks out too much, is significantly increased or decreased by consumption bothers me. It doesn’t bother me much if my clothes stand out, because those can be easily removed and replaced – but not my own body parts, both the visible parts and the visceral crevasses. I don’t desire them to suddenly expand or contract beyond my control, except for during orgasm (and I think it took me longer than average to desire that, because it involves letting go of yourself – but only temporarily – and usually I don’t even like temporarily letting go of my body if it’s just a casual fuck – and who in the fuck are you supposed to trust your body with? I don’t want to give mine to someone who would take any body they could get.)

On a less than temporal level, I can analyze what’s going on inside my mind – but how am I supposed to analyze what might be going on inside my body?  Since I can’t, I feel uncomfortable with bodily changes beyond my control.  Perhaps I should be interested in attempting to explore my own uncontrolled body more, but I don’t usually enjoy uncontrolled exploration. It reminds me of how my stomach sticks out right after I eat.  I feel like it’s either a matter of keeping my eating under control or increasing it and not caring very much about my own stomach anymore.  

Granted, in “secret letters”  j/j’s body-based imagery seems to involve being in control in unique, creative, chosen  ways and/or experimenting with a (dear secret) someone/something, so I’m not sure why I suddenly got so focused on notions of experimentation beyond my control .

Also,  stepping away from my own overly grossed out self, me saying I don’t particularly relate to a positive perspective on red clots doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate j/j’s perspective.  I like the exploratory slants and I like those lines I quoted, especially the “lace ladders in the red”.  Part of me also desires to be oddly and uniquely edible to someone (certainly not everyone, but someone), even the parts of myself that I view as negative and/or inedible.

I appreciate divergent possibilities, which is part of the reason I appreciate j/j’s creative work, even if some of it makes me uncomfortable.  Heck, some of my OWN creative work makes me uncomfortable too, in a different way. Eliciting discomfort and thus causing one to explore and consider and re-consider and question one’s thoughts and feelings is part of the creative process – and part of the creative flow, bloody or not.

***

Fusion Mix Finale:

“I have been pressing additive hearts onto the middles of dark trees, forming ulterior organs out of fruit pulp”

Maybe our different approaches on body and blood flow is part of the reason why the collaborative poems that j/j and I have been working on for months involve a hemorrhaging plethora of dark red goop and paradoxical body based offerings. Positive healing fetish violence intertwines with negative stabbing fantasy/reality (sexy, queasy, girly, womanly, queer). Visceral splatter paint gets revised into different shapes and sizes and contours and body based positioning and varied divergent life forms with their own vows.

j/j certainly seems to be in honor of divergence, after all:

“mixing the old, new and imagined shapes into divergent symmetries.
Rain falling both inside and outside of the glass, I court contraries in order to learn to couple with you.”

I truly appreciate that j/j’s content provokes me in different ways, even if some of the thoughts it provokes are sometimes troubling for me.

I very much liked the never-ending, ending final lines in this collection of “secret letters”:

a she becomes a he becomes a she

 being buried re-occurringly to upkeep obscure shrines. This is a place that, when it is added to, is so
dense that it will never dry. “
 

4/5/14

genuine, heart felt passion

In my opinion, here is one trait involved with having a genuine, heart felt passion for writing (and certain other kinds of art and certain other parts of life too). You're not aiming to please anyone else. Even if part of you might desire to please someone else, that's not what you're aiming for with your creative work.  You're just expressing what you need to express in the best way you can, whether or not anyone else relates. You will spend hour after hour after hour after hour writing something that maybe nobody else will relate to. You will keep going until it feels done.

You'll post it somewhere - and then you might feel a little bit bummed that nobody seems to relate to it or seems the least bit interested - but you will not overly question yourself for writing it, because you felt like you had to. Maybe part of you doesn't quite understand WHY you had to.  But if you had to, you had to. Whether or not anybody else relates, you still had to.

Maybe you can pretend that someone secretly relates (maybe someone does and you won't be pretending. Unless I get into my depressed mode, a little part of me always likes imagining that a few people relate to me and just aren't sure how to tell me so).

If you didn't have a genuine personal passion, then why would you spend so much time and energy working on something that most people don't give a fuck about?  Because it matters to you and you're not going to bow down into easy complacency.

4/4/14

When will a sweet tasting fairy tale turn into blue blood clots? - a blurb written by Juliet Cook for a book by Laura Madeline Wiseman

Some months ago, I read Laura Madeline Wiseman's chapbook, "HIS LATE WIVES", which was a shorter version of her recently published poetry collection, "Some Fatal Effects of Curiosity and Disobedience" (Lavender Ink). I very much enjoyed that chapbook's multicolored blue innards and here is the potential book blurb I wrote, related to those innards:

"Inspired by the tales of Bluebeard, but offering her own uniquely spooky and contemporary multifaceted twists and turns, Laura Madeline Wiseman’s, “His Late Wives” got my head spinning and swooning Cocteau Twins sounds while alternating in between the creaking beds and locked doors of questionable relationships. It enveloped my brain with creepy questions – When does light blue turn dark blue? What is eye shut glitter and when will it explode and then quietly drip dry closer to nonexistence?

Starting with sweet blue fruit in the foreground and a dangerous monsoon in the background, marriage can shake and stain things and rip “like a run in stockings, ever widening, / an unstoppable opening to air and skin” and then one day “it’s going to unravel, / the window disappearing into the door” and then it will freeze frame down in the (de)basement.

When will a sweet tasting fairy tale turn into blue blood clots? When does sweet dripping become skin freezing to death? The blue may be endless but that doesn’t mean it always stays edible. Sometimes (again and again and again) the passage of time and the hazards of marriage have a murderous ending hue."

~Juliet Cook

4/1/14

Blood Pudding Press April Special Offer

Since April is poetry month, you may use Coupon Code APRILPOEMLOVE for 25% off any poetry chapbook purchases made from the Blood Pudding Press shop this entire month! - http://www.etsy.com/shop/BloodPuddingPress

3/29/14

So what if I’m overreacting again? Maybe I'm a repetitive mess.

I’m not quite sure why my mind is overreacting to this matter today; it’s probably because my mind is choosing to  focus on something small that’s bothering me/hurting my feelings, rather than focusing on the larger things that are bothering me but that I can’t do anything about.
 
So here’s the small thing that’s currently bothering me and causing me to feel like crying. How come nobody likes the way I smell?  I feel like for years I’ve been into unique delightful oddly delicious scents of perfumes and body moisturizers and I feel like I used to get quite a few scent-related compliments, but now I seem to get the opposite of compliments, mostly from my mom.  In recent months, several times my mom has told me that my perfume doesn’t smell good and it reminds her of Avon perfume (which would be the total opposite of what I want to smell like, since Avon strikes me as generic, un-unique and old lady like). 

The other day in the hospital, my aunt who was sitting next to me made a comment about smelling something and my mom said that it was my perfume and that she didn’t like it.  I wouldn’t really care what my mom thought of my scent if anyone DID seem to like it, but I’m starting to feel as if something might be wrong with my sense of smell and/or I have unusual taste with my smell sensors (not that there’s anything wrong with unusual), because the last time I remember anyone complimenting the way I smelled was more than 8 months ago when I was in some coffee shop in Pittsburgh and the gay guy working behind the counter wanted to know what kind of scent I was wearing because he liked it.  So I guess I appeal to nobody, scent-wise, except for a young gay guy in a different state. 

The main perfume I’m been wearing for about a year now is called Annabel Lee and it’s a handmade artisan oil with primary scents of fern, jasmine, orris, and sandalwood.  I understand that kind of scent is not going to appeal to everyone/not going to be everyone’s style, but it’s MY style right now, and how could it possibly smell like Avon?  If some guy had told me that I smelled like Avon, I would have felt like punching him and I might have just walked out of the room.  Obviously I’m not going to punch my mom and walk away from her, but I really hope I don’t hear from her about my perfume again in the next few days.

The body butter I’ve been wearing recently is called Scintillating and includes champagne bubbles, ginger, cardamom, and amber.  Does that sound like Avon?  Not to me it doesn’t.  Maybe I just have a different sense of smell and different style than anyone around me.  

Or maybe I’m nobody’s style – the way I look, the way I talk, the way I under dress or overdress, AND the way I smell. But if I’m nobody else’s style, then I might as well at least keep being my own style and personally liking the way I smell, so I’m not going to quit wearing the scents I like until I get tired of them and switch to something else different.  (But I will admit it still hurts my feelings a little if nobody else likes my style though.  One side of my brain is like, “Oh yeah?  Well fuck you!” The other side of my brain is brimming with hurt feelings and should just live in a closet by itself and sob.)

3/28/14

WHY?

I’m not anti-hunting, but what is up with some people’s seemingly natural proclivity to kill non-human creatures that are smaller than them even if they’re not doing anything to you and you’re not going to eat them – you’re just going to stomp them onto the ground and leave them.  I’m mostly thinking of insects and why it seems fun to a lot of kids to kill insects.

When I was walking my dog this morning, I saw a worm crawling on the sidewalk and it almost automatically popped into my head that some kids would probably automatically step on it, not because they were scared of it, but because it was a small creature that they had the power to crush.

And then I started thinking what is up with that – the apparently natural inclination to kill small things – to stomp or squish insects to death, even if the insects are outside.  I recently saw one of my nephews, almost as soon as he saw a spider outside, repeatedly stomp on the thing, as though the death of the spider was both fun and necessary.

Some adults seem to have a tendency to automatically have to kill an insect as soon as they see it in their house ( I feel that way about mosquitoes), so maybe that translates to their kids as automatically having to kill it if they see an insect ANYWHERE, even outside. And maybe that combines with a natural tendency to crush things that we have the power to crush – and kids are too young to analyze where that tendency comes from and what it means and make their own choice of turning it up, toning it down, or otherwise controlling it – or at least questioning where it comes from and what it means.

As an adult, it’s not like I’ve never killed a spider before – I’ve killed a few big ones in my house – but then I feel guilty that I didn’t just manage to take the living creature outside and allow it to do its own thing.  Small spiders in my house don’t even bother me; if I see one I just leave it be.  If I saw one that I knew was poisonous then I’d probably kill it, so it didn’t kill me – but I wouldn’t kill one for no apparent reason other than controlling and causing death.

I have a memory from my childhood, in which me and one of my sisters and my mom were visiting my aunt who lived in Florida and were spending time in an area where we were fishing and there were little crabs walking around on the ground.  I was an un-athletic girl and didn’t have very good aim, so when I saw this one little crab a ways away from me, just staying in the same place, I thought I’d throw a rock in its general direction, so that the rock landing near it would make it start moving again. Well, the rock I threw ended up landing directly on top of the crab and crushed it into oblivion. I certainly didn’t feel like that was a powerful, successful accomplishment. I felt awful, upset and guilty, but kept those feelings to myself and didn’t tell anyone that I had accidentally managed to kill a crab. I certainly didn't brag about it.

Maybe I’m a contradictory mess though (and maybe I’ve always been that way) because even though my memory of guilt about accidentally killing a crab is true, I also remember torturing a few insects as a kid.  Not frequently and not thinking of it as purposeful torture at the time, but why did my sister and I once catch a fly in our house and tear off one of its wings and then the other and then just watch it, unable to fly, and then pick it up while it was still alive and flush it down the toilet?  And why did I once catch a daddy long legs spider and slowly tear off all of its long legs until it was nothing but a little round circle that couldn’t move?

***

My grandpa died early this morning and for some reason (maybe deriving from past memories combined with a poem I read last night called “After the Stillbirth, the Pioneer Wife Dresses a Rabbit” by Donna Vorreyer), I’m remembering a time way back when I was in junior high and had a pet rabbit and my grandpa seemed to think it was really humorous to tell me about the days when he was a boy and would snap rabbits necks.


3/19/14

New Pretty Owl Poetry!

"Gorgeous broken doll brains, stillborn. Powdered up."

The first issue of Pretty Owl Poetry is alive and includes a collaborative poem by Juliet Cook & Robert Cole - "Egg Sack Suspension Cord". 

Read more here - 
http://prettyowlpoetry.com/egg-sack-suspension-cord/

3/15/14

March Thirteen Myna Birds is alive, swimming, flying, hiding, swinging, cutting its fingers and swooning

The Thirteen Myna Birds flock is newly updated! Offering the title poem from Susan Yount's new contest winning Blood Pudding Press chapbook - and poems from some of the contests semifinalists - Patti Flint, Allie Marini Batts, and Jessy Randall.

"She can hear the red stream calling - layer after layer of vibrating - velvet legs begin thrashing - a human leg bone - small wound littered with strawberry seeds - stars sewn across our palms - pulled the songs out of your mouth backwards"

http://13myna.blogspot.com/