Tuesday, November 23, 2010

under the dust in the Nightmarium... JEFFREY THOMAS

Years before Blood Will Have Its Season there was to be a collection of some of my short works... Some of these tales and poetics saw the light of day in BLOOD, a couple in my new one in, SIN & ashes, and there are still a few that have yet to find a home [and several appeared in BLOOD w/ radical changes to the poetic lay out]... That collection was to be called Collisions In The Word Box and PUNKTOWNer [pal, and GREAT writer! !!], Jeffrey Thomas, penned the following as an intro... In a file that holds files of old files I found JT's "intro"...

THEN & NOW(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) THANKS, Jeffrey! [yer still one of the BESTest]!!

Sculpting Words: on Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.’s “Collisions In the Word Box”


What one will first notice upon paging through Joseph S. Pulver’s “Collision In the Word Box” is the unique, sometimes dizzying arrangement of text, the mutability of fonts, the obliteration of conventional paragraph structure. Because this is the landscape of nightmare, of madness, of violence that is being painted for us. This is the reader examining his own face, and soul, in a shattered mirror. This is viewing the fires of hell through a beautiful brass kaleidoscope.

In the opening piece, “PITCH nothing”, a column of the word “enchantment” literally seems to flow from left to right. “Echo” seems to ripple in sound waves, “stumble” to drop off the edge of a step. Pulver constructs rooms and staircases from the bare skeletons of type. His are sculptures of words, making as much use of the empty spaces around them as the words themselves. As Lovecraft’s evil forces dwelt not on the distant stars but in the spaces between them, so does Pulver fill with invisible foreboding the blank spaces between his words. As Pulver himself says: “White space made explicit by the attention of black.”

In “PITCH nothing”, (the first of these gorgeously-titled works – my favorite title being “I once possessed a fragile blue vase”), our protagonist becomes effectively lost in a disorienting limbo of exploded sentences and paragraphs with the floors dropped out of them. One would be hard pressed to find a better portrayal of altered reality, of a mind fragmented by insanity, than in this series of prose poems. In “Water lilies”, the words of the title spread gracefully, but the poetic loveliness of the piece mixes disturbingly with an ominous intimation of violence. In “The Master and Margeritha” (inspired by a Giger painting), Pulver builds a hellish cityscape out of barbed words. The character in this piece and others in the collection yearn for transcendence, transformation (these evolving states artfully conveyed by the unorthodox structure), and – unfortunately for them – they achieve it. In “The Songs Cassilda Shall Sing, Where Flap the Tatters of the King” (an edgy, Kathe Koja-like short story which captures the very essence of Goth), Pulver uses his word-art to manifest the raging anarchy of rock music. A song is described as being, “The death wail of 1000 vampires wasting in solar fire.” “The Delirium of a Worm-Wizard” deftly mixes lush mysticism with forbidding doom. “A Night of Blood and Moon, Then Holstenwall” (a retelling of “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligrari”) is a Ligotti-like phantasmagorical nightmare that could be refilmed by the Brothers Quay.

“Collisions In the Word Box” abounds in the mysterious, as best epitomized in the line from “After my skirmishes with unhappiness”: “There are still secrets hidden on the undersides of the leaves.” Each piece seethes with a sinister madness like a straitjacketed ghost forgotten in a dark and cobwebbed cell. As Pulver himself so wonderfully puts it, “Perversion is hired as a governess for our dreams.” In this innovative, hypnotic collection, Joseph S. Pulver, Sr. has proven himself to be a perversely masterful sculptor of those dreams.

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