Christian Peet
Multiple Genre Disorder

Your dope-laced blood shows me new highs.
Bloodlust. Druglust. Count Drugula arise!

— Electric Wizard, “The Satanic Rites of Drugula1

It’s still not real to me — what the sentences are for and how long they might go on.

— Bhanu Kapil, Ban en Banlieue 2

I thank Naomi and Joshua for inviting me to be a part of this discussion, and I appreciate the focus on the act of creating these forms, rather than on their taxonomy — which can feel more like taxidermy, the risk of any static -ism, in which hybridism is no exception.3 I also love the reading list that came with the invitation — Aase Berg, Bhanu Kapil, Maggie Nelson, Kristin Prevallet, et al 4 — to which I’ll add just a handful of friends whose work with genre has changed my life, or at least guided my work both as a publisher and as a writer: Rebecca Brown, Jenny Boully, Johannes Göransson, Joyelle McSweeney, Selah Saterstrom, Kim Gek Lin Short, and Derek White. 5 I could also name any number of other Tarpaulin Sky Press authors or magazine contributors whose trans- work I’ve been privileged to publish, but of course such a list in the first paragraph of this essay would be absolutely mental.6

Nor will I hold forth on Crowley here, except to say that examining his oeuvre as trans-genre work can yield interesting results.7

Cole Swenson, quoted in the introduction to this project, pretty much covers the rest:

My main interest in mixing forms, hybridizing them, etc., is to get to writing. If one is writing a poem or a prose-poem or a play or a novel or whatever, one is not just writing, and it’s that form-free, non-preconceived event that I’m always trying to get to—in short, I don’t want to write anything; I just want to write….8

Since Naomi and Joshua were kind enough to ask, however — and given that I haven’t uttered a word to anyone for a long time, except to birds and other woodland critter friends, and various incorporeal entities, here in the woods of New England — I’ll go on at some length and will no doubt turn what might have been a simple discussion of genre into something awkward.

1) BELONGING TO THE EMPEROR

In a 1942 essay,9 Borges alleges the existence of an ancient Chinese encyclopedia, “The Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge,” in which the taxonomy of animals comprises 14 categories:

(a) belonging to the Emperor, (b) embalmed, (c) tame, (d) suckling pigs, (e) sirens, (f) fabulous, (g) stray dogs, (h) included in the present classification, (i) frenzied, (j) innumerable, (k) drawn with a very fine camelhair brush, (l) et cetera, (m) having just broken the water pitcher, (n) that from a long way off look like flies

In the preface to The Order of Things,10 Foucault writes

This book first arose out of [Borges’ “Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge”], out of the laughter that shattered, as I read the passage, all the familiar landmarks of my thought — our thought, the thought that bears the stamp of our age and our geography — breaking up all the ordered surfaces and all the planes with which we are accustomed to tame the wild profusion of existing things, and continuing long afterwards to disturb and threaten with collapse our age-old distinctions between the Same and the Other.

At least three things interest me in the above texts:

1) The obvious: Borges’ taxonomy as a poke in the eye of capital-O Order, which delights as matter of principle, given that certain orders are in no danger from a good poking (the numerals 0-9, for example, will likely remain useful for a good long time) while others, such as the two-party political system, need a proper slash-and-burn.

2) Foucault’s text as poetry — which is inseparable from 3) Foucault’s laughter.

Not a chuckle, mind you, but a laugh that shatters:

shatters all the ordered surfaces and the planes where we seek to tame the wild profusion of existing things and our age-old distinctions between the Same and other

A laugh that hits the “reset” code: Ctrl + Alt + Delete.
The Big Zero. Via Nuit.
Or the Fool of the Tarot.
Or whatever blows your brains out. Whatever gets you to the other side.

B) EMBALMED

Where there is no Thing —
about which nothing may be said —
there comes a thing
and the thing is One.

One being Kether, the “singularity” of the Big Bang, which in its naming is a second thing, and is also One again, and again, and again . . . everywhere, in all directions — including inward — at once: this is the Now.

Or, as Joyelle writes in “The ‘Future’ of ‘Poetry’”11

Poetry’s present tense rejects the future in favor of an inflorating and decaying omnipresence, festive and overblown as a funeral garland, flimsy and odiferous, generating excess without the orderliness of generations It rejects genre. It rejects “a” language. Rejects form for formlessness. It doesn’t exist in one state but is always making corrupt copies of itself.

C) TAME

Joshua and Naomi presented several great prompts for this discussion. I’ll address a few directly, the others less directly.

Q: Do you categorize your work? If so, how?

A: I do categorize my work — I call it “text.”12 In all earnestness. I find “text” both comforting and freeing. My love for capital-L literature has waxed and waned, but I have always loved text. Nor could I say I prefer one genre to another. For example: my seventeen-year-old sister’s diary, which I found when I was nine. The army infantry manual I bought at a yard sale around that same time. John Green’s 60s- and 70s-era saddle-stapled chapbooks documenting his quest for Sasquatch. My stained shooting-script of the 1978 made-for-TV movie A Death in Canaan. The numerous copies that I own of Don’t Make Me Go Back, Mommy, a children’s book from 1990 about Satanic Ritual Abuse.

I am inspired in particular by books that others tend to file in the genre of “crap.” Especially if I first read them in high school and thus associate them with amazing friends and being stoned all day — Go Ask Alice, Say You Love Satan, et al— I am pathetic in that way: “inspiration” still works for me, and I find it in crap.

D) SUCKLING PIGS

Q: Do you find genre constraints limiting (in general / in concept / in publishing)?

A: Only when publishing other writers via Tarpaulin Sky Press. The infernal BISAC codes: those predefined categories a publisher is expected to put in the upper left-hand corner of the back cover of the book.

Tarpaulin Sky’s BISAC codes tend to look like “Fiction/Poetry/Drama” (Johannes Göransson’s Entrance to a colonial pageant…, et al) or some other clunky combination; or in the case of Joyelle McSweeney’s Salamandrine, “Fiction/Parenting/Occult.”

Etc.

E) SIRENS

Q: What is the “post-genre approach?”

Genres, I have recently learned, are generated by algorithms based on consumer habits and desires.

Netflix possesses not several hundred genres, or even several thousand, but 76,897 unique ways to describe types of movies.
Region + Adjectives + Noun Genre + Based On… + Set In… + From the… + About… + For Age X to Y 13

Thus genre, like everything else, falls apart or explodes.

Genre: bang bang (cf. Kim Hyesoon).14

“Post-genre” is just another word for nothing left to lose. Which is to say: it’s freedom! It doesn’t mean “done with genre,” or “over” genre, but more like, “in a relationship with any and all genres”—sometimes all at once, in an “orgy of genre,” (cf. Johannes’ and Joyelle’s Action Books promoting “genre-promiscuous work.”15

F) FABULOUS

It’s impossible to overstate the effect of Selah Saterstrom’s 2004 debut, The Pink Institution,16 on my relationship to text and how it might be rendered.

Ten years ago (fucking hell) I interviewed Selah for Tarpaulin Sky. We’d published these arresting little “slides” — like microscope slides — and were discussing those, but were also discussing The Pink Institution (The Meat & Spirit Plan 17was still in the oven at the time). In response to my asking how the lens of genre might be applied to her work, Selah said:

Is this work fiction? Trans-genre? I don’t know. I recently went through a period in which I was so hung up on what genre I was writing in that it became debilitating. During this time the election was going on and I dealt with it by reading loser’s points of view through history. I started to read Japanese accounts of Hiroshima, which re-triggered years of previous Holocaust readings.

After atrocities forms emerge, often called avant-garde forms. Looking at avant-garde as a literal translation, these forms may be “forward looking” but they feel more to me like forms of present moment witness. How does one speak after a violence that literally reconfigures the cellular structure of things, that, in its erasure, records the shadow of what is no longer present? Out of necessity forms arise to speak a language that must also speak these losses and transfigurations.

Thinking about these things, I realized it would be more productive and better for me to switch from the question: “What genre am I writing in?” to: “How can I be a more pure filter through which language can pattern the mystery of my concerns?” At this point I’ve chosen a sense of urgency over a sense of knowing.18

I’ve repeated that second question aloud more times than I can remember in the ten years since, and at some point I changed it to a prayer: God, make me a more pure filter through which language can pattern the mystery of my concerns.

G) STRAY DOGS

My experience is this: post-trauma, new pain can be relief, can numb old pain; hypersensitivity transforms into catatonia and back again; that which doesn’t fragment, morphs; that which cannot morph, fragments. When her grandfather commits suicide on the front lawn with a shotgun in his mouth, the narrator of The Pink Institution sees, in the aftermath, afterbirth.

After he shot himself, my grandfather’s face was a spangle bouquet that made grass die. What is difficult about looking at something like that is not that the mind resists fragmentation in general, but that it is confounded by textures which refuse the tensions one desires through edges. Even when they took his corpse away, his head was still there, some soaking into the ground, some in liver-colored strips and bits unable to be absorbed. It looked like the oversaturated pile of womb waste on the floor between my sister’s legs after she gave birth. They could have been the same. They were not but light would not have known the difference.19

In all of Selah’s works, we see the mixing and morphing not only of genre, but of the Meat under the Meta. For Selah, it’s never mere language games, but an attempt to honor nothing less than the full horror that is “life” — which, in the case of Slab, extends into the “after-“life as well (as I suspect that the novel’s narrator is long dead by the time she tells her story). As the novel blurs into stage directions for a play, its Katrina-obliterated settings and characters blur into a soup of the dead.

THE COLOR OF CABBAGE ROT, SLOW AND COLD, OPAQUE WATER. THE COLOR OF ALL OF US IF A JUICE, THE WATER. WHAT ARE WE TO DRINK, GARBAGE WATER. THIS WATER, COLOR OF DINOSAURS IN TEXTBOOKS, THE COLOR OF DISEASED, STANDING POND WATER. IT WAS THE COLOR OF MUD WATER POURED INTO BEER CANS FOUND AT THE LEVEE, THEN DRUNK AGAIN WHILE PLAYING PRETEND. STREAKED WITH THE IRIDESCENCE OF INSECTS AND SLIPPED SHIT, THE SMELL OF IT AND THE PEPPERED HEAT ABOUT A DROWNED DOG’S NECK. SWELL OF FLESH SOGGING OPEN INTO A DE-SHELVING OF MANY MEALY BITS. THE WATER HAD THINGS IN IT. IF ONLY IT HAD GIN IN IT. IF ONLY IT HAD TONIC IN IT.

(THE SMELL TURNED HER INSIDE OUT SO THAT SHE WORE HER STOMACH AROUND HER WAIST AS A BELT AND THE STORM CREPT INTO HER)20

Here the “post-genre approach” feels as if it is the only honest approach. To do away with tidy edges in the way that cancer does away with the tidy edges of its own cells as well as the tidy edges of the form once known to its host; the way that storms do away with the tidy edges of a town, of all that was known to its inhabitants. Here even the narrator is turned inside out, with no membrane between herself and the dinosaur water. In this way we become All One indeed, the insects and the dead dogs and the dead humans, all of us peppering this holy swill of slipped shit that is the material plane.

H) INCLUDED IN THE PRESENT CLASSIFICATION

Initiation comes as ecstatic mystical experience.

Two paths to initiation are ritual and trauma.

Death may belong to either path and assures that initiation comes to us all.

One may be initiated into ascending levels of death while still alive on earth.

The process for me begins at zero and moves to one, which implies duality and in so doing, creates a third thing, upon which I meditate: the Trinity of (N)ONE.

I begin writing in this way.

More importantly, because writing really isn’t “everything in life” (Q: Who feeds and shelters you?) I begin every moment in this way — if I manage to “be” in that moment.

Which is to say, I’m all for whatever gets us to the “other” side: beyond the (mem-) brane21 through which we can and do break through22 — i.e. opening to the unknown via this (mem-)bra(i)n(e), opening to the occult (astral) locus or “non-place” of language/text itself.

Each communicant (transmitter/author or receiver/reader) is nothing less than a monad, a star, a monster, “and more,” all continually reborn in an “Eternal Now,” in the Zero/One, pull/push, Nuit/Hadit, etc.

(I) FRENZIED

The genre of “art for art’s sake” remains.

Just as everything, in some form, remains.

Art for art’s sake remains useful for “honing techniques” of the “craft” — sketching, even doodling, whatever — “keeping the muscle active”; all the old chestnuts.

But over the last few years I confess that I’ve moved away from the genre of capital-L Literature altogether.

Present endeavors include resurrecting the usefulness of the genre of “intentional texts” by way of studying the effect(s) of text and whether authorial intent aligns with, or is at odds with, the manifestation of the text and its effects.

“Intent” hasn’t been popular for a while now, anymore than channeled texts or Einstein’s God or heavy metal, but I’m old school: I’m all about intent.

Believing also that words render the universe

atremble

ashudder

ashatter

Etc.

This ancient technology, intent, also allows for new genres.

New genres, in turn, allow for re-reading / re-framing of texts.

Most famously: Texts that are canon become texts by dead white men.23

(J) INNUMERABLE

Poetry may not cause anything to happen — to tweak Auden’s famous words — but poetry is likely to lead to a reading in a cafe or even an auditorium; it may even be assigned in college and thus sell more copies, replicating itself; after which time, there is more of that particularly poetry.

Ditto fiction.

Essays routinely create more widespread effects than either poetry or fiction. Essays may name names and cite real places in “real time” and thus cause changes on the material plane.

When I started writing about wrongful prosecutions and other elements of the true-crime genre, I was surprised at how quickly even a short blog post resulted in real effects in the real lives of the real people involved. Prosecutors are politicians; cops need a paycheck; everyone hopes no one is paying attention. Science figured out a little while ago what some Eastern philosophies have known for thousands of years: observation changes the observed.

More and more people are getting the hang of it now — even “nonwriters.” Even poets! Figuring out that poetry may cause nothing to happen, but that the world can change its spin on a single Tweet.24

(K) DRAWN WITH A VERY FINE CAMELHAIR BRUSH

Genre: Texts written with the body (most)
Genre: Texts written through the body (channeled)
Genre: Texts written on the body (trauma)

Genre: Texts that are not only “about” trauma but that enact trauma / abreact trauma / exact trauma / and hope to “traumatize” the reader.

Discussing Bhanu Kapil’s Humanimal at some length, some years ago at Delirious Hem,25 I noted that her approach to narrative smells a lot like poetry — like poetry giving birth to biology. “As in ‘nature,’” quoth I, “there are no straight lines in Humanimal.”

Bhanu’s hybrid monstrosities are beasts of a different order: “literature that is not made from literature.”

If her newest, Ban en Banlieue, doesn’t claw you to pieces, it’s because you’re not reading it.26

Psychotic, fecal, neural, wild: the auto-sacrifice begins, endures the night: never stops: goes on.

In his preface to The Order, Foucault also notes

The quality of monstrosity here does not affect any real body, nor does it produce modifications of any kind in the bestiary of the imagination; it does not lurk in the depths of any strange power. It would not even be present at all in this classification had it not insinuated itself into the empty space, the interstitial blanks separating all these entities from one another…. What transgresses the boundaries of all imagination, of all possible thought, is simply that alphabetical series (a, b, c, d) which links each of those categories to all the others…. [W]here could they ever meet, except in the immaterial sound of the voice pronouncing their enumeration, or on the page transcribing it? Where else could they be juxtaposed except in the non-place of language?

“The quality of monstrosity,” then — that which “transgresses the boundaries of all imagination” — is not a result of any one animal or any combination, but the fact of the list.

That the list exists.

That the list, too, however monstrous, shares equally with all other things this quality of existing.

Which is also to say — to acknowledge, to bear — that “behind” the fact of the list is another, unwritten (occult) text, a text as simple as they come, and as ancient: I Am.

This is the meta-narrative: language is here employed (so deal with it): The Word is here, and the Word is God.

(L) ET CETERA

Genre: Regrettable texts

Example: I still like “Kabbalnacht” because it’s tranny and only a year old, though I regret putting so much disinformation in the world and doing so simply because I was depressed and angry. I might have used that opportunity (having been solicited for the work, as with the present essay) to do something more helpful for the human race.

Instead, alas, the present essay is also full of disinformation.

Obviously I’m still a little ways from getting totally naked and letting my Christlight shine.

Genre: Shitty Art

If I got anything right with “Kabbalnacht,” maybe it was the paragraph with retarded kids who smell like crap. That was my first public Jesus moment. (NB: Jesus is not to be confused with the Christlight).

O, Jesus of Nazareth! Jesus whom I adore! Jesus who hung out with ugly whores and hot gay men and retarded kids who smell like crap. Jesus who gave a big Fuck You to the Romans and the Rabbis alike. Jesus who, for all his Magic was promptly strung up, tortured, and killed just as he would be today. Jesus of the side that loses, whose magic remains in darkness the world over…. Jesus, King of Loser Occult.27

I love Jesus for many of the same reasons I love Johannes Göransson. Johannes is a big advocate for shitty art, and I think Jesus was a big advocate for shitty people. The kind of art and people that send good artists and good people walking in the other direction. In an interview with Blake Butler at HTML Giant, Johannes says:

I don’t think of art as separate from the world, nature etc. Nor am I interested in art which claims to be part of the world; art that claims to not be art. I am interested in art that is invested in its own Art-ness – with all of its crass devices and costumes, all of its kitschy metaphors and pageantry, all of its infected toys. On the other hand I’m not interested in creating a kind of refined space of contemplative art either, I don’t want art as an escape. I suppose in all of these what I object to is a kind of stability, a kind of space that art depicts or documents or provides. I’m more interested in art as violence, art as a haunting, as a spirit photograph, as what Aase Berg calls a “deformation zone” or what Joyelle has called “necropastoral.” (Joyelle’s actually right now downstairs playing some gloomy Cure song from the 80s for our daughters.) Art that is both Art and a contagion in the world. By not fully accounting for these figures, what I want them to be is this unstable matter. I want it all to be kind of shitty, you know.28

Every time non-shitty art makes me want to self-harm, I read Johannes or Joyelle and cheer right up.

Tarpaulin Sky Press doesn’t publish a lot of lineated poetry, but for Johannes’s Sugar Book, I made an exception because his line breaks were so shitty. We actually revised the line-breaks together, knowing Publishers Weekly might get all incensed in their confusion again, but it was tough, figuring out the right amount of shitty line-breaks and when it would just spray into full-blown prose.

“The Heart of Glamour,” for example, does double-duty as poem and fair transcript of some of our author-editor discussions.

We’ll sell it as the New Imagery.
New Baghdad.
We’ll sell it for a low low price
because everyone is poor now everyone
is starving now (naive for sure, inspired by babies perspired like hot-bodies, shouted like ship-wrecks, bright like mommy in the morning, faint like a father wrapped in veils, fish like a cutting board, seconds like hands, white like umbrellas, cut like my nostrils, old like Alzheimer’s,passengers like exterminate the bores, worshipped like teenagers, finished like dictators, fat like mice, buried like sand on a rape victim, skinny like my left eye, owner like orders, snuggly like a sun’s hard things, crying like black, scrotum like disheveled, stare like pig).

I look at my orpheus mask like it’s prison sex.

I look at my orpheus mask like it’s knocked out.

I lack all context and that’s why I’m porny in the surveillance footage.29

(M) HAVING JUST BROKEN THE WATER PICTURE

Plugging Borges’ “Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge” into Wikipedia, one discovers that at least one western clinic psychologist has suggested the list shows signs of “typical schizophrenic” thought processes (despite Lakoff’s observation that Borges’ list is similar to systems of taxonomy found in “nonwestern” cultures), and at least one western historian has alleged that “acceptance of the authenticity of the list among many academics” is a “sign of the degeneration of the western academy.”30

In response to which, of course, one can but quote Derrida’s “Law of Genre”:

There, that is the whole of it, it is only what ‘I,’ so that say, here kneeling at the edge of literature, can see. In sum, the law. The law summoning: what ‘I’ can sight and what ‘I’ can say that I sight in this site of a recitation where I/we is.31

(N) THAT FROM A LONG WAY OFF LOOK LIKE FLIES

( )

.

( . )

The One is forever the First Thing, forced into existence by No Thing, and thus One it is not the second thing “following nothing,” for that which is nothing cannot be said to “come first” or to “come” at all, as nothing is no thing at all.

No Thing and its “opposite,” the Thing—may also be said to be One Thing, as all things may be said to be One, but in creating a “second” One here, we create the Third: the code for our time: the symbol of the holy binary, zeroes and ones, off or on, no or yes, the TRINITY OF (N)ONE.

This act of creation and nullification and endless re-creation across all creation, is creation so intense—so loud, as it were—that equal and opposite re-action is silence, is endless nothing, is the depthless void.

Just as the Void, by its silence, evokes a(n)(other) Big Bang.

Once, and again, and again.

One thing. Then its absence.

Followed by another thing.


1 Electric Wizard, “The Satanic Rites of Drugula.” Witchcult Today. Metal Blade, 2012. (CD)

I read a review once that likened Jus Oborn’s lyrics to the sort of scrawl one finds in any highschool metalhead’s notebooks. No doubt, this is why I find not only poetry but ars poetica everywhere in Oborn’s anthems:

Black goat forms from dopesmoke:
Baphomet, we bow to thee.
Higher, higher, Devil’s disciples,
nameless chants breed sorcery.
Our witchcult grows.…

2 Bhanu Kapil, Ban en Banlieue. Nightboat Books, 2015.

3 Taxonomy (and taxidermy) recall a memorable scene in the TV show Star Trek, The Next Generation, in which the character of the android, Data, composes and reads a poem, “Ode to Spot.” Due to the poem’s use of scientific jargon (and rhyme!), the viewer is led to believe it does not qualify for the genre. It was immediately a favorite of mine.

Felis Catus, is your taxonomic nomenclature,
an endothermic quadruped carnivorous by nature?
Your visual, olfactory and auditory senses
contribute to your hunting skills, and natural defenses.

I find myself intrigued by your subvocal oscillations,
a singular development of cat communications
that obviates your basic hedonistic predilection
for a rhythmic stroking of your fur, to demonstrate affection.

A tail is quite essential for your acrobatic talents;
you would not be so agile if you lacked its counterbalance.
And when not being utilized to aide in locomotion,
it often serves to illustrate the state of your emotion.

O Spot, the complex levels of behaviour you display
connote a fairly well-developed cognitive array.
And though you are not sentient, Spot, and do not comprehend,
I nonetheless consider you a true and valued friend.

—“Ode to Spot,” by Data. ”Schisms,” Star Trek, The Next Generation

4 See reading list.

5 Ibid.

6 Ibid.

7 See Magick : Liber ABA, Book Four, Parts I-IV (Weiser, 1997) and The Equinox (Weiser — or online at hermetic.com/crowley/equinox/)

8 Cole Swenson, “No End is Unplanned.” Evening Will Come, The Volta. Issue 31, July 2013

9 Jorge Luis Borges, “The Analytical Language of John Wilkins” (El idioma analítico de John Wilkins). Other Inquisitions (1937–1952). Translated by Ruth L. C. Simms. University of Texas Press, 1964. Also online at https://ccrma.stanford.edu/courses/155/assignment/ex1/Borges.pdf

10 Michel Foucault, The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences (Les Mots et les choses: Une archéologie des sciences humaines). Vintage, 1994. Online at http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/sci_cult/evolit/s05/prefaceOrderFoucault.pdf

11 Joyelle McSweeney, “The ‘Future’ of ‘Poetry.’” The Necropastoral: Poetry, Media, Occults. University of Michigan Press, 2014.

12 Perhaps “text” also works for me because I still don’t have a cell phone or whatever and thus do not “text” in that way?

13 (How the same three-dozen films and TV shows nonetheless end up on every list, remains a mystery.)

Quoted text by Alexis C. Madrigal, “How Netflix Reverse Engineered Hollywood.” The Atlantic. Jan 2, 2014 http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/01/how-netflix-reverse-engineered-hollywood/282679/

14 From Hyesoon’s book jacket blurb for Johannes Göransson’s The Sugar Book. “…convulses wildly like an animal that has eaten the poem’s interior and exterior all together with silver. bang bang.”

For Kim Hyesoon, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kim_Hyesoon and for books: http://www.spdbooks.org/Search/?Authorid=19719

15 Sure, one might still choose to stay with a particular genre for an extended time — if only to help pay the bills, to have a sense of security, or whatever — but even in this case, it’s a symbiotic relationship, advancing the interests, the evolution, of both the writer and the genre. Every genre is beautiful. Like the song says, “If you can’t be with the one you love, honey, love the genre you’re with.”

16 Selah Saterstrom, The Pink Institution. Coffee House Press, 2004.

17 Selah Saterstrom, The Meat & Spirit Plan. Coffee House Press, 2007.

18 Interview with Selah Saterstrom. Tarpaulin Sky V3n1 March/April 2005. https://tarpaulinsky.com/Mar-Apr-05/Saterstrom/Interview.html

19 Saterstrom, The Pink Institution.

20 Selah Saterstrom, TSlab. Coffee House Press, 2015.

21 cf. Brane Theory, String Theory, M Theory, et al. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M-theory

22 (to paraphrase Morrison or any number of other earlier prophets, peace be upon them)

23 Or more recently, the genre of Alt-Lit became the genre with a number of male authors who are also rapists. For example.

Genre: Affected Texts

Genre: Effective Texts

A recent and spectacular failure in the genre of intent is Kenneth Goldsmith. While we can only speculate on Goldsmith’s intent (though many people seem to agree that his intent, in spite of his highbrow claims, is merely “ego-fluffing” and a childlike need to “gain attention”), nonetheless the effect of his work is clear: wounding and enraging his audience and making himself a pariah, branded a privileged racist, a white colonizer of black bodies. Interestingly, in the long tradition of magical incantations gone awry, Goldsmith has achieved his aim — attention — but of the unintended / opposite variety.

Genre: Texts rejected by numerous editors.

Genre: Texts whose authors died broke(n) and alone.

24 Genre: social media

The products of social media interactions coalesce into a genre. Many writers think of their fiction or poetry as their “work,” as their texts, because they’re arty or whatever, but all the Tweets and Facebook posts and blog posts, etc, they’re certainly a genre, and for some of us, they’re amount to the bulk of our oeuvre. It’s easy to think these texts are disposable, but they might as well be epitaphs.

But let’s not think too much about that. It’s crazy-making. So much responsibility!

25 “This is What a Feminist Man-Poet Looks Like: Christian Peet Responds,” Delirious Hem, 2009. http://deliriouslapel.blogspot.com/2009/10/christian-peet-responds.html

26 See reading list.

27 Peet, “Kabbalnacht.”

28 “I Want It All To Be Kind of Shitty: An Interview with Johannes Göransson,” Blake Butler, HTML Giant. http://htmlgiant.com/feature/i-want-it-all-to-be-kind-of-shitty-an-interview-with-johannes-Göransson/

29 Johannes Göransson, The Sugar Book. Tarpaulin Sky Press, 2015.

30 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celestial_Emporium_of_Benevolent_Knowledge

31 Jacques Derrida, “The Law of Genre.” Signature Derrida. Jay Williams, ed. University of Chicago Press, 2013. Essay online at http://www.english.upenn.edu/~cavitch/pdf-library/Derrida_LawofGenre.pdf

Christian Peet is the author of Angela’s Story (forthcoming), Big American Trip, and The Nines. He is the publisher for Tarpaulin Sky Press and he blogs at Supplicium.