||BOOK ABT FANTASY
by Chris Sylvester
BOOK ABT FANTASY, Chris Sylvester’s latest work and first with ROOF, assembles its own avant-garde tradition, positioned between the ethos of Bob Grenier’s CAMBRIDGE M’ASS, the demotic vocabulary and style of Gertrude Stein’s Lectures in America, and bow-tied with a similar contemporary verve and humor as Brandon Brown’s Flowering Mall, also a ROOF publication.
BOOK ABT FANTASY weaves through fantastical subject matters, from mecha-unicorns locked in deathly duels, to SIMS-esque animated YouTube videos, to &squo;still lifes’ of apocalyptic places imaginable only as and in the text.
Ever-hilarious and densely sharp, BOOK ABT FANTASY is concerned with demonstration, “DEMONSTRATION AS MAYBE A / ‘COMPACT SPACE’ PARTIALLY / ORGANIZING REGULATING OR / WHATEVER AT LEAST OVERLAID / DESCRIPTIONS.” Sylvester’s obsession with demonstration traverses procedures: at times describing, almost painfully, the mundane task of folding laundry and at others writing variations of epic, violent mecha-horse wars. At the center of the text is a parody of Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret, where Sylvester preaches imagining money as the only true way to acquire money.
BOOK ABT FANTASY is a dizzying magnetic force, utilizing language that is almost sexual in the way it over-stimulates and energizes the reader. In these poems the meaning of and relationships between the individual words become less important than the syncopated and compact anti-form they create that pulls the reader through at breakneck speed. Like physical attraction, Sylvester’s language draws you in in a way that isn’t immediately clear, but leaves you running with and eager for the rush to the end.
While Sylvester’s world may be imaginary, BOOK ABT FANTASY adeptly demonstrates, for those who are willing to entertain its absurd demands, that poetry is at its most powerful, most engrossing when meaning materializes in language, regardless of reason, regardless of sense—purely in and of language.
“In BOOK ABT FANTASY, Chris Sylvester creates a crushing binaural recording and a thesis on the sensation and the origins of misophonia. He talks about the jet ski. He references external links. He folds your smoking laundry. For you. He employs overview and personal role play triggers. And the sensation: I crush you by stepping on you. For you.”
– Tan Lin
“Forget ethics, forget responsibility, forget pedagogy. Remember fun? In these, the twilight years of humankind’s residency on earth, the serious business of poetry has never been a more grave task for the poet than now. At best, BOOK ABT FANTASY makes this world worse—polluting it with its joy, perverse pleasures, transcendent musicality, comedic timing and self-inflated delusions of grandeur. In this way, these poems couldn't be more shockingly human, permission giving. YOLO.”
– Holly Melgard
Chris Sylvester is a co-editor of Troll Thread, a Tumblr-based platform for the dissemination of experimental texts and internet-based works in operation since 2011. Aside from the thirteen books published on Troll Thread, his work has been distributed by the likes of GaussPDF, Area Sneaks, orworse.net, Model Homes, Double Room, and Dusie.
Publication date: November 2016