" The Sugar Book is a book about the intensity of art—and the pervasive anxieties about it, the attempts to restrict it, the rhetoric we use to discuss this discomforting, exhilarating, horrifying, possibly enslaving experience. So it [...]
Laura Carter: "It’s anything but comfortable for us as readers. This sugary land is where life is frail, anorexic, and hardly moving, where the buzzing of flames and water (and perhaps a bit of ?) is ever present. A true horror play, a comedy of failures that can’t seem to find a livable world, which may be closer than the characters imagine."
Poetry is another reality captured through absence. The poet announces the reality’s fast-approaching death with silence-filled words, and by doing so, meets her own death inside poetry. The poet is a being that lives because [...]
"If it’s automatic writing, it’s machinic (firing on all eight cylinders). A circular vernacular. Freud’s death drive tied through repetition compulsion plus mnemonics to standard schoolmarm SVO. Haunt Musique. Sends its message like a mail train. Visceral Surrealism. [Johannes Goransson's] end game is an exit wound."
"Doubling down on his trademark misanthropic imagery amid a pageantry of the unpleasant, Johannes Göransson strolls through a violent Los Angeles in this hybrid of prose and verse…. Prostitution, pubic hair, Orpheus, law, pigs, disease, Francesca Woodman ... and the speaker’s hunger for cocaine and copulation..... Fans of Göransson’s distorted poetics will find this a productive addition to his body of work."
"In Johannes Göransson’s poetry, there is no self-congratulation…. Göransson is a controversial poet.... Göransson is certainly of the Left, but his work is as savagely anti-idealist as Burroughs or Guyotat or Ballard. Like those writers, he has no interest in assuring the reader that she or he lives, along with the poet, on the right side of history."
“Goransson uses language smeared with bodily fluid and sex, language spackled with violence and death (in addition to literal bodies in states of otherness, objectification, violation, and evisceration), in mini-Ars Poeticas and commentary on the state of art and the art scene…. The Sugar Book is vile and violent, but also asphyxiatingly sweet, choking while gorging on its aloof, artful persona. It unsettles. It takes the reader far beyond their comfort zone, as poetry should. Just like Los Angeles herself, the poems inhabit that glittering/grotesque duality of Kardashian Family and Manson Family.”
"Antonin Artaud gave us the Theater of Cruelty. He 'for whom delirium was/the only solution/to the strangulation/that life had prepared for him.” Now Johannes Goransson, in the ironically named The Sugar Book, gives us a poetry of cruelty. It is the necessary car wreck that brings the Jaws of Life. The book is a whisky genre-bender in a haunted Los Angeles.…. [The Sugar Book is] a tome in which vomit, semen (lots and lots and lots), and mercury poisoning drip from page after page. I’m not sure that even Rimbaud would title a poem 'My Sperm Gets in the Flowers.'"
"A textual representation of the horrific and luminous spectacle of a post-modern condition defined by unavoidable participation in (and often a voluntary surrender to) a global war economy. The multi-genre work (a novel in dialogue with prose poetry and punctuated by epistolary and dramatic interludes) embodies a term coined in its own narrative, “atrocity kitsch,” inhabiting bathtubs, war prisons, and a Shining Mansion on the Hill...."