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."
"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...."
[Göransson] places readers in his piecework of violence, sex, art and emotion, in short snapshots of unexplained events, and leaves them scrambling to find their way out. Readers get one companion, one true character: an unreliable, determined, and probably insane narrator, and the reader slowly realizes this world is the narrator’s own....
"[P]ursues the genre to terra incognita extremes.... [I]n some ways more a prose poem, bludgeoned and stuffed into dramaturgical form.... Its kaleidoscopic impossibility presses down upon the reader, forcing the question: Who writes the stage directions of life, the role each person plays in society?... Like a mad scientist throwing together unexpected chemicals, Goransson delights in coupling divergent concepts, seeing which combinations smoke, sizzle, or explode...."
...from Patrick Trotti at JMWW, regarding Tarpaulin Sky Press's three 2013 prose titles: my own Haute Surveillance, Claire Donato's Burial, and Joyelle McSweeney's Salamandrine: 8 Gothics; all of which, writes Trotti, "continue the press’ solid run of publishing innovative [...]
"Göransson’s fast-paced, present-tense writing critiques itself while moving forward, collapsing together all of discourses and vocabularies associated with the nightly news, feminism, sexual identity, Hollywood movies, science fiction, performance art, pornography, and poetry invested in the stable lyric “I.” Bots from academia mix with bits of the street.... Goransson turns it into a book that is unclassifiable — part epic poem, part science fiction, part pornographic film, and all literature."
Haute Surveillance (Tarpaulin Sky Press 2013): "A feverish and explicit set of images and ideas revolving around power, fetish, porn, media, violence, translation, punishment, performance, and aesthetics. Taking its title from a Jean Genet play of the same name, it’s kind of like a novelization of a movie about the production of a play based on Abu Ghraib, though with way more starlets and cocaine and semen.... [B]eautifully startling and fucked and funny and tender and sad and putrid and glitter-covered all at once."
Writes Hardy: "The narrative of [Göransson's Haute Surveillance] is itinerant, slippery. It unwinds, confused by voices, rhythms, and accents, 'interlingual puns', 'auto-translations' and 'automutilations' that befuddle the desire for a secure semantics. It is at once a prose poem, a 'novel dedicated to the homos and the awkward perfumists', a biography of its author, an 'autobiography of a foreigner', 'a fashion show dedicated to a riot', a film script and a theoretical text.... 'This is the first lesson in haute surveillance: Always write like you’re a teenage virgin. Always reach for the gun.'"
At Fanzine, Laura Carter reviews Haute Surveillance. "Imagine that you are on a secret journey through the life of Jean Genet, through the shifting framework of a character made by Johannes Göransson," writes Carter. "You are a [...]
Göransson's book-length poem, writes Chen, "combines all these meanings of pure, fake, authentic, corrupt, synthetic. The poem is an evil Leaves of Grass — not a welcoming cosmic paean to all American citizens, but a nihilistic porno where the pure and the fake copulate with a sordid glory. By real, Göransson means: children burning in bombed buildings, the bodies of foreigners, sperm and blood, traumatized soldiers strangling their wives. By fake, he means: film sets, stunt doubles, poetry. You can see this combo in how he depicts America: America is not an emancipatory pluralistic haven, but an atavistic theater of war, brutally real and, as Baudrillard has written, as simulated as a video game."
Writes Grefe: "I was a mute foreigner, unpredictable as outsider. One who knows how to screw a fork. There are areas in Tokyo, in Seoul, in Beijing where foreigners are allowed to be foreign, allowed to tongue foreign, act foreign: needles, erotics, vomit. These are the areas where we grind chains in underground cabarets, McDonalds drunk with military officers, a man who said, 'as an American, it is my duty to protect you.'"
Jeremy Behreandt has an excellent review of Dark Matter by Aase Berg up on Heavy Feather Review.In it he makes some really interesting comments about the matter-mind conflict in the poem and how this might [...]
I forgot to mention that Arielle Greenberg has written a great piece about some "hybrid" books (not, however, of the "American Hybrid" kind), including Joyelle's Percussion Grenade and my own Entrance to a colonial pageant [...]
Over at Bomb's blog, Julia Guez writes a thoughtful review of Aase Berg's Forsla fett (Transfer Fat in my translation): Archaisms, imports, and neologisms also help renovate and overhaul the language (with significant implications for [...]
Michael Shea has written a very generous review of Deformation Zone, Joyelle's and my pamphlet of translation theorizings. Excerpt: Deformation Zone, a pair of essays from Johannes Göransson and Joyelle McSweeney on the subversive nature [...]
Some new reviews. Here's an excerpt of Eileen Myles' piece on Peter Richards' Helsinki: Peter’s poem is a note from long ago which is now. Already happened fast. I mean he probably constructed these poems [...]
At Bookslut, Lorian Long reviews entrance to a colonial pageant: "Despite the tiny size of Colonial Pageant, it contains a gore so massive you will either shower or move the book to the other side of the bedroom upon opening its cover....Body parts, body styles. Genitalia as fashion, as construct, as exploit. Göransson takes Judith Butler's theory of gender performativity and blasts it with skin-made dynamite. He creates such a mess of appendages, desires, and impulses that the taglines of Queer Theory or Gender Studies seem antiquated compared to the blurring of binaries to be found in this work. It is a new thing. Göransson has managed to produce a discomfiting, filthy, hilarious, and ecstatic piece of literature that is cocked and ready."
entrance to a colonial pageant is reviewed by Robert Kloss at Red Fez: "One of those rare literary achievements, a work so new and brilliant and strange that a reviewer initially fumbles for any possible comparisons and antecedents to make sense of the text in-question.... With no true literary antecedent as preparation, the accumulating horror of Göransson’s prose onslaughts overwhelm with their ruthless beauty, to remarkable and lasting effect."
Tim Yelvington has written a really great review of my book Entrance to a colonial pageant in which we all begin to intricate. Here’s an excerpt: In her book Imperial Leather: Race, Gender, and Sexuality [...]
At PANK Magazine, Joseph Michael Owens reviews entrance to a colonial pageant in which we all begin to intricate (Tarpaulin Sky Press, 2011): "[entrance] "demands its reader to engage it on a close sentence-to-sentence level and rewards the reader with some truly spectacular prose. Prose that, page after page, begins to infect the reader, begins to parasite the reader as host, parasite the host’s inner child ... before immolating the host, the reader."
Fence poet Nick Demske, provides a thought-provoking review of entrance to a colonial pageant in which we all begin to intricate. "Göransson pays the ultimate penance and shoulders the heaviest burden: to reflect a culture [...]
At HTML Giant, Ryan Downey reviews entrance to a colonial pageant in which we all begin to intricate (Tarpaulin Sky Press, 2011): "A hybrid form somewhere between or among the categories of poetry, prose, essay, theatre production, and instruction manual.... A relationship to an Artaudian Theatre of Cruelty.... Masks and intricate costumes aplenty.... Dresses made from looted items, prison-style clothes, black and polished bodies, cowboy costumes, skins charred from suicide bombings, heaps of dead horses, birds bursting from bodies, wounds, basketball jerseys on androgynous children, kissing faces and murder victims, exoskeletons, audience members in whiteface.... A pile up of sequined things and fleshy things. . . . The audience is often implicated. After all, torture and interrogation is not borne out of individual will and action alone. . . . All aboard."