Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Well, if the Royal Mail and the Book Depository come through, tomorrow your humble scribe will be voraciously reading this. It's a book that came up during a random googling of 'transgressive fiction' on the laptop and which piqued my interest. Not because I'm a dirty stinking pervert - I'm assuming, at this point, that we're taking that as read - but because it's an exploration of the psychological drives which lead someone, particularly a male someone, to be attracted to masochistic sexual behaviour. It's a topic I think is relevant to the transgressive poetry project, and one which crops up a lot in my own poetry - how can you remain a quote-unquote real man while labouring under a libido which constantly orients you towards girls who could kick the living crap out of you? Can you, indeed, remain a homo verus in such circumstances, or do you have to redefine your self-concept as something other? And, in that case - what is it?

Nothing's to say it won't be a shit book, of course, and if it is, I'll excoriate like the guys wielding the apple corer in the final scenes of Exquisite Corpse. But here's a line from an extract I found at which suggests it might not be: 'I sleep on the inside of the spoon. She's my abusive boyfriend and I feel safe, her arms wrapped around me.'

Hmm. The sadomasochistic relationship as willingly-entered, if gender-reversed, wife-beater and wife dialectic? A huge amount to unpack there (and not all of it good) in terms of gender, power relations, and sexual assumptions. A fine piece of literary meat in which to sink one's teeth; a meal I look forward to. If you'd like to recommend some future deviant dishes, please do: remember though that unless I've already read a book or have been lent it, I do have to pay for the books I review here myself. But do make recommendations. The more we understand of the scope of transgressive poetry, the more room we have to maneuver. And the more room we have in which to move, the greater the damage that we can inflict.

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