The Sporadic Beaver

This Is Not a Review

March 13, 2014

Tags: cut-up technique, Antony Hitchin, Joe Ambrose, William Burroughs, Brion Gysin, Beaver Street

One of the best ways I know of to not enjoy a good book is to read it under deadline pressure with the intention of writing a review. And two of the greatest sins a reviewer or critic (as some reviewers prefer to call themselves) can commit is to review a book that he or she has only skimmed, or to review a book that he or she has contributed to, and then pretend to critique it objectively.

This, then, is not a review; it's an acknowledgement of a new book.

There’s a lot of material in Cut Up!’s 394 pages—poems, prose, artwork—that I look forward to lingering over and processing at my leisure. Then I may come to understand fully what Joe Ambrose and A.D. Hitchen have assembled in this anthology of cut-up-technique writings. Also, I’ve written the introduction to Hitchen’s “Split-Beaver” poems, which are drawn from my book Beaver Street: A History of Modern Pornography.

A bit of essential history: One way to perform the cut-up technique, popularized by William Burroughs a half-century ago, is to take a complete text (like Beaver Street), cut it into pieces with one word or a few words on each piece, and then rearrange the pieces into a new text. Another way is a “Third Mind” collaboration, pioneered by Burroughs and poet Brion Gysin; the author combines words cut from a text with his own words. Cut Up! (Oneiros Books) features both techniques, and includes works from well-known writers, like Allen Ginsberg (“Notes on Claude Pélieu”).

Many of the contributing authors are names I’ve become familiar with through social media. Among these dedicated practitioners of this avant-garde art form are: Kenji Siratori (“The Worst Deadly Bank Account Number in the History of the Universe”), Christopher Nosnibor (“Flickering images: life-size shadow-puppetry”), Gary J. Shipley (excerpt from Spook Nutrition), Niall Rasputin (“disgraceful blade”), Muckle Jane (“Recipes”), Cal Leckie (“Micro-Verse”), and Lucius Rofocale (“Ne/urantia: Close Encounters of the Third Mind”). Billy Chainsaw and D M Mitchell contributed artwork.

A word of caution to those with delicate sensibilities: Phrases such as “corpse fetish pussy gangbang” (which I’ve cut from Siratori’s “Phishingera”) occur with frequency.

More adventurous readers, however, may argue that they do not occur frequently enough.

Half & Half

April 19, 2013

Tags: cut-up technique, Beaver Street, Antony Hitchin, William Burroughs

The reaction to Antony Hitchin's poems, drawn from Beaver Street, using the cut-up technique William Burroughs popularized, has been so positive, I'm going to end the blogweek with one more.

"Meat Doll Misanthrope," like "Discharge," which I posted yesterday, is what Burroughs described as a "Third Mind" collaboration. Hitchen combined his own words with words cut from Beaver Street. But unlike "Discharge," which was mostly Beaver Street, "Meat Doll Misanthrope" is about half Beaver Street, half Hitchin.

And if you really want to know which half is which, you’ll just have to read the book.

Meat Doll Misanthrope

misanthrope pixel memoir
dinosaur Christ proxy body
mimicking skin
dialectical face mouth peers
through fuck fingers
the sound of god splitting
open ----------------------------------------------
flaming silhouettes
candy store messiah
mouth-fuck fetishes
the remnants of your space dead television flesh
your channel wired webwork tissue reek of wet pubics

Third Mind

April 18, 2013

Tags: cut-up technique, Beaver Street, Antony Hitchin, William Burroughs

I said yesterday in my posting about "Bukkake Thatcher," one of the poems Antony Hitchen had sliced from the heart of Beaver Street using the cut-up technique popularized by William Burroughs, that he'd "compressed into a few sentences the emotions expressed in a large swath of the book." But I think it would be more accurate to explain the technique this way: Hitchin has pulled from Beaver Street the most provocative words and phrases, and by arranging them in a new way, he's captured the emotional tone of the entire book.

The title of the poem below, "Discharge," is cut from a legal document quoted in the Traci Lords chapter. Other words are taken from chapters titled "High Society" and "I Found My Job in The New York Times." Hitchen also includes some of his own words not found in the book, like "muzzle," "filter," "autonomy," and "flush," making this what he'd call a "Third Mind" collaboration, which is the title of a cut-up work by Burroughs and Brion Gysin.

Here, then, for your reading pleasure, I give you the latest and freshest filet of Beaver:

Discharge

DIY abortion vacuum / video boxes sizzling jailbait celebrity skin/ subscription hooker etiquette women masturbating mutilated bodies/ nymphomaniacs spread pussies – muzzle sloppy
she fills a paper cup of deep-pile pussy discharge
AIDs tuberculosis trickle-down
economics/ bubonic rejection glare of subway slug/
drifting overhead chrome /beyond sleep filter fringes – spurting flush autonomy nothing death

Filet of Beaver (Street)

April 15, 2013

Tags: cut-up technique, Beaver Street, William Burroughs, Antony Hitchin

Antony Hitchin, a British writer, is the author of Messages To Central Control. The book is an example of the "cut-up" technique, pioneered by the Dadaists in the 1920s and popularized by William Burroughs in the 1950s and '60s. One way to perform the technique is to take a complete text, cut it into pieces with one word or a few words on each piece, and then rearrange the pieces into a new text.

Hitchin recently wrote to me to say that he was "experimenting with cutting up Beaver Street in various ways" and calling the project "Split Beaver." He wanted to know if I was okay with this. I told him I was delighted, and that he should feel free to fillet my Beaver as he saw fit.

This morning he sent me the first results of his experiment. “Interestingly,” he wrote, “I was talking to [Edward S. Robinson], author of the academic text Shift-Linguals, who’s something of an authority on cut-up and postmodern literature in general, and he believes this is a first, to his knowledge—no other authors have officially sanctioned (or embraced) a literary ‘remix’ of their work.”

To which I say: It’s cool! It’s hip-hop! And in the future, I will take my Beaver raw, or “tartare,” as they call it in the finest restaurants.

Below, I give you the first “poem” cut completely from Beaver Street. Allow me to put the first word, which you’ll find on page 75, in context. (The rest you can find on your own.) “It must have been quite a shock for young Jason, who’d never publicly acknowledged the seamier side of his heritage, to see his esteemed grandfather described in the Times as a skinflint and a sadist.”

Split Beaver

Skinflint load sucks black cock – mafia micrometer pentagon enema sphincter frenzy. Entry castoffs two group suck and incest. Pseudonyms quim triangle buxom rendered syntax!

All resistance of her bodies writhing in a jack off with Jill sadist flotsam manner of human. Lunch meat anal pussy refugees – a home-decorating big-budget blizzard commingling gash vision. Lesbian sleazeball fornication – the fortunate pilgrim clippings – he lubed sperm-drenched Mary of a lost lingering presence. Stream of warm anal sent Gestapo officers with speculum fitness lit-clit scratch-and-sniff.

My airbrushed ferocious four-legged cock with teeth teasing underage girl – chief circular daisy jerk-off with ayatollah daughter. In her greased ports – hypochondriac gaping slit shot and sprinkle of machines – Mormon homicidal sperm parts of the Koran – waiting fuck virgins

Hardcore criminal penalties dirty slithering up her bridal health and homophobia gang rape puckered anus.