19 November 2010

Is that a Lucifer Cantos in your pocket?

Yes it is.

I've already written a paean to pocket-size books as companions, so this isn't a repeat. It is, however, a burp of repletion, for this little beauty bound by Erzebet Yellowboy at Papavera Press, The Lucifer Cantos by Hal Duncan is warm from nestling in my breast pocket after much fondling of pages. And your copy can nestle in your breast pocket, along with, I can attest, extra room for a tear of sympathy for whomever, and a dessicated boutonnière. Or you could wear this book at your hip. Hell, it's so small and convenient, you could pack it in your boot. It's smaller than a swig-flask, and will give you much more pleasure.

I hope Duncan never decides he is a poet, or one morning even he could wake up and write about a window, the fixture that afflicts all professional poets at some time in their career. One infamous poet wrote about a w. and curtains moving in the b., and it was published in a joblot that was one of his books. And it came to pass that a desperate academic circled it and stuck his round set of teeth into the thing, and sucked. And he made of it a thesis or maybe a dissertation rich with "There is intense understated, underlying sexual innuendo that has a not so 0…" and so forth, and this thesis or maybe it was dissertation got a great rise amongst the review board, and even more when it was published, from the poet.

And so, ever after that, the poet, when invited to teach his poetry, taught that poem, just as he had learnt its true and elevated meaning from an expert.

But back to Hal Duncan's poetry. It's angry, loving, frustrated, flowing and beautiful as honest passion. I don't know what he does when he feels dull, but he bloody well doesn't write.

Even the way his poetry looks matters. You can't get this from a power-hungry artificially illuminated 'reader', or from any screen. His poetry belongs in a book, in a hand.

I want to quote parts of it here, but I won't. Rather, buy the gorgeous little book (it's a small run, so don't leave it forever)
see more links to Hal's poetry and novels and essays and philosophical expeditions on his Notes from the Geek Show. One recent brilliant essay that I could even understand is Would a Robot Love You? Jeeves? Meet Joe.

But back to Lucifer, which leads to a true story.
In South Africa, matches are called 'fierhookjes' (fire sticks).
So this South African Afrikaner visits the Netherlands, and finds he's out of matches. He walks into a bar and asks, in of course, Afrikaans, for fierhookjes. The bar explodes in laughter. "You mean," says the bartender, "Lucifers."
er, back to the subject.

One of the interesting aspects of this particular book is that it proved to me that there might be a commonality amongst the one who has many names.

Do all devils think in related fonts?*
It hit me when I opened the pages of The Lucifer Cantos that he uses the same font as one I know who goes by the aka of Brett Hartshorn, who also has a penchant for the lyrical line, not to mention passion.

Maybe that's why so many hot-type printers on this surface of earth burnt down, practically all at once. I can't wait to get to Hell to feel their books. Those indentations, that cataclysmic sound of the Printed Word. I just hope they let me keep my pockets.

*The font is sort of crabbed and quite small, so I guess they have a hard time using their hands for the grand flowing gesture on the page. I guess it beats using their feet, though I've never seen any ancient Lucifer Cantos on clay tablets. Possibly Hal has, and can reveal if they're a series of tight little v's. But, ooh, I've just looked, and that's Sumerian to a two-toed dance. History is mystery. And meet your ancestors.

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