Cannibals Remixes by Maday and Jones-Pruett

It is my pleasure to share Josh Maday’s beautiful Cannibal’s remix: The Radiant Midnight Pallor of Obsidian,A Text Made (Mostly) from the Text of The Woman Who Lived Amongst the Cannibals by Robert Kloss

And this gorgeous trio of poems by Danielle Jones-Pruett:

Fever

I climb the narrow stairs, legs shaking.
My hands too weak to unbutton my dress,

I tug at the bodice, hear the material rip.
My muslin nightgown shudders down

my body, cool cotton rippling my flesh.
I climb into bed, pull the pearl-knotted

blanket to my chin. Light shines through
the thin white curtains mama made me

as a wedding gift. I’m trying to remember
the last time I was in bed during the day.

I wake to the nurse-lamp. My hair has been shorn.
I pass my hand over the prickle of what’s left

before falling back to dreams of too much sea.
Not enough air. How much time has passed

in the voices of my girls? They’re arguing
over whose turn it is to bake the bread, who

has to dirty her dress carrying in the kindling.
The baby’s fussing. Soon she’ll be wanting her milk.

The In-Between

He wakes to no heat in the bed. Dresses in the dark, not bothering to light the lamp. There’s a red squirrel on the branch outside his window. A sweater she’d almost finished slips off the chair-back, bone needles rattling onto the floor. He walks down the narrow staircase, wondering if it’s his body that’s gone crooked, or the house. Outside he looks for firewood, his boots sinking in the mushy yard. The garden has become a swamp. He hears a chirring whistle, moving in and out of time: it makes him miss the house in summer. Or even in snow, when you can see which way your steps have gone. He wants to tell her what it’s like to be alive like this. He doesn’t know what she’d say, but he knows her voice would rise and fall.

The Cannibal’s Wife

He sees far and straight, always marking
the line I’m to travel. It grows thinner
and thinner. When I complain, he binds
my feet with bones.

He knows when it will rain because insects
drop like stones. Knows the hot springs
are fat with fish. Always looks a wild dog
straight in the eye. He thinks of me

as a wild dog, impossible to tame. One night,
picking the meat from his teeth, he tells me
to get the gold in a man’s belly you must be willing
to build a big fire,

and I know he means he’d roast me
for even a glimmer of birds’ wings in my dreams.
I learn not to dream. Not to notice the glare
of water all around us.

I know everything he touches turns to dust: I live
with the taste of silt on my lips. And while he won’t
drink the wine I boil, believing it laced with sleep,
he will allow my songs.

Once he’s snoring, I bring out the dead bits he leaves
behind. Clavicles, knuckles, wish bones. I bathe them,
wrap them in sheepskin, until they’re almost as soft
as the babies I’ve lost to his hunger.

Danielle Jones-Pruett is assistant director of the Writers House at Merrimack College. Her poems have appeared in Best New Poets, Beloit Poetry Journal, Cider Press Review, Memorious, Southern Poetry Review and elsewhere. She is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award and a St. Botolph Club Foundation Emerging Artist Award.

 

A Note

Three and a half years ago I folded a note I had written to myself into my wallet, and there it remained. I told no one about this note. It weathered and wore but it remained. Nearly every day for three and a half years this note proved a reminder to myself. This note read: I will be a writer. A week ago, I removed this note, finally, and burned it.

I had written the note with a certain idea of writer in mind—an official version of writer. I hope now I have finally killed that ambition. I realized, only last week, that I had become a writer, in a very true sense, finally, in my old age.

Writing has never given me greater joy or fulfillment than it does now. Even as a child, what enjoyment I gathered from writing was lost in the sense that a great distance separated my vision and my execution. Now, I feel no anxiety, no pressure, no sense of limitation. I feel no duty to anyone or anything other than to myself, and my desire to create work that is pure.

And I feel very good about the work I am creating. You will probably not agree with me, reader, but I believe it is a great book. Finally, I tell myself, I am creating a great book. This is all I need. This joy. This sense of creation and fulfillment. This process of slow, difficult labor, and the lovely work that I am slowly revealing. Yes, I believe it is a great book, in the truest sense of great.

The business side, then: I now have enough pre-orders to print 100 copies. Now, I am only focused on finishing my revisions and publishing the book. I will most likely only have 100 copies printed– I can see no demand for more than that—and it no longer matters—The old hopes to sell thousands of copies, be reviewed in major publications, and read to crowds…. no, no longer. Reader, there is nothing like the freedom found in failure, in floundering, in giving up the old ambitions and finding again—finally—the purity of the purpose—and in the old purity discovering again a sense of fearlessness and excitement once believed lost.

A Cannibals Remix Mix by Glen Binger

A skull appears in her cave. To this skull she wonders, “Who were you? What did you dream?” Chapter 17 brought her here:

  1. The maid brings you a ribbon tied box containing a gown of your husband’s choosing. He asks you to wear it.
  2. You do so by the tub and he never comes. You perceive only a grayness, a haze, and nothing of your husband words; indeed, you do not even remember his voice.
  3. You wait at the edge of his bed, rubbing your arms for the chill, considering the moment to come. It never does.
  4. And so you return to the room of books.
  5. Outside you wait, and how long the minutes seem, and finally when you knock upon the bathroom door you hear no answer.
  6. The maid brings you a scrawled note directing you to his chambers. He’s not there.
  7. You strain to reconstruct passages from the room of books. You see the ribbon tied box on the backside of your eyelids.
  8. You go back to his chambers. He is there, waiting for you by the tub. You stand before him and in the dim light you see the long suspected dome of his head. It shines like ribbon.
  9. He gathers you into his terrible warmth.
  10. He whispers the name he has given you.
  11. His voice is gray. And your eyes well with tears.
  12. Then you feel yourself change. Your eyes the while, intense and calculating and wild, and perhaps prepared to dart from the room, out a window.
  13. You wish to lie beyond the wall, for there wandered the souls of the dead. They surely must know.
  14. You imagine what theories he would have expounded in his studies.
  15. With your fingers at the ridge of your ribs, you whisper, “A toe first my dear.”
  16. You take the coarse sponge in hand. “Will you let me wash you?” He nods and so do you.
  17. And you drown each other, side-by-side, the grim wings of shoulder bones, cold against the porcelain, the spotless white tiles of the bathroom floor and the thrumming oil lights. The slick glistening oval of his skull, the pale flaps of his breasts, the graying tufts of hair. Your slim pale buttocks. All of it, together, before this skull.
BIO: Glen Binger writes books and helps people learn how to learn. He’s the author of eNJoy: Stories by the Sea and Figment. His other work can be found via Google, along with many answers to the questions haunting your sleep.

a process update

As many of you know, I first finished the manuscript for The Woman Who Lived Amongst the Cannibals over three years ago. One of my primary concerns when beginning this self-publication process was directly related to this time expanse–how would revising and preparing the manuscript go, when so much time had elapsed? The writer who wrote that manuscript had long since diminished. A new manuscript had been in preparation for nearly three years, with a style and scope in many ways far removed from Cannibals. My initial impulse was to edit Cannibals in the spirit of the original composition–to revise toward the style and ambition and tone that carried me then. Quickly however I realized that my interests and ideas related to prose style and rhythm, “narrative,” “character,” “action” etc had all changed. Time will do that. So too will the natural difference between preparing a manuscript to be shopped to publishers by an agent and preparing a manuscript for self-publication.

I’ve found that no matter by best impulses, in the back of my mind I knew that my former agent would read the manuscript, and he would send that manuscript to publishers, and so there were always limitations, placed by myself, during that composition process. Not to suggest the manuscript was outwardly compromised–but there is no doubt that I have increased freedom now. Little anxiety about what is right or wrong or how it will be received. Now I think only about what pleases me, what I believe is the correct move, and what is best for the book in my mind. I have no editor to please, no agent, no publisher. There is no distributor to please, no bookstores to interest, no reviewers…. There is only this book.

That said, this process has increasingly taught me that self-publication, the way I’m doing it, and for the reasons I am doing it, has its limits.

I am humbled that anyone would pre-order my book. But I am increasingly frustrated by the need for pre-orders, to interest readers in buying my work, just so the work can be born. I’ve been pleased with the early response, but we are still about 20-30 pre-orders from what we will need to print 100 copies, the absolute minimum. We are about 60-70 pre-orders from what we would need to print 200 books. I don’t anticipate printing more than 200 books (I don’t anticipate printing more than 100, honestly), so I have not thought about numbers further than that.

Assuming we earn enough from pre-orders to print the book, that will be the only printing. I can’t imagine needing to continue printing this book, and I certainly do not intend to continue “promoting” the work. I am not sending out copies to reviewers or anyone else, unless they have purchased the book. If physical copies are sold out, I will keep the book in print, digitally.

I’ve learned through this process that I would rather–and going forward this is what I will do–simply prepare my work for electronic publication, with perhaps 1-20 (or so) physical copies, created by hand. (At the moment I would want to create at least one, for myself.) I don’t like e-books–I don’t read them and I have no interest in reading them. But I think that is where this is going. A book created entirely for electronic publication is freed entirely from the need to acquire readers. It exists then in the vapor. In a way, it seems an ideal.

The Woman Who Lived Amongst the Cannibals

The Woman Who Lived Amongst the Cannibals, my third novel, is available for pre-order here. All pre-ordered copies will be signed by the author. The novel will be published in November 2017 and will feature cover and interior art by Matt Kish.

Excerpt: http://thecollapsar.com/2014/01/27/an-excerpt-from-the-world-beyond-the-light-by-robert-kloss/

“This is more ritual than fiction, a subtle and astounding and careful manipulation of language that is nonetheless deeply felt, even deeply wounding. Incantatory and revelatory, Kloss’s is the kind of writing that is so vivid as to make you believe your own life is a dream.” Brian Evenson, A Collapse of Horses

“Robert Kloss’s The Woman Who Lived Amongst the Cannibals manages to be a little Rabelais, a little Lynch, a little Melville, and a lot wholly original and delightful Kloss. It’s an adventure story, a love story, a dream story, a language story, and a mystery – and it’s also very funny. Welcome to the weird, generous world of Robert Kloss’s fiction: keep an open mind and you’ll always be greatly rewarded.”
Amber Sparks, The Unfinished World: And Other Stories

“Robert Kloss’ The Woman Who Lived Amongst the Cannibals manages to be at once hypnotically poetic and deeply suspenseful. This is a novel that demands the reader’s attention and earns that attention with every sentence. A utterly unforgettable work of wild and lyric ambition.” Laura van den Berg, Find Me

“I’d be hard pressed to think of a young novelist I admire more than Robert Kloss, and The Woman Who Lived Amongst the Cannibals is his finest book yet. An heir of Melville, Faulkner, and McCarthy, Kloss stands unflinching before conventional history, rich with ambition and aesthetic daring. To read one of his books is to be thrilled anew with the possibilities of contemporary fiction.” Matt Bell, A Tree or a Person or a Wall: Stories

“Epic, enigmatic, and aboriginal, the seamless landscape of Robert Kloss’s imagination is filled with irretrievable, unfathomable, primordial beauty and ripe with elegant repulsion and horror. Perhaps it will be the dull sun or the promiscuous sea that pulls you into Robert Kloss’s den of monumental chronicle of manicured anti-heroism. Perhaps you seek banality that converts itself into fanaticism and perhaps you seek things that come to full circle and old things that are made new. If so, seek nothing but Kloss. The Woman Who Lived Amongst the Cannibals will lull you into a quiet hypnotism, where everything happens nonchalantly like a Victorian-like marriage that unravels from evisceration and where cannibalistic people duel theatrical spaces in land and sea like ecstasy. Kloss’s literary creation is designed to carve a seamless arrow through language’s mind with its instinctual wild purity and fugacious immortality. You will either feel Herculean afterward or a log that has slept through a thousand years of human fable, legendary deaths with some lascivious torture, and romance for a literary language you cannot speak or memorize or eroticize. Let Kloss’s bold, inventive, lionhearted hands guide and enrapture you towards the epicenter of his narrative ecstasy.” Vi Khi Nao, Fish in Exile

Found Word Poem by Samantha Vakiener

Words Found in The Woman Who Lived Amongst the Cannibals by Robert Kloss
Poem Crafted by Samantha Vakiener

Turn by the echoing sound of her name—
least consider that there is a lady—
classmen bearing candies and flowers, play,
‘sembling the former mistress of these lands,
bladders sloshing with paint, brushes of bone
to motion by the spirits of the dead.

Only white tailed deer springing through wild dead,
the banks, weeping the alligator’s name,
watering holes now burdened with the bleached bone
sags, but to look upon you the lady
yer king decrees it time to seek new lands
commanded by unseen hands, shadow play.

Sleeping and garments to wear while at play
nights he will speak of a woman once dead
pale light called forth across a vacant lands
see me, if you wish. No one comes. Your name,
reverence, call you “Ma’am” and “My Lady,”
seen a light seem to kindle. Here the bone—

Tocks, and the grim wings of her shoulder bone
orite of your people and resumes play
your departure, a prominent lady,
living and into the dust fall the dead.
One nuzzles his hand when he speaks her name,
delivers a speech on the western lands.

I journeyed through those grim and fleshless lands,
deranged, and here scorched anonymous bone
talking about. And now you say the name,
Band. Fumes, “I don’t know what game you are play—
eems this meal to your mouth, a thing long dead—
ious benefactor to shocked lady,

Which he claims to require some lady—
wind, and perhaps she strayed far into lands,
stumps of trees, and even a freshly dead
‘ber the bird, suck the skin and gnaw the bone.
tent for performance, while a kind of play…
Ally, now you wonder of his true name.

Sage, the lady of the house grasps her bone
across the western lands they travel, play-
es, wounded or dead. Now you call the name.