across your site last night while searching for signs of intelligent
scheduled for surgery tomorrow, a.m., so I thought I'd better
act now, as a slim last chance to become posthumously famous.
in the event of my untimely demise, please consider this submission
as my permission to publish. (I'm being dramatic. it's only minor
surgery for the removal of a small fibroid mass on my ear, but,
hey˜you never know.) Okay. Here's the problem: I don't know what's
legal and what's not. Maybe y'all have some enlightening words
for me. The plot/story is a derivation/deviation of/from an old
film, Silvia Scarlett (1935), with Cary Grant (before he
was famous enough to take only the more noble roles) and Katherine
Hepburn (before she was old enough to, well˜begin to waver--she
always seemed too goddammed confident to me, so I've always felt
she had to be covering up feelings of extreme inferiority, which
the increasing quaver in her voice as she aged was symptomatic
of, but that's all probably just a projection.) How long does
a movie copyright last? And is its plot, in any case, fair game?
[I'm ignoring the more obvious "problem" of the pornographic
content. I'm much more comfortable/secure with that.] And here's
my tenuous solution (rationalization): William Shakespeare (no
less) borrowed plots from whom/whatever (even more) ancient sources
onto which to hang his archaio-modern verse. But that was a long
time ago, when rights were not so much of a problem. Kathy Acker
(no more) said she welcomed the attention, even of a legal nature,
when she used appropriation as a literary device. But what does
she have to worry about now? She's dead. I am not yet in so definitive
a state of mind. Anyway, it's obvious satire, which is exempted,
I originally intended to include
this piece as an epilogue to my almost-completed second book (first
book due out any day now, via Xlibris), but am I as brave as The
Corpse? Is it as brave as I am for having dared to even send
this piece to it?
Yes! Yes! Too bad! It's the spawn of Zola again!
Shit? Well, not really!
Us guys from the Croix d'Anzin can't use computers.
Typing's bad enough! We're barely out of the coalpit.
For Fuck's Sake!
Jeezus! It's Ragnagna typing this shit for you!
Can you tell me what would men do without Ragnagna? Can you?
I didn't think so!
Right, let's be honest!
I tread a thin line with the latest stuff.
In fact, I plough the fucking line, if I may say so.
If you don't like it, too bad for me. Hammer me hard!
I've also added a little recycled shit! Why not?
Save the rainforest is what I say!
But I guess you do your bit!
Corpse no longer accepting paper submission. Thanks!
Thanks! No shit? Is this why you're called the Cybercorpse?
I should have thought about it
When I picked up your po box off the submission guidance.
Anyway I've had enough of you! You smell like Death!
I'm not sending you any more stuff for a while!
Got to give a bit of myself to everybody, you know!
I'm such a whore!
Corpse! It's goodbye for now!
I'm writing a love story at the moment
And it's going to be too beautiful for you!
And don't forget! Keep the fridge door open!
With this temperature!
Do I detect a smidgen of homophobia in Fatha Hines' letter to
the last Corpse regarding THE CURVED JEWELS (http://corpse.org/issue_4/letters/index.html
One telltale sign of a phobia is
seeing the object of fear under every bush. Come on, Mr. Hines!
Do you really think the music of Debussy, that notorious womanizer,
is only to be found in the repertoires of gays? Nerve.com ("a
community of thoughtful hedonists"), has posted Tom Bradley's
fevered hallucinations about group sex with a blind girl, her
hermaphrodite sister, a harelip and a hump-backed hooker, followed
by Hillary Clinton penetrating her husband's rectum with a large
pork roast-- (http://members.nerve.com/thumbelina/tombradley.html).
Would that the author of THE CURVED
JEWELS were something so benign as a homosexual!
Dear Cadaverous Ones,
you for a delectable corpse! You succeeded to transform me into
an avowed necrophile...
Dear Hariette Surovell,
I am Frank Tonge, a Corpse fan and sometimes contributor. I really
like your stuff in general and particularly the piece on Andy
Kaufman. Or was that Jim Carrey? I agree that Carrey's performance
is astonishing. And Kaufman himself was.... Well. I don't really
know what to say about him. I must have been his perfect audience
because he was always one step ahead of me. I just never caught
up. From Mighty Mouse to getting chased off the David Letterman
Show, everything he ever did made me run through the same
drill: uncertainty, mild or not so mild discomfort, realization
that I've been had, rueful admiration of his brilliance. Whatever
he was, there was only one of him.
Thanks for the good writing.
Congrats on all that Céline
and Rimbaud in there. Did my heart good to see a lot of fascism
spewed. Particularly liked his trashing of that hypocritical fog-machine
Sartre. Did he ever blast the diarrhea factory Simone de Beauvoir?
Please print a whole journal which chops up that pious turd. God
what a boring nitwit. And 90 % of Academia thinks of her as a
founding mother. Give me Lizzie Borden. Annie Lebrun's Vagit-Prop
ought to be translated: she kills Simone de B. from the viewpoint
of anarcho-surrealism. Why don't you do it? Ferlinghetti already
published her book on Sade. He'd have to print the book against
feminism. I translated one short piece from it in the Corpse a
few years back, but am so driven by bullshit paper reading that
I can't even think straight, much less translate a whole book
that needs a lot more chutzpah than I possess to get published.
Curious about the Rimbaud: is this
the same place where American marines tried to hold the joint
stable for a while? So many different competing groups, I couldn't
keep them all straight. A map might have helped. I read a book
of his journals from Harrar once, and was surprised by that ultra-objective
prose, and what a workaholic! He had to learn the languages of
all those god-forsaken tribes, and actually learned a number of
them: and how? There were no dictionaries available. Just goes
to show you what a work ethic can do when most American poets
are mono-glot and can't even ask for a drink of water in any other
language except McDonald's.
I'm curious if any of the guns that
Rimbaud ran into the area are still in use. I wish I could cork
the Dorn flow that in a way you started with your masterpiece
a few years back. Now we're on to memories of potato dumplings
in a redwood forest.
While the AK-47s rattle, I'd like
to harken back and imagine what the report of one of Rimbaud's
guns sounded like. The color of poetry.
Good to hear from you. Yeah, I agree with you about that dialectic
diarrhea factory. As pour Rimbaud, I spose his guns are somewhere,
and were probably more effective than his later prose, which hardly
anybody knows about. And then there's that potato ricing business
- yep, I've been watching that. I don't know why Dorn won't die.
He's tougher than elephant jerky. Hope all is well with you.
Dear Mr. Spitzer:
Very good stuff. I was not aware that Céline even wrote verse,
apart from the snippets of doggerel scattered here and there throughout
his novels, so these lines have been a very pleasant surprise.
The translations, at any rate, sound sharp and fresh. The first
two ("Gnomography" and "The Great Oak") seem to take off on elements
of "Dover Beach". The others have a rather Bukowski-like ring
to them, though, and I wonder if that is the result of your own
perspective on the subject matter. I had always thought that the
latter author might have styled himself, to some extent, on the
former, so I am likewise wondering whether or not Bukowski had
read any of Céline's poems. Which leads to my questions: Did Céline
write any other verse, or are these examples pretty much the extent
of it? If there is more, will you translate it? If his abilities
as a poet were as even as your Exquisite Corpse translations suggest
-- and unless his other lines make for a body of verse as out-of-whack,
say, as the "Bagatelles" -- then a volume of Céline's poetry would
be a worthwhile dimension for the all-too disparate jumble of
the literary legacy he presently enjoys.
William L. Warner.
Thanks. That verse comprises about 99% of all the poems Céline
ever wrote. There might be one or two more poems lying around,
but if there are, they aren't in the collected works. That Bukowski-sounding
stuff... those were actually songs he composed. Bukowski was highly
influenced by Céline, but he never read the poems. Unfortunately,
there ain't enough Céline poetry out there for a book.
All my best,
I always appreciate quick and unequivocal replies to my queries,
submissions, etc. Yours was certainly such a one. I wish half
the editors who use my stuff were as responsive as you.
From your response it's clear that
I've angered you with my letter about controlling how my work
is or isn't used. Before submitting, though, I regularly read
ex.c. along with submission guidelines; nowhere was cyber bag
mentioned. Thus my surprise upon hearing of the bag's return;
thus my previous response. I was simply unaware of the planned
addition to your publication.
If expressing surprised concern
about an editorial practice that wasn't previously mentioned in
your guidelines--and about a section of the cybermag that wasn't
in existence when I submitted--then, yes, I lack manners as you
charged. At the same time, as I know now what you did about the
new cyber bag when you got my letter, I see how you would think
that I was being uppity by demanding what must have appeared as
some kind of editorial grandfather clause, or worse. Now that
I know this part of the story about your current terms of publication,
I won't ever bother you on this account if submitting work in
the future. Believe me, I'm not trying to tell you how to run
Lastly, I have a question about
your personal editorial policy, one that refers to the loaded
last line of your letter, "uppity/demanding attitudes can get
you where you don't want to be." As this comment makes no reference
to any work I submitted (nor indicates whether you've read it),
it could be taken as a veiled suggestion that extraliterary criteria
are involved in deciding where or how you use a piece. Or, it
might be a more generally philosophical piece of forceful life
advice. If it's the former (which I doubt but can't absolutely
discount, given your letter), then just erase all trace of me
and my MSS from your files. If it's the latter (which I think
it likely is, given the corpse's high quality), thanks for your
strong measures and please continue to consider all the work I
submitted in any way--cyber bag included--that you and the rest
of the staff may see fit. This change of heart owes much to your
forceful retort; yes, you've inspired me. Thanks for taking the
time to read this, and I hope to hear from you when you have a
We don't use extra-literary criteria except in egregious cases
when the writers are members of some fascist organization. In
such cases, we turn them over to the paramilitary wing of NOSI
(New Orleans School for the Imagination).