I love newspapers and how they (mis)represent the cities they write about. I read about half a dozen of them each week, whenever I can find the time. Julien Poirier has just published a novel, Living Go And Dream (Ugly Duckling Presse), in the form of a newspaper, divided into various columns and including advertisements, photographs, photo-collages and artwork.
I first read the novel in manuscript form last year and enjoyed it very much. Julien takes aim at political and poetic disasters in our evil era, while bringing pleasure in the form of humor to his text. Living Go And Dream is a very funny book, with many hilarious moments such as:
"I'd rather have Fingers than Toes, my friend, I'd rather have delight! Stealing is both convenient and pleasurable, and it really makes you look good! Especially when you get caught! Hey nonny nonny, get the mucker of fommy. Me-e-erry gentlemen! Hyenas with the sea-nymphs foam, laughter is their bread and bone. I break bones like Christ broke bread. The Mole hibernates but the Flea's day is never done. Our flag was still there. Everyone has a system. Look at it this way, he said dropping the sponge into a bucket and starting all over again. The work of world dominatrix is very boring, lacks spice. It is white like a goddamn custard. The Protestant Work Ethic." (8)
We've seen this type of sharp political humor before in the poems of Gregory Corso, or in the short stories of Edward Upward, where the material world is displaced and critiqued by a poetic method that undermines linguistic and cultural authorities. The format of this edition of Julien's novel enhances his lucid and quick-time prose. Chapters are broken up among the pages and begin to lose their chronological order, allowing instead for Benjaminian messianic moments to flower on every page.
Julien's humor doesn't avoid the dread and sadness that characterize the novel's plot and our own decade. It is rather a method of engagement that allows the reader the necessary space to dream, to love.