Deconarratif Fession: Da Lit Bio
Daniel Y. Harris is is the author of The Underworld of
Lesser Degrees (NYQ Books, 2015), Esophagus
Writ (with Rupert M. Loydell, The Knives Forks
and Spoons Press, 2014), Hyperlinks of Anxiety (Cervena Barva Press, 2013), The New Arcana (with John Amen, New York Quarterly Books, 2012), Paul Celan
and the Messiah's Broken Levered Tongue (with
Adam Shechter, Cervena Barva Press, 2010; picked by The Jewish Forward as one of the 5
most important Jewish poetry books of 2010) and Unio Mystica (Cross-Cultural Communications, 2009). Some of his poetry,
experimental writing, art, and essays have been published in BlazeVOX, Denver Quarterly, Eurropean Judaism, Exquisite Corpse, The New York Quarterly, Notre
Dame Review, In Posse Review, The Pedestal Magazine, Poetry Magazine, Poetry
Salzburg Review and Stride. He is the Editor-in-Chief of X-Peri.
Rupert M. Loydell: Daniel, I can't remember how we met and
started working together, but you clearly have a very different past to me.
Can you tell me about your life? Your biographical notes mention management
posts in various organisations, fundraising activities and the fact you were
President of the NYQ from 2012 to 2015. Tell us more.
Deconarratif Fession: Rupert & Daniel Meet
Daniel Y. Harris: Rupert, we
first met in 2010 when I had just completed the manuscript for what would
become Hyperlinks of Anxiety
(Cervena Barva Press, 2013), and was in the rigorous act of submitting to
journals. I discovered Stride
by doing an internet search for top English poetry journals. I submitted and
the rest is history and hermeneutics. Thank you for compelling me to unleash
my amygdalae through the constraints of my own narrative. I'm a tireless
parodists of personal narrative with its accompanying self-sorry,
self-deprecation whining child known to us all as confession, but in this
case I will seek to descend through porous layers of basalt on extended wings
to emerge in the colors of a chameleon.
Deconarratif Fession: Birth, Education, Nonprofit Career
DYH: I was born in Paris,
France in 1962 and moved with my family to Boston in 1968. My father, the
renown composer, Donald Harris,
became the Vice President of The New England Conservatory of Music, and voila
we were all in the States. I attended a private elementary school, The Park
School in Brookline, then a prep school, Suffield Academy in Connecticut, The
University of Denver for my undergraduate work, earning three degrees in
Philosophy, Religious Studies and English and finally, The University of
Chicago for graduate school to study hermeneutics with Paul Ricoeur, write a
thesis on the kabbalah and earn a Masters of Art in Divinity. My thesis was
entitled 'Kabbalah by Writing in Moses de Leon, Gershom Shalom and Harold
Bloom.' Immediately proceeding graduate school, I dallied about in the 1980s
hyper-gothy Chicago theatre and comedy scenes, writing and performing several
experimental pieces of theatre, while doing performance poetry with acidjazz
and gothrock musicians.
I moved to San Francisco in 1987 and began my career in the nonprofit sector.
My nonprofit career avalanched from a modest beginning as a program director
for the Oakland-based cultural arts organization, Artship Foundation to my
most recent past post as Chief Executive Officer of Hillel Foundation of
Orange County. My personal expertise revolved around philanthropy and public
speaking. I spent most of the last 25 years in the Jewish nonprofit sector,
but also ventured into health and human services and the arts. I managed
staff, managed board members, managed volunteers, managed donors, managed
budgets from $350,000 to $2.1 million, created strategic plans, and was, in
many cases, the public face of the organization that I was with at the time.
There is a tedium to this type of career path, a genus closely related to the
malady of the quotidian, but ultimately one does convince oneself that these
modestly paid posts are doing Good in the world.
RML: How does education
accommodate experimental poetry in the 21st century? How, indeed, are or were
you and your work accommodated within the university system?
Deconarratif Fession: Hat Tip Academe
DYH: I have spent the last
25 years actively involved hat tipping academe by holding multiple adjunct
positions in universities and adult education centres. At Lehrhaus Judaica in
Berkeley, I focused on teaching the highwide subject of Kabbalah from its
canonic books such as The Zohar
and The Sefer Yetzirah, to
its many illuminated iterations in Dante, Shakespeare, the English Romantic
Poets, the French Symbolists poets and finally onward to the American
Transcendentalists, Dadaism and Surrealism. Here are a sampling of course
The Mystical Messiah & Jewish Messianism
Sigmund Freud and The Jewish Mystical Tradition
Anti-Prophets in Jewish Interpretation Today: Martin Buber, Emmanuel
Jacques Derrida, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Walter Benjamin, Hannah Arendt
Demons, Golems and Dybbuks: Monsters of the Jewish Imagination
Shakespeare and Kabbalah: The Merchant of Venice and The Tempest
On the Edge of Literary Art, God and Culture: Franz Kafka, Paul Celan,
Mystical Anti-Semitism: The Myth of Satan
At The University of California, Berkeley, my courses focused on the
intersection of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Here is a course sampling:
Poetry of the
Sacred: Jalāl ad-Dīn Rūmī,
Moses De Leon, Dante Alighieri
At Sonoma State University my
courses were in Holocaust and Genocide Studies taught through The School of
Sociology: Here is a course sampling:
the Holocaust and Genocide
Dramatis Personae emerged to speak to/through me in tongues from within/out
the rarefied pedagogy of my pituitary gland and hypothalamus: Moses de Leon, Abraham Abulafia, Isaac Luria
Paul, Shabbetai Tzvi, Jakob Boehme,
Paul Celan, Franz Kafka, Edmond Jabes, Wallace Stevens, Hart Crane, John
Ashbery, A. R. Ammons, Edmond Jabes, Octavia Paz, Federico Garcia Lorca, Ted
Hughes, Charles Baudelaire, Arthur Rimbaud, Stphane Mallarm, Samuel
Beckett, George Oppen and Geoffrey Hill—contained or creasing the periphery
of Romanticism, Transcendentalism, Symbolism, Dadaism, Surrealism, Modernism,
Psychoanalysis, Chromaticism, Deconstruction, Hermeneutics, Modernism Postmodernism
Deconarratif Fession: Arch Volunteer
I have also had a long career as a nonprofit volunteer, including being
Secretary to the Executive Committee of The Board of Directors of Artship
Foundation, a Board Member of The Alliance for The Study of the Holocaust at
Sonoma State University, a Board Member for the Fish Interfaith Advisory
Council at Chapman University, a Board Member for The Jewish Studies Program
at The University of California, Irvine, and most recently as President of
The Board of Directors of The New York Quarterly Foundation.
I am most proud of my tenure as President of NYQ from 2012 to 2015, working
closely with Editor-in-Chief, Raymond Hammond and Board Vice President, John
Amen. NYQ increased its annual budget, increased its marketing and outreach,
increased its social media presence and ushered in an era of donor and board
development. We created the first sustainable 5-year strategic plan, securing
the vision of NYQ Founder, William Packard. In addition, during my tenure,
NYQ released over forty-five full-length collections of poetry and secured
donor support to completely upgrade its website replete with app. It was an
honor to be part of the NYQ legacy, publishing most of the canonic poets of
the 20th Century.
RML: Does any of that help
Deconarratif Fession: Heuristic Fly Catcher
DYH: Frankly, no! Or frankly,
the equivalent, the synthetic apriori proposition is that eating helps my
writing, as does sleep and the teleology of nutshells. Or frankly, I like to
exercise by taking my lower lip and pulling it down under my chin with my
right hand, while I pull my upper lip over my forehead with my left hand. The
narrative is a bloodclot, a false idol, praying on the vanities, reaching
through the innards to the pulpy dram of ego with a cosmetic mirror. I've
known Artistoids who expect to receive lifetime achievement awards every time
they pass gas. One's narrative is like one's hair follicles: they look so
lovely coifed and held in place by a blinged fedora.
RML: Your Jewish heritage informs your work, too,
yes? I see references to Paul Celan and the mystical side of Judaism; other
reviewers and critics have mentioned how scholarship and knowledge informs
your work. Is that directly true?
Deconarratif Fession: Hava Nagila
DYH: Yes, that's
directly/indirectly/urdirectly/antidirectly/supradirectly true. My
relationship to Judaism is as an agon between a theogonic vessel of digital
wings and a theosophic urvessel of blackholes with barbs. It is also my
sacred bloodline. I hail from a multiverse of the following dramatix: Rashi
(the seminal French Talmudist), The Gaon of Vilna (the great opponent to
Hasidism and founding father of the Misnagdim), Jules Oppert (the famed
Assyriologist), and Jacque-Henri Dreyfus (the Chief Rabbi of Paris). Paul
Celan is my Rebbe.
Professor Beth Benedix of DePauw University wrote an exquisite essay as the
introduction to Hyperlinks of Anxiety (Cervena Barva Press, 2013), entitled 'Barely Listening: A
Meditation on Daniel Y. Harris' Hyperlinks of Anxiety.'
Here is Beth Benedix creating an uncanny parallel between Paul Celan and
myself, from the introductory essay to Hyperlinks of Anxiety:
And that is the cry that cuts through the persistence of
monologue in this section: the cry that so much has become fickle, fading,
insincere. So little
continuity, so little loyalty remains. Quietly, controlled in its sense
of betrayal, the poem 'Noone' peeks out, just short of center of the section.
Here, in his most extended reference to Celan, Harris invokes Celan's poem,
'Psalm,' and, with him, gives voice to the underlying anxiety sharpened
by so coarse a turn toward monologue. The question perhaps most starkly
posed in Elie Wiesel's Night,
as a young boy hangs motionless from a gallows in Auschwitz—'Where is
God? Where is He? Where can He be now?'—looms over these poems as well.
Here is Celan's 'Psalm':
No one moulds us again out of earth and clay,
No one conjures our dust.
Praised be your name, no one.
For your sake
we shall flower.
we were, are, shall
the nothing—, the
no one's rose.
our pistil soul-bright,
with our stamen heaven-ravaged,
our corolla red
with the crimson word which we sang
over, O over
Here is Harris's 'Noone':
Noone nullifies light
dark grey cleanses
skin of blemish
soars the severed skull free
of human shape
Noone buries life
Noone was here/is
smile the leg
It can be argued that Celan's 'No one' is creative, active, the nameless,
shapeless, formless God worthy of worship, even in the midst of so much
much absence. Here there is creation ex nihilo,
the capacity that is so roundly defeated by Harris's 'analog.' Here there
remains the gesture of 'flowering towards,' even if the object of that gesture
is nothingness; here is writ large Celan's assertion that a poem should
be 'en route... headed towards... a message
in a bottle sent out in the—not always hopeful—belief that somewhere
and sometime it could wash up on shore....' Celan's poem poses the question
theodicy as deep, rending lament; exposed, violated, broken, torn open,
'we' still sings praises to this absence.
Harris's 'Noone,' in
comparison, stands wholly vacant, a mere trace of washed-out graffiti poised
on a highway overpass, witness to road rage and the ceaseless traffic
of strangers who never connect. This 'Noone's' first act is negation,
'nullifying,' its other acts, violent, destructive: wrenching language
from a severed skull, burying
life, polluting whatever wretched air remains. Here prayers, praises,
are caught mid-throat, overcome by accusation. Still, in the midst of
so much loss, so much wretchedness, Harris gestures more obliquely to
another Celan poem, and, with it, to the prescriptive component that welcomes
readers into the landscape of Part Two of the collection, Anxiety. Quietly he references the last stanza of 'Nocturnally Pouting':
A word—you know:
Let us wash it,
let us comb it,
let us turn its eye
Read alongside of Celan, Harris's use of the term 'corpse'—'the
pit/corpse/crop'—prompts an inversion of what seems to be the poem's
movement towards resignation that this world is abandoned. Of course,
it is far
more ambiguous than that. This 'nullifying' act also 'cleanses,' it frees
a broken body from the limitations of speech. This washed-out piece of
graffiti is also wish inscribed for all to see and smile on: 'Noone was here,' it reads, as if to emphasize to the strangers rushing underneath
that nostalgia is not misplaced. 'Noone is' propels the rushing forward,
confirms the splash of hope that this rushing is also 'headed towards.'
Professor Daniel Morris also wrote an exquisite long review/essay entitled
support says 'Dead Don Walking': Tradition, the Internet, and Individual
Talent' on Hyperlinks of Anxiety,
which was published in The Notre Dame Review.
Here is Daniel Morris core-catching my relationship to Jewish history and
heritage from his essay, 'Tradition, the Internet, and Individual Talent':
A University of Chicago Divinity School graduate with a thesis guided
by the hermeneutist Paul Ricoeur on the role of Kabbalah in the works
of Moses de Leon, Gershom Scholem, and Harold Bloom, Harris's website
lists a genealogical ancestry that includes a composer, members of the
French Resistance during World War Two, archaeologists, the chief Ashkenazi
Rabbi of Paris, and an 18th
Century paternal ancestor who was a prominent Lithuanian Rabbi, Talmudic
scholar, and Kabbalist. Given Harris's fascination with deep genealogical
personal history and its relationship to Jewish hermeneutics, mysticism,
and political resistance to overwhelming state terror during the Shoah,
it is fitting that although he remains a traditional - if brutally obscure
- page-oriented author with a modernist disposition, his lyrics reflect
on how the mediation of voice in a digital format will impact poetry's
primordial function of preserving the human image across time and space.
Harris regards the realm of hyperlinks as the ultimate vehicle to conserve
and disseminate words and images. At the same time he worries that the
new media environment for poems resembles the Kabbalist's broken vessel,
shattering text, rather than shards of glass. At other times, he fears,
the hypertextual environment seems like a decidedly non-kosher Octopus.
Its dangerous tentacles are bent on choking out the personal voice and
exhausting the human body with a vengeance reminiscent of the Shoah that
his grandparents actively resisted. Harris records his sense of appearing
as a trace in the aftermath of a catastrophic alteration to personal presence
in 'I': 'I, barcode and libido of might am here/after rapture, extermination
AC Evans brilliantly highlights a sequence of dark Judaic parodies entitled
from Un-Text,' from my 2015 release, The Underworld of Lesser
Degrees (NYQ Books):
In contrast, the story of Marv Fretstein, 'an aspiring serial killer''aka
the Lamed Vavnik Killer treats us to a nice touch of black humour as
we discover how Fretstein (shades of Travis Bickle, we venture to suggest)
aims to murder the thirty-six most righteous people of his generation.
According to an enticing extract from Fretstein's evolving manuscript
'The Lamed Vavnik Killer' the eschaton of the 'end of time' is named
'Marv'. For readers with a penchant for gematria Harris/Marv helpfully
provides numerological interpretations of the Hebrew letters Lamed (30)
and Vav (6) and explains the significance of the Lamed-Vav-Zadikim-Vampires.
Reading these, and other items in this collection that adopt a faux-encyclopaedic
tone, one may be reminded, (obliquely) of the 'imaginary beings' described
by Borges or, in respect of the Un-Text sequence, of the Historia universal
de la infamia (Buenos Aires, 1954) by the same author.
Each of these scholars and poets probed the interior of my obsessive
propensities towards the use of kabbalistic metalepsis to decode the
gargantuan task of wrestling with the daemonic angels of the Hebrew Bible. Singular in his daemonic presence is the dark
uber-daemon who wrestled Jacob at the Jabbok River and left a permanent
brissure on/in/as The Name: the Peniel-Zone, hip-socket cracked, nocturnal
demon/nocturnal emission of the eponymous ancestor, taboo of post-periphery,
god-child of Gustave Dore and source code for the prick of calling. That's my
RML: What is X-Peri?
I've heard you say that X-Peri has
Deconarratif Fession: X-Peri and the Hybrids
DYH: X-Peri publishes experimental x.poetry, x.hybrids,
x.essays, x.prose, x.im/ages, x.questions and posthuman x.philosophies.
'Hybrids of Post-Humanity'
An X-Peri Manifesto
Daniel Y. Harris
First Published in The Somerville Times, Vol .3 No. 37, September 2015, and edited to accommodate multiple
thought enhancements since September, 2015.
In poetry's narrative schism between the 20th and the 21st centuries,
pre-lingual and post-lingual tropes vie for the dominance of a new poesis.
The pre-lingual confesses. The post-lingual is post-digital and therefore
post-human, now determined
by Internet detritus. Human beings can now be created out of the refuse of bandwidth. The
poetic self is now a digit,
an algorithm invented as a bot. Figures are now the boolean crisis of traditional form. To
confess is to blog a confession from the spontaneous viral media of
annihilation. The original self is an avatar of post-humanity, quicker than
the emptied quick of the spammed full. Malicious software spread diseases of
hyperlinks. Vessels break to account for another unbreakable form. The text
is shattered like glass. The libido, ripe as anthropoid fertility, conjures
the last Hebraic hermeneutics.
Post-humanity will/has broken authorial intent. Spiritus, geist and neshamah have
become the codes of Emerson's 'transparent eyeball.' Normative narratives
will not relent to purple mold and the affected seasons of self. There are no
confessions in post-humanity. Pellicles will evoke the future as a golemic rise of the dark prompt. Now, the hagiography
is broken from She, who births a new catastrophe-creation myth as untested
experiment. Place will be severed from reference. An acrostic, x-peried
kabbalah will trumpet the new era.
Why, ask the professors of belatedness? Because the future agon will be an
ur-femmed account of creation. This pilfering of humanity is not unoriginal
genius, but rather a mock arriere-gardism, now committed to recovering the new format of
disregarded predecessors. Then, the rabblement will be aroused to poke
through platitudes seeking the hybrid, clad in its multi-genre glam. Gray
indifferences of moderation are computer viruses. Web nonce is paravisual.
The posthuman archive will betray region when invention is an android
Tetragrammaton. Shattering. Severing. Haemorrhaging. Bifurcating. Decoding a
rogue pastiche. Tradition and ancestral memory shatter like cheap alley
glass. Notarikon and gematria vie for a registered domain. In this pivot of
course there are no balms and bromides. Tradition is a hernia. Geography is a
weakness of place and suspicious. The anthropoids never lived here, they
never heard the monotonic chimes of recall.
As an Astute in the vintage quotidian, he orders an iced Venti Americano. Avatars are wide empty. Nothing sucks the
morph out of the speaker more than the temporal sterility of address. The
plea begs Harvard Yard to be Eden. Not Jerusalem, Babylon, Paris nor New York
subsume the pleroma. Just the
winged devarim hear. The rest
stammer. Mediocrity will submit to the cicatrix. Post-humanity will reclaim
the skin of hacked nostalgia and create the new poetry with X-Peri.
RML: Art and essays are also
listed, and you've recently posted lots of your own images on your blog, X-peri. Tell me about those?
Icons, Mixed-Media Collages, Found Object
Sculptures, Digital Art, Filters, Wormholes, Layers, Distorts, Bling Fedoras
& Manbags, Hyper
Post-Ekphrastic Posting to Urborn the Golem
DYH: To begin, a coterie of
visual artists spit shards of lit-darkness into my spleen to inform my
aesthetic sensibilities. My first sketches were drawn inside an art book
entitled Picasso: Peintures 1900-1955, published in 1955 featuring Picasso's paintings between 1900 and
1955, in the Muse de Arts Dcoratifs in Paris. The book was written in
French and came equipped with an erotic poesis of tags for each of Picasso's
works in the exhibition. I lost my virginity with "Guernica." It
was my own Jean-Michel Basquiat moment, at least as depicted by Julian
Schnabel in his 1996 film, Basquiat. I had metamorphosed into a dephinanic gnosis-droid, scrawling
thick-black ink lines below Picasso's "Portrait de Femme." Thus was
born my visual art form: insect scapes littered with hybrid squirts of blown
India ink. Then, my baptism by fire: Joseph Cornell, Robert Rauschenberg,
Jess, Max Ernst, Marc Chagall, Marcel Duchamp, Jackson Pollack, Edvard Munch,
Henri Fuseli, Man Ray, Louise Nevelson, Wallace Berman, Christian Boltanski,
Hieronymus Bosch, Mark Rothko, Roberto Matta, Francis Bacon, Jean Tinguely,
May Ray and Alberto Giacometti.
Said the dephinanic gnosis-droid, the only way to fully access the daemons,
demiurges, golems and ministering angels buried in one's bicameral mind, is
to create a simultaneous visual correlative to the literary trope. Not the
ekphrastic, but the addition of body parts to the spark of geist. Enter the
uncanny, negation, the sublime, creation out of catastrophe, Orphic
self-reliance, divination, apotheosis and the gnostic pleroma melded with the
kabbalistic shevirah, and witness the malady of the quotidian melt like ice
sculptures in a firestorm. I am a maker of golems. X-Peri is a maker of
In launching X-Peri with
Irene Koronas and Gloria Mindock, this hyper post-ekphrastic blog would
demand, by spiritus and by compulsion, the rehybridization of graphenes and
phonemes. In August of 2015, as X-Peri was being launched, Irene Koronas and
I began to accelerate both the making of our visual art and the making of our
experimental poetry. We felt summoned by the undead to introduce each
published work of X-Peri writing
with a visual image.
Irene and I created sixty-two posted images from a Facebook album called
'X-Peri,' honouring the Dadaists, Zombie and German Expressionistic Cinema,
abandoned phone booths, street signs, fashion and Shakespeare. What each of
the images have in common is that the word X-Peri is in each the sixty
pieces. To paraphrase Isaiah, I have called you by name and now you are mine.
Here are two examples:
The next Facebook album was called 'Di./um.'
Di./um was born when Irene Koronas encountered the word 'radium' on a
bathroom wall. Di./um is a shapeshifter, a gleaner of melded literary and
visual forms. Di./um is an incubator and prognosticator of what would burgeon
from the strange admixture of combined spiritus. Di./um was the first
manuscript co-authored by the entire X-Peri staff: Irene Koronas, Gloria
Mindock and Daniel Y. Harris.
Postsimulacra, engraved via portals to a multiverse, The Wormhole Series is a
visual art series seeking nothing less than televisual transport to
alternative infrastructures via the Einstein-Rosen Bridge. These images are Einstein-Rosen Bridge trekkers, keeping akaskic records in our index
fingers to scroll the pituitary glands of our apps. The Worm Series is
comprised of one hundred images, each created on a Samsung Galaxy S-5. Each
piece in the album begins with a photograph taken by phone, and burgeons
through a massive layering and filtering process, using dozens of apps to
produce the effect of an Eisnstein-Rosen Bridge contour ascent.descent, or
descent.ascent. The end product is the result of the tip of my right index
finger. Here's an example:
albums are in-progress: 'The Boston Lair,' 'The Art of Salvador Bunjie and
Orbie Oran,' 'The Six Hands of Digital Lollipops,' 'Salvador Bunjie' and 'The
Irene Koronas in working multiple Facebook Albums for X-Peri as well as for her own portfolio, entitled
'Amazon,' which includes over 110 images comprised of paintings and digitally
enhanced collages made by computer and phone.
We have published splendid art to accompany our published authors by Rupert
M. Loydell, AC. Evans, Ed Coletti, Irene Koronas, Daniel Y. Harris, Chandra
Garsson and Roberto Matta.
RML: X-peri is a new web presence you have just created. What do you hope to
achieve there? How do you attract readers?
Deconarratif Fession: Glyphs of X-Peri
DYH: Yes, X-Peri was launched in August 2015. Our X-Peri achievement hopes are to uberlace the godlings,
demiurges, imps of the perverse, godmen, daemons, diaper trolls, monstrums,
tetralogues, embryocons and carcinogenic normans, who live to place retrains
on our schwarzschild metrics. Triumphant
and deracinated, X-Peri
burrows through the aether of our millennia in search of experimental
deposits to place in our X-Peri
We are new territory carvers, Einstein-Rosen Bridge trekkers, keeping akaskic
records in our index fingers to scroll the pituitary glands of our apps. We
possess savage eyes for current and new talent. We will hunt down the new
talent, place a hedge around them and protect them from the quotidian malady
of the gaspassers. Who are the gaspassers? They fecal-chair our poetry
academies. The tenure-stain of humanities departments. They subhump our
master of fine arts vomitoriums. They bogey-clot our publishing houses. They
chancellor-soil our rigged prizes. The gaspassers are a mafia of the
grunt-boring normals, or normans, as we refer to them in code at X-Peri. X-Peri is purified smart-water, coursing through the veins of
our posthumanity. We will solicit you, you the ones out there who have always
dream-leapt for the greater poesis
X-Peri has a large
social-media presence. We hit you with Facebook, tweet your gonads, and have
been fortunate enough to have you, Rupert M. Loydell, as one of our champions
spreading the good word. Our additional tactic is to reach out to those
famous X-Peri precursors we
admire and deposit them in X-Peri. Recently, we have published Richard Kostelanetz, Clayton
Eshleman and Charles Bernstein. In the next few issues, we will be publishing
Andrei Codrescu, John Matthias and Rae Armantrout.
RML: Apart from what
we've previously discussed, where do you place your work? Which writers do
you see as preceeding you? Your work is a strange mix of the occult, science
fiction & fantasy, sexuality, mysticism, prose and poetry.
Deconarratif Fession: Daniel's Medulla Canon
DYH: Yes, and double-entendre
Oui. Here's a tuft of Mnemosyne. Drilling into crests of my medulla oblongata, my memory retains a
semi-rehaustive, bizarre and golemic meld of texts and authors that continue
to pierce-twerk my brain-bits with a stravy of ravy eutics.
The Egyptian Book of the Dead, The
Tanakh, The Pirke Aboth,
The Apocrypha, Ma'aseh Bereshit,
Ma'aseh Merkabah, Homer's Iliad
and Odyssey, Euripides' The Bacchae, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Valentinus, Plotinus,
Porphyry, Sefer Yetzirah, Sefer
Bahir, Ovid's Metamorphoses, Chrtien de Troyes' Yvain:
The Knight of the Lion, Beowulf, Rabbi Isaac the Blind, Solomon
ibn Gabirol's Kingdom's Crown, The Poem of
the Cid, Moses de Leon's Zohar, Abraham
Abulafia, Dante's Divine Commedy and Eschenbach's Parzival.
Cervantes' Don Quixote, Vico's Principles of a New Science, Saint John of the Cross, Chaucer's The Pardoner's Tale, Spenser's Faerie Queen, Shakespeare, Dr. John Dee, Donne, Milton's Paradise
Lost, Swift's Gulliver's Travels, Pico della Mirandola, Rabbi Isaac Luria, The Song of Roland, Montaigne's Essays, Moliere's Misanthrope, Voltaire's
Candide, Goethe's Faust, Hugo's The End of Satan, Nerval's The Chimeras, Boehme, Flaubert's Madame Bovary, Baudelaire's Flowers of Evil, Mallarm, Rimbaud, Blake's The
Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Wordsworth's The Prelude, Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Byron's
Darkness, Shelley, Hopkins, Bruno,
Pater, Carroll, Wilde's A Picture of Dorian Gray, Stoker's Dracula,
Bchner's Danton's Death, Heine, Nietzsche, Gogol's Dead Souls, Tolstoy's The Kreutzer Sonata, Emerson, Dickinson, Whitman, Poe,
James The Varieties of Religious Experience, Charles Sanders Pierce and Miguel de Unamuno.
George Bataille, Celine, Genet, Jarry, Cocteau, Breton, Apollinaire, Henri
Michaux, Edmond Jabes, Tristan Tzara, Maurice Blanchot, Yeats, H.G. Wells,
Virginia Wolf, Franz Kafka. Samuel Beckett, James Joyce, Paul Celan,
Geoffrey Hill, Bruno Schulz, C.P. Cavafy, S. Ansky's The Dybbuk, Jorge Luis Borges, Octavio Paz, Julio Cortzar,
Aim Csaire, Gertrude Stein, Wallace Stevens, Pound, Williams, Eliot, Crane,
e.e.cummings, Don DeLillo's White Noise, Robert Coover's Spanking the Maid, Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow, A.R. Ammons, John Ashbery, James Merrill, John
Hollander, Tony Kushner, Andrei Codrescu, Charles Bernstein, Clayton
Eshleman, Rae Armantrout, Rupert M. Loydell, AC Evans, Daniel C.
Morris, Felino A. Soriano, Gregory Vincent St Thomasino, Gordon Massman,
Gloria Mindock and Irene Koronas.
RML: And what is an un-text?
Deconarratif Fession: The Un-Text
DYH: The Un-Text began as
savage mockery of the bloated biographical statement, the unprosodied ego/cum
hoax of curriculum vitae, where ones credentials are a Goliath in the
David-wake of ones poetry and fiction.
My first writing partner, Adam Shechter, with whom I co-authored Paul Celan and the Messiah's Broken Levered Tongue: An Exponential
Barva Press, 2010), worked together on an internet zine called The Blue
Jew Yorker. Issue #6
of The Blue Jew Yorker
was called 'The Un-Text.' Issue #7 was the last issue of The Blue Jew
Yorker, which by
definition attributed seminal status to Issue #6. We both coveted anonymity
at that time and produced 20, unnamed and untexted pieces for Issue #6.
Five years later, I extracted my 10 contribution to these anonymous 20
Un-Texts for The Underworld of Lesser Degrees, (NYQ Books, 2015). Here's an example of that
bloat from The Underworld of Lesser Degrees:
Excerpts from Un-Text
© Daniel Y. Harris, The
Underworld of Lesser Degrees
(NYQ Books, 2015)
Dr. Rabbi Ari Ben Lieb Tov
Dr. Rabbi Ari Ben Lieb Tov
was born in Brooklyn. He received
his rabbinic ordination and doctorate of Hebrew Letters from the
Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where he chaired the department
of Talmudic Forensics, before returning to his native Brooklyn. Dr.
Rabbi Tov is a fellow of the Society of Fellows of Harvard University,
and taught at New York University, Yale University, Cornell
University, Stanford University, The University of Paris, The London
School of Economics, The University of Copenhagen and Stanford
University. He is currently Professor of Old Testament at the Union
Theological Seminary in the City of New York. He is the author of
numerous books including The Mishnaic Epidermis (The Jewish
Publication Society, 1968), which was nominated for a Nobel Prize,
Acid Reflux, or the Sociopathology of a Butcher's Son (W.W. Norton
& Company, 2004), which was awarded the coveted Israeli Prize
for Literature, and Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Hasid (New York
University Press, 2005), a gastronomic long poem, parts of which
were published in The Jerusalem Quarterly.
The Brooklyn Son of the Pastrami Sandwich
Delivered out of the raw condiments of salted brine,
I am the Brooklyn Son of the Pastrami Sandwich—smell
of garlic, coriander, black pepper, paprika, cloves,
allspice, mustard seed: apron of the shibboleth
and stench of the butcher's knife I should of used
on myself. To slice and be sliced, these flaps
groan like cannibals, brown mustard smeared
on Christian kids—my father's neighbourhood
secret, first lured by caramelized apples then
trapped, stripped, suffocated, drained of blood,
urine, semen, skinned and smoked. During
Pesach, the number of dead Christian children
rose to over two hundred and seventy five. My
father gave a fifty percent discount to parents,
throwing in a ounce of slaw, dill pickle and first
dibs on their children's skin. Me? I prefer a French
roll. I stalk the streets like a rabid wolf hunting
young meat. I attack from behind, kill quickly,
recite the Kaddish (at times in two part harmony),
and wrap the delight in a tallit. The body dies
black-purple, strangled by teffilin. In my kitchen,
I sever the head from the neck, sever the feet
at the ankles, hands at the wrists and begin
to slice skin from the thighs and back. My
butcher's knife is my father's butcher's knife,
blessed by the great Satmar Rebbe. Baruch
Hashem, my children are gone. They were
tasty. No one tastes like them. I suffer.
Rochelle Shammas is a
cosmetologist with long red painted finger
nails fashioned to emulate the ancient Egyptian Queen Nefertiti,
the wife of King Akhenaton. She has a station at Catskills Beauty
& Nails, where she serves an average clientele of twelve per day.
When not waxing her peripatetic cosmetology acumen, i.e.,
esthetics/skin care, nail technology, barbering, electrology and
laser training, Shammas enjoys the works of James Merrill and
Constantine P. Cavafy. In fact, during spells of demiurgic inspiration,
she has been known to write excerpts from Merrill and Cavafy on
the heads of her bald clients. They have been known to send flowers
and chocolates. Of these gentlemen and in some cases gentlewomen
suitors, a certain Professor Reginald Lipschitz had a particular
attraction to Ms. Shammas and invited her to attend an exclusive
poetry conference at Yale University in which he was chair. A deeply
repressed and fragile wordsmith, she reluctantly accepted Professor
Lipschitz's invitation with a coquettish wink. On the flight to New
Haven, Ms. Shammas confessed that she dabbled in poetry. Gazing
at her succulent lips and large breasts nicely packed in a summer
dress, Professor Lipschitz asked Ms. Shammas if she would like to
read at the conference. The following poem 'Elegy for a Broken
Nail' has been anthologized in Dust, Mold and Platitudes: A Poetry
Conference at Yale University (Yale
University Press, 2008).
Elegy for a Broken Nail
A broken, red cracked nail: a song from sleepy love,
me from my sex, myself, connected to
a head, a body—professor I wield cleavage,
wink, wafer-thin in a summer dress; slice,
survive into new life. Or do I?
And you, the other, bulge in a corner
glaring a threat or promise.
I long to write on your pole.
Ram me, I add a false nail,
testing the bond, I scratch red to a sore.
Marv Fretstein is an
aspiring serial killer. Among his numerous
influences are David Berkowitz, the M.O.T .44 caliber killer, aka
'Son of Sam, Ted Bundy with his degree in psychology from the
University of Washington, Jeffrey Dahmer, the punk rocker who
worked at the Ambrosia Chocolate Factory and John Edward
Robison, the 'cybersex killer.' Mr. Fretstein calls himself the
'Lamed Vavnik Killer.' His intent is to seek out the thirty-six
most righteous people of his generation and murder them. Since
May 1, 2009, Mr. Fretstein has killed twenty-three people including
Menachem Mendel Schneerson, ('The Rebbe') who, contrary to
medical consensus, didn't die of a stroke but rather was poisoned.
Excerpts from Mr. Fretstein's evolving manuscript, The Lamed
Vavnik Killer, have been
published in National Geographic,
National Inquirer, People Magazine, The Nation, Playboy and
Better Homes & Gardens.
Excerpt from The Lamed Vavnik Killer
As an entropic concept
of vile disproportion, the number 36 (their
heads kept as trophies on stakes in the cellar) is soaked in mustard
gas. It is said that at all end times (when the eschaton is named
'Marv') there are 36 blood-sucking sacks of scatological skin pods
in the world, and that were it not for them, all of them, if even one
of them was missing, the world would continue to tick in fumes of
yellow-beige banality. The humdrum. The quotidian. The tedium.
The routine. The clichs. The two Hebrew letters for 36 are the
Lamed (gun shot, knife, strangling, poisoning) which is 30, and the
Vav (car bomb, arson, kidnapping and torture, hit and run,
bludgeoning) which is six. Therefore, these 36, the Lamed-Vav-
Tzadikim-Vampires of daily life are being killed by a charming
apprentice in order to tilt the planet off its axis and annihilate
six billion people.
RML: Much of your writing is populated by fantastical
and deviant characters who flit in and out of books and sequences. Where do
these characters come from? Do they allow you to visit places or situations
Daniel Y. Harris might not want to? (Or indeed, might want to, but cannot!)
Deconarratif Fession: Anywhere Else But Here
Zoma, Acher (Elisha ben
Abuyah, and Akiba. Ben Azzai
looked and died; Ben Zoma
looked and went mad; Acher
destroyed the plants; Akiba
entered in peace and
departed in peace.
The malady of the quotidian
never triumphed. Narcissus didn't die in the mirror-semen of his
autoaffection. Pozzo and Lucky didn't settle for Ptolemy. Hamlet the Dane
didn't settle for a canon-cantering zero.sum gain jaunt in liquid multiverse.
The look n'died, the look n'mad, the look n'planoid gave wide berth to peace
only by stay-solute. Tear up, Sylvestro Humris, the beauty of a pas de
deux godbomb is sweet in
twitch. Our pice de rsistance
is to have you see, but your prism-vison is beside the point. My characters
come from the vastly populated proscenium of where we didn't quite slow down
to take a still.
Daniel Y. Harris is a rigor-quick snap of sentience, but he is limited by the
failures of the flash-flesh, of the place the body-skin earns a wage.
Salvador Bunjie has no limit. Salvador Bunjie restores the prov of im, he
blesses the turncoated striate of less. Why? Because prophecy won't
christo-bark the hate. Because prophecy won't eretz-land the bait. Because
prophecy won't i-slam the chanted drawl. Of course we/they stir-roam
pleasure. Pleasure is core-coffin source to act as luv supreme.
Salvador Bunjie wants you to see the demiurges. He wants you to cradle the
corpse-risen skin of you at your best. No fear. No layers to revert the
handsome jab of a lace.
RML: How do you see satire and
comedy, which I certainly feel is very present in your work. (And indeed in
our work together.)
Deconarratif Fession: Daniel Y. Harris is the Incarnate Hilarity of Har
from the moment i picked your book up until i put
it down i was convulsed with laughter someday i intend
reading it wake up in the middle of the night shaking
and sweating thinking hed become a marionette he considered
dreams thoughts you had when i bought some batteries but they
werent included when i woke up this morning my girlfriend asked me
did you sleep good i said no i made a few mistakes politics poli
a latin word meaning many and tics meaning bloodsucking creatures
test this is rock n roll lime to rock it from the delta to thedmz
is that me or does it sound like an elvis presley movie viva da nang
oh viva da nang da nang me da nang me why dont they get a rope
and hang me hey is it too early for being so loud hey too late it
oh sixhundred what the oh stand for oh my god it early its hot damn
hotreal hot hottest things is my shorts i could cook things in it a little
crotch pot cooking well tell me what it feels like fool its hot i told you
again were you born on the sun its damn hot its so damn hot i saw little
guys their orange robes burst into flames its that hot do you know what
im talking about what do you think its going to be like tonight in gutter
spiret te what should be never did exist but people keep trying to live up
to it there is no what should be there is only what is satire is tragedy plus
time you give it enough time the public the reviewers will allow you to
satirize it which is rather ridiculous when you think about it koolaid
is kayish all drakes cakes are diyish pumpernickel is nowish and as you
know white bread is very voyish instant potatoes fayish black cherry soda
very mewish caroons are very rewish very lewish cake fruit salad is fowish
lime jello is noyish lime soda is very goyish trailer parks are so layish
that gaws wont go near never trust a preacher with more than two suits.
RML: You've undertaken several collaborations, including four now with
me. I wondered what your 'take' on writing with others is? For me it's a
liberation and I have learnt to trust the different voices and poetries that
emerge, but how does it work for you?
Deconarratif Fession: Collaboratoires
DYH: I begin with a list of
With Adam Schechter
Paul Celan and Messiah's Broken Levered Tongue: An Exponential Dyad (Cervena Barva Press, 2010)
With John Amen
The New Arcana (NYQ Books, 2012)
The Golden Void
h.et dal.ia nad h.et sosd.yey (Unpublished)
Pro Fictio (Unpublished)
Monster of Ambition
With David Beckman
The Canon Project (Unpublished)
With Rupert M. Loydell
Esophagus Writ (The
Knives Forks and Spoons Press, 2014)
The Co-Ordinates of Doubt
(The Knives Forks and Spoons Press, pending 2016)
The Return of Doom-Headed Three
(Cervena Barva Press, pending 2017)
Cthanoiahic Fever: Hunting the Holy Erasure (Unpublished)
With Gloria Mindock and Irene Koronas
The Eschatology of Tart (X-Peri Books,
h.e/s.he scatology in 315 wor./d sec./tions (Unpublished)
With Irene Koronas
Underscotch Zorg (Unpublished)
Collaborations is a form or liberation, as you say, it is
also for me a form of transcendence. There is no greater mysterium than one
other person. Just one, not a sociology of multiple selves creating patterns
of collective behavior. Just one other person and yourself. I've always had a
sense that an alchemical mind is equipped with a second set of ears.
Collaborators can hear Yuri Geller's spoon bending. In music, we take this
conceptual framework as the quotidian, but in the written arts, it is less
common than the bludgeon of 'I am the author.'
Upon the receipt of a next section of any given co-authored work in-progress,
my mind lights up like shards from an epiphany. Hot slabs of basalt pour out
of my ears. Firestorm bolts gash my cornea and shoot out of my eyes like
bullets from an automatic rifle. It's time. The volcano erupts. Words strike
the computer screen like catapulted paint. I hear the voice of one other
erotically stalking my words. Dimensionality transforms into spatiality, and
the next section of the manuscript is written and sent to the eager other
foaming at the bit for reception. Repeat this for 75 pages, and voila, a
RL: What are you working on at the moment? Has it been affected by
your geographical location this year across the USA?
Deconarratif Fession: A Conspiracy of Cartography
DYH: Under profoundly difficult
circumstances, I left Southern California in May of 2015. My travels took me
to Chicago, Columbus, Boston, New York, and Pennsylvania and eventually back
to Boston where I currently reside. In May, literally on the road with a
Uhaul, at a rest stop somewhere in Nevada, I wrote what would become the
first sonnet of my recently completed manuscript, The Rapture of Eddy
Daemon. At that time, I had no
idea that this sonnet would become the first of one hundred of fifty-four
sonnets (a la William Shakespeare), to be written from May to October 2015.
Here are sonnet #1, 'Beast 666,' and sonnet #154, 'Offspring F1' from The
Rapture of Eddy Daemon (Cervena
Barva Press, pending 2016):
Finger-taut grip of blue-black veins—collusion
mixed with envy, linked to us as Eddy Daemon's
gross motor skills with glassy eyes and clammy
palms declaim his end with App. He's in repose's
lack turning into us. He begins to scale the tiers,
a dark hint to forebear in dread and hear blanks
in the tropes of expiry. It's the vitriol of a partial
eclipse following him in rank dress with autopsy.
No excess translation of shriveled form cloaked
thin at the Ectomorph Gala. Once and for all, we
admit that Eddy Daemon is a hauntboy, a puerile
ephebe: vital, arrogant, fatal and dominant X.
We know the drills. Light sources lit obscured
with flick-beams of a dark, gutted self in neon.
E./d may yet be known as a brood, a chick shatched
from a clutch of eggs, spring.s an off of mate. E.dd/s
children are the f1 generation, in which gametes fuse
and form prophets of offspring. He worships post/ed
postures, pinched into off./exact duplicates: chin off
the chest of an attitude of self. This history of a false
name launches vessels. The starship 'Linkage,' oves
the prove. Father Eddy Meiosis at your service: let us
hear the genes and remove the nucleus. Care for rare
tungsten light? No. Libate the late Age of Extremes.
Libate the Late Age of Tipsy. Libate his teenybopper
b-movie croon. Wearing promoters aren't dangerous.
The public layer. The no./force lair. Pick either. We
guild lilies with toe-pointed shoes of leathered steel.
Most recently, I am working on
a posthuman love epic with Irene Koronas entitled, Underscotch Zorg. Irene and I have aliases, avatars, wormhole
names that gave birth to Underscotch Zorg. Underscotch Zorg is the melded
form of Salvador Bunjie and Orbie Oran. As soon as this epic is completed, we
will be dispatched to our local quasar for an iced coffee.
RML: And is there anything else
- wisdom, quotation, advice or aside; or anything we haven't covered - you'd
like to offer to the reader in conclusion?
Deconarratif Fession: Excerpt from Di./um
(Irene Koronas/Gloria Mindock/Daniel Y.
DYH: Offed Reader.
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© Daniel Y. Harris and Rupert Loydell 2016