Julian Simmons asked me if I wanted to contribute some form of visual interpretation of any poem of my choice, in celebration of national poetry month. You can see his humorous introduction to the series below, in the guise of his brilliant character Asgarth Wilson.
I had so much fun doing the first piece, the poem Oculus by Vladimir Nabokov, that I decided to do a second short piece, an installation video, based on a poem by J.G. Siminsky called The Seeds, which you can also see below. I am sure that Julian is open to many more poems, and readings, and you can contribute to his channel. I want to thank Cora Ripatti and Elaine Smith, as always, for their contributions and readings.
In more video news there should be a couple of videos shot all the way last year, coming out in the early summer. Also, in collaboration with Kura, we have decided to release a trilogy of interconnected collage videos which were featured on their tour in support of their album Halfway to the Moon.
I keep promising myself to one day bring my books in Europe, North Africa and the US to a single location. I imagine every volume finally nestled in some final, all encompassing mythic library, like in Umberto Eco’s Name of the Rose, a booby trapped labyrinth filled with mirrors and secret passageways. There are however, a number of advantages in having your books scattered on the shelves of different collections, sometimes thousands of miles apart: the joy of rediscovery when you return after a longer absence, of stumbling across a volume you had forgotten you owned. The trouble is of course when you look forward to reacquainting yourself with certain books, and then seem to have trouble locating them, and you then assume (hope) that the volume in question is likely sitting on some shelf on another continent. (Where is my first hard back edition of Silence of the Lambs? Or what happened to the signed copy of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary?) I thought I would pick some books from my collection in Denmark at this point in time. I was going to add some pictures of graphic novels and comics as well, and maybe even mumble some words about each volume. But I think all these books below gave me a great deal of enjoyment, and just seeing them again, ignites all sorts of memories, fragments, sensations. I thought I would pick thirty or so books, snap some quick shots of them one snowy afternoon and put them here in alphabetical order.
Summer is over, if there were any leaves left in LA after the particularly dry and hot season, they would be turning. The last two weeks saw old forces returning in the form of a new Aphex Twin album!, and a new edition of Space Hulk from Games Workshop! (Try combining the experience, the crackle of vinyl is particularly cinematic as you flame genestealers in claustrophobic corridors.)
The immensely talented author Michael Marshall (Smith) has finally, FINALLY I say, had some of his incredible body of work translated to the screen and the result is The Intruders TV series from BBC America. Now they should just go ahead and produce his adaptation of Clive Barker’s Weaveworld. Speaking of Clive Barker, the gentleman has had three art shows open here in LA this year (or was it four?), and those paintings are wonderful to experience up close, thick paint and scratches, a sight to behold. Come Halloween there will be a release of Barker’s own extended cut of Nightbreed,which is also going to be some occasion.
There should be two music videos coming this year, or when labels decide to hit the go button. They were immense fun to make. They will probably be the last two stop motion films for some time. (I say this every time and then someone shares something too excellent to resist.) Hopefully those previous seven films can be collected at some point. Right now I am working with immensely talented and supportive producers and we are going to go away and make something exciting, and then come back here at some point.
Principal photography for the Killt Spirit film project (Still image above) is done and features performances by Ted Haler (Strange Days) and Kindred Lansdown. This was a really great experience and I am looking forward to the November release. I have signed on to do three music videos, the first of which will start production next week. I am really excited by these three videos which will feature interconnected narratives that span from present day Los Angeles and far, far into the future, to the dark depths of space, and heavy on supernatural horror, noir detective fiction and dystopian science fiction themes. Also, my short story Human Resources which appeared in the Des Lewis edited short story anthology The First Book of Classical Horror Stories, has received a review by Peter Tennant in Black Static! He writes: ‘Music is incidental to ‘Human Resources’ by Karim Ghahwagi, which appears to be channelling Thomas Ligotti’s attitudes to the world of work, with an omnipresent and mysterious company and people engaged in pointless labour, the mood of the piece powerful, dystopian and disturbing.’ I highly recommend this collection which has great stories by Colin Insole, Mark Valentine, John Howard, S.D. Tullis, D.P. Watt and many others. My novella Amerika is available in a limited hard back edition from Ex Occidente Press and you can grab it here and from the great Cold Tonnage Books here.
’The First Book of Classical Horror Stories’ – containing brand new stories inspired by classical music.
Stories by Rachel Kendall, Andrew Hook, D.P. Watt, Adam S. Cantwell, Dominy Clements, Lawrence Conquest, Nicole Cushing, Stephen Bacon, Karim Ghahwagi, John Howard, Holly Day, Colin Insole, Tony Lovell, Daniel Mills, M. Sullivan, S.D. Tullis, Carmen Tudor, Mark Valentine, Aliya Whiteley, Sarah O’Scalaidhe and Rhys Hughes.
THIS HERMETIC LEGISLATURE: A HOMAGE TO BRUNO SCHULZ
Edited by D.P. Watt and D.T. Ghetu
Ex Occidente Press
At the end of a curious parallel track of imagination the Twentieth Century is frozen by the memory of early spring snows, the lascivious gaze of tradesmen, dark July nights and the chatter of exotic birds. Every face in the crowd is as still as a travelling waxwork exhibit. It is an Age of Genius writ in crumbing ledgers and announced in the margins of charlatans’ advertisements. Everywhere the agony and ecstasy of its times may be read. Upon every mouldering wall there is a rich mural of creation and beneath every glittering plastic jewel of technology hides an ancient fermentation. In each shop window, with its teetering mannequins, a universe of magical forms unfolds —a pageant of infinite life begging to be rewritten, to live again!
1. Fugue for Black Thursday by George Berguno
2. Great Ruins of Tomorrow by Stephen J. Clark
3. The Fall of a City Planner by Karim Ghahwagi
4. The Messiah of the Mannequins by Rhys Hughes
5. Letters in Black Wood by Joel Lane
6. The Original Light by Mark Valentine
7. With Shadow All the Marble Steps by Oliver Smith
8. Manual of Quiet Destruction by Charles Schneider
9. Silver on Green by John Howard
10. The Subjugation of Eros by D.P. Watt
11. All in a Hot and Copper Sky by Dominy Clements
12. My Ruined Father by Douglas Thompson
13. The Notched Sword by Adam S. Cantwell
14. A Calendar of Cherries by Colin Insole
15. The Vile Game of Gunter and Landau by Michael Cisco
16. A Posthumous Messiah by Reggie Oliver
17. The Restaurant Saint Martin by R.B. Russell
18. My Heretical Existence by Mark Samuels
This Hermetic Legislature: A Homage to Bruno Schulz is an over-sized sewn hardcover book of 300 pages with endpapers, a full-colour frontispiece and a dust-jacket. Deluxe cloth boards with folio.
Amerika has received its first review by D.F. Lewis! He writes: ‘If you want to live in a Magritte painting and its hinterland, then you will love this novellarette.‘ You can read the rest of the Real Time review here
There is also some info and news about my past and future collaborations with Efterklang in the Guardian in lieu of the release of the Vincent Moon created film An Island. Here.
Amerika is published today.
My novella The Building Inspector will appear in the Mikhail Bulgakov themed anthology The Master In Café Morphine from Ex Occidente Press and is now available for pre-order. To my delight Dan Ghetu decided to publish Amerika as a stand alone book as part of his gorgeous landscape format Passport Levant imprint, and my new 30,000 word novella will now replace it in the Café Morphine book. Update: My Building Inspector novella is still at Ex Occidente but will not appear in the Mikhail Bulgakov antho.
The audio book version of Brian Evenson’s novel Last Days is out and it uses the original cover I did for the first Underland Press edition. You can hear a sample read by Chris Patton and get a copy here. The American Library Association picked Last Days as its Outstanding Horror novel of the Year, and it was also shortlisted for the Shirley Jackson Award. And after that you can even read a new Brian Evenson short story over at the Conjunctions website here, (unless you have a deep fear of Mylings.)
AMERIKA (Passport Levant)
by Karim Ghahwagi
Publication Date: February 21st 2011
Details about the book: sewn hardcover with dust-jacket printed on heavy cardboard paper, cloth boards, gold folio, silk ribbon, end papers and full-color frontispiece.
Available for Pre-order.
America has disappeared. Resources at the US Embassy in Copenhagen are a little stretched, and the extraordinary circumstances therefore require extraordinary measures, even if it means drawing upon the services of the world’s second greatest living detective – a disillusioned American expatriate called Mr. Denmark who is currently living in Copenhagen. Meanwhile, a travel writer called Mr. Sweden finds himself in a precarious position as the very subject matter of his next travel book seems to have disappeared. Copenhagen is gripped by a deep sense of unease. Bookshops and countries are disappearing, animals wearing Bowler hats are overrunning the city, the central immigration services have been beleaguered by tuxedo wearing penguins- infernal forces might be at work. And then there is that walking, talking Mauser-toting cat who might or might not be in cahoots with the Execrate Himself.