John Yau reviews Johannes Göransson’s Haute Surveillance at Hyperallergic

 

haute-cover-fcsAt Hyperallergic, John Yau reviews Johannes Goransson’s Haute Surveillance (TSky Press 2013):

The speaker in Haute Surveillance is the bastard offspring of the gargantuan “I” animating Whitman’s poem. . . .

In addition to the Virgin Father and Mother Machine Gun, Göransson has populated Haute Surveillance with the Starlet, Father Voice-Over, the Black Man, Sister Dark, the expresident, the Soldiers, the Genius Child Orchestra, abortionists and anti-abortionists. These and other archetypes keep reappearing in unexpected ways. Shelley Duvall, in The Shining, drops in from time to time. Various movies (Hiroshima Mon Amour) and books (In the Penal Colony) get mentioned.

What the poets associated with “Flarf” recognize — and the literary mainstream still ignores to a large degree — is that the Internet has flattened daily life into a constantly swirling, cacophonous mosaic. Instead of extending that jarring, two-dimensional world into poems, Göransson has absorbed Frank O’Hara’s “intimate yell” and made it all his own. Haute Surveillance is a world of wounded voices. . . .

Göransson’s fast-paced, present-tense writing critiques itself while moving forward, collapsing together all of discourses and vocabularies associated with the nightly news, feminism, sexual identity, Hollywood movies, science fiction, performance art, pornography, and poetry invested in the stable lyric “I.” Bots from academia mix with bits of the street.

Haute Surveillance is written in blocks of prose, lists, and lines. The collapsing together of different discourses doesn’t stop at the literal. Goransson turns it into a book that is unclassifiable — part epic poem, part science fiction, part pornographic film, and all literature.

Read the full review.