At Ghost Proposal, Naomi Washer and Joshua Young host a issue on “Hybrid Forms & the Post-Genre Approach,” featuring Tarpaulin Sky Press author Joyelle McSweeney, and TS publisher Christian Peet, along with Tyler Crumrine, T Clutch Fleischmann, Oliver de la Paz, Hannah Brooks-Motl, and Douglas A. Martin.
An excerpt from Joyelle’s brief but shocking confession:
Here’s maybe a surprising claim: I don’t see myself as post-genre! I am very involved in genre. I love genre. I love poems, plays, short stories, performative essays. I love when music or a set of motifs becomes so compelling that it just hauls the reader through a structural forest which the reader gradually begins to recognize is a story, a poem, a play, an argument. I love lagoony lacunae. I love mood and weather, I love mise-en-scene, I love events. I love lyric, and everything I write is lyric. I love to sing, and almost everything I write can be sung or involve singing. I love masks. I love doubles. I love lying. I love epithets. I love exciting events. I love when the trap is laid. I love the snare, and I love the bait. I love affects: longing, disgust, self- disgust, shame, antipathy. Those make the world go round! I love listing. I love bad motives. I love when a structure is badly wired and it shorts out and sends up dazzling sparks and all kinds of fatal events.
An excerpt from Christian’s tortured 5,000-word treatise on Bhanu Kapil, BISAC codes, Borges, Foucault, monstrosity, Netflix, Qabalah, Satanic Ritual Abuse, schizophrenia, Selah Saterstrom, “shitty art,” and trauma as initiation:
Q: Do you categorize your work? If so, how?
A: I do categorize my work — I call it “text.”12 In all earnestness. I find “text” both comforting and freeing. My love for capital-L literature has waxed and waned, but I have always loved text. Nor could I say I prefer one genre to another. For example: my seventeen-year-old sister’s diary, which I found when I was nine. The army infantry manual I bought at a yard sale around that same time. John Green’s 60s- and 70s-era saddle-stapled chapbooks documenting his quest for Sasquatch. My stained shooting-script of the 1978 made-for-TV movie A Death in Canaan. The numerous copies that I own of Don’t Make Me Go Back, Mommy, a children’s book from 1990 about Satanic Ritual Abuse.
I am inspired in particular by books that others tend to file in the genre of “crap.” Especially if I first read them in high school and thus associate them with amazing friends and being stoned all day — Go Ask Alice, Say You Love Satan, et al— I am pathetic in that way: “inspiration” still works for me, and I find it in crap….
“Post-genre” is just another word for nothing left to lose. Which is to say: it’s freedom! It doesn’t mean “done with genre,” or “over” genre, but more like, “in a relationship with any and all genres”—sometimes all at once, in an “orgy of genre.”