Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Review of Michael McAloran’s 'In Damage Seasons', by A.D. Hitchin

Review of Michael McAloran's 'In Damage Seasons'

In many respects, it is somewhat absurd to attempt to review Michael McAloran’s In Damage Seasons in any conventional sense for this is an asemic text that demands to be experienced. Simultaneously, it is also a text that acknowledges within itself that all such experiences and interpretations will necessarily be subjective; as subjective as the richly brutal shards of imagery that appear and disappear amorphously throughout its fragments.

The triptych structure – Onset, In Damage Seasons and nothing’s bones – presents a raw, uncompromising, post-industrial landscape that explodes from the page in a kaleidoscopic multi-sensory assault:

knots of charred grass subtle as a death knell a burst abortion of bloodless words the entrails scattered the night the night’s long pale electric shadow…

a razor whip of toothen trees sucks upon the deadened veins of exit exist tooth to tooth with naught begging of the lie…

The environment of In Damage Seasons could be described as dystopian providing we acknowledge it is precisely the same dystopian environment in which we currently find ourselves. Arguably the greatest poetry acknowledges and conveys something about the human condition, and In Damage Seasons captures the contemporary Western zeitgeist with raw, unrepentant majesty. McAloran’s is an anguished, howling, detached verse, disembowelled by absence and alienation; spattered with shit, piss, cum and viscera:

there is no sun better yet we have swallowed the dead cum of absence the swelling meat in the mouth clasped down upon till castrative screams echoing violently the bloody dead meat of it spat out into foreign excrement…

night cleaves yet harms no banquet distances settled from nothing graced by the teeth a-graze till spark of blood and nectar hollowed out a miasma of shit in climates of the invisible known a bitter ashen…

McAloran unflinchingly confronts us with what we are and what we’ve become. It could be said that In Damage Seasons presents the seer becoming the seen in the most horrifying, nightmarish way possible. If so, it is a nightmare we are all familiar with and most of us will find more than a little of ourselves uncomfortably reflected in the jagged teeth of McAloran’s splintered imagery. In it we may recognise our personal swell of absence and our very own damage seasons.

                                                                                                          A.D. Hitchin

In Damage Seasons is available from Oneiros Books: http://www.paraphiliamagazine.com/indamageseasons.html

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