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Everyone’s Favorite, Sister

By Harriet Staff

When you combine Edgar Allan Poe, Philip K. Dick, Emily Dickinson, add a dash of schizophrenia, and let Sonic Youth mix, you get John F. Kersey’s “Sister” at The Rumpus. It’s something of a marvelous reading of American Lit through what some consider to be Sonic Youth’s top album, Sister (itself an homage to Mr. Dick). Jump over and read (or listen) to the piece.

To give you a taste, we’ll leave you with this:

Emily Dickinson is upstairs in her father’s house, fourteen, reading an illicit copy of “The Raven.” In the Pioneer Valley, where one-hundred and fifty years later Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore will raise their daughter and then abruptly (at least to fans), in 2011, announce a divorce, simultaneously ending the most important rock band of the millennial era, Sonic Youth.

It is as if a great house has fallen―sunk into the mire which seethes around the ancestral manor, amid an unrecognizable, Martian landscape. The narrator of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher” has no name, no real structural substance beyond his vague association with this other guy, an old friend of his. He’s not the protagonist; he’s practically an outsider. He has to read stories to the wan Roderick Usher to keep him from going insane. Usher’s developed an intolerance to any sort of music except light string arrangements. He gets these headaches. Takes drugs. Something is happening to him.

Then his sister comes over.


Posted in Poetry News on Monday, October 1st, 2012 by Harriet Staff.