Poetry News

THE COMPLEAT Vice OF TRISHA LOW ++ Watch Her in Vivian

By Harriet Staff


Refuse (refuse?) to disavow; indulge your voyeurism: Blake Butler read Trisha Low's first book, The Compleat Purge (Kenning Editions 2013) and sent some questions her way for Vice. Trisha Low sent BB some answers in the form of someone honest (honest?) about her present state of things (yes: rope bondage workshop). There's even an excerpt from her book. More, more, more:

[TL] ...Maybe I’m also just interested in being ventriloquized by those I'm supposed to be grateful or indebted to (those are my daddy issues talking, duh). So for me there's this tension between alienation and exclusion, victimization and aggression that I wanted Purge to live in, or rather, that the feminine needs to live in by default.

The sense of ventriloquism is strong, I think. Besides using yourself at various ages as a speaker, there are also the sections where you took another text and annotated it with a wilder, more violent tone, like the spells in the Book of Spells, and the bits. Can you talk about some of your sources, and what kind of process you used to synthesize them into the voice in the book?

Speaking of ventriloquism, I have a friend who used to just bring me to parties and talk for me—like literally speak on my behalf. It was the best thing, but I think she got too confused about whose stories belonged to whom after a while.

I pick texts on a whim, but also for how much fun I can have in the process—I like things that seem wasteful, or frivolous, or “messy,” but have a process that they can be ciphered into inherent in their underlying structure. So, for example, with the spell poems, the end goal is “love,” this abstract thing, but I used a ton of text from a book of voodoo spells where the ingredients are materials. I think the sort of “annotative” process you allude to is apt, but maybe a better word is an oversystemization. I want to keep making people fall into buckets and buckets of tears, or blood, or fluid, even if they start from a formula or at least mess up their chicken and egg sense about which comes first. Once I actually ate some pages from some texts and barfed it all up along with some milk.

Then they get to the workshop, then they get to the excerpting. Go to Vice for the full "Portrait of the Marquise de Sade as a Young Female Hacker."

Speaking of Trisha Low, have you seen her in Lanny Jordan Jackson's short film Vivian? Now you may might watch Low below.

Vivian from Lanny Jordan Jackson on Vimeo.

Vivian from Lanny Jordan Jackson on Vimeo.

Small print: Photo at top by Lawrence Schwartzwald, curtsy of Hyperallergic went to MoMA to hear poetry.

Originally Published: November 25th, 2013