Poetry News

CCM-Entropy's New Canon Includes Olivia Cronk's Skin Horse

By Harriet Staff


In July, CCM-Entropy introduced readers to a new series called "The New Canon." Sam Slaughter presented the series to readers as an antidote to the traditional, "stuffy-white-male" canon many of us became familiar with in literature survey courses. CCM-Entropy's New Canon series, "will be composed of essays, 500-2000 words on a book that you believe should be part of The New Canon. White male authors will be represented, but in a much smaller percentage than ever before" Slaughter explained. In the series's latest installment, Laura Ellen Joyce reviews Olivia Cronk's Skin Horse. Take a peek and learn more:

In Skin Horse the apocalypse is ever-present. Just as Revelation literally reveals the cultural anxieties of first millennium Christians and their fears of impending apocalypse so too Skin Horse is an apocalyptic text for our times.

One way in which Revelation is called to mind is through an abject erotics that runs through Skin Horse. This allows for the centrality of those subjects that would usually be ‘radically excluded’ or ‘jettisoned’ (in the words of psychoanalyst Julia Kristeva in Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection, (New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 1984)) from erotic discourse. These subjects range from the barely recognisably human (corpses) to non-mammalian, alien life forms (lizard, squids). Near the beginning of the poem there is a highly sexualised, cultic moment that combines an erotics of death with polymorphous sexuality:


your old friends

the naked squids

hung from a tree branch


The figure of the squid can be read in two ways: firstly, the scene sits generically within a horror narrative where ‘friends’ are ‘screaming’ ‘naked’ and ‘hung from a tree branch’; however, there is a second reading which perceives the naked squid as polymorphous and multivalent, a creature which does not conform to a neat binary and which is fleshly, inviting and the object of desire. The conjunction of ‘friends’ with ‘naked’, ‘screaming’ and ‘hung’ belong to the lexicon of sexual desire. This close relationship between sexual desire and death allows the radical possibilities of necrophilia as a form of alternative sexual strategy to be conceived. [...]

Continue reading at CCM-Entropy and if you have a good idea about something that should be included in The New Canon, email your thoughts to: enclave@entropymag.org.

Originally Published: November 5th, 2015