Serpentine Supplications – Stephan Friedman

MOUNT ABRAXAS PRESS MMXIX

My previous reviews of this author here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/tag/stephan-friedman/ and this publisher here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/complete-list-of-zagava-ex-occidente-press-books/

When I read this book in due course, my thoughts will appear in the comment stream below…

10 thoughts on “Serpentine Supplications – Stephan Friedman

  1. My purchased copy is numbered 3/77.

    07303CF4-D7A2-4354-93FF-545E1CC71B80

    Black print on stiff marmalade-coloured paper. 70 pages.
    This publisher’s long-seasoned aesthetic of printed design upon rich upholstery of materials.

    I reviewed the first work in February 2016 in its then context, as follows:

    ===============================

    CAST THE SEED INTO THE HEART OF NIGHT
    “It is the Dog Night / And the skies are rent / Lonely black windows / Scream silently / With their toothless mouths”
    Victor’s collage of a secret Gnostic order in prose and verse, including a mock premature burial and a Proustian memory of his mother. And clouds that form an amazing C**t.
    Inter alia.
    Read me, it says, as if to Alice, I guess. A memorable work, at least as long as I live long enough to need to remember to check up on its memorability.
    “The seed won’t grow unless it dies.”

    =============================

    Except, tantalisingly, it transcends my memorability of it, with quotes and references arguably fading away to nothing, and new ones potentially about to appear, or already have done so.

  2. There follow two poems:

    CONTEMPLATING BINAH AT A SISTER’S PLACE

    Ƨ (S IN REVERSE)

    Can only be read for themselves and not told about by someone who has read them to others who have not read them.

  3. I reviewed the next story two year ago in its then context, as follows…

    ==================================

    SHADOW OF HORROR RISEN IN ETERNITY

    “Nothing was a coincidence, everything had meaning and explanation. And when this meaning was hidden from regular means of understanding, he employed supernatural methods to penetrate beyond the veil and grasp what the common people could not even imagine.”

    ….although it might be more modest to replace ‘supernatural’ with ‘preternatural’ and replace the term “the common people” with merely “others”? But whether we are of the “others” or not, we gain knowledge and a textured frisson and sense here of a lifetime of grappling with the occult, as a grandson explores his grandfather’s diary, some of it illegible, its astrologically harmonic dates, visionary nightmares, its sometime personal doubts, with reference to Blake, Swedenborg, Crowley, dowsing, the war with the Nazis, sexual magic, a nutcracker that either “seized” (up) or ceased, and the need to continue the war against, say, Urizen as embodied in others (an incarnated Brexit, Trump?) in the future….
    The final pushing down the stairs awaits us all. But when?

  4. THE CITY THAT NEVER DREAMS

    “…the curse of visibly becoming that which they detest.”

    The city that at first seems never to end, too, or we do not know where it ends. Ligottian Corporate Horror with Lardmann as our boss, shape-shifting, more hissing, a snake pub — and a sudden vision of open country, but can it last? Deadpan and disarming scenes that will haunt us, perhaps forever or until we start never dreaming, too.

  5. THE FIERY SERPENT

    “…as if he was linked to a vast library…”

    A raison d’être for my Gestalt real-time Reviewing, this “salacious sacrament” is a most powerful experience, where a folklorist that I originally misread as folldorist is subjected to … well you must read it! One of those works that suddenly stands up at you, stands up against and with you, with surprising results; it is a well-kept secret … till now? Or still so? Even more powerful within the context of this abstemiously distributed book.

    • THE FULL MOON
      A poem as a truly reprehensible coda to the previous story.
      This book is not for the faint-hearted. This book’s pages are not ‘marmalade’ after all, perhaps but some unnameable colour that has become strangely more fitting to its contents.

  6. I reviewed the next story on January 1, 2018 in its then context, as follows…

    ===============================

    THE FUNERAL CRY

    “I heard it there, the funeral cry, the ulican, just like you described, even more astonishing.”

    Even more astonishing that I mentioned the ‘theatre of cruelties’ during yesterday’s 2017 in a concurrent review – and its Dorian Gray template seems an exact match for the actual appearance of Cioran in this Friedman work, one that also features today in 2018 Artaud and his Theatre of Cruelty… Meanwhile, the Friedman itself ultra-powerfully stares you in the eye with this whole book’s essence (featuring Cioran, Artaud, a woman called Mary like the Mary Magdalen who for me nurtured the instable God particle, utter absinthe studenthood, ineluctable despair, vivid sex, a facing of death and all its barbed accoutrements so that death, by becoming even harder to face, becomes somehow easier), and you will either come away immaculately reinvigorated for the New Year by this work or tantamount to destroyed by it, depending whether you are Dorian Gray or his picture.
    As an aside, is it ‘ulican’ or ‘ullagone’ that is the funeral cry?

  7. I reviewed the last story in September 2016 in its then context, as follows…

    ========================================

    THE OPHIDIAN REVELATION

    “He viewed religion as superstitious nonsense, but felt that the world was filled with magic, and recognised the need to study its methods.”

    …and whoever ‘he’ is there – not this story’s biographicalising narrator who starts with a fear of snakes – he is also me, feeling the gradual creation, for me, of Ex Occidente Press books (under various imprimaturs) into – at least in part – the finest, most provocative religio-ritual Weird literature in the history of the world, and that is the actionate of that quote above. And this ‘story’ is an example of that thought’s further apotheosising within the Temple of this astonishing book, in content and form. My real-time reviewing, or dreamcatching, hawling, dowsing, träumtrawling, is also an attempt, if a humble one, gradually, to reach a similar apotheosis in the connective labyrinth of all hyper-imaginative literature.

    Meanwhile, Friedman, here, depicts our narrator (himself?) in an audit trial from ophidiophobia, via Kabbalism and world modern history, toward the whore that is Jerusalem, and the Temple that houses Lilith, and his wonderful transcendence and further commitments to discover more – all of which is written with refreshing straightforwardness but also emotionally textured and ornate when need be. The perfect way to start the day or the beginning of the rest of my life.

    “The circumcision is a sacrifice to the Goddess, which symbolizes renewal and birth, like the snake shedding its skin, the seal of immortality.”

    end

  8. “the gradual creation, for me, of Ex Occidente Press books (under various imprimaturs) into – at least in part – the finest, most provocative religio-ritual Weird literature in the history of the world, and that is the actionate of that quote above. And this ‘story’ is an example of that thought’s further apotheosising within the Temple of this astonishing book, in content and form. My real-time reviewing, or dreamcatching, hawling, dowsing, träumtrawling, is also an attempt, if a humble one, gradually, to reach a similar apotheosis in the connective labyrinth of all hyper-imaginative literature.”

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