frostsigils

A compendium of forgotten heresies, myths, art and death poems, in homage to PAYSAGE D’HIVER

MOUNT ABRAXAS PRESS MMXXI

My previous reviews of this publisher HERE

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

38 thoughts on “frostsigils

  1. 7BD31810-5C39-4C41-8BA7-9FB1BEF5B3D4With over 250 pages, paysage as passage, possibly the eye-shocked plushest book you will ever handle as well as squeeze your ‘I’s at, with winterdark become its equivalent to snowblinding. Yet, the amazing number of blackonred artworks cry out to crowd the retina’s rods and cones with a satisfying sHiver of éclat.
    Mine is numbered 10 of 144.

  2. hymn to a holly king poem by Nihthelm
    “…scepter wrought of ice and snow […] Solar reign usurped…”
    “‘Til it’s return” = ‘Til it is return?
    It is return duly invoked by now putting my earlier written intro above in reverse?

  3. THE COMPLEMENT AND ITS WHOLE by Anders Patrick Segerberg

    “This is no dream.”

    A most powerful prose section, I must say. I am forced to say. This book is imposing, its tall pages as stiff almost as the rock and architecture of this rocky prison of mazed cells and lockdowns for us today, but it is in deceptive contrast to the crumbly parchment pages the narrator encounters! You will not credit the contradictory keeps and redoubts here that make the gestalt. The descriptions are ineluctable and adept. Yet, the switch I have been given in turn gives absence or presence to the mad architect of this review site who is now dealing with it. The true covivid dream, even if a dream it is not.

    “Perhaps it is all part of some centered narrative, too vast to comprehend.”

  4. I am actually quite disturbed by turning these stiff imposing red and shining black insects on the pages, the images, too. No warning enough from me will be enough, but if you want to end up ‘alone’ as a refrain of hope and escape or indulge your insanity, I suggest reading as overkill or hopefully catharsis the Christian Riley prose section THE COILS OF MADNESS, about murder and Mearna and dwarves amid these hotly frosty pages interleaved by shapes of image-configured blackness impinging even on your blind spots of vision. Following two poems, one by Martin van Valkenstein (“Eaten up by Sol’s golden rays / Obliviate!”) and another by Wintherr in a language I do not comprehend but it seems to creep into my veins nevertheless!

    My previous reviews of Christian Riley: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/tag/christian-riley/

  5. CASTER WINTER by Neheroth

    “Its mind scattered itself alongside those strokes of frost; frays of memory spun across the small arch of the window — the silver sheen of sigils hacked into dark word.”

    It reads like immersing oneself in a text worthy of John Gale as words if not meanings or into a swords and sorcery role playing game which is new and strange with rituals of the many alternating with the rituals of the alone. A lockdown of one and an endless maze or panoply of riches and banner ballrooms and ceremonies of justice and manifold architectures and usages. Presence teetering on the edge of a single word sentence — viz. “Absence.” Snow upon the point of morphing into another single sentence — viz. “Bonedust.” Or vice vice versa versa. “Familial” on the edge of “Faellion” or “Faellmor”. Caster (if not bonedust, sugar?) and Pillar. Columns and Rubrics. A covivid-dream manqué or fulfilled? Above my head, to tell, perhaps? ‘Cloud’ and ‘Vivid’ surely can never combine!

    “Soon — these forms combined — did a cloud of vivid dreams and hallowed vision break forth above their heads; each a different perspective upon the same event.”


  6. A nifty claustrophobic poem ‘In The Dark’ by Julian Bruns (“snowflakes threaten to pierce the door”) – followed by a fascinating non-fiction article, ‘Round About Our Coal Fire’ by a writer called Old Mill, about the history of the name Jack Frost, including the trickery of collages and vice versa.

    This impelled me to find something small as a Thingie that I wrote about Jack Frost a few years ago:

  7. SCHUURIG by Wintherr

    “…makes you grow your own shadow.”

    A poem that led me to music on Spotify which reminded me of my old Napalm Death CD (Scum) that I somehow had in my ownership during the 1980s, I think.

  8. THE TOWER, THE PRISONER by Forrest Aguirre

    The occupant bellows from there so loud you can smell the bad breath evacuated from his lungs. Imagine what visions his fingernails etched frenzily into the frosty bars of its window. The ultimate lockdown and an inside back view of its eponymous occupant by means of epistles back and forth to an Excellency who wanted to meet, even if just for curiosity, this evil seditionist. The synergy of frost and iron bar into icicle somehow is blurred or mismeant by the final paragraphs, and whose eye was pierced? A powerful blurring or empty mismeaning hooded within the words. The icicle well aimed and eventually on target beyond where the words ended. Much strong Forrest expressiveness here shafting through such mismeaning’s variable viewpoints, awakening my own curiosity, too. Irregularity incarnate.

    My previous reviews of this author: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/tag/forrest-aguirre/

  9. A FOREST WITH ITS MOUTH OPEN WIDE by Adam S. Cantwell

    “Where red falls away from black…”

    The somehow vividly adumbrated BELL here is to be rung, and the text doth sing well, indeed canting well as it is finally rung by reading, the monarch not come to ring it as the ritual demanded. But you, instead, in the guise of its arch bell-tender, the supposed narrator. A BELL that is tied to all manner of climates, sand and snow, but mainly snow and ice. Beautifully worded and belled by Cantwell, as I would have expected from his previous work. But whereto doth it reach beyond ear. Its “Vivid nothingness…”? Only you as reader and ringer will or can tell well enough.

    My previous reviews of this author: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/tag/adam-s-cantwell/

  10. Following a satisfyingly word-textured essay ‘Forest is Heimlich’ by Ernst Junger about the contradictions and nuances regarding the accoutrements of life and death in ‘Forest’, if not Forrest, we then have a story by one of my favourite writers, Colin Insole, entitled THE WINTER BURIALS, that has the equivalent contradiction or paradox of being densely and limpidly word-textured, while deeply otherwise impervious as to my attempts at plot scrying. It tells of matters associated with the above Junger essay, an estate with creeping visible surface growths in structures as well as in landscapes around the Gadwall Estate, whereby airbrushing has been attempted regarding aspects of family history, through the Great War and beyond, aspects of infiltration (and later investigation) by others, others with perhaps unseemly behaviour, involving the burials of young people and a group called Kindred of the Kibbo Kift (Cf my review here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2021/02/22/the-narcissus-variations-damian-murphy/)

    My previous reviews of Colin Insole: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/colin-insole/

  11. Two striking poems by Karl Cordtz, “raven’s call”, a deadened echo et al, and a poem by Rilke: our seeing them is the control of those who think they control us, leading me, in perhaps even stiffer, more laborious red and black strides or simple human treads under heavy trees, a path of page-turns, to…

    KING OF EXHIBITION FOREST by Torni Maa

    “And even though it was most likely not really a path, just a wish for a path or a vague idea of a path, it was enough for me.”

    Another raven’s call of “Nevermore”, those heavy trees, this book’s sublimity of afforested expressiveness, a desperate journey of ‘big boy’ fallibilities, I infer.
    I shall see.

    I read / tread, so far, up to “To Hell with all this juvenile, gothic nonsense.” – on page 143

    [Should this book have been called FORESTSIGILS instead of what it is called?]

    • Now read up to: “…but, as always, pictures fall short when you are trying to make a sense of the tangible flesh and blood reality.” on page 146

      This has been quite a significant reading experience for me this morning, by random chance, half an hour after reading this classic story by H.G. Wells HERE, whereby I imagine this Maa one is the final rite of passage through the door now as this work’s ‘death wish’ and, instead of the world the Wells’ character expected, this is the sort of frosty foresty terrain he actually faced on his final journey through the yearned-for door. The Maa narrator even sees himself as the small boy he once was when first entering the door, by seeing a (so far) amorphous creature “around the height of a small child.” And the Maa quote above seems to resonate with Wells’ “…because the pages of that book were not pictures, you understand, but realities.”

    • POSSIBLE SPOILERS HEREON..,

      It is as if I have become this character. As if he, too, as me, sees myself as himself: the child-sized figure I saw in the frost- and forest-bitten scene, saving myself from falling into a trench by falling into it itself, into which trench I climb deliberately to discover who it or he is. A leap of faith. An obsession. Only to wake in my covivid lockdown room which i cannot hardly remember, but tellingly a quilt has or is a second life there, it seems. Mind like ‘viscous porridge’. Beyond even my own ‘vivid imagination’. A cold sweat, a feverish slumber from which just woken? Powerful, overweening stuff.

      Read so far up to: “As I was scaring away some minor cousins of Gregor Samsa with my clamorous cursing the door…”

    • Is this a lockdown prison as I first thought or a guesthouse as claims the stubbly-bearded man who looks like me (even though I would not call myself ‘stout’)? Making accusations to the writer who writes about all this about a ruckus he made that disturbs the other guests. It all reads like classic weird fiction that will be collected one day as such, as if someone like me had written it posthumously, using the dream-riddled confusion of my last years alive during these times, depicting the presence of cockroaches and a “laddle” (a hybrid ladder and spoon?) dealing with “endless variants” of (god)forsaken stew. Though it is claimed here to be a rustic, countryside stew. And ‘talentless daubs’ on walls…

      Read or somehow written up to: “All in all the whole room looked like a graveyard of thrift store aesthetics.”

    • I now realise that I am not that stubby ‘stout’ man but I am really the old man reading from this “large book.” A group of other guests around him in a room of this guesthouse and I realise that this is the first day, in my own place’s real-time, when people CAN gather thus inside together. Here a painterly setting of Pinteresque conversation (a sense of the act of being with each other via the neologism “withing”) and the gradual revelation of characters thus with each other, and what I now learn about the Exhibition Forest and its arguably fake trees make me think of potential or clandestine ‘animation’ again. And of my own now continued, explicitly stated determination to set myself against any “gothic personification nonsense”, while I, as the narrator, now look out of the window…

      Read up to: “It was just a rock in space, not a celestial hunter coming for my soul.”

  12. “We may delude ourselves, but that’s hardly the point. We must give voice to the irrational as an act of conscience. It’s the closest thing we have to prayer.”
    Leopold Nacht

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

    “Come, look, fast. Something is crawling in the street.”

    I am part of the InUKtitut, I feel, watching it through the window of language here in my own homeland, and the “rudimentary sense of variation to my description of the scene.” Are these crawling creatures children, in various stages of myself looking for their Narnia door, or should I be warning you that they are more or less than these trying to infiltrate your own homes? Nobody seems to pay proper heed to me in the guesthouse, whatever ‘me’ I happen to be there? I must find my own Exhibition Forest.

    Read up to: “…I wanted to fulfil my death wish called curiosity.”

    • “Don’t touch the trees. Whatever you do, don’t touch those damned trees.”

      It now dawns on me that I am not the only one to have lost my kid in the forest, and however hard I call the kid’s name, the kid can’t answer.

      Read up to and abruptly halted for the day here…
      “…thick quilted padding were placed on one of the armchairs. They were mostly of muddled, brownish blue with some accents in screaming orange…”

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    • “My mind is such a mess.”

      This work is surely concealed within this massive folly of a tall stiff-paged red and black, and as yet unread, book, because such a diversionary tome of afforested, affrosted, affronted sublimity wants to conceal this novella’s amazing rocks as flesh-meaty mounds from the sight of any casual reader. With no exaggeration, these entities represent probably the most nightmarish things that I have ever read about, as I approach, with a man called Hans from the Guest House as a temporary spear-carrier with his own kid to find, as it were, alongside my experiencing a suspense and page-turning compulsion of reaching a climax as if actually YEARNING endlessly, with some sort of Zeno’s Paradox, to see the Exhibition Forest for the first time …. with some sort of devastating revelation, as long as I don’t touch its trees.
      ‘Abjects’ as noun-like Objects. Amid “wet glucks and rattles…” as some sort of premonitory bathos.

      Read up to: “When I reached what I believed to be the dreaded ‘Exhibition Forest’ I was disappointed to the point of absurdity.”

        • “And there was still a clear path to follow.”

          Despite or even because of this, the only way to read what I have, for some while, thought to be emerging as a major work of Weird Fiction or something quite remarkably indefinable in the realms of truth and fabrication, is to read it piecemeal in real time while noting down your own passing reactions to it in cross-checked triangulation with every other of its readers’ reactions. Within the entrance gate of the Exhibition Forest (equivalent to the Zoo in ‘Nemonymous Night’?), the nature of the trees that one must not touch yet try to describe, at one time inside its cabin, later with my feeling like “a muddled-blue and screaming orange riding hood” approaching an as yet indefinable Wolf, even falling short of my own powers of description: “The moments I hate most in life are the moments when the words escape me.”

          Read up to: “It seemed snow averted this place.” (In vague triangulation with ‘The Painted Lady’?)

        • Pages 183 – 200

          “…but who would want to bring their kids to a park that had nothing but a bunch of animatronic trees.” (My italics, or the eponymous King’s?)

          And even that is not a plot spoiler, as you will one day realise if you read this novella, and believe at least ME that you must not touch the trees. The pervasion of missing children remind me vaguely of the missing Angevin children in ‘Nemonymous Night’, but there the resemblance ends. As do the alternations of truths and fabrications within this quite lengthy coda to the Exhibition Forest, its hints of drugs and child abuse and their ethical aspects of showmanship and exhibition to turn not only fabrication into truth — and our, by turns, naive or mature stoicisms of a journey through the door of literature from childhood to old age towards the unadulterated horror of flesh growing from a canvas intended for painting on, the explicit crimson walls to match these pages printed upon, “a web of smoke and mirrors” to conceal Death’s Dark Abyss? But, in turn, this truly remarkable novella, I feel, is indeed not only about fronts and frontages but also “really just a front for something that went deeper.” Even deeper than itself.

  13. From Winterblood’s CONIUNCTIO OPPOSITORUM as a historical reverie on their relationship with the music of Paysage D’Hiver, music that I first learnt about myself from the pages of Mount Abraxas books…
    To THE FIELDPATH, by Martin Heidegger, another reverie, one at first stemming from sitting on an etched bench close to a forest and a tower and another bell for this book, and I have learnt much about Heidegger as a result by researching behind this work.

  14. THE SUBPOENA by Damian Murphy

    …or a subterfuge, subways of fugue towards the perfect animatronics of a mathematical geometry of pure existence, or an iron ball, as the ministerial recipient of the subpoena, the passing of papers, page by page, under damaged interior balconies, a giant pyramid as the first subterfuge or decoy or mazy pathways beyond the snowy afforested fieldpaths outside this work as well as explicitly inside it leading to this Kafkaesque journey. Via land scopes and scapes. Another tower and now two bells. Fears of falling upward – towards the last balcony still undamaged enough to warrant being called a balcony? And I need to deliver these read pages, too, to you, my ministry of co-readers, reaching the unred ones I have not brushed through to read yet. My own stiff stacked subpoena, one that eludes explanation but has a perfectly clear path via intuition. A classic Damian Murphy.

    My previous reviews of this author: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/tag/damian-murphy/

  15. THE SORROW KNIGHT & THE OLD TOWER
    a solo micro adventure of heresy and despair +
    inspired by Paysage D’Hiver

    With a story by Geticus Poles and Artwork by Droll Meadow

    A role playing game to my naive eyes. Or a ‘choose your own path to adventure’ work that my son used to read in the 1970s and early 1980s under the guise of Fighting Fantasy.
    One that seems to encompass some of this mighty book’s themes.
    My path has thankfully become unclear . I shall soon end up fighting fantasy to reach my own last balcony, not colluding with it. Red to Grey Frosticles to whatever colour replaces Grey.

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