Fuckscapes by Sean Kilpatrick (A Review by j/j hastain)

Blue Square Press


I have spent a few days in Sean Kilpatrick’s fuckscapes and need to name the disturbances (induced by reading this book) I feel in my body, as well as the awareness of the rare beauties within this book.

My initial curiosity regarding fuckscapes is whether or not this book is in some way  procedurally induced? I wonder this because it is chock-full of displaced lyricisms and strange conjunctions that sometimes open me and sometimes close me. In other words, if not from a procedure or a principle, I wonder where all of the combining data that makes up this barrage, came from (“To enter my scat felch the gay chore water” / “Corpse fetal wafting crimes” / “I pinned back her clitoral hood with six tooth picks” / “Well whack my clit with a staircase” / “Home is where the cat died”/ “I want to fuck you until my heart stinks”)?

I am curious about intents regarding the book and how they do or don’t align with a reader’s body or experience of the book. Are we to feel like we are being trampled on, or over, here (as if the book is running with snow shoes over a field of the soft, poppy-like flowers that grow in Colorado (us?)—their black centers and sharp edged stamens, our intricacies)? Is that one of the intents of this book? I ask, because I surely experience the feeling of having been shredded as one of the results of reading it.

It also feels relevant to note that perhaps the American Library Association has had some requests to ban this book (books with satanic undertone (“Nuns will straddle their rosaries” / “Pirouette/ illegally” / “Architecture was deemed blasphemous”) are prime targets for banning requests)), which of course, makes it all the more exciting!

This book makes me interested in considering the word fuck (regarding the title and octane presence of the word throughout the book). Fuck as in to be fucked (the act of sex), fuck as in to be fucked over (taken advantage of), fuck as in ‘fuck this’ (a statement of disapproval regarding something). So fuckscape is a landscape of escapes, scrapes and sensations in the context of fuck (“Chant your toxin”)?

I noticed some gestures toward relation (“I dyed all my memories you” / “I’m the second or third god you wish to” / “I can’t hunt because of you” / “You love me with too much of your history intact” / “I always fake holding your hand” / “You cried because the fire was beautiful”) in the book, but it seems to me like relation is secondary to bombardment in this text. What are the ethics (or are there any?) of purposeful bombardments (“This killing of the sky with surgical rhythms” / “Puke wood”)?

fuckscapes also has within it, a bizarre, not-particularly-confessional salvo of anatomical sentiments. It distributes itself in me by way of putting me in proximity with aspects of my own desire, by entering into me through both my selvage and what exists beneath selvage. It gets into me by displacing me. My crannies are exposed, and maybe here, I even feel like I identify with some of the beautiful thoughts a serial killer or a molester might have. Not so much that I want to kill or fondle a child, but the shape of the thinking—(“Menstruates her initials” / “I sung plight to the stars” / “My medical training is limited both to the proximity of the wounds I create for myself and to the punctuality of human rot”).

The grotesqueries here act as sensory shapes or a sodden type of music. They definitely hint of Bukowski, Burroughs, even Bataille. Although it is rich with them, the images that exist within it, no longer even perform as I have ever seen images perform in the past. It is almost as if they are stand-ins, surrogates for content that is never completely uncovered (“Polished into polish”). Because of how rapidly the stand-in images flash, they remind me of the form of torture wherein hard flashes of disturbing images are forced into the eyes of someone who can’t (by environment or by imposition) blink during the process. In other words, fuckscapes is “hammy light” or is an activator of “hammy light.”


j/j hastain is the author of several cross-genre books including riding the lace barometer (ISMs Press), trans-genre book libertine monk (Scrambler Press), treoOA (Marsh Hawk Press (with Eileen Tabios)), approximating diapason (Spuyten Duyvil Press (with tod thilleman)) and anti-memoir a vigorous (Black Coffee Press/ Eight Ball Press (forthcoming)). j/j’s writing has most recently appeared in Caketrain, Trickhouse, Housefire, Bombay Gin and Aufgabe.