My real-time review continued from here: DADAOISM – a new anthology from Chômu Press

21 ‘The Lobster Kaleidoscope’, by Julie Sokolow
“‘If we stomp on oceanic carpet, what are the implications?’ She now wondered, ‘If I am in the belly of the earth,…'”
Talking about telepathy, I don’t think I’ve read Sokolow before, but I wonder if she has read Rhys Hughes or if he has read her? They’d enjoy each other’s deliciously outrageous puns and wordplay and imaginative semi-philosophical visions, I guess. I enjoy them, too.  I enjoyed this astonishingly MAD story from this book’s earlier ‘loony bin’, a story that is perhaps not quite so mad, but dream-baiting with a dream’s autonomously free-wheeling, ‘digressing’, ‘trigressing’ sensibility, when one gathers together many of its themes into the context of this book: ‘premature burial’, “the comfort of faces“, Ong Muslim’s “finger“, my own review’s references, as it says in this story, of “carpet” and “into the earth“: and of ‘silver saraband’  (cf Isis’s earlier dance that is a thing-in-itself rather than a set of temporary movements by bodies), ‘War of the Newts’ resonances, “Suicidal tendencies“, time of day shown with punctilious colons or pms and ams and bsts as I’ve been doing throughout this review, unrequited love (carrying a torch for someone) here of two swordfish who, even when their love is requited, fight with weapon faces(!), and “dates that never showed“, and the protagonist girl’s own unrequited love with parthenogenetic or symbiotic lobsters (“barrier between her and her lobster love“) and an unrequital I’m not sure is exactly requited except by her dealing with “mouths” in a very Dadaoistic or Witold-Gombrowiczian fashion … plus bouts of Cairns-like absurdist Socratic dialogues etc etc  Loved it all! (20 May 12 – 9.00: am bst)

22 ‘The Eaten Boy’, by Nick Jackson
“And if he, Jan, lifted his finger, was it really God who made him do it?” 
[My previous reviews of work by Nick Jackson are here and here.] A story that I cannot believe was not carefully chosen to follow the previous one. They act as a foil to each other, while remaining discrete in themselves. The Jackson story also emblemises the whole book in which it is published. It is, for me, a deeply felt ‘premature burial’ extrapolation, a ‘nature study’, insect/”spidery crack” Joycean religious (Christian) epiphany as well as an imaginarium Kafkaesque and Dadaoistic (a word I can now use freely, confident that everyone reading this will fully understand it even if they can’t define it precisely, or because they can’t define it precisely) — where ‘The Exorcist’ meets John Fowles or David Almond. A struggle between faith and human angst. And, truly amazingly, the book’s “maid” theme that I at first playfully identified surely here comes home to roost with ‘maidness’ and power in interface, servility and Godhood in instinctive battle. And we all know who wins or should win. Another doorway portal, too, within this portrait of a young artist (or the boy embodied in that Worrall painting that Ong Muslim brought to our attention)… And when the wheezing  Calvinist minister comes to do his own battle with the sick boy’s view of God, there seems to be a prerequisite for him to have “settled in a chair“. And that was where we first came into this book, wasn’t it? And the “glass jar” here in interface with Sokolow’s “glass barrier” vis a vis Nature and God. (20 May 12 – 10.20 am bst)

“The Eaten Boy” title: is that a subtle reference to latter day UK politics, i.e. The Eton Boy prime minister, as opposed to Calvinist minister?? (20 May 12 – 11.25 am bst)

23 ‘Poppies’, by Megan Lee Beals
“There are too many fingers, though…”
An enjoyably visionary story that is in symbiosis with the previous story, while remaining discrete.  A ‘nature study’ that has survived a post-holocaust SF scenario – with time-keeping in tune with Sokolow’s colons/numbers and with the rest of Dadaoism’s (especially Nina Allan’s) Proustian and actual timepieces (“memories in that book“) – and  — assuming that the dreaded Sogvotters, in this world of hybridised sea, residual hotel buildings etc, prefab garden, allow such activities to prevail — there is an adventurous (to put it at its most positive or playful) horticulture credo which resonates with the book’s earlier human rootings, ‘premature burial’, “wormy feet“, half “carpet“/half shattered-or-earthen structure: centring here upon a literally poppy-sown head or brain (of another ‘maid’?) —  Endangered human love as a collective hybridised ‘unconscious’: awaiting, along with the whole book, the requital of a timely coda… [My very first teacher as an infant was a young lady named Mrs Cole.]. “He’s already turned his balcony into a bed…” (20 May 12 – 12.50 pm)

24 ‘Abra Raven’, by D.F. Lewis
Even at the distance of around 30 years when I first wrote this, I don’t think I am qualified to comment upon this half-a-page text or upon its influence vis a vis this book’s gestalt. Good simply to keep the torchen caterpillar moving… (It was published in a delightful stapled small-press poetry magazine in 1988). (20 May 12 – 1.05 pm bst)

25 ‘Pissing in Barbican Lake’, by Jeremy Reed
“into a shattered torch ruby–“
Jeremy Reed wrote my already publicly announced favourite novel of 2011, if not of the whole 21st century so far (‘Here Comes The Nice’).  I can’t pretend to understand this poem, though, but I did enjoy it at some instinctual level and will re-read.  (20 May 12 – 1.25 pm bst)

26 ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicides’, by Jeremy Reed
“backwards down the stairs”
No railings or banister or balustrade when Joe Meek became Telstar, I say. A poem about suicides in the ancient pop world. Again enjoyed it but this time based on something more than just an instinctual level. Deserves re-reading. A musical coda – if low-key in terms of this real time review – one that seems poignantly to tail-off the book like a dead satellite — or asteroidal torch.


I hope you can judge by what I’ve written that I think DADAOISM is a great anthology, one that will stay with me forever.  In common with all my real-time reviews, I shall now read the two introductions and the author biographies for the first time, but I won’t be back here to comment upon them. I suspect they will give me much additional food for thought and possibly show how I’ve misinterpreted the word ‘Dadaoism’ completely!

As with ‘Italiannetto’ and its place in the pecking order of my favourite fiction stories of all time, I shall leave it another three years before I finally decide where ‘Dadaoism‘ resides in my pecking order of favourite fiction anthologies. I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns out to be my favourite anthology of my whole reading life to date, if I should survive that long! (smiley) (20 May 12 – 1.50 pm bst)


Dadaoism (An Anthology) 


9 responses to “*

  1. the various websites that I use are all shown below (only some of which I’ve used for this DADAOISM review). I try to make venues appropriate to the type of review being placed on it. Having said that, I feel justified in using my various book sites etc. for my real-time review venues (as a spin-off marketing) because I have always bought the books I review, i.e. as a normal customer (or, very rarely, it’s a contributor copy or exchanged it for another book). My over-riding love however is actually in doing the real-time reviews themselves for my own creative reading satisfaction, which, as merely another spin-off, hopefully benefits all the good literature I choose to review.


    THE NEMONICON (general blog)



    CLASSICAL HORROR (anthology submission guidelines)


    WEIRDTONGUE (novella)

    THE LAST BALCONY (forthcoming collection)

    WEIRDMONGER: THE NEMONICON (old collection)

    THE BEACH HUT (early DFL material)



    NEMONYMOUS (2001 – 2010)







  2. Someone not connected with DADAOISM has just mentioned to me ‘The Torch of Chaos and Doubt” in Taoism or Daoism. Regarding the book’s gestalt, I alone either missed its whole point or managed to grasp it.

  3. And my cover word ORCzone: ORC is embedded in TORCH!

  4. Having started investigating this further, I feel there is more mileage in greater investigation towards unravelling the gestalt of DADAOISM the book, re poiesis and Socratic Dialogues etc etc. Are there forces at work here that none of us yet understand?

  5. Other factors to co-investigate Proust and Poiesis, Heidegger (butterfly), exoskeletons, parthenogenesis, Socratic dialogue, the self…

  6. Wiki: “The name Orc is possibly an anagram of the word cor (heart) in that he was stated in Blake’s myth to be born of Enitharmon’s heart or orca (whale) because he sometimes takes the form of a whale.” Whales feature in Dadaoism the book, and ‘cor’ is French word for the musical instrument ‘horn’, I recall. Cor anglais. I can imagine the 2012 Olympic Torches doubling as horns…

  7. Having now read QSC’s intro I see that it should have been obvious that the coined word DADAOISM merged DADAISM and DAOISM (TAOISM). Well, I only ‘got’ this after finishing the book! I genuinely formed the Zeroist Group in 1967 – had several members – and had happenings and other artistic things; its constitution included an ambition to return Art to Zero – with express reference to the DADA art movement of earlier in the 20th century – and to start in a new direction from that base. We failed, of course, or succeeded (look at the world of art now!) or failed by so succeeding. So, I automatically assumed that the O in Dadaoism was intended to be a zero…

    The positing of the word Dadaoism as an undefined guide to potential story contributors to an anthology book reminded me of a similar exercise with Elastic Press’s ALSISO (based on a typo) and my own CONE ZERO anthology.

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