The Puppet Wedding, by Gordon Faylor, reviewed by Clara B. Jones


Gordon Faylor
The Puppet Wedding
Smiling Mind Documents
Unpaginated (11 pages of text, ~32 lines per page)
50 pamphlets printed and distributed by author

Reviewed by Clara B. Jones


“I’m drawn to subversions of compositional requisites or genre.” J. Gordon Faylor (2014)

I suspect that readers will agree that some writers’ works are so stimulating and singular that the impulse to share them with others cannot be suppressed. J. Gordon Faylor (photograph—publisher and editor of the experimental literature house, GaussPDF) is, for me, one of those writers. In a previous review, I wrote that his novel, Registration Caspar (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2016), “is an extreme and extremely compelling tour de force of experimental literature in the tradition of ‘associative’ (and ‘collage’) writing and, possibly, long-form (‘epic’) poetry.” The Puppet Wedding, like Caspar, is a “transrational experiment” (Viktor Shklovsky), fulfilling Marjorie Perloff’s description of collage poetry whereby “each element in the collage has a kind of double function: it refers to an external reality even as its compositional thrust is to undercut the very referentiality it seems to assert.”

Collage writing, then, is a “mode of juxtaposition” or admixture of elements, often using words, phrases, sentences independently—not necessarily following logically from each other and not necessarily meaningful in any normal or expected sense as relations or whole compositions. Related to this, a- or anti-logical elements may surround sensible elements (“They’re not devoid of dependency, no matter how you’d/get that in your head? Leave it to the realist to succeed.”) These conventions remind one of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s formulation, “language games,” yielding writing that does not require context or proper grammar for meaning (“The ideal likeness is actually quite a few critical/projects and works by that likeness.”)

The Puppet Wedding is, ostensibly, the story of two “pups,” Pint and Brindy, characterized, like the text, itself, as non-binary and fluid. Like many experimental works, words, some with double meanings  (e.g., “puppet,” “gnat”), are repeated throughout the composition, creating referential integration and unity for the composition as a whole—in relation to fragments or parts chosen intentionally though, more or less, standing on their own.

“I knew, Brindy, I knew that the funny
thing about forgiveness
is that it’s only half me. We have to investigate our emotions
together. I don’t feel too detached from the
question of sloughing though posed that’s yours.”

Like the best collage poetry, upon first reading, a group of lines, or, even, a whole stanza, seem to cohere and to make sense; though, upon further reflection, don’t make formal [operational] sense at all. As advanced by postmodernists, the reader is in control of interpretation, and I spent a fair amount of time attempting to figure out who the poem’s narrator might be. Ultimately, I settled on the idea that they were the puppet-teer, an entity whose boundaries sometimes intersect with those of Pint and Brindy, a kind of “doubling” whereby the human (?) puppet-master’s anxieties and neuroses are projected onto inanimate, though, animated and “defamiliarized” dolls (“Theirs, that’s doubling/rule by perceiver independence…putatively gnatlike and transitory…,” “They look exactly like our kids…”). Throughout the text, Faylor provides direct and implied references to psychological (“perception-dependence”), including, Freudian (“sublimation,” “latent reality”) processes, suggesting to me that all of our actions (behavior, motor patterns) are symptoms of our divided selves. Like puppets and puppet-teers, we are never in control (“perceiving gnats’ and humans’ tendencies alike,” “I can’t give up our sensory-motorized world,” “pinched nerve after nerve by my conks”).

the reality which’ll play subtexter to your
sensory-motor system sans permission, slivers
rife with stimuli inert non-occult artifacts
for growing decrepitude.”


“Not a single living person can
deny their ground state breaking symmetrically
with the pups’ perceptive state, rooted in our memories
of childhood, of little kids playing people.”

In The Puppet Wedding and in Caspar, Faylor, demonstrates that he writes books to explore moral themes. In the pamphlet under review, puppets, as well as, their master, exist in a world that makes little sense. Though the puppet-teer’s milieu may be existential, they reach out to inform the reader that their identity is not one-dimensional: “I get to speak at weddings once a year.”—possibly a cri de coeur. In one of the few passages of the text that clearly advances a “message,” Faylor writes:

the foremost concussion of our world, your
world-puppet—human against human—
the subsumption of money to truth,
not only perturbs that lacking is me.”

These words may represent a moment of clarity for the puppet-teer, though they rapidly return to a world that is strange and difficult to make sense of. However, rather than conclude that The Puppet Wedding bears a nihilistic message or characterizes the future as hopeless, I prefer to think that I have been reminded by this complex and important composition that I must write my own future. I look forward to J. Gordon Faylor’s future work and other opportunities to perceive, in novel ways, experiences that may have become all too routine.


Clara B. Jones is a Knowledge Worker practicing in Silver Spring, MD (USA). Among other works, she is author of Poems For Rachel Dolezal, published in 2019 by GaussPDF.

Wen da hurricane come, by Joe Balaz

Wen da hurricane come
you going look at yourself differently

and da image of wun ant
going be impressed in your head.

All da trees going be bald

along wit da shrubs
and da fruit trees too

so if you nevah share
wit neighbors or friends

da big wind going even tings out.

Wen da hurricane come
you going hope dat you no get hurt

cause all da stuff dat going be flying around

not going care if you live in wun nice house
or wun moa smaller one.

Da telephone poles and wires
going be wun tangled mess

and broken glass going be everywheah

as rooftops across da land
get peeled away in da stormy frenzy.

Wen da hurricane come
you going realize how fortunate you wuz

in da previous years of near misses
wen nutting wen hit.

Foa sure in da day aftah da disastah
you going be standing in wun daze

wen you check everyting out.

Wen da hurricane come

Maddah Earth
going make you feel tiny and helpless

and you going wondah
why da hell she got so angry.

So no freak out
wen all da toys get tossed around

and all da sand castles crumble.

Wen da hurricane come
you going wish dat it nevah arrived.

Joe Balaz has created works in American English and Hawaiian Islands Pidgin (Hawai’i Creole English).
He presently lives in Cleveland, Ohio, and he is the author of Pidgin Eye

The Word Factory: a miscellany by Mark Young, reviewed by Clara B. Jones

The Word Factory: a miscellany
Mark Young
gradient books (Finland)
Available at

Reviewed by Clara B. Jones taking a journey on the path of experimental book reviewing…

“There exists no science of word creation” Velimir Khlebnikov

Author: Mark Young is an internationally recognized writer and publisher of the poetry journal, Otoliths, who has produced dozens of books and has been featured in jacket2 and by the Poetry Foundation. He lives in Australia.

What is The Word Factory about? From the author: “A strange mix, a miscellany as the subtitle says. Some pieces written during & about the George W. Bush presidency; the Allegrezza translations; prose works that investigate the landscape where the writing takes place; poems that don’t fit elsewhere. All put together to try & hold up a night sky, to give it faint stars & distant constellations.”

Formal structure:

Arrangement: various textual forms in four parts—

  1. “Bush Tucker”: “Because he had experienced neither, President Bush confused the word/poetry and poverty./He said:/Many in our country do not know the pain of poetry, but we can listen/to those who do.” (p 16)
  2. “some translations by Umberto Allegrezza”: “Alexander/came and Tyre fell; &/later on the Greeks,/rats gnawing away/at what was left.” (p 33)
  3. “Odds and Sods”: “tomorrow/i begin my/studies to/become a/transplant surgeon/the day/after that/i take my/finals exam/it’s a series/of multiple/choice/questions—/much easier/for the/tutors to/mark—” (p 53)
  4. “The Word Factory”: “At 1.27 p.m. a directive comes down from Management. The remainder of/the afternoon will be spent putting together a new word, two words/actually, both without n, to build up stocks for the projected rush on them./I finish off my shift using my dots to complete the exclamation marks that/our Marketing people believe will be a much in demand accessory to/accompany Global Catastrophe.” (p 67)

Features: form (various textual forms); content/theme/subject (various); meter/rhyme (various, including, improvisational, free verse); style (playful, eclectic, innovative; stabilizing & destabilizing at the same time); technique (“defamiliarization”; “Art as device for making strange”: Viktor Shklovsky)

Poetic sub-genres: conventional (p 17); vispo (p 45); erasure (p 47); prose (p 50); mixed (p 51); list (p 63); flash fiction (p 82)

Theories behind text: Modernism, PoMo

Conclusion: Read this book if you want to know the mystery of a shooting star or of a treasure hunt through enchanted forests of entities both autonomous and whole embedded in real and imagined worlds. This noteworthy book is a happening. Go along for the ride. It is a unique and worthy experience.


Clara B. Jones is a Knowledge Worker practicing in Silver Spring, MD, USA.

Stricken, by Deborah Guzzi

After: “Time does not bring relief…”
Edna St. Vincent Millay and Norma Millay Ellis.

not all have
lied told me
weeping, want
the shrinking
snow melt
leave bitter, old
memory never fell
one face
I say

remember, him


*an erasure sonnet

& always you by David McLean

there is this anxious night & always you i cannot precisely see. Emma i wait as always & love is in me a helicopter, a bizarre computer, a remote control. beauty is not my fault & i am a naked man trudging through snow & happy are the fires that burn distances, the slow rise of the sap to leaf the trees a meaning.

i need you a diagram an equation to show me the precise possibility of love & jungle. here is your word, Emma, here is the anxious that cripples us, night & dust. i forgot i do not wait, we wait together & you must give me your anxious like an innocent illness so i can return it love to make it taste like nothing, the most lovable perfectly normal everyday suffering.

& you are the best of me forever, my blood my marrow, the idiot scars over my gray & damaged skin & whatever it is in them that still listens. i raise my finger to my lips & give it to this sacred wind to tell me your broken, your heart which is home & love was always you – the wind will not let me live my ignorance & it sings Emma, Emma forever.

you dance my absence – i do not exist apart from text except that i love you, not words but blood & heart.


Details of David McLean’s various books % chapbooks at & A ninth full length is due from Antiseptic Press & called EMMA FOREVER. These poems are from that book

My Blogspot. & my WordPress.

too much human, chapbook & antinatalist manifesto from Black Editions

of desire & the desert, poems from Black Editions

passion is dead flesh, chapbook from Black Editions

Henrietta remembers, novel from Oneiros Books

flesh & resurrection, novel from Oneiros Books 

nobody wants to go to heaven but everybody wants to die, poems from Oneiros Books

things the dead say, poems from Oneiros Books

of desire & the lesion that is the ego, poems from Oneiros Books

Zara & the ghost of Gertrudepoems from Oneiros Books

Song and the bottom of the root

Go, I am to reclaim you as a song that misfits the memorabilia. A song that rustles through from branch to branch pecking, over and over, at all the blossoms cramming into a gap which has been otherwise declared truly unbridgeable, yet glistening. I once was a place. You have come a long way to hand me a song like that.

To think that you are a song, because a song can open and reopen the wounds of past and passing. And when you cared to roll over those immaculate burns, nothing came out healed. Now the suture does not quite appear as a mere buzz as dead blood threads keep seeping through the parchment. What is it a song, a brooding beak, or an engine blowing smoke, a falsetto of that kind?

You as a song, because a song flows down to read the retreat address over and over and fails. Flow is something that is innate to the song. And flow holds at its root an incessant movement, a reforming displacement, an eternal slippage, a bubbling friction being dragged away from where it was previously remembered. The journey of the song could only mean the drifting waves that undercut the shoreline to carry it off. Am I to think of you as a song slipping away from the root harbored deep in the throat? No oysterhood, no cries, I know the song always riles the bottom of the root.


Debasis Mukhopadhyay lives and writes in Montreal, Canada. His poems have appeared in publications in the USA & UK including  The Curly MindI am not a silent poetWith Painted WordsYellow Chair ReviewThirteen Myna BirdsOf/WithSilver Birch PressThe Bitchin’ KitschFoliate OakEunoia ReviewSnapping TwigFragments of Chiaroscuro, among others. Follow him at or @dbasis_m on Twitter.

.. boxes .. by Sonja Benskin Mesher

it was quite a shock, that there are no boxes left.

only those of a different size, quite a shock your anger that leapt from nowhere. of course it does not matter.yet with that and the moon,how can one sleep.

how can one pack and tidy when things are the wrong shape, and emotions rise.

do me a favour, and know it was a favour, looking for boxes.

the sheds are now tidy.


I am a painter who writes, a writer that paints, a drawer on life, and landscape. … Watch me make things. Am quite patient, hold my tongue, but can’t say multi disciplinary. Easily I live here, in Wales Easily