Cyber-sex, poetry, and virgin suicides - a generational will? The young female writer Trisha Low captures the modern woman’s obsessions in ‘The Compleat Purge’
Trisha Low committed suicide when she was 6 years old, and nevertheless she returned to tell about it. Trisha Low killed herself at 10, at 15, at 24, but she’s still here, successful and powerful, with her moving words and enviable purge. This poetess and performer with roots in Singapore, but settled in New York a while back, she’s spent her whole life in between the world of the living and dead, in a special and unique creative space, where cyber-sex, literature, teen angst and feminism pervaded.
A few months ago Low published her second book, “The Compleat Purge” (Kenning Editions), in which she covers precisely those subjects, from each of those ages. An extensive and precious volume that begins with the first suicide note and will that she wrote during her infancy, ending with an essay about women, narcissism, art, and new concepts of reality.
"I" as a new universe. Internet sex as a new, confessional poetry. The idea of suicide as a full stop, like a metaphor that leads to overcoming the worst moments of our lives. The question here isn’t why a little girl or an adolescent would want to die, but what is that causes her to survive?
Kenning Editions defines Trisha Low as “another feminist, confessional writer trying to find her literary parents.” We don’t know who her parents are, but perhaps we can make a guess as to who her sisters are in this fight towards a cross between pop culture and poetry and philosophy, and create a truthful portrait of the lives and aspirations of the women of this century. We find in Low the lyricism of Gabby Bess, the intelligence of Sheila Heti, the eroticism of Marie Calloway, and even the freshness of Lena Dunham.
The author Blake Butler published an interview with the author of ‘The Compleat Purge’ in Vice, in which he describes this strange artifact as something that could have come from the Brontës, were they to become familiar with the age of WiFi, or like a a kind of encyclopedia of wet dreams and self-destruction. Poetic heroine. Distant, punk cousin of the Lisbon sisters. An author interested in the regeneration of literature, as well as its fusion with the forms and styles emerging from the Internet.
This book by Trisha Low will be one of those that we, with difficulty, will find translated in our country, but which will turn out to be absolutely necessary in order to understand the dramatic comedy of our time.
Fortunately, Trisha’s alive. She’s very much alive. Lucky us.
The following two unedited poems were published on the Revista Ombligo blog. They’ll be appearing in Luna Miguel's forthcoming book of poetry, Los estómagos (The Stomachs). My English translation of the two follows:
ROTTING OF THE HEART, OR BLACK HEART
I believe in mites,
in the way in which mites stick to our scum.
I believe in the feline respiratory system,
in its astute and agitated cough. In its obituary cough.
I believe in interspecies love,
in the brotherly wink of a fed pet.
I believe in what I create and what I invent,
in the color of contagious fruits.
I believe in cooking, in aroma, in baby food,
in the filth when the summer dairy’s expired.
I believe in calico fur,
in the metaphor of Buddha’s jaw.
I believe in simple friendships, in jasmine,
I blindly believe in the color black,
in the way in which its hunger embraces our scum.
MY FATHER EATS LAMB
Teresa’s veggie cakes made you nervous
you needed something drier
something more like yourselves, like meat
that’s why you threw rocks at big mountain cats
that’s why you chucked rocks at big rats
that’s why you looked at the rain with surprise
as if you were rational underneath that cloud.
The dog barks at the eagle,
the cat bites the the robin
further below the foals and mama
each one more famished.
I miss the micro climate,
the ancient copy of Thomas Mann
getting damp in the hammock
excellently translated according to the blurb
The butterfly fled and we were hungry
that’s why the color green scares you
that’s why you threw rocks at the fruit trees
and you love that which is yours because it’s only your own
and you love that silence which flesh has.
Why Spanish publishers don’t publish Alt Lit girls… or simply young american female writers?
I don’t know it.
And I don’t like it.
Because translating this is certainly more important than studying Medieval Spanish Poetry:
Where Are They Hiding the Girls of Alt Lit?
10 Books by US-American Females that should be published in Spain
2014 has had a great start for readers who are interested in what’s being written beyond our borders. Finally in the next three months Alt Lit (Alternative Literature, controversial literary movement promoted by the youngest English-speaking writers of the world) will happily arrive in a few of our best publishing houses. “Taipei” by Tao Lin will be published by Alpha Decay in a few days, and in just a few months our bookstores will be filled with copies of Ben Brooks‘“Lolito”, published by Blackie Books, as well as “Best Behavior” by Noah Cicero, published by Pálido Fuego. The addition of Cicero to the list of other such authors being translated into Spanish (Lin and Brooks, of course, but also Blake Butler, Ben Lerner and Sam Pink) should be something to celebrate. Never the less, all this activity among publishers has raised a few alarms with us at PlayGround. Why is this list comprised entirely of men? Why hasn’t anyone here dared to publish the powerful women who form this movement? If this problem, seemingly steeped in machismo, is one of the weak points of the so-called Next Generation, shouldn’t we do something about it?
In order to enliven the debate, and especially our readings, we’ve drawn up a list with what we consider the 10 best titles written by Alt Lit girls. Extreme sincerity, new feminism, sex, lyricism, dark humor, visceral works of unsurpassed power. If you enjoyed “How Should A Person Be? by Sheila Heti last year, then don’t miss these:
- Heroines by Kate Zambreno
- Action, Figure by Frank Hinton
- Alone with Other People by Gabby Bess
- Everything Was Fine Until Whatever by Chelsea Martin
- Baby Babe by Ana Carrete
- Meat Heart by Melissa Broder
- Normally Special by xTx
- Selected Unpublished Blog Posts of a Mexican Panda Express Employee by Megan Boyle
- Everything is Quiet by Kendra Grant Malone
- What Purpose Did I Serve in Your Life by Marie Calloway