Tuesday, June 12, 2018



Perverse, All Monstrous by Cody-Rose Clevidence
(Nion Editions, 2017)

Cody-Rose Clevidence dissolves boundaries: language, gender, species, self/other.

            [st]utter in riddled chain-link [limi]it a body   
            an unstable [volt]age. dense [mus[cled [s]urge
thru muck dark and primal…

begins the first page, titled KING//DOM

followed by (followed!?! by) the book’s epigraph, from Milton’s Paradise Lost:

            “… Where all life dies, death lives, and Nature breeds,
            Perverse, all mountrous, all prodigious things,
            Abominable, unutterable, and worse…”

followed by a piece labeled [AGATE/ALGAE] with strings of dots arranged and thickening into letters, syllables, vertical and other lines, gradually cohering into clusters of words ending with

            :;proto-eye ::;.;;:.opened in::;an:;.::;;ocean;::;;:::zZ::;|:|>:||:;::sss::;::X:;;;

followed by single letters then double letters then gradually after many lines

            them sudden       them sunlit shores     ripe or be reaped     by thee

We are re-enacting evolution, pushing at the limits, using language in its farthest reaches, its richest speech

            speak, rock. like a bad tongue, ugly in the mouth of the world.

            speak, first nerve, first chord, now-cold sea
            seed in lack blooms by the grey shore first signs

and sparest restraint

            cyst                              distal                            try

            cryst                                Dis                            umph
              al                               Troy                             !

Pages of capital letters, strange typographies, even

because why not? Clevidence inhabits the body, their body, all bodies, their work (e.g., the earlier Beast Feast) intensely deeply physical; they inhabit language, lose themselves and us in language — who else w/could write “lapse and lithospheric strum in skin”? And on and on. Do I adore this book? Yes.

It is available from Nion Editions, founded by Jane Gregory, Lynn Hejinian, and Claire Marie Stancek. Perverse, All Montrous comes as a slender hardback wrapped with a small wrapper, a handmade piece of art by one of the press’ founders, the artist not identified.


Judith Roitman has most recently published in december, Rogue Agent, E.Ratio, The Writing Disorder, Otoliths, Eleven Eleven, Horse Less Review, Talisman and Yew. Her recent chapbooks include Slackline (Hank’s Loose Gravel Press), Furnace Mountain (Omerta), Ku: a thumb book (Airfoil Press) and Two: ghazals (Horse Less Press). Her book No Face: Selected and New Poems (First Intensity) appeared in 2008. Her book Roswell (theenk Books) is scheduled to appear later this year (2018). She lives in Lawrence, KS.