Here at DECAYKE we’re tremendous admirers of Baltimore writer Eric Basso. You can read a short bio and an interview with him here and here, at Unlikely Stories. The following poem, just one of the many great ones he has written, captures a contemporary Gothic tone without resorting to corny stereotypes. In fact, it shares the same gravitational pall as Philip Larkin’s seminal work, Aubade.
Basso’s writing, noted for being peculiar, eccentric, and/or high-modernist surrealism is just what we call “brilliant.” He will inevitably be compared to Poe since he is from Baltimore, yet his interstitial writing, often avant-garde in form and complexity, transcends classification, and so all the better to avoid calcification. His is literature which is a labyrinthine Modernist nightmare, simultaneously anachronistic and undeniably up to date.
“I look for a fiction, a poem, a painting, a piece of music to take the top of my head off. So, for me, nothing is too weird. For example, John Hawkes’s novel, The Beetle Leg, was so far “out there” that even I couldn’t understand what was going on. But it was great! And that was more than enough for me.” – Eric Basso
“If Kafka and Beckett were to come to life as one, that one would be the avant-garde dramatist-poet Eric Basso…. I cannot imagine a better evening in the theatre than seeing a staging of three of theEnigmas. Taken together, the plays in this handsome volume raise the question of a person’s identity, the manner in which the Other sees the One, and even questions as to the nature of the One. Basso goes beyond realism as he plumbs the depths of a devastating, devastated reality.”
— Rosette Lamont, Cercle de Beckett, in Collages & Bricolages