Thursday, July 2, 2015

These Books - Big Venerable and Twilight of the Idiots - and This Podcast, Episode One Hundred and Eleven - Anarchic Non Sequiturs - by and starring, the Matt Rowan and Joseph G. Peterson respectively - Will Change Your Life.

We are so podcast. We are also old friends in the Matt Rowan and Joseph G. Peterson, who themselves are former podcastees with El Presidente and Timbre. Or Tamber. respectively. Not to mention Franz Kafka, Herman Melville, Lindsay Hunter, George Saunders, Sam Irby, David Mamet David Foster Wallace, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and The Simpsons.

Yet, as if all that was not enough, that's not all, not even remotely, because we are Big Venerable by the Rowan and Twilight of the Idiots by the Peterson too. Both are recent releases from Chicago's own Chicago Center for Literature and Photography, which had us wondering how these books just might hang together? And we think it has something to do with systems. Rowan seeks to understand the systems that imprison and embrace us - integrating themselves into our lives as they overwhelm with language and rules - even as he rails against them with an absurdity and wit that both mocks and models the absurdities of the institutions themselves. Of further note, is that Rowan's previous work Why God Why was a collection of stories short and fast, death by a thousand little cuts as it were, but in contrast, Big Venerable lets the humor breathe, the stories now expanded, the lives captured within richer for the effort. 

With Twilight of the Idiots, Peterson goes in a new direction as well, but in his case, he goes smaller, providing us with a collection of "yarns" after a career of novels and epic poem. The characters crafted within are certainly Peterson's people though, blue collar and raging, stumbling down streets, being tossed into bogs and frying fish, while all the while lurking outside the systems, and there's that word again, that won't have them, will never welcome them and are all too happy to pretend they don't exist. But they do exist in Peterson's mind, and like Rowan's people, on the page, fresh from CClaP, available now, and more than willing to change your life, if only for a moment. 

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