Adeena Karasick’s fourth book of poetry achieves an astonishing layered complexity and maturity. Dyssemia Sleaze is at one and the same time Karasick’s most political and most personal book to date. Its performance is that of an inter-folded language, woven (shuffled) back and forth between the perpetual absence of intimations of the thing itself and the rupture of the ever-present metamorphoses of its mediation. This tapestry of syntax, the fitting of one word to another, becomes a triumph, in this book, of the feminine sensibility over the linear, masculine, causal narrative (what used to be called ‘naive realism’). It is the feminine soul crying at the ‘Mehitzah,’ the wall that separates the male and female worshipers in the Jewish temple. It is the woman at the temple screen, impervious to anything but language, as the current post-modern heir to authenticity.
This is a book of walls: defensive walls that keep people out-the garrison; and inclusive walls that keep people in-paradise. And it is a book of transgression-of messengers, both voluntary and mercenary, who pass and carry the notes and letters, both living and dead, between those who are without and those who are within those walls.
At times, Karasick’s language becomes the veritable milk of life: you, the reader, the child of innocence, get whatever “mama’s eaten that day,” both “itself,” and “itself mediated,” always unpredictably. The very sensuality of its presentational style (full colour image-text collage) is at one and the same time in dire conflict with the complex austerity of its exegesis-the heartbreak of recognition illustrated in the mirror of desire. Knowing here (her) is always the illusion of the illustration of the object of desire: certainty is a fetish of bondage; knowing the opening of the mouth (wound) of the tear into substance. And the laughter, that dangerous laughter.
Winner 2000 Bumbershoot Most Adventurous Award
“Her most visually compelling, over-the-top collection to date.”
— Publishers Weekly
Adeena Karasick is a New York–based Canadian poet, performer, cultural theorist and media artist and the author of ten books of poetry and poetics. Her Kabbalistically inflected, urban, Jewish feminist mashups have been described as “electricity in language” (Nicole Brossard). The “Adeena Karasick Archive” is established at Special Collections, Simon Fraser University.