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.
Adeena Karasick is a media artist, performer, cultural theorist, and the critically acclaimed author of seven books of poetry and poetic theory. She teaches Literature and Critical Theory for the Humanities and Media Studies Department at Pratt Institute in New York. Karasick is also co-founding Artistic Director of the KlezKanada Poetry Festival and Retreat. In 2017 the Adeena Karasick Archive was established at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia.
Her writing is marked with an urban, Jewish, and feminist aesthetic that continually challenges normative modes of meaning production and blurs the lines between popular culture and scholarly discourse. It has been described as “electricity in language” (Nicole Brossard), “proto-ecstatic jet-propulsive word torsion” (George Quasha), and noted for its “cross-fertilization of punning and knowing, theatre and theory” (Charles Bernstein), its “twined virtuosity of mind and ear which leaves the reader deliciously lost in Karasick’s signature ‘syllabic labyrinth’” (Craig Dworkin).
Karasick’s most recent publications are Salomé: Woman of Valor (University of Padova Press, 2017), a Jewish-feminist revisiting of the Biblical story of Salomé, and The Medium is the Muse: Channeling Marshall McLuhan (NeoPoiesis Press, 2014).
Karasick has lectured and performed worldwide, participated in international conferences, telepoetic colloquia, and literary festivals. She regularly publishes articles, reviews, and dialogues on contemporary poetry, poetics and cultural/semiotic theory. She also produces videopoems and sound recordings of her work, which highlight its radical performativity (find them on YouTube), and she was also featured on the TV series Heart of a Poet, produced in conjunction with Bravo! TV.
More information on Karasick and and her work can be found on adeenakarasick.com