He is a stack of books.
Unless my childhood diary lies I definitely knew about his work by 2002, a year after Extraterrestrial Sex Fetish came out. My notebooks from this year and throughout high school are a swirl of hearts and his words.
Sadism was named after the Marquis de Sade, masochism was named after Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, but bondage was not named after James Bond.
I have been thinking of him again lately, lots, since Michael Hofmann is translating the poems of Gottfried Benn and they are all over Poetry Magazine and the Paris Review. A half a decade ago Supervert posted a pamphlet of Benn’s poems on his website, and I read Karl F. Ross’ translation of “Appendectomy” to the group of poets that convened at the gazebo in the village where I lived. I lived in a village and I needed Supervert. I needed to repel the kids at community college who saw me reading Necrophilia Variations, the greatest collection of short stories I believe to exist – I needed to be alone with him.
And he really left me alone. I loved it. I loved the internet between us. I love that I can’t think of how I ever found him, and how he is not a person who could break my heart but the most perfect bundle of paper in my possession. Because that, in my adult life, has been everything. I cannot credit any single thing as much with my development as a writer. Nothing has affected how I love so much.
How to love in writing: Supervert on Sacher-Masoch’s Venus in Furs.
It has been suggested by a psychologist in the Journal of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis that Sacher-Masoch might have ghostwritten his wife Wanda’s stories and even her famous memoir. Certainly you can imagine Wanda compelling her slave to write texts which she could use to humiliate him by publishing them under her own name. This would not have had the effect of erasing his work, but it would at least have erased Sacher-Masoch’s name.
Because he introduced to writing the musculature of love, because he introduced the Actionists to me, because -
I have told him this, in ways, I think. I never sent him anything but thank yous. I would rather he just know how much it means, how much he means. He conflates the power of Eliot and Lowell to me. He wakes more voices than the ocean sinks. In the spring of my senior year at college I broke a commitment to the research I was conducting on the instability of the female “I” in writing to read his Perversity Think Tank. Not having reread it every now and then when I am on my way or in the dark I feel the reading of his words, how they get close and breathe heavy having come back from places I cannot imagine. I think in particular of a passage about Man Ray and the Marquis.
Man Ray depicts a Sade who is made of masonry. His flesh has been replaced by blocks of stone, and he fixes a stony gaze on the castle in the distance. Man Ray knows what Sade is thinking: a concrete zone of perversity is the realization of a conceptual one. The castle will be subject to a becoming-Sade that populates it with illicit pleasures, but only because Sade himself is already caught up in a becoming-castle that insulates his desires (and thereby allows them to mutate in the dark isolation of his imagination).
What Supervert has enabled me to mutate in the dark isolation of my imagination is the best thing I have now.
[Feature image from 3 BLAMS!]
Kari Larsen is an assistant editor of Anobium. Her chapbook, Say you’re a fiction, is forthcoming in the summer of 2012 from Dancing Girl Press. Updates on other publications can be found at Cold Rubies.