Portraits of Ruin (2012, collection)


Cover by J. Karl Bogartte

ISBN-10: 161498025X
ISBN-13: 978-1614980254

Publisher: Hippocampus Press 

“Let us posit that Bukowski is the sun. Or Brautigan, Burroughs and the Beats—a solar Coney Island of the Mind where Timothy Leary’s dead and dead Cthulhu waits and sings the live long daydream believer. Then Joe Pulver’s Portraits of Ruin would be the burst of planets, Big Bang-Bang, Marquee Moons hanging on for what they got, scream of consciousness—in Outer Space no one can hear it . . . except Coffin Joe, Monster Mash Potato that big ol’ Portraits of Ruin—Mars needs it, you need it, so just open the lid and shake your fist—then say: “They kill horses, horses, horses, horses.” Thank you. Come again?”
– Thomas Ligotti, author of The Conspiracy Against the Human Race

* * * * *

“All writers are influenced and inspired by other writers, and we all know writers who echo those influences, running the gamut from subtly to obviously, but I don’t think I’ve ever read an author who is capable of blending/bending his influences quite like Joseph S. Pulver, Sr. As impacting as a violent train wreck, the resultant explosion of mellifluous ethereality onto the page is something so totally different that it’s almost a completely new art form. Sure, you’ve got your Lovecraft, Robert W. Chambers, Ramsey Campbell, William Burroughs, Richard Brautigan, Raymond Chandler — even T. S. Eliot — but jam them all together into Pulver’s psychotic centrifuge, and the resulting velvet-swathed, running-the-guts spatter pattern ends up as a collection like Portraits of Ruin.”
– Walt Hicks (Hellbound Times)

“Which is all to say that I heartily recommend the book to appropriately equipped readers. Just be prepared for a ride that will upend your sensibilities. Tom and I compared notes after I wrote my intro and he wrote his blurb, and were both amused to see that we had independently invoked the ghost of Ferlinghetti. The more I dwell on it, the more appropriate this seems, because Portraits of Ruin truly is a Coney Island of the Mind. But it’s one where the rides drip with darkness and tilt at non-Euclidean angles, and whirl you into an abyss of strange entity that grins and chitters and babbles in alien tongues (which eventually come to sound like your own voice).”
– Matt Cardin

“Fearless. Daring. Poetic prose for the unhinged. Each tale in “Portraits of Ruin” packs the sort of mental wallop that leaves the reader reeling. From the scorched deserts to the highest foreign towers, across plains of reality and beneath burning suns, this is no volume for the weak, for the conventional. It is a wake-up call from one of the genre’s most visionary masters. A book for those who see differently, for those not afraid to know the truth no matter how terrible the cost. I envy anyone about to experience Pulver’s horrors for the first time.”
– Simon Strantzas, author of Nightingale Songs

“In this book the spaces matter. Fonts matter. So does all the punctuation. So does every word, no matter how shed like skin cells from aetheria and swept up it might seem. It’s clear that Pulver is not only a perfectionist, but an agonist (isn’t it an undramatised tragedy that this word, a noun even, isn’t represented in dictionaries by meaning #3: ‘one who agonises’— the snobs).”
– Anna Tambour, author of Crandolin

* * * * *

Table of Contents

Introduction by Matt Cardin
No Healing Prayers
Lena . . . cries
So Into You
(a piece) about angels left out in the rain
Time . . . and Forever
Before and After Science
A Hand at the Door
Le Festin de l’araignée
Herding Fire: A Murder Mystery
(The Russ Meyer Triptych)
– The Director’s Cut
– Skin Flick sans Money Shot
– When There’s a Riot Goin’ On . . .
But Not for Me
kristamas as an exhibition
Small Ocean After Solar
Lonely . . . and a long way from home
Listen to a Country Song
Memories Can Wait
6 … 6—
… LIES …… Thunder …… ashes …………..
I—(The Sound of Bones & Flutes)
II—(Devil Music in tempore belli)
Rune Grammofon poem [U.N/umbered)))) )
Marks and Scars and Flags
Mrs. Spriggs’ Easter Attire
Each Night Begins a New Journey That Leads Only to an End with No Between
BACK to—
Catch Tomorrow
When a Sigh Visits Skin
By the Light . . . of
Her Lips Were Wet with Venom
Now (a parade)
After Plath’s “Goatsucker”
Tark Left Santiago
How I Survived the Cowboy Movie
In Her Forest Garden Dreaming
Icarus Above . . .
My Mirage
And this is where I go down into the darkness


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