by Cassandra Troyan
While a young woman is receiving a bouquet of unfavorable psychiatric assessments, the voices that comprise her KILL MANUAL are dismantling the terrible machine being leveled at her. Her suicide notes and surgical records of poetry; her accounts of brutal, exhilarating experiences; her self-searing retorts to the biblically tinted advances of the rich and bored to depravity: She uses all forms at her disposal, growing in strength and violence as she struggles “just to be free / and know what that / really means.”
PRAISE FOR KILL MANUAL:
"The sometime-narrator of KILL MANUAL anastasiasteele3577 haunts chat rooms and BDSM dating sites in search of oblivion. But oblivion hardly needs to be searched for: It’s already there. This disturbing and radical book reveals, among other things, the half-life left in the wake of ubiquitous, data-mined, robotically fabricated internet content. The world ends in exhaustion. Troyan’s piercingly felt, sampled text probes the immateriality of language. Her work is brilliant and brave."
—Chris Kraus, author of I Love Dick and Summer of Hate
"'LET US PUT ON THE ARMOR OF LIGHT ;)' an unimaginable request from a poet from a nation of militarized cynicism, where the choking in the bedroom is our most authentic application to sell us back to ourselves, unmarked, very much alive. Cassandra Troyan’s amazing new book KILL MANUAL mows us down to the nub where we register just how thoroughly we have been plunged into an illusory, yet sensate world. She doesn’t flinch because she’s the poet we’ve been hurting for."
—CA Conrad, author of ECODEVIANCE
"This book beats with a steady intensity that is equal parts hot and terrifying; its words are sticky emissions, or fists in the flesh of the eyeball. With a voice both chillingly disembodied and viscerally corporeal, cut with mordant wit, KILL MANUAL moans, snarls, and laughs, harshly. Riveted by shame, refusing any boundary between pleasure and disgust, with these poems Cassandra Troyan orchestrates a fever march towards negation: 'You are not allowed to call this radical.'"
—Megan Milks, author of Kill Marguerite and Other Stories
"What does the masochist have to teach us—about subjectivity, and capitalism, and feminism, and the possibility of a post-sovereign existence? Using online classifieds ads, and chatrooms, and email as her theater, Cassandra Troyan interrogates the dynamics of power (and sex as an extension of power) that structure our world. Where to maintain a self, to fortify one’s ego, is actually where the problem lies ('I can’t wait to get away from myself'). And where the constraint and humiliation of the masochist produces the promise of a world beyond the control society where bondage equates grace, and weight elicits happiness charged with a difference ('Voluminous happiness is never light / if it’s lifted it isn’t true'). Alternating between strategic reappropriation and a brutal lyricism, KILL MANUAL assumes a persona total in its world-destroying and creating powers. Relations of intimacy and commons emerge from (to use a phrase of Leo Bersani’s) 'the prospect of the breakdown of the human itself in sexual intensities.' Where, during an endgame of austerity plans and plans to expropriate every last resource remaining to human survival, the last thing they can take from us would appear the possibility of giving everything away..."
—Thom Donovan, author of The Hole
ABOUT CASSANDRA TROYAN:
Cassandra Troyan is an artist, writer, and filmmaker who lives and works in Chicago. She is the author of BLACKEN ME, BLACKEN ME, GROWLED (Tiny Hardcore Press) and THRONE OF BLOOD (Solar Luxuriance).
Her films and visual art have been screened or exhibited internationally. She co-curates the reading and performance series ARTIFICIAL EAR in Chicago.
Wild Horses of Fire
Publication Date: October 2014