Dots in the distance

A dialogue with Mark Francis Johnson

Photo of Michael Nardone (left) by Richmond Lam. Photo of Mark Francis Johnson (right) by Sarah DeGiorgis.

Note: Mark Francis Johnson’s work first absorbed me into its worlds at an event for Make Now Books in New York in 2015. He was there to launch his poet’s novel ​After Such Knowledge Park. His reading from the book was, as I remember it, immersive from its first moment. The narration begins in a shed of some kind, in a hinterland or interzone space, and inside the shed resides a recluse. Perhaps they have been put there or they are simply biding their time hiding there. As they purvey what’s visible of their world — or what remains of it — from the viewpoint of the shed, there is an urgency in their tone but also a nostalgia. They are situated in a future, but a cataclysmic shift has passed, or is still in the process of occurring. Reflecting on what they should have done so as not to end up in the shed, the narrator begins a litany of speculations:

What if I boarded Beautiful Beginnings or Comfort Zone or Mother Goose and Friends? If I boarded Just Like Home, maybe Pumpkin Patch? See Saw? […] If I boarded Smilie Faces, Just Bee U, Smarty Pants, Wonderfully Made, Rising Stars, Lil’ Bits, Funny Face, Small Impressions, Almost Angels, Dumpling Grounds, Room To Bloom, Imagination Station, Safe and Clean, Sunshine Shack?

All of these proper nouns are, perhaps, intergalactic crafts, each bearing the names of the sponsoring shopping stops slotted across Strip Mall Earth. The narrator’s refrain of questions continues — “What if I boarded … if I boarded … if … if … if …” — and accumulates a frenetic force at once desperate, ridiculous, traumatic, and dizzying, before dispersing into a kind of high Romantic line that, due to its succinct beauty and swift transposition in tones that brings one to a halt, still lingers in my mind: “My snow is everywhere in these rooms.”

As this soliloquy diminishes, another one ascends, establishing for the first a possible context. Three desperadoes are sitting around a campfire, entertaining each other with tales from their lives. Perhaps the shed’s lament is uttered by one of these wanderers? Just as this shard of narrative gains more discernible contours, the terrain overturns once more: the campfire these desperadoes are sitting around is set at the bottom of the sea. One begs another to tell one final tale; the wanderer obliges and tells the tale of three desperadoes sitting around a campfire at the bottom of the sea. In this way, story is looped within story; the narrative, in its perpetually transformative unfolding, gives one a sense that anything is possible, ​combinable​, and thus holds the audience in its uncertain presence.

I would learn in the years following that this reading comprised a number of formal features I would encounter throughout Johnson’s works: systematic grafting or blurring of eras; jarring fluctuation between textual genres; polyphony and choral disputation; recursion; confabulated entities assembled from and/or living upon great heaps of late capitalist detritus; worlds of foreclosure, forced obscurity, and weird inheritance; all set with a linguistic and syntactical landscape that seems infinitely mutable, variable, adaptable. All together, these formal features make for challenging work. The terrains of Johnson’s writings are perpetually shifting; their textures are, often at the same moment, familiar and foreign, intimate and estranging. At times, in these environments, it is difficult to find something to clutch on to. It is for this reason, I believe, that although Johnson has produced an expansive and stunning body of work over these last years — see the bibliography at the end of this dialogue — he has received little to no critical attention for it.

Part of my intention with this dialogue is to offer a substantial context for Johnson’s works. In it, we discuss the history of his movements, the vestiges of his family, his expansive reading practice and literary affinities, and the way his work plays within a “world of paratext” where “dots in the distance” become “characters poorly, briefly rescued from having been utterly forgotten.” In correspondence between Philadelphia and Montréal, the following exchange took place over a number of weeks while Johnson and I prepared his forthcoming poetic trilogy, ​Poor Fridge​, for publication later this year. — Michael Nardone

Michael Nardone: I wonder if we might begin with some biographical information, Mark? I find it interesting, and it relates to the matter of your works, that we’ve been friends for a number of years now and yet I’ve only heard from you a few references to your past — of fragmented and overlapping landscapes, a challenging family situation, and a kind of perpetual roving before settling in Philadelphia. I’m curious if you might tell me a bit about the geographies of your life and your relation to them over these years?

Mark Francis Johnson: We moved a lot when I was growing up, nearly every year for a while. My father was a food scientist who, I finally figured out in my teens, kept losing his job because he drank too much. Consummate philanderer, too — I think we were sometimes escaping his entanglements. That risks making him sound interesting; he wasn’t. My parents divorced when I was eight, so we — me and my two younger brothers — moved for that reason, too, shifting between households always in different states. And my mother was in and out of mental institutions. So, we moved and moved: California (where I was born in North Hollywood), Massachusetts (Gloucester, where I overlapped six months with Charles Olson), North Carolina, Texas, rural Missouri (where we lived with my mother’s parents while she was confined to the state institution), back to California, New Mexico (where I finally managed three years in a row at the same school). A year after I graduated high school in Albuquerque, jobless and broke, I made my way to Alaska to work at a cannery. Spent five months living in a pup tent on the beach, then moved with my earnings to NYC. That was a lonely, incredible year. I got a job at a bookstore on the Upper West Side, Endicott Booksellers, now gone. I’d never been to an art museum and had only seen two foreign films ever. I went to all the museums on free days (I’d get a dime bag, arrive at MOMA right when they were opening, stay until closing), saw three or four films per week, haunted bookstores, attended the first Oulipo conference (a life-changing event). I was twenty and hungry, and NYC fed me. But I had no money, so I went back to Alaska, planning to return to NYC with enough dough to buy a stereo system, a bed (I’d been sleeping on a small vinyl couch), maybe a bicycle. My landlord/roomie agreed to hold the room for three or four months. Alas, the salmon season went bust, and I was forced to hole up in the nearest city where I knew somebody — Portland, Oregon. There, after a few rotten dishwashing jobs, I got a job at Powell’s Books, where I worked for the next seven years, with a break of about eighteen months, part of which I spent in Prague teaching English, scouting rare books, and working as a stage manager for an English-language theater company. When I turned twenty-seven, I realized it was now or never (or so it felt) for college, so I applied to the University of Pennsylvania, two good friends having moved to Philly. That’s how I ended up here. Never graduated, a long story. Acquired a lot of student debt, though. I’ve been an independent antiquarian bookseller — and then record dealer, too — for twenty-five years.

Moving around so much made me a bookish kid. I couldn’t keep friends for more than a year. I never had a home exactly, we moved too often — I mean, that is, there’s no place for me to return, I have no roots. Of course, I can’t help thinking about these things, working through them, writing around them. And the instability has had other profound effects — my youngest brother, Travis, committed suicide when he was thirty-four. He never could find the home he so badly wanted. I write about that, and him, a lot, though usually in a disguised fashion. Less disguised, in the new book. And, my brother Jeff is a successful writer of (mostly) crime and horror fiction. He’s also written a very well-received memoir of his many years as a tattoo artist. I think we’ll get to see a series of his crime books adapted for TV pretty soon, as they’ve been optioned. He’s quite prolific! Our work — surprise, surprise — shares a few themes …

Nardone: I wonder if you might tell me about your experience of reading in these places and the people who influenced your reading? I ask this question because I have the sense that you came to the poetry communities that you’re involved in now by a great meandering route, through many traditions of reading.

Johnson: So, despite terrible grades, in my senior year of high school I was awarded a full scholarship to the University of New Mexico, based on my SAT score. I managed a single semester before shit fell apart, but during that time I took a writing class with Gene Frumkin, who became my first mentor. Gene was a wonderful poet and a wonderful man. After I left school, we corresponded for another four or five years. I sent him my terrible poems, and he told me, gently, encouragingly, that they weren’t terrible, just not very good.

I floundered around, unsure what to read, reading everything. I couldn’t find a way to write; I couldn’t situate myself anywhere. And then, during the year in NYC, two things happened: I read Guy Davenport’s ​Geography of the Imagination​, and I attended the first North American Oulipo conference. Davenport introduced me to several poets who would become important for me in my twenties — Bunting, Niedecker, Zukofsky, Ronald Johnson, Jonathan Williams (with whom I corresponded and whose secretary I almost became — I chickened out) and Thomas Meyer. Oulipo gave me a method (a big bunch of methods) that felt generative in a way that somehow made deep emotional sense. Most of my writing since then has been constraint-based. I’m a terrible Oulipian, though. I cheat constantly, switch constraints midbook, revise a lot, sometimes fake it (Canada Dry!), and at this point just use these methods to produce a text into which I then smuggle whatever else feels necessary to make the thing shapelier and, uh, less dull?

The year I moved to Portland, I met Joel Kuszai, who was at Reed. I think it was Joel who introduced me to LangPo, also important to me in my twenties. A few years later he published, through his excellent Meow Press, my terrible first book, ​Three Bad Wishes.​ Avoid it, please.

I should also mention Gerald Burns. I started sending him fan mail when I was twenty-one. We struck up a correspondence and became friends. Bizarrely, a few years later I ended up getting him a job at Powell’s. He moved from Austin to Portland, stayed with me for a week while he found an apartment. I loved Gerald. He was kind and strange and very smart, and he loved nothing more than talking about books. He opened up a whole world for me — through Gerald I discovered Sir Thomas Browne, Gilbert White, Samuel Johnson, Izaak Walton, Charles Lamb, John Aubrey, Thomas de Quincey. His early death really shook me.

In my mid-twenties, depression hit. I backed away from the poetry world. When I moved to Philly to go to school, I made only one tiny attempt to engage, attending a single reading. It was a disaster. The coterie forcefield was strong. I was a sensitive plant. For the next fifteen years, I had no contact with other poets, and even stopped keeping up, stopped reading journals and new poetry. I stopped writing poetry and instead worked obsessively on a massive Oulipian fantasy novel, ​Constant Hare​ (the shadow of which hangs over much of my subsequent writing). When my brother Travis killed himself, I abandoned the novel, abandoned writing, abandoned reading. I went nearly four years without reading a single book. It wasn’t until I was forty that I came out of that funk. I’d opened a little record and book shop, Hiding Place, and through it I met, first, Danny Snelson and Alejandro Miguel Justino Crawford, and then, a year later, Gordon Faylor. That’s how I came to be part of a community again.

However, I need to add something. One “tradition of reading” that has been hugely important to me, running parallel to my writing life, involves my bookselling. The reading I’ve done for and through my work as a bookseller informs all of my writing. For instance, my book ​800 JKS​ is drawn from the (unsaleable) correspondence of a gentleman whose estate I purchased nearly twenty years ago. He collected circus memorabilia. As a specialist in antiquarian and collectible poetry, I’ve been exposed to a lot of poetry that most poets never read. Much of it is of limited interest. Still, very important to me in its way. To give an example: in my early thirties I purchased at auction a substantial portion of Herbert Boyce Satcher’s library. Satcher was a leading collector of early- to mid-twentieth-century Uranian literature. In the course of researching the books, I ended up reading dozens of poets who haven’t left the slightest impression on the canon. Even now, I hear faint tonal echoes of that stuff in my own work. Literature is riddled with these shadowy subgenres, of interest mostly to collectors, booksellers, and literary historians. I feel comfortable in that world of minor writers. Those are my people.

Nardone: How does this practice of reading open onto the world of ​Poor Fridge​, the trilogy we’re now preparing as a book? I am always stunned by the way alternate times, dimensions, forms of living and, even, other ongoing catastrophes exist throughout your books — how they define the contours of other discrete universes while also succinctly and mysteriously mapping the present world in which we live, however partially, laying bare its topography, detritus, and despair. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this kind of world-building that is diffuse throughout your books.

Johnson: I became a big reader when I was eight. We’d moved to Houston, and in the attic of our new home I found a biography of Thomas Jefferson written for kids (Bobbs-Merrill, 1943). Ancient treasure! I read it, enthralled, and it convinced me not that I loved books, but that I loved biographies. For the next two years I would read nothing else. It worried my mother. I was so insistent that these, and only these, were the books I liked. At some point during this period, I became obsessed with an idea that I’ll try to reconstruct here. Every bio has a protagonist who meets many, many other people, some quite fleetingly despite their importance to that person’s life story. I liked to imagine all these minor yet essential acquaintances getting bios of their own. I especially liked to imagine the moment in each of these bios when the subject meets the subject of the initial bio, a minor figure in ​that​ person’s story … I’d get a pleasant, vertiginous, mysterious feeling from this game.

I attached this feeling to pictures, too, starting with a print I had hanging in my room, depicting a farming scene, a man on a tractor in a golden field surrounded by laborers — and, in the far distance, a dot on a road, representing a person. This dot was my favorite thing about the picture. Who was it? Was that person aware he or she was in the picture? And what if — this was the game I eventually started playing with all pictures — what if the painting really was a painting of ​that​ figure? All the stuff in the foreground in pictures was just … in the way, a distraction. Again, I loved that vertiginous feeling. It always felt like more than a game to me. Some truth about how I experience the world is found there.

When I ran out of biographies, I fell into what I recognize now was a genuine depression. I’d loved reading — and now it was over. My mother rescued me, giving me for my tenth Christmas a paperback set of The Lord of the Rings. Reading it, I indulged in a similar kind of game. I was haunted by the remark Gandalf makes, only once if I recall, that, ages ago, five wizards had come to Middle Earth. We only ever learn of Gandalf, Saruman, and Radagast the Brown (who never appears in the books but to whom Gandalf once sends a message). What happened to the other two wizards? (I think they’re briefly mentioned in the appendices, but don’t get names: blue wizards.) The space that opens when a reader asks a question like this is the space where my imagination works. It is the space where I write.

It feels corny to go on about this. Remember, we’re talking about a lonesome ten-year-old for whom books were everything. I relied on them to make some sense of a perpetually shifting, fractured, frightening homeworld. So … Lord of the Rings gave me something else that stuck with me. In the final volume, ​The Return of the King,​ the story ends and is then followed by a couple hundred pages of appendices. These take the form of backstory, timelines (which extend centuries ​beyond​ the story), explanations of words, notes on Elvish poetry, and so on. This paratext really fascinated me; the idea of paratext fascinated me … emotionally. I know how odd that sounds. ​I felt like paratext​. Anyway, I wondered: What if I were stuck on a desert island, and had never read The Lord of the Rings, and a broken copy of ​The Return of the King washed up on shore, containing only the appendices? What would I make of ​that book? That was the kind of book, I felt obscurely, that I wanted to write. Even after I turned to poetry in my teens, I never stopped thinking about that broken book. It wasn’t until I discovered Oulipo that I learned a book could take any form I felt like giving it.

It took me a long, long time to find a method. After attempting more or less straightforward world-building for many years (these books are all lost), while at the same time writing “experimental” Oulipo-inspired books (also lost) as well as hundreds of standalone poems (that is, poems not part of a ​book)​, I came finally to understand (or accept) that I’d never been interested in doing any of these things. Indeed, the aspect of world-building that interested me most was my lifelong mistrust of it, a sense that it necessarily excludes, well, almost everything, without ever acknowledging that essential fact (in the way that the basic assumption of biography is that all lives are the same). A world of paratext, dots in the distance, characters poorly and briefly “rescued” from never having been, misdirection, seemingly irrelevant detail … that fragmentary, busted world made more sense to me.

That’s when I started writing ​After Such Knowledge Park​. Everything I’ve written since, including ​Poor Fridge​, follows.

Nardone: There are two questions forming in my mind in response to what you last wrote — and since I sense them together, I’ll ask them together. One of the main themes I see in your work revolves around storage — preservation, partiality, and loss. What you describe in your previous replies grounds this for me: the perpetual movement and its associated instabilities, the foregrounding of background and minor yet essential acquaintances, the figure of the collector and the “world of paratext, dots in the distance, characters poorly, briefly rescued from having been utterly forgotten.” Can you say something about your interest in this as a thematic concern in your poetry? Also, I’m curious how this theme also shapes the level of syntax in your poems?

Then, concurrent with storage, partiality, loss, I’m interested in how you consider voice functioning in your poems. To return to your remarks about background figures and nearly forgotten characters, it feels as if there are a multitude of voices swarming into and through your poems. They speak their dear words, perhaps narrate for a moment, and then veer away towards the landscape of some other poem. Often, I see two elements at play: perpetually shifting ​mise en scènes​ whose inhabitants all have a chance to lend their voices to the poet’s ear; and then, with that, an instantiation of impossible sites created by the collision of disparate spaces and perspectives, where even supposedly nonspeaking objects momentarily have something to say. Is this something that resonates for you at all? Can you say something about the site of a single poem and how voice or voices operate within it, and how that shifts or connects to a serial aggregation of poems that become (loosely) interconnected books?

Johnson: I’m going to answer these questions with one answer, despite feeling certain the answer is mostly wrong. I think it’s wrong because it’s the story I always tell myself about why I write/what writing means to me/why I write the way I do. The story feels ​polished​ to me, polished by hours of ​seeming​ — to myself — to think about this question while in fact …I’m smoothing out the wrinkles in an answer I guess I ​like.​ I dunno. The fact that the answer is (in some way) useful to me may prove useful to you.

Here’s my story. My books function for me as storage for what I’ve been able to make into my own personal kind of “sense.” That is, when I picture my “surroundings” — and also my past — I see only a fog where few things float into proper definition. The books feel semisolid in that fog. “Make into sense,” though … that gives me too much credit, or the wrong kind of credit. My books are storage for what I’ve managed to retrieve from the fog. Put even more simply, I understand nothing, know nothing, and am perpetually in danger of forgetting even those things I’ve recognized that I’ve failed to understand. The books are​something.​ They have the feeling of being something like something I’ve understood.T​hat’s only substantially true, however, while I’m writing them. After I finish a book, the vibrant sense I have of it, ​of it having done me a solid, rapidly fades. It never disappears entirely (I’m waiting!), but it fades quickly enough that, in practice, to remain sane, I need always to be working on a book, which is why my books tend to appear in clumps — I write several at once, to avoid being digested by the fog.

For better or worse, probably worse, I guess this is what the books all end up being “about.” Language (or maybe I should say poetry?) is a sizable place, some of whose landmarks I’ve come to recognize, so I go there and futz around, intensely futz. I operate there under the confusing belief that I have at once nothing to say and nothing to say that anybody would want to hear. It’s a troubling belief. I mean, it troubles me. I don’t ​think​ I’m talking about a culpable unwillingness to speak? I really don’t know. But it seems anyway like an, uh, intractable personal problem. This is why I try to make my books funny. I’m trying to throw the reader — I am always genuinely surprised I have any — a bone.

I’m a slow learner. It took me years to understand I could maybe ​dramatize​this belief (or unbelief or lack or abdication or secrecy …) by refracting it through other voices. Over time, this pretense, this method, has morphed, I hope, into sympathy with those voices, and become a strategy to communicate fellow-feeling in the absence of a whole world. It feels that way sometimes. Like I’m putting the dots on hilltops where they can see each other in the far blue distance. But I could be fooling myself.

I guess we should mention that this interview has taken place over many weeks, and that, about halfway through this period, my mother died. Her death got me working again on a book “about” her that I’d set aside. And while working on it, I suddenly (genuinely: I was shocked) realized that my answer to your question about the multiplicity of voices in my work failed to address a (probably, almost certainly) crucial source: my mother’s mental illness. She was mistakenly diagnosed with MPD (multiple personality disorder [now called dissociative identity disorder]) when I was ten years old. For the next several years, she found herself in the clutches of an extraordinarily evil psychiatrist who drugged her with sodium amytal, hypnotized her, and convinced her that she’d witnessed Satanic ritual abuse. He published a paper about her, bits of which I’ve incorporated into the above-mentioned book. My mother talked constantly to me about her diagnosis. She terrified me with details, telling me about her many personalities — a couple dozen, all with names, traumatic histories (these were invariably horrible, and often sexual, not what a kid wants to hear), different personalities and (truly upsetting) different voices.

How could I have failed to consider this as a source for my obsession with (my own weird form of) dialogism? Personally, I think writers are terrible at figuring out their influences. We all, even if unwittingly, construct the genealogies we like. Here’s a little anecdote: a few years ago, at a library sale, I spied a book that leapt out from the stacks as being super-familiar-but-forgotten, a peculiar kind of recognition. It turned out to be the Guinness Book of World Records, 1979 edition, which I got for Christmas that year and read with such rapt attention that — I discovered when I bought it at the library sale and took it home that night — I could still remember dozens and dozens of entries. Why does the extinct little horse, Eohippus, appear in so many of my books? There it is, in this edition, the world’s smallest horse … reading through the book, I recognized also a tonal influence, and it made sense of my fondness for short separate blocks of prose and for certain words. It even added more context for my love of “the dot in the distance,” in that I recalled a thought I hadn’t had in forty years: how you could make entirely different books out of everything that fell just shy, then slightly shyer, then yet another degree shy, of the world record, a Guinness Book of Near-World-Records, a Guinness Book of Almost-Near-World-Records, and so on. Yet I would never ever have named the book as an influence …

Nardone: Can you discuss what texture means for you in the making of your poems? I sense that texture is important in that it functions as a way to tie together all of the various threads — of syntax, of style, of reference, of genre, of the voices and landscapes that congregate throughout your poems. And, this is related to the question of texture, I am curious if you might discuss both the seriality of your works and books (as I read them as books, and ​not c​ollections), and how you create textures in the writing and revising of these works.

Johnson: My books are books, not collections; and each book is put vigorously, also secretly, in dialogue with my other books. I very seldom write individual poems, and when I do I feel rotten, lol. I get a bad whiff of the dark, “diminished reference” night of the soul. That is to say, for me — and this isn’t how I read any poetry except my own — a single lyric, on its ownsome, is a dramatic and frightening example of “diminished reference” (a term I borrow from Steve McCaffery, but use here idiosyncratically).

Most of the revision I do involves simultaneously smoothing out and roughing up a text, first at a local level (the seemingly individual poem), and then at a larger level (the text as it fits into the book), and, finally, at yet another level (when I set the book in its place among my other books). Of course, all of this is going on simultaneously, and, like I stated earlier, I’m always writing several books at once. Anyway, a lot of this is just personal inside-baseball shit. But that’s what helps me make it through the night. So, I quote myself, I misquote myself. I flesh out, or maybe I should say further hollow out, my busted quasi-world ​Colwynox,​ by adding details that usually contradict details given in earlier books. My friend Steve Zultanski pointed out to me that I use a lot of meaningless stray numbers, numbers as words feigning content. And pronouns — in writing that ​seems​ like a worldbuilding exercise — gain a certain heft and mystery: you can, out of the blue, mention a name, and an unknown history is implied; I abuse this fact, while also, I hope, honoring it for its usefulness.

Writers as various as Russell Atkins, N. H. Pritchard, Ernst Jandl, and John Furnival are behind the minor flirtation with concrete poetry that runs through my books. I’ve never felt a desire to make fully concrete work. Yet it’s undeniably important to me in some way I don’t quite understand. Figuring out how to give it a place in my larger project — that interests me. Most useful, for my purposes, is the sense of indeterminacy generated by the sporadic, seemingly random deployment of concrete/visual elements in my books. The question of ​why​ — why is this writing like this? — is a favorite question when I’m reading too. P. Inman is another poet I love whose experiments impinge slightly on my own. Nonce words, a phenomenon that works differently in a worldbuilding context: nonce or just foreign? Little unresolvable questions like this texture the work in a way I find satisfying.

Nardone​: You’ve mentioned an incredible constellation of past poets above — from Davenport to Pritchard — as sources of influence, and a few peers that brought you into present communities, all the while the expanded frame of reading as you negotiate these milieus. I’m wondering, as a way to draw this dialogue to a close for now, if you might outline some of the contours of contemporary poetic practices that are engaging you presently?

Johnson: If I start naming names, I know I’ll inadvertently forget somebody. Catholic guilt is real, even, or maybe especially, in ex-Catholics. So, I’ll stick mostly to presses. However, I do want to mention Nora Fulton, whose work just astonishes me, over and over.

I guess I should mention Hiding Press, the small press I run with my friends Andy Martrich and Jon Gorman. We’re publishing some of my favorite work — including, in 2019, Nora’s second book, ​Presence Detection System.​

There’s a ton of great writing coming out of the UK that I think still doesn’t get a fair shot over here, partly because it’s so difficult for those presses to find distribution in the United States. Face Press, Broken Sleep Books, The87Press, Sad Press, SPAM Press, Red Ceilings Press, Distance No Object, so many more …

The brand-new Anna Mendelssohn is my favorite book so far in 2021. Extraordinary writer. And a bunch of established poets I revere have published wonderful books in the last couple years — Alice Notley, Clark Coolidge, Denise Riley, Russell Atkins, J. H. Prynne, Kevin Davies. Recently, Roy Miki’s big collected,​Flow​, blew me away — I was not familiar with his work. Still reading through Lorenzo Thomas’s great, recentish ​Collected Poems.​ Would love to see a collected Hannah Weiner, she’s very important to me. Heard some rumblings about a David Schubert book, hope that happens. The out-of-print QRL edition of his work is expensive and strangely edited. Luc Bénazet and Jackqueline Frost’s little mag ​Senna Hoy,​ out of Paris, is really good. I think ​Homintern​ is a great site. Gauss PDF continues to publish very interesting books that deserve more attention.

A bibliography​ of works by Mark Francis Johnson:

Poor Fridge​ (Montréal: Documents on Expanded Poetics, 2021)
800 JKS (Paris: Ma Bibliotheque, 2020)
Sham Refugia​ (Philadelphia: Hiding Press, 2020)
How to Flit​ (New York: Roof Books, 2018)

In Order of Appearance, (Philadelphia: Hiding Press, 2018)
Can of Human Heat​ (New York: Golias Books, 2017)
Treatise on Luck​ (San Francisco: Gauss PDF, 2017)
Plastic Shed (Chicago: A Present Tense Pamphlet, 2016)
After Such Knowledge Park​ (Los Angeles: Make Now Press, 2015)
Yellow Highlighter (Buffalo, NY: Troll Thread, 2015)

Gruon BS (Los Angeles: Make Now Press, 2014)
Double Address to Hoof Sedition College Graduating Caste of 2091 (​written under the pen name of Oren Mabb) (Zurich: LUMA Foundation, 2014)
rFul (Morrisville, NC: Lulu, 2013)
Dream of a Like Place (Sydney: SUS, 2013)
Exactly Zero (Portland, OR: Steel Bridge Publishing, 2011)
Three Bad Wishes​ (Buffalo, NY: Meow Press, 1995)