Death & Disaster Series
2021 (Revised Edition)
Watch the book trailer
Jameson Fitzpatrick for Lambda Literary
Felix Bernstein, “Forget O’Hara,” for the Boston Review
Adam Fitzgerald for the American Reader
Joyelle McSweeney for The Fanzine
“Something Happened” via Brooklyn Poets
“Five Poems” via EOAGH
Lonely Christopher’s debut poetry collection was a controversial cris de coeur that attracted scorn and praise on its initial release for an unsparing portrayal of a young alcoholic gay writer struggling to find meaning in the loss of his mother to cancer. Inspired by Rimbaud’s “derangement of the senses,” Christopher embraces an enfant terrible persona, unafraid of raw emotionality, scrawling intense and devastating lyrics that push verse to its breaking point. In a combination of experimental and confessional modes, using a complex array of styles, personal bereavement is contextualized within a larger sense of sociopolitical catastrophe and hatred of capitalism. This notorious volume has been acclaimed as a contemporary classic of the queer avant-garde.
This edition features a new afterword by the author. The poems have been corrected and revised to create a definitive version of the text.
“OH GOD, I’ve started this blurb so many times! HOW TO SAY HOW essential this writer Lonely Christopher is for our lives!? It’s all between the words, this pressure he builds behind the eyes. Stand anywhere you want with this book inside our headache age of information fatigue, ‘anything in the orange light / of my word for you / anything / to excuse / all the pain.’ DON’T BE STUPID you know as well as I do these poems boil to the top of the gravy!!’”
“Aesthetically and polemically these poems heft joy and grief and fury. Politics, romance, wonder suffuse them. Lonely Christopher is a fearless poet par excellence. ‘I am the star of my own truncated privacy’ says the poet. What choice do we have but to heed his appeal: ‘Do not face eternity with your brain.’”
“‘I/ don’t belong in America I belong/ in love,’ says this provocative poet, but it’s not true: at the same time minimal and raw, smart-set knowing and uninhibited weird, Lonely Christopher belongs anywhere that his poetry can be read. He knows too much and wants to reveal it all (fans of Ariana Reines, or of Eileen Myles, take note). The lines get rough and bloody, rehearsing and repurposing queer revolutions. This book lays bare secrets of our time, halfway between the compression of (say) Robert Creeley and the unmade bed at 3am, from which he looks out the window at (variously) the blank walls that model his free verse, the window of the day before, and the fire across the ledge, the one he almost ‘started/ as a conduit for my love/ and rage.’”
“This book takes the idea of a dark destiny of being and throws a ton of black clouds on it and black paint on top of that and then makes it into a book of really really pretty songs that break my heart and head open again and again with Plath’s blood jet, the dialectic of Tsvetaeva, and Stein’s thump, all wrapped up in the sad birds of Yeats. Everyone needs to read this one. Tell the poem ‘Black June’ that I sent you.“
In a January Would
Quinn Roberts, “Walls Don't Work,” for LA Review of Books
Dennis Cooper, “5 Poetry Books I Read Recently & Loved,” for DC's
“Lost Metropolis” via Lit Hub
Three poems via Truck
“The Emperor, He Had Total Control”
Two poems in The Lifted Brow
Lonely Christopher broke up with his boyfriend in Père Lachaise Cemetery on Christmas Day and subsequently produced this intense and trenchant verse series written from one January to the next, using poetry as durational art to track a heartbreak and the ensuing attempt at recovery over the course of a rough year, half of which spent homeless. Abandoned in an indolent postcollegiate haze, searching for meaning but more often finding trouble, Christopher explicates the perverse beauty of a brutal world—from the rooftops of Paris, to the gutters of Brooklyn, and even through the snowy Protestant woods of Connecticut, the poet navigates harsh social realities with style and rigor. The melodrama of time’s passage is on full display as Christopher parses themes of alienation, oppression, and cynicism in a journey through the four seasons. This is a unique break up book that uses the grief of lost love to develop complex and implicating emotional thematics in a refreshing rococo style.
“The title In a January Would feels like a medieval or Swinburnian delicacy, but what follows is rather full of contemporary vigor. The poem titles read as songs on an endless album. A legacy of modernism—the rigorous and angular attention to language that is also a queer inheritance—or rather the reckoning with it, persists through the texts. Always thinking of Duncan and H.D. and Wieners, Rimbaud and his boyfriend. These obdurate and opulent poems are as indestructible as the carvings on a tomb yet as transient as cloud writing. Lonely, ‘you make me feel like a picked zit that just won the Nobel Prize’ and that’s a good thing. Thanks for being so brave for all of us who walk this funny path.”
“In a January Would is a remarkable book. Lonely Christopher's openness to language reminds me of the density, syntactical innovation, and aching love of Hart Crane's ‘Voyages.’ Lonely, too, lives ‘drenched in words’ so that he can conjure them at the right moment and put them in the right form. One January in time becomes every January for all time. His attention is that arresting. And freeing—into queer multi-dimensionality. He is a garret poet working in the margins with such energy and compassion, spit and vinegar and with the finest literary ear, I can gleefully ignore that there is anything but the margin.”
Ben Tripp, “A Poet's Symbolic Resignation,” for Hyperallergic
Selected poems via Don Yorty Explorations
“Magic Bridge” in the Brooklyn Rail
“Grown Ups” via the Huffington Post
Lonely Christopher explores questions of identity, ethics, and power through the machinations of textuality in this bold new collection that updates formalist and conceptual practices to provide a searing, comical, provocative, and ultimately humanistic critique of how we use and abuse language to form and enforce culture. Christopher presents bizarre and perverse takes on political rhetoric, Freudian psychoanalysis, religious texts, sexuality, English grammar, opera, children’s television programming, figurativism, epistles, modernist architecture, and much else, purposing beguiling processes to take lusty stabs at entrenched forms of representation.
Christopher's pronouns, “sexy like a flirting bridge,” deliberately yet effortlessly diverge, complicating notions of gender and desire. Along with his surreal images, “wrought out from a shiny whatever,” they keep alive “the relation between the sex drive and creativity” while maintaining “the continuity between material and psychic energy.” Sexual, political, historical, and personal, the relations that Christopher imagines will delight and bemuse readers, whether they approach the material casually or with the deepest attention.
“The Resignation meditates on the relation between fraught multitudes. There are sonnets, sexy lakes, sestinas, psychoanalysis, realistic nightgowns, Bert & Ernie’s slutty leather gear, the childhood fantasy of the mother-vulture, and Puritan speech. Magnetic fields of explanation nervously masturbate in a public portal of joyously reappropriated repression. How do you know this is for real? Because there is power and vast broken light. Nothing but pleasure. And this clear place within care.”
“Lonely Christopher unflinchingly delivers deadly truths. His work stands at the tragicomic limits of contemporary queer writing, without giving in to the demand for a ubiquitous sign or logo. In the spirit of Artaud, he refuses to give up the poethical task of mourning and negation, jumping off the bridge without ceasing to write on his way down. For Christopher, the ‘blood world’ of queer despair holds a concealed possibility for new forms of trust and awareness, making for a book as insightful as it is raw.”
Writers' Collective of Kristiania
Interview on Lit Hub
Download as ebook (free)
THERE is an intertextual horror story about a disastrous marriage. Jack and Wendy live in a haunted house with their son. Their situation happens to echo a popular genre novel that was later adapted into a film. And yet anything familiar to the reader is bizarrely distorted. There is constant forward motion but no linearity, heart-stopping terror but no ghost. Jack and Wendy exist where time and place are broken and there may be no escape. Lonely Christopher’s first novel is an intellectually rigorous and emotionally riveting perversion of classic horror tropes that explores how people destroy each other. Behind every word is a nightmarish secret. Read it if you dare.
“A white marriage between Stein and Huysmans, THERE takes on love and art, violence and weather, the horror of syntax and the locked-in Overlook Hotel of the mind. Lonely Christopher’s sentences are like bony vertebrae behind which a slim lover hides a knife. But his true subject is the grim co-dependency of language and consciousness: what we do with words when we’re alone with them, and what they do to us.”
“Lonely thinks astutely about other texts and is not only clear but poetic in a way that is daring and rewarding. He cares about his topics and is also concerned about what ideas play off against each other as well as being impartial in their presentation so that the reader must be involved and committed to the outcome. I like this quality in any writer, but it is not all that common.”
—Samuel R. Delany
First published in paperback, THERE is currently available as a free ebook.
The Mechanics of Homosexual Intercourse
Bryan Cebulski for The Lawrentian
“That Which” in The Fanzine
“Milk” via HTMLGIANT
Two boys lie on a bed, one of them is already dead; they listen to Glenn Gould playing Bach and talk about suicide and love. A lonely narrator mourns the end of a relationship and the disappearance of a mysterious object as a frustrated artist jumps out of a moving car on his birthday and runs for the last streetlamp in the universe. Awkward parents and angsty teens negotiate a dark suburban landscape, searching for something they can’t name, spelling out balletic sentences of failure and shame. Helicopters menace the night sky, a horse is murdered in a kitchen, victims go missing in swamps of ambiguity, and everybody waits for what the construction of a new road into town will bring: the end of the world or something worse. The Mechanics of Homosexual Intercourse, a radical map of shortcomings in our daily experiences in the form of a debut story collection, presents thematically related windows into serious emotional trouble and monstrous love. Lonely Christopher combines a striking emotional grammar with an unyielding imagination in the lovely-ugly architecture of his stories.
“Praise seems superfluous for a book as accomplished, cohesive, and devastating as Lonely Christopher’s debut collection, so consider these words admiration instead, and admonishment: if you still think fiction counts for anything, then you should buy this book right now.”
“Lonely Christopher’s debut collection introduces a kind of story which simultaneously reads as new and familiar. In fact, everything here happens in the context of family: mother, father, brother, sister, lover, neighbor, friend. It is you and it is not you, it is contained and it is vast. Syntactically deft, playful with proper nouns, steadily wondrous within the quotidian, it also, remarkably, fulfills a promise: each story is indeed an excavation of The Mechanics of Homosexual Intercourse, which is its excellent title. Reading it gives me a perverse and giddy sensation; I was deeply happy when I finished this book.”
“Lonely Christopher, as his name suggests, knows despair as only a hobo or a clown can. This knowledge animates his fiction and provides each story with a humor that belies the terrible things that happen to his men, women, children, and animals. His formal experimentation will reward readers who have been craving a Huysmans sort of Nick Drake sort of Andy Kaufman killer writer. These readers will, like all good boys and girls, go to bed happy at last.”