1. John Paetsch — Ctasy


Ctasy, —of shapes off-shore is the first part of a five-part (never to be completed) work. Itself in five cycles—the end of each cycle flowing (more or less) into the beginning of any other, including itself (to say nothing of the (now submerged) epicycles ebbing and flowing into one another within the cycles themselves)—Ctasy, consecrates itself to this act: trashing “early modern” images of Nature. But why? Perhaps trashing a proteiform plenum, self-valorizing substance, or manifold surface will pattern new ways of thinking with Nature rather than merely of it. At the least, it might ensnare us in a labyrinth more disorienting than any image of Nature. Ctasy, sive Natura .... Of the branching, folding, pulsating, faltering, collapsing, flowing, leeching, lapsing, erring, ramifying, gasping, deliquescing, irradiating ashen cycles that figure the labyrinth vexing this work, ask: Do we have time or coin enough to get back in, who can’t tell inside from out? “It’s as if a picture held us captive ....” Warden!

About the author

John Paetsch is a poet and philosopher living in Philadelphia. He has published with Gauss PDF, Make Now Books, and bas-books.


Ctasy by John Paetsch unwraps the marginalia of ritual mathematics found in nature, spilling all that hides behind that green veil: time, consciousness, replication, intimacy, iotas of networks. Lichens, mycelium, mimesis, metamorphosis guide the reader into a technobabble-laden, speculative landscape defined by a constant questioning of where the reader is, where the poem is, where the book is. Much like the transformative larvae throughout the text, the terrestrial placements (highways, lobbies, banking terminals) delegate alienness to the known, leaving the reader no choice but to ground oneself in compacted fangs and crystalline ash to remain cognizant of our own terrestrial occupations. The cycling slippage of matter, time, and body ebbs the reader through Ctasy’s curious chronos, like a rolling tide of oceanic cyberpunk memory. Trickles of language streaming like Ursula K. LeGuin, Samuel R. Delany, Ronald Johnson, PKD paranoia, and Emmalea Russo—file on the bookshelf accordingly. It’s what I like to read. – Ed Steck


6 × 9 in.




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