Saturday, December 7, 2019

Fiendish Pamphlets

Fiendish PamphletsFiendish Pamphlets by Ramon Lasalle​
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Raphus Press is a little-known fine literary press - little-known except among a certain subset of small-press connoisseurs. Fiendish Pamphlets is a slim, elegant volume. Sexy, like a well-dressed Femme Fatale. Crisp and alluring. Physically, it's a model of what a book should be. I dare say, the production is near-perfect.

But what's on the inside? What will drive this reader-book relationship? Not much is given, a mere 44 pages of poetic prose. Because of small press economics, and the fact that this is a very limited edition, it's admittedly pricey. Maybe that's part of the allure - we covet that which is rare. But having obtained, what do we find inside?

Three (very short) segments of literary poetic prose fill the pages (along with some elegant illustrations that add to the luxuriousness of the volume). These are short pieces, but not something to charge through. Reading and appreciating them fully requires a slow hand, an examination of the text, ruminations, meditation. And they are meditative pieces.

In "Nocturnal Gardens," the self-discovery Demiurge, escapes into dreams, slipping the bonds of the workaday world. This was the least effective of the work, as far as I am concerned, and yet it is still of a very high caliber of work. Consider this piece an initiation into Lasalle's dark world.

"Distant Realms of the Kingdom" is an ode, of sorts, to animal instinct in the face of certain destruction. Beautifully lyrical and alien, there is a lot of meaning coded within the poetic language even when, or especially when it admits the inadequacy of expression in and of itself. This is the further descent into Lasalle's labyrinth.

"The Third Pamphlet" takes on a decidedly meditative tone, like some shadowy Zen philosophy of history filled with dark suppositions of causation and decay. This is the culminating ritual of the book, and it left me awestruck. Holding a rare, beautiful little book, reading about the covetousness of evil people lusting after a rare, beautiful little book . . . the effect is sinister, leaving one with a sense of wonder and a tinge of self-reproachment lingering in the background. Lasalle reintroduces decay into Decadence and ropes the reader in with a chaffing leather noose. This last segment is far more powerful than the sum of its parts, and it is the crown of the work.

Finis Opus Coronat

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