Poetry. Mark Francis Johnson's CAN OF HUMAN HEAT takes the traditional worldbuilding function of speculative writing and distorts it around its most far-flung, self-reflexive poles. It isn't a book about a fantasy world or alternative timeline; it reads instead like the appendical traces of one sent back across dimensions—back-stories, info-dumps, and other explanatory narrative niceties are dispensed with. At times hazily suggesting the romance involutions of Sidney's Old Arcadia, at times refashioning tropes of the fantasy or nautical adventure novel into a kind of absurdist underclass siege diary, CAN OF HUMAN HEAT presents a landscape that is neither utopian nor dystopian but instead something queerly sketched by an alien phenomenology. And yet within this damaged environment, Johnson has created a cast of characters that are part lumpen Candide and part Beckettian tramp—strangely likeable lifeforms manifesting an utter desensitization to the biological and ecological degradation whose consequences have totally altered them. In its paralogical epiphanies, Johnson's poem refashions classic modernist lyricism as high farce in which the comic intransigence of everyday objects extends even to the body—and to consciousness—itself.
Mark Francis Johnson's most recent books include SHAM REFUGIA (Hiding Press, 2020), HOW TO FLIT (Roof Books, 2018), CAN OF HUMAN HEAT (Golias Books, 2017), and AFTER SUCH KNOWLEDGE PARK (Make Now Press, 2015). He is one-third of Hiding Press.Author City: PHILADELPHIA, PA USA