When you look up the description of poet Joseph Mosconi's new book Ashenfolk, this is what comes up: "Subject matter: chiropteric burglary, miscast spells, sentient AI, elvish folklore, heavy metal, counter-hippie cybernetics." And then: "A comment on genre and latent form as a type of minimalist poetry."
I'm not entirely sure what that description means, exactly, but it somehow seems about right. This is a book of poetry that seems to absorb influences from everywhere and mash them all together into something new, like the product of a particularly adventurous taxidermist. I'm especially fond of the page that reads "THERE"S NO SUCH THING AS A PRIVATE ONTOLOGY," with the word "THING" typed out in a garish 1950s monster-movie font.
Ashenfolk is a collection of booklets and postcards assembled into one edition. You can read it in any direction, or at any pace. It's narrative, but it's also against narrative. It's poetry, but it's also something more. Or less. I don't feel equipped to talk about it, but I also can't stop thinking about it.
To celebrate Mosconi's new book, he's doing a reading on Saturday at Elliott Bay Book Company with two of my favorite living readers of poetry: Sarah Galvin and Robert Lashley. These two turn any reading into the best kind of catastrophe — the kind of thing where you're howling with laughter or pain throughout. I mean, good lord.
This is the kind of event where you might leave unsure of what just happened to you. That might sound uncomfortable to you. Fair enough. But I can guarantee you one thing: you will be thinking about it for weeks and months to come.
Elliott Bay Book Company, 1521 10th Ave, 624-6600, http://elliottbaybook.com, 7 pm, free.