Tuesday, February 2, 2016


The Halo-Halo Review is pleased to interview authors in the aftermath of a book's release. This issue’s feature is Paolo Javier.

What is your most recent book?

Court of the Dragon (Nightboat Books).

When was it released?

June 2015.

What has been the response?

Thrilling, to say the least. Some highlights:

- On the eve of the book's launch, the great Ian Frazier of The New Yorker interviewed me for a Talk of the Town profile. (I've been a long time fan of Mr. Frazier's writing, so you can imagine the bright  smile on my dark face when he starts quoting lines of my poetry during our meeting.)

- The brilliant occult/cinema studies scholar and novelist Alan Ramon Clinton wrote an appreciative essay, 'Paolo Javier's Double Seance', published in The Volta

- Lynne Sachs, one of my fave filmmakers, made a short film with Sean Hanley, Starfish Aorta Colossus, in response to/adapting one of the sonnets from a long sequence of the same name in Court of the Dragon. Starfish Aorta Colossus has made the rounds in a number of important experimental film festivals, including the recent Black Maria Film Festival, where it received an award

- Court of the Dragon also opened the door to a new collaboration with the brilliant electronic artist Listening Center, aka David Mason. 

- Inclusion in this year's Greater New York show @ MoMA PS1, where I invited Listening Center to perform with me. 

- Publisher's Weekly, not usually a reviewer of experimental poetry, wrote some nice things about the book. (Why is it filed under 'fiction'?) 

What has surprised you about the response?

I should first acknowledge the response from Stephen Motika, editor/publisher extraordinaire, who championed the manuscript from the-get. This surprised me; Court of the Dragon's "composed indeterminacy" (to borrow from Joan Retallack) & esoteric designs would've turned most publishers away. Not only does Nightboat accept my m.s., but they also publish a version that exceeds my expectations. It's a nice book.

Given that I have zero presence on social media (I've been Facebook-free since 2010), I am, of course, grateful for any attention given to CoD. But I'm especially thrilled to hear from writers and artists I respect. Fellow Nightboater Jill Magi posted this blog recently. And at the end of a Nightboat reading in the city last month, Alex Katz, one of my all-time favorite painters, walked over to tell me that he bought a copy of CoD.

Tell me something about the book that may not be obvious or known.

Here are two:

i) The title is drawn from the name of a Robert W Chambers story, & a chapter in Max Ernst's Une Semaine Du Bonte

ii) Court of the Dragon, aka (Fi)l'amour Fou.

What are you working on now?

Completing Ur'lyeh and Aklopolis, a new collaboration with Listening Center that'll appear as a limited edition book and cassette tape published by Flughschriften in April.


PAOLO JAVIER's collaboration with Listening Center (aka David Mason) will appear as a limited edition book, Ur'lyeh, and cassette, Aklopolis, published by Flugschriften in Spring 2016. He lives with his wife and young daughter in Sunnyside, Queens. 

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