Metaphysical Licks by Gregoire Pam Dick

Metaphysical Licks by Gregoire Pam Dick

Publication Date: October 6, 2014
160 pages
6 x 8 inches
ISBN 9781771660556

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A Best Book of 2014 as selected by The Volta

Metaphysical Licks, a hybrid prose-poem/novella riffing on the lives and works of Austrian poet Georg Trakl and his sister, Grete, is the restless new work by writer and translator Gregoire Pam Dick [a.k.a. Mina Pam Dick, Jake Pam Dick et al., author of Delinquent (Futurepoem, 2009)]. With a mix of high and low, tragic and comic, abstract and concrete, artifice and confession, Dick’s playful writing takes risks. It transposes Georg’s Grete (musician, fellow addict and suicide) to current-day Greta, gives her Wittgenstein and Kafka as other brothers, and betroths her (unhappily) to Nietzsche. Crossing New York City with Vienna and Berlin, it composes dissonance from urban moments, narrative fragments, and philosophical remarks. The inventive, androgynous, sexually loose (and intermittently incestuous) persona of Greta expresses itself through the surreal and haunted imagery of Trakl’s poems. Readers will be drawn to Dick’s combination of girl/punk/genderqueer rebelliousness and intensely questioning thought, in a text where creativity alone offers escape and exultation, and subjectivity keeps changing its sounds.

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Praise for Metaphysical Licks:

“Reading Metaphysical Licks is like seeing Kafka’s ghostwriter whump Beckett under a streetlight, dodge Punch-n-Judy at a pop machine, and beat Walty Benjamin at solitaire. Gregoire Pam Dick’s ghosts are philosophy and abstract expressionism, a rattle of voice and dust in the East Village of NYC, and the lives of poet Georg and his sis Grete Trakl, sibling liebling rivalries up late and touching each other, soothed by panic, waking with ADD ritalin crack poppers and abscessed eyes.” —Erín Moure

“Incest, genius, death-wish, sublimity, funk, chromaticism: Metaphysical Licks has the cascading Germanic fever of Friedericke Mayröcker’s or Ingeborg Bachmann’s wildest flights, spliced with the equally hot boy-vibes of those ghosts (Kafka, Wittgenstein, et al.) whose lives and words Gregoire Pam Dick employs as divining rods for brilliantly autoerotic, recombinatory investigation. Pure sound-play motivates the atonal yet romantic inebriation of this book’s mad enactment of molten Becoming indiscreetly remixed as comp-lit-porn. Language has never been so smartly flayed.” —Wayne Koestenbaum

“I read Metaphysical Licks as a deep biography situated equally in a très contemporary androgynous sensibility and in a marvelously incestuous and poetic vision of the German philosophical tradition. Its wildly diverse language games are (laudably) as circumspect as they are rebellious. Licks is equally noteworthy for its genre play, its devotion to Greta in herhis many valences, and for its sustained consideration of suicidality, divided consciousness, and the primary potencies of sibling intimacy.” —Carla Harryman


“In search of a genuinely adventurous and challenging read that will never obey you? Look no further.” —Daily Xtra

“Restless just might be the best description for this collection. Dick’s poetry can’t seem to sit still, the language is absolutely vibrating …. Metaphysical Licks rattles boundaries, this collection tumbles down the page completely unaware of constraint.” —Contemporary Verse 2

“{Dick] raises important questions: what happens when language is perfectly externalized into the experiential world, and what happens to a self unmoored from immortal foundations? Expression (and meaning) becomes, in Wittgenstein’s famous phrase, a language game with ever shifting pieces and rules. ” Gregory Betts for Journal of Canadian Poetry


On Writing: With Gregoire Pam Dick —Open Book Toronto

Gregoire Pam Dick (a.k.a. Mina Pam Dick, Jake Pam Dick et al.) is the author of Delinquent (Futurepoem, 2009). Her writing has appeared in BOMB, frieze, The Brooklyn Rail, Aufgabe, EOAGH, Fence, Matrix, Open Letter, Poetry Is Dead , and elsewhere, and has been featured in Postmodern Culture; it is included in the anthologies The Sonnets (ed. S. Cohen and P. Legault, Telephone, 2012) and Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics, (ed. TC Tolbert and Tim Trace Peterson, Nightboat, 2013). Her philosophical work has appeared in a collection published by the International Wittgenstein Symposium. Also an artist and translator, Dick lives in New York City, where she is currently doing work that makes out and off with Büchner, Wedekind, Walser, and Michaux.

Additional information

Weight .2 kg
Dimensions 9 × 7 in