Z213: EXIT is the first installment of the Poena Damni trilogy: a camp, a train, soldiers, a Bible with notes inside, encroaching darkness, the struggle to remember, the struggle of hiding, physical pain. As if waking up in a nightmare an escapee recounts his fleeting experiences in a series of fragmented diary entries in a hide-and-seek game with Death or even God. Written in a unique prose style, at times bordering on poetry and conveying a "pilgrimage of the soul" through a series of increasingly haunting pieces, Z213: EXIT creates the feeling that reader and narrator are led together through an eschatological experience. Horror is created by the scantiest vocabulary craftily combined to form a broken, unstructured syntax, seemingly tight, but leaving enough loopholes through which the reader's subconscious fears can pop in and out. Although evidently post-modernist, this is a book that does not undermine or shrink the traditional Grand Narrative themes; on the contrary, it thrives on them.
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Dimitris Lyacos is a leading figure in contemporary avant-garde writing. His trilogy Poena Damni (Z213: EXIT, With The People From The Bridge, The First Death), has been translated into six major languages and is widely performed across Europe and the USA. The work in its current form developed gradually over the course of twenty years with subsequent editions and excerpts appearing in journals around the world, as well as in dialogue with the diverse range of sister projects it has inspired - drama, contemporary dance, video and sculpture installations, opera and contemporary music. Classified as postmodern and cross-genre, the trilogy relies, however, on a well-defined structure while exploring classical themes: the scapegoat, the return of the dead, physical suffering and mental illness. A journey to a mystifying, unfamiliar world straddles and crosses perceived boundaries of literary form. The outcome is an alternative, allegorical universe, the forging of a new myth that reaches beyond postmodern dystopia.Review:
"The notion of the threshold is an age-old concern for writers that has assumed epic proportions in such works as Kafka's and Beckett's. That Lyacos' description of the mystery that surrounds thresholds can sit comfortably beside these works is surely a mark of its stature."--Cha: An Asian Literary Journal"Lyacos writes one of the most memorable traditionally experimental poetic works I've read. It avoids the visual wankery of bill bissett, the gentle chopping of line typical in Jorie Graham, and the terse verse of Rae Armantrout, while retaining the weightiness of surreal abstraction... A guttural experience which is rarely experienced and which is what Poena Damni wants to be from the beginning."--Cleaver Magazine
"When not providing the reader with mystifying dreams and poetic diversion, Lyacos offers up a vision of agony more terryfying than any fire and brimstone sermon. Z213 is almost the opposite of a gospel account."--The Adirodack Review"By tapping into - and engaging with such visceral detail, as the scraps and scrims of scenes here provide - this issue of how writing works on the most basic, universal level, Lyacos has created a book of real interest and reward."--Decomp Magazine"Z213 is a tricky, rewarding, quintessentially post-modern work. Yes, Z213 brings the twelve, the cross and the lamb to the poetics of the abyss." --Verse Wisconsin (Judy Swann)
"Lyacos may employ all the paraphernalia of post-modernist poetry: elliptical sentences, fragmented texts, imcomplete words and a stream-of-consciousness narrative, but he always works to a plan, and it is up to the reader to discover it and enjoy what is definitely one of the most exciting post-modernist works."
--Verse Wisconsin (Manos Georginis)
"The blocked prose poems fly in the face of the conservative conventions of poetry here in America because these poems go beyond the debate between the narrative and the lyric poem, often being both simultaneously."--Write from Wrong Magazine"If the translations of the poems are exact, these poems are light years beyond our contemporary poetics. Lyacos is a master craftsman steering his way through tons of immediate information."--Wilderness House Literary Review.
There is coming & going & loss & redemption. There are sharp & tongue-filled rhythms. & the book itself denies its own categorization or existence by straddling poetry & fiction, story & memory, creating a dizziness in our blindness, a castration of reader grounding.Big Other Magazine
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