TORMENTWe do not only die, but die upon the rack, die by the TORMENT of sickness.
-John Donne, Devotions
Torment draws inspiration through writers working at the intersection of pain, illness, and art. In the tradition of Sontag, Artaud, Genesis P-Orridge, and the like, Torment is a review column that venerates pain and disease in literature. Torment takes Novalis at his word, Diseases are the stimulus and the most interesting subject for our meditation and activity... Only, we know little the art of using them. Torment seeks to explore links between cutting edge medicine and streamline literature, and trace spikes in New Age occultism and idiopathic illness. We want reviews that begin to speak to these unspeakables. For inquiries email David: email@example.com.
May 4, 2023
Intensive Maximalism: after Mike Kleine’s agbogbloshieBy: PJ LOMBARDO
Ekphrasis is creative intimacy. To love artworks, not as consumer objects, but as attributes of eternity: this is the task of ekphrastic poetics. In our time, both oversaturated & infused with scarcity, consumer desire gnaws through life & sails the scrap off without pause. Market-cynics claw to commodify every breath. Intimacy faces an existential dilemma. Mike Kleine wrote a book where something else is possible; the book’s called agbogbloshie, & the possibility is something like friendship (wrought inside music & turmoil)...
January 19, 2022
Alternate States of Burning: Place and Personhood in Meghan Lamb’s FAILURE TO THRIVEBy: ALEXANDRINE OGUNDIMU
The cover of Meghan Lamb’s Failure to Thrive features a red sign with a white X over it. Black text reads “CAUTION: UNSAFE TO FIRST RESPONDERS DO NOT ENTER OR OCCUPY.” There’s a way to read this as titillation, as if the reader is being welcomed into something forbidden, but there’s another reading won out by the text itself: The lives the reader is about to dive into contain hazards...
September 20, 2021
By: LEONARD KLOSSNER
Cicatrization does not reveal to us the sheer ugliness of its face right away, but grants us an odd respite before we will have suffered a moment of its insane barbarity. Instead, the text is prefaced by an interview of the author, S.M.H., by Martin Bladh, co-founder of the book’s publisher, Infinity Land Press...
June 11, 2021
By: ADAM MITTS
“I hate to be so monotonous but I’m still in awful pain,” Bob Flanagan writes on the evening of November 10, 1995. His partner is gone, his lungs and stomach are “killing” and “hurting” him—he is dying: “Sometimes I think they’re missing something and I’m going to die earlier than I have to before they catch it.” The uncertainty and risks of both medicine and temporality are magnified by how the body spends itself in its few remaining days...