Kevin Killian: Argento Series
Pilot Press 2023, Softcover, 104 pages, 21 × 15 cm
Orders will be fulfilled from 6th September!
Reprinted for the first time in over twenty years, Kevin Killian’s first book of poetry is an audacious, operatic dive into the darkest recesses of the AIDS crisis.
In 1991, Killian reported he was “frozen, unable to think of a way to write about AIDS crisis”. A year later, his friend Kathy Acker suggested the “films of Dario Argento as a prism through which to take apart horror of living and dying in AIDS era”. The result is Argento Series, framing Killian’s real-life experience of losing his friends and lovers to the disease through the camera lens of Italian horror filmmaker, Dario Argento. Here, AIDS is cast as the horror film monster, wreaking cold, unfeeling chaos and destruction wherever it finds itself.
Blending a chilling, impersonal observation of death with Killian's typical high camp, tenderness and O'Hara-like wit, the poems use unflinching honesty and gallows humour to devastating effect. In Argento Series, Killian finds expression for a crisis, and moment in history, that changed everything, forever.
Kevin Killian (1952-2019) was a San Francisco-based poet, novelist, playwright, and art writer. Recent books include Fascination: Memoirs and the poetry collections Tony Greene Era and Tweaky Village. He is the coauthor of Poet Be Like God: Jack Spicer and the San Francisco Renaissance, the first biography of the important US poet. With Dodie Bellamy, he coedited Writers Who Love Too Much: New Narrative Writing, 1977–1997. He died in 2019.