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.
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 Mayröckerss 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