“Amongst the oil fumes and the briny dinge of the sea, greasy, tired, frustrated, I had a flash. Suddenly, I had it all figured out—the psychology of despots and CEOs. I figured that in order for civilization to exist, people have to stay in one place, and so it seems somehow natural that the evolution of society would be to create an illusion of motion where none exists. Faster cars. Faster editing. Increased sensory stimulation. But all the while we are actually sitting more and more still. The population is placated by the feeling of progress, when in reality they are imprisoned. Even if we feel or strive to be utterly irresponsible, we’re still somehow doing our job.”
“[Watson] writes like someone who pushed himself to the wall, then pushed through it to the void and came back with stories to tell. Here he reclaims the Seventies, one of the more desolate of recent epochs, with the clarity of Proust, the balefulness of Bodenheim, and the raw honesty of an Iggy song.”
—John Strausbaugh, author of Black Like You and Sissy Nation
“With prose unfurling like cigarette smoke bleeding into that cloud of half-forgotten memories forever shadowing missed opportunities that hangs over a noonday dive somewhere during the twilight of the last blown century, heartbreak rock-n-roll on the radio crackling in exquisite precision between am stations and windswept interstates, Carl Watson daydreams before silent black-and-white televisions in SRO lobbies or as he drinks himself sober in crumbling Chicago tenements. Backwards the Drowned Go Dreaming explodes the bleary-eyed myth of the American road.”
—Donald Breckenridge, author of This Young Girl Passing
“Carl Watson’s work is desolate poetry. He writes with sharp nostalgia for a past that really wasn’t all that great. It feels like a stay in a down-and-out motel, but right on the other side of the paper-thin wall is transcendence. Watson never lets you forget that even in the most desperate situations, there is humor (even if it’s mostly black) and greatness of the spirit.”
—Emily XYZ, contributor, United States of Poetry
Carl Watson is a writer living in NYC. He has published some books including Beneath the Empire of the Birds (short stories) by Apathy Press, and The Hotel of Irrevocable Acts (a novel) by Autonomedia. These books have also been published in France by Vagabonde Press and Gallimard respectively. Recently Vagabonde has published Une Vie Psychosomatique. Watson also writes regular opinionated essays (under several names) for The Williamsburg Observer, an anarchist publication that originated at the Right Bank Cafe in Brooklyn. Currently he is working on a book about Henry Darger’s autobiography which he hopes will dispel the myth of literature and romantic genius and condemn all writers to the category of biological machines engaged in redundant self-constitution no different than the growth of crystals, the birth of stars, or the splitting of amoebas.