Editor’s note: If you came here looking for the Hoover Hog interview with Peter Sotos, click here.
If you’re inclined to let your mind out on a different kind of tether, The Fanzine has just posted Brandon Stosuy’s fascinating interview with outlaw litterateur, Peter Sotos (an edited version of which recently appeared in the Prague Literary Review).
More than twenty years since his life-defining run-in with the authorities, Sotos’ work continues to advance a uniquely insightful — and disquieting — perspective on the nature of sexual deviance and the human condition. Whatever you may think of him, Peter is a born writer whose literary output has yet to receive its due critical attention.
Here is Sotos commenting on the subjective nature of pornography:
It’s impossible to apply grand definitions to pornography because the
intense precision of individual taste is central. This is why laws and
the necessary text on pornography are so loud and popular. It allows
different sides to establish self-serving moral grounds but never a
concrete or unified answer. One defines pornography for oneself only.
The act of masturbation wouldn’t, obviously, qualify everything as
pornography but rather what one is looking for in pornography. Just
that these objects are capable of being used as pornography. I’ve seen
far too much of this so-called "transgressive" pornography that is
completely defined by the ridiculous arguments of those who seek to
vilify printed words and pictures. The ones that bask in their naked
freedom and flaunted spirituality are just as ugly, just as obscene, as
the ones who constantly beg you to watch out for their children’s
…on his place in the world of letters:
I know where others say they see me fitting in. But, honestly, I don’t
think in those terms at all. I don’t see anyone else doing what I do.
Which sounds terrible, I know. But I don’t feel much kinship with
contemporary writers, especially those who create fiction. My interest
is in completely the other direction. There are writers whose work I
love, of course, and it’s nice when some people make certain smallish
comparisons. Sade, Dworkin… But nothing in terms of an ongoing
…and on his kinship (sorry) with the late feminist writer, Andrea Dworkin:
I think Andrea Dworkin cared very deeply about her words being more
than that – just words. I’m certain that I do, as well. But we don’t
see the frustrating impossibilities of that action in the same context
or towards the same result.
Intrigued? Read the whole thing. My review of Peter Sotos’ recent book, Selfish, Little: The Annotated Lesley Ann Downey will appear in the next issue of PLR.