RK: Ron Silliman (a man much dreamed of) refers to Charles Simic's work as "soft surrealism." "Domestic" and "tame" are words I'd add. Your surrealism seems to be a wild, running, slush, manic sort. It kind of just leaps up, grows bud, points of steels, shadows, whatever. From my viewpoint it seems as though you kind of hit a vein, get in a zone, and then just let it ride, trusting your language skills to mostly get things right and to keep you on the bull for 8, 16, 32 or however many seconds. Care to talk about your and other kinds of surrealism? (influences, literary and other?)
BB: the history of surrealism to me is 95% soft. That it was born as a political statement, in political clothes, says a lot to me about what its intent is. I'm not interested at all in Breton's idea of what surrealism was supposed to be. 'Nadja' is about as normative as 'Friends' in my mind. I don't even see Simic as a surrealist (not that I've read a ton of him), soft or hard or liquid or made of showerheads. Because I think everything is human, and everything is real, even asdhfoashdfouyase8ryasuhdf, when you get into dealing with the term 'soft surrealism' and all other sorts of ism sism isimsimsimismimsims, you've got your arm up your dick. The only reason I sleep is because the woman that eats my mind every night is a surrealist of the seventh order, and has had her vulva sewn shut by god. That woman would eat Simic's first through tenth born. She'd spit out the eleventh and make a handbag of it to carry a bomb in. I don't know. I am tired of political implications. I am tired of people talking about what they intended to do 'in case it did not come through.' I am tired of soft or hard, even for my dick. I'd drink coffee in the sauna if there were room in there after all the old antiques and luggage my parents have crammed in it. The only place I can write is in the room where I grew up, the room where I was a self-imposed virgin until 19 or something, where I didn't drink or do drugs and put my arm through the wall once after having been up 128 hours straight. You could call those influences. You could call those vulva.
That said, there's been several recent things that have been getting me really amped in the mind of what I go to sleep for, which is the only reason I read, and the only place I find the way-jargoned to shit term 'surrealism' has any application, off the map. Johannes Goransson and his Action Books, as well as his wife Joyelle McSweeney: they are heroes of a sort in that way for me. And Derek White, I don't care if I am referencing the most recent book by my publisher: he did something so new and of the dream mind with his 'Marsupial.' Sean Kilpatrick is a friend and one of the best writers I know of such mind. Brian Evenson is hugely important to me, and especially Ever (read his story 'One over Twelve' from 'The Wavering Knife' if you want to see a very clear unconscious influence on the book by him). Jesse Ball. Nina Shope. Sam Pink. Kelly Link. Norman Lock. Eugene Marten. I could go on. I won't.
(to see the rest of the interview look in archives--dec 2008-- or, more easily, click on one of the labels, like Blake Butler, at the bottom of this post)