"John Keats’s Pony"
Scandalous, surrealist, post-Romantic satirical limerick cycle about the pony of John Keats, who journeys across the continents to discover a cure for his master’s consumption. His misadventures include a passionate night spent rolling amongst the steppes with Kublai Khan’s noble stallion, a trip back in time followed by a scandalous liaison with a handsome Grecian mare, as well as the pony’s own ill-fated attempts at writing Romantic poetry. Evidently, there are various indelicate moments scattered throughout the poem, which have been excised from the Official Copy that is recommended (or rather, grudgingly tolerated) by the Ministry of Public Decency. The pony eventually finds his way to the Khanate deep underground, where his own likeness becomes immortalised within Khanate architecture after he assassinates a war-horse who was posing for an architect. The pony dies a happy death after many salaciously fleshy years of being ‘put to work’ by an unscrupulous breeder of Khanate warhorses. Keats also perishes at the end, but not before a vivid scene involving William Wordsworth, an immaculate Grecian urn and a purple vial of consumptive blood mixed with laudanum and wine. Banned in several Surface cities as well as the Khanate, but a favourite among young, liberal-minded (very liberal-minded) ladies and young, lonely (very, very lonely) gentlemen in London. Several eminent and debatably eminent literary scholars have interpreted the work as evincing a post-Romantic anxiety about the irresolvable tensions between Keats’s and Wordsworth’s Romantic poetics, but the author has dismissed this as giving the work too much credit, claiming that she "wrote this to pass the time while [her] foot was stuck at the bottom of an empty cask of Prisoner’s honey, my dear." Ms Valdis is far more sympathetic to critics who dismiss the work as doggerel garbage, adding, "My lovely publisher and I deliberately sourced for paper and inks that would burn well and safely, in case the dissatisfied, erudite reader wishes to dispose of their copy in a most practical and convenient manner."
Bittersweet, tragicomic ballad about the developing romance between a pillar and a lady’s iron crinoline, taking place upon the shores of Polythreme. A matronly London lady with an outmoded, puritanical taste in fashion finds herself stranded in a remote corner of Polythreme, where she suffers a heart attack upon observing two dining chairs locked in carnal embrace. The ailing lady perishes at the base of a marble pillar, and over the years, her accoutrements and body decay, leaving her crinoline behind. The pillar and the crinoline, now fast friends, spend several more years ruminating about the nature of existence and the frailty of life, regardless of whether life should take the form of flesh, metal or stone. A brooding romance blossoms between them, and they decide to consummate their love by leaping off of a cliff in a final assertion of their agency against sublime forces larger than themselves. Unfortunately, both of them realise that they cannot move, precisely because of the details surrounding their creation. With the passage of time, the crinoline gradually rusts into noisy, barely-sentient little brown fragments, as the pillar watches her beloved’s decay painfully and helplessly. A lady-artist from the Chelonate eventually stumbles upon the secluded spot many years later. Sympathetic, the lady-artist tells the pillar that inanimate objects are fortunate, in that so-called ‘garbage’ is always only a step away from being monumentalised as Art by the hand of the creative Bricoleur, just as the Chelonate is built of a massive turtle shell. Death, then, is really a necessary precondition for new life. Perhaps, then, there is hope for humankind too, who know not what awaits them beyond the limits of their mortality; perhaps there is some greater purpose that awaits in the Unknown. Hearing this, the pillar finally comes to terms with the frailty of mortal existence, and humbly requests that the lady transform the crinoline’s remnants into a sculpture, hoping that her lover will find a new lease of life across the Zee in the Chelonate. Hefting the whining pieces of the crinoline aboard her ship, the lady-artist eventually ends up dying at Zee due to an unfortunate storm. The rusted remnants of the crinoline sink into the depths forever, while the pillar continues standing in Polythreme, completely ignorant of the tragedy and singing a new ballad of hope, rebirth and joy…
The Collected Poems of Ms S.V.
A recently-compiled anthology of several shorter, hand-picked surrealist poems, including a sonnet about a Rubbery Man’s infatuation with a punch bowl, an eccentric free verse piece about a rostygold bracelet that gains supernatural powers after being dipped in wine and honey, and epic verse on the dramatic lives of twenty generations of rabbits embroiled in a series of familial scandals, executions, assassinations and incidents of hot-blooded, lagomorphic love. Several people have been poisoned and/or exiled from London due to incidents directly or indirectly related to the publication of this work, and several upstanding men and women have been seen running naked, honey-mazed and red as a beet across the streets of Veilgarden while clutching this volume to their chests. The author vehemently denies that such displays of immodesty constitute a cheap act encouraged to set tongues wagging about the work, although she concedes that "they may be read as such." The upcoming second edition will feature-- among various other new additions-- several blank verse pieces written exclusively in what seems to be the Rubbery Men’s language, parodying puritanical reviewers’ comments on the first edition’s poetry.
"O, Help me, for my Petticoat is a Hot-Blooded Young Anarchist!": A Lady’s Travel Guide to Polythreme
Have you been plagued by inappropriately solicitous corsets that tie themselves just a little bit too tightly? Are your shoes deliberately tripping you so that they may have time to exchange honeyed words with the pebbles on the ground? Is your inkwell threatening to spill its contents upon your expensive winter coat, unless you adopt its cumbersome suggestions for your latest Polythremic travelogue? The author humbly presents Pragmatic and Practical solutions for the young London lady (or Rubbery Man/devil/deviless/gentleman/person of indistinct gender of particularly ‘discerning’ tastes) visiting the wondrous Edenic paradise of Polythreme. (Bring many sets of steadfast and honest locks and chains, and a patient, amicable set of earplugs, all of whom will assent to being used for several days at a time.) This book-- part travelogue, part romance and part sensitively-penned lady’s companion-- has been co-written by the respectable M. Cholmondeley, the author’s young writing quill who was plucked from the rear of a pheasant from Newcastle. The author has claimed that the text has been "rigorously modelled after Events Testified as Having Been True, to an Extent!" A disclaimer attached to the final pages-- signed by the Respectable Messrs. Baseborn and Fowlingpiece-- states that the author and publisher are not to be held legally responsible if the volume itself ends up hindering, pestering or attempting to asphyxiate the reader in their sleep, should the reader happen to bring a copy to Polythreme.
Burnished Violant against the Waves
Part cryptozoological treatise and part fiction, this shorter prose piece documents the life and habits of a particular species of glim-based insect endemic to a particular region in the Unterzee, first drawn to the author’s attention by the intrepid explorer, Mr. Andrew Astherson. The epilogue features an ottava rima piece praising the beauty and gentle nature of these creatures. The book encourages Zailors to contemplate issues of conservation and natural philosophy. It also advocates a form of responsible and sustainable hunting and harvesting of Zee resources, ensuring the stability of population levels of Zee-creatures for the Benefit of Future Generations. Many note that the author has been vague as to the exact location of these creatures, as well as several other specific details about their migration and locomotive habits, for example. Some say this is a clever feint to mislead would-be hunters. Others claim that they have Irrefutable Evidence which suggests that she has made the entire affair up, and that the work is a sloppy piece of make-believe by a delusional writer of cheap Fancy, who is in possession of as much scientific skill as the average sorrow spider. Ms Valdis has chosen not to respond to either of these claims, arguing that part of the pleasure derived from this volume stems from the fact that "the reader may do with this book as they will; may read it as either fact or fiction… or both."
edited by Sestina Valdis on 10/3/2015
edited by Sestina Valdis on 10/4/2015