There’s no escaping adjacency to the boys as an institution (so invulnerable! so fragile!) but are the boys themselves our enemies? Can they be lovers, even comrades? In this beautiful and playful book fred spoliar unravels worlds of gender and work to tease a poetry of pain and joy from the smouldering present.
PREVIEW: Hear fred performing from the book at a recent the87press reading in London.
LISTEN: Our custom Boys playlist is available here.
LAUNCH: Join us for a launch party featuring readings from fred + special guests on 12th August. Free tickets available here.
100pp (A5 b/w)
Full colour soft-touch laminate cover
Design by Maria Sledmere
Publication date: 14th August
Praise for With the Boys:
This is a hissing trash fire of a book. A less vigilant reader may be tempted to defang this work, to label it ‘surreal’, to think of it as the inert confession of an individual, so as to safely relegate it to the realms of bourgeois aesthetic sensibility. Such a reading is unforgivable. The writing here is powerfully alert, transfixing the quotidian horror of casualised contracts, landlording and austerity. But spoliar refuses despair. No line break, or phrase, capitulates to what is expected of it. Lyric’s self-deferential affect is gleefully inverted: the masculine confessional, the ‘man-cave of tenderness’, with all its attendant contradictions and mealy-mouthed violence, ripped apart; as is gender itself: ‘doesn’t it / feel like something ending’, our speaker asks gloomily, or joyously, or both. This is communist poetry, communist poetry that’s queer as fuck. Come on, ‘be raised into crisis with the boys’: fred spoliar is the best around.
— Al Anderson
By turns outraged and outrageous, dismissed and dismissive, hilarious and smouldering, fred spoliar’s With the Boys survives the boys and offers a palette for how we might do the same, embedded as we are with the boys inevitably, desperate as we are to try and be beyond them. I love this book.
— Brandon Brown
Breaking the perspex with the boys, fred’s poems are a citational undoing of the ceaseless materialisations of labour, gender, weather that accumulate on the exhausted lyric body. In their place, they offer us another berth; a natural history after nature. They counterwrite for the pluriform conditions of livable worlds. Aleatory without cruelty; flourishing without curtailment.
— Fred Carter
In this sly, inviting, complex love poem, fred spoliar captures the absurdity of being a subject, then seems to melt ‘the boys’ with a laser, concept and matter at once. Plays on sound and association turn a world of service work and buzz cuts inside out, reaching for another one, imperceptible and thrilling. Capital is an orchestra, a 'madding in me,' always both here and elsewhere, suffocating but ultimately weak. So 'where E is in fact shit,' it really is, because E, like everything else in this beautiful work, is not rendered sacred but historical and changeable. Dare to do more than dream!
— Amy De’Ath