Mark Francis Johnson
800 JKS
2020





What did Tom Parkinson say to Alexander Clark?

I’d like to know if the library owns a rock formation shaped like
Haag which I might not have climbed already.


Tom Parkinson walks into a bar.
What’ll it be? asks Alexander Clark, the bartender.
Have we met? I’d like to know if I know yet whether the library
owns a rock formation shaped like Haag which I might not
have climbed already. To which I never clomb.


Memory plays tricks, but does it joke? In 800 JKS, a deceased gentleman who collected circus memorabilia endeavours to answer this question, unaware that the real difficulty lies in determining how to pose it. His method, no less than his failure, will be familiar to anyone who habitually asks questions formed to preclude the possibility of an unfunny answer.
A book for everybody, then; but a book too late to help us.
That is the 800th joke.


‘It’s a pretty obvious but nonetheless amusing paradox that,
at least some of the time (and perhaps more like most of the time), jokes that aren’t funny are funnier than jokes that are funny. Mark Johnson writes directly into this problem, using the form of the joke as a haphazard world-building (or anti-world-building) device. The poems repeatedly promise punchlines, but before the set-ups are even finished, the characters and situations melt away and regroup in new formations. The effect is partly comedic, partly analytic. Johnson is one of the most fluid and stylish writers of disjunctive verse around, and 800 JKS is a terrific and odd
book that deftly trips over the awkward structure of jokes, wringing dry humour from the form itself.’
—>  Steven Zultanski
76 pages
105 mm x   170 mm
60 mm French flaps (cover)
Format: Paperback
ISBN
978-1-910055-78-6
£10.00







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