The Artaud Variations

Peter Valente

Introduction by Cole Heinowitz


ISBN 978-0-9661242-6-2      $12.00        104 pages


From metaphysics to rationalism, from communism to capitalism, and from sexuality to the self, these poems interrogate the full spectrum of power Artaud railed against. Even more significantly, Valente’s poems unmask the fundamental identity of these apparently separate systems. God is never merely God in these poems: he is also Satan. Satan is never merely Satan: he is also the doctor. The doctor is never merely the doctor: he is also the whore. The whore is never merely the whore: she is also the intellect. The intellect is never merely the intellect: it is also the body. Ultimately, the spiritual is no different from the material.

                 Cole Heinowitz, from the introduction


Peter Valente has rendered Artaud’s final writings, notably texts from Suppôts et Suppliciations, with a raw slaughterhouse magnificence and imaginative velocity that create new apertures through which to perceive Artaud’s most extreme and challenging work.

                Stephen Barber, author of The Anatomy Of Cruelty: Antonin Artaud: Life And Works


Peter Valente has done everything that a translator/reader of Artaud shouldn’t do: he crossed the line and merged his own writing with the original. But he did it to such mind-blowing extreme that Artaud’s voice becomes his own. An amazing feat.

                Sylvère Lotringer, author of Schizo-Culture:The Event, The Book

Peter Valente was born in Salerno, Italy and grew up in New Jersey.  He holds a B. S. in Electrical Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology. He is the author of the chapbook, Forge of Words a Forest (Jensen Daniels, 1998), and his poems have appeared in journals such as Mirage #4/Periodical, First Intensity, Aufgabe and Talisman. In the late 1990s, he co-edited the poetry magazines Vapor/Strains and Lady Blizzard’s Batmobile and wrote articles on jazz for the Edgewater Reporter. In 2010, he turned to filmmaking and has completed 60 shorts to date, 24 of which were screened at Anthology Film Archives. He has translated the work of Luis Cernuda, Nanni Balestrini and Pier Paolo Pasolini and is the co-translator of the chapbook, Selected Late Letters of Antonin Artaud, 1945-1947 (Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs, 2014). His book, A Boy Asleep Under the Sun, Versions of Sandro Penna is forthcoming from Punctum Books.