The Travel Agency Is on Fire

William S. Burroughs. CUNY/Lost & Found, $8 trade paper (60p) ISBN 978-0-9888945-5-6
In this rediscovered text, Burroughs's impressive implementation of the cut-up technique is on full display, showcasing the writer's ability to create "constellations" by splicing together his own text with that of other writers. Perhaps a reflection of Burroughs's own life, these mash-ups seem to be tackling the question, "What's it going to be then, eh?" The cut-up technique serves as a dialectical method to create wholeness in a world experienced through disparate senses and occurrences. This collection presents a selection of Burroughs's work wherein he samples famous writers for his experiments, manipulating Shakespeare, James Joyce, the Romantic poets, and Jack Kerouac, among others, into something fresh and unexpected. The work is not to be understood linearly, but as words that traverse the space of what is expected and what exists between the lines—the twilight of what can be understood within language. It is no surprise that Burroughs is considered by some to be the godfather of punk, and this clamor of language makes sense out of chaos without trying to contain it. Those interested in how Burroughs gave focus to madness and further developed his cut-up technique will find this brief text worthwhile. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 11/02/2015
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