Please pardon our appearance while we build MMM online, Vol. XI, 2014, featuring works from the forthcoming Vol. XI print issue. The MMM online archive is here.

 

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Unbearables Introduction

Jim Feast and Ron Kolm

The Unbearables are a group of writers who got together in the late 1980s in New York City in a shared reaction to the abysmal state of American culture. They marveled at the lack of any current literary avant-garde in the Old World sense, and decided to provide one. Sure, there were schools of writers, such as the Beats or the Language Poets, but unlike authentic avant-garde conglomerations from Buenos Aires to Paris to Düsseldorf, the writers in the American “experimental” schools confined themselves to giving readings, publishing books and sponging off granting agencies. True avant-gardes are distinguished by street action.

The Unbearables realized this, so they adopted strategies based on Hakim Bey’s seminal book; TAZ. Bey, one of the founding members of the group, posits the notion that a public space can be “liberated” and then used for a performance. When the action is completed, the liberators split, not wanting to become bloated oppressors themselves. Using this model they barged into the offices of The New Yorker demanding they publish more poems about earthworms, while other Unbearables picketed outside. They took over the New School and mounted a series of faux seminars, and for seven years in a row they occupied the Brooklyn Bridge and read erotic poetry to businessmen as they trudged home from work.

The Unbearables have a line of books and anthologies which have been published by Autonomedia: novels such as Carl Watson’s Hotel of Irrevocable Acts, John Farris’s The Ass’s Tale, Steve Dalachinsky’s A Superintendent’s Eyes and Bonny Finberg’s Kali’s Day, and anthologies such as The Crimes of the Beats, The Worst Book I Ever Read and The Unbearables Big Book of Sex. They are hard at work on their next one: From Somewhere to Nowhere: The End of the American Dream.

 


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Jim Feast is a member of the Unbearables writers group. He is the co-author (with Ron Kolm) of the novel Neo Phobe, and (with Gary Null) of AIDS: A Second Opinion.

Ron Kolm is one of the founding members of the Unbearables literary collective, and an editor of several of their anthologies: Crimes of the Beats, The Worst Book I Ever Read and The Unbearables Big Book of Sex. Ron is a contributing editor of Sensitive Skin magazine and the editor of the Evergreen Review. He is the author of The Plastic Factory and the co-author, with Jim Feast, of the novel, Neo Phobe. A collection of his poems, Divine Comedy, has been published by Fly By Night Press, and a revised edition of Suburban Ambush, also poetry, is due out from Autonomedia. He’s had work published in Live Mag!, Gathering of the Tribes, Poetry Super Highway, Urban Graffiti, Mungbeing and The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry. Kolm’s papers were purchased by the New York University library, where they’ve been catalogued in the Fales Collection as part of the Downtown Writers Group.