Songs of Insurgency

$12 (paper)
108 pages

Here is a timely - and occasionally unsettling - volume of short stories. And within is a woman who erases history textbooks, painting over horror after horror with a liquid paper brush . . . a groundskeeper who fishes yet another body out of the lake at a suicide camp . . . a man who scans through radio channels late at night, longing for the fulfillment of apocalyptic fantasy . . . a driver who heads ever westward, highway after highway, motel after motel, the details of each locale eerily similar.

Songs of Insurgency gives us a patchwork view of the post-9/11 zeitgeist, presenting a world - ours - in the process of being dismantled. Fear segues to paranoia; and alienation to sadism or suicide or a droning, dial-tone numbness. Yet amidst all this dislocation and unease, just audible above the fake moans of the phone sex line, a vision of an authentic alternative existence tests its wings.

Spencer Dew lives in Chicago. His fiction has appeared in numerous journals, where its unique voice - "a slowly simmered reduction of prose poetry with pulp gristle and bits of horror" - has developed a loyal underground following. He is currently writing a novel as well as a book-length study on the work of Kathy Acker.


Spencer Dew pounds through the apathy and delusions of our post-9/11 world with the force of a jackhammer.
-- St. Louis Post-Dispatch

. . . it's safe to say you won't see Songs of Insurgency popping up on your mother's book club calendar. . . . His book hits like a sock to the gut . . .
-- Time Out Chicago

The scapes in Songs of Insurgency are as wild as they come, and Spencer Dew writes with a paranoid verve holding little antecedent.
-- Todd Dills, editor of THE2NDHAND / author of Sons of Rapture

Dew says more in two or three pages than some authors say in 20. . . . each word hangs in the air, resonating with sound, as if Dew is relating a bad dream on a hangover morning. These three- to ten-page stories are meant to be savored like bitter chocolate.
-- Hipster Book Club

Spencer Dew's Songs of Insurgency tempts, at the onset, a reader to regard it as pulp fiction, with all the trash, horror, urban decay and inanity of modern life ladled in a roux prose of fragmented thoughts basting among loosely simmered run-ons. . . . Yet, in the balance, Dew succeeds to show us the tremblingly thin veil that obscures the cesspit of the American ideal. . . . I highly recommend a book like Songs of Insurgency where the author cloaks his revelation behind the very things he reviles.
-- Tarpaulin Sky