The Science of Things Familiar

Johnny Damm (Author)

Product Details

Operating System
Publish Date
February 14, 2017
7.0 X 10.0 X 0.57 inches | 1.09 pounds
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About the Author

Johnny Damm is a writer specializing in verbal-visual and creative-critical blends. He is the author of SCIENCE OF THINGS FAMILIAR (The Operating System, 2017), Your Favorite Song (Essay Press, 2016), and The Domestic World: A Practical Guide (Little Red Leaves). His work has appeared in Poetry, Denver Quarterly, The Rumpus, Quarterly West, and elsewhere. He currently lives in Athens, Georgia, where he is a doctoral candidate in creative writing at the University of Georgia and editor-in-chief of A Bad Penny Review and Opo Books & Objects.


"Johnny Damm's Science of Things Familiar diagrams the ways we move toward and away from one another, exploring relationship through the failures and disjuncts that reveal it. In annotated illustrations taken out of their original context, in comics stripped of their narrative content, and in cinematic essays whose parts are sutured where they've been spliced, these pieces take apart the familiar to see what makes it tick. Troubling our assumptions about the workings of nonfiction, they reveal themselves as highly constructed, interweaving the personal and historical just as the book's "rat-a-tat" refrain rings out both drumbeat and gunfire. If we catch ourselves dancing, we've missed the point. Witty and serious, critical and compassionate, Damm invents a new visual poetics in which what we see and hear do not sync up. This is his way of waking us up with a "BLAM!" and "WHOOSH!" to the history of appropriation and conquest underlying America's popular forms. Nothing here is familiar, even as we recognize parts of the whole." - Amaranth Borsuk "Johnny Damm's 'Science of Things Familiar' mashes up Classics Illustrated, vintage diagrams, and film director bios to create an unlikely fusion that is a oblique yet often poignant autobiography as well as an essay on the way that we transform culture as much as it transforms us." - Matt Madden, author of 99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style "'Science of Things Familiar' captures "freeze-frames" from the history of comic books, crime films, and blues music, all from the middle of the darkest century. Johnny Damm accents the pulpish poetics in both the visual poetry and the phonic milieu, experienced by the masses in each cheap genre made on the fly for everyone. " -Christian Bรถk