Here’s a literary double-header from JM Francheteau: the first issue of the zine Souvenir.
In the opener, “Real life,” we have some self-reflection in the form of conceptual gymnastics. Francheteau performs exploratory surgery on writers’ practice of symbolism, skewering the resulting distance from the everyday reality of the writer’s own life as well as the reader’s. But it isn’t a critique of writing, per se; Francheteau is talking about himself, and his struggle to write honestly and authentically about his connection with his father after many years of separation and silence. The layers of Francheteau’s grappling peel back as the piece goes on, landing on wise insight into the circularity of the struggle writers have with subjective, personal experience. Is it life, or is it art? And are those categories mutually exclusive?
Read our review of Souvenir #2
The second piece, the poem “There is no physical copy”, is perhaps a practical exercise in what has just been explored in the preceding prose. It briskly marks off chapters of Francheteau’s life, as a kind of framework, before turning confessional. My own confession: I got lost. Maybe it was the whiskey, or maybe it was my inexperience as a reader of poetry. Either way, I wanted to hang but could not. Nevertheless, Francheteau, you are interesting and I want to read more of your shit.