About Spiralism with Heath Brougher


Heath Brougher's To Burn in Torturous Algorithms was published January 2018 through Weasel Press. The author takes us through his vision of his style of Spiralism, where it started, the rules, and everything in between. Check out To Burn in Torturous Algorithms to get a dose of a new poetic experience.

People have been wanting to know more about a writing style you’ve developed called Spiralism, the first book of which was recently published by Weasel Press under the title To Burn in Torturous Algorithms. Could you start by telling them a bit about how this idea originated? Spiralism is a particular style of writing which I have been developing since the age of 17. I’m currently 38, so that’s over 20 years. Originally coined Auraism, I switched the term to Spiralsim about 5 years ago. I was aware of the extremely small 1960s literary movement in Haiti called Spiralism which has nothing to do with the development of my Spiralist writings. The 1960s form of Spiralism is more akin to what is now called “hybrid writing.” Even though it had technically been used before, I HAD to term this certain style of writing Spiralism. I can even remember writing the first Spiralist (then called Auraist) poem. I was kind of playing around with words and grammar at the time but when I reread a certain poem it came across with the same type of feeling a person experiences before a seizure, which is called an Aura. I was no stranger to Auras. I have an “arachnoid” cyst on the left side of my brain behind my left eye which has caused me to endure seizures throughout my life. I kind of seized (pun INTENDED) on this idea of writing poems that were basically just random fragments of thought and image, which is very similar to what an Aura feels like. I did this by using semi-colons to sprinkle bits of ideas and imagery together in a way that jumbles up all the senses. As far back as 18 years old I had the first 3 books of Spiralism pretty much planned out in my head, though I didn’t change the name from Auraism to Spiralism until about 5 years ago. To Burn in Torturous Algorithms is the very beginning of that Spiral, where there is a sudden rumbling beneath the poems and the ground is shaking a bit as the poems are suddenly put in a state a slight tumult, after the Spiral meets the “algorithm” and these two varying aspects begin to collide. I don’t really want to comment on what Spiralism is going to mutate into as far as the next book, mainly because I think it will be a real surprise to many people whom are expecting it to go/do something else entirely because it is termed Spiralism. I’ve read that there is a Spiralist Manifesto that you have written. Could you share that with us? I have never written a “manifesto” about Spiralism but below is a brief synopsis of Spiralism which I wrote back when I was 17 or 18 years old. The only word that has been changed is the word “Aurism” to “Spiralism.” Hopefully it will help express the gist of what exactly Spiralism is meant to do. About Spiralism I’m the first one to condemn most forms of “isms” as I feel they pretty much mold together and steal any Individuality or Versatility from what is being thought or created, but in writing this I hope to make clear that my Spiralist poems do have a purpose and differ from the majority of verse. The main purpose of Spiralism is to evoke an overall understanding of something: an aura, an essence. As far as creative endeavors go, the only way to Spiral, in my opinion, is outward. Also, Spiralist poems are not to be read at a traditional pace but instead at top speed, like someone quickly reading through a paragraph in a book, all the while the reader gleaning various phrases and pictures and thoughts and dreams which serve to create an overall Aura which Spirals outward and only outward. For the actual Truth of the Universe [Multiverse?] cannot be better understood through words, for words are manmade. An aura or an essence is much more easily understandable because it is closer to Feeling, Emotion, the Luminiferous Ether that spins within Existence as far the human experience is concerned. The Universe [Multiverse?] does not differentiate between right and wrong, has no morals, therefore the Truth to all we perceive lies in something seemingly unpalpable, of invisible matter, is Spiritual [Spiritless?], and at the same time is only matter of some sort. The beguiling presence of perception, rich with blazing moments of Understanding beyond Understanding, is something which could be very poignant yet at the same time be totally meaningless. In Spiralism, contradiction is important, as is Individuality and conglomeration of thought. The very meaning of some of the particular images are unimportant, for it is the images mixed with ideas which should take on the focal point which later leads to understanding. The poems are meant to create an overall Aura and to compel an outward Spiraling essence which lives in Universal [Muliversal?] understanding, like the aura of any time or place. So, being pressed to label this specific style of writing, I would call it Spiralism, only using language to, hopefully, create the Inexplicable Cognizance of Everything. Will you only be writing Spiralism from now on? NO WAY! The last thing I EVER want to do is become pigeonholed. Are there any specific rules to Spiralism? For me, personally, I have only one “rule” and that is to end every poem with a semi-colon so it is as if the poem never fully comes to an end and could conceivably continue Spiraling onward. Word combos also play a very big role. Overall, the only “rule” would be to push outward with the ideas and imagery used while writing Spiralism. People have also been asking about the empty spaces after the dashes I use, which was actually born out of me originally writing on paper and feeling like a long dash kind of pointed to the next part which related to the first part without having to over-explain how I got there. I’ll end by saying this: Spiralism is actually more of a mentality than a literary style. Still, though, I think that people are going to be very surprised by the 2ndand 3rd books simply due to the term Spiralism. I hope this has been helpful with all the questions people have been asking me concerning Spiralism. Thank you, Weasel Patterson, for this chance to explain. I very much appreciate it.

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