John Lowther, 3/9/2015

Current Occupation: Data Analyst and Dissertator

Former Occupation: Graduate Student and Teacher

Contact Information: John Lowther's work appears in the anthologies, The Lattice Inside (UNO Press, 2012) and Another South: Experimental Writing in the South(U of Alabama, 2003). Held to the Letter, co-authored with Dana Lisa Young is forthcoming from Lavender Ink. He blogs as Lowtherpoet at wordpress.



Five Sonnets from 555 & a ‘Note on the Text’

To work is destroy or to curse the world.

The curves of your lips rewrite history.

Mad man gesticulates in negative fashion.

You just throw yourself at the ground and miss.

There is a condom stuck to the carpet over here.

My doorbell rings but I was still waking up.

To be alone in that is hard and uncomfortable.

There is no redemptive moment.

Obviously this is no solution.

It’s like committing a murder.

Silence is tacit approval.

Love laughs at locksmiths.

I would totally fuck a duck.

That is the moment of overdetermination.




Yes, like why some people are born into a life of lazing around and philosophizing, and others are shoved into a hole and told to fucking get busy.

This is how pathetic this planet has become.


Sanity tends to be the word we use for any preferred state of mind.

The nation was not mobilized to do anything.


There's no such thing as going to college getting a career and making a life.

Anti-intellectualism is American intellectualism.


It’s not a question of actually promoting that.

If I were you I’d wake up and smell the violation.




He who does not 'die' from being only a man will never be other than a man.

It’s a portrait of the human processes which constitute that awfulness.

Molly in that sense either comes from or accounts for the term Molly House.

It's no one's place to tell me where my priorities for my own body should lay.

If you ever voted for a homophobic Republican political candidate, your child is gay.

The beard has turned into the padded bra of masculinity.

I found myself thinking that with a bit of makeup he would be very passable, even pretty.




Do not write anything anymore to the drive you want to recover the data from.

It meditates you.

Your voice is like nails on a chalkboard.

It’s the shit.

Your track record is all the information anyone needs to know.

It’s not pink.

Your Hungry Man Turkey Dinner is finished microwaving.

It’s a bit shit.

Your psychic abilities aren't needed.

It’s not so bad.

You can call other people sock puppets, or claim that you are a good person all you want.

It’s a pretty strange idea.


Spirit is at war with itself.

Spooky action at a distance.




How to tell if you're American.

Here's to spending daddy's money.

Her mom slit her wrists like a dumb ass.

The more prominent of the brothers, presumably, is holding a fish in his right hand.

Your hygiene is suspect, your hair is gross and you have no fashion sense whatsoever.

Tattoos that are inappropriate or gang-related must be covered at all times.

In actual time, no heavenly harmony resonates in the sound and fury.

There is nothing wrong with me a massive lottery win wouldn't fix.




Note on the Text


555 is a collection of sonnets whose construction is database-driven and relies on text analytic software. I crunched and analyzed Shakespeare’s sonnets to arrive at averages for word, syllable and character (inclusive of punctuation but not spaces). These averages (101 words, 129 syllables, 437 characters) became requirements for three groups of sonnets. I collected lines from anywhere and everywhere in the air or in print in a database. The lines are all found, their arrangement is mine. Values for word, syllable and character were recorded. Typos and grammatical oddities were preserved; only initial capitals and a closing period have been added as needed. The selection of lines isn’t rule-driven and inevitably reflects what I read, watch, and listen to, thus incorporating my slurs and my passions as well as what amuses and disturbs me. These sonnets were assembled using nonce patterns or number schemes; by ear, notion, or loose association; by tense, lexis, tone or alliteration. Every sonnet matches its targeted average exactly. Think of Pound’s “dance of the intellect among words” then sub sentences for words—it is amongst these I move. The dance in question traces out a knot (better yet, a gnot) that holds together what might otherwise fly apart. I espouse only the sonnets, not any one line.

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