from the Foreword of Destroyer of Man by Janaka Stucky:
When a colleague at a New York press asked me whether I’d be interested in publishing a posthumous collection of Dominic Mallary’s work, I was intrigued—but skeptical. While he had self-published a chapbook before he died in 2008, he was much more well-known for his music as the frontman for the hardcore/punk band Last Lights than for his poetry. That said I felt compelled to at least skim some of his work, which immediately drew me in.
As an aging punk, fellow Emerson alum and Massachusetts native, I felt an early kinship with Dominic as a person. That kinship deepened as I delved further into the immense collection of unpublished work he had left behind. I began recognizing influences from Eliot and Whitman, as well as more radical writers and thinkers like Antonin Artaud and Hakim Bey. After going through almost 200 pages of his work, it became clear to me that a powerful book waited inside there, and I felt it imperative to bring forth the book that Dominic never had the chance to assemble.
While it’s impossible to say what a full-length collection might have looked like had Dominic put it together himself, I’ve worked closely with his friends to select a collection that we feel is both representative and cohesive. The first section of this book, Come Up From Your Cough-In, reflects the content of the chapbook that Dominic released in his lifetime—which we decided to leave relatively untouched in regards to order and edits. The second section is a long poem titled, Wachusett, whose sequence has been unaltered though we introduced line edits where they seemed appropriate. The third section, Closed Forever, is a selection of poems chosen and ordered by myself, Vincent, and Cosmo. Line edits were also made.
In editing the second and third sections of this book, we tried to be as respectful of Dominic’s voice as possible. The process had to be intensely thoughtful since we didn’t know which poems he might have intended for publication, which were drafts, and which—perhaps—he may have never wanted to see the light of day. At every turn we had to ask ourselves what his intentions were and how his efforts would be perceived by a readership that didn’t have the same benefits of friendship or context that we did. Ultimately, what you now find in your hands is our best attempt at honoring a fiercely aware and unapologetically intense poetic voice.
Dominic’s particular sensibility as both an academic and an outsider to academia has given me pause to think about the aesthetic zeitgeist of his would-be peers in the world of contemporary American poetry. There is an eloquence to the lack of varnish in this work, and a magnetism reminiscent of Rimbaud emanating from its raw core. Working on it has been transformative for me in a variety of ways. I hope you find it as intriguing, arresting, an unexpectedly beautiful as I do.