LO! a racist exhile is a poetry travelogue but not of the tourist brochure variety. Though the author was indeed traveling around the world while writing, the book is more of a meditation of his thoughts on the journey. It has very little to do with the actual places he’s visited aside from whatever influence they may have had on the parallel journey within his mind. One can visualize HAarlem VEnison backpacking around in no man’s land and pondering how to solve the racial issues of our time in ways no one else has considered.
A recurring theme in Venison’s poems is that he’s “playing the long game.” He doesn’t seem satisfied to pick from the existing teams and join the race battle. He wants to meditate things out in his own head and work up the best possible strategy, rethinking not just the lines and the shades, but the dirt that comprises the battlefield itself. This is probably the area where I most identify with him. He’s not a natural “joiner” and neither am I. It makes sense that among people rejecting the consensus line of thought in our culture, that those prone to rejecting consensus generally would also be resistant to the prevailing orthodoxy within dissident groups.
My favorite poem in the book begins with:
“Welcome exile as the opportunity to burn
yourself out. It will teach you everything
you need to know in order to make your
humble contribution to the overthrow of
It is here that he recognizes that being cast out of polite society is a blessing. Being outside of the shitshow gives you the chance to get a new perspective, to see the big picture, and most importantly to shed that part of yourself that was in many ways molded and shaped by the system you were forced out of. You want to forget the old thoughts and views that were burned into your brain. By burning yourself out, you replace it all with a more powerful self, like an alien creature that sheds its skin and morphs into an advanced organism. He believes in the end that “no lives matter,” not yours, not mine and not his, but that this realization gives him a freedom to operate in life in ways others cannot.
when you realize that death is your
overarching goal, and that this goal is
the only thing that matters and that it
will fall into place effortlessly, all the
weight in life will be lifted and /you/
will no longer be under duress to
achieve /your/ life’s tasks. your life
doesn’t matter at all, bluntly stated.
The poems have a psychedelic vibe. In fact, the above excerpt from a poem about death made me think of a verse the Velvet Underground classic “Sweet Jane:”
“And there’s some evil mothers
Well they’re gonna tell you that everything is just dirt
You know, that women never really faint
And that villains always blink their eyes
And that, you know, children are the only ones who blush
And that life is just to die.” – Velvet Underground, Sweet Jane
A Biological Worldview
References to nature are common throughout the book which may not seem notable as far as poetry goes, but this author is very in tune with the natural, biological world. There are frequent mentions of insects, not pretty monarchs but gnats, spiders, and some of the more pesky and forgotten critters that most people don’t care about but that make themselves uninvited companions of your journey within 5 seconds of walking into the woods. These poems were written by someone who spends a lot of time in the great outdoors. The up close and personal interaction with these organisms and observation of them in their habitat probably plays a part in the author’s race realism. Whether you’re in the emerald forest, the desert dunes or the icy mountains, biological reality doesn’t play hide and seek the way it does in pop culture and suburbia.
The writing style and formatting in LO! a racist exhile reminds me very much of early-mid 90’s art / zine literature, and I say that as someone who is very nostalgic for that era of underground writing and wasted hundreds of precious teenage hours perusing weird books and defunct magazines in long gone record stores. This was a time when “independent” thoughts were grimy, grotesque, beautiful and uninhibited. Recently I looked into the current underground literature / zine scene when looking for ways to promote my own book, only to discover that the entire DIY landscape has been taken over by cringecore social justice warriors. That’s right, the people that dominate the underground zine production and distribution today are people for whom mainstream media and entertainment isn’t PC enough. DIY culture has become the Kinko’s photocopy print version of Tumblr genderfluidity and manifestos of “black bodies.”
Anyway, HArlem’s eccentric prose will likely confuse if not put off unimaginative readers that are looking for a straightforward, literal approach to these topics and strict linearity of thought. I try to picture some of the “bro” or jock elements of the AltRight attempting to make sense of this book, scanning the pages looking for red meat and standard fare. You won’t find it here, but that’s because this is better. Jack Donovan wrote a book on “Becoming a Barbarian.” This book will allow you to become an exile, first vicariously through the author and then on your own after you put it down, if you’re willing to step outside your ideological comfort zone and see the world from the other side, in another body.
You can purchase the book here in paperback and ebook form.