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Flotsam Suite:

a strange & precarious life, or how we chronicled the little disasters & i won't leave the dance floor til it's out of my system

S*an D. Henry-Smith

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Published by Peradam Press in 2019
5 x 7 inches
28 pages
hand-sewn
digital print with 2 color images
ISBN : 978-0-9906448-9-7

Limited first edition of 150 copies


In S*an’s words, Flotsam Suite: embraces the sadder and sometimes dramatic parts of life as an auto-fiction, a necessary tantrum, a playful dark-inside joke, and is “a constant return to music and letting myself be 17 again for the first time.” This collection of poems and color images is embraced by S*an’s extended practice of performance, poetry, and photography defining and experimenting within Black Secrecy and Black Noise, a method they’ve named, distorting and protecting an open secret, and the unquantifiables which radiate from the medium(s).

Flotsam Suite emerges from S*an’s meditations on the church, the club, emo, math rock, and noise shows, collapsing sermons and raves to see how they’re all similar — the illegible but articulated space for community. S*an emulates these sacred spaces to create in their own work a “safe space for us to scream, to be very quiet”. From their essay “Black Secrecy/Black Noise: NIC Kay and Visions of Performance” S*an describes the experience of watching a video of a young dancer dancing for his mother as being “transported to the Friday evenings of my [own] childhood: my two older sisters and my baby sister, waddling about learning her feet, would come home from school and work, move the couch and coffee table, crank the stereo, and we would dance and shake and scream in encouragement of our lucidities until we were breathless or until takeout arrived. Amber light— first UV, then the streetglow—cut through the window and bless the old soundsystem, blasting the radio mix of dancehall, Miami bass, house, and hip-hop fueling us for hours as we caught our sweat blessing.”


Flotsam Suite: is a collection of eight poems, a photo, and photogram lovingly printed by Jessica Peterson of The Southern Letterpress at Antenna’s Paper Machine in New Orleans, Louisiana.

CLICK HERE To listen to the audio book, live performance, and the songs that guided this chapbook. Recorded while on residency at Denniston Hill last summer. There are lil hiccups, there are splashing fish, there is an impending storm.
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