"In these tight, sexy fictions that make up One Dead Tree, David Menear’s stories and characters uncover hitherto unexplored aspects of the Canadian urban experience." Mark McCawley, Urban Graffiti

Mark McCawley

Mark McCawley

DHP: What is your definition of transgressive?

MM: Art, music, poetry, or fiction which violates accepted or imposed mores, norms, boundaries of behavior in which contemporary orthodox cultural, moral, and artistic boundaries are challenged by the representation of unconventional behavior and the use of experimental forms.

DHP: What was the first text you read that made you question accepted societal tenets or values or the way in which the world works?

MM: Story of the Eye (L'histoire de l'oeil) by Georges Bataille. To describe Bataille's novella simply as a pornographic narrative is to lessen its transgressive and allegorical power.

DHP:  Give an example of a transgressive work & explain why you felt it was transgressive? The work could be literature, film, visual art, theatre, graphic novels or something else.

MM: An example of a recently published transgressive work in Urban Graffiti is "Latrine Duty" by Quebec writer, Kenneth Radu. What makes "Latrine Duty" a transgressive work is Radu's exploration of his middle-aged male protagonist's psyche and sexuality as his expectations for life, health, marriage and further army deployments deteriorate about him. An orthodox, conventional life and lifestyles for Billy is increasing a kind of living death as he yearns for the intimacy of his band of brothers no matter how deviant their behavior may be.

DHP:  Name a historical transgressive role model & tell us a bit about this person.

MM: David Wajnarowicz. A radical artist and writer whose work challenged the boundaries of art. Before his death from AIDS in 1992, he was an outspoken AIDS activist, anti-censorship advocate, groundbreaking artist, and writer.

DHP: List a few transgressive fictional works from your personal library.

MM: The Consumer by M. Gira (2.13.61 Publications, 1996), The Garbagemen by Juan Butler ( P. Martin Associates, 1972), The Double by Philip Quinn (Gutter Press, 2003), In the Shadow of the American Dream: The Diaries of David Wajnarowicz (Grove Press, 1999), Cunt Ups by Dodie Bellamy (Tender Buttons Books, 2001).

DHP: In what ways are you trying to create or publish work that is transgressive according to your definition?

MM: I create and publish work that is transgressive according to my definition by constantly challenging the status quo. Publishing-wise, this means publishing work which is "transgressive by degrees", exposing both personal and societal taboos in the process. What is considered taboo in one era is likely not taboo in another, so the limits and boundaries need to be constantly pushed.

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