A Tribute to the Late Hugh Fox
by Daniel Staniforth
The small press king is dead – long live his unending fox-trot. Long strut the dance of his unquenchable quill, and that clack-clack clog-riffing through the sweet meanders of time and its titillating testimonials.
How we’ve come to love that mirror-receptacle glow steeled with Chi-town post-depression verve and lit-gangsta panache – that jib-sizzled ewomancipated Irish pip-prophet, sidestepping the fundegrabbical soul-suck and all its glitz-roman plunder.
Like a tributary quietly flowing back to its source, his is a soft prophet-meander back to primordial fog, fox-driven by the ether-coils of self-shadow spirals. Tis a trick – that sifty shimmering soul-shekinah dancing through blithe langua-ages, from blarney to binah with a Thompson-crackle prose.
Oh he could play the academic, the aqua-schemic, the sacra-deeming apostate of stolen moments. Like a lamb to the iamb he gave himself up to cacophonic symphonic whispers, to the proto-hearsay secrets of momentary eons, written in sky-ambit rantometer, and various admixtures of mixolydian polyglotism.
He is the presaulkian survivor, the Passover’s redux, the child-herald of unannounced choirs. Swapping polio for folio, he filled syringes with ink and palaver, milked the moment of its subvestiges and micro-yields.
He drew his bow across the strings of youth, found the harmonics of prelapsarian microspheres and subatomic hells atolling. He laid internal cornerstones full of vocal substrata, Viennese song-martyrs, pre-Columbian cantatas – all for the glory of a single architectonic sentence.
He knew the body like a sliced fig, an indentured pig – as the auroral sepulchre of the eternally undersexed or the glutton’s teetering table of flesh-excess. He spurned the scalpel’s zips for the wand’s dips, the last benedictions of science for the eroto-genesis of a newfound candle wick.
He was trussed in Loyolan pomp, drank the dregs of urbane champaign. He was filigreed in PhD, a price-winning winnee, a tractarian trainee. He was the ghost dancer, the spectral shifter, the curtain rider of western world reviews, experimenta purviews, avant-garde new-news. Versed in pulpsmithery, poetica-midwifery, fictionata trickery, he professed literature, cliterature, with more than a smattering of witerature.
He knew how to live underground, knew the cavernesque prosody of dwarven microstatics, way way off Kerouac’s mollycoddled road with its princely toads. He knew how pull the rickshaw across the sunken cobles of anonymity, push carts through the fractal dreamscapes of the nether-conscious. Beat down, post-beat down, he could out-Nin the Ninnys, Raphael the Ralphs, Ski the insurmountable crudery of the big Bukowsk, and bag the golden Oates of mad epicures.
He knew how to take care of his own, crossmapping and cosmepping his footfalls to the bedraggled march of book backlisters with their discipling boot blisters. He was full bright, like an orb on pinpricked night, a Hermosillian light upon a dark see – the pedagogue of Pedagogico, the cathartic Universi-dad, the sparkling gemstone of Caracas – but mildly crackers!
He was multilingual, langua multiplus, archeologistic, shipmate to librarians, bedfellow to mythographers, the beachcomber of the Atacamas. Champion of the oppressed, the opera-massed, the psychosexually repressed, and the post-apocalyptic redressed – he heckled history, muddled mystery, and lectured the listless denizens of empire.
A merry cuss and well-laked emeritus, he knew the mirth of multi-pronged conjectures and chance conquesters. From Franco-filmic moments to Amerindian foments to catastrophic roamants, he learned how to size the slippage of the serpentine, or the chant the litanies of the labyrinthine.
Mad epistemologies can’t be circumscribed, nor adjudicating anthologies be prophesied. By some accounts his epistulatory output ranges in the sixties, eighties, and hundreds – but there is no way to account, count, or recant the pseudoarcheological.
Fox by name, Fox by nature, a craft that sings itself to epiphanic sleep, but yet still sleeks with deft and cunning past that dead-hen moment when the pen stops.
Hugh’s brilliant new novel, The Dream of the Black Topaze Chamber, is the first of his novels to be published posthumously. It will be available from retail outlets and the Skylight Press website on November 18.