Spencer Dew lives in Chicago, where he's completing a PhD at the University of Chicago Divinity School on the pedagogical function of Kathy Acker's novels.  His first book, a collection of short stories called "Songs of Insurgency," was published in 2008 by Vagabond Press.  Dew is a regular reviewer for Rain Taxi Review of Books, a frequent contributor to Chicago Artists News, and a member of the fiction staff of the Chicago Review.

Official cover copy from Songs of Insurgency


A woman erases history textbooks, painting over horror after horror with a liquid paper brush.  A ghost hovers above an intersection, missing pancakes.  The groundskeeper of the suicide camp fishes another body out of the lake.  Songs of Insurgency presents a patchwork view of the post-9/11 zeitgeist.  In these stories, the world is being dismantled: fear segues to paranoia, alienation to sadism, suicide, or a droning, dial-tone numbness.  Theorists of jihad quote Wittgenstein as the tiki bar’s cover band rehashes a soundtrack of clichés.  One character scans through radio channels at night, longing for the fulfillment of apocalyptic fantasy.  Another drives ever westward, hotel after hotel, the details of each locale uneasily similar, repetitious.  Yet amidst all this dislocation and unease, just audible above the fake moans of the phone sex line, some image of an alternative, authentic existence tests its wings.



About the Author:

Spencer Dew’s fiction has appeared in numerous journals, where its unique voice – a slow-simmered reduction of prose poetry with pulp gristle and bits of horror – has developed a loyal underground following.  Dew lives in Chicago, where he is completing a novel and a book-length study on the work of Kathy Acker.



Reviews and blurbs:

Hipster Book Club:  "These three- to ten-page stories are meant to be savored like bitter chocolate."


Tarpaulin Sky:  "It's about cliche.  And saturation.  And how our perceptions as Western readers and intellectuals cannot easily be divorced from the media in which we live."

St Louis Post-Dispatch:  "Spencer Dew pounds through the apathy and delusions of our post-9/11 world with the force of a jackhammer....  In their rawness and brevity, the stories send up a flare from the accident scene of our world....  The world is not all right, and these characters aren't going to pretend that it is."

Time Out Chicago:  "In his 23 sharp, poignant shorts, Chicago writer Spencer Dew lays out a terrifying post-September 11th world....  His book hits like a sock to the gut..."

"The scapes in Songs of Insurgency are as wild as they come, and Spencer Dew writes with a paranoid verve holding little antecedent."  Todd Dills, author of Sons of the Rapture and editor of THE2NDHAND.


Mark Baumer of Everyday Yeah:  "I wanted to eat every page after I read it"


Ian Wood at Write Bastard:  "Dew has deliberately separated himself from the black and white political orthodoxy which infects so much of the creative class in the post 9-11 American sphere."


David  Erlewine at The Short Review:  "Spencer Dew's Songs of Insurgency is hysterical and heartbreaking, often brutally dark, rife with unhealthy sex, failures to connect, fetishes, injuries, and death."


Mark Peacock Brush of Wandering Army in The Mile Hive:  "The writing is roundly poetic, but never without purpose, and never without some tragic story to tell. Dew writes about human difficulty, and leaves it difficult."





With the The Short Review.


Interview with Mark Baumer of Everyday Yeah.


Interview with Aleathia Drehmer on Guild of Outsider Writers


Interview with Ragad's Nick Ostdick


Spencer Dew's "Book Note" essay on Largehearted Boy


SmokeLong Quarterly interview from 2004


What to Wear During an Orange Alert interview from 2007