[The Fassbinder Diaries] is an experience more immediate and thrilling than one expects in such a small place, and lingers thereafter like a video you flipped to late one night on some shitty TV in a strange house and felt infatuated with or hypnotized by and never saw again.
Cannibalism, pornography, b-movies and, most importantly, the physicality, the materiality of the artistic experience are key ingredients of James’s work.
Pate’s world feels like it is bending into itself—it’s already in darkness but how much violence is there? Pate is the person who found the missing tape from the camera in the dead home. Here is something entirely new and entirely consuming.
– The Small Press Book Review
There was this one time at a party in Detroit, this Christmas party. In 2003 or 2004. I was in the bathroom washing my hands and two women walked by outside and one said to the other that the other night she’d had a dream where Mick Jagger was trying to seduce her, except in the dream he was a woman. The other woman outside the door said he was a kind of woman. His mouth, she said, was a kind of vagina. And that exchange made me want to write a poem about that idea. About Mick Jagger’s vagina. I tried it the next day. My window overlooked a pawnshop with a shitload of lights flashing in the window. I came up with a poem about a couple, a man and a woman, and they both looked like Mick Jagger, and in a sense they both were Mick Jagger.
–from “The Double Life of Mick Jagger”
“The gauze of James Pate’s nightmare, critical & cinematic beauty keeps rising & falling on a ‘crimson couch,’ ‘a scarlet curtain’ & a ‘crisp red light’—like Homer’s rosy-fingered dawn. & like Homer the language is measured, simple & deliberate. Noble. But detonates in ‘torturous rampaging music’—in the ‘the lemon of the pig. The glory and run-off of the pig.’ The nightmare is inside. & the nightmare is outside. & the critic is a man. & the critic is a woman. & the Fassbinder film just keeps on playing—’in a haze of pink dust.’”
–Rauan Klassnik, author of The Moon’s Jaw
“Raised in the urban ruins of Memphis Tennessee, in the wake of riots and assassinations, James Pate’s fantasies and visions draws on the occult atmosphere of devil-blues, underground trash and gothic pageantry. His work inhabits a saturated zone of violence and artifice, hate and love. For the past 15 years he has been one of my favorite writers and closest collaborators.”
–Johannes Goransson, author of Haute Surveillance
“James Pate draws the veins together with this pulpy ode to Fassbinder. It’s burnt with shades of Klassnik & Kitchell, Evenson & Glenum, but it’s also its own night raid—these poems read like the transcript of a documentary about two sexless artists as they run loops of long-dead film stock through a haunted Arriflex, dying to record blood-slicked mannequins lit by meat locker fluorescents. Pate gets it.”
–Ken Baumann, author of Solip