THE GREEN YEAR CITY: A Poemstory's Play by Steven K. McClain contains original artwork by Chilean-born painter Marcelo Bravo Becerra. About McClain's first play The Green Year City, Madrid scholar Carmen M. Méndez-García writes: "The Green Year City is a palimpsest, an oneiric landscape peopled by mutating personae, a Ginsbergian howl, a carnivalesque play full of joy and fear, of fury, of sound. It is also a love poem to literature and its power to heal and shape us, a lucid steampunk dream often turned nightmare, a taxing stroll in real and imaginary locales, into the mind, into the subconscious, into mundane frightening reality beyond the varnish... The beautiful surreal drawings by Marcelo Bravo Becerra are the perfect companion to McClain’s puppet master ability as a weaver of stories. A most excellent first book."
STEVEN K. MCCLAIN (b. Connecticut, 1984) is a doctoral student at the Complutense University of Madrid where he is completing a thesis on the importance of transgender characters in English and Spanish language science fiction and fantasy. His poems and stories have appeared in The Missing Slate, The Bicycle Review, Gargoyle Magazine, and Wag’s Review. The Green Year City is his first play.
MARCELO BRAVO BECERRA is a Spain-based Chilean artist. After earning a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Chile in 2006, he won a postgraduate scholarship to study realism in Madrid. His work has included comics and general illustration with picturesque realism as his professional focus. Bravo Becerra has participated in numerous group and individual expositions dedicated to urban landscapes. Restless by nature, his interests have turned again to illustration as a means of pushing his technique to new levels while still continuing his study of academic painting.
"The Green Year City is a palimpsest, an oneiric landscape peopled by mutating personae, a Ginsbergian howl, a carnivalesque play full of joy and fear, of fury, of sound. It is also a love poem to literature and its power to heal and shape us, a lucid steampunk dream often turned nightmare, a taxing stroll in real and imaginary locales, into the mind, into the subconscious, into mundane frightening reality beyond the varnish. The Green Year City refuses to be classified, as it slides, falls and rises, out of the comprehensible into the incomprehensible and the inapprehensible. To be able to taste the stories in the book, the reader has to be willing to let go of certainty, to embrace the uncanny, to try on different costumes, to accept fluidity and the phantasmagorical, to be the Boy at Well’s Bottom. The beautiful surreal drawings by Marcelo Bravo Becerra are the perfect companion to McClain’s puppet master ability as a weaver of stories. A most excellent first book."
— Carmen M. Méndez-García, Professor of American Studies at Universidad Complutense-Madrid
"Deliciously modern incursion into the heart of a heartless urban desert that moves you to reconsider the validity of your paradigm or at least entertains you long enough to forget the shadows of the void."
— Rafael Carvajal, author of Deep Enough to Dive In and Dogs and the Flowers They Piss On
Steven McClain’s The Green Year City oscillates between the surreal world it creates, and the day-to-day world it reproduces: like its expat’s metropolitan, carnivalesque Columbian “Barranquilla Mule Church,” and the putatively mundane actuality of an American address in Milford Connecticut. Bilocational is its watchword, its mode, and its method. Does its phantasmagoria take place in the head, or in the outside world? —On-stage or off-planet? Its mind, not so unlike other minds, is very frequently in two places at once, at once stuck in its memorious reiterative rut (with the levying of many other texts), while also always afloat on the flying trapeze of conjectural otherworlds or abroad in the green of lost innocence and more than one violent culture. Is the tale told by an idiot, or by a wizard-savant? We cannot quite know who the multiple personality at the heart of the untellable tale is, and we cannot be sure what the symbols and graphic scenes are meant to mean: Fernando Pessoa, meet Hieronymus Bosch. And the condensed style—ready to risk near all. Is our script written in a queen’s English, or a dude’s Lennon-speak? Are some of the characters Welsh, or are they all faerie—are they borrowed from William Burroughs' lunchbox, or did they come out of Lewis Carroll’s closet? Does the script’s Walpurgisnacht – or its night-town or nightmare fantasia of the unconscious – comprise a tragic plot with catharsis, or is it only an unhinged anxiety dream incapable of resolution because incapable of “how it all began”? Does the text keep breaking out of its multiple shells, or crawling back into them? Both water-closet drama and toilet confessional, The Green Year City gives loquacious, illocutionary utterance (THWACK!) to unspeakable abuses and obsessive fantasies about them. In this world the Willendorf Venus who bore us reigns over the internet's porn, and the abused child who in turn fathered his children to abuse them – or even molest their progeny – is never off our backs. The world into which the playwright or narrator “escapes,” without ever escaping himself, is both uncanny and familiar, both remote and immanent, both “far out” and deep within. At the bottom of an intestine hell like Dante’s we only cross into a false purgatory like the one in Yeats’ play of that name: where a traumatic crime waits to be inescapably repeated and irremedialy unforgiven. Enter here all who dare, for a harrowing theatrical in one unnatural act and nine obscenes.
— James Nohrnberg, Professor Emeritus, University of Virginia, author of Like Unto Moses and The Analogy of 'The Faerie Queene'
The Green Year City, frontispiece
The Green Year City, Scene 5
The Green Year City, Scene 4
The Green Year City, Scene 1
Halvor Aakhus © 2022