“Haunting and evocative, ONLY THE DEAD yields supreme moments of life through the contemplation of death! The work covers the whole range of emotions and gives one a feeling of the darkness inherent in the light and the light inherent in the darkness!”
--Tony Moffeit, PLEASE REMOVE SUNGLASSES BEFORE ENTERING
“Caution: The creative fusion of Wolfgang Carstens’ poetry and Janne Karlsson’s art, in Only the Dead, will blow away your cherished bromides and detonate that semi-conscious existence you’ve mistaken for life.
Only the Dead is a bone jangling unrelenting RIP-tide ride. All the more suggestive for its brevity, its immediacy. There’s no cushion here: it grabs both your wrists with singular force.
From the turn of the first page, Karlsson’s evocative Dadaistic graphics, his brusque-burlesque characters—like macabre stuffed dolls—jars the perception and puts you on notice. The artwork, conflated with Carstens’ spare and blade-sharp poetry, perfectly delivers the book’s radical manifesto.
In Carstens’ deft and piercing lines of ultimacy, there’s an echo of Wallace Stevens’ line in the poem “Sunday Morning,” that states, “death is the mother of beauty.” However, in Only the Dead, death is more accurately the rough mother of paradox and provocation. Ah, but should you accept her prod, her view, you may yet live as though dead. That is, should you ruthlessly choose to absorb the reality of your own mortality, you too, will be impelled to “live to the point of tears.”
—Stephen T Berg, There Are No Small Moments