Ugly Duckling Presse

The TV Sutras
The TV Sutras

Dodie Bellamy

Essay | $20 $16
Buy"An international treasure"
Inspired by visionaries like Moses, William Blake, and Joseph Smith, Bellamy spent five months in 2009 receiving transmissions from her television set and writing brief commentaries on each. The sutras and commentaries in the present volume are the beginning of an intensive investigation into the nature of religious experience. What are cults? Are they limited to wacko marginal communities, or do we enter one every time we go to work or step into a polling place? What is charisma and why are we addicted to it? Bellamy speaks candidly and intimately to her own experience as a woman, a writer, and former cult member. This commingling of memoir, fiction, collage and essay makes room for horny gurus, visitors from outer space, the tenderness of group life, and maybe the beginnings of a hard-won individualism. Excerpt ˇ


My throat opens and I cry out, “Master, oh, Master!” I can’t bear to live without him. Love spills from my mouth for him, love spills from my ears for him, love belches from my heart for him, love seeps from my nipples and cunt and armpits for him, stickly red love flows from my nose, spills over my lower lip and down my chin. Master, I don’t care what you did come back please please please. Come. Back. When your world falls apart, pain opens to a marvel so tender, beautiful and ugly merge. Meaning is beaten away like dust from an exquisitely imperfect Persian rug.Close ˆ

About the Author

Dodie Bellamy

Dodie Bellamy is a novelist, poet, and essayist. Her Ugly Duckling chapbook Barf Manifesto was named best book of 2009 under 30 pages by Time Out New York. Other books include the buddhist, Academonia, Pink Steam, The Letters of Mina Harker, and Cunt-Ups, which won the 2002 Firecracker Alternative Book Award for poetry. Recent projects include Cunt Norton (Les Figues, 2013), in which she takes the second edition of the Norton Anthology of Poetry and sexualizes it in the language of porn and desire; New Narrative: 1975-1995, a Nightboat Books anthology she’s editing with Kevin Killian; and When the Sick Rule the World, her third collection of essays, forthcoming from Semiotext(e). Her reflections on the Occupy Oakland movement, “The Beating of Our Hearts,” was published as a chapbook in conjunction with the 2014 Whitney Biennial, and The TV Sutras was released by UDP in 2014.

Advance Praise

Dodie Bellamy is a national treasure. (I’ll go further: Dodie Bellamy is an international treasure.) Her sentences—like water from a prelapsarian spring—have amazing purity and tonal accuracy; they hold themselves accountable to the highest standards of candor. In The TV Sutras she is in top form, hilarious and enlightening as an anarchist bodhisattva moonlighting as a performance artist. I gorge on Bellamy’s genius.—Wayne Koestenbaum
Part porno, part memoir (maybe), part spiritual teaching (probably not), part fiction, The TV Sutras is a page turner. Bellamy’s writing is, line by line, literally exciting, driving, flowing, churning, so disarmingly, so sincerely, confessional, it’s got to be fake, and probably is, but you can’t tell it’s so hyper-believable— and so serious in its love for and skepticism about zany and banal spiritual teachings and the cults that convey them. Her writing about the sexual energies that swirl around the guru figure — from the point of view of a woman thrilled by them - is all too convincing. By the time you get to the transcendent final page it hits you that you have always been in —Norman Fisher