Ugly Duckling Presse


Steven Zultanski

Poetry | $16 $14
Fall 2014
"Bribery should be put on trial for the violation of United States obscenity laws." — Ed Steck, Fanzine

Bribery is a long poem in which the author confesses to unsolved crimes in New York City, rants about politics, and lives for thousands of years.

Subjects: Anger, Basket-play, Bickering, Capitalism, Cat in a bucket, Cheesesteak, Clayton Lamar, Cockroaches, Criminality, Cruelty, Diana Hamilton, English (language), Family, Friendship, Globalism, Guilt, Harassment, Hate, Heterosexuality, Home, Human body, Josef Kaplan, Jumping, Love, Luck, The MonocodeNew York CityObsessionPatriarchyPoetryPolicePomegranatesPresident Obama, Scooters, Self-hateSelf-loveSexSexual difference,  Speculative ThoughtSportsSymbolismTendernessTime, Twitching, War of 2084, Work, The World.

Excerpt ˇ


If there’s one thing that’s certain for everyone, at all times,
no matter where they live or what they obsess over

unreasonably, it’s that one can’t, at any given moment, get any
worse than one already is, without sliding into another

moment altogether. Of course I’m already awful, but only as awful
as I am right now, and just as one holds out hope for tomorrow,
knowing it will be better than today, if only because, finally, today
will be gone, I hope when I’m worse 

I’ll be better too [...]

Close ˆ

About the Author

Steven Zultanski

Steven Zultanski is the author of Pad (Make Now Press), Cop Kisser (BookThug). He is working on a trilogy, of which Agony (BookThug) and Bribery (UDP) are the first two books. He lives in Brooklyn.

Advance Praise

The prose is terse and dry, calculating and claustrophobic, the way one might imagine a serial killer’s inner voice to be. If Samuel Beckett wrote crime novels, they might read like this.—Kenneth Goldsmith, The New Yorker
Zultanski totally shreds through his own American perspective...the voice of the mind of human crime in an age where you can stab someone to death and then go eat at Chili's.—Blake Butler, Vice
Be prepared to feel at times incredulous, disgusted, and even sympathetic to this confessor of crimes against the human psyche…Zultanski’s narrator is the most disturbing, insightful, loathsome and hilariously interesting hero-villain in literature. A bold claim? Maybe. But chances are, if you don’t agree, you’re not interesting enough for your opinion to matter.—Peter Vanderberg, The Volta
You’re not going to get the brain that you want in the moment that you want it in in Steven Zultanski’s Bribery...It’s a faith-devoid exegesis of male boredom. It is despicable filth and I wouldn’t ever imagine this book shitting up the poetry rack but instead should be found in some flea market cardboard box. I think Steven Zultanski’s Bribery should be put on trial for the violation of United States obscenity laws. It is quite obvious that Steven Zultanski has prurient interests. —Ed Steck, Fanzine