"Brion Poloncic is the Daniel Johnston of the literary world"
"brion has invented psychedelic realism."
“Brion Poloncic has given us an exceptional, idiosyncratic book. XMM pushes at all of our preconceptions and misconceptions not only about the idiosyncratic self, but also about art. Brion is the Daniel Johnston of the literary world.”
- Eckhard Gerdes, author of Hugh Moore and My Landlady the Lobotomist
"Xanthous Mermaid Mechanics shines with life: an important jewel of a book. Poloncic's prose is strange and original, and his dark, captivating voice speaks a language unlike any other. A remarkable read." –
- David Philip Mullins, author of Greetings from Below: Stories
“Call Brion Poloncic an Art Brut or Outsider Artist, if you must, but for me all art is either good or bad and those are the only distinctions that matter much. Brion's stories and experiments in fiction are playful, serious and incredibly entertaining, especially when heard live by the artist himself.”
– Simon Joyner
“In Xanthous Mermaid Mechanics, weird auteur Brion Poloncic, through seedy narratives and satirical vignettes, shines an erratic light onto the charming shipwreck that is life on the fringe in south Omaha.”
- Bryan Day, Public Eyesore Records
"Poloncic's stories and creations are morbid, off-kilter and decadent. You will grimace and howl with laughter (as I did) and undoubtedly be mesmerized by his savage tales of drugs, whores and schizophrenia. And when this seedy joyride through the back alleys of middle America comes to an end you might find yourself a little confused and ashamed at just how much you really enjoyed this stuff..."
- Kevin P. Simonson, writer and co-editor of "Conversations with Hunter S. Thompson"
"Xanthous Mermaid Mechanics shines with life: an important jewel of a book. Poloncic's prose is strange and original, and his dark, captivating voice speaks a language unlike any other. A remarkable read." - David Philip Mullins, author of Greetings from Below: Stories
"This is the first experimental fiction I've read in a long time (which is strange, when I realize how drastically my reading habits have changed), but Brion Poloncic's first collection was a great place to start again. The whole thing feels sort of like a cross between Burroughs and Bukowski: hard electric prose poems (with few short stories thrown in for variety) about drugs, sex, poverty, alienation, music, schizophrenia, philosophy. It's really impressive formally, on a sentence-to-sentence level as well in the variation from piece to piece; bleak, grotesque, but always with a sense of realism beneath it, and occasionally some humor as well." -
Kyle Muntz, editor, Civil Coping Mechanisms
"Brion Poloncic has given us an exceptional, unmitigated, and idiosyncratic book.
Xanthous Mermaid Mechanics pushes at all of our preconceptions and misconceptions
not only about the idiosyncratic self, but also about art . Artists and iconoclasts are too often and too
easily cast as outsiders, and Outsider Art has become somewhat of a commodity
with so-called "outsiders" who seem to market their "outsidedness" for monetary gain. One
wonders if in some cases the outsider stance isn't merely a con. But with Poloncic, we see
the real thing, and it is beautiful and scary, marvelous and delightful, yet also angry, insecure,
self-doubting. In other words, this is as human as it gets. And sometimes it is as humorous
as it gets as when, in the depths of his artistic quest, Poloncic begins channeling William S.
Burroughs, who dictates a manuscript to him, or when he realizes that all we really need to get
through our lives successfully is a sequence of form letters. Although it is deliciously funny, the work
is, simply put, both charming and discombobulating, which is a note that rings absolutely true to the
- Eckhard Gerdes, author of Hugh Moore and My Landlady The Lobotomist
"If there isn't already a genre of writing called psychedelic realism, Brion Poloncic has created it with his book Xanthous Mermaid Mechanics. Each selection vibrates with color, spirals through experience and lands squarely in the territory between humor and madness.
Madness imbues each of these pieces, yet Poloncic's view of the world seems remarkably clear-eyed. Suicide form letters, advice for the newly-diagnosed schizophrenic and an appreciation of his mother are the more straight up prose pieces. Some others read like they were channeled through some long ago beat sensibility; the language rich, evocative and rhythmic.
Poloncic's book is a structural hybrid, Some pieces are short and pithy, two sentence salutes to spiritualism or an ode to a revered writer. Burroughs makes an appearance when he dictates a story through the writer's meth-charged brain. Longer pieces venture into the seamier side of the Omaha 90's music scene…blow jobs behind closed door, drug-addled debutantes slumming and transvestites turning tricks. But this is not a trip to the dark side. Humor and grace make frequent appearances and there is something sweet under the pathos, as if Poloncic wants to show us the dark, then let in the light. And, as reader, we trust him as a tour guide because his vision is so human, rings true and, at times, is so damn funny." - Vicki Wood