Mark Francis Johnson

Mark Francis Johnson

Author Bio

Mark Johnson is the author of Can of Human Heat, After Such Knowledge Park, How to Flit, and Treatise on Luck, as well as a variety of chapbooks and shorter works: Three Bad Wishes (Meow Press, 1995), Exactly Zero (Steel Bridge Publishing, 2011), Penniless Greenery (Editions Plane, 2012), Everything Isn’t (Hidden Press, 2012), Dream of a Like Place (Sus Press, 2013), rFul (Hiding Press, 2013), GRUON BS (Make Now Books, 2014), and Yellow Highlighter (Troll Thread, 2015). He has documented aspects of his worldbuilding practice in Plastic Shed, a 2016 Present Tense Pamphlet, and in “The Truth and Life of Lies,” presented in 2014 at Penn’s Poetry & Poetics Reading Group. He has also published under the pseudonym Oren Mabb. 
Johnson attended high school in Albuquerque and then worked intermittently at an Alaskan cannery before learning the ropes of the book trade at Endicott Booksellers on the Upper West Side and Powell’s Books in Oregon. He later studied linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania. He currently lives in Philadelphia, where he is an independent bookseller dealing in rare records and antiquarian books, and where he performs as DJ Hiding Place. Some of his mixes have been published by Gauss PDF and include extensive fake liner notes that very few people have noticed exist.

Readings & Events

+April 5 - ZUTIQUE 6 - Dazibao Gallery, Montreal
w/ Divya Victor & Nicole Raziya Fong

+Feb. 6 - Hiding Place, Philadelphia
w/ Hamilton, Kaplan, Lorange, Paetsch, Winslow

Reviews / Press

"Johnson’s poetry takes it cues from a myriad of approaches to different genres and styles: 1950s paperback hard science fiction, pulp magazine romance and fantasy tropes, an unnamed 15th-century book of poetry quarter-bound in leather with marbled endpapers, behind-the-curtain pithy jokes and cynicisms, notes accompanying found ledgers of 18th-century trade ships, and a casual nod to the rhetoric and style of instruction manuals or the patents of obsolescent technologies or novelties. It’s within these zones that Johnson’s book leans into that nebulous category of I’m-not-quite-sure-what-this-is alongside the general strangeness of Motorman by David Ohle, The Anatomy of Melancholy by Robert Burton, or Four Lectures by Stephen Rodefer." —Ed Steck

"Mark Johnson reads more widely than just about anyone—consumes text and contemporary ideas equally voraciously and without academic boundaries, lives with text in a process whose output is poetry, here, in, sculpted to match the frenetic pace of contemporary information and the mind that never stops sorting it, sometimes so overloaded it becomes ecstatic, or gets caught in a loop, or creates a really good joke. Whatever the case, “in 50 years the export market for tomorrow’s revels / imagine!” —Kristen Gallagher

"How to Flit mixes archaic lexicons with the fragmented detritus of machine processed text, seemingly random snippets of appropriated quotes merged with the mode of ephemeral commercial copy, and a series of recursive, cannibalizing permutations. Johnson samples "a crop of technical slang," "linguistic oddities," and "a language reliant on gesture" to the tune of a lyric subjectivity by volatile turns hesitant and aggressive, deluded or doubting, triumphant or defeated, wry, excitable, frustrated, mardy, sassy, smug. The result is like an extended set by a dj dropping crateloads of warps and distorted riffs from the obscurities, b-sides, audio curiosities, and hoarded finds of a lifetime of dusty milk-bin trawls." —Craig Dworkin

Selected Publications

How to Flit (2018)
Roof Books

Can of Human Heat (2017)
Golias Books

Treatise on Luck (2017)
Gauss PDF

Plastic Shed (2016)
Present Tense

After Such Knowledge Park (2015)
Make Now Books

Other Links

hidingplaceplace @ Soundcloud

"Then Air" (2014-2016)
8 vol. @ Gauss PDF

Yellow Highlighter (2015)
Troll Thread

Baudelaire's Correspondences (2015)
contributor @ WHR

DAHCGC (2014)

"The Hiding Place Reading" (2014)
archive @ PennSound

"Pink Lotion" (2013)
mix @ Gauss PDF

"Orange Mound" (2013)
mix @ Gauss PDF

Past Readings

+ [11.18.17] - Golias Book Launch, Godberd | GAMMA, Montreal
+ [11.15.17] - Golias Book Launch, Company Gallery, NYC
+ 2014 - Flamme Éternelle (Palais de Tokyo, Paris)
+ 2014 - "The Truth and Life of Lies" (University of Pennsylvania)