Philip Trussell : Sentences


Philip Trussell’s Sentences are fallen aphorisms from a hermetic cosmos: quotidian and mystical, cantankerous and surprisingly humane. These cutting ripostes to the information age are more Elizabethan than postmodern, yet timeless in their devotion to the craft of disciplined observation. Trussell’s truncated satire probes at the habits of social life and the routines of ego with a nihilist’s shtick, discontinuous and unabashedly promethean. Sentences is a singular literary debut by a seasoned outsider artist.

Paperback. 84 pages. Edited by Bradley Ray King. Twenty-six copies lettered and signed by the author, each containing an original sentence.

ISBN: 978-1-950055-00-5


Philip Trussell is a painter and a poet who lives in Austin, where he also mentors artists, writers, and other truants. Born in South Texas in 1943, he was trained as a painter at The University of Texas at Austin and at Yale School of Art and Architecture. In the 1970s, Trussell worked with Harvey Brown at Frontier Press in West Newbury, Massachusetts, drawing ads and designing books for Stan Brakhage, Al Glover, and Ed Dorn, with whom he became lifelong friends. Trussell returned to Austin in 1982, and has since become a sort of godfather to the outsider artists and literary scenes there, hosting salons, guiding the reading of counter-academic students, and connecting spiritual isolatoes like himself. On Dorn’s tip, he worked closely with Skanky Possum Press and made art for their publications for over a decade. In 2012, he started writing discontinuous sentences as a daily practice. He soon began arranging them into sequences on postcards, and mailing them out to map what he calls a ‘speculative geography’ of his fellow dog-paddlers in the river of shit.

Author photo by Bill Daniel.

Bradley King is a poet, editor, and teacher living in Austin. In 2015, he met Trussell at a reading, and promptly received his first of many postcards.

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