“Just finished Poison and Antidote the other day…and I have been steeped in ‘80s SF ever since, mentally traveling those streets and bars and music venues. What a perfect time for the ride. I’ve been jonesing for a trip back to SF for months. But I think that what I really want is a trip back to SF in a time that no longer exists. I could happily continue reading page after page after page of these reminiscences, and am sad that it’s already come to an end.
“You absolutely captured the sights and sounds and sensations of those times. I could feel myself at the party when Pantha and Severus get all freaky and cause a commotion. I was AT those parties. I ate fish and chips at Edinburgh Castle. You even made swift mention of a place I’ve tried for years to get someone else to remember, to no avail—Squids—which I seem to remember (somewhat hazily) in all its pink neon glory. (I know it was a proper restaurant, but I only knew it as a bar.) Not one person that I’ve asked about it over the years has remembered that place.
“And all the vivid descriptions of being in different parts of the city…The way the light changes, and how you could look at the sky toward Ocean Beach and know what the weather would be like the next day. walking in the Tenderloin, hanging out in pool halls (I was a denizen of Palace Billiards on Market Street…often at 4 a.m., since it was one of the few places in SF open all night, until it shuttered in 1987? 88?). I was a pool freak, so also drank and played pool at the Savoy Tivoli, at multiple divey bars in the S. Van Ness area (and of course the Uptown on Capp), and later at a place called Ray’s Bar in the Tender Nob (as we called the area between the Tenderloin and Nob Hill). Have tried for years to find something online about Ray’s, but there’s nothing. It was such a crazy scene, kind of a homeless alcoholics’ bordello, with red felt tables and super cheap booze—and now it’s as if it didn’t even exist.”
–Tracy Walsh, NYC
“Having lived through the same time in the same place in the same neighborhoods and known some of the same people and felt some of the same things, I marvel at the uncanny accuracy of these reflections and reminiscences described as fiction as if the fiction arose in clear water as the essence of a time and sensibility and aspiration peculiar to an America that is not lost but flickers in every generation somewhere like a windblown seed, happening to flicker in SF in the 1980s but flickering now somewhere, who knows where, the American spirit of heart-quest and desperation, lostness seeking foundness, art scenes and rural nobodys circling each other asking: Are you my tribe? Are you the ones I have been seeking in my dream-fueled wandering?”
–Cary Tennis, columnist, workshop leader, and author of Finishing School: The Happy Ending to that Writing Project You Can’t Seem to Get Done.
“Another quality that’s particularly admirable about this book, to me, is the range of readers that it might conceivably attract. For those who are just beginning to read contemporary fiction, or who have had trouble for whatever reason coming to grips with writing that pushes the envelope a bit further than the first-person confessional narrative style popularized by writers like Kerouac, Bukowski, Miller, etc., ad infinitum, this book may be a good introduction to a more experimental approach to writing; one that—due to the specific circumstances of its authorship—allows the reader to expand their horizons along with the writer. And for those of us who can’t get enough of envelope-pushing, too, there is much to be had in Poison and Antidote.”
–J. de Salvo, The Oakland Review blog
“Lee Foust’s Poison and Antidote serves as a capsule of place and time. Depicting the Bohemian art scene of 1980s San Francisco, the nine stories of Foust’s collection captures the writers, musicians, drug addicts, and all-around lost and worn out denizens of the Reaganomics and punk rock era with a spiteful and yet, ironically nostalgic depiction. At times funny, macabre, sad or combination of the three, Poison and Antidote is the work of a rebel author at the height of his rebellion”
–Graham Hacia, San Francisco
“Without doubt, you have captured the yearning, the chaos, the counterculture, the implausible dreams, the music . . . and yes, sad to report, the addictions that fried so many young people. And yet, many came out the other side, a little the worse for wear and scarred a bit, but still alive and future bound!”
–LeRoy Chatfield / Publisher / Syndic Literary Journal