Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Chad Reynolds has a great new poem at Thieves Jargon. Its part of his "auto-collaboration" series, some of which will appear in the first SIR!
I still think he's making fun of me.

The second release from The Greying Ghost Press has been unveiled as a chapbook by poet Chris Rizzo. Pretty great looking, eh? Eat a sample poem here

Over at the Pshares blog this article by Keith Gessen, an editor of N+1 and author of All The Sad Young Literary Men, talks about the balance writing and supporting oneself financially. It is an article that seems true enough, and I love articles like this on the subject, but it did little to fill in what gaps I may have on this subject.

Of the article, Simeon Berry says this -

"Having another non-writing career requires a sort of continuous hallucination in oneself as a writer."

I like to think about Wallace Stevens at his insurance company, writing poems on his way to work, which is what he did. I like to think about the jobs that writers held that don't include the act of writing itself. A friend of mine told me about Paul Auster's memoir, Hand to Mouth chronicling all the shit he did before becoming a published writer. I've read two Paul Auster books, liked his concepts, but was abysmally disappointed by his execution.

The other night I hosted an author called Nam. He wrote a book of stories that are good as far a I can tell, but thats beside the point. In a quasi-autobiographical story he wrote, there is a part where he mentions his father named him after his love of his country, Vietnam. That made me think - is there a girl out there, maybe in Kansas or Michigan, named America, or even United States? Maybe just States for short.

I will name my daughter States. Her middle name? Rights.

I recent weeks I have seen -

- I'm Not There (nope)
- Indiana Jones and Crystal Skull (so bad, so sad)
- The Decline of Western Civilization Part 2 (fantastic!)

I need to watch better movies.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Ghoti will be publishing a piece of mine called Cous Cous in their next issue. I love cous cous, I eat it a lot, but this is not about that. It's about loneliness.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Last night I got wind that LIT has accepted one of my pieces for the 2008 issue. Awesome. I can't wait to see who else is in it.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

David Berman is still one of my favorite poets and over at Impose Magazine he has a bunch of drawings on display. They feel honest and done in five minutes. DB has a new poem in the 3rd issue of Tight which just came out.

This morning I had James Laughlin for breakfast. It is a book called The Man in the Wall. I have managed to read most of it already. I love his style.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Caketrain will be publishing three pieces of mine for their next issue, out sometime in late 2008 - The Guest, Extensions, & Better Company.

I finally visited the So and So reading series out in South Boston. Dottie Laskey didn't make it. She had to shoot herself with an epipen. I think peanuts are the enemy. Hope you're well Dottie. The next so and so is killer - Zach Schomburg, Janaka Stucky & Paige Ackerson-Kelly.

Discovered PennSound yesterday and listened to a hefty portion of Matthew Rohrer reading. Here is a nice Q & A with him and Dottie Laskey that followed a reading.

This week I host Simon Winchester, James Tate, and Barbara Walters. I already feel hung over.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Emily has posted on her blog a new illistration she created that was inspired by a line from a Rauan Klassnik poem. The line goes like this -

Two girls are carrying a cage full of kittens down to the
river. Don't be afraid! This is the world's beauty. Look!--
with the cage between them still they're stepping care-
fully from rock to rock.

-Rauan Klassnik

Pretty fucking awesome. The poem is in this book -

If you don't own this book, you should. You can get it here or if you live in the Boston area and want one, I have ten copies for sale at Brookline Booksmith.

Email me at and I'll get you a copy.

Don't forget Rauan is reading with these other prodigies

Sunday June 8th @ 6pm
Zachary Schomburg - The Man Suit
Rauan Klassnik - Holy Land
Chad Reynolds - Victor in the New World
Carl Annarummo - A Short Story & other poems

There is a new elimae. I will tell you, so far, that the poems by SIR! contributors and Greying Ghost Press alumni Peter Berghoef and Shane Jones are particularly thrilling. Don't miss them.

Carl told me this morning chapbooks from Greying Ghost Press will soon be available at Powell's in Oregon.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

There are some new online mags afoot.



Word For/Word

I'm not going to tell you which poems I have read and enjoyed. I think you already know.

Scantily Clad Press is maybe looking for submissions. The do online chapbooks. Again, I'm not telling.

I am twenty five pages into this book. It's not bad.. I am hosting him in a few weeks so I am reading it. I've talked shit about him, but now something in me has switched and now I am rooting for him. I can't remember why I talked shit about him. Mostly because I hate memoirs. I think they're cheap. But this guy got a bum deal. We'll see how I feel when I read more.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The new Sleeping Fish is available for order. There are pieces by Rick Moody, Kim Chinquee, Elizabeth Ellen, PF Potvin, Kathy Fish....I have two pieces in it - "New England Alley" and "The Witness." Derek White was very patient with me and my stupidity, which I as wrote before, has been running wild lately. He is an exceptional human being. Please buy this magazine.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

This picture is pulled from Clayton Banes blog. Thats Eric and Nick of Berkeley's BOOK ZOO. BOOK ZOO is the best used book store in America. When I lived in Berkeley, Eric ( the one who looks like a young Ginsberg) was my only friend and sometimes I'd work at the store while Nick was away in Europe. One night we and a few other people had a party, shared a pot cookie bought from a bum, and snuck into a secret "community" hot tub in the back of someone's yard. Good times. I miss those guys.

I'm reading these two books, among others. They explore brevity. I am thinking there is more to explore in brevity than in exposition. On the back of Jean Valentines' Little Boat, someone allocates her "half-lines" as having "aspects of a ruin." I love that. I feel you need silence for brevity. You need silence for a Joe Massey poem, at least the ones in Out of Light.
The other day I had a panic and ducked into a bar and was relieved by reading Nice Hat. Thanks. It wasn't silent then. There was a girls' softball game on the television. Humor doesn't command as much silence. But that isn't an insult. Maybe it made me feel silent.

These poets make writing very little look very easy. But it's not.

SIR! is about filled up for the first issue. If you haven't contributed yet, do so soon.

I feel more stupid with each passing day.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Tao Lin Should Write About Baseball More

I'm not wild about Tao Lin's style, but this was great. It is excerpted from this essay I was told about by Chad, who read with Tao last Sunday. At the reading, Chad got a free BRITNEY SPEARS sticker. Congratulations Chad.


When I watched baseball as a child, I always felt strange when I saw the Seattle Mariners on TV. I wasn't sure then why I felt strange, but now I think I know. I think it's just that the blue uniforms they used to have made it seem like they were "merely screwing around." The blue uniforms, in combination with being called the Mariners, made me feel strongly that they actually wanted to be playing Marco Polo in a swimming pool but were forced into professional baseball and so wore blue uniforms to "continue the dream" of "screwing around" in a swimming pool for five hours every day with no responsibilities. Ken Griffey Jr. was a Mariner then and he seemed to be the perfect example of what I just typed about. He seemed to always be trying really hard at being good at baseball which to me only conveyed that he was distracting himself really hard from thoughts about wishing he lived in a special world where each day you woke up, played games in a swimming pool with other adults, ate dinner, played more games in a swimming pool, and went to sleep.


Emily and I watched a documentary last night called Darkon. Darkon is a live action role playing organization based out of Baltimore. Men and women dress up as knights, warriors, maidens, elves, etc to do battle in a complex, alternative world they've created.

I'd heard about this movie from an screenwriter/author, let's call him Dom Derotta, that comedian/author John Hodgman is writing a fictional adaptation about these LARPer's to become a movie sometime soon. The subject is ripe for funny. And being someone who has always wanted to play Dungeons and Dragons, but never has, I rented the source.

I expected something like last years' King of Kong, where two nerdy gamers battle it out to gain the highest score on the original Donkey Kong. In my mind that movie was not a success because the premise seemed so absurd for a full length documentary that it could only be funny to hold attention, but because its cup runneth over with compassion and sincerity. The characters were driven, but not obsessed. They were likable in their roles and you understood them. It brought people into their world and experience.

Darkon proved a different breed.

The subjects of Darkon seemed so immersed in their gaming world that the language of fantasy and the language of reality were interspersed any given time they opened their mouth. The game, seemingly, never stopped. Battle plans are made at the family diner table. Alliances discussed at a Denny's. By the characters assuming the roles of the game and acting them out, it was nearly impossible to tell when the game was on or off.

The filmmakers objectives, as they've stated, were to bring the viewer into the fantasy of the storyline. Not to understand these people, but to be a part of it. The movie was very explicit that the subjects are unhappy with their real lives, so they use Darkon as an escape. This is hammered into the viewers brain with a numbing redundancy. However, the only thing that keeps fantasy being fantasy is its limitations. It must have borders. Otherwise it becomes reality - in this case a possible unstable one, because the fantasy comes from an impetus of unhappiness. The filmmakers also drew countless parallels to psychological roles humans play in their everyday existence. What makes them fail as examples is that the roles they chose to enhance their metaphor (the respectful roles assumed when going to a wedding, the roles assumed when working at Starbucks) have an end. Donkey Kong ultimately has an end. Their is a separation and a detachment. Darkon has no end.

It was interesting to hear the language of everyday reality come into conflict with the fantasized, antiquated, Norman english, as perpetuated by Hollywood myth. It was also interesting to watch these people improvise and act out their roles. They truly hammed it up, but was it for the camera? Its hard to say. But this performance behavior is typical of a child. How have they preserved their imaginations?
At one point there is a long segment where we watch one of the main"characters" young boys' play out a violent fantasy with a fake sword. The scene goes on for a long time, with him hacking away at air. It is exactly like his fathers' fantasy, except the boy is maybe six years old. It seems normal for him to act this way. That is one interesting question the movie brings up, is the acceptance of imagination.
I love imagination. I try to put it into writing. Into many things. But I don't use it as an escape, or at least not always. Otherwise, why come back? And maybe that ultimately that is the problem with Darkon. It is escapism in an unhealthy manner. Why is it unhealthy? Is it because they have children and societal responsibilities? Not really. It is not my place to judge them, especially when they aren't harming anyone. Accept maybe themselves.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Daniela Olszewska held residency last week at No Tell Motel, and I forgot to mention it. Damn. Go backwards in time to check out her new work, which is stunning. Start here, I guess.

Here are whole collections of poems by Frank Stanford that are available online.

This story by René Georg Vasicek up at Wigleaf is brilliant.

SIR! is solidified at Duotrope which means it is now a real venture.

Contributors currently include Blake Butler, Brandon Hobson, Nicolle Elizabeth, Mike Young, Juliet Cook, Spencer Troxell, William Walsh, Chad Reynolds, Peter Berhoef, The Pines, Shane Jones, Sean Kilpatrick, Charles Lennox, Ryan Walsh, Logan Ryan Smith, and collaborations between Zach Schomburg & Emily Kendall Frey. I may have forgotten somebody. A bunch more are on the way as well. It's kind of a sausage party at the moment, so women, please send your poems!

I received my "Bush Buys You Out in 2008" cheque the other day. I have paid $300 in credit card bills. What shall I spend the other 300 on? Please list suggestions.

It is time to talk about Joshua Beckman. A few weeks ago Emily went to New York and brought me back this book. Emily has been influential in giving me books that matter. She was the first person to turn me onto Russell Edson. Now she has give me Beckman.
Your Time Has Come was put out by WAVE books ins 2004. There is more than 150 short, haiku like lyric poems about summertime city living. They can be crushing, funny, diffident - all completely affecting, even when mundane.

For it's efforts and objective, this book is perfect. It words feel like thumb prints. When reading YTHC, anxieties disappears. The lyricism is colloquial, the situations familiar (particularly to a writer) but the work belongs to Beckman. Its accessibility, its rhetoric and candor will call forth constant visits. The packaging is also of note, a small six inch long book shaped to fit into your pocket. Classic.

Beckman has a collaboration with Mathew Rohrer, Nice Hat. Thanks, whose writing is very similar. I have been reading a lot of Mathew Rohrer lately. As a writer, I don't have much success with the "I". Creating situations comes more naturally. But Beckman and Rohrer leave a blueprint for what I think is a successful attempt at self reference. Today I am glad they exist.

Today I am glad I exist.

I am going to New Hampshire tomorrow night. I am going hiking because gas is expensive.

Friday, May 2, 2008

An ass pocket of readings coming up this month

Chad Reynolds has two readings this weekend. One tonight with Rusty Barnes who rides the Night Train and another with Tao Lin. I may be at both.

Friday, May 2, 8 pm
Dire Literary Series
Chad Reynolds
With Rusty Barnes and John Sheier
Out of the Blue Art Gallery
106 Prospect Street

& Then

May 4th, 6:30pm,

Redivider Spring 2008 Release Party

Join Redivider at The Grub Street Headquarters on May 4th to celebrate the release of our Spring 2008 Issue. Festivities will begin at 6:30 pm and include complimentary food & drinks, a chance to win literary prizes by spinning Redivider’s Wheel of Destiny, and readings from three Redivider contributors: Rachel Cantor (author of stories published in One Story and The Paris Review), Tao Lin (author of the poetry collection Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, the novel EEEE EE EEEE, and the story collection Bed), and Chad Reynolds (author of the poetry chapbook Victor in the New World). We hope to see you there!
Free, Grub Street HQ, 160 Boylston Street, 4th Floor Boston, MA.


The Next So-and-So Reading Series. I will finally go to this.

Saturday, May 17, 8 pm
Jennifer Firestone, Dorothea Lasky, Sarah Rosenthal, and Laura Solomon
So-and-So Series
The Distillery
516 East 2nd Street
South Boston


Booksmith Poetry Readings

Wednesday May 21, 7 pm
James Tate
Brookline Booksmith
279 Harvard Street

Monday, May 26, 7 pm
Franz Wright
C.D. Wright
Brookline Booksmith
279 Harvard Street

I'm so excited about this. Two Wrights, No wrongs!


SIR! is coming along swimmingly. Ryan Walsh of Hallelujah the Hills has designed an incredible cover. He also contributed some writing which floored me with its mythology. It seems this man can do no wrong.


This has been a hell of a busy week. Four readings, four miles jogged, four rice cakes with peanut butter eaten. My parents are in Ireland, tripping. My brother is training for a triathlon in high rise gym in Denver. Emily is dwelling in my childhood home with my dog sleeping by her feet. I am in a fog in front of a computer lighthouse.

Kathleen Rooney was profiled by Jonathan Messinger in Time Out Chicago about Rose Metal Press.

Bill Knott stirs up some shit here. The this guy said something which lead to some good comments by the Knott. The Knott is a legendary opinionator and always fun to read.