Sunday, June 29, 2008




by Brian Foley

on The Greying Ghost Press

5x7 chapbook printed on quality linen paper with hand-stamped envelope. Printed in an edition of 75, with 2 of those 75 having special covers made from old album covers and signed by the author. They will be randomly mailed to two lucky customers.

Find a sample poem here. Poems in the collection have been previously published in Sleeping Fish, Blaze Vox, Night Train, Eyeshot, Lamination Colonies, Juked, and others.

From GG Megaphone Carl Annarummo -

"A poem by Brian Foley is a glimpse into the life of a professional eavesdropper. Each is a chewed down dossier roasted on a pit over a beerlight. Brian Foley is the love-child of a wide-ranging cast of characters book-ended by Rosmarie Waldrop and the previous groundskeeper of Seekonk Speedway. His poems are often excruciatingly uproarious and in turn, collected in its ability to humble you. Finally a collection of poems that sits you down and says, "I know, because I've been there!" Why are you still reading this? Buy the book. Don't even think about it."


A huge thanks to Carl for putting this incredibly designed book together. Thanks to Blake Butler for the collections' title. I am really excited that this book i finally out there.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Carl just gave me my copies of my chapbook, The Tornado is Not a Surrealist. They are yellow and green and sleek and elegant. I love them. Carl's designs are the best. They should be for sale this weekend. Above are some limited edition copies. More info on those from the Greying Ghost Megaphone -

these are #74 & #75 of brian james foley's Tornado chapbook. they have special covers made from discarded album covers. they are different from the other 73. they might be signed. they will be randomly mailed to two lucky people who order the chapbook! speaking of the chapbook, i just need to stamp the envelopes and then they're good to go. most likely by monday they should be done. get ready, kids!

Carl is the best. Visit Greying Ghost.

Sometimes I Pretend To Know What I'm Talking About

An interesting post on the Guardian Books Blog about independent writers and their lack of celebration. It is a good comparison - we celebrate independent filmmakers and independent musicians, but what about independent writers?

Most people I know have a very streamlined taste in literature. Which is odd as they may listen to Prurient, Six Organs, Pig Destroyer, or Pavement, but haven't gone much farther than Hemingway or Murakami. It assumed that people that seek out independent mediums practice a more free form of thought, one more challenging. So why not match your literary tastes to your musical ones? Not that there is anything conventional about the aforementioned writers. They invented the conventions. But why is the thin dude with a beard wearing a Pissed Jeans t shirt buying a Jhumpa Lahiri novel?
The writer of the blog post says it may be because of buyers in bookstores unsure of the product and confused by its mystery. This I think is true. It is hard to carry independent titles and often hard to sell them. So we leave it up to the reader then. But the books are there. You had to search out some esoteric website a copy of that sax/jazz/fuck 7", why not find something appropriate to read while listening to it.

I see poetry as more like indie rock, as it was conceived and practiced i th 80's and 90's, than anything else. It is embodies an independent aesthetic more than the "indie rock" we buy today.
It is small and deliberate, often meant for a select crowd (but if it gets bigger, so be it, no love lost). It is intelligent and people operate on a DIY (I hate this moniker, someone please invent a synonym) aesthetic. It is hard not to take a shine towards the good works of Wave and Fence Books- the Matador and Drag City records of words - as well as the micro presses like Kitchen Press, Dancing Girl, Greying Ghost, et al. I see these things as inseparable to their survival.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Touch My Omlet

Its summer. My girlfriend is sunning herself somewhere on a rock in New Hampshire. I am about to have two months of Mondays off.

Visit Bear Parade and read short works by Michael Earl Craig and Matthew Rohrer.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The new Prick of the Spindle is up. Read my poem Company. Find the mistakes, win a prize.

Friday night I saw Polvo, for the first and probably last time ever. They did something odd. Though this was their reunion tour, instead of giving the people what they wanted, the restructured and reformatted the songs. New bridges and codas took the assumed places of old one. I don't think anyone in attendance would conclude that it made the songs better. However I understand the impulse.

Recently I have deconstructed my poems. I no longer find it alluring to be writing in blocks of prose. I have broken previously pieces into line breaks, and I feel much better about it. I know a poet who writes poems without line breaks, then makes the choices after the poem feels finished. This is a process I think is working for me.

Here is a version of a poem called The Saw, which previously published here.

The Saw

A saw is a piece of machinery
that eats wood for people.
Occasionally a human hand runs into the saw
and the saw spits back blood.
No one likes that.
It causes a big to do.
They shut down the whole production
for an hour to clean the blood
from the blade and take the owner
of the hand who is screaming
Now everyone is mad at the saw.
They starve him for the rest of the day.
Everyone liked the saw
when it ate the wood.
Everyone was proud of it then.
These days the wood comes less and less.
Things are slowing down. Days go by
without the saw eating a thing.
The saw believes itself to be dying.
When you make a saw think like that,
it will take what it can get to survive.

In recent weeks I have been humbled & floored by some readings I've attended and some work I've read. It has forced me to reconfigure my objectives. I have decided to sit on my work for a while instead of sending it out. Shelf time is the only way to be sure it is truly done. Meanwhile I will keep writing.

Last night I had the pleasure of attending the opening ceremonies of the Juniper Summer Writing Institute out in Northampton, MA. I am not attending this institute, but was a guest of one of the faculty members. It had rained earlier and slowly became beautiful outside. I got a free steak dinner and felt like an imposter. I met some kind, earnest people.

I'd come for the reading that night - Matthew Zapruder and Lydia Davis. I have been reading The Pajamist, Mattew Zapruder's last book, but was underwhelmed. I was not prepared for what he delivered last night. They were some of the best poems I've heard. They were funny, smart, laden with memorable imagery, and emotional. What resonated most, though, was the voice. The voice of the poems was first person. It was a direct, often simple, language that was really trying to get at something. It was a voice I'd been looking for, one I'm trying to inhabit in my new poems, and one that only three or four writers I can think of truly know how to use. Have you ever written a smart line, only to find out what you've trying to get at has already been so perfectly described by another? Thats what last night was like. Expect great new heights from Matthew Zapruder.

I didn't even get a chance to calm down, as Lydia Davis directly followed him. I love Lydia Davis. Hearing her read was better than reading her books. Thats not usually the case. Her new pieces are taken from her dreams, which sounds dull and overused, if they weren't birthed from her incredible mind. She was sly and funny. She had a detached demeanor which only improved the reading. She read a fifteen minute opus about the cows that live in a pasture across the road from her house. When her new book comes, it will be something.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Emily has an illustration in the new issue of Smokelong Quarterly accompanying a story by Evelyn Hampton. The issue has a cast of the usual characters. Check it out.

At a yard sale on the Cape the other day, we found a pair of matching brown bicycles. They are three speed Columbia's from the seventies and in great condition. If we'd lived in 1978, a picture of us on our bicycles would have looked like this.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Prick of the Spindle will be publishing a short of mine called Company in their upcoming issue out later this week.

I will be reading at Ada Books in Providence, RI with William Walsh this August. I may try do one or two readings before then.

SIR! is currently being weaved together. My work schedule will be letting up when we go into June, so it may come out in early July instead of late June.

I was thinking of some sort of party I could put together for SIR! when I realized I've already blown a great opportunity when Carl, Zach, Chad, and Rauan came and read. It was a perfect chance for self promotion, blown to hell.

I'm pretty excited about this t-shirt I just won on eBay.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

NANO Fiction has accepted some of my work for their upcoming issue. They're based out of Houston.

I was in Houston once. I saw Will Oldham and BrightBlack MorningLight at this place -

It is called The Oranges Show. It is an outdoor amphitheater fun house built by a truck driver who loved Oranges. It hosts a lot of ceramic creatures that boast placards of mythic folklore, all involving oranges.

The venue is the middle of a suburban neighborhood. Its down the street from a terrible river. Before the show, we watched these odd Texas fish jump out six, maybe seven feet at air to catch bugs. Will Oldham played for the three hours, even when the sky opened up and rain came down and thunder and lightning.
It was one of the best nights of my life.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


The first issue of Oranges and Sardines is out. Know who is in it? No, not me.
This person is.

O&S is a new publication by Didi Menendez of Miposesias fame. She has ushered little Emily into the world of literary mags. Welcome home, Emily. It's lonely here and we all smell like old bacon.


A reminder.

These young Turks will be reading Sunday at 6pm at Brookline Booksmith. Things could get weird. Sexy weird.


Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Obama

I sometimes get tears in my eyes when I watch films about the early years of astronauts. I don't know why. Maybe it was their power to overcome something as benignly stubborn as gravity. Maybe it was all the nationalism that seemed harmless and small in the face of an endless universe.

Watching Obama, is like watching a film on the sixties, before the fall.


I read Paul Auster's autobiography Hand to Mouth, and just as I feared, i did not like it. It falls in line with the starving artist models like Henry Miller and Jack Kerouac. He moves to Paris (several times), he's poor, he does odd jobs to survive. He even works on a oil freighter for about six months. An oil freighter! His romanticized notions are superfluously portentous. I find them to be a dead notion, though I know people who still "suffer" like he "suffers". He barely even mentions writing, only taking a few words to say "yes, I am doing it, I swear".

I want to find a book that combines the juxtaposition of a working life and an artistic life into a story. Suggestions?