Most Anticipated Small Press Books of 2017!

We must not allow anyone to rob of us of our joy and wonder. With this in mind, I offer books from small presses being published in 2017 that I’m very much looking forward to.

Following my own list are lists by many great writers, including Kate Angus, Nathaniel Baldwin, Jeff Bursey, Tobias Carroll, Annie DeWitt, Claire Donato, Brian Evenson, Jared Daniel Fagen, Christopher Higgs, Tim Horvath, Janice Lee, Michael Leong, William Lessard, Joe Milazzo, Natanya Ann Pulley, Dawn Raffel, Sejal Shah, Amber Sparks, Terese Svoboda, Robert Vaughan, Angela Woodward, and James Yeh.

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Remarks on the Beasts: On Nick Francis Potter’s New Animals

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Nick Francis Potter’s New Animals (Subito Press) is a startling book, an unleashing of all-too-human humans and other monsters within wildly conceived spaces. While echoing Ben Marcus’s absurdist eviscerations of the nuclear family, George Saunders’s satirical takedowns of post-industrial society, and Brian Evenson’s bleak mind- and landscapes, Potter’s prose is its own animal.

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Some Hopes Against Expectation

My greatest hope is that the new year will bring us, against all signs to the contrary, a less violent United States of America government, which is still very much, as Dr. MLK, Jr. said, the “greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.”

May we see a continuing awakening, a fermenting of authentic revolutionary thinking, which opposes the two-party oligarchy, the plutocratic machinery controlling politics, the government’s mass surveillance of everyone, the corporatization of seemingly everything, and all other obstacles to democracy and freedom.

May we see, that is, bring about, by whatever peaceable means available, a ceasing of the violent physical, economic, and psychological assault on, in no particular order, people of color; on immigrants, whether documented or otherwise; on women, generally; on LGBTQ communities; on indigenous people; on people with disabilities; on poor people; on sick people; on older adults; on Muslims, etc.

May we see a ceasing of this country’s assault on the environment; a ceasing of this government’s never-ending wars, which have resulted in countless civilian deaths, displacement, and other catastrophes, and have made this country far less safe.

May we see more artists engagingly confront all oppressive paradigms, not only trespass genre borders but dissolve them, discover new ways of thinking about old things, transform everything one word, sound, movement, image, color, etc. at a time.

Connecting Dots in Between the Lines: On Gabriel Blackwell’s Madeleine E.

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A masterfully collaged prose object, Gabriel Blackwell’s Madeleine E. (Outpost19) defies categorization, privileging fusion and hybridity while also openly displaying its parts: essayings on the mind, on identity, on falling, on death, on marriage; obsessively scrutinous, seemingly frame-by-frame analyses of a classic psychological thriller; self-reflexive reveries on writing and, especially, not writing; deconstructions of patriarchy in the form of control of and/or violence against women, whether physical, emotional, psychological, etc. Like Alfred Hitchcock, one of this book’s many subject-characters/character-subjects, Blackwell “leaves holes” in his art, that is, in Madeleine E., a text with hundreds of ellipses, a constellation of dots pocking pages, signaling absences, voids, pauses, where multiple possible readings, connections of dots, as it were, can take place.

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Barzakh: Call for Submissions

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Collage by Alice Notley. From Barzakh Issue 1 (Spring 2009)

I’m the faculty adviser for the online magazine Barzakh, which recently announced a new call for submissions for their upcoming issue.

Barzakh Magazine is open for submissions from Nov. 15, 2016 through 11:59 p.m. EST on Feb. 15, 2017.

We define ourselves as an “isthmus,” a space of crossings and connectivity, between histories, articulations, and media—making of these frontiers a site of inquiry and revitalization. We want your fiction, poetry, criticism, personal essay, translation*, drawings, photographs—you name it—that pushes against complacent taxonomies and finds itself forging new paths.

Guidelines: All submissions must be submitted to barzakhmagazine@gmail.com. Each genre must be submitted individually. Submit no more than 5 poems, up to 5,000 words of prose, or 5 images. Each submission must be one attached file. We accept submissions in .doc, .docx, .rtf, .pdf, .jpeg, and .mp3 formats. For video submissions, please send a link to an uploaded file, rather than an attachment. The subject line of your email should read “SUBMISSION: [GENRE]: [AUTHOR LAST NAME]” (For example, “SUBMISSION: POETRY: DICKINSON”)

As an interdisciplinary journal with an internationalist stance, Barzakh is looking for critical and creative works that pry wide the liminal spaces between aesthetic modes and fields, between tongues, and between histories. We seek especially works that actively engage with global and local crises and the acts of resistance/pushback that have galvanized in response to them, including, but not limited to:

* Fallout from the 2016 U.S. presidential election

* Violence and conflicts in Syria, Nigeria, Iraq, and across the world

* The water protection movement at Standing Rock

* Race, police brutality, and protest in the era of Black Lives Matter

* Social media as protest and propaganda

* Pledges of Allegiance

* Border walls

* Speaking out against sexual harassment and assault

* Safe spaces

* Politics of identity

Our past issues have featured the works of Nathaniel Mackey, Bernadette Mayer, Vernon Frazer, Edwin Torres, Jena Osman, and Lydia Davis.

The issue will launch in late March of 2017, in correspondence with the 15th Annual UAlbany EGSO Conference: The Badass, featuring acclaimed poet, essayist, and critic Rigoberto González.

*Translations should be accompanied by source text in original language, and written confirmation that you have English translation rights to the piece.

Contributors’ Rights: By submitting work, contributors permit Barzakh Magazine to publish it on our website, and Barzakh retains first serial rights in our digital issue. Copyright reverts to original author immediately upon publication. Barzakh Magazine retains the right to remove your work from our publication without prior notice.

Happy 60th Birthday, Lance Olsen!: 60 Reasons to Celebrate Lance Olsen

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I’ve had the deep pleasure of knowing Lance Olsen (for at least seven years now), reviewing his work, interviewing him, teaching one of his books, working as his publicist on three books ([[ there. ]], How to Unfeel the Dead, and Theories of Forgetting), all the while impressed by his profound courage, creativity, intelligence, rigor, humor, generosity, and so much more. In fact, here are at least sixty reasons to celebrate Lance Olsen (This is a circular text, of sorts, in honor of Lance’s 720 months: 360 months times two, with best wishes for at least another full circle of 360 months.):

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