Image result for j.m. coetzee and the life of writing



The Completed Eyes Wide Shut?

Image result for kubrick eyes wide shut

When Stanley Kubrick died on March 7, 1999, there was still a little over four months until Eyes Wide Shut’s release date, July 16. There is no basis to argue Kubrick wouldn’t have altered the film right up to that date and possibly even beyond as he did with 2001 and The Shining, films most similar to Eyes Wide Shut. Michael Herr says, “…there was looping to be done and the music wasn’t finished, lots of small technical fixes on color and sound, but it wasn’t ready to show…” Continue reading

To Live To Read To Live

Image result for reading books


Gimmickry attached to the world of belles-lettres has me chagrined: not the book itself, but the buying of the book, the book trailer, the story “behind” the book, the “personality” who wrote the book. The latest iteration, where reading is concerned, revolves around the reputed mental health benefits of reading, it keeps your brain fit. This may be partially true, but to use it as reasoning to do something that doesn’t call us is underhanded, bullying. A true reader, a true human, doesn’t need to be sold on anything that is so fundamental. Continue reading

On Cruft


Fans of lengthy and complex novels often encounter the sentiment that shorter works are better because they get their points across economically, that the dreadnoughts of literature contain too much boring armature, and that to persist regularly reading books over, say, 500 pages smacks of pretension and elitism. Those charges can be true at one time or another. Sometimes it seems we’re stuck in an either/or situation where readers are either hostages or idolaters. Continue reading

Most Anticipated Small Press Books of 2018!

books.jpgLike every year, there’s much to dread about 2018, and to fight against, but, fortunately there’s much to look forward to, including powerful works of art from small presses. Below you’ll find the small press books I’m most excited to see published this year. Following this, you’ll find lists from stellar writers Kate Angus, Kurt Baumeister, Alex Behr, Jeff Bursey, Lisa Chen, Tobias Carroll, Brian Evenson, Tim Jones-Yelvington, Meghan Lamb, Janice Lee, Christina Milletti, Michael Noll, David Leo Rice, Kevin Sampsell, Jason Teal, Dan Wickett, James Yeh, and Leni Zumas. Thanks to them, and thanks, too, to stellar writers Lynn Crawford, Robert Dean, Annie DeWitt, Joe Pan, Dawn Raffel, Jacob Singer, Joanna C. Valente, and Marjorie Welish for giving me the heads-up on other books.

Continue reading

My Year in Reading, 2017

I read two hundred books this year. Crazy, I know. “Suffering” from segmented sleep certainly “helps,” as does “suffering” from the seemingly un-ebbing anxiety of not having read everything I need/want to read. In any case, throughout the year, I intermittently came out of book criticism retirement to write capsule reviews of some of the books I’d read: Below you’ll find my thoughts about forty-eight books, all save two of them published by small presses, books by Nick Francis Potter, John Reed, Daniel Borzutzky, Robert Lopez, Jennifer MacBain-Stephens, Carole Maso, Jessie Janeshek, Lynn Crawford, Lidia Yuknavitch, Patricia Smith, Vanessa Roveto, Melissa Range, Bret Easton Ellis, Jeff Bursey, Johannes Göransson, Robert Vaughan, John Keene, Michael J. Wilson, William Walsh, Jennifer Firestone, Christopher DeWan, Hannah Lillith Assadi, Jorge Armenteros, Eleni Sikelianos, Karen An-hwei Lee, Andrew Joron, Donald Breckenridge, Airea D. Matthews, Tomás Q. Morín, Margo Berdeshevsky, Alejandra Pizarnik, Albert Mobilio, Constance Squires, Eugene Lim, Stephanie J. Urdang, Mai Der Vang, Craig Morgan Teicher, Gabino Iglesias, James Reich, Jeremy M. Davies, John Haskell, Roberta Allen, Horacio Castellanos Moya, Chen Chen, Joe Pan, Joanna C. Valente, Layli Long Soldier, and Kaveh Akbar. Continue reading