Stubbornness is hard-wired in me, so I know that I’ll finish what I started in March 2010, which is a review of every title in the Calamari catalogue.
So far, I’ve reviewed these:
3RD BED , GOOD, BROTHER, THE HOUR SETS, P.S. AT LEAST WE DIED TRYING, SLEEPING FISH , LAND OF THE SNOW MEN, EVER, THE NIGHT I DROPPED SHAKESPEARE ON THE CAT, BEAR STORIES, TRILCE, TRAPEZOIDAL JUGGERNAUT / SPIRITUAL TURKEY BEGGAR BASTE MECHANISM, 23 TEXT TILES, SLEEPINGFISH [ZERO.5]. SLEEPINGFISH [.75], BOONS & THE CAMP, MINING IN THE BLACK HILLS, & O, VOZQUE PULP
Now that the faux-break is over, I return with a review of SLEEPINGFISH [0.875], the eighteenth in this full-press review of Calamari books. Click through to give it a read.
Released in 2006, I distinctly remember SLEEPINGFISH [0.875] as the title that made me want to know more & more & more about Calamari Books. The cover artwork by Eduardo Recife is wonderful & pulled me across the internet, Robert Lopez edited this issue with Derek White, making it twice as valuable in my estimation, & have you seen the contributor listing for this? Holy what: Kim Chinquee, Christian TeBordo, Trevor Dodge, Danielle Dutton, Lance Olsen, Stephen Graham Jones, Norman Lock, Peter Markus, & the list goes on. With these writers, the issue is bound to land beautifully hard, which it does in all aspects.
from Joseph Musso’s ‘House for Sale’:
I decided to prove gravity. The flowers had grown since morning. On the roof, I held out my arms. The wind was cool and whisked up my nostrils.
Leaning forward, I mumbled.
The sensation of falling, even from a short distance, parched my bones. Immediately, for the purpose of a bigger high, I considered bridges.
In the grass, I heard bones crack and found faces. I tried one on. My work here was done.
The pieces collected in this issue all have their own unique existence & palpable style, and yet thematic ties bind them too: anonymous fathers and mothers and houses, spaces that we occupy in the irregularity of being, the artistic expression of thoughts & modes & grievances wrapped in story-skins.
from Brian Evenson’s ‘The Drownable Species’:
What followed, the lighter guttering out, the body itself starting to come back into consciousness, is for me a confusion always overlain by this same blank and monstrous visage. I remember, I think I remember, this: myself foundering in the water, my body chilled to the bone; a long and shivering drive through narrow roads crowded with trees; then, miles away now, a perilous and shrieking journey on foot, stumbling, a path along the edge of cliffs, the surf banging against the rocks below; a slow stumbling along a deserted highway; the sun rupturing over the mountains before me like a clot of blood. Little else.
Plus, as you see from that excerpt, a snippet of the Evenson’s then unreleased $400 book The Drownable Species from Aaron Cohick’s NewLights Press, SLEEPING FISH [0.875] is like a lit time machine, published before the release of Danielle Dutton’s Sprawl, Joshua Cohen’s Cadenza, Cooper Esteban’s Mosefolket, Brian Evenson’s The Open Curtain, & before the reissue of Peter Markus’ Good, Brother. There are more examples, but these will suffice. Reading this issue of SLEEPINGFISH is wonderful in that kind of memory-glory, recalling so many writers who were already making their marks but who hadn’t yet made some of the marks that we now know them for. This is the best way to travel, thrusting forward while gently remembering back.
from Noah Eli Gordon’s ‘Three Paragraphs from a Perfectly Functional Book’:
When subject to a conspicuous lack of location, one need only climb a real tree to see the artifice rooted in the external world. This is an assertion of descriptive speech. Out of ambiguity comes a sentence in which the office building acts as a verb, in which an imaginative act of architecture pushed aside the story one fell into as though it were a bed in one’s own house and not the culmination of another’s attention to the particulars. Perhaps the camera is unreliable. Perhaps unreliability is the locus of representation. Think of it as a working definition of neighborhood, the opposite of being elsewhere, a branch of remoteness, an uttered address.
This is the SLEEPINGFISH that I know & love & admire. This is the SLEEPINGFISH that makes SLEEPINGFISH SLEEPINGFISH. This is also the farthest back SLEEPINGFISH that is still available for purchase.
Next up, Derek White’s Bodh[i] Circu[it]s / Alg[a]e[bra] D[ra[in] then Peter Markus’ THE SINGING FISH & 3RD BED .
Stick with it.
3 thoughts on “I Shot the Moon, Calamari Press, 18 / 39, SLEEPINGFISH [0.875]”
It’s good to see this series continue. Thanks, J. A.!
I bought this issue of Sleepingfish in St. Mark’s Books in Manhattan. In 2006? I can’t precisely remember. It’s still somewhere over on my bookshelf. Thus began a lengthy series of correspondences with Derek White, and my reviewing (in time) some Calamari Press books. Ah, memories…
Thanks A D! I’m excited to be back at it.
So did you (or have you) read issues that came before 0.875? I think it is really interesting to see how with this particular issue Sleepingfish really seems to come into its own, holding tight to what we now all see as the zzzfish way.
That was the first issue I read. I didn’t recognize anyone in it, either, save Brian Evenson, I think. I picked it up because it looked not terrible.