I just received the following letter from Natalija Grgorinic & Ognjen Raden, and after corresponding with them a bit I will certainly be sending a few Cow Heavy titles their way, for inclusion in their exhibition and to find a permanent home afterward in a library in a country far, far away, which I think is awesome. Check them out for yourself, below. . . .
We would like to invite you to participate in an exhibition that would present independent US presses and their editions to the literary public, but also to translators, editors, critics, and literary scholars of Croatia and the neighboring region.
This exhibition (IamN – Izlozba americkih nakladnika / Exhibition of American Independent Presses) will be organized under the auspices of ZVONA i NARI (Bells & Pomegranates) Library and Literary Retreat, and curated by us, Natalija Grgorinic & Ognjen Raden. Continue reading
Before I say anything else, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Chris Newgent for all of the time and energy he has put into our efforts to bring you the next nine words: WELCOME TO THE OFFICIAL LAUNCH OF THE LIT PUB! I’d like to also thank Matt Bell for his excellent advice during the early planning stages, and I especially need to thank my parents, without whose emotional and financial support this would never have been possible. A big round of applause for the guys and gal at Fuzzco, who helped make our website everything I hoped it could be. Many special words of gratitude to Lidia Yuknavitch, for believing in us before we even knew what we really were. And thank you also to Ethel Rohan, Mike Young, and Ofelia Hunt. Of course, gigantic hugs for the entire crew at TLP for all of their hard work and much-needed emotional support during these last few months (Mike Bushnell, thank you for listening, I am so grateful for your energy; Erika Moya, what would I do without you, seriously, my birthday twin!; Elizabeth Taddonio, you are going to manage the hell out of our community, I know it; Kristina Born, Mark Cugini, David Blomenberg, Nicelle Davis, Jacqueline Kari, Corey Beasley, Jordan Blum, M. M. Wittle, and Dave Kiefaber, I thank you for your belief in this; Richard Nash, Adam Robinson, Kevin Sampsell, Dan Wickett, Zach Dodson, and Michael Griffith, let me tell you how grateful I am for your guidance along the way). And thank you again and again and forever to my parents, who are really the unseen heros behind everything that we have accomplished thus far. Without them, I mean it, this would still be just an idea.
The Mimic’s Own Voice by Tom Williams
Main Street Rag, 97 pages, $9.95
This is a difficult book to write about because it’s so commandingly impressive. The writing is tight, expository, and emerges more from the school of “tell” than the school of “show.” I’m reminded most of Steven Milhauser’s story “Eisenheim the Illusionist” and novel Edwin Mullhouse. There is a narrator, but we are never sure who, or why, s/he is recounting the life and death of Williams’s protagonist, Douglas Myles, a mimic so good at replicating others’ voices he can even replicate voices he hasn’t heard — just by looking at the person. But how? How exactly does he do it? Questions like these seem the occasion for the academically toned narrative, which includes passages like:
Myles’s manuscript, housed now at The Pratt-Falls Center, Dr. Greene’s home institution, excited laymen and scholars at first, for all suspected it had been written for publication. Yet no contract exists among Myles’s papers (and, as the readers shall see, he was quite the saver), nor can one be found in the files of any publishers. This increased speculation that a bidding war for its rights would take place, though after the manuscript’s seventy-three handwritten pages were initially read, no offers, save for the Pratt-Falls’s were forthcoming. From its curious usage of second person, to its enigmatic opening and closing lines, ‘Your name is Douglas Myles. . . . They never really listened,” it does not divulge entirely his secrets, while it raises mysteries all its own. Still, there are a host of details which offer, for the first time, a definitive glimpse into his early life.
The Narrow Road to the Interior by Kimiko Hahn, 128 pp, $14.95
This book is both less and more exciting to me than the others I’ve discussed here (The Artist’s Daughter and The Unbearable Heart). It is less exciting because it’s not as penetrable, but it is more exciting because of this — because, in fact, it’s even more fragmented, unruly, collaged, spontaneous, piece-y than Hahn’s other work. Billed as zuihitsu, this book is:
“list, diary, commentary, essay, poem. Fragment. [. . . It creates] a sense of disorder [. . .] by fragmenting, juxtaposing, contradicting, varying length or — even within a piece — topic. [. . . It is] e-mail, say. Gossip or scholarly notation. [. . . essays] closer to poetry.”
I’ve written about Kimiko Hahn before for Big Other, but I couldn’t help but also write a little bit about this book, too, The Artist’s Daughter. Try this poem on for taste:
Not all insects but certain insects spiral above bodies of water in their courtship, the male carrying a stone fly or mayfly in his legs. The female will follow him, alighting on a petal or stem, then accept the prey and consume it during their consummation. How pleasant, though different from fellatio or kissing, to eat, say, a square of bitter chocolate filled with creamy nougat while the male pulses inside. How sweet. How exquisite a bribe for the bride.
This poem is from page 70, and is #4 of Hahn’s “Reckless Sonnets.” I include it here because I love the blend of sex and violence, nature and sensory detail. The poem is sexy. Dark. Makes me want chocolate. Continue reading
The Source by Noah Eli Gordon, 144 Pages, 6 X 8, $16.00
WTF is The Source?
The Source celebrates both prostitution and the life of letters. It is a touch sadomasochistic because it suffers a sense of its own belatedness, hates fussing with nature, and would like the world to be all weeds. Some think it the forerunner of what may be the international style of the coming decade, because it is secretive but hides nothing, requires an all-inclusive symbolism to determine its interpretations, while paying little attention to the complexity of mixed reverie and memory.