Fence Digital Launch: Sunday, July 16, 2017, 8:00pm – 10:00pm / Ör, 35 South 3rd Street, Hudson, NY

Fence Books will be launching a new imprint Fence Digital tonight in Hudson, NY.

This Sunday at 8 p.m. at Ör Gallery and Tavern in Hudson, NY: a Fence Digital Poetry Live Reading, featuring Matthew Klane, Michael Leong, and a reading of writing by the late Brian Young.

The reading celebrates the launch of Fence Digital, a new electronic imprint of Fence Books, publishing multimedia electronic poetry, fiction, and hybrid texts that reinvest digitization with materiality, treating the screen as a skin. This continues Fence’s mission to redefine the terms of accessibility by the sharing of material texts across a variety of electronic formats.

I’ll be presenting from my ebook Who Unfolded My Origami Brain?, which is a collection of digitally enhanced prints that I made for a unique book-object commissioned by Container.

Why Write?

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WHY WRITE?

At a recent event I hosted, I asked the assembled writers this question. Besides the “practical ordering of my reality” type of answer, there were also some surprises: one woman had been a classical singer, but failed, and needed to embark on something else having to do with language. One man said, I write to talk about what I read—equally unassuming. I began to think that it would be much more stimulating to know why certain writers wrote than to engage with anything they had written, especially fiction or poetry—two ultimate forms needing years of practice. It’s debatable who said, “Everyone has a book in them…” but the second clause of that sentence, as uttered by Christopher Hitchens, is as concretely dismissive of the first: “…but in most cases, that’s where it should stay.” Who would have thought there were so many writers, that oodles would have the calling—many thanks to the internet? Now there is no barrier to that fusty adage, but it might be better to say, Everyone has some opinions in them. Continue reading

On Robert Lopez’s All Back Full

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Robert Lopez’s darkly comical collections and novels are full of bizarre, dissolute isolatos moving in and out of desultory relationships, talkative heads navigating through absurd situations, bleak states of mind and being, the mud and murk of day-to-day doldrums. All Back Full (Dzanc Books), Lopez’s fifth book, offers three such characters: a husband and wife and the man’s friend, who aren’t having it, who’ve had it with each other, each one talking to each other, talking at each other, around each other, as if the addressee weren’t there, as if they, the addresser, weren’t there, the “there” sometimes not there either, the “there” that’s sometimes there for the most part a nondescript kitchen in a “toxic” house.

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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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