Most Anticipated Small Press Books of 2016!

Few exceptions aside, the most compelling, challenging, absorbing literary art is being produced by small presses and their respective writers. I asked a number of writers, editors, and publishers to send me a list of small press books to look out for in 2016. Below you’ll find my own list, which is informed by Kate Angus, John Cayley, Lauren Cerand, Samuel R. Delany, Rikki Ducornet, Andrew Ervin, Lily Hoang, Sean Lovelace, Scott McClanahan, Hubert O’Hearn, Jane Unrue, and Curtis White.

Below you’ll also find lists from Jeff Bursey, Tobias Carroll, Gabino Iglesias, Janice Lee, Dawn Raffel, Nick Francis Potter, John Reed, Adam Robinson, Michael Seidlinger, Terese Svoboda, Jason Teal, Angela Woodward, and Jacob Wren. All the abovementioned people are small press heroes and great writers in their own right. My thanks to all of them.

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Soda Series #10 this Wednesday at 7pm in Brooklyn

The Soda Series is having our 10th reading Wednesday at the Soda Bar in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn at 7pm. What makes our series unique is that it is a reading and conversation. First short readings and then a 30-40 minute conversation between the writers and the audience. This time we have Roberta Allen, Robin Grearson, John Haskell, and Kirsten Kaschock.  Facebook RSVP

Also, on January 24th  Bradford Morrow, Brian Evenson, and Susan Daitch will be reading. After that the series will be going to four times a year.

Here is a complete list of our past readers: Christine Schutt, Gary Lutz, John Domini, Claire Donato, Mary Caponegro, Tim Horvath, Nick Ripatrazone, Robin Beth Schaer, Brenda Shaughnessy, Anthony Tognazzini, Paula Bomer, Sasha Fletcher, Amy King, Eugene Lim, Matt Bell, John Madera, Jeff Parker, Amber Sparks, Dawn Raffel, David Peak, Ana Božičević, Edward Mullany, Janice Shapiro, Michael Leong, Mike Young, Steve Himmer, Joseph Riippi, Mairéad Byrne, Daniel Groves, Stephanie Barber, Andy Devine, Adam Robinson, Vincent Czyz, Melissa Broder, Stever Himmer, and Josef Horáček.

A very big thank you to all of these past readers and the future ones. You have made and will continue to make the Soda Series a spectacular event!

Kirsten Kaschock makes poems, novels, dances, sometimes people. Her novel Sleight has just been released by Coffee House Press. Her second book of poetry, A Beautiful Name for a Girl, is available from Ahsahta Press. She lives in Philly with three proto-men and their father.
John Haskell is the author of American Purgatorio, I Am Not Jackson Pollock, and Out of My Skin. A contributor to the radio program The Next Big Thing, he lives in Brooklyn.
Robin Grearson is a nonfiction writer who relocated to Brooklyn from Los Angeles last year. When she arrived in New York, she sought to collaborate with visual artists in an effort to expand her writing practice. This interest in art and artists has led to her curating art shows and teaching; she leads a writing workshop for artists at 3rd Ward. Her writing has appeared in print in The New York Times and The Brooklyn Rail, and online in various publications. She is currently working on a memoir.
Roberta Allen is the author of eight books, including Certain People, short shorts, published by Coffee House Press. Her two collections were both praised by The New York Times Book Review. She has been a Tennessee Williams Fellow In Fiction. Her popular writing guide in the 1990s, FAST FICTION, was the first to teach flash fiction. A visual/conceptual artist as well, she has exhibited worldwide and has work in the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. She taught at The New School for eighteen years and has taught in the writing program at Columbia University. She continues to teach private workshops. Recently, she completed a new story collection called The Princess Of Herself. Her 2000 novel, The Dreaming Girl, has just been republished by Ellipsis Press.

Welcome to The Lit Pub . . .

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 PUBI’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.

Cotner and Fitch are making Juice on YouTube!

My neighbor Jon Cotner just shared this video of his recent appearance, with his writing partner Andy Fitch, on Emily Gould’s Cooking the Books. In the vein of Adam Robinson’s rumored, but yet-to-be-aired, Culinary Genius, Gould’s show features writers in her kitchen. (She assures us the writers are famous, though, unlike Robinson.) Jon and Andy look to Basho as a literary model, and Jon also relies on his culinary advice: “Eat vegetable soup rather than duck stew.” After Jon and Andy discuss theories of skin degradation, Jon makes a vegetable juice (with lemon). Andy seems unimpressed, while Emily apparently enjoys it. The real highlight, though, is a montage-set-to-music of Jon shoving radiant vegetables into a food processor.

Joseph Riippi’s THE ORANGE SUITCASE

Amber Sparks already wrote a fantastic and comprehensive review of Joseph Riippi’s The Orange Suitcase for Big Other, which you can read here, but I want to dedicate a post to “Something About Maxine,” which is a short chapter in three tiny parts, and “Something About the Rest,” another short chapter in three parts. I read The Orange Suitcase last night, but when I woke I realized that these two chapters were still with me, and I wanted to write a post to attempt to answer why.

 

1.

“Something About Maxine”

Here’s the opening:

They didn’t look like baby rabbits. More like pink balls of unbaked dough with caper eyes. [. . . ] My grandfather gathered up the five or six of them. Max, their shaky mother, wrinkled her nose again and again and again and again in the corner of the cage. There’ll be rabbits everywhere, he grumbled.

I didn’t notice the “again and again and again and again” when I first read this; I must have skimmed right over all four “agains,” but when I typed it here I realized how many there are. I think this is important. As I typed, I wondered, “Why so many agains?” And as I type this now, I think, “Well, sure, they help to show the narrator’s focus, show how long the narrator stares at Max.”

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A Sentence About a Sentence I Love: An Anthology, of Sorts

A few months ago, in April, to be exact, I started a series of posts entitled “A Sentence About a Sentence I Love” with a sentence about one of Gerard Manley Hopkins’s magnificent sentences. This concentration, or, rather, this obsession with the sentence may have come from my, at the time, recent readings of William Gass’s essays wherein he concentrates much of his attention on the sentence as a primary building block in poetry and prose. Essays by Gass like “The Soul Inside the Sentence,” “The Sentence Seeks Its Form,” “The Architecture of the Sentence,” take as their focus the centrality of the sentence toward the construction of thought, and particularly of thoughts within the parameters of fiction. In “Philosophy and the Form of Fiction,” Gass claims that sentences are “the most elementary instances of what the author has constructed….a moving unity of fact and feeling.” Moreover, sentences

must be sounded, too; it has a rhythm, speed, a tone, a flow, a pattern, shape, length, pitch, conceptual direction. The sentence confers reality upon certain relations, but it also controls our estimation, apprehension, and response to them. Every sentence, in short, takes metaphysical dictation, and it is the sum of these dictations, involving the whole range of the work in which the sentences appear, which accounts for its philosophical quality, and the form of life in the thing that has been made (Fiction and the Figures of Life, 14).

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Recently, Adam Robinson introduced me to David Gianatasio, who analyzes ads like the one seen here and offers witty commentary.

Now, this is how you advertise circumcisions. These perforated business cards for a circumcision doctor in Turkey were done by ad agency Healthy People by Grey. Via Ads of the World.

See and read more at the Adweek site, here.