Happy Birthday, Lance Olsen!

Today, October 14, 2012, marks Lance Olsen‘s 56th birthday. In celebration of him and his work, and with a nod to a quote by Roland Barthes, I’ve turned most of the sentences found in the first chapter of Olsen’s The Architectures of Possibility into questions without answers. (You’ll also find that I’ve altered quotations, found in the selfsame chapter, from Brian Evenson, Fredric Jameson, and Curtis White, as well as the abovementioned Barthes).

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Review: Issue 0!

Issue 0 of Review, “THE CREATION MYTH OF THE DIGITAL UNIVERSE,”  is here! Rejoice.

FICTION

POETRY

ESSAYS

INTERVIEW

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I Shot the Moon, Calamari Press, 35-38 / 41, 3RD BED [7, 8, 9, 10, 11]

 

Click through to read the full (super-mega) review of 3RD BED [7, 8, 10, &11]

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Of A Monstrous Anthology

At AWP I spent 99% of my time at the Artistically Declined Press table at the bookfair. Two tables down from me was the Lost Horse Press table. Lost Horse is one of my favorite presses. Their books are beautiful and they have published some of my favorite people and poets. Anyway, I became friendly, as one does at the bookfair, with my neighbors, including the guy manning LHP’s table. Turns out he co-edited an anthology just released from LHP and as friendly neighbors do, I picked up a copy. To be honest I didn’t know too much about it, it looked nice and was thick (and as heavy) as a brick. Turns out, it’s one of the most intriguing anthologies I’ve picked up in some time.

It’s called Of A Monstrous Child and is an “anthology of creative writing relationships.” The idea behind it is that a mentor and a student-turned-peer are paired up. They introduce one another and a story or some poems. It’s a fresh take on the anthology, one that goes beyond the work into the making of the work through the influence, study, and companionship that runs at the depths of this trade. A few of the writers who show up here are Zachary Schomburg, Robert Wrigley, Ryan Boudinot, Rick Moody, Amy Hempel, and Brian Evenson.

To be honest, traditional anthologies start to bore me at a certain point. I’ve had some ideas for non-traditional anthologies myself, and maybe one day will be fortunate enough to see one realized. When it comes to Monstrous Child, brain-baby of Nate Liederbach (the fellow I met at AWP) and his former student, James Harris it’s too soon for me to tell exactly what the effect of the anthology’s format will be as a whole, after all, I’m only a fourth of the way into it. But I like the ambition, I like the portrait of mentor relationships, a bond dear to writers. I’m surprised I haven’t heard anything about this anthology in the way of a review or a blog post. Anything. I’m sure somewhere there has been, but it seems right up the alley of so many writers I know and interact with. I hope this post will help people find the book. You can learn more about it HERE.

Fact-Simile 3.1

I got hardcopies of the new issue of Fact-Simile in the mail today and am thoroughly enjoying the innovative poetry and prose within its pages. 

Check out a free pdf verion here to read new work from Michelle Disler, Cralan Kelder, Shanna Miller McNair, Andrew Wessels, Mark Cunningham, Tim Roberts, Derek Henderson, Elizabeth Robinson, Roxanne Carter, Mary Kasimor, David Brennan, Charles Freeland, Richard Schwass, Peter Grieco, John Tway Zackel, Matt Reeck, Rich Murphy, Ryan Ridge, Dan Ruhrmanty, John Kearns, Scott Bentley, Jennifer Karmin and yours truly.

The issue’s feature is particularly noteworthy: an interview with Brian Evenson along with his short story “Hurlock’s Law” (reprinted from The Lifted Brow).  Yesterday, I just wrapped up a creative writing workshop that ended with a look at Evenson’s fiction, so it was great to linger a bit longer over his always striking prose.  I found “Hurlock’s Law” to be an intriguing investigation into the meandering maze of referential mania, a mysterious fable — for our contemporary age of Reality TV and digital surveillance — of how meaning eludes both our psychic and technological apparatuses.

And the interview has some choice nuggets…here are some of my favorites…

BE on perception:

When I was a teenager, I thought Dennis Hopper was Dennis Hooper.

BE on literary theft:

I have no problem with stealing, but once I steal something, I want to repaint it and kind of bend it around and make it my own…I’m more interested in stealing something that I can use to help make a new machine…

And BE on mutilation:

…before I had an interest in mutilation, I had kind of an obsessive interest in axes…

Overall, a great issue from a great small press — I suggest taking a look and subscribing!

Over Forty Writers Over Forty to Watch

Writing the title of this post actually felt very silly; it seems such an arbitrary way of gathering a list of writers to look out for. What could be sillier than singling out writers in this way, according to their age? Surely, there are more worthy criteria. Well, there is an answer to what could be sillier than singling out over forty writers over forty to watch, namely, singling twenty writers under forty to watch, especially largely mainstream writers writing, for the most part, conventional and redundant fiction. And the New Yorker has done just that. But this isn’t surprising. Theirs is an idea once again institutionalizing, reinforcing our decayed culture’s obsession with youth, not to mention its eyes wide shut wallowing in mediocrity. So, not only have they missed, for the most part, who are the best fiction writers under forty to watch, but, with their unapologetic valorization of youth, they missed entirely. The following writers (and I include poets, essayists, and theorists among them) are writers who have consistently written great work. I anticipate great things from each of them in the years and years to come. With full awareness of how a corrective sometimes ironically and paradoxically legitimizes what it seeks to correct, here, in the order in which I thought of them, are over forty writers over forty whose work I will be busy watching.

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