Big Other Reaches One Million Page Views!

One Million Dots (detail) / Robert Barry. 1968

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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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Action, Yes; The Swedish Issue; and the Poetics of Compromise

Let us perform a search.  Let us research the online journal Action, Yes, edited by Johannes Göransson, Joyelle McSweeney, and our very own John Dermot Woods.

Google tells us in bright blue (then purple) letters that Action, Yes “may be compromised,” and, below, appears evidence of such “compromisation”: “Our drugshop has everything you need.  Buy online viagra Buy viagra cheap.”  Who, we may wonder, is actually talking?  Who presumes to tell us about what we desire?

“To compromise,” in common parlance, has a negative connotation.  To compromise means to “[w]eaken (a reputation or principle) by accepting standards that are lower than is desirable” (Merriam-Webster).  Something (a site, a body, a person) that is “compromised” is “[e]xposed to risk, danger, or discredit”; it is, alternately, something “[t]hat has been in contact with infectious disease” (OED).  For Google, a website that “may have been hacked or otherwise compromised” means that a “third party has taken control of the site without the owner’s permission.”  Cleary this is not a desideratum…or is it?

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Big Other Contributors’ News, #25

Ryan W. Bradley‘s story, “The Pit Bull’s Tooth,” is up at Wigleaf, and his chapbook, MILE  ZERO will be out in September from Maverick Duck Press.

Elaine Castillo had poems published in Issue 12 of > kill author, and a piece forthcoming from Used Furniture Review, both from her poetry manuscript CANDIDA: A TRANSLATION.  Several of her short films will be screened in Glasgow on April 9, for the Digital Desperados premiere night at the Center for Contemporary Arts.

Greg Gerke wrote about William H. Gass at The Nervous Breakdown–touching on his essay “The Soul Inside the Sentence,” his story “Mrs. Mean,” and meeting the man himself at the Strand Bookstore.

Paul Kincaid has had reviews of The Anatomy of Utopia, by Karoly Pinter, at SF Site; Nexus: Ascension, by Robert Boyczuk, in New York Review of Science Fiction 270, February 2011; and The Quantum Thief, by Hannu Rajaniemi, in Vector 265, Winter 2011. The BSFA also published a chapbook, Into the Woods: Robert Holdstock Remembered, which included “An Answer” as its introduction; “The Memory of Stories,” an interview Kincaid conducted with Holdstock; and “Robert Holdstock: A Roundtable Discussion,” in which Kincaid took part. Finally, Palgrave Macmillan have apparently published Teaching Science Fiction, edited by Andy Sawyer & Peter Wright, which contains Kincaid’s essay “Through Time and Space: A Brief History of Science Fiction,” in which he attempts to compress 500 years and the entire global endeavour of science fiction into just 6,000 words (don’t try this at home, kids).

Michael Leong‘s writing has recently appeared online at So and So Magazine; Action, Yes; Marsh Hawk Review; and Blackbox Manifold and in print in Hotel Amerika.  His manuscript The Philosophy of Decomposition / Re-composition as Explanation: A Poe and Stein Mash-up was a semi-finalist for the 2011 Sentence Book Award and will be published in the near future as a chapbook by Delete Press.  He will be reading from that work at the Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA) as well as giving a paper on generic hybridity in C.D. Wright’s long poem One Big Self.

John Madera was accepted to attend Brown University’s MFA in Literary Arts program, Fall 2011. “The Museum of Oddities & Eccentricities,” a collaboration with Lily Hoang, appears in Unfinished, Stories Finished by Lily Hoang (Jaded Ibis Press). He also reviewed Ted Pelton’s Bartleby, the Sportscaster (Rain Taxi: Review of Books, Spring 2011 Print Edition) and Renee Gladman’s Event Factory (The Review of Contemporary Fiction, 2011). Madera, along with John Reed, John Deming, and Tim Brown, took part in the National Book Critics Circle’s Celebrates Small Press Month panel, with Barbara Hoffert
moderating.

Amber Sparks‘s story, “A Brief, Bright Fire to Sweep the World Clean,” appeared in the March issue of PANK. The story was shortlisted for PANK’s 1001 Awesome Words Contest. Two of her previously published stories (“Tours of the Cities We Have Lost” from Unsaid 5, and “You Will Be the Living Equation” from Annalemma 7) were published in the latest issue of Zine Scene’s Reprint.

J. A. Tyler‘s second book, A Man of Glass & All the Ways We Have Failed, is now available from Fugue State Press. Please eat this book up.

John Dermot Woods and Lincoln Michel have begun posting their weekly comic strip, Animals in Midlife Crises, at The Rumpus. New jokes every Sunday!

Happy day for small press publishing: Jaded Ibis

Jaded Ibis Press, full-spectrum publisher, who is bringing out cool books by Lily Hoang, David Hoenigman, John Dermot Woods/J.A. Tyler, Janice Lee, Anna Joy Springer, Christopher Grimes, and me (BLANK, w/ tracks from Dj Spooky), got the grand treatment in Forbes.com today.

Let’s see, the last time an indie press was covered in Forbes…oh, yes, never.

My cell is blowing up and I am now drinking Cristal from a beer bong.

Go, Debra Di Blasi.

Big Other Contributors’ News, #23

It’s been a while since I’ve posted news of all our various goings on and whatnot. But everyone at Big Other has been up to all kinds of great things.

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DEAR JULIA by Brian Biggs

The other day I found Brian Biggs’s Dear Julia on my shelf and realized that I had never read it before. (I believe I bought it a few summers ago at used book store in White River Junction, VT). This book is beautiful. It was published by Top Shelf 11 years ago. Biggs’s pacing is incredibly regular (four panel per pages), but his compositions are a constant revolution and surprise. His style is pen and ink wash (think a more graceful-and less lively-Ben Katchor), very skillfully rendered, almost decorative. Although the drawing is in no way minimalist, what really makes this story works in what he leaves out. There’s always something pulling your eye to strain beyond the confines of the panel; you continue to ask for the next bit of story that’s not given. Basically it’s an excellent mystery novella about a strange man who is plagued by a compulsion to fly, and has lost a woman-Julia-somewhere along the way.

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Happy Birthday, Big Other!

With sites (especially blogs, I’d imagine) coming and going, resembling fairweathered friends with their weighty promises and concomitant lack of follow-through, and with evanescence and disposability, perhaps, being two of the internet’s primary characteristics, an internet year must be to an in-real-life year as what a dog year is to a human year. But it’s not for these reasons I’m happy to say that Big Other is celebrating its first year today.

A year ago, thinking about how frustrating it was to find a place that invited dialogue (and by “dialogue” I mean the concept formalized best, for me, by Paulo Friere, that is, a nexus that allows, encourages, fosters communication characterized by respect and equality, where diversity of thought is encouraged, where understanding and learning are privileged over mere judgment, although conclusions and sound and informed discernment, that is, sound judgment, and maybe even wisdom, may, in fact, result); thinking about how many blogs encourage stereotypes, discord, stupidity, inanity, macho posturing, and self-reflexiveness, blogs that are havens of groupthink, blogs that are really just another kind of mirror, mirror, on the wall, blogs that are really just digitized lint in an electronic navel; thinking about how I wanted something different from all that noise, I launched Big Other with the idea of it being what I, in some kind act of faith, called “an online forum of iconoclasts and upstarts focusing its lens on books, music, comics, film, video and animation, paintings, sculpture, performance art, and miscellaneous nodes and sonic booms,” a place to “explore how we are made and unmade by images, language, and sound; examine computer-mediated worlds; and dance along with various tumults, genre- and other border-crossings, trespassings, transgressions, and whatever, nevermind.” And I have to say that I haven’t been disappointed. Big Other has become all those things for me, and so much more, and by “so much more,” I mean, it has truly become a conduit for meeting many incredible people in person, and so, I really can’t wait to see what comes next for us.

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My Favorite Books from 2009 (in alphabetical order):

I’ve read over 120 books in 2009, and by the time the year is up I’ll have reviewed over fifty. At the risk of being redundant, I’ve put together a list of the books I thought were this year’s best. I’ve also included links to the ones I reviewed. But before that, I should mention some great books that weren’t published this year: Eugene Lim’s Fog & Car, Eugene Marten’s Waste, Mary Caponegro’s first three books, Ken Sparling’s Dad Says He Saw You at the Mall, Ursula K. Le Guin’s Lavinia, and Michael Kimball’s The Way the Family Got Away and Dear Everybody. And then there’s Shane Jones’s The Failure Six, David Shields’s Reality Hunger, and Ander Monson’s Vanishing Point, all of which won’t be released until next year. By the way, while the so-called major presses churned out a whole lot of fluff I did enjoy John Haskell’s Out of My Skin and Anne Michaels’s The Winter Vault. Oh, and I should mention The Complete Cosmicomics, by Italo Calvino which  is playful and inventive in that inimitably Calvino way. Each chapter is a combination of pseudo-science (as far as I can tell) and fantasy—a weird mishmash of fable and fact. They sound like entries from an encyclopedia sometimes, albeit a whimsical one. This was the best way to close out the year. So, besides beautifully-crafted language, eddying narratives, evocative imagery, and provocative characters—whose quirks, thoughts, and comings and goings remain with me—what the books on this list have in common is that they were published by independent presses.
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Big Other Contributors’ News #7

J.A. Tyler‘s book THE ZOO, A GOING has officially been contracted for publication with Dzanc Books, 2013.
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Molly Gaudry has received four Pushcart Prize nominations this year! For “Beneath mosquito netting I imagine,” from PANK #3; “Parts,” from Whiskey Island Magazine; “Potpourri,” from Emprise Review; and “Excerpts from We Take Me Apart,” from Mud Luscious Press.
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John Dermot Woods‘s story called “Waterslide” is in the new issue of Anemone Sidecar (#5). Big Other contributors Greg Gerke, Ryan W. Bradley, and J.A. Tyler have stories in there too.
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Shya Scanlon will be reading with Leslieann Hobayan and Douglas Treem  on Wednesday, Dec. 9th at  Cornelia St. Cafe, 29 Cornelia Street in New York City. Details HERE.

Also, Shya’s Forecast 42 Project came to a close on Monday at Monkeybicycle.  He’s going to be guest posting about it on Monkeybicycles’s blog on Wednesday, Dec. 9th, too.
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Stacy Muszynski is conducting a series of interviews with writers, asking their thoughts on online publishing. Rick Moody, Matt Stewart, Matt Bell, Dagoberto Gilb, and others join the discussion. It’s all happening at American Short Fiction’s blog.

Stacy’s interview with Laura van den Berg, of What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us, will be at ASF blog next week, followed by three days of her guest blogging. Her review of Michael Zadoorian’s The Lost Tiki Palaces of Detroit will appear in the next issue of The Collagist.
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Sean Lovelace has a new flash in Hayden’s Ferry Review. He has another flash in PANK.
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John Madera‘s review of Justin Sirois’s MLKNG SCKLS appears in New Pages’ December issue.

Big Other Contributors’ News #4

Lily Hoang is now an editor at Tarpaulin Sky.
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I WILL SMASH YOU, the documentary film by Luca Dipierro and Michael Kimball, will be screened in Baltimore on Friday, November 20. The screening is part of A Shattered Wig Night. There will be great readings by Blaster Al Ackerman and Ingrid Burrington, and loud music by Sweatpants. The place is The14 Karat Cabaret, at 218 West Saratoga St., downtown Baltimore. The time is 9pm. Little Burn Films is HERE.
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Check out John Madera‘s reviews:

Gert Jonke’s The System of Vienna: From Heaven Street to Earth Mound Square (The Millions)
Jackie Corley’s The Suburban Swindle (The Collagist)
The Delicacy and Strength of Lace: Letters Between Leslie Marmon Silko and James Wright (Word Riot)

He interviewed Chelsea Martin at The Rumpus HERE:

His story, “How to Be Happy and Free” can be found in Opium Magazine: The Mania Issue. The issue features Sean Landers, Jonathan Baumbach, Dawn Raffel, Anne Ray, Aaron Garretson, Davin Malasarn, B.R. Smith, Melinda Hill, John Madera, Catherine Sharpe, Wendy Duren,  Jamie Iredell, Ryan Boudinot, Ben Greenman, B.K. Evenson, Sean Carman, Nick Bredie, Matt Briggs, E. Loic Leuschner, Blake Butler, Matthew Simmons, Lindsay Mound, Je Banach, F.J. Bergmann, Kyle Davis, Lydia Fitzpatrick, Clark Hays, Kevin Leahy, Lisa A. Levy, Aimee Mepham, Sean Murphy, Brett Rosenblatt, Dean Young, Erin Berkowitz, Kathleen Rooney, Elisa Gabbert, CM Evans, Graham Roumieu, Jessy Randall, and Ben Towle. Plus, an interview with Jonathon Keats!

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As of November 30, Kim Chinquee is the new fiction and nonfiction editor of elimae. Writers should make their submissions in those fields to Kim beginning on November 30 at kimchinquee (at) gmail (dot) com. Her first issue as editor will be published January, 2010. She’s also guest-editing a flash fiction issue of Mississippi Review.

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Greg Gerke‘s “We Will Not Be Coming to Your Pancakes” is at Everyday Genius and “Underground Bliss” is at Writers’ Bloc (Rutgers).
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J.A. Tyler is up on Apostrophe Cast (he reads from his forthcoming novella, A Man of Glass & All the Ways We Have Failed). Then read his interview with Guy Ben Brookshire HERE.
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John Dermot Woods had a comic featured at Everyday Genius. Read it HERE.
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Ryan W. Bradley has two poems “June 2006 on the Trans Alaska Pipeline” and “Marlboro” in the new issue of Poets & Artists. Check them out HERE.

New Decomp!

Decomp Logo

New issue of decomP: a literary magazine is up.

From Jason Jordan, the Editor-in-Chief:

Welcome back to decomP for the November 2009 issue. This month we’re featuring new work from Michelle Askin, Bridget Bell, Matthew Browning, Susan Buttenwieser, Julian Callos, Adam Henry Carrière, Dave Clapper, Lydia Copeland, William Crawford, Rich Ives, John Jodzio, Sarah Kay, Ben Loory, Michael James Martin, Kaisa Ullsvik Miller, Angi Becker Stevens, and Sabrina Stoessinger. Additionally, we have a review of John Dermot Woods’s The Complete Collection of people, places & things.

Pressurized Writing, Pushed Writing, Bound Writing

At the recent &Now Conference in Buffalo, NY, I sat on a panel about collaborative projects with John Dermot Woods, Johannes Göransson, and Tim Wood. And during the Q and A portion, there were several ideas raised about the collaborative process and its potential to partially limit or bind a writer – some comments even pointing out how we panelists saw this as a welcome challenge, a nice way to be forced in different directions.

This connects for me with the recent Big Other talks about contests and why we enter them. For me, the deadline, the limits, the boundaries, this is a way to goad my writing, to ask me down a new path, to push me where I haven’t been.

Yes notoriety, yes accolades and resume placement, yes money, but also: provocation. It is due right now, no exceptions, It must be under X words. It must include A, B, or C. I couldn’t write this way all the time, and I wouldn’t want to, but sometimes, it is the push that leads me on.

Do artists sometimes need to be bound, to be gagged, so that the material swells in us, so that we are pressed into something uncomfortable and fresh and sparking?

&Now Conference: A Conference of Innovative Writing & the Literary Arts

amplogosmall

I went to the &Now Conference held in Buffalo, New York, October 14-17, and enjoyed it on a number of levels. First of all, it was great to cross that cold digital divide and finally meet so many people that I’ve been corresponding and/or working with, and/or reading their work for a while, people like Matt Bell, Cara Benson, Blake Butler, Donald Breckinridge, Ryan Call, Mary Caponegro, Kim Chinquee, Rikki Ducornet, Tina May Hall, Lily Hoang, Joanna Howard, Matt Kirkpatrick, Josh Maday, Kendra Grant Malone, Lance Olsen, J.A. Tyler, Bill Walsh, and John Dermot Woods, as well as reconnecting with Brian Evenson and James Yeh. I also had a chance to meet Dimitri Anastasopoulos, Donald Breckenridge, Rikki Ducornet, Shelly Jackson, Steve Katz, Dave Kress, Christina Milletti, Pedro Ponce, Davis Schneiderman, and Steve Tomasula. Have I missed anyone?

And if it was only that, it would have been well worth it, but I also attended many dynamic, energetic, informed, inventive, and stimulating panels and readings. Below are some capsules of some of the events as well as recordings of some of them.

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