Edward Mullany’s If I Falter At The Gallows

I had the great pleasure to read Mullany’s book of poems published by Publishing Genius Press, as well as discuss his book and life in general with him. Below is our conversation.

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The Big Other Interview #1023: Andy Devine

Several years ago a writer with whom I have been linked, Henry Mescaline, published a piece in The Iowa Review (37.3) titled “First paragraph of Marcel Proust’s Swann’s Way, (Translated from the French by C. K. Scott Moncrieff), Alphabetized,” which begins like this:

a a a a a a a a a actually after all an And and and and and and and and appeared as asleep astonished at awake awaken away be be become bed been been begin between blow book book book burning but but candle candle cause channel Charles V  […]

Thus, I was delighted to discover Andy Devine’s new book from Publishing Genius, Words, a short text that take these experiments to new places.

Page 72 of Words, by Andy DevineThere is something in Devine’s whispy precision that recalls the too-little-read 99: The New Meaning, by Walter Abish, in that text’s (il)logical pursuit of its structure, and something in Devine’s maniacal production itself that recalls Abish’s much-better-known-but-hard-to-find Alphabetical Africa.

Big Other tracked down the elusive Devine, for this all-too-brief exclusive interview:

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I Shot the Moon, Calamari Press, 1 / 39, P.S. AT LEAST WE DIED TRYING

Way back when I did something called a full-press review of Publishing Genius Press. I read all of PGP that I could get my hands on, then reviewed each piece & collected them here.

& now, since I recently shot the moon with Calamari Press, I have decided to do a full-press review of Calamari here at the BigOther. I will be reading the 39 books they sent me & posting a short review of each one as I chew through them.

To start, click through for a review of P.S. AT LEAST WE DIED TRYING TO MAKE YOU IN THE BACKSEAT OF A TAXIDERMIST by Wendy Collin Sorin & Derek White.

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Big Other Contributors’ News #5

Lily Hoang will be reading in New York City on Dec. 2 with Uwem Akpan & Juan Felipe Herrera for the PEN celebration, titled “Crossing Over.” The reading will be followed by a panel discussion with Norton editor Brendan Curry & NBCC President Jane Ciabattari. This is happening at Housing Works Bookstore & Cafe, 126 Crosby St., at 7pm.
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Luca Dipierro has a story in the new New York Tyrant. It’s called “How I Left Myself Out of the Grave.”

On Tuesday, December 1, the Cinecity Film Festival in Brighton, England, will screen a short from I WILL SMASH YOU, the film by Luca Dipierro & Michael Kimball, along with shorts by Stewart Copeland, Nash Edgerton and others. It’s the segment with Publishing Genius Press’ Adam Robinson. It Will Be Monumental. More info on the festival’s website.
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Kim Chinquee has a story, “Soldier,” is up at ArtVoice. Check it out HERE.
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Leni Zumas will teach a fiction workshop called “Story Lab” in Asheville, NC, starting in mid-February. Emphasis on experiments, invention, risk-taking. Writers of all stripes, camps, schools, and persuasions welcome. Details at the Great Smokies Writing Program website.

Joseph Young’s Easter Rabbit

Joseph Young’s Easter Rabbit is available for pre-order from Publishing Genius. It’s a beautiful book of micro-fictions, most no longer than fifty words and none longer than two-hundred. Young’s micros are dominated by He and She scenes ranging from the domestic to the absurd and to the absurdly cruel as in “Loss”:

She burned the shirt in the backyard, the green  smoke an ugly whiplash, the buttons popping. I still don’t get it, he said. What? That I have one less shirt? The fire was pale, shining on her arms.

Many things are going on in between the lines, but the words and images are precise with ‘whiplash’ overlaying the whole as the sensation in worn relationships such as this.

Elsewhere water is dominant in the ninety-plus micros. Rivers, eddys, streams, lakes, ice sheets. As is nature itself: tadpoles flip, squirrels jump about, there is a wounded horse.

In “Ascension” Young portrays the mystery of nature and how the observer observes that which falls away in decay:

How many animals, she said, you think live in this woods? How much flesh? They thought of the birds, the rats, the snakes, the deer, the thousand bugs piled over the ground, squeezed among the leaves.

My favorite is “The Willful Child,” a micro that encompasses so many gothic images and startling emotions you think you’ve read a dose of Flannery O’Connor”

Her doctor told her it was the bite of a brown recluse, the dime-sized wound on her palm. She believed this, knowing that if there were a god, he’d come to her as a spider. Of course, she knew there wasn’t, and as the wound deepened and went purple, her heart refused to give it blood. She lay gaping on the bathroom floor, her hand the look of dead roses, her body an excitement of shudders. Help, she told her father through the telephone, I’m sorry for everything I’ve done.

It is a tender piece but not maudlin. The scared child is realizing what the world can do, how it can take away, even end things. These micros refuse any sense of completion. They live in the actions of the characters, in the details of the river or forest, and in the Beckettian/Pinteresque bits of dialogue. They are story and poetry and they describe a universe in mourning for its own mysteries, a human race run down but capable of enchantment. Joseph Young said he started out writing traditional length stories but he has found his niche in this powerful, evocative collection.