Monday, January 26, 2009


More responses to EVER from kind readers:

Luca Dipierro ('Ever is one the few books that entered in my organism through my mouth instead of my eyes.')

Daniel Bailey ('the book reads like a massive poem to no one and nothing that has ever existed.')

Kevin Wilson ('if there ever was a book created to be read while holding a feverish baby against your chest, this is the book.')

I am a literary hottie (though I don't remember saying any of the things in these quotes as I was b-day drunk).

Better news: NO COLONY 002 is now for sale. We just got the proof back from the printer, and it is a sick, sick beast, full of an absolutely butt-grinding slew of new words. We learned a lot about book design in doing 001 and as a result this one looks even better than before, inside and out.

(that amazing cover image is by Michael Berryhill)

Among these we have 2 authors publishing their first ever works in print, a monologue titled 'In Praise of Rape,' a cryptic phone game, our longest story yet in form of literary mystery about a man addicted to porn, an excerpt from Ken Sparling's most recent and as yet unpublished novel, as well as some other crazy and new as new milk words. Here is who:

Alan Bajandas
Isadora Bey
Kristina Born
Aaron Burch
Blake Butler
Luca Dipierro
Scott Garson
Rachel B. Glaser
Chris Higgs
Brandon Hobson
Edward Kim
Matt Kirkpatrick
Rauan Klassnik
Lee Klein
Darby Larson
Evan Lavender-Smith
Patrick Leonard
Eugene Lim
Sean Lovelace
Anthony Luebbert
Conor Madigan
Gene Morgan
Bryson Newhart
Christian Peet
Jennifer Pieroni
Kathryn Regina
Joanna Ruocco
Bradley Sands
Ken Sparling
William Walsh
Corey Zeller

(Look, how clean!)

You can now order the issue (we will have them in hand by the weekend) for $10 NO COLONY, or if you don't have 001 yet you can get both for $15, and we also are now offering a subscription for issues 002-005 for $35, which is a limited time bargain price or something market-languaged like that.

For those that have submissions still outstanding, you are in the window for future issues, as we ran out of room and therefore stopped reading before we closed the issue. So it might be a min, but it's better than a blanket rejection party, no? New subs will likely reopen after AWP.

Anyway, we hope you will purchase and enjoy this fine piece of strange meat. I have to say, from cover to cover this collection of writing makes me want to write, for every inch. I am really excited about the words in here.

We appreciate your support.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

how you find out about shit

i decided to write this post after reading sasha fletcher's comment on htmlgiant because it made me feel good to think about, and i was interested in feeling good while thinking about something during today

i learned about frank stanford from both peter markus and derek white mentioning in various places that 'the battlefield where the moon says i love you' was one of, or maybe the most favorite of, their favorite books, i think maybe derek for a while had it listed as the only book in his books section on myspace, but maybe i am just projecting.

i learned about both peter markus and derek white through calamari press, which i think i found first when derek submitted a story to lamination colony in early 2006, which led me to the press, at which point i bought several of the books and all thereafter, etc.

i learned about online journals i think probably by looking up some kind of keyword on, i know it was before google, i can't remember what i looked up, i think of one the first sites I found was eyeshot, who ended up publishing my first ever thing, i remember feeling amazed and like i was at the center of some universe when i read the acceptance letter, like my head really was being physically changed, i also remember during this time looking at pindeldyboz in pure astonishment and praying one day i could be there, though it took several rejections and much going on inside my mind before this happened.

i learned about william burroughs after spending several years reading things related to the beats, which i guess is a phase all readers go through, especially males, i think this obsession started when my friend brought a recording of allen ginsberg reading 'america' into our 10th grade lit class, we had to get a permission slip signed to hear it cause he said 'fuck,' i thought that was awesome, i liked everything about the way he said things, i bought his collected poems and read it back to back and from there read everything i could find related to beats, of which i think i ended up most obsessed with william burroughs, i bought 'naked lunch' from the only indie bookstore in a hip part of town and felt excited that i finally knew a book there that i could buy without just browsing, i read 'naked lunch' several times while kind of amazed that a book like it existed, that people could talk like that in books

i learned about 'in watermelon sugar' from a reading list that david foster wallace used from one of his classes at pomona, during a period in which i would read any and everything i could find that he mentioned in interviews or blurbed, i have the list somewhere, i need to find it, other books i learned from his mentioning included books by cormac mccarthy, donald barthelme, nicholson baker, cynthia ozick, renata adler, david markson, robert coover, mark leyner, william vollmann, a.m. homes, and probably an almost majority of my self-imposed 'formative' reading during college, i think i can pretty much point to david foster wallace's public record of taste as an early guidebook to everything i may have learned about both reading and writing

i learned about david foster wallace i think in a random entertainment magazine a year after 'infinite jest' came out, i think it was while i was at a studio recording a record with my band at the time, the magazine just happened to be there among mostly other recording magazines and porn, inside the magazine i read a description of infinite jest and it seemed intriguing so i asked for it for christmas, this was during a period of time that i basically had quit reading out of boredom with what i knew about in books and music was way more 'my thing' and i was a computer science major at georgia tech, had i not read that magazine that day i might be a lot fatter now and probably hate my life, i got infinite jest for xmas and read it everywhere i went, i remember being in a physics class with a couple hundred people in it and sitting during a review for a test reading the book instead of paying attention to what i needed to know to pass, at a later point in the semester while i was still reading the book i walked out of that class and dropped out of it, and subsequently changed my major to the most liberal arts related thing they had at tech, that is the year i wrote my first 'story'

i learned about steve erickson from going to this branch of discount bookstores with my mom before i knew much about what i liked to read and would go through the stacks of books they had one by one, they were mostly all remainders, i found 'tours of the black clock' i think because i liked the title and the back of the book really made me want to read it, this was before it was easy to get stuff on the internet i think, or at least i didn't know about it, in the book it mentioned all his other books, so each time we went back to this particular branch of discount stores, of which there were 2 or 3 in the area, one of which was really far away, but my mom liked to go looking too, the first thing i would do when we got to the store was go see if they had any of the other steve erickson books and sometimes they did, which would make me feel like i'd survived a long journey or something

i learned to love tom waits after years of talking shit about his music, i remember being in TGI friday's one night and saying to two of my friends who liked his music how i thought anyone who liked his music must be lying, because it sounded like someone rubbing two stones together inside his voice, now that is one of the things i most like about his voice, i think a lot of the things i really like now are things i used to talk shit about or hate for the same reasons

i learned about amy hempel because she had blurbed the back of gary lutz's book, i think i bought gary lutz's book because i liked 3rd bed magazine so much and his book came out on their press, i had completely forgotten until the middle of last year that i was a subscriber to 3rd bed and had several of their issues, i can't remember what made me subscribe to 3rd bed because i know for sure at the time i knew nothing about it or the writers in it, actually i think one time they mentioned it on pindeldyboz or were linked on pindeldyboz while i was obsessed with being published at pindeldyboz and followed all the links on their website and i guess liked what 3rd bed looked like, anyway back to amy hempel, after reading gary lutz's book i liked it so much and felt such power coming from it, from both the words and the way the book looked sitting on my bed and how it seemed a whole other thing inside the world, for real, i started looking into the people who had blurbed him, including brian evenson and ben marcus and amy hempel, after reading amy hempel's book because of her blurb she was the main reason along with rick moody, who i discovered again in relation to DFW shortly after finishing infinite jest, that i decided to try to go to bennington for my mfa when i was done with georgia tech and had no idea what to do after that, if i hadn't read gary lutz i would not have found amy hempel at that time and probably not ended up at bennington

i learned about barry hannah because amy hempel read us 'water liars' in workshop and then suggested i read 'ray' during the semester, and also learned about a lot of knopf and lish books that she recommended though at the time i didn't even realize they were lish related, or even who lish was that much, i feel like i could get a lot more now out of conversations i might have had with my teachers back then and often feel idiotic over some of the things i did/wrote/said during that time, though that is probably the point of my having been there: to get it out of me as much as possible if not for good. i remember one time, for example, asking amy if david ohle was gordon lish, because i had read that somewhere i think on the internet and amy just laughed and said, 'gordon lish isn't david ohle'

i learned about, or at least started paying closer attention to, fc2, and thereafter, other independent presses, because when i was at bennington i had a professor tell me that when i finished the book i was working on with him i would pretty much have only two possible places that would be interested, fc2 and dalkey archive, which, looking back on such advice, makes me feel really confused about the nature of such advice, even if maybe it was meant as a compliment or something, but is also i think frightening to tell a writer, though maybe also in another way a very important thing to have to hear even if it isn't necessarily the case, and this is also how i found a lot of smaller anomalous writers whose books i loved and still don't hear about as much as i should, etc

i learned about sam pink when he sent me a story to lamination colony blindly before i think he'd published much of anything and i really loved what he said and how he said it and have continued to do so thenceforth, along with several other writers that i now see around a lot which is probably the main reason i've kept doing an online magazine for 5+ years

i think everything i learn about now comes from the internet or sometimes talking to other people

i need to stop now

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Some very nice recent blog responses to EVER by Ken Baumann & J.A. Tyler.

Thank you to everyone who has continued to read, mention, and comment about the book. It's really awesome.

On other fronts, pretty much the day after EVER was finalized I turned around and worked on finalizing SCORCH ATLAS, which is now in the design phases.

Zach from Featherproof and Bleached Whale Design asked me if I had an idea of what I wanted the book to look like, and I said something like one of those philosophy or science manuals from the 70's: he took that and made it look 'destroyed,' as if it had suffered through itself:

This image is for the distro catalogs and all so may not be the final book cover, but it will be hard to beat in my mind, as being exactly exactly what I wanted. I want to kiss it on the page ends and cut my tongue good. Zach is goddamn wizard.

I am also really stoked about Featherproof's new enterprise, Paper Egg Books, which sounds blisteringly rad, not to mention Amelia Gray's also beautifully covered AM/PM, which will be out in time for AWP!

If you are in Atlanta, tomorrow night our SOLAR ANUS reading series will be featuring a rad duo in Bruce Covey and Matt DeBenedictis, 7 PM at Beep Beep Gallery at 696 Charles Allen Dr. Come do that!

Friday after tomorrow, the 30th, I will be reading at Emory University's What's New In Poetry series with Jen Tynes, 8 PM at Harris Hall Parlour, if you happen to be around. Come do that!

This has been an entirely utilitarian blog post.

I will go back to making a mess soon.

Notes on Lara Glenum's MAXIMUM GAGA

The back cover of Lara Glenum's MAXIMUM GAGA reads like this, and only this:


Q: Is it really necessary to make such abominations?
A: It is absolutely necessary to make such abominations.

The selection of this excerpt from the text serves as both a warning and a pleasure outline: what you are going to see here is going to squirm inside you, and stay there well after you have read it: if you are not ready to be gripped in the text fists an abomination, do not pick up the book: but you must pick up the book.

In 110 pages Lara Glenum has calcified the remains of what she might have in her sleep licked out of the head of one of the 1500 brains that died trapped inside the body of Gilles Deleuze's suicide, flushed from the spewmater of Lewis Carroll's brain damaged brother's long-rotten LSD baked corpse, and churned together with the sugars of recalled candy wiped out whole middle schools in Japan.

These are poems that as they create their world among the lines become banned inside the created land as soon as the land therein hears itself.

The terrain of the book is filled with malformed sexual machines, Sade-ian cartoon demons with child names like Minky Momo and Seven Cunt Mary and the Bull. There is a stage play that seems implicating in and on the poems as if by quasi-candied-dictatorial reign, which then scourges itself in and of the poems as if it is one of them.

Phrases used include: voluptorium, muzzleloader, ham canyon, carnage suit, trannie mermaids, perfect labia.

There is the presence of a 'Normopath' which is used both as an insult and as slang and as a presence that destroys. It also seems to fear itself and want to fuck itself. It also seems to have the power to enter the text's reader.

This book gives David Cronenberg nightmares that make him come cotton candy oil, and then he eats it thinking it is coffee and he has more power to make films.

The problem with a lot of popular 'violent' literature like Bret Easton Ellis and whoever else people who like films like 'Sin City' read is that the violence alone can be removed from the language and used as dudism blockades that in the end don't get a lot further than the films that are eventually made of them.

Extracting the true viscera out of the unclean act by NEVER INSERTING THE TRUE UNCLEAN renders the truly brutal act another popcorn poppy.

This is why when Lara Glenum on page 74 of this masterwork writes:

I saw myself dressed in pink-eye & tumors: modeling
the latest vivisection device: : I saw myself lying on a gurney
surrounded by deer in white jackets : My spine being pulled out my
asshole : like a string of diamonds :

I am left feeling giggilyly violated, in the way of having actually read something that enacted the act of what it was saying by saying it in such a way that I could not thereafter shake the verbiage from my head.

This book is filled with such intuitive demon imagery a la Kenneth Anger's camera splitting and the albino man touching his forehead with a clear bar

or the twisted colors of Fassbinder's films that make me nauseated just by looking at a few frames.

Even the punctuation here (which looks different in the book, but blogger's formatting issue is keeping you safe), the seemingly listless colons floating between the self defacement like organs shat out of the body, sits in my teeth in the way of a bit of food that I can not get out and over time will rot my teeth to shit.

Everyone in this book I think fucked machines for so long they resorted to new methods, there is a scene where a machine is pumping a body full of cream.

The sex words that proliferate here fuck themselves while stung up with childlike playsong and the various contortions of the body against itself and against a soft substance that in our world few have yet to realize we can't see.

In the same way as a child I checked out a copy of Stephen King's 'IT' from the library and didn't even open it, I left it on my desk and at night I could hear it talking to me and I never read the book until years later, and it scared me so much more before I opened it, MAXIMUM GAGA won't stop talking to me when its pages are closed, and this is after I have read it, and the things it says to me scare in ways that make my body crimp in little waves of gunk or something, and I have the book now resting on my chest and may sleep this way.

Someone sat on my copy of MAXIMUM GAGA when I had passengers who got into my backseat where I keep the books I am about to read and the books I have already read and want to continue to have near me.

Whoever sat in the backseat crumpled the corner of MAXIMUM GAGA is going to develop an ass rash that as it ripens will eject $$$ and they will be very rich and they will buy a machine that makes babies they can destroy.

I will press this book on people who I love and who need more.

Lara Glenum's MAXIMUM GAGA is both a masterwork of the new grotesque, of innovation in lymph-adhering language, and a much needed kick in the lips for even those already in the business of wanting to kick lips without disrupting their own terror coma.

I want you, need you, to buy this book, so that it will feel distracted with new attention and stop humping my leg (please don't stop humping my leg).

This is more than necessary.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Chris Higgs's reading of EVER

All orders for EVER are packed now, half have been mailed, the other half will be out on Tuesday. I think almost all of the preorders except the last few I packed come with a soundtrack I made to go with the book, the tracklist and brief elucidation of which will be posted sometime soon on Largehearted Boy's Book Notes feature. If you didn't get one, or didn't preorder and want one, email me and I'll send file or something.

You can review or say something about the book on Amazon now, though they haven't started selling it, and is better as always to buy from Calamari direct. Brief reviews or ratings or comments there are more than appreciated.

Speaking of such, the benevolent and magically attentive Chris Higgs sent me a letter with notes he wrote down in his reading journal while or after reading, which were so in a way of speaking about the book that I haven't found a way quite to do, that I felt it too apt not to share.

It's funny when a friend who doesn't read that much fiction asks what the book is about, because I really have no idea how to say. Mostly I say 'titties,' unless my mom asks, then I say 'I don't know, why does it have to be about anything.' From now on, though, I may just fwd them this.

Friday, January 16, 2009, 6:47pm

I read Blake Butler's new novella Ever, while in the bathtub earlier today. I got it in the mail. Blake signed it, which was nice. He also included a compact disc labeled Ever that turned out to be a mixtape accompaniment to the book. I sampled the disc and found it pregnant with potential. When I go to read the book for a second time, I will do so while listening to the mix.

My overall reaction is one of pleasure. I really enjoyed reading it. Very rare is it that I read an entire anything in one sitting (point of reference: it took me one week to read Clarice Lipsector's 94 page novella The Hour of the Star).

The sentences kept pulling me. The sentences were Gordon Lish worthy sentences.

The artwork complimented the text, made it more than a story, made it an artifact.

Key elements, in no particular order: blood, skin, water, a bathtub, the sky, a house, doors, teeth, a mother, crawling, burping, mirrors, the yawning, sores, loneliness.

Brought to mind aspects of David Ohle's Motorman (in the way it evokes a strange world that is both alien and familiar), David Markson's Wittgenstein's Mistress (Made me imagine: what if the main character in WM had a sister who, instead of wandering the streets confined herself indoors?), Ellen Burstyn's character in Requiem for a Dream combined with the woman character in Alexander Payne's segment of Paris, je t'aime, Mark Danielewski's House of Leaves (made me think about teaching a course on representations of the home in late 20th/early 21st century literature – could use parts of Blanchot's The Poetics of Space, parts of Henri Lefebvre's The Production of Space, could also use Kathryn Davis's Hell), certainly aspects of Ben Marcus (the linguistic oddity, the estrangement of language, the overall defamiliarization so characteristic of his work).

There is a part towards the beginning where some neighbor kids climb up on the roof of their house and touch the sky, there's another part where there's a button or a switch in the sky, then there's another part where the bathtub (or was it the fountain?) becomes the sky.

I loved what Blake was doing with the sky. This was certainly something "new" in the realm of literature – it made me scared of going outside, or at least, it made me scared of looking up at the sky. Which reminds me of the opening sentence in Gibson's Neuromancer about the sky looking like a television tuned to a dead channel.

Teeth are all over. Lots of teeth, lots of sores, too. Lots of bleeding. But the teeth thing. This contributed to the dream quality – for me at least, given that teeth often appear in my dreams, losing teeth, teeth cracking, etc.

It is mysterious. It is sad. It is very mysterious.

The brackets got me thinking. Typically, we use brackets to signify a passage of text that is being rewritten, filled in, paraphrased, or….

well, I just googled the phrase "how to use brackets" and this is what I found:


Br: use brackets for parentheses within parentheses or to indicate an addition to a quotation.

PARENTHESIS WITHIN PARENTHESIS: The Lord Byron who visited Hawaii in 1825 was a cousin (George Anson [1789-1868]) of the famous poet.

ADDITION TO A QUOTATION: Samuel Johnson observed, "he that tries to recommend him [Shakespeare] by select quotations will succeed like the pedant [. . .] who, when he offered his house to sale, carried a brick in his pocket as a specimen" (264).

Br X: use brackets sparingly. They make a page ugly. With a little imagination, you can find a better alternative:

UGLY: Emily Dickinson paradoxically claims, "I [she] taste[s] a liquor never brewed."

BETTER: Emily Dickinson paradoxically claims to "taste a liquor never brewed."

According to The Keables Guide to Writing by Harold Keables.

I would argue that Ever proves Keables's aesthetic assumption wrong. Brackets are not ugly. Brackets are interesting. They raise questions that would not be raised if they were absent. They add on. They multiply possibilities.

Hermeneutically speaking, brackets could signify the narrator's inability to own her thoughts, her personality, her selfhood. The brackets make the speaker conditional.

Time is nonlinear in Ever - that's the obvious, easy answer. But I would claim that the way Blake uses time is actually demonstrative of quantum wave function. By this I mean, time seems to pop in and out of existence in Ever, much like the experience of popping a quiff. One moment exists because it is being observed by the narrator, and then it disappears, only to be replaced by another observation, which could be considered "random" if it were not understood in terms of quantum physics. In terms of quantum physics, the notions of order and chaos are collapsed because every possibility exists simultaneously even though we only experience one possibility at a time – this seems to be a genuinely interesting analogy for Ever – all possibilities exist, all time exists, but what we as the reader experience are only those moments established by the author, non sequentially, non logically, as she pops the quiff of her reality.

[remember to return to this notion of interpreting quantum connections]

Thanks be to Higgs for such a thoughtful and flattering read.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


New words live at WIGLEAF now, which, depending on when you load the page over the next few days, will shift. Each is 'Rupture'. Go reload sometimes, if'n you want. It is a rather different thing. There is no schedule. Someone was sneezing in my back. Thanks to Scott for putting forth the idea of flipped coins opening doors into weird text rooms.

Some old guy in this coffee room just said 'sweet set of cock' in here really loud but not on purpose.

I mailed many EVER preorders today. More will tomorrow. It was a good bday present to myself to be sending books out. Thanks to all who continue to support. :) BUY EVER.

More presenting: the next 5 people who comment pledging to write a critical study or response of 500 words or more to any piece in the first issue of No Colony will receive the issue for free. The responses will be posted on HTML Giant. Please only if you are serious, and not if you will flake. More out loud thinking about things for thinking in the way of words is good.

I am going to try giving away more things.

Tonight I am going to get loud and drink some margaritas soon.

I didn't mean to write today. Today was going to be day off. I wrote anyway.

There were so many flies in this restroom. It kind of made me happy. I am inconsolably happy.

I am going to go be a person and have fun now.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

EVER arrived.

I woke up early this morning from a dream in which I was being given a recipe to make antiperspirant. We were pouring the wine into cooking oil, which could then be worn to kill sweating. I woke up to an accidental bap in the face with a blanket, which once awake, I welcomed. I needed to get up.

I drove to my parents' house, where UPS was scheduled to deliver EVER, since I can't get mail at my own place still. The rebuilding is mostly done but they still don't bring mail.

It was 11 or so when I got to my parents house. It was quiet. I opened the UPS package tracker. It was listed as 'OUT FOR DELIVERY' at 8 AM.

Over the next 7 hours I circled my parents' kitchen and driveway. In the yard my dad was trimming little bushes. Across the street, men in big trucks arrived. I watched them climb 3 different trees in the yard and saw off all the biggest branches. The trees were huge, probably 50 feet high. The branches got cut and were swung to the ground with ropes. There was one guy way up there doing all the work. Once the branches were down, they started cutting the trunk out in 4-5 foot hunks until it was gone.

While inside I refreshed the UPS tracker probably 50-100 times over 7 hours. I wrote a little for about an hour, expecting at any moment for my dad to come in and tell me a package had arrived. I found I was too preoccupied to write much, so I quit doing that. I ate a lot of little snacky food standing in the cold outside in a t-shirt. I talked to a friend I hadn't talked to in too long. I talked to the dad of a kid I grew up with in the neighborhood about the cold, and how time gets faster, and how tomorrow I will be 30.

I spent a lot of time watching through the window where you can just see above the fence enough that when the brown truck came I would know.

Around 5 pm I started to get a bit frantic and skittish, wondering why the boxes hadn't come yet. I think I told someone that when the UPS guy got here I was going to 'fuck him in the head with a sword.' I'd been calm most of the day, but after so long and now it started to get dark, I was afraid the books weren't going to come. Waiting one more day all of a sudden after all the other waiting seemed something unbearable.

I started looking on the UPS website to see what else could be done. Phone #s or something.

At some other point I went outside again, for probably the 20th time that day.

The UPS truck was pulling into my driveway. It was dark now. I stood and looked at brown machine and waited for the man to get out of it.

He did.

He handed me two large boxes from Book Mobile. He thanked me and I thanked him. I think I started to hug him. He told me to have a good day. He got back in the truck.

Coming back into the house with the boxes my whole face for a second went liquid. I think I squealed or said words that don't exist.

I went past my mom in the kitchen with the boxes and went to the last room in the house where I slept when I stayed here during the hurricane, and where my sister slept when we were kids.

I opened the boxes. There was paper. I moved the paper. I touched my book.

The book is small and beautiful and perfect and exactly the dream object I'd been imagining all this time, even more than.

I took out some of the books and looked at them in reams. I opened one and touched the pages. I read part of one page. I looked at the spine. I stood beside the bed and looked at one of the books for a little while.

There is a lot of light in the room in this picture:

I took one copy of the book and took it back into the kitchen and handed it to my mom. She kissed me and said thank you. I went back to the books and sat down.

Perhaps you can't tell on the spine in the picture, but the title is white and my name is light blue. I feel kind of light blue right now, in the best way.

Tonight I'm going to pack the preorders at my house and drink some water. Looking forward to this finally getting into hands. Thank you again to everyone who has shown so much support already. And most to Derek and to Peter for the greatest 1 day before my 30th birthday gift I could have ever imagined.

You can order the book now directly from Calamari Press.

Friday, January 9, 2009

'You might as well sit in the chair, your ass has been all over it.'

EVER is now 'officially released.' You can not check out specs on the book and order direct from Calamari Press.

All preorders will be shipped next week when the book is slated to arrive on my birthday, Jan 14. Thanks again to all who preordered the book, you should be finally getting it + bonuses very soon (ie: I will begin shipping them by the end of next week if all goes as planned.

A bunch of EVER-related stuff is also coming out, by chance, on my birthday.

We will be having an Atlanta release party (in addition to the NYC release party on March 5 with Gary Lutz and Robert Lopez), which will be Feb 6th at Kavarna in Decatur with Jamie Iredell reading and a couple of live bands, etc. More info later.

Speaking of Mr. Iredell, his new chapbook 'Atlanta' is out now from Paper Hero Press's Achilles chapbook series. Jamie is the shit (the title of this post came from him last night at a bar where this douche in a suit was rubbing his big mound up on the Dockins at our table until finally Dockins had to move, then the guy turns around and asks if he can have the chair, which turned into quite a nice heehaw scene), and his chapbook is well worth the $4. Here is my blurb on the book:

"If Mary Robison listened to more punk, grew up in Las Vegas in the 80s before the 80s sucked, did whippits while reading Ben Marcus and scrolling the alternative personals for golden lines to crib, she might have exploded into the post-post-Beat sentence index that is Atlanta. But she didn't. Jamie Iredell did, and in reading this lean but dense meat-eater of a sui generis prose poem cycle, one realizes there might still be a way for chapbooks to compete with porn."

Get that shit.

Why is it that at readings often you will hear someone tell a story that led them into writing a poem or something, only you realize as they go on to read the thing that the thing they wrote is way less interesting than the description of the thing that caused them to write the other thing. I'm not sure what went wrong there.

Last night at a reading this guy said something along the lines of 'I always tell my students on the first day to stop trying to write in imitation of what they admire' and I had to fight myself from standing up and taking the nearest book off of the nearest shelf and winging it at the guy's head.

The guy seemed really nice, and I was told he is one of the nicest guys around, that's cool too though.

Later he also said something about how he always tells his students not to write love poems then a few minutes later he read a love poem.

I almost got into an accident several times last night because I was driving in traffic and reading at the same time. I got Lara Glenum's new one from Action Books Maximum Gaga and couldn't quit reading aloud from it to myself. Two kids outside the car saw me reading while going slow and they were pointing at me and I think talking shit and I read louder and made a face at them with teeth. The book is really fucking good. Like terror good. I will write more about it when I have finished reading, but you should go ahead and get it now. We can talk about it. While I was almost rearending people while reading the book aloud I thought, 'This would be worth it, to get in an accident while reading this book aloud, and even appropriate.' In this way Lara Glenum's book managed to impress danger on myself and those around me, good.

I did some automatic writing the night before last, with a specific set of inputs on me and with time restraints induced by those inputs, and with a focus of imagining on another body. That sentence was unclear and should be. The automatic writing produced 14 pages of text. I reread the text today and changed 8 words in it and was otherwise very surprised with what came out. I am going to incur this same procedure 2-3 more times with the inputs slightly altered, though still on the same focus. I have an idea what to do with it then, but I don't know. I think it will be called 'Music for Bobby Beausoleil'. Bobby Beausoleil appears briefly in this film:


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Gert Jonke 1946-2009

I was really sad to hear yesterday that the Austrian novelist, poet, playwright, TV writer, and arbiter of various other word-bound enterprises, Gert Jonke, had died of cancer at age 62 on Sunday. I had just that evening been talking up his work to Ken, saying how criminal it seems that he is not more well known and read in English, having written and published more than 17 novels in German that are just now, thanks to the ever-brilliant and vital Dalkey Archive, becoming available outside of Austria and the like.

Hopefully, if nothing else, his death will help bring even more attention to his brilliant and innovative work.

I had just recently discovered Jonke's work last month when I ordered his GEOMETRIC REGIONAL NOVEL from Dalkey during their amazing December sale. The copy for the book alone was enough for me to want it without knowing anything else about the work or the author:

Geometric Regional Novel is an innovative satire on the process by which bureaucracy and official regimentation insidiously pervade society. In a deadpan, pseudo-scientific tone, the nameless narrator takes us on a tour of a bizarre village whose inhabitants lead such habitual, regulated lives that they resemble elements in a mathematical equation. The traditional village leaders—the mayor, the priest, the teacher—uphold the status quo with comically exaggerated attention to ceremony and trivia, and nearly every aspect of life has been codified. Contrasting with the mathematical descriptions of village life are flashes of colorful, surrealistic writing, exemplifying the power of the imagination to counter the monotonous routines of daily life.

When the book arrived I read it from cover to cover without moving off my sofa. Jonke's rendering here of a ridiculous 'region' where science and law are so askew it is as if someone has taken a smear eraser to the city's face was something I had been looking to read for a long time coming. From page to page, literally, I was in awe of how Jonke was able to meld so many high concept ideas together into a narrative so immensely readable and downright funny. For every inch in that he is innovative (with paragraphs that recurse on their own logic in the mist of themselves, weird Frank Stanford-imagery of bulls and hollow trees and bridges that stretch on and on, sudden 'new law' attached to the community in the midst of its rendering that continue to skew the perspective, descriptions of traveling artists performing impossible tasks, etc.) he is also downright amusing and hilarious. This isn't one of those books that are so brash in their innovation that the reader is made to slog along: every page is literally one you find yourself want to read again as soon as it is over, if not to see how the hell he did it so smoothly, but just for the pure pleasure of it.

I could go on about the new new of the executions made in this book, such as the absolutely amazing questionnaire that is placed in the middle the book as a thing that must be filled out by the geometric region's citizens who wish to cross through a forest (before Barthelme did it with SNOW WHITE, as well as elsewhere). His employment of double-speak questions and Kafkaesque bureaucracy in form I literally had to stop and read aloud. I've never seen a questionnaire in a book work so well, and that is not to mention the other strange and amazing tactics employed here: the diagrams, the weird city ordinances, the disjoined post-fairy-tale language, the amazing logic, and etc.

I find it pretty interesting, too, that this book was originally published in German in 1969, predating Calvino's INVISIBLE CITIES by three years, and pretty much accomplishing everything Calvino set out to do in that book, but tenfold, and with even more zeal and audacity I think.

That more people in English do not know this book is something that should change. Fans of other curious books in such as a Jesse Ball, Matthew Derby, Brian Evenson, and Kelly Link, as well as Borges, Robert Pinget, Beckett, and others of the magic weird camp should most certainly check him out. It's literally been a thing I've not been able to get out of my mind, a book I've continued to carry with me every day since I read it just to touch and hold and open just to look. It's gotten so into my mind that literally the same day I started writing a book out of the mind Jonke's awoke in me, and haven't been able to stop fixating on it since.

I am excited, too, that the other Jonke title released so far by Dalkey, Homage to Czerny, is sitting on my desk waiting for the right moment, and sounds like a completely different bag from the other, which is exciting. I can only imagine what treasure awaits in all his other works, and hope that Dalkey and other mindful presses will continue to make his work available (I believe I heard Dalkey has another of his titles coming out in 09, as does Ariadne Books).

So far I've only been able to find one other English obituary reference outside of Dalkey, which makes me like him even more:

I asked if [Jonke] would be willing to come to the U.S. for a reading tour. He politely declined, saying he wasn’t really interested in coming to the States because there’s no where you can smoke in this country. And he wasn’t sure if Red Bull would be as accessible here as it is in Austria . . .

There is also a really great criticism casebook arranged by Dalkey on the GEOMETRIC REGIONAL NOVEL.

Do yourself a favor and explore some Jonke. You will be glad you did.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Gold boas

Sam Pink's initial reaction to the first parts of Scorch Atlas:

little-kid+lsd+prurient album BLACK VASE on full blast+repeated punches to the face+an old man laughing and taking steroids and coloring his penis black with a magic marker= gottdang kid

I couldn't ask for much more than that.

Last night I read Lish's MY ROMANCE, I have had it for a long time and never read it, I got it used on amazon and found when I opened it that it had been signed and dated by Lish, under his signature it says either 'Hungry mind' or 'Hungry mud' or something therein. I don't know which. I can't tell who it is inscribed to though it is inscribed and they sold it for like $1.

The book made me itch. There are short descriptions of the narrator (who is Lish, giving a lecture to a group of writers 'off the cuff') having acute psoriasis. The manner of the description made me literally have to take a shower after. Blue sores, and mineral oil applied so thick that it goes through his clothes, which are always the same clothes. One of the strangest manners of delivery of words and ideas in a book, even for the Captain. Really in its own way kind of terrifying and throbby. It is making me itch right now to describe and remember, I am going to stop.

I have been sleeping much more soundly lately. I have been having long dreams of strangely personal and direct scenes that feel real when I am in them, which never used to happen to me. For years my dream were totally surreal and insane and made of impossible images. Now the thing I find most often I am doing in my sleep is editing words on a paper. I will be in my sleep working on a sentence by inserting all these other words, and building it out from this tiny thing in long weird graphs that I then repeat inside my head and build, and find building, until I eventually realize I am sleeping. The aggravated and horrendous scenes that usually dominate now more occur in very brief and intense bursts, that kind of punctuate the long, more calm ones. I am told I talk a lot in my sleep. I think I am going to find a way to begin recording myself, or to transcribe the sentences I am working on when I realize I am sleeping, as I often find I am able to continue looking at the sentences while I am still asleep even after I realize I am asleep. I can never remember the sentences directly when I wake up anymore, though I am always left remembering how I said something I had been meaning to say in such a way. I need to figure this out.

I wonder if I know anyone who has read 'The Changing Light at Sandover' by James Merrill. The construction has a very intriguing premise that most people who read poetry know about, with the channeling and Ouija boards. I started reading the full ms at Borders last night and found myself wanting the time to read the whole thing, but wonder if it would be as up my alley as it seems it could be. I never heard people talk about it except for people whose tastes I don't necessarily agree with.

The thing I am working on now is slightly making me feel scared, in a different way than I have ever felt scared while writing. I think I have been spending as much time during the writing staring as I have been writing, though I don't remember thinking about what I want to write while I am staring. I do feel better about things that I had been feeling insane about at the end of last year. It has helped to step away if slightly from the social partition of the internet, in the manner of control.

Writing to music has been helping a lot again too for some reason. Headphones are a gift. I have been rediscovering a lot of older music I used to listen to, and finding it very different through the headphones, which is probably something I should have realized a long time ago.

I need to try writing to the above-mentioned 'Black Vase' record by Prurient. That shit literally hurts, in a kind of amazing way.

I honestly realized yesterday in the car while listening to Three Six Mafia's 'Da Unbreakables' how much Three Six Mafia's 'Da Unbreakables' influenced my writing last year in rhythm and perhaps a little bit in posture and supposed 'tone.' At least that is what I would like to think, but I am certain it is also true.

I have a 'big' birthday coming this month. I am trying to figure out what to do. Part of me wants to do something exciting and unusual, though I can't think of what. Part of me wants to go for a drive by myself somewhere, though I probably won't do it. 'Birthdays'.