Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Mark Halliday Reviews Joshua Clover's The Totality for Kids in the New Issue of Pleiades

A nice person on Johannes Göransson's blog posted the link to the review that has sparked some debate. It's interesting a book review getting this kind of attention and talked about as much as it is.

Here is Halliday's review of Joshua Clover's The Totality for Kids in PDF form. Judge for yourself.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Win a Free Copy of NO COLONY 001

Yes, this is

Jereme Dean is giving away three copies of the super debut issue of NO COLONY.

All you have to do is

Feel the ideas metastasize. And give birth.

"The Return of British Avant Garde Fiction"

Once again, thanks to Chris Higgs, avant-garde expert, for pointing the way. He found and linked to this article by Lee Rourke in The Guardian about, well, you see the title of this post.

I'm fascinated and excited to see that Maurice Blanchot and Georges Bataille figure into the inspiration for this new wave of innovative British fiction. Blanchot blows my mind (I'm staggering my way through The Writing of the Disaster) and Bataille figures into my recent work in Phoebe and a little bit in a new thing forthcoming in Action Yes.

I'm certainly not claiming anything about myself except that I am interested to see that others are finding inspiration from these sources for their fiction, too.

Also linked by Chris: this interesting blog post by Johannes Göransson about "the avant-garde vs. the grotesque" with mention of Aase Berg's poetry and David Lynch's work.
Attached. Please find.

Friday, July 25, 2008


The debut issue of NO COLONY is coming. The contributors are these:

Nick Antosca
Daniel Bailey
Jesse Ball
Ken Baumann
Matt Bell
Ryan Call
Jimmy Chen
Kim Chinquee
Giancarlo DiTrapano
Brian Evenson
Brandon Scott Gorrell
Jac Jemc
Shane Jones
Sean Kilpatrick
Michael Kimball
Tao Lin
Robert Lopez
Josh Maday
Miranda Mellis
Sam Pink
Matthew Simmons
Justin Taylor
J.A. Tyler
Brandi Wells
Derek White
John Dermot Woods
Mike Young

This is going to be brutally amazing. I am excited to read this. I pre-ordered about a month ago.

Blake and Ken are reading for Issue 2 now. So, send.

Please spread word. Disseminate.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

This is Not a Post About Blake Butler (except now it sort of is)

Michael Kimball updated Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story (on a postcard) lately with Keyhole editor Peter Cole and Gina Myers's life stories, and today my life story. Kimball knows what he's doing with words and life stories. Check 'em.

Dear Everybody

Matt Bell has redesigned his website. He says it his hand was forced. He also archived some of his stories that were published in print. A Certain Number of Bedrooms, a Certain Number of Baths is particularly excellent. Looks like Matt has some work forthcoming from fine venues like Hobart (again), Keyhole, Lamination Colony, No Colony, and, of course, Best American Fantasy 2008. Zing.

Ken Baumann said this: but man it's good people are making things i guess

The latest issued chapbook from Publishing Genius is now living and waiting to eyed. Link it up. Here is how Adam Robinson describes Nate Pritts's "Endless Summer":
Nate's chapbook is a series of poems called ENDLESS SUMMER. It's a pretty short piece with lots of repetition, yet somehow I think that it manages to spiral with rich affect. Summer is so active, and there's always so much happening, such a range of drastic splashes, and this series manages to capture that bedrock emotionality. What am I saying? I don't know, but here's something else: Nate Pritts writes words but after reading all of them, the words are gone. I don't remember the words, I remember the what.

Everyone probably already knows all of this.

But not this: today is an iron manhole cover burned into the sole of someone's foot.

"Try not to be so serious all the time." --Me, thinking, just now

Here is a piece of a new story I just drafted for the third time:
Father is draped over the windows. What is left of him, dried and stiff and burgundy-brown: somewhat wrinkled and dirty, bleeding and caked with soul.

This was an accident. It should be soil. Soil, parched and small and something to be washed away at night.

Mother has hung sheets soaked with Father's blood over the windows to keep out the demons and the sun. The flies still get in. They are hungry. Always hungry.

That will probably be cut or rewritten out of existence soon. Or not. I don't know.

Oh, and Blake Butler. Somewhere with ice cream earlobes and a picture of a giant frogneck goiter.

Blake has written another novel. These novels he writes are the incarnation of Lynchian literature. I would be interested to see what could happen if Blake put his recent novels through the Burroughs cut-up machine. I think Blake Butler is the Burroughs Cut-up Machine.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

[via Scott Esposito via NO CAPTION NEEDED]

Review of Dear Everybody

I am resigned to the fact that anyone who reads my blog regularly (thank you) is going to get tired of my constantly mentioning Michael Kimball's new novel Dear Everybody. If you read the book when it comes out, you'll know why I won't sit down and shut up.

Well, an early review of Dear Everybody is up at The Greenpoint Gazette.

For giggles, but to watch mostly, here is the trailer for Dear Everybody (yes, again), which is a beautiful short film in itself directed by Luca Dipierro.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Air Sculpture and Plastic Cheeseburgers

I read this interesting article via Christopher Higgs's blog: "Is art running out of ideas? Artists forced to explain modern art"

Interesting questions about the simultaneous glut and absence of meaning in modern art, and the compulsion for pre-packaged meaning that is essentially fluff. I think maybe Giorgio Agamben approached this in his book The Man Without Content which is described this way:

In this book, one of Italy’s most important and original contemporary philosophers considers the status of art in the modern era. He takes seriously Hegel’s claim that art has exhausted its spiritual vocation, that it is no longer through art that Spirit principally comes to knowledge of itself. He argues, however, that Hegel by no means proclaimed the “death of art” (as many still imagine) but proclaimed rather the indefinite continuation of art in what Hegel called a “self-annulling” mode.

With astonishing breadth and originality, the author probes the meaning, aesthetics, and historical consequences of that self-annulment. In essence, he argues that the birth of modern aesthetics is the result of a series of schisms—between artist and spectator, genius and taste, and form and matter, for example—that are manifestations of the deeper, self-negating yet self-perpetuating movement of irony.

Through this concept of self-annulment, the author offers an imaginative reinterpretation of the history of aesthetic theory from Kant to Heidegger, and he opens up original perspectives on such phenomena as the rise of the modern museum, the link between art and terror, the natural affinity between “good taste” and its perversion, and kitsch as the inevitable destiny of art in the modern era. The final chapter offers a dazzling interpretation of Dürer’s Melancholia in the terms that the book has articulated as its own.

The Man Without Content will naturally interest those who already prize Agamben’s work, but it will also make his name relevant to a whole new audience—those involved with art, art history, the history of aesthetics, and popular culture.

And, who knows, maybe we left art behind long long ago. It isn't dead, it's still standing alongside the road where we left it. Maybe we've really been eating plastic cheeseburgers. Maybe worrying about art/the state of art/the death of art is a waste of time.

I'm going to start a new feature, inspired by the article above, where I will provide descriptions and meanings for art installations/exhibits.

An extravagant dining table and chairs with obviously expensive place settings. In the center of the table lay platters piled high with pyramids of plastic child's play food. A human skeleton sits in each chair with more plastic food piled in and spilling over the pelvis onto the floor.

[insert your very own personalized meaning here]

I don't know. Maybe this would be better:

A diner counter inside an art exhibition area. People working behind the counter are dressed in artist costumes. People dressed as art lovers sit on the stools and order from the menus. The artists set plates piled with plastic food in front of the customers. The customers chew on the plastic food. Through sour, confused faces, the customers nod and rave about the food.

Maybe that's not vague enough, though.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Daniel Woodrell's Novels Will Dismantle Your Insides and Serve them to You for Dinner

I probably don't get around the blogosphere as widely as I should, but it seems like I haven't heard anything about Daniel Woodrell in awhile. Okay, some, but not enough to satisfy me. And, during the past week or two, for whatever strange reason these things happen, Daniel Woodrell's novel The Death of Sweet Mister has been replaying itself in my brain. I love that book. Even if he would take it as a compliment, I don't feel like it's fair to Woodrell to say that he's Cormac McCarthy with a firm handle on humor, albeit dark southern gothic noir humor. I don't think he would use the word "albeit" either, which elevates him even more in my estimation. But I think saying that will give anyone who hasn't read Woodrell an idea of what he's got going on.

I first heard of Woodrell from Tod Goldberg, who recommended Sweet Mister as a good place to go next (I'd already devoured Tomato Red in a day or two), and he was right.

I still remember the scene in Sweet Mister where the main character, a fat awkward 13-year-old boy named Shug (how do you not love a fat kid named Shug?), arrives home to find a heinous mess and no one is to be found. He's been through some kind of hell at this point, so he begins cleaning up the blood and other mess. His mom comes home to find him sitting in front of the TV, waiting up as though he is the parent. Something is hardening in the boy. Mom asks if he wants a snack, and the way everything is built up by Woodrell and the way the kid says, "I could use a snack," had me laughing for hours. At least that's how I remember it.

Here's how it really happened:

Somebody bleeding had whirled and whirled in the kitchen. Dishes had crashed about and made a mess. The blood had whirled odd spots and streaks onto the stove, the walls, the floor, the ceiling. The kind of plates we had that could be broken were busted on the floor. The radio played olden rhyming rock'n roll songs. A leg was gone from the table and the table bent over, the top touched to the floor like it kneeled to beg . . . Some streaks of blood seemed to yet be moving down the sides of things. That music played that I never did care to hear and I turned it off . . . Hands had posted bloody signs along the wall and into the hall. The signs were smeared. Her room was down the hall. Her room with the bed was down the hall . . .

The table leg had landed behind the fridge. I picked it up. Blood and skin stuck to the heavy end. I carried the table leg to the john and stood over the tiny pond. I used my blade to scrape the table leg. It was a sliver of meat ripped loose from some part of a person. Maybe a lip. Maybe a ear. Almost a eyelid but probably not. The meat looked sad with no face to frame it. The skin came off like goo and as the goo hit the water I flushed . . .

I folowed the blood around the kitchen with a sponge. The blood had in some places splashed out pictures. Mostly faces or maps. I rubbed and rubbed. I stood on the stove to scrub swipes of blood that had spurted to the ceiling. I found drops to scrub all over. They got into the strangest places.

I ellipsesed the passage a bit, so I hope it gets the gist. It's so so good when you get to it in the novel. I think I read this book two or three years ago and I still remember it vividly.

Even though his novels present a story where things definitely happen, Woodrell's odd (in a very good way) turns of phrase enliven everyday language and his mastery of voice is so powerful that there are moments in the book where story falls away and you're sitting there with this character you could listen to forever.

So far, I've read Tomato Red and The Death of Sweet Mister. I loved them both. I recommend them highly. Guy's killer.

And, thanks, Tod, for introducing me.

Here is an interview with Woodrell on NPR, from when Winter's Bone came out. There's an excerpt, too.

Felisberto Hernández says:

". . . thus, for us slow ones, distance gives communication a whole new array of nuances, and could even offer some compensation for whatever might happen in the flesh at close proximity."

from Lands of Memory

Friday, July 18, 2008

Probably no title today. So.

Michael Kimball wrote my life story on a postcard and sent it to me, as per his brilliant project. It arrived a couple of days ago. He did a really excellent job distilling the five or six pages of rambling down to about four or five hundred words. He must have used a super fine tipped pen to write so small and fit all of that onto a postcard. People should keep sending Michael Kimball their life stories and have him write it on a postcard. He is good at it, and it's fun. Check out the latest life story; this time it's Red Delicious Apple. Awesome. And, while we're here, you know, Dear Everybody, soon, like in September soon.

I met with Gina Myers earlier this week for coffee and a book exchange and some talking. Gina grew up in Saginaw, went to Central Michigan U, and then to The New School in New York City, where she earned her MFA. She is a poet who edits the tiny, a poetry journal, and runs Lame House Press. She is very laid back and down to earth. I was happy about that. And it was very nice to talk to someone, especially someone who has lived in New York City, the center of the universe, who could come back and still like, even love, Saginaw. Most people would just as soon say, Blow it up and let it recivilize. She gave me a copy of the tiny and some chapbooks she published (printed and bound by hand) through Lame House. The chapbooks are gorgeous; they look and feel as excellent as the goods coming out of Publishing Genius. I am looking forward to reading these. Gina also has some badass tattoo sleeves.

Here is an interview with Gina Myers with some of her poetry at the end.
And some of Gina's poetry in MiPOesias.

Everyone, I would like to congratulate Matt Bell on winning this year's Million Writers Award, with all of the money and acclaim that goes along with it. His story "Alex Trebek Never Eats Fried Chicken" was first published in Storyglossia and has pretty much eaten a hole in the world and made a place for itself. Nice job, Matt, and congrats!

Read Matt's acceptance speech.

I think some sort of investigation may take place in Hemlock, Michigan, to find out if there is/was something in the soil, water, or air that seems to grow writers. Last week, I mentioned Tom Fleischmann, a University of Iowa student studying creative nonfiction, who has a new piece entitled "Fist" in the new issue of Pleiades, as well as work published or forthcoming in Mid-American Review, Hayden's Ferry Review, Quarterly West, and elsewhere. Well, Tom also graduated from Hemlock High School, a year or two behind me, I think. And Matt Bell (see above) graduated a year ahead of me. While I'm not as accomplished as Tom and Matt, I think it's interesting that the three of us came out of Hemlock within three or four years, especially considering the fact that the school had a population of about 400.

Also: Hemlock is named perfectly.

I'm just saying.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Umberto Eco interview in The Paris Review

To promote/advertise Umberto Eco's new book On Ugliness, he gave an interview for the new issue of the Paris Review. I haven't read any of Eco's fiction or philosophy. Notta. Years ago, when I told a philosophy professor that I was really interested in the intersection of literature and philosophy, he recommended Eco's novel The Name of the Rose. I haven't read it yet, but I haven't forgotten it either.

Anyway, Eco seems like a low-key Slavoj Zizek with his sharp sarcastic sense of humor. He says some interesting things that I will now quote mostly out of context of the interview and maybe reframe them in my own context.

Here's a good line: "I was at that time a great writer of unaccomplished masterpieces."

And another re: poetic youth: "I think that at a certain age, say fifteen or sixteen, poetry is like masturbation."



To what extent are your novels autobiographical?


In some way I think every novel is. When you imagine a character, you lend him or her some of your personal memories. You give part of yourself to character number one and another part to character number two. In this sense, I am not writing any sort of autobiography, but the novels are my autobiography. There's a difference.

I will do this: "But if you give me fifty dollars, I will write you an essay about the parallels between our time and the time of the Neanderthals."

This is interesting:


In Foucault's Pendulum you write, "The more elusive and ambiguous a symbol is, the more it gains significance and power."


A secret is powerful when it is empty. People often mention the "Masonic secret." What on earth is the Masonic secret? No one can tell. As long as it remains empty it can be filled up with every possible notion, and it has power.

Eco is asked if he is still obsessed with television. He says, "I suspect that there is no serious scholar who doesn't like to watch television. I'm just the only one who confesses." This thread continues:


Are there any shows that you particularly love?


The police series. Starsky and Hutch, for instance.


That show doesn't exist anymore. It's from the seventies.

I laughed for awhile after I read that while sitting on the toilet.

I loved this exchange, too:


Have you read The Da Vinci Code?


Yes, I am guilty of that too.


That novel seems like a bizarre little offshoot of Foucault's Pendulum.


The author, Dan Brown, is a character from Foucault's Pendulum! I invented him. He shares my characters' fascination--the world conspiracy of Rosicrucians, Masons, and Jesuits. The role of the Knights Templar. The hermetic secret. The principle that everything is connected. I suspect Dan Brown might not even exist.

Good stuff. I think that is probably the comment that reminds me of Zizek the most. And here I am going to present a question and answer that supports my continuously saying that philosophy is simply another genre of fiction.


Why didn't you begin writing novels until you were forty-eight years old?


It wasn't as much of a leap as everyone seems to think, because even in my doctoral thesis, even in my theorizing, I was already creating narratives. I have long thought that what most philosophical books are really doing at the core is telling the story of their research, just as scientists will explain how they came to make their major discoveries. So I feel that I was telling stories all along, just in a slightly different style.

This quote also confirms for me the fact that what I thought was a clever insight into the relationship between fiction and philosophy was really only impressive to me. It's important to humble oneself on occasion. Sometimes, I think I overdo it, though. So I am going to practice more pride and arrogance.

Speaking of laziness, I haven't read anything else in the issue yet, but I would say that the Eco interview is worth getting your hands on in some way. I would recommend a subscription, though. Because, you know, they're probably pretty strapped at the ol' Paris Review. No, probably not, but just an issue or two ago there was a kickin' story by Jesse Ball, which won the Plimpton Prize for Fiction. I don't really know why I'm trying to convince anyone to subscribe to The Paris Review as though no one has heard of it. Stupid.

I think I'm just trying to share some stuff about the Umberto Eco interview that I found interesting. Let's say that.

"I always assume that a good book is more intelligent than its author. It can say things that the writer is not aware of," Eco says.

When asked about being criticized for being too 'erudite', "that the main appeal to your work for a lay reader is the humiliation he feels for his own ignorance, which translates into a naive admiration for your pyrotechnics," Eco says, "Am I a sadist? I don't know. An exhibitionist? Maybe. I am joking. Of course not! I have not worked so much in my life in order to pile knowledge before my readers. My knowledge quite literally informs the intricate construction of my novels. Then it is up to my readers to detect what they might."

Here is something recent and relevant, an interesting take on the specter of literary apocalypse:


What do you make of those who proclaim the death of the novel, the death of books, the death of reading?


To believe in the end of something is a typical cultural posture. Since the Greeks and the Latins we have persisted in believing that our ancestors were better than us. I am always amused and interested by this kind of sport, which the mass media practice with increasing ferocity. Every season there is an article on the end of the novel, the end of literature, the end of literacy in America. People don't read any longer! Teenagers only play video games! The fact of the matter is that all over the world there are thousands of stores full of books and full of young people. Never in the history of mankind have there been so many books, so many places selling books, so many young people visiting these places and buying books.

And when asked what he would say to "the fearmongers," Eco says, "Culture is continuously adapting to new situations. There will probably be a different culture, but there will be a culture . . . But thrilling new forms will continue to emerge and literature will survive."

So, I've probably quoted about five times the allowed word count, but there it is. Umberto Eco, none of whose fiction I have read yet, gave an interview and said some things that cause me to laugh, to nod, to think, Hmm, I dunno about that, but I'm not as smart or famous as Umberto Eco and he's probably thought things through more than I did just now after reading what he said.

Soon: something about the new issue of Pleiades's book reviews and something else about the soil, water, and/or air in Hemlock, Michigan.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Marsupial Starbucks Crucifixion

Can it make sense that I'm so behind that I'm behind on blogging, too? I don't get paid or anything, but I've got things I want to post about.

This is going to be a quick scatter shot.

Well, it will be no surprise that I am going to link to something by Blake Butler. I know, shocking. So here it is: go check out the review/essay/post about Derek White's new novel Marsupial. Blake says things I agree with and find interesting: things about David Lynch's films, specifically Inland Empire and Eraserhead and Mulholland Drive; Blake talks about how Marsupial could have lost control of itself and spun off into the oblivion of empty experimental 'noodling', but does not; he says other things, too, that are interesting. He sold me a copy of White's novel after about three paragraphs. Granted, he could probably get me to purchase used underwear. But, still, he makes a persuasive case and I'm excited to get my copy of Marsupial. Marsupial. Marsupial.

Michael Kimball has posted Adam Robinson's life story, and it's one of the best yet. Kimball's project is going to be impressive when it is published next fall.

My god, my god, Starbucks is forsaking us.

I do not live within 40 miles of a body of water, but about a dozen sea gulls woke me up this morning. I felt like that was strange, like things are changing in the earth.

My copy of Jackie Corley's The Suburban Swindle came in the mail today. In the short time I was home, passing through at lunch time, I flipped through the book and I was blown away by line after line. I am stoked to read this collection.

It is hot out. I am happy about the heat.

I want to read every book in the world. Even the bad ones.

I usually quit reading stories that feature these elements:

A writer protagonist/main character
A very young "precocious" narrator
Hotwords like precocious, cacophony, denizens, etc, that function as code to inform the reader that they are in fact reading 'serious fiction'. Maybe I am just jealous of superior lexicons. No, vocabularies.

That new Burger King commercial where the King has kids and his small silent mini-King kid kicks him in the shins creeps me out.

More soon. Soon soon. Mon soon. Monson. Neck Deep. Soon.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Doll Steak // Test Meat

I am still alive. Posting quickly.

Blake said good, pointed things on his blog regarding the apparent apathy for books and lit among hipsters (does this terms apply solely to indie 'scene kid' types?). Blake seems to be mostly in agreement with what Adam Robinson said on his blog.

The venerable Sean Lovelace has just given birth to a beautiful blog. Folks should already know about Sean Lovelace. If not, he writes fiction that will destroy your brain and make you hungry for more (see: So, This is Drink, Dream Diary Excerpts: Ingrid Bergman, 1951, and Meaning of Life #17), and reviews books for NewPages (see: here, and here).

In more news, I thrashed open my leg on a softball field that was pert near concrete with gravel sprinkled on top. Much blood/puss oozing. At least two socks ruined. Possibly screwed up my knee again.

Have finally finished editing my interview with Michael Kimball (who is really great to work with in every way). I am happy with how it came together. Said interview will run in the September update of Word Riot. Lickin' chops.

Got my copy of the new issue of Pleiades last week. Fine essay in there by a fellow graduate of Hemlock High School, Tom Fleischmann, who is now attending Iowa, and graduated from Grand Valley State University. In his essay entitled "Fist", Tom explores the many contexts and uses for the fist. Good work, Tom. I'm going to post more about this and the rest of the new Pleiades soon. Here's a teaser: Mark Halliday gives Joshua Clover's second book of poems, The Totality for Kids, a very thorough going over; as in a scathing 21-page going over. But wait, there's more . . .

That took much longer than I expected.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

FC2 Moving to University of Houston-Victoria

This via the NewPages blog.

Fiction Collective Two has been booted from their HQ at Florida State University. Thankfully, some major legwork was done and FC2 will have a new home at The University of Houston-Victoria. I'm very sad to hear, though, that the brilliant Brenda Mills will not be going with and continuing to function as FC2's executive editor. Brenda was one of the handful of early readers (thanks to Denise Hill) of Distractus Refractus Ontologicus: The Dissemination of Michael Martone and encouraged me in a huge way. Denise is absolutely right in saying that Brenda will be missed, but that it is certainly understandable that moving her family from Florida to Texas was not doable. The good news: FC2 will live on. Now is a perfect time to show some love and buy a book or five. So much amazing innovative writing. Check out what's coming up in Fall 2008.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Independent Publishing is Actually Very Tall; It's Just been Sitting Down

Everyone: Jimmy Chen has a piece about Georges Auric at Everyday Yeah in the "People Who Died in 1983" section. I like Jimmy Chen's writing. I feel similar to him when I read it.

Hey, more online writing has been listed/linked in the comments at Ryan Call's blog post regarding these kinds of things. A fine list of online fiction is linked there.

Here's an article in The Guardian, which I first saw on Matt Bell's blog and mentioned again by Scott Esposito at Conversational Reading.

The column talks about how writers can't really be "indie" and get any attention from reviewers. Esposito argues that the column has rather large blind spots when he says:

"I imagine the close association of small presses with vanity presses would surprise the publishers of Grove, Cannongate (which has racked up enough Bookers to be the envy of any press), Soft Skull, Dalkey, and Archipelago, all of which, small or independent as they are, get plenty of national newspaper attention and would not ever be mistaken for a vanity press."

Matt points to review outlets such as NewPages, Rain Taxi, Bookslut, etc, and I think he makes a good point about the growing relevance of these resources devoted to what's going on in the independent and small press publishing world. Sure, maybe they're still mostly relevant to writers and writing programs, but there does seem to be a shift taking place and the small and independent presses are getting more respect and attention than many people may think. Like I said, independent publishing is actually very tall, it's just been sitting down.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Zachary Mason's The Lost Books of the Odyssey Reviewed in Gently Read Literature

Yet another glowing review of The Lost Books of the Odyssey, this time by Shawna Yang Ryan in the latest issue of Gently Read Literature. I reviewed/raved about Mason's stunning book in the last batch of reviews at NewPages. I'm glad to see this book still getting such positive attention.

New Book Reviews Posted at NewPages

The latest collection of book reviews is live at NewPages. Here's the lineup of books reviewed by Ryan Call, Matt Bell, Sean Lovelace, Cynthia Reeser, Karyna McGlynn, Roy Wang, and Micah Zevin:

Best of the Web 2008 Ed. Steve Almond, Nathan Leslie

Knockemstiff by Donald Ray Pollock

Distance Makes the Heart Grow Sick: A Book of Postcards, Graphics by Cristy C. Road

Seal Woman by Solveig Eggerz

Alluvium by Erin M. Bertram

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

Clear All the Rest of the Way by Warren Woessner

Spilling the Moon by Matt Schumacher

The Girl on the Fridge by Etgar Keret

Lots of good writing all around.

And here is a supplementary list of links to online writing compiled by Ryan Call and posted on his blog. I like the idea of people compiling lists of their favorite online writing and linking to them on their blogs. Maybe someone could start a blog that links to these posts of links. That would be interesting.

Baltimore is Reads Franchises in Nashville

Here is the info from Adam Robinson:

Big news. I'm pleased to announce the partnership of Publishing Genius and Peter Cole/Keyhole Magazine to bring to the world (via Music City), Nashville Is Reads. Now unsuspecting people in Nashville can read the same poems as Charm City passersby find in Baltimore Is Reads, except even hotter and with BBQ sauce instead of Old Bay.

The new site will go live with this summer's issue of the outdoor journal.

From the first issue of BIR (it seems so long ago, but it was Fall/Winter 2006):
Baltimore Is Reads is a unique quarterly journal with its pages published in various locations around the Baltimore community. The journal interacts with Baltimore's literary landscape literally -- on shop windows, park benches, telephone poles.

Abandoned buildings.

Naturally, the primary objective of Baltimore Is Reads is to inspire readers with startling, prescient poetry, but the secondary goal is to mark a counterpoint to the blitzkrieg of advertisements that have become an unavoidable part of city life. While commercials and billboards are growing more and more sophisticated, even beautiful in their delivery, marketers are still asking their audience to change themselves. Baltimore Is Reads does not attempt that. Managing editor, Adam Robinson says, "Sure, it would be great if everyone who read one of our pages decided to start really caring about poetry, but I’m not asking for that. We’re just saying, ‘here, this is nice. I’m giving it to you’."

But there are other factors at work, too. The editors hope that the journal will inspire readers to consider how the writing makes them think about their specific environment, how the poem changes the perception of that ground on which the reader finds herself. What if someone happens upon a haiku about a brilliant, crisp sunset at lunchtime under dark clouds? How does the poem, duct taped to the side of a light post on a street rumbling with cars and their exhaust, change the piece?
I'm not really sure I'm all that interested in trying to "mark a counterpoint to the blitzkrief of advertisements" anymore. Mostly I just want to confuse people who don't normally read poems. I look forward to working with Peter to take the Is Reads way of life into the new century.