Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Interview with Ornela Vorpsi at The Collagist

My interview with Ornela Vorpsi about her new book, The Country Where No One Ever Dies, is live on The Collagist's blog. The interview begins this way:

1. Can you talk about the inspiration for The Country Where No One Ever Dies? What was on your mind while you were writing this book?
I cannot say precisely where and how I found my inspiration for this book, if it is indeed inspired, as I abandoned myself to the process of writing, without even thinking about writing a book or having it published, I just subjected myself to what was coming, organically, without seeing too clearly. Of course I wanted to talk about Albania. About some lives. About some people. It mattered deeply to me.
Thanks to Matt Bell for the opportunity to interview Ornela about her novel, which I think is brilliant; and thanks to Ornela Vorpsi for taking time out of her busy schedule to participate so generously in the interview.

Read "Bel Ami," excerpted in Issue Four of The Collagist.

The Country Where No One Ever Dies is officially available today from Dalkey Archive.

Monday, November 16, 2009

FOR now available from ML Press

Originally due out in December, my ML Press chapbook, FOR, is now available from ML Press for $3 (includes shipping). It's part of the subscription trio including work by Joanna Ruocco and Michael Martone. I'm honored to have my work alongside theirs, and to be part of the massive first year of chapbooks from ML Press. Thanks to J.A. Tyler for his incredible ambition and hard work.

I'm looking forward to the 2010 schedule of chapbooks by Rauan Klassnik, Riley Michael Parker, Cooper Renner, Amy Guth, David Gianatasio, Ben Segal, Kuzhali Manickavel, Michael Bernstein, Eric Beeny, Matt Bell, Ryan Downey, and Evelyn Hampton.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Collagist, Issue Four

The fourth issue of The Collagist is now live.

Issue Four features fiction from Cooper Renner, Chad Benson, Kate Petersen, and Lance Olsen (with art by Andi Olsen), as well as novel excerpts from Xiaoda Xiao and Ornela Vorpsi (see my review of The Country Where No One Ever Dies in Issue Two). Also, poetry from Arlene Ang, Stephen Dobyns, Judy Huddleston, and Keith Taylor; non-fiction from Brian Oliu and Melissa Pritchard.

Book reviews of Translation is a Love Affair by Jacques Poulin, The Suburban Swindle by Jackie Corley, Girl Trouble by Holly Goddard Jones, The Southern Cross by Skip Horack, and The Halfway House by Guillermo Rosales, as well as a video review of The Bigness of the World by Lori Ostlund.

You'll also find a new Classic Reprints section, which, according to editor Matt Bell, "will be appearing frequently in the months to come." This month features a reprinting of John Cheever's "The Fourth Alarm" alongside an introductory essay written by his son, Benjamin H. Cheever.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

mlp {first year} anthology

Early this morning J.A. Tyler posted the cover of the mlp {first year} anthology designed by Steven Seighman. Looks great, of course, and is available for pre-order.

Here's info about the anthology from MLP:

an anthology of everything we have ever printed in our chapbooks beginning in the fall of 2008 & going through the end of 2009 & featuring the most fantastic authors as they first appeared in mud luscious print, most of which are sold out now or will be soon, & here collected all together

The contributors:
ken baumann, shane jones, jimmy chen, brandi wells, blake butler, nick antosca, sam pink, james chapman, colin bassett, michael kimball, jac jemc, kim chinquee, kim parko, norman lock, randall brown, brian evenson, michael stewart, peter markus, ken sparling, aaron burch, david ohle, matthew savoca, p. h. madore, johannes göransson, charles lennox, ryan call, elizabeth ellen, molly gaudry, kevin wilson, mary hamilton, craig davis, kendra grant malone, lavie tidhar, lily hoang, mark baumer, ben tanzer, krammer abrahams, joshua cohen, eugene lim, c. l. bledsoe, joanna ruocco, josh maday, michael martone

This is a great chance to get a look at the early MLP Chapbooks that sold out before a lot of readers could get them.

Pre-order mlp {first year}

J.A. Tyler in a roundtable discussion about chapbook publishing at The Chapbook Review

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

In a few days, Issue 4 of The Collagist will publish. Meanwhile, Issue 3; it includes new work by Matthew Derby, Roxane Gay, Sarah Norek, Catherine Zeidler, Hesh Kestin, Norman Lock, Mary Biddinger, Rick Moody, Peter Jay Shippy, Ross White, Greg Bottoms, Kelley Evans, as well as a video review by Anna Clark, written reviews by Diane Leach, John Madera, Jill Meyers, and my review of Gert Jonke's The System of Vienna. Here's the opening:

Gert Jonke opens The System of Vienna, an ostensibly autobiographical work, with the following: “Allow me first of all, in the interest of facilitating the greatest possible understanding, just a few brief words concerning the methodology of the working process I have adopted, thereby also expending a few more words on myself and my academic development.” Jonke then relays a short account of the hours before his birth, an account that can't be anything but fiction, without ever returning to discuss his “methodology,” which has of course already been demonstrated through this tale of his “beginnings.” Jonke emphasizes this with the compound distance of a synoptic description: “The story begins with a description of that cold winter night and how my mother allegedly started out not being able to find her shoes ...”

Yeah, it's been out for almost a month and you've probably read it all already; but maybe you said you'd come back and get it but haven't. Today's a good day to get it. You know, because I know what's best for you and how your time should be used. I'll be emailing your time management spreadsheets soonly.

Meanwhile, the flash fiction contest judged by Kim Chinquee at The Collagist is nearing the deadline of November 15. Git yer werds to 'em.

The Dalkey Archive Holiday Sale is here again. It's going on through November 22 and applies to books published before November 2009. Get 10 books for $65 or 20 books for $120.

My review of Hungarian novelist Ferenc Barnás's The Ninth was published a few days ago at The Quarterly Conversation. Thanks to Scott Esposito for his tremendous patience and hard work editing this piece. Here is the opening:

Telling a story from a child’s point of view is one of the most difficult modes of fiction to write successfully. The narrator of Ferenc Barnás’s The Ninth is a nine-year-old boy—The Ninth child of ten (eleven, counting the brother who died) in a large Hungarian family—whose inexperience and bare vocabulary are compounded by a speech disability.

In writing The Ninth, Barnás seems to have wanted to give himself a taste of what difficulty his narrator must face when trying to give expression to his experience.

Get your hands on the new issue of NANO Fiction. Word is that copies are going quickly. NF 3.1 includes work by Dorothy Albertini, Jaynel Attolini, Andrew Brininstool, Ed Casey, Jimmy Chen, Stephanie Dickinson, Rodney Gomez, M. J. Kelley, Ashley MacLean, Josh Maday, Traci Matlock, Michael K. Meyers, Dan Moreau, Edward Mullany, Evan J. Peterson, Martin Rock, Sankar Roy, Didi Schiller, Holly Simonsen, Audri Sousa, Robin Tung, Luisa Villani, and Shellie Zacharia. My piece is an excerpt from a long work I've been laboring over, two pieces of which appeared in the Lamination Colony edited by Michael Kimball, and another long excerpt will appear in Issue 8 of New York Tyrant. Check out Jimmy Chen's piece, "A Hollow Back and Forth," from the issue. I'm a big fan of Jimmy's work. There's no question that the guy is incredibly smart. His writing is cynical yet funny, a combination which disarms any sense of condescension.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

New from Barrelhouse: Mixtape, Episode One: Baltimore

The guys at Barrelhouse are tireless. Besides making it difficult to drive anywhere (I know, that was cheap), that means that they have produced yet another fine contribution to the independent literary world. The first episode of their new monthly podcast, Mixtape, is now on the virtual air. The inaugural episode focuses on the independent literary scene in Baltimore, which, for being one of the all-too-common cities left burned-out and crumbling after the decline of manufacturing and having one of the highest murder rates in the country--despite all of that, the artistic community is strong, civic-minded, and incredibly inclusive and collaborative regardless of genre or medium. Being from a smaller but similarly depressed city myself, that gives me hope.

This first episode of what I hope will become the Indie Lit channel on XM radio focuses, specifically, on Adam Robinson and Michael Kimball, two ambitious artists/creators injecting life into Baltimore's literary scene; they're cultivating a kind of contagion of creativity and innovation that is spreading around the nation (and world?) with projects like Robinson's "outdoor journal" IsReads and Kimball's Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story (on a postcard). I'm excited that I was able to read my poem, "The Everyday Juggernaut," from IsReads 4 for the first episode of Mixtape. Dave Housley added some city noise to the background so it sounds like I'm reading from the ledge of a tall building, which I think works really well. Thanks to Dave for asking me to record the poem and for his hard work putting the first episode of what will hopefully be a long run of more focused attention on the many facets of the independent literary world.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Issue 2 of The Collagist

The sophomore issue of The Collagist went live the first part of this week and it does not suffer from the old sophomore flop. The new issue includes my review of Ornela Vorpsi's The Country Where No One Ever Dies. Here's the opening of the review:

Albanian life in Ornela Vorpsi’s The Country Where No One Ever Dies revolves around sex, communist rule, and—despite the book's title—death. The book is separated into titled vignettes, reflecting the fissured self of a young girl living among the ruins of reason. Constantly accused of being or becoming a whore and dealing with her father’s disappearance and imprisonment as a political prisoner, this protagonist escapes into the otherworld of books, where even tragic novels and the darkest of Grimm’s Fairy Tales are a reprieve from her absurd world . . .

In Issue 2, you'll find fiction by Angi Becker Stevens, Elizabeth Crane, Jonathan Callahan, Sean Lovelace; novel excerpts from Stephen Elliott, Edward Falco; poetry by Jason Bredle, Rachel Contreni Flynn, Elisa Gabbert and Kathleen Rooney, Christopher Kennedy, Jamaal May; non-fiction by Erik Anderson; book reviews by Brian Allen Carr, Anna Clark, Darby Dixon III, Jill Meyers, John Madera, Stacy Muszynski, and Keith Taylor

Thursday, September 10, 2009

New York Tyrant issue 7 trailer

Every issue of New York Tyrant is an event. Issue 7 will obviously be no exception.

Trailer by Luca Dipierro, who knows how to get it done with book/lit mag trailers.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

John Dermot Woods is a rare combination

I meant to post about this when it actually arrived, but now weeks have passed, and etc. My copy of John Dermot Woods' book The Complete Collection of people, places & things came in the mail, along with a limited edition handmade screen print made by Woods' hands. The print is beautiful. What I did manage to do in a timely manner was put it in a frame as soon as I took it from the envelope and oogled it for awhile. The art is exceptional and the writing is, well, see some for yourself; this is why John Dermot Woods is a rare combination. And maybe the artist/writer is more common than I think, but certainly most seem to be more accomplished or inclined toward one or the other; not Woods, he nails them both. So, is this a plug, a sales pitch? Um, yeah, it is. Sure, I know John through Action Yes and Apostrophe Cast, but, as LeVar Burton would say, you don't have to take my word for it. TCCopp&t has been getting good press elsewhere, too:

Ben Tanzer's words at This Blog Will Change Your Life

Weston Cutter's review at Corduroy Books

And if you're in any of these places at these times, check out John reading from The Complete Collection:

9/22 - Soda Bar - Brooklyn, NY - w/Shanthi Sekaran

9/26 - 510 Series - Baltimore Book Festival

10/11 - Small Animal Project Series - Cambridge, MA - w/Kristen Iskandrian and Matthew Derby

10/17 - &NOW Festival - Action Books Reading - Buffalo, NY

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Issue 17 of The Quarterly Conversation

Issue 17 of The Quarterly Conversation went live yesterday and includes my review of Jean-Philippe Toussaint's novel, Running Away. Many thanks to editor Scott Esposito for all of his help and hard work.

Here is the table of contents:

From the Editors: On the Right Way to Write Criticism

Horacio Castellanos and the New Political Novel

The Right to Write About It: Literature, After Katrina

When a Biography Is Not a Biography: The Blue Hour: A Life of Jean Rhys

Words Are Living Tissue: The Hour of the Star by Clarice Lispector

Citizen of Literature: Dubravka Ugrešić

The Limits of Human Memory: On Proust and Javier Marías

From Witold Gombrowicz’s Pornografia

From The Subversive Scribe by Suzanne Jill Levine

Launching a School of “Creative Criticism”



For the Fighting Spirit of the Walnut by Takashi Hiraide

Selected Poems by Geoffrey Hill

Reading Novalis in Montana by Michelle Kwasny

Micrographia by Emily Wilson

Scape by Joshua Harmon

C. P. Cavafy: Collected Poems by C. P. Cavafy


Hiding Man: A Biography of Donald Barthelme by Tracy Daugherty

The Mighty Angel by Jerzy Pilch

Running Away by Jean-Philippe Toussaint

Nocturnes by Kazuo Ishiguro

The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Love and Obstacles by Aleksandar Hemon

Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon

Imperial by William T. Vollmann

News from the Empire by Fernando Del Paso

Little Fingers by Filip Florian

The Silence Room by Sean O'Brien

The Father and the Foreigner by Giancarlo De Cataldo

The Bun Field by Amanda Vahamaki

The Feline Plague by Maja Novak

Said and Done by James Morrison

Also, be sure to check out Two Words, the blog of the Center for the Art of Translation, where Scott is the marketing coordinator and blog administrator/contributor.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

So much going on

In no particular order (actually seems to be all at once):

Michael Kimball wrote Meg Pokrass's life story on a postcard.

I know PANK Magazine has been around for a few years, but I've definitely become more aware of the magazine over the past year or so, and I like what I see.

Check out their lively blog for an interview with Gary Percesepe, Associate Editor of Mississippi Review.

They will be publishing Matt Bell's short story "Mantodea" in PANK 4 (see/hear Matt read "Her Ennead" and "Mantodea" as part of the Keyhole Press promotion for Stephanie Johnson's One of These Things is Not Like the Others and his forthcoming story collection, How They Were Found)

They are having a contest with prizes and transparency.

A little more Matt Bell: his sold-out chapbook THE COLLECTORS is now available as a free e-book. As is his chapbook from Willows Wept Press, HOW THE BROKEN LEAD THE BLIND

Jackie Corley interviewed by Lee Rourke at 3:AM Magazine

Call for submissions:

Literary Tattoos from Bookworms Worldwide

Edited by Eva Talmadge and Justin Taylor

We are seeking high quality photographs of your literary tattoos for an upcoming book. Send us your ink! Submissions are open to all kinds of literary tattoo work: quotations from your favorite writer, opening lines of novels, lines of verse, literary portraits or illustrations. From Shakespeare to Bukowski to The Little Prince in a Baobab tree, if it’s a literary tattoo and its on your body, we want to see it.

All images must include the name (or pseudonym) of the tattoo bearer, city and state or country, and a transcription of the text itself, along with its source. For portraits or illustrations, please include the name of the author or book on which it’s based. And of course, you are heartily encouraged to credit the artist who did your work.

We’d also like to read a few words about the tattoo’s meaning to you — why you chose it, when you first read that poem or book, or how its meaning has evolved over time. How much (or how little) you choose to say about your tattoo is up to you, but a paragraph or two should do the trick.

Please send clear digital images of the highest print quality possible to tattoolit@gmail.com. Pixel resolutions should be at least 1500 x 1200, or a minimum 300 dpi at 5 inches wide. Text should be included in the body of the email, not as an attached document. Also be sure to include one or more pieces of contact information, so we can let you know if you’re going to be in the book.

Blake Butler is everywhere. And while he's there he is eating a copy of his forthcoming book SCORCH ATLAS one page at a time and he's making videos of himself doing it (otherwise, he'd probably just eat candy):

Blake Butler eats Page 1 of Scorch Atlas from blake butler on Vimeo.

Blake Butler eats Page 2 of Scorch Atlas from blake butler on Vimeo.

Blake could maybe go 'Tao Lin' and put the processed pages on ebay. Maybe put them in a mason jar or something.

Glad to see the Christopher Higgs is now a contributor at HTMLGIANT.

Shya Scanlon's Forecast 42 Project, where he is serializing his novel FORECAST, essentially turning a network of online lit mags and blogs into a sort of aggregate literary magazine. The first six chapters have appeared at Juked, Northville Review, Emprise Review, John Madera's website, flatmancrooked, and Lamination Colony, and many more to come since there are 42 chapters.

In the spirit of Shya Scanlon's project, J.A. Tyler is posting his novel(la), THE ZOO, A GOING, one piece at a time, and it won't cost you a dime (good ol' Johnny Cash); each piece will be posted for 24 hours and then will make way for the next, a total of 76 pieces/days.

John Madera reviews Brian Evenson's Fugue State

Gina Myers interviewed Jeff Vande Zande about his novel, Landscape with Fragmented Figures

Everyday Genius guest edited this month by Michael Kimball

I know I'm missing a ton of stuff.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Interview with Andy Devine in elimae

The August issue of elimae is up, and it includes an excerpt from Robert Lopez's forthcoming novel, Kamby Bolongo Mean River, due out from Dzanc Books in September; poetry by Meg Pokrass, fiction by Tim Jones-Yelvington, and a lot more.

Also, my interview with the mysterious Andy Devine. I had a great time interviewing Devine and taking the opportunity to read his work more closely. His book entitled WORDS is forthcoming from Publishing Genius Press in 2010. Here's the intro:

My introduction to the work of Andy Devine was the chapbook entitled "As Day Same That the the Was Year" from Publishing Genius Press as part of their This PDF Chapbook series. One look and I saw a clever (re)arrangement of what may or may not have been a short story. But another look and my eyes slid out of focus, and I began to see things more clearly. I sought more of Devine's work and found some in the archives of a ceased online literary journal called Taint Magazine. His latest work appears in the new issue of Unsaid. At only a glance it is clear that Andy Devine's work is something different, unlike any writing by even the riskiest literary innovators working today. Devine has dismantled the English language to its elemental state and has used recognizable words to build a language beyond language. In April and May, I asked Andy Devine some questions via email.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Michael Kimball on NPR's All Things Considered

Madeleine Brand's interview with Michael Kimball about his project Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story (on a postcard) aired today on NPR's All Things Considered. It's been great this year to see the attention Michael's work has been getting.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pre-Order: Baby Leg by Brian Evenson from Tyrant Books

Only 400 copies, signed and bloody, at $30, this won't last long. Here's the slip:

In the fall of 2009, The New York Tyrant launches its book arm TYRANT BOOKS with Baby Leg, a limited edition novella by Brian Evenson. Each copy of this collectible will be signed and numbered. Brian will also be dipping his writing hands in blood or some bloodlike substance, handling and fingerprinting the covers to make each copy truly unique.

About Baby Leg
Imagine having recurring nightmares of a woman who has one normal leg and one baby leg, and then waking up to wonder if today will be the day when they—whoever “they” are—find you and kill you. Unless you’re missing the point. Maybe “they” already have “you” and the world is a great deal more grotesque than you could ever imagine. Film noir collides with virtual worlds in this dark and strange novella that only Brian Evenson could have written. Illustrated by Eric Hanson.

Review from Blake Butler
Via a series of sparely rendered dream loops, each wormed so deep into the other that it is no longer safe to say which might be which, Baby Leg extends the already wide mind-belt of Brian Evenson’s terror parade another mile, and well beyond. Those familiar with the Evensonian memory fractals, his freak-noir theaters, and his fetish for leagues of amputees, will find herein not only another puzzle box to nuzzle in its reader’s memory long after the book is closed, but as well enough blood and fearlight and paranoia to make Kafka or Hitchcock seem a foundling. "Who am I?" our narrator, Kraus asks, among Baby Leg’s endless questionings, its barrage. "Where am I?" “What is it?” “And now?” Thereafter, through the magicked wrath of Evenson’s dream speaking, from each of these questions birth more questions, and more questions, on and on, creating around the reader a glassy lockbox much like the one we find, we think, our Kraus, poor thing, inside.

First Paragraph
Night after night, Kraus dreamt of a woman with a normal leg and a baby leg. In the dream, she clomped about on her adult-sized knee and the baby leg, wielding an axe, lurching. He kept watching her pass, yawing with each step. He would hear her first, the thud of the knee and the soft slap of the baby foot, and then see her come by, slow and off-kilter, the sound of her slowly fading. He couldn't move, not even his eyes. He had to lie there, listening to his own breathing, until he heard her coming back. She kept coming and going, until finally, shaken, he managed to wake up.

Dalkey Archive Summer Sale

It's on.

5 books for $35
10 books for $65
20 books for $120

Prices include shipping.
This is going to cost me a lot of money.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Michael Kimball interviewed on NPR's All Things Considered

Michael Kimball was interviewed for NPR's All Things Considered about Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story (on a postcard). It's great to see Kimball getting such good attention, for this project and in general. Latest word is that it will air next week.

Part 2 of John O'Brien interview at LA Times blog Jacket Copy

Part 1 and Part 2.

Thank you, John O'Brien, for Dalkey Archive Press.

Re: Dalkey Archive: I recently read the new title by Jean-Philippe Toussaint, Running Away, and it's great. A full review is forthcoming.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Some things that have not been done before in exactly this way

Rain Taxi's Spring 2009 issue is available online.

New work by Michael Martone from his collection of monologues entitled "Whinesburg, Indiana."

Interview with Adam Robinson re his forthcoming book ADAM ROBISON AND OTHER POEMS, and more miscellaneous brilliance at DOGZPLOT.

New work by Kim Chinquee at Web Conjunctions.

Charles Lennox's ML Press chapbook "A Field of Colors" is now available online at Keyhole Magazine. I'm glad J.A. Tyler expedited this one into the world, and that Peter Cole immortalized it online.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Call for Submissions: On the Clock: Contemporary Short Fiction of People and Their Work

I will be co-editing an anthology of fiction about post-industrial work life. Here are the details. Please spread the word. Blog. Tweet. Email. Print out the flyer below and post it everywhere.

On the Clock: Contemporary Short Fiction of People and Their Work
Working Lives Series from Bottom Dog Press Inc.

We want to anthologize some outstanding fiction about working in a post-industrial world or making the transition from manual labor to intellectual labor, or the conflict of living in both spheres. In short, we want modern stories about people and their work. Although we prefer post-industrial fiction, we will also look at any fiction that deals with work in a meaningful way. Money and how we earn it are an endless source of conflict, loss, redemption and the source of great fiction. Please send us your best fiction about work.


Length: up to 5,000 words.

Submissions are open now.

Deadline: October 1, 2009.

Email submissions strongly preferred (query first if you absolutely must send a hard copy). Send attached .rtf or .doc file to: ontheclocksubmissions [at] gmail.com and make sure the word “Submission” is somewhere in the subject line.

Payment: $50 and two copies

Reprints are acceptable. Please let us know where it’s been published.

Simultaneous submissions are okay as long as we are notified immediately if your work is accepted elsewhere.

Multiple submissions are allowed, up to three stories.

July issue of The Chapbook Review

New reviews of all manner of chapbooks:

Here is my review of Leonard Schwartz's Language as Responsibility

An Insistence on Meaning: Nicolle Elizabeth in Conversation with Shya Scanlon

J.A. Tyler reviews Tina May Hall's novella All the Day's Sad Stories

Matt DeBenedictis reviews Jamie Iredell's Before I Moved to Nevada

Andrew Borgstrom reviews Norman Fischer's Charlotte's Way

Tina Hall reviews Sarith Peou's Corpse Watching

John Dermot Woods reviews Mary Ruefle's comic Go Home and Go to Bed!

Matt Bell reviews Geoffry Forsyth's In the Land of the Free

J.R. Angelella reviews Michael Kriesel's Moths Mail the House

J.A. Tyler reviews Thomas Cooper's Phantasmagoria

Andrew Borgstrom reviews a multi-writer project entitled Spider Vein Impasto

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Review: Bust Down the Door and Eat All the Chickens #8

Okay, this review is about nine months late, but, really, it's right on time for the new issue of Bust Down the Door and Eat All the Chickens, which is, I believe, full of new absurdity and will be coming soon.

Issue #8 of Bust Down the Door and Eat All the Chickens centers on no particular theme except the general theme of the absurd and surreal. The back cover says, “Some stories feature mindless violence or irreal nonsense. Others display sharp cultural satire or brain-tingling wordplay . . . issue #8 offers a zany feast for the ravenous imagination.” This is no exaggeration.

Mike Young’s short-short entitled “Share This Too” starts things off with this opening line: “In the middle of the city park I found a nun crying because her ice cream cone was full of broken teeth.” The narrator’s obvious, logical solution, “Why don’t you just flick them out?” is, of course, too simple to escape the biblically-proportioned plague of broken teeth to follow.

A couple pieces in the issue don’t give the reader much beyond the initial premise. However, I was really impressed with Ofelia Hunt’s story “Car Accident,” narrated by a person who seems to be responsible for the car accident in question and whatever other horror is connected to it. Using the movement of vague language, Hunt wrings the narrator’s trauma, disorientation, and disconnection as the authorities ask questions, and indirectly expresses the inexpressible. For example:

“What’s your name?”


“I need your name for hospital records and insurance. How old are you? Where were you born?”

“I think I’m me I think I’m something.” I move my head and my head hurts in a sharp and exact way, but distant somehow, as though my head’s a thing and I’m a thing and these things are different things with different nervous systems. I see another gurney and another human and the other human’s very red and black and crusted and hairless and maybe does not have enough skin, so I think about skin and how much skin’s enough skin and I think about my skin and how much skin I have and where this skin is and what if I were to lose this skin.

I also enjoyed other stories by Blake Butler, Cameron Pierce, Darby Larson, Sam Pink, Matthew Simmons, and more. Closing out this slim but potent issue are book reviews of Duncan Barlow's Super Cell Anemia and Jeremy C. Shipp's Sheep and Wolves. I think the range of style and content in this issue of Bust Down the Door and Eat All the Chickens provides something to suit as well as stretch the sensibilities of most readers, even some who prefer traditional realism. Issue #8 and other back issues of Bust are still available (some are online as free pdf downloads, see below)and I've read that the next issue will be online. It will definitely be worth checking out.

UPDATE: The next issue of Bust will be print; online after that.


Bradley Sands interviews Sam Pink

Jason Moore interviews Blake Butler

Free downloads:

Bust Down the Door and Eat All the Chickens Issue 7 (Winter 2008, Online Flash/Micro Fiction Edition)

Bust Down the Door and Eat All the Chickens Issue 2 (Spring 2005, Online Flash/Micro Fiction Edition)

Dragons with Cancer

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I WILL SMASH YOU is finished

I have been waiting for this. And it's finished. It will be here in September. Here's the deal on I WILL SMASH YOU:

I WILL SMASH YOU is a documentary film in which dozens of people each tell a story about an object that has some personal meaning for them and then destroy that object in whatever manner they wish. Michael Kimball interviews each person about their chosen object and the story behind it, which leads to amazing realizations, for both the subject and the viewer.

There are 19 different chapters filled with people, objects, destruction, resolution, and understanding. A man burns his discharge papers from the Army in attempt to exorcise his recurring nightmares about being forced to re-enlist (and always at a lower rank). A teenage girl destroys a papier-mâché version of her mean teacher's head, which she cracks open and then burns in an attempt to get all the meanness out. A man smashes his procrastination. Another man burns his favorite double album, the one that he listened to over and over to get through adolescence. A woman destroys a ceramic bust of Zeus that bears an uncanny resemblance to her husband. Another woman destroys her Ford Taurus with a crowbar because it is cursed.

I WILL SMASH YOU is filled with moments of relief, moments of release, unexpected realizations, and a couple of political statements. You have never seen a film like this

We'll start to screen I WILL SMASH YOU in September. The release party/premiere will happen somewhere in Baltimore.
Anybody interested in getting a screener copy of the DVD can write me at lucadipierro@yahoo.it

Little Burn Films presents
a film by Luca Dipierro & Michael Kimball
concept by Michael Kimball
directed by Luca Dipierro
edited by Luca Dipierro & Michael Kimball
camera by Rachel Bradley, Luca Dipierro, Rodney McLaughlin
with, in random order: Susan Nolan, Ivan Bojanic, Adam Robinson, Chancellor Pascale, Ella Grossbach, Geoff Becker, Jessica Gill, Caitlin Cunningham, Andy Kratz, Leslie F. Miller, Gregg Wilhelm, Tom Smith, Monica Mohindra, Bonnie Jones, Mike Rippe, Jeff Rettberg, Molly Warsh and Piotr Gwiazda, Michael Kimball, Betsy Boyd.
special thanks to Crazy Ray's and Brent Green

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The category is Interviews and Things That are New

Chris Higgs interview at HTMLGIANT that is not old even though it was posted way back on June 14th! I could read a whole book that is only an interview with Chris Higgs.

Michael Kimball interviews editor of Unsaid Magazine, David McLendon at elimae.

And, seriously, get the new issue of Unsaid however you can. It is massive in every way. Here's the lineup that is also a massive name drop:


To get a glimpse of what's in there, check out the feature at the EWN blog where Dan Wickett asks McLendon to say a bit about each piece and why he chose to include it in Unsaid. This feature could be printed as a supplement to the issue. Thanks, Dan and David, for doing this.

Available for Pre-Order: John Dermot Woods' novel The Complete Collection of people, places & things

I ordered this as soon as the email landed. Here's the info:

Order The Complete Collection of people, places & things by July 15 and get it for only $12 (25% off the cover price) with free shipping in the U.S. (we can work something out for international too).

- A signed/numbered screen print, commemorating the book’s release
- personalized copy with a limited edition, signed book plate

The Complete Collection of people, places & things
a novel by John Dermot Woods
BlazeVOX Books 2009
ISBN: 9781935402466
175 pp. Perfect Bound. With Drawings.

“An accomplished artist and writer, in addition to being an entertaining and often an electrifying one. John Woods does something very original in his combining of the arts in this collection, and my hat’s off to him in his two-hat achievement.”
Stephen Dixon

“John Dermot Woods’ Complete Collection thrills the daylights out of me. Every word, every image is infused with vitality. Every place, person and thing breathes and moves. It is an android’s heaven, a manikin’s cocktail party. It reminds me of the Golden Age cartoons where human departure imbues clocks, canned goods, books, statues, toys or brooms with sentience. When we close our eyes our kitchens Jitterbug, our teddy bears waltz. The thing I love most about this world is that while Woods’ imagination is opened full throttle, he provides an almost ethnographical structure to explicate it. His wonderland is so thoroughly startling because of — not in spite of — his ability to make his account as reliable as a Fodor’s travel guide.”
Reginald McKnight

“John Woods’ The Complete Collection brings the small-town America of Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio into conversation with Italo Calvino’s fake travelogue, Invisible Cities, and that book’s dreamish vision of Imperial China. Like Calvino’s novel, the book evokes a kind of nearly Renaissance-like iconographic worldview of Memory and the Imagination, but one channeled through the disposable world of American children’s toys and comic books. The flat voice is disconcertingly balanced between farce, comedy and deadly seriousness.”
Johannes Göransson

Excerpts online:

“Benvereen” (Lamination Colony)

“Voltron,” “Game Cartridges,” and “The Dining Car” (La Petite Zine)

“Gargamel” (Pebble Lake Review)

New Literary Magazine: The Collagist

Dzanc Books is pleased to announce its newest venture: an online Logo journal called The Collagist. Intent on continuing the Dzanc tradition of bringing extraordinary writing to a wide audience, the first issue of The Collagist will be published on August 15th, 2009, and appear subsequently each month thereafter at www.thecollagist.com.

The Collagist is edited by Matt Bell, with Matthew Olzmann as Poetry Editor. Each month The Collagist will deliver outstanding new short stories, poems, and essays from both emerging and established writers, as well as an exclusive excerpt from a forthcoming novel. Early excerpts will include works from the standard bearers of independent publishing, including Coffee House, Two Dollar Radio, and Unbridled Books. The Collagist will also publish several new book reviews in every issue.

The Collagist is immediately open for submissions in all categories. As you might assume, we suggest you read the books Dzanc and its imprints publish to get a flavor of what writing gets us most excited. Submissions guidelines can be found at www.thecollagist.com/submissions.html.

We thank you in advance for your submissions and your readership, and look forward to sharing this exciting new project with you when our first issue launches in August.


Steve Gillis
Dan Wickett
Matt Bell
Dzanc Books

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Mike Heppner's Man Talking Project

So maybe you've read my review of Mike Heppner's Talking Man at The Chapbook Review. Good. That's good. Now here's some more: last October, Justin Taylor talked about Heppner's work on HTMLGIANT. He said these things:

Talking Man is the second in a series of four thematically linked novellas to be published in 2008 and 2009. The first part, Man Talking (that was released–it’s actually the fourth novella in the series; don’t ask) is available as a FREE DOWNLOAD from Heppner’s website. Talking Man is being released in a gorgeous handmade, highly limited edition of 60. I can’t wait to get my hands on one, and you shouldn’t either.

The other two novellas–Man and Talking–will be released in December ‘08 and Sometime ‘09, respectively. No word on what format(s?) those works will be available in, but why don’t you stop worrying about that right now? You’re already two novellas down–time to get cracking.

Here is a rundown of the Man Talking Project on Heppner's own website:

Mike Heppner and Small Anchor Press announce Talking, the fourth and final in a series of novellas released in 2008 and 2009.

The Man Talking Project has been written about in The New Yorker on-line, The Christian Science Monitor, The Boston Globe, Conversational Reading, AdFreak, Maud Newton, Media Bistro, The Millions and HTMLGiant. Clare Dudman (98 Reasons for Being) calls the project "...a brilliant piece of writing... innovative, interesting, and absorbing..." and Neil Peart (Road Show) raves "...an artful examination of modern life, and modern love, with perfect dialogue, wry humor, (and) psychological insight."

The four novellas were written between 2007 and 2009. Three of the four were released in full over the past year. One cannot find the entire project in a single location, however it is possible to collect and read the project in its entirety.

Part One, Talking Man, was published in September 2008 by Small Anchor Press. Small Anchor Press is a Brooklyn-based independent press specializing in finely crafted handmade books. Talking Man can be purchased exclusively at SA's website, smallanchorpress.com. A second printing came out in February 2009.

Part Two, Man, was released in December 2008. Five hundred photocopies have been left in random locations across the United States for readers to find and comment on. Some of those comments can be read here.

Part Three, Man Talking, the third in the series (but the first to be made available), can be read for free here. Over four thousand readers have visited since Man Talking went on-line in April 2008.

Part Four, Talking, is a piece of writing; it's also a contest. One winner will receive a single-copy edition of Talking, entirely handwritten by Mike Heppner, plus signed copies of the other three sections. A short documentary film will feature the author awarding the prize to the winner in person (if practical). The winner is the first person to correctly guess the secret phrase, which can be found in one of Heppner's two full-length novels, The Egg Code and Pike's Folly. Both novels are available as Vintage paperbacks.

This takes the idea of requiring work of the reader to a new level. Check out the photos of where copies of Man were left all over the US. And that the last part is also a contest pretty much makes this the most interactive series of novellas ever, and a nice hook to sell some copies of his two previous novels. If one were to play along, Talking actually becomes much longer and more complicated since part of the experience is to search out and piece together the secret phrase, which requires reading two novels, which in any case binds and tangles the novels and the novellas into one huge interactive text. Heppner's project is fascinating in so many ways. To see the contest rules for Talking (I didn't see a deadline or anything, so I assume it's still on), check out Heppner's website.

A linky recap:
Mike Heppner's Man Talking project:
Part One: Talking Man, available from Small Anchor Press
Part Two: Man, check out the note, and then try to find one of the 500(+?) copies
Part Three: Man Talking, free pdf download
Part Four: Talking, "a piece of writing; it's also a contest"

Also: The Making of Talking Man: "Correspondence between Mike Heppner and Jen Hyde [of Small Anchor Press] (July 23 – December 1, 2008)"

And also: read an excerpt of Mike Heppner's novel The Egg Code

And also as well:

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Chapbook Review

The first issue of The Chapbook Review is here. There's a phlebotomistic (I did indeed have less blood in my body when I finished reading) double interview where Blake Butler and Christopher Higgs take turns being interviewer/interviewee. And then, of course, there are the chapbook reviews.

Tobias Carroll reviews Lawrence Millman’s Going Home: A Horror Story

Sean Lovelace reviews Matt Bell's How the Broken Lead the Blind (the hard copies of which are sold out, but is now available as a free ebook)

Andrew Borgstrom reviews Aaron Burch’s Molting

Kimberly King Parsons reviews Alan Catlin’s Only the Dead Know Albany

Matthew Simmons and Andrew Borgstrom each review Mathias Svalina’s Play

J.R. Angelella reviews Ryan and Christie Call's Pocket Finger

Nicolle Elizabeth reviews Shya Scanlon’s Poolsaid

And I review Mike Heppner's Talking Man

The Chapbook Review is John Madera's brainchild; John Madera, who put together the huge list of lists of many writers' favorite novellas. I would like to thank John for all of his help, patience, and hard work. I think TCR fills a void in the current literary world, where chapbooks go mostly unnoticed and rarely receive the close critical reading so many of them deserve.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Writing Contest: Blake Butler/Lamination Colony: This is not not a Contest

You've never seen a writing contest like this. No surprised though, coming from the mind of Blake Butler. There's no entry fee. There are more prizes than any other contest ever I think, all donated (I donated my extra copy of Jimmy Chen's chapbook TYPEWRITER). From Blake's blog:


Texts between 1 and 2000 words. Just words. Text. There can be pictures in it too. Photos. Stuff. Not poetry or fiction or creative nonfiction, in the name of it, but anything. Words. Say something.

** BY THE ABOVE LINE I MEAN ALL WRITING IS ALLOWED. All forms of words are welcome. **

1 entry per person.

I'm going to read the entries with time I would have spent looking at websites I always look at anyway or watching poker on TV or something stupid.

Winners will be judged on the basis of how much I enjoy them, or think they are good.

Anyone can enter, if you enter under a pseudonym the prize will go to the pseudonym.

If you put terms in quotes that aren't speech in the piece you are disqualified.

If anyone is interested in donating further prizes for entrants, money or books or personal items or offers of fun, please email me, I will announce them and link there here at the bottom of this post.

Please blog this contest around.

Promotional contests should not cost money. Didn't you ever listen to Fugazi.


Please send contest entries to laminationcolony [at] gmail [dot] com, include THIS IS NOT NOT A CONTEST in the title, entries will be accepted for one week, until Friday June 5.

Winners will be picked soon after and published soon after.

This is a contest about life.

Here be the details in full.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Matt Bell's How the Broken Lead the Blind now available as a free ebook

Here's Matt's reasoning for making this happen:

Since How the Broken Lead the Blind is sold out and won't be reprinted, I've now posted the entire book online so that anyone who couldn't get a copy can still read it exactly as it was in print. This is something I hope to do with every book I publish, as long as the presses I'm working with are supportive of the idea. I truly believe that all books should eventually be available for free in some form, so that any one wants to read them can, regardless of where they live or how much money they have or whatever other barriers might keep them from being able to get their hands on a copy. And then, of course, there are more selfish reasons: I'm so grateful that anyone's reading my writing, and am always happy to do whatever I can to make my work more available to anyone who's interested. So here it is.

In the future, what I'd really like is to be able to to post a book for free on the same day it goes on sale, but that'll obvious depend on who (if anyone) publishes the next book. Still, it's something I plan on bringing up if I get the opportunity.

In any case, you can now read How the Broken Lead the Blind online via Issuu or download it as a PDF for reading offline. Also, if you read the book and would like to add it on Goodreads, you can do so here.

Thanks again to everyone who bought a copy, and to Molly Gaudry, Christy Call, and David McNamara for all their work on this book. I appreciate it more than you can know.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ryan Manning v Christopher Higgs

in the form of an interview

Christopher Higgs re: politics = yes, I couldn't agree more

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sneak Preview of David Lynch's Interview Project

Look see.

William Walsh at Apostrophe Cast

William Walsh reads from his new book, Questionstruck, at Apostrophe Cast. Questionstruck is definitely one of the most interesting concepts I've seen. Walsh is a master of the derived text. He also gave an interview for the AP blog.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

She Take We Apart

Molly Gaudry posted a mind-blowing assemblage of lines drawn from blogs by the likes of Bailey, Madore, Bassett, Klassnik, Jemc, Regina, Pink, Best, Wells, Butler, Lin, Robinson, etc. Molly certainly has an eye for stand-alone lines, and with the way the lines juxtapose and accumulate, she has written a really good poem. On top of that, each line is linked to its source, which is fascinating to see how such different writers' lines is such dramatically different original contexts could be de/reterritorialized in an entirely new piece of writing that Barry Hannah indirectly inadvertently titled (you'll see). And be sure to check out John Madera's "bleary-eyed blurry remix" in the comments. Good stuff.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Some days even a cup of coffee is violence.

Barry Hannah, Ray

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Friday, May 1, 2009

Barry Hannah's Long Shadow

Great profile of Barry Hannah at Garden & Gun's website. [thanks to Kevin Sampsell for finding this]

Shane Jones and Blake Butler on Powell's Books Blog

Kevin Sampsell posted a discussion between Shane Jones and Blake Butler on Powell's Book Blog. Topics include: whether or not they feel different now that they have published books, being labeled "internet writers" and other things like cats.

David Lynch's Interview Project

Here's the trailer for David Lynch's Interview Project. Looks fascinating. Reminds me of Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story (on a postcard) and I WILL SMASH YOU.

New Interview Project episodes will be launched every 3 days for a year.

Looks great, of course.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Jimmy Chen's "A photo essay by Philip Roth" at HTMLGIANT

Yesterday, Jimmy Chen posted "The ecstasy of a faint outdoor wind: A photo essay by Philip Roth" at HTMLGIANT. It's hilarious, the way Jimmy Chen is hilarious, which is very. Just the other day I saw an author photo and felt that warm flush of embarrassment under my skin, because, like most of the author photos I see, it was so overdone with melodramatic neck angles and hyper-serious eyes. Jimmy Chen's "photo essay by Philip Roth" hits the notes. This makes me even more excited for Jimmy's chapbook Typewriter from Magic Helicopter Press.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

More Book Blurbs Available

Here are some book blurbs I am making available. Also, the previous batches of blurbs I posted are still available. I had them for sale before, but If you want a blurb, just take it, use it, it's free. Donations are certainly welcome, especially since work is slow so I need to start making some money. In any case, feel free to customize (tweak, remix, etc) any blurb to include the author's name and/or the title of the book, whatever. So, in about six months, I'm going to begin assuming that every book blurb I see is really one of mine, tweaked, remixed, and attributed to someone else. Thanks and enjoy.

“I haven’t seen such daring since my grandmother left the house without her Depends.”

“Dazzling, crackling, stunning—you’ll probably be incapacitated by the time you’re done with this one. The world will soon be literally deaf, dumb, and blind, too.”

“Seriously, the hype has been so big that I can’t even bring myself to read the book. I just sit and watch the book lay on the desk and I get gooseflesh. Don’t miss out of this masterpiece, a marketing marvel . . . just flip the pages, move it from the bookshelf to the coffee table to your study, just look at the book and think about how great it is . . . buy this book immediately, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed—and you don’t even have to read it!”

"This book will change your life and probably the lives of your family, friends, and even the random people you meet, just from having met you; all because you bought and read this book. If you thought Jesus and 9/11 changed things, you obviously haven't read this yet. And just imagine what you are depriving so many people of if you don't buy this book and read it. That's a heavy burden, my friend, compared to the low low cover price. I'm just saying."

“There’s a lot to like here . . . a nice dust jacket with a photo on the back inside flap with the author in his own corduroy dust jacket, posing for the camera. He looks pretty serious, like he’s mad or horny. The pages, when you have the book closed, are rugged and uneven, kind of giving it an old, rustic look (but the book is new, though, so—). The paper is nice. So I’d say the book is probably pretty good, too. The writing, I mean; the story that’s in it. I’d probably buy one from the store if they didn’t send it to me for free.”

“When the first line is “Nonplussed, the denizens gazed wistfully upon the nondescript regalia and joined in the cacophony of hearts” there is no need to read the rest to know this is an important book by a purely original mind.”

“Any book that leaves your lips bleeding, your balls aching, and your crotch burning like something out of a Nat King Cole Christmas song is worth the price of admission. A band-aid or an ice pack would make a clever freebie, though. Or even some ointment.”

“An instant classic the likes of which have not been seen since Moby Dick or even Confederacy of Dunces.”

“Superb. Delicious. A little tough in areas, but definitely lean and satisfying. Lots to chew on. Tantalizing for the developed palate. Keep a big bottle of sauce at hand and make sure your steak knife is sharp! It's difficult, but try not to eat it too quickly; your bowels will not handle it well if at all.”

“A rowdy, raucous time . . . woke the neighbors . . . police were called . . . two nights in jail . . . helluva time . . . a coloring book and so much more!”

Friday, April 24, 2009

Fiona McCrae on the Life Cycle of the Poem

Fiona McCrae, director and publisher at Graywolf Press, discusses the life cycle of a poem on the Farrar Straus and Giroux poetry blog.

UPDATE: Here is Part Two.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Blake Butler Interviews Vanessa Place at HTMLGIANT

This is so good. This is the kind of interview I aspire to. Blake asks Vanessa Place about her massive book (novel?) La Medusa, which was published last year by FC2. Both sides of this interview are fascinating. Here are Blake's opening questions:

BB: (a) I’d like to open our discussion of La Medusa by asking about its birth in you, as an idea. Over the span of its 500 pages, the text manages to worm through quite an insanely number of shells and forms, I believe I read somewhere that you worked on La Medusa for quite a number of years, so I am particularly interested in how the shape of the book continued to evolve and expand within itself as you found yourself deeper in the pages.

(b) What I find really interesting, is that among this huge sprawl, too, is that the bulk of the narrative consists of a set of interwoven strands that focus on the main ‘camps’, if you will, of the discourse, which are in a way defined in the very first sentences of the book:

“Doctor Casper Bowles eyes his mirror’d visor.
Feena checks her pink Barbie mirror
while Athalie her mother looks at her own hand.
Jorge can’t see for shit ‘cuz of the sun,
And the golden-bellied woman stands blind as a proverbial bat.
Then there’s me, flattened & weeping in one hundred and one windows”

These strands are attended to so fervently, and with great poise, so that often it seems like some scenes in the book that may occur over a short period in the timeline of the narrative, actually sprawl out as if minute by minute, almost in the way that David Foster Wallace managed to capture time as time in ‘Infinite Jest,’ and also how Gass used language to define space in ‘The Tunnel.’ I was wondering if you could speak more about directing the complex trajectories of each of these narratives over time and perhaps some of the process involved in how the evolving form dictated content and vice-versa.

Read on and pay attention as your brain muscles ripple and sag.