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.