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.