March 2012

Author Spotlight & Reviews

When I Was a Poet

When I Was a Poet

By David Meltzer

City Lights Publishers, 2011

144 pages, $10.95







[Reviewer’s Note: I received a review copy of David Meltzer’s When I Was a Poet directly from City Lights Publishers last summer. While reading the book on a quick trip for a family-related emergency of sorts, I began to fill a small notebook with short bursts of a fast-clipped poem-series. This poetic assemblage mixing David’s lines between my own responses generated the gist of what became the official book review (see below)—the poem-series itself follows. I had the honor of reading this poem in David’s presence as part of a group reading celebration for When I Was a Poet @ the Meridian gallery here in San Francisco hosted by SF State Poetry Center on Sept 1, 2011. It’s a pleasure to see both versions find a home on HTMLGIANT thanks to Ben Mirov. Rock on. -pjd]


March 28th, 2012 / 3:26 pm

10 minute documentary by Errol Morris on champion chicken wing eater, El Wingador, at the Times.

What is the most you’ve ever eaten in one sitting?

Sampson Starkweather Strips it Down to Just Chapbooks

The 2012 Chapbook Festival starts tomorrow. I call it “the good AWP.” In preparation, this year I’ve asked Sampson Starkweather, 1/5th of the Birds, LLC braintrust and chapbook enthusiast, some questions about the form. Go get a blanket–he links up some great stuff that is way worth the read.

Hey Sampson, what’s the deal with chapbooks?
Funny, that’s how I start all my stand-up comedy gigs. It kills of course. So I wanted to start with a quote from James Haug’s Why I Like Chapbooks (Factory Hollow, 2011), who waxes lyrical “Chapbooks are stealth books./ They can slip under a door./ They don’t impose. They suggest./ They’re not one thing or another. They don’t take much time. They’re sly and easy to ignore. They imply, insinuate, inquire./ They don’t expect an answer./ They have a long history; they have no history.” READ MORE >

Massive People & Presses & Word Spaces / 16 Comments
March 28th, 2012 / 11:44 am

I recorded a commentary track for “Drive”

Hey, HTMLGiant. I recorded a commentary track for Drive; you can download it here. It’s an mp3, 42 MB, 104 minutes long.

Of course I made it so brilliant that you can just listen to it on its own. But if you watch it with Drive (recommended!), it’s all synced up, so cue it to start when the Universal logo starts.

Related posts:

Next, I’ll record commentary for Inception.

And Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.

And The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

And Southland Tales.

Update: I forgot to include a link to Scorpio Rising. Here’s a clip:

And here’s the full film.

Film / 27 Comments
March 28th, 2012 / 8:01 am

james joyce fly porn


Craft Notes & I Like __ A Lot / 4 Comments
March 27th, 2012 / 3:56 pm

when was the last time you threw up on yourself & why not now

The Birds’ Ulterior Motives Get Them Killed: An Interview with Craig Morgan Teicher

Congratulations on Cradle Book, published by BOA in 2010.  It is a lovely book of what I thought were fable-like prose poems.  But BOA has listed the book as fiction.  Do you see it as a work of fiction?

Sort of.  It’s certainly not poetry.  I wrote it in part because I had always wanted to write fiction but don’t have anything resembling the patience for it, so I thought I could write little stories about archetypal characters and animals that die when things that fall on their heads.  But, no, it’s not fiction, in the sense that Hemingway wrote fiction or Anne Patchett writes fiction with characters we’re supposed to fall in love with and hate.  It is prose—and something separate from poetry, a different material from poetry. READ MORE >
Author Spotlight / 3 Comments
March 26th, 2012 / 1:46 pm


A Collaborative Review of Good Offices

Good Offices
by Evelio Rosero
Trans. by Anne McLean & Anna Milsom
New Directions, 2011
144 pages / $13.95  Buy from New Directions or Amazon







In September of 2011, my colleague Laura Vena and I decided that we were both sufficiently interested in Evelio Rosero’s Good Offices to attempt a “collaborative review” of the novel. (As something of a student of the novel-as-form, I was intrigued by Good Offices‘ superficial resemblance to Lewis’ atypical Gothic The Monk. Laura, though she will probably raise a protest, is an expert in Latin American literature.) Laura and I ultimately agreed that our collaboration would take the form of a conversation about the book, which we each read yet refrained from discussing prior to our officially meeting. Presented here is as full, complete and accurate a record of our conversation as Google’s transcription of our live chat will allow. What it lacks in context and gracefulness I trust it makes up for in spiritedness and candor. In fact, reading over these exchanges again, I appreciate how they allow me to eavesdrop on those selves taking turns speaking up—can I really say that they speak through me?—when I talk about books. Or: when I am retelling yet again those fictions by virtue of which we can even discuss the notion of fiction. (JM)

A word about tone: due to the candid nature of IM conversations, much of the following text is raw in character. My initial impulse was to edit out all my informal language, which reflects not my intellectual self, but the manner in which I engage in impassioned conversation with friends… Not necessarily for mass consumption. But in discussions with Joe, we ultimately felt we should maintain the tone of the original conversation to keep true to the experiment of long-distance collaboration that resulted in this review. For better or worse. (LV)


1 Comment
March 26th, 2012 / 1:00 pm

The Best Recent Stories: The Results

A little while ago, I asked you all to name “the best story that you’ve read in the past few years.” I deliberately didn’t define “best.” After the jump, I’ve compiled what you said …


Vicarious MFA / 10 Comments
March 26th, 2012 / 8:01 am