June 2012

A Few Notes about Joyelle McSweeney’s Percussion Grenade

The Montevidayans, a loose group of writers and poets and visual artists (including Joyelle McSweeney, Johannes Goransson, Lara Glenum, Danielle Pafunda, and, more loosely, Kate Bernheimer), are distinguished from the preponderance of those who are identified (or who self-identify) as avant-garde or experimental or “new” or otherwise willfully other, by their willingness to embrace and explore rather than to exclude, and by their idea that art can accommodate the high, the low, the middle, the sideways, the backwards, the constructive, the destructive, the deconstructive, the narrative, the anti-narrative, the lyric, the dramatic, the miniature, the epic, the restrained, the willfully artful, the willfully artless, the garish, the respectable, the kitschy, the hybrid, the hi-bred, the high bread, and the red hype. Where others out of explicit big-timing (and implicit self-protection or self-promotion) construct ever smaller boxes within which art might reside — and say, implicitly (and sometimes explicitly): because I reject your standard notion of rules, which are meant to bind and shame me, I will make an idiosyncratic notion of rules, which are meant to bind and shame all who are not like me — the Montevidayans, in general, say: Yes.

This is not the only reason I am drawn to their work READ MORE >

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June 24th, 2012 / 9:03 pm


With the Animals

With the Animals
by Noëlle Revaz
Translated by W. Donald Wilson
Dalkey Archive, May 2012
232 pages / $22.95 Hardback; $14.95 Paperback.  Buy from Dalkey Archive or Amazon
Originally published in French as Rapport aux bêtes by Gallimard, Paris, 2002





Sometimes a book comes along that is written in a voice so bizarre and so steadfast, so almost chant-like, that it worms inside my head and plays over and over until I find myself unconsciously putting its somewhat archaic words and phrases to everyday use. Whilst reading With The Animals, I am all of a sudden “canoodling”, “yammering”, “palavering” and “gallivanting” through a world furnished with “snot-rags” and “flyspecks”, “gizmos” and “critters.”

With The Animals is the second novel by Franco-Swiss author, Noëlle Revaz, and the voice from which I am stealing is that of Paul: a middle-aged dairy farmer, husband to Vulva and father of “six brats at least.” Paul is a hardworking, hard-drinking, hardhearted man, and his is a life of self-inflicted hardship.  Paul is all passion before sense, all anger and hunger and lust. If there are any crumbs of true affection in his shrivelled turd of a heart, then every last one is reserved for his cattle. “Yet I know what it feels like, the way it is when you love”, he says, “you keep squying at her and sighing, you have the everlasting fear something bad might occur to damage her about the horns or make you call the vet.” Paul treats his herd with a tenderness never extended toward his human family. The children have presence only in passing: they idle around the farmyard, they whisper to one another in their beds at night, they skitter instinctively from their father’s path whenever he approaches. At one point, Paul boasts how “all them cows, I know them and I have their names by heart.  I can tell when they was born, what diseases they’ve had, and their mother’s name.” Whereas on the subject of his offspring, he is quick to confess how he’s “never able to take to them nor put their names on each.”


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June 22nd, 2012 / 12:00 pm

Ill I’ll OK For Ilk 4

It’s easy to ignore a heat wave when you’ve got the big questions. Such as: can’t people be wrong about why they believe things? But even big questions aren’t foolproof. There are storytellers, fuckers, etc. Get caught in the wrong heat and you turn all hymn of the yawn you. Swedes start calling things thigh cookies, and others engage in the practice of mapping and naming lunar mountain ranges. So this is a heat for you to fit yourself under yourself, for green honey in the heart. For us to start saying things like “When I say you are my one and only I mean it in the way I mean it when I say I know how to change a tire.” For ramming into the blank and unblinking of heat with a wishful thinking wrought in anti-oppression declarativeness: “The quality of rain is that it occurs first of all where we are.” Wingspans become appetites, the future becomes a mystery school for adults. The grocery store becomes the grocery stores from all your favorite movies. Your horse becomes a horse you would like to have pictures with, and cereal bars a stand-in for affection. Last time I checked, this is an upturned-pocket kind of world, and why would you keep your matches in a world like that?

Web Hype / 2 Comments
June 21st, 2012 / 10:17 am

Cinema x 2: “Prometheus” & Feature Friday

Michael Fassbender is...Galactus!


It’s been a while since Ridley Scott’s made a film I really admire (Hannibal?), and even longer since he’s made one I really love (Alien/Blade Runner/Legend). But the man’s got talent and I hoped his returning to LV-233 would bring it out.

His first mistake was not returning to LV-233.


Film / 40 Comments
June 21st, 2012 / 8:01 am

What exactly is the difference between “art” and “terrorism?”

“What exactly is Alt Lit?” Frank Hinton, Noah Cicero, and Stephen Tully Dierks speak to Vol. 1 Brooklyn about it.

Talking with Okla Elliott

Okla Elliott’s published drama, non-fiction, poetry, short fiction, and translations have appeared in Another Chicago Magazine, Indiana Review, The Literary Review, Natural Bridge, New Letters, A Public Space, and The Southeast Review, among others. He is the author of three poetry chapbooks—The Mutable Wheel; Lucid Bodies and Other Poems; and A Vulgar Geography—and he co-edited (with Kyle Minor) The Other Chekhov. His new book, From the Crooked Timber is out now from Press 53. You can get it from Amazon or directly from the publisher.

To help celebrate the recent publication of From the Crooked Timber I asked him a few questions and got him to talk about a bunch of things, from art to politics to influence to the narcissism of minute differences.


Author Spotlight / 1 Comment
June 20th, 2012 / 11:17 am

What is the one publication you’ve had and most proud of? And exactly why?

Crystalographers’ Ars Poetica

"Untitled" (1980-1998) by Lee Bontecou

 …the epigraph from the 2nd edition of Christian Bök’s, Crystalography:


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June 19th, 2012 / 5:53 pm

june 19

is the 170th day of the year-io and 170 year-ios ago Ambrose Bierce is begetted, a man so like a book, both celebrated and ignored (like a book) and so (like a book) smelling of glue or music or a mattress and heavily into time manipulation, its expansion, compression, irrelevance of, etc. and 170 year-ios ago we get poet Sidney Lanier (go Lanier High, go ‘the castle,” the graduates of said high school, the alumni/alumna officially known not as graduates but as “Poets” [factoid!]; for example, Bart Starr [a man so square as to once fine a Green Bay Packer defensive end $1,000 for munching a fucking hotdog on the bench during an exhibition game] or Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, a horrible driver [she would tell people that she “deintestined” cars while wrecking them] and great beauty [always a subjective term, though scientific studies have pretty much shown we animals find symmetry aesthetically pleasing {Scientists say that the preference for symmetry is a highly evolved trait seen in many different animals. For both men and women, greater symmetry predicted a larger number of past sex partners.

Female swallows, for example, prefer males with longer and more symmetric tails, while female zebra finches mate with males with symmetrically colored leg bands.}] who, when at high school age in sultry [and fire-ant fucked!] Montgomery, Alabama, was known to be addicted to something called “a dope,” a mixture of Coca Cola spiked with an aromatic mixture of ammonia [oddly, these days the same ingredients can be used in a not dissimilar way to manipulate a whole other type of “coke”], which made her loopy and hungry and eventually a quick trip to Chris’s for a hotdog [legendary hangout of a very drunk Hank Williams], etc.) PIG, n. An animal (Porcus omnivorus) closely allied to the human race by the splendor and vivacity of its appetite. IN’ARDS, n. The stomach, heart, soul and other bowels. INDIGESTION, n. A disease which the patient and his friends frequently mistake for deep religious conviction and concern for the salvation of mankind (all definitions via The Devil’s Dictionary). Burp.

Random / Comments Off on june 19
June 19th, 2012 / 3:24 pm