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Drought Resistant Strain: A Conversation With Mather Schneider

Mather Schneider’s Drought Resistant Strain is now available from Interior Noise Press. We had a great e-mail conversation about his writing, his attitude and much more.

I have to ask. Intentionally or not, you were a pretty polarizing figure on HTMLGIANT, and have been accused of being overly negative. Do you agree with the characterization? Do you think of yourself as a contrarian? How do you feel about being the only person who has ever been banned? Would you like to return to the HTMLGIANT community and if so, why?

If I see something that bothers me, like unthinking pc happy face rhetoric, frat boy backslapping, hyperbolic praise, etc. I negate it. Pretentiousness bothers me a lot, like when someone expects to be admired for getting out of bed and eating a bowl of frosties. And hypocrisy bothers me too. I have seen Blake Butler use basically the same tactics in commenting that they kicked me off for. Essentially a rude jokster tactic that refuses to take the conversation seriously. I have a negative side yes, but I have a positive side too. Most of the people who accuse me of being a contrarian only know a small part of me. As you can see from my poetry I am not all negative.

I am not sure I am the only one who has been banned from HTML GIANT. It would not surprise me if others had been banned but not many people knew about it. Either way, yes it bothers me to be banned when I have seen so many others making what I consider much worse comments than I ever made. I have been threatened by people on the net a few times, and that’s something I would never do. I also do not call people “cunts” or shit like that, which I have been called many times. In fact one guy on HTML GIANT said he was going to burn my house down, but I’m sure he’s still allowed to comment, ha ha! You stood up for me on HTML GIANT and I appreciate that. And if you’re willing to post this on there, you must know you’re going to get some backlash for it, and I respect that.

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Author Spotlight / 295 Comments
April 20th, 2010 / 12:57 pm

CONTEST! My favorite line in Lost is when Sawyer walks up to Jack and Juliet mid-intense-conversation and says to them, “What yall doing, arguing about who’s your favorite Other?” In the spirit of that and mean, who is your favorite HTMLGiant troll, past or present? deadgod? MFBomb? mimi? Christopher Higgs? Mather Schneider? phmadore? What would your grandfather say if he met the troll? Winner gets to direct a bromantic comedy with the troll and any 3 of our contributors or frequent non-troll commenters.

But What About the Nipples? A Nice Conversation (Pt. 2)

Blake ButlerKate ZambrenoAmy King and I recently had a nice, interesting, and lengthy conversation about gender, publishing and so much more, prompted by lots of things including the recent, and largely excellent discussion in Blake’s “Language Over Body” post about the second issue of We Are Champion. Over the next three days, I’m going to post that conversation and we all hope you guys join in on our conversation and share your thoughts. You can find Part 1 here.

Amy:  We’ve got our rooms and we’re writing – we are no longer invisible, unless editors and prize committees try to render us so.   My response was an attempt to point out the other option, which is to be inclusive (which means showcasing possibly disparate work that could be in dialogue), via a new mag, PARROT, that includes work fitting the aforementioned bill:

“PARROT will print the work of Stephanie Rioux’s My Beautiful Beds, Harold Abramowitz’s A House on a Hill (House on a Hill Part 1), Amanda Ackerman’s I Fell in Love with a Monster Truck, Will Alexander’s On the Substance of Disorder, Amina Cain’s Tramps Everywhere, Allison Carter’s All Bodies Are The Same and They Have The Same Reactions, Kate Durbin’s Kept Women, Joseph Mosconi’s But On Geometric, Amaranth Ravva’s Airline Music, Mathew Timmons’ Complex Textual Legitimacy Proclamation, Allyssa Wolf’s Loquela as well as the work of Michelle Detorie, Vanessa Place, Brian Kim Stefans and others…”

I realize this number counting feels isolated and is usually defended as ‘accidental’.  Just see PW’s note on their all male “Top Ten” list for 2009.  But what gets lost when we don’t query such disproportionate representation is that the interests and views and styles that men write in are what we all: male, female, and every other gender get conditioned to, starting with child lit on up to college “classics.”  Such lack parallels why the Wall Street fuck up might have been prevented, or at least lessened.  If variety is the spice of life, shouldn’t that hold true for the literary landscape as well?  There should be a symphonic cacophony, no?

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Behind the Scenes / 354 Comments
May 4th, 2010 / 2:30 pm

I tried to respond to Mather Schneider’s cool post about me, but the comment system was broken. GIRLS WITH INSURANCE HAS BANNED EVERYONE FROM COMMENTING. I HATE THEM.

Hey remember that time something happened about laughing at a poetry reading in New York? Me either. But Craig Santos Perez does. And he sees a connection between Laughter-gate ’09 and the death of flarf–except flarf isn’t actually dead, or something. The best thing about the Perez blog post and/or its comments section–wherein a bunch of smart, otherwise interesting people conspire to take all their (and your) time and energy and drown it in a bathtub of pointlessness–actually occurs in the very first sentence, where Perez links to Dan Hoy’s epic study of flarf from Jacket 29. But again, I stress that flarf isn’t the issue here–nothing is the issue here. There is no issue here. So don’t click the link and don’t read the post. Read Dan’s old essay. Or, if you’re desperately spoiling for a fight, have it about Emerson. That horrendous article that Ken linked to earlier has been drawing fire all day. Our own thread-regular Mather Schneider is tearing it up over there, and I’m on-record as well. No word from the piece’s authors. Yet.

Should I ban the commenter ‘Mather Schneider’? Is it worthwhile to have all venues open for commenting, or is sometimes enough enough? Is it possible to be so dense or ‘dense acting’ that you turn discussions in circles simply by continuing to stick snarky comments in every possible hole that you can fill? Is the argument good for a community, or is it sometimes just time to rub out the blah blah? Your thoughts are appreciated.