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Adam Robinson

http://www.publishinggenius.com

Adam Robinson lives in Baltimore, where he operates Publishing Genius Press. His book of poems, Adam Robison and other poems, will be published by Narrow House Books this year.

Tommy Pico’s Absent Mindr

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Poetry and eBooks have never played well together because, for instance, fixed line lengths don’t jive with the reader’s ability to adjust type size (poetry is too rigid). There are, of course, some clunky workarounds, like including a note for users to match their settings so that the longest line in the book is unbroken. Certainly this doesn’t have to be an issue; it’s something an HTML5 developer could solve quickly, I think—but why should they?

Limitations drive ingenuity. I’ve often wondered if, say, no one figured out how to make cars, would something else have been invented? Antimatter transportation!

Tommy Pico, who does Birdsong, released what he calls the first poetry App (for iOS and tablets) yesterday. Called Absent Mindr, it’s a “ch-app” he says—of course it is!—with 24 poems in four sections, situated alongside audio playback of him reading the poems, and bright collages by Cat Glennon.

The poetry is cool. That’s first. I really appreciate that the literature isn’t secondary to techcrunches, and the press release for this app is all about the poetry. Certainly it’s good stuff (read “Inheritance” at Best American Poetry), and Tommy “Teebs” Pico’s voice is pitch perfect on the audio (which can be listened to when you’re not connected, like on the subway, because all the content is a download), but what I’m really impressed by and excited about is the presentation, which is slick and gorgeous. It’s antimatter transportation to cars. The app considers the poetry, the art matches the tone. Books rarely match content with UX this well.

I think apps are expensive to create, whereas eBooks are free—but Absent Mindr suggests there’s a good future for presenting poetry this way. As startups like Atavist, Byliner, Oyster, Zola, Wattpad, Readmill (RIP) and Medium etc explore how to monetize this new frontier, it will be interesting to see what DIY pioneers like Tommy Pico create in the margins.

Anecdotally, I got my hands on the app just a day before I went to NYC for the Chapbook Festival. He did a good job spreading the word, because the room was abuzz about it (ie. three or four people mentioned the app to me while I was there). Chapbooks are a space traditionally reserved for handmade, crafty, papery books that fold, but they are open to sweet new fields like—may I suggest—chappbooks.

Author Spotlight / No Comments
April 16th, 2014 / 9:41 am

I Am Heavy Bored

It’s amazing how many times I’ve received this email, usually from a sane, diligent, intelligent and widely-published poet. Have your received it too? Have you done it?

I’m totes pro this sort of thing, cuz, whatever, it’s sweethearted and anyway I’m against more important things like reality TV, but when I first received it (from Mike Young—I told him it was going down on his permanent record), I thought for a minute about what poem I would send.

Then I realized if I did this, I could potentially receive a poem from ~20 people.

Who started this?

Some friends started a collective, constructive, and hopefully uplifting exchange, a form of email art exchange. It’s a one-time thing and we hope you will participate. We have picked those we think would be faithful, and make it fun. Please take just a few minutes to send an encouraging quote or verse to the person whose name is in position 1 below (even if you don’t know him or her). It should be a favorite text verse/poem/meditation/recipe that has lifted you when you were experiencing challenging times. Don’t agonize over it–it is one you reach for when you need it or the one that you always turn to.

1)
2)

After you’ve sent the short poem/verse/meditation/quote/etc. to the person in position 1, and only that person, copy this letter into a new email, move my name to position 1. and put your name in position 2. Only my name and your name should show when you email. Send to ~20 friends BCC (blind copy). If you cannot do this in five days, let us know so it will be fair to those participating. It’s fun to see where they come from. Seldom does anyone drop out because we all need new ideas and inspiration. The turnaround is fast, as there are only two names on the list, and you only have to do it once.

Random / 7 Comments
March 10th, 2014 / 9:58 am

Spencer Madsen’s Publishing Genius

I’m really sorry house about this.

Behind the Scenes / 2 Comments
March 6th, 2014 / 5:58 pm

Literature Party


Literature Party in Seattle tonight should be fun. If you’re at AWP, please come!

It’s a benefit party to support APRIL Festival, which is a big organization for making books awesome in Washington state. It’s at FRED Wildlife Refuge and doors open at 9. It’s not too far from the convention center. Tickets are $10 at the door.

It’s sponsored by FSG Originals and Submittable and yours truly, HTMLGiant. Vouched is putting in a pop up bookshop, and if you buy a book there, FSG Originals will give you a free one of their books.

Capacity at the venue is 450 souls, but I think you’ll be able to get in. However, I have overheard many people at the bookfair talking about how this is the one event they’re sure they’re going to.

Melissa Broder is reading. And Sommer Browning. And Amelia Gray. Those three people are three of my favorite, favorite people at AWP, a big thing filled with favorite people. Those three people are amazing performers of important writing.

Writing is a way to express ideas, and Melissa, Sommer and Amelia have the best ideas. Hearing them read inspires me, every time.

And after they read, there will be a big dance party featuring local Seattle DJs.

I’m in a big house where many of us HTMLGiant writers are staying. I think there are 12 of us staying here. John Dermot Woods just got out of the shower. He doesn’t write for HTMLGiant actually, neither does Spencer Madsen or Mira Gonzalez. Last night Mike Young came home from his reading and fell over a chair. There’s a hot tub at this house and I think there were 8 or so people in it last night at the same time. Downstairs Amy McDaniel is preparing a brunch for 50 people. I can hear Tim Sanders making Gene Morgan laugh loudly.

Come to Literature Party tonight?

Web Hype / 6 Comments
February 28th, 2014 / 12:58 pm

Edward Mullany Interviews Melissa Broder

BroderCover500pxEvery time a new book comes out from Publishing Genius, the author is interviewed by the author of the previous PGP book. I’m pleased to present a bunch of questions that Edward Mullany (author of Figures for an Apocalypse) posed to Melissa Broder (author of SCARECRONE). —Adam Robinson

EDWARD: Can you talk about the figure of the “Scarecrone” as she relates to your book as a whole? What is her significance? 
MELISSA: The Scarecrone personifies my fears around time, death, and the loss of physical beauty / sexual desirability. She is a dry succubus, a cautionary tale of the inevitable and the perceived inevitable. She is a mirage. But she is a powerful mirage. She is dangerous in her unreality. She may have something wise to teach. On a social level, one might say she is the ghosts of discarded women in a culture obsessed with youth, though this book doesn’t really fuck with culture, because I don’t really fuck with culture. I fuck with me, mostly, and my own obsession with youth. I fuck with time. I fuck with fucking. Also death.

To your mind, is the difference between “the inevitable and the perceived inevitable” a significant one? What is that difference?
I made the distinction here, because death is (historically) inevitable, whereas time’s slow, cruel drain on my worth as a human being is a perceived inevitability. Where did I get this fear that to grow old is to become worthless? Did I get it from culture? From my mother? From nature? It isn’t a truth in the way that death is a truth. And intellectually, I know it’s not a truth at all. But to me, on a visceral level, it’s a very real fear. And it dictates a lot of my actions. And I can probably make it true if I believe it enough, or at least I can will my own misery. So I guess I’d say that the inevitable and the perceived inevitable are different, but that one’s reality and one’s perceived reality are the same.

You mention that the Scarecrone can be understood as a sort of succubus. Does this suggest that your poems are concerned as much with the supernatural, or spiritual, as they are with the physical? Or does it suggest something else?  
I tend to negate the value of the physical world and reach for realms of fantasy, the imagined, the spiritual. I think that’s because I’ve always found it difficult to live in a body and sought union with something bigger than me for relief. It’s that tension between soul and body that compels me to write poetry. If I could choose my ideal god it would be a god that protects me from pain, from people, from life–a god that makes me feel blissed 100% of the time. It would basically be heroin, except it wouldn’t be a false god, because I wouldn’t be dependent on anyone or anything for it. And I would never come down. And believe me when I say that I have tried to make many tangible things into this god. And believe me when I say that you always come down.  I mean, I have had a lot of those peak experiences in life–those ecstatic whoa moments that feel lotusy and like I imagined ‘spirituality’ would be.  I am a succubus for those moments. But I’ve found that even when they aren’t attached to a drug or a lover or a guru or X or Y,  they aren’t sustainable. But then there is this other kind of spirituality that is tangible, not as showy, the kind that works through people, action based, pause-based, stillness, quiet moments of gratitude for nothing, a not-reaching for glitter, a more Earthy spirituality, laughter. Its lack of glitter, its humanity, is counterintuitive to me. And it is exactly what I need. It has been instrumental in keeping me on the planet.
READ MORE >

Author Spotlight / 12 Comments
February 25th, 2014 / 3:52 am

Broder’s SCARECRONE


read Melissa Broder poems and preorder her new book
[gif by Molly Soda]

Author News & Author Spotlight / 6 Comments
February 11th, 2014 / 2:46 pm

Introducing Barrelhouse, a poetry press

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Great news! Barrelhouse is putting out its first book of poetry. It’s by Justin Marks and it’s called You’re Going to Miss Me When You’re BoredI asked Barrelhouse editor Dan Brady some questions.

Has Barrelhouse published books before, aside from the journal?

Last year we published an anthology of pop culture non-fiction called Bring the Noise, which was kind of a greatest hits anthology from the magazine, but it had some new stuff too. That served as a nice transition from working exclusively on the magazine to doing books as well. We wanted to learn how book production would be different from a print mag and work with people we trusted and who trusted us to do a good job.

READ MORE >

Behind the Scenes & Presses / 4 Comments
January 20th, 2014 / 1:25 pm

Pretty Owl Poetry is a new online journal and they’re looking for submissions. Send them something shameful, they say, or surreal, or a tooth.

Do you explain your poems when you give a reading? Maureen Thorson raises the question.

Who’s using Medium and do you like it?

A Few Questions for Edward Mullany

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This week Edward Mullany’s second book came out on my own press, Publishing Genius. It’s called Figures for an Apocalypse, and the stories in it (and poems that tell these stories) exist on the perimeter of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, before and after the inciting incident. Like there’s one called “The Parade of Rabbits” that goes “No one // saw it. /// It happened / after everyone died.”  I read Edward’s manuscript for the first time last summer, while I was on an Adirondack camping trip with my family. Lots of kids, so I floated out on a kayak on a still pond. By the time I drifted to shore I’d read it through and thought it was the best possible setting. In the intervening year and a half I’ve read the book in handful of other settings—at my desk, on the john, on the road, in long and short sittings—and every different setting also seemed ideal. Part of the magic of everything Edward does, I think, is how he brings the reader/viewer into his own mindscape. I asked Edward a few questions.

Is there humor in this book?
Yes, though not much. But it’s important that it’s in there. If the book had no humor in it, it would lack resonance because it would indulge in a pessimism that isn’t real. The only place that I can imagine humor being impossible is hell. Like, the actual “eternal fire,” in a religious sense. And I’m not trying to tell a story about hell. What I mean is that the book is trying to tell a story about the human situation as it exists in temporality (as opposed to eternity). And there is always the possibility of humor in this situation – the one that exists in time. In the same way that there is always the possibility of hope. Not hope that we won’t suffer or won’t die, but rather hope that our sufferings and deaths can have meaning.     READ MORE >

Author Spotlight / 2 Comments
December 19th, 2013 / 11:25 am

Comments About an Article About Comments

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At Slate, Carl Wilson wrote brilliantly about Youtube comments and Stephanie Barber’s book, Night Moves, a transcription of the Youtube comments to Bob Seger’s song “Night Moves.” Here are the comments from that article:

Youtube aside, Bob Segar is truly one of the greats. Soulful, rockin’ and a great songwriter. One of the few who is equally believable as an all out rocker and as a tender, wistful balladeer. One of the greatest singers ever. He deserves to be mentioned in the same breath with Sam Cooke, Sinatra, Ella, Elvis and Aretha.
Coincidentally, Bob Segar was my very first real rock concert. I was 15 and I was blown away.
Side point to address the old vs new music conversation downthread: It is true that I will never experience music like I did with my 15 year old heart and all my musical memories are filtered through that 15 year old head that I lived in.
But now, I can listen to music with a knowledge and an understanding that I didn’t have then.
And I love that old stuff, but there is great new stuff too!
The Shins, Blind Pilot, Death Cab, Bob Schneider, Uncle Lucius, Black Keys, fun. and lots of others. Some will say that some of these are too derivative, but all music is derivative.
Sinatra, Thelonius Monk, Abba, Segar there are many, many more great musicians, singers, producers and songwriters in every generation.
To dismiss the current or the old as crap is the mark of a philistine who doesn’t really love music. They only love what music represents to them. Their youth,
And that applies equally to the fogies and the kids.
***

See, I always heard this on the radio as night NEWS.  I knew what the song was about. I just figured he was banging the girl working on the school newspaper with him.
***

READ MORE >

Mean / 5 Comments
November 27th, 2013 / 12:56 pm

Day One: An Amazon Joint

The publishing arm of Amazon announced that they’re going to publish a weekly journal called DAY ONE. It’s for the Kindle and will feature short stories and poetry. The first issue is now live. An annual subscription costs $20 but right now it’s only $10.

Their motivation for creating the journal is funny: basically, they say, sometimes it’s hard to know what to read next, “With so many things competing for your attention in this increasingly digital world … especially if you are looking for fresh voices and new perspectives.”

I subscribed.

The editor’s note from Carmen Johnson reiterates the mission, to “feed an audience of literature-hungry, time-constrained readers.” To do this, they went to MFA programs to find writers. They don’t name them, though this issue’s poem comes from Zack Strait, a student at Wichita State.

Along with Strait’s poem—called “Wrought,” and it is, heavily (“Grandpa could forge any object/from tobacco smoke//like a sideshow illusionist//when he worked for the Union/Pacific Railroad”)—there’s a short story by Rebecca Adams Wright called “Sheila.” Haven’t read it yet. It’s “22 pages” if your font size is the third smallest. Day One doesn’t list percentages like the other book I’m reading on my Kindle now: The Battle of $9.99, about the eBook pricing war against Amazon. However, this eBook is put together better than most, with easy jumping around and a nicer table of contents than I’ve seen on my Kindle Fire before.

There’s also a conversation between Strait and Wright. In the first question Wright asks about influences, and Strait says, “That’s a great question!” They seem very nice. The contributor notes are separated; there’s one for the writer and another for the poet. Maybe One Day we won’t have to distinguish the two  things. Day One does give equal attention to the illustrator.

It feels a little strange supporting Amazon this way, and having things I care about supported by Amazon. Strange reciprocity! Should it feel strange that suddenly Amazon—one of the biggest companies in the history of the world—finds something marketable about poetry?

Will Day One be as good as my favorite journals, like Hobart and PANK and Big Lucks? Will it be as edgy as the best online journals, like Robot Melon and NOÖ? Will it aspire to be more like VQR or New Yorker? Does Day One allude to Everyday Genius?

Would you publish with Amazon? I know there are a few htmlgiant readers who already do. How’s it going?

Behind the Scenes / 6 Comments
October 30th, 2013 / 4:05 pm

The NYTimes is starting a series about independent poetry publishers. The first interview is with Copper Canyon.

Flood Relief

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There was a flood in Colorado and NewLights Press, which specializes in high-quality handmade books, is giving all the money they make this weekend to help fix things. Their books are beautiful. You should check it out.

Presses / 1 Comment
October 11th, 2013 / 1:36 pm

Big Lucks Books Wants Your Book

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Where were you when that journal Big Lucks announced that they were going to start publishing books? If you were on the Internet, you probably saw this news received to tears of great joy and unprecedented numbers of Facebook shares. That was fun. 2014 will bring books by Mathias Svalina, Carrie Murphy, Sasha Fletcher, Mike Young, and Mike Krutel. Nice list!

What’s more, starting today and going until the end of November, Big Lucks Books is reading manuscripts. They’re using Submittable, and according to the call for submissions, here’s what they’re looking for:

We want to read your novels, stories, poems, memoirs, and essays. We want completed works only: no excerpts, proposals, or elevator pitches. We want fizz. We want earnest. We want heartbreaking. We want innovation. We want provocation. We want our paradigms shifted. We want you to fuck us up.

Presses / 4 Comments
October 1st, 2013 / 12:12 pm

DAREDEVILS

coker AStephanie Barber’s movie DAREDEVILS (2013, premiering at the NY Film Festival next Thursday) is—among the many things that it is—a feature length narrative, and in itself an act of daredevilry. It is not an experimental film—that is, it doesn’t have much in common with the “traditional experimental film”—and it is a “movie” in the sense that it contains character development, relationships, dialogue, recognizable images, movement, music, and storytelling. The traditional three-act structure, however, is rearranged, subverted, and therefore not present to comfort you, and what’s more, the story demands your participation—and a rather rigorous participation. Like all stories, this one is a mystery, and you might say the involvement of the viewer in this story is similar to the mystery in which the audience sets out to solve the mystery. If reading the clues presented here will lessen your enjoyment of the movie, you know who you are and should stop reading now. Otherwise, read on. READ MORE >

Film / 4 Comments
September 26th, 2013 / 10:16 am

The Original Narrator No Longer Exists: An Interview with Jeff Jackson

miracorpora

Jeff Jackson is the author of the novel Mira Corpora, just released from Two Dollar Radio. He holds an MFA from NYU and is the recipient of fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and Baryshnikov Center. His short fiction has been featured in Guernica, The Collagist, the anthology Userlands, and performed by New River Dramatists in New York and Los Angeles. Five of his plays have been produced by the Obie Award-winning Collapsable Giraffe company, including Botanica which was selected by New York Times as “one of the most galvanizing theater experiences of 2012.” Of Mira Corpora, Don DeLillo says this: “I hope the book finds the serious readers who are out there waiting for this kind of fiction to hit them in the face.” And Dennis Cooper says this: “Jeff Jackson is one of the most extraordinarily gifted young writers I’ve read in a very long time. His strangely serene yet gripping, unsettling, and beautifully rendered novel Mira Corpora has within it all the earmarks of an important new literary voice.”

 

Michael Kimball: I’m curious about the way the title and author are presented on the cover. It’s not “Mira Corpora” and then “Jeff Jackson” as it is on the spine. On the cover, it’s “Jeff Jackson’s Mira Corpora.” It’s something I’ve only seen with movie titles, I think, and I’m wondering how you decided on that particular presentation.

Jeff Jackson: Two Dollar Radio was apparently inspired by movie posters when they came up with that presentation. There wasn’t any conscious strategy behind it other than to create something that stood out. I can see how it invites a deeper reading, though. Early readers have said the book’s prose has a cinematic quality (and I’m a huge cinephile) and putting my name before the title seems to reference that the narrator shares my name.

READ MORE >

Author Spotlight / 5 Comments
September 17th, 2013 / 9:38 am

Lyndsay Coloracci, EXPLAIN YOURSELF!

For the next episode of “Explain Yourself!” in which a writer is challenged to respond to my question about their piece before this post scrolls off the page, I’m putting Lindsay Coloracci under the light. Lyndsay lives in Philadelphia, and I read her poems in the beautiful new issue of Shabby Doll House.

I find her direct address especially interesting—more interesting than usual—because the things she’s saying are more interesting than usual. I wonder what words she’s talking about, when talking about words that sound better articulated carefully. The line about kissing reminds me of Catullus. This line in particular gave me pause:

i am telling everyone that i just need one
non-painful experience and then that’s it

View more from “Explain Yourself!” here.

 

Random / 1 Comment
July 9th, 2013 / 9:51 am

Y’alls like pickles?