Blake Butler

Blake Butler lives in Atlanta. His third book, There Is No Year, is forthcoming April 2011 from Harper Perennial.

Regarding Free Speech, Community, and HTMLGIANT




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Behind the Scenes / 116 Comments
December 15th, 2013 / 4:45 pm

How many literary institutions spam you weekly, or even many times a week? And which? And for what?

Jamie Iredell was a Fat Drunk Catholic School Insomniac

Now available for preorder from Future Tense (and for a limited time in hardcover) is freaky Jamie Iredell’s newest, an essay collection with the uncanny title, I was A Fat Drunk Catholic School Insomniac, funded by its even more uncanny cover:


Iredell’s essays never shy from getting up in the face of the nasty phases of one’s life, and how those phases make you into someone wiser, grateful to have survived. This book goes hard.

For a taste, check out his body-image-catalogying essay “Fat” at the Rumpus.

Author News / No Comments
October 24th, 2013 / 2:10 pm

Alejandro Jodorowsky’s The Dance of Reality

23 years

Film / 6 Comments
May 20th, 2013 / 10:50 am

Spring Breakers?

Anybody else not that big of a fan of Spring Breakers? I didn’t hate it, but I also never felt that excited by it. It felt more like watching MTV mimicking Korine’s prior styles, which I guess is maybe part of the point, but if so I don’t care for the point. I imagine if it’d been listed as directed by Todd Phillips, and that doesn’t seem impossible, no one would have given it a second thought. Having seen Holy Motors shortly after, I can’t help thinking I wish that had been Korine’s next film somehow, at least in breadth.

Film / 61 Comments
April 8th, 2013 / 5:23 pm

Mark Zuckerberg on Writing


“The goal wasn’t to make a huge community site; it was to make something where you can type in someone’s name and find out a bunch of information on them.”

“I just think people have a lot of fiction… I mean, the real story is actually probably pretty boring, right? I mean, we just sat at our computers for six years and coded.”

“A squirrel dying in front of your house may be more relevant to your interests right now than people dying in Africa.”

“The only meat I eat is from animals I’ve killed myself.”

Craft Notes / 8 Comments
February 18th, 2013 / 3:13 pm

What do you think of this “review” of American Psycho, suggesting that the violence in it can be skipped over? Anything?

The First and Favorite Kill

Sometimes in my dreams I am blessed with the true-length arms of a man, and I am proud of my arms, and sun shines upon them. I’m also usually younger. My face is taut, my teeth well lined, my hair is black as ever it was, and there is fidget in my step, because I am youth with potential. There is no ache in my hips. No murders replay in imagination.

When I’m awake I catch a smell, and there’s a throat slit in mental vision. A gut split. My blade through a spine. The first kill was in self-defense. A young friend of Welder’s taunted me toward duel. He gaped at my arms. Hollered guttural things. Kicked dirt in my face. Drew his sword.

“You’re hideous,” he said “And now I’ll disappear you.”

I might have had my sword two years then. I had taken it into a thicket of mesquite in the park near the river, and I had practiced chipping at branches, slashing low limbs free from the trees, but I had never had anything come at me in turn. My father used to work with Welder on how a sword should be held, on how an enemy should be approached. They had names for the moves they made. One thing was called an appel. It wasn’t a move with a sword. They’d mash a foot on the ground to distract their opponents. In theory the opponents would hear the noise and their attention would draw away from the next move, and then they might lunge, holding their swords out and level with their shoulders, just shy of arm fully extended, and take a wide stride at their opponent, essentially stepping into a stab.

So much of how they fought was with their legs, but I didn’t care for their style. You have to stay loose on your feet, in my opinion. Less postured. Ready to move in all directions. There was so much rigidity in their methods. Or, maybe I’m lazy. I didn’t want to take the time to learn. I think, for a while, I just assumed that only the proud cared to get good at it. I was so angry at my arms and the world, my father, brother, and mother, that I sort of hoped to be bad. Perhaps someone would take offense at me and make me nothing—a sack of skin with bones and blood in it, less blood than needed, and no air in its lungs. But, somehow, I thrived. And when Welder’s friend drew his sword and stood stern postured with his blade at me and his face smart with rage, I heard his foot mash the floor, drew my short sword, stepped back, brushed his blade aside as he lunged, and drove my sword twice into his face. It split open in both spots, and blood covered his white skin in gushes, blood near black, and his eyes widened as he dropped to his knees, grabbed his face and began flailing. I hadn’t thought of them while it happened, but he had friends with him. I can’t remember how many, but they looked scared of me when they saw I’d bested their friend, and they didn’t know if they could go to him, to hold him as he bled out, but when I sheathed my sword, he fell face down, and one of them picked him up, turned him over, and laid him on his lap, telling him lies as he died. I think the boy was seventeen. He’s probably my favorite kill.

But in my dreams those moments often cease to be. There is music gently somewhere. Perhaps there is a party. It’s for me, and there is cake. Light, soft as lullabies, bleeds in from a window. Balloons hover. Candles are lit. People sing my name. I hold my arms above me. There is a ceiling, but my hands are far from it. There’s my mother, but her breath is just plain sweet, not Sweet- Jane sweet, and she holds me to her. Maybe she says, “You make your mother and father proud,” and maybe my father says, “You’re my favorite son,” and Welder says, “I wish I looked as much like Dad as you do,” and then perhaps Edie, the young Edie, the Edie of the first time ever I saw her, dances toward me shyly with her hands held behind her. “I brought you a present,” she tells me, “I picked it out special.” And she produces a small box, wrapped in paper with a bow, “I’ll open it later,” I tell her, “Right now we should dance.” And then the rest of them will disappear, the way dreamt things often do, and we’d be in a small space all our own, nobody in sight of us, and we’d hold each other and move with a music that would speak to our souls, and in unison, and with grace. We’d be together.

Brian Allen Carr lives near the Texas/Mexico border. This is an excerpt from his forthcoming novella, Edie & the Low-Hung Hands.

Excerpts / 3 Comments
January 22nd, 2013 / 2:31 pm

Mark Baumer tried to get funds on Kickstarter to write 50 books in one year. It didn’t get funded. He’s writing them anyway and releasing them one at a time. You can read them online and you can buy them. I love Mark Baumer.

Freedom [2010]

Online performance in a war videogame in which Eva Mattes tries to make an artwork and pleads not to be shot, only to always meet a violent death.

Film / 21 Comments
November 26th, 2012 / 4:18 pm

Fear, Loathing, and Comics

Comic book artist, Ed Piskor

If you’re walking the streets of Pittsburgh at night, be prepared to encounter an intimidating gang of comic book artists. There’s Ed Piskor, who wears sunglasses indoors, has a different Public Enemy t-shirt for every day of the week, and who Rolling Stone calls “the next big thing in books”. There’s Tom Scioli, who stutters a tad with delight when retrieving a comics-related file from his encyclopedic mind, and whose work on Godland and American Barbarian is compared to that of the eminent, Jack Kirby. Then there’s indie artist, Jim Rugg, whose books Street Angel and the Eisner-nominated Afrodisiac have made big waves in the small press scene. He also co-hosts a podcast called Tell Me Something I Don’t Know with artist, Jasen Lex. BFFs since college, they grill folks, such as Hellboy’s Mike Mignola, on what it means to live and work as an artist.

If these guys are excited about something, so am I. So when they invited me to film them at a “special event”, I jumped at the opportunity. Then they told me the shoot would take place in a subterranean warehouse in the middle of nowhere.

Jack Kirby’s 2001 series, in the basement

“No, you see, this basement is legendary,” they said.

“Uh-huh,” I said.

Ellwood City, Pennsylvania is a small town 45 minutes outside of Pittsburgh. In 1895, it became the first place in America where seamless steel tubes were pierced. Nowadays, Ellwood City is most synonymous with the New Dimensions Basement Sale – a bi-annual event during which a pop culture treasure trove of over half a million comics and magazines is opened for public perusal and consumption. Comic lovers from Toronto to Alabama drive tractor-trailers over the Pennsylvanian landscape to buy and sell a store’s worth of illustrated matter. Each book is priced at one dollar, whether it’s a Jack Kirby back issue that will never again be reprinted or Prophet #4, one of the most sought-after books from the 90’s comic boom.


Film / 5 Comments
September 25th, 2012 / 12:41 pm

Win Lonely Christopher’s CRUSH DREAM

Hot new shit all over the place coming from Radioactive Moat : Most recently Lonely Christopher’s CRUSH DREAM : Of which CAConrad said “DON’T BE STUPID you know as well as I do these poems boil to the top of the gravy!!” : And of which RM has kindly offered to giveaway a copy along with copies of Ji Yoon Lee’s IMMA and Lucas de Lima’s GHOSTLINES , both also from RM.

All one has to do is : “Write Three Sentences About Your Worst Crush.” : Leave your sentences as a comment and a winner will be selected by Lonely Christopher : in ~48 hrs

Contests / 29 Comments
September 20th, 2012 / 12:26 pm

HTMLGIANT is now open to queries for regular or irregular columns / articles / contributions of questionable sort. Please write to blake [at] htmlgiant dot com with ideas of potential interest / content. Bizarre perspectives encouraged, as are calm or serious 1s. Will respond as best at ++++.

New York Tyrant Vol. IV Num. I

Better get this now; they always sell out fast and this will be no exception. One of the few magazines I still read cover to cover, maybe the only one. This issue is special-edited by Luke Goebel.


Presses / 4 Comments
September 14th, 2012 / 1:35 pm

At the Quarterly Conversation, “Ed Park, Laird Hunt, Dan Visel, Jeremy Davies, A D Jameson, John Beer, and Daniel Levin Becker each discuss one of [Harry] Mathews’s books… from The Conversions (a novel worthy of William Gaddis, as Dan Visel puts it) to Cigarettes (Mathews’ most conventional, and only truly Oulipian, novel, says Jeremy Davies) to Mathews’ poetry (discussed by award-winning poet John Beer) and his unclassifiable Selected Declarations of Dependence (discussed by his fellow Oulipian Daniel Levin Becker).”

Andrea Coates Demands Attention


Web Hype / 79 Comments
August 27th, 2012 / 4:34 pm