Christopher Higgs

Consider supporting Kindergarde Anthology for Children

This is the first time I’ve ever donated to a Kickstarter project, because this is the first one that really compelled me to participate. Check out their project page to see a video of kids reading poems from the anthology and talking about the avant-garde, and then consider joining me in donating to this worthwhile project:

Black Radish Books is proud to present KINDERGARDE: Avant-garde Poems, Plays, Stories, and Songs for Children, an award-winning anthology that features 85 experimental writers from across the country, including: Anne Waldman, Beverly Dahlen, CA Conrad, Christian Bök, Douglas Kearney, Eileen Myles, Etel Adnan, giovanni singleton, Harryette Mullen, Joan Retallack, Johanna Drucker, Juan Felipe Herrera, Julie Patton, Kenny Goldsmith, Kevin Killian, Leslie Scalapino, Lyn Hejinian, M. NourbeSe Philip, Noelle Kocot, Robin Blaser, Rosmarie Waldrop, Sawako Nakayasu, Vanessa Place, Wanda Coleman, and many others!

Our goal is to make the book as widely accessible to kids as possible. And since we are an independent, collective press, we need additional support to fund this project thoroughly. We’re hoping that 100 people will purchase books through this Kickstarter campaign so we can fully fund a large print run of the KINDERGARDE anthology.

The KINDERGARDE project helps kids know that there are many ways to think and be in the world and that their ideas are important — no matter how different or “strange” they may seem. By supporting this project, you are expanding kids’ ideas about what literature can be and do. And you are also supporting creative risk-taking and open-mindedness. Join us!

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April 26th, 2013 / 2:13 pm

You Need I Feel YES by Nick Sturm


I Feel YES
by Nick Sturm

32 pages, soft cover, stapled
$5 (First Class postage paid)
Forklift, Ohio

It’s a chapbook. It’s one long poem. It’s freaking awesome.

It’s in a baggie because the lettering is made out of lemonade. It’s made out of lemonade because lemonade is an important element in the poem.

Listen to him read the entire thing here.

Get it before it’s sold out!!!

Author News & I Like __ A Lot / 7 Comments
April 24th, 2013 / 1:37 pm

A Novel by Harmony Korine

“This reissue is 100% identical to the original text and also 100% more awesome!”

Drag City has just re-issued Harmony Korine’s long out-of-print novel A Crackup at the Race Riots, first published in 1997.

On Letterman, back in 1997, Korine described it as “The Great American Choose Your Own Adventure Novel.”

Without giving too much away, I’ll say it behaves like a bumblebee. Notes of David Markson, Joe Brainard, and Kathy Acker can be detected. Also Andy Warhol and Andy Kaufman. But these flavors are also misleading. Both Tupac and MC Hammer make appearances. Not to mention a startling revelation about Jackson Pollock’s sexual proclivities.

I’ll soon be interviewing him about it for The Paris Review Daily, so be on the look out. I plan to ask him about the relationship between the book and his avant garde tap dancing movement.

Buy it from Amazon $12.89

But it from Drag City $18.00 / or $9.99 for PDF

Author News & I Like __ A Lot / 6 Comments
April 18th, 2013 / 12:38 pm

Guest Post: Greg Gerke on David Shields & Renata Adler


The Parable of David Shields’s How Literature Saved My Life

by Greg Gerke


My Mississippi writer friend gave me David Shields’s new book. Interesting, I said. I wasn’t sure I would read David’s new book—I looked at it askance, then I put it back in its wrapping paper. I was surprised they still made hardcover books.


Random / 3 Comments
April 15th, 2013 / 2:37 pm

Talking with Sarah McCarry about The Guillotine Project


Vanessa Veselka & Lidia Yuknavitch’s Violence, Bojan Luois’s Troubleshooting Silence in Arizon,
Kate Zambreno’s Toilet Bowl: Some Notes on Why I Write


Tell me about the Guillotine Project.

Guillotine is an ongoing series of handbound chapbooks with letterpress-printed covers, and each chapbook is a single essay. I’ve been making zines for years, and had wanted to take the leap and publish other people’s work for a while, but wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to be doing. And then last year I sort of stumbled into the opportunity to publish the full version of Vanessa Veselka and Lidia Yuknavitch’s conversation about violence at the Believer blog, which I had loved and found completely brilliant, as well as my friend Bojan Louis’s talk about genocide and book-banning in Arizona.


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April 8th, 2013 / 1:01 pm

Natalie Shapero Talks with Rob Stephens About Her New Book NO OBJECT

natalie photocover, no objectgary and rob cropped

Cue up the Boss, now, folks. Put on your best dancin’ kicks and turn out the lights. Recommended drink: Black Russian. Natalie Shapero, with her new book No Object, is about to walk on your computer screen and dish info about her poems, thievery, serrated stage knives, and other amazing platitudes.

I bought No Object in Boston, read it on the plane ride home, and knew I wanted to talk to Natalie about it. Thanks to Chris Higgs and HTMLGiant for giving me the forum to do so. Enjoy Natalie’s spitfire — I imagine you’ll be hearing her name a lot more in the future.

- Rob Stephens


Author Spotlight / No Comments
April 3rd, 2013 / 11:32 am

Tao Lin Asks Steve Roggenbuck The Most Important Question


Film / 19 Comments
March 25th, 2013 / 1:13 pm

Some Must Read Books


a.k.a. “Playing catch up with the stacks [5].”

In this series, I share with you a stack of my recently acquired and most anticipated reading materials. In 2012 I did one of these in NovemberAugust, and March, and in 2011 I did one in May.

Once again I have a heaping pile of awesome-looking unread materials just waiting to be experienced…



Behind the Scenes / 31 Comments
March 16th, 2013 / 12:38 pm

How To Be A Critic (pt. 5)

Austrian tourist attraction, by architects Irek Glowacki and Marek Rozhanski

Austrian tourist attraction, by architects Irek Glowacki and Marek Rozhanski

In part one of this series, I introduced a network of ideas aimed at rethinking our approach to criticism by foregrounding observation over interpretation, and participation over judgment, by asking what a text does rather than what it means.

In part two, I expanded on those ideas.

In part three, A D Jameson unwittingly offered a beautiful example of the erotics I have proposed, following the final imperative of Susan Sontag’s essay “Against Interpretation” — which, for the record is not called “Against A Certain Kind of Interpretation” but is in fact titled “Against Interpretation” — where she writes, “In place of a hermeneutics we need an erotics of art.”  To destroy a work of art, as Jameson’s example shows and as Sean Lovelace has shown (1 & 2) and as Rauschenberg showed when he erased De Kooning, certainly counts as an erotics, which for me far surpasses the dullardry of interpretation.

In part four, A D Jameson unfortunately embarrasses himself by indulging his obvious obsession with this series. Whereas one self-appointed guest post might seem clever or even naughtily apropos, two self-appointed guest posts (in addition to all of his contributions in the comment sections) conjures the image of a petulant child acting out in hopes of garnering his father’s attention. (Daddy sees you, Adam. He’s just busy doing work right now.) Yet, despite his cringe-worthy infatuation, the example he offers is an effective one. I applaud it. (As Whitman said, “Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / I am large, I contain multitudes.”)

This time, I’ll do a little recapitulation, elaboration, and I’ll introduce other lines of flight. But first, an important note about the necessity of revaluation. (Following Nietzsche’s project, of course. Itself predicated on Emersonian antifoundationalism, of course.)


Craft Notes / 20 Comments
March 4th, 2013 / 4:03 pm

How To Be A Critic (pt. 2)

Young Critic Engaging with John Lavery’s
“Portrait of Anna Pavlova” (1911)

In Part One of this series, I introduced a network of ideas aimed at rethinking our approach to criticism by foregrounding observation over interpretation, and participation over judgment, by asking what a text does rather than what it means. This time, I’ll expand on those ideas.

The young girl in the picture above demonstrates an angle on the critical practice I proposed. She also brings to mind what Nietzsche said about the ideal reader in Ecco Homo, “When I try to picture the character of a perfect reader I always imagine a monster of courage and curiosity as well as of suppleness, cunning and prudence—in short a born adventurer and explorer.”

The critic as monster, performer, participant, adventurer, explorer.


Craft Notes / 53 Comments
February 15th, 2013 / 4:16 pm

Literary Feud in Tallahassee


Vanessa Place looks on, as Blake Butler reads from his forthcoming book 300,000,000.

Probably I shouldn’t post this. Probably I should just keep my mouth shut.

But a few people have written and asked me to explain what happened, having heard about the fight from one source or another.

Basically, things got ugly between Blake Butler and Vanessa Place, nine days ago, down here in Florida, when the three of us convened for the first time as a group since the publication of our collaboration ONE.

By the end of the night, which began with me introducing them, and then each of them reading, and then the three of us conversing with the audience, Vanessa had vowed to never speak to Blake again.

To tell you the truth, I don’t know how it happened. (Which is partly why I haven’t written about it until now.) It just sort of happened.

One of them said something about the other one being too orderly or too chaotic or too derivative or something — at least that’s how I think it started — which I thought was a joke, but apparently it wasn’t taken as a joke.

The next thing you know they’re shouting at each other.

The audience, not knowing how to react, weren’t sure if they should laugh or be worried.  I was pretty much in the same boat.

I tried to stay out of it, partly because I was confused and partly because I didn’t want them to turn on me.

Over a hundred people were in the audience that night, so there are plenty of versions of what happened.  But from my perspective, to put it generously, it seemed like a moment when two different approaches to literature were coming face to face and not for the purpose of a warm embrace.

Author News & Events / 36 Comments
February 10th, 2013 / 5:32 pm

Carrie Lorig & Nick Sturm Rewrite The Reagans

Nancy & The Dutch
by Carrie Lorig & Nick Sturm
Art by Camilla Frankl-Slater
*FREE* echapbook by NAP

A collaboration in erasure, expansion, redaction, rearrangement, re-appropriation, history revocation, history reallocation, language morphing, silencing, voicing, performing, ignoring, and prophesying the president of my childhood, Mr. Ronald Reagan, and his wife Nancy. It’s a beautiful estrangement. Check it out!!!

Web Hype / No Comments
February 4th, 2013 / 3:18 pm

Help Letter Machine Editions

Help Letter Machine Editions
bring beautiful objects into the world
by subscribing to their next two titles
Aaron Kunin’s Grace Period & Edmund Berrigan’s Can It!
at a deep discount!!!

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February 2nd, 2013 / 12:19 pm

The Chick Flix Series #FridayReads

Jennifer L. Knox is currently curating a super fucking spectacular series of essays on women in cinema over at the consistently awesome Delirious Hem.

Here is a list of the writers and films, which includes Laura Carter on Desperately Seeking Susan, Carrie Lorig on Divine Horsemen, Gina Abelkop on Meek’s Cutoff, Danielle Pafunda on Jennifer’s Body, and many, many more.

Here is an explanation of its inception.

Here is Becca Klaver’s “Teaser Guide” to the series.

And here are the contributions thus far.

Web Hype / 2 Comments
January 18th, 2013 / 1:53 pm

Roof Magazine (1976–79)

Founded in 1976 by James Sherry to anthologize writing by poets working at the Naropa Institute, Roof magazine came to play a key role in the development of L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poetry in New York City.

Click the photo for a free download of all ten issues, thanks to Jacket2:

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January 15th, 2013 / 10:55 am

How To Be A Critic (pt. 1)

There is a moment at the very end of this Vice documentary called True Norwegian Black Metal where the subject of the film, Gaahl of Gorgoroth, says ominously, “I don’t think that you ask me the right questions. I don’t think you’re focusing on what’s being told.”

The interviewer responds, “Guide me.”

Gaahl then proceeds to zone out for three long minutes. His eyes remain open, but his expression becomes blank as a corpse.  The filmmaker wisely resists cutting the camera or prompting Gaahl to speak.  Instead, we are forced to watch him.  At the end of his silent stare his eyes widen dramatically. Without speaking, he shifts his stare to the interviewer and raises his wine glass to his lips.

We await a response.  Nothing happens.  We await an explanation, a moment of clarity, resolution, some type of understanding.  None is revealed.

“Don’t ask what it means or what it refers to,” the artist Eva Hesse famously told viewers, “Don’t ask what the work is. Rather, see what the work does.”

The image of Gaahl’s face as he sits motionless.  What does it do?


Craft Notes / 16 Comments
January 8th, 2013 / 3:24 pm

Coming Soon: Throne of Blood by Cassandra Troyan

a poetic novel from Solar Luxuriance

Author News / 18 Comments
January 3rd, 2013 / 10:28 am

Holiday Shopping Guide: Poetry Recommendations

Since I did a Nonfiction Shopping Guide and a Fiction Shopping Guide, it seems only fair to offer a Poetry Shopping Guide as well.

Same guidelines apply here as with the other two: 20 titles published in 2012, randomly arranged, omitting publications by HTMLGIANT crew, and skewed toward my own aesthetic interests.

Without further adieu…


Random / 7 Comments
December 19th, 2012 / 11:12 am

Holiday Shopping Guide: Fiction Recommendations

Last week I did a Nonfiction Shopping Guide. Now I’ve got this list of fiction titles published in 2012, for all you last minute shoppers.

Like the previous list, I’m going to select twenty titles. And I’ll present them in no particular order.

These obviously represent my own interests and therefore omit plenty of titles I’m sure were great.

Also, I omitted titles by HTMLGIANT crew, despite the fact that a bunch of us have really awesome works of fiction out this year.


Random / 12 Comments
December 17th, 2012 / 3:20 pm

Holiday Shopping Guide: Nonfiction Recommendations

An absolute ton of killer nonfiction titles got published in 2012. In fact, when it comes time to reveal my “Ten Best Books of 2012″ it’s likely that half (if not more) of my choices will be nonfiction.

For the purposes of this post, I’m going to select twenty titles. And I’ll present them in no particular order. These obviously represent my own interests (film, philosophy, fashion, art, music, and literature) and therefore omit plenty of titles I’m sure were great, but fall outside my purview: politics, economics, etc.

If you’re like me and haven’t even begun shopping yet, hopefully this list will help you find something for someone.


Random / 17 Comments
December 8th, 2012 / 3:05 pm