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Janice Lee

http://janicel.com

Janice Lee is the author of KEROTAKIS (Dog Horn Press, 2010), Daughter (Jaded Ibis, May 2011) & Damnation (Penny-Ante Editions, 2013). She currently lives in Los Angeles where she teaches at CalArts and is co-editor of [out of nothing] and Founder/CEO of POTG Design.

Tex Coda

BEAU RICE_TEX COVER

TEX is a bricolage novel using correspondence to construct its multi-level narrative. Collecting text messages, phone photos, emails, Craigslist responses and more, the book explores the various relationships formed and maintained by its author, Beau Rice, during the process of its making, with one relationship taking center stage: his evolving attachment to an Austin-based former fling, Matt G

Included by Rice in TEX are text-based “screenshots” of the author’s inbox: exchanges between he and his editor at Penny-Ante. Giving a nod to the book’s format, we asked the editor at Penny-Ante to form a collection of “Letters from Beau” that were sent during the editorial and now, ongoing post-book promotional process.

The below fragments were submitted with the author’s permission.

***

From Beau Rice (an inbox screenshot):

I just wanted to make sure you were still interested, because the text is growing and I’m thinking about it constantly, so I just wanted to make sure you were still interested.

http://www.francesstark.com/ftp/Osservate/osservate_viewing_copy.m4v

Your help with this impasse would be much appreciated.

I’ve given [the work] a preliminary title, ~book: [corn] [alien head] [baby bottle] [showgirls]. Thoughts?

Pics attached (lol, I’m so not used to typing that phrase outside of, like, responding to sex ads on Craigslist).

I’m going to have to fight you about [possible book title] Untitled.

Noooooo — why??

I feel you on the reshuffling.

If you insist, I’ll need a week.

And I know you want to be a dominatrix about it because it’s urgent, but I’m ready to start looking at other stuff.

I’ll be shopping around for something perfect-er.

Let’s keep in touch about any other text message books we come across, I want to be as aware of them as I can.

Ooooooops — the draft I sent the other day was missing a few things and fucked up in a few ways, so please work with the one I’ve included here.

(“Forms of incoherence that are listenable to.”)

I smoked weed for the first time in a while earlier tonight.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3MxEHQk644

Q3: Let me know about your trip to LA!

You’re surprisingly clever when you’ve just woken up.

It’s very preteen-y but surprisingly relevant.

(I hate the first email I sent to you today.)

Are you in LA?

I favorited it.

Give me a few minutes.

I have to warn you: the list of changes I’ve mentioned is not insignificant.

I also want to see it with our names in Calibri or whatever that chat one was.

I’d like to reemphasize the Matt thing (I just landed in Austin) and try to procure a photo of him in profile to stare impassively at me from the back of the book (?).

Actually this gets us closer to what my original intentions were.

Also/omg, including the drug dealers and online sex people: YES.

Here are those pixx of him + more to follow.

Sorry, that just does not work for me.

Let’s redact “Scissor Sisters” and “Le1f.”

Let me know if you want me to fictionalize any of the YOU IN THE BOOK shit.

That phone has been violated in a final manner, it is not to be turned on.

Tomorrow I’m taking Vyvanse and dealing with as much of this drudgery as I can.

I’m beyond tipsy and this is not a real message.

Here are more chats, mostly of the BDSM variety.

“But really it is I who have invaded my own privacy.” –Dodie Bellamy, Pink Steam

Apologies for the folder weirdness yesterday, I don’t know what was up with that.

For example, the one that references the galley copy of Knausgaard should appear in spring of this year (but I’m not worried about being totally accurate).

Oh my god, I cannot shut up.

But that is our secret.

I had a feeling.

SO BUMMED ABOUT THAT, but it’s fine.

Hahaha — “all these intense writer people.”

I agree with you totally on the “dildo in the corner” thing.

THANK YOU. I can only imagine what an incredible headache it is to format all of this.

We were only focusing on his missives.

Either pseudonym is fine with us.

I like “Tex” too!

I trust you.

We don’t need to change Alex’s name.

I am happy to lose most of the poetry, but NOT the ones I send to him in the first email sequence [p. 3-4].

Lol — I just said to my friends, “I think she [you] is pretty aware that I get fucked up at this time every night.”

We both want to tone down the meta-narrative.

I so relate, I ask everyone I’m around not to let me talk about it at all.

Seriously — I am 96% convinced of this.

Lol, I really did feel like a demon.

I understand and I wish to continue.

Feeling down with the cheap lazy vibe you describe.

Can you give me some other font options for the email essay?

I think I might reactivate my [Facebook] profile sometime around October to promote the book to my friends on there, but for the most part it’s important to me to stay off of it.

As much as I’d like for us to be in agreement, I’m still uncomfortable with my face being on [the cover] in such a big way.

I’m glad you’re doing that list thing — I worry I was overly delete-happy yesterday.

Let me know if I’m being too vocal and stressing you out.

The butt plug photo?

I’ve been drawing that icon a lot recently.

I like the fragmentary vibe of those inbox shots.

The version of this intertwined legs pic you’re using is slightly different, and not as good.

Since you mention “fixing the peach” [on the cover] I want to emphasize again the BUTT [Magazine] thing, and ask that we go peachy enough to not be pink.

It’s funny how unrealistic the prospect of fame makes us.

Could you try phrasing that differently?

No no no no no no no.

Haha jesus.

Just curious.

I totally lied to you.

I could get behind that.

It’s pretty unromantic in actuality.

Did simultaneously!

Happy birthday!

Anything particular instructions for that?

I’m still not sure whether or not to say this [and I am saying it] but — I apologize if any of the stuff about our parents in that excerpt made you sad.

All I need to do is link my current checking account to my PayPal account, I guess.

Note: you aren’t as defined/personified by this as you probably imagine.

Ah dang, I’m glad it was meaningful to you.

Two word answers!

Eesh.

A nice texture!

I feel like a human makes it less sterile

I’m wondering (finally) what the money/royalty situation is.

Hmm… still UGH.

I think that’s my car insurance.

But now I’m done emailing you for the night.

Hahahahaha — that is precisely my feeling.

Which I’m all in for, in most cases.

At USPS now, about to mail this fucker to Hilton Als (bad idea?).

Just using you as a therapist slash neurosis hole.

I’m about to go to bed and listen to this song and cry: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xu8MqdC0Zms

Wow… Typos. Embarrassing.

WHY DO I KEEP FORGETTING TO DO THIS.

You just got engaged. Why are you emailing me? Shouldn’t you be having sex or something?

Lol — “I’jj.”

So how do you want to do this?

Here’s the thing on that: No, it doesn’t.

Really, I’m up to discuss this.

“IT” is the “proprietor” ? The proprietor is non-gendered?

This process is weird.

Redundancy, bad poetry, etc.

This book is not going to ruin my life.

Beau Rice_Tex_Penny-Ante Editions

Author Spotlight / 1 Comment
October 20th, 2014 / 10:00 am

Reviews

Felix In Furs: Review of Dandyisms by Leopold Brant and Leopold Brant at the Poetry Project

Dandyisms by Leopold Brant (gausspdf) and Leopold Brant at the Poetry Project (YouTube)

“I’m not used to circumstances like this,” says Leopold Brant, observing the walls. He’s wearing a purple dress coat and a cravat maybe one size too large. His curls of dark hair have been artfully clustered towards the top of his head, with very little spilling over to the back or sides. His voice isn’t quite disdainful but only because the stronger impression it leaves is of carelessness, lassitude. He has come to the Lower East Side to read at the Poetry Project and it’s evident that his surroundings are beneath him.

His poems, as he reads them to an audience whose responses alternate between credulous, jaded, amused, and bemused, are not quite “beautiful” but also not quite not. For the most part they chronicle, wistfully, a intermittent series of gay affairs carried out amidst the costly art galleries and penthouses decked out in costly avant-garde art for which Brant’s attire serves as a kind of synecdoche, though frequent jolts of humor (one especially large laugh comes in response to an epigram that wonders why John Cage’s advocates can’t shut up and be silent about him) and occasional hints of family trauma (a younger brother in need of guidance, a father whose extreme wealth enables the poet’s luxurious existence even as his parental neglect cripples the poet’s emotions) leave little doubt that there’s a method and a mind behind Brant’s fatuous self-presentation. When he finishes, the audience applause is sincere and loud enough to indicate high levels of interest.

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October 13th, 2014 / 10:00 am

Kermit_flailing

This is coping.

tumblr_lz3rusKt4P1r0z9mso1_500

cuz, whatevs.

Reviews

Fabled Lives: A review of Drops on the Water by Eric G. Müller and Matthew Zanoni Müller

dropsonthewaterDrops on the Water
by Eric G. Müller and Matthew Zanoni Müller
Apprentice House, 2014
274 pages / $16.95  Buy from Apprentice House or Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vladimir Nabokov once said “…literature was born on the day a boy came crying wolf, wolf and there was no wolf behind him…Between the wolf in the tall grass and the wolf in the tall story there is a shimmering go-between. That go-between, that prism, is the art of literature.”

In their debut memoir, Drops on the Water (Apprentice House 2014), co-authors Eric G. Müller and Matthew Zanoni Müller conjure those dark, shimmering tales of childhood.

A collection billed as “stories about growing up from a father and son,” the book’s structure appears deceptively simple: a chronological staging of moments from each of these writers’ young lives. This, however, is where any pretense of simplicity ends. Not only do father and son appear as children in their own tales, they materialize in each other’s stories as shadowy influences hovering in the background, or at times, stepping forward and playing the roles of antagonist, shape-shifter, babe in the woods, savior. It is as though they have positioned themselves in a funhouse hall of mirrors, so that we get to see multiple sides of them, even as they––as narrators––attempt to contain our attention to the story at hand. This strategy allows the Müllers to take full advantage of the inherently unreliable nature of their first-person narratives and help the reader recognize the wolfish, the prismatic, aspects of their tales.

Eric Müller, the father, begins his story in rural Switzerland, where he rides crimson gondolas and tramps through wintry forests, before moving to South Africa where he encounters a phantom horse that forces him to consider his own mortality, hunts pheasants in Zululand, and befriends a thuggish young classmate whose mother feeds him a rich, oily soup that turns out to be swimming with chicken hearts. Yet despite the sly, fairytale quality of Müller’s prose, a ribbon of grim realism persists throughout. In one of the book’s most unsettling stories, he watches as two schoolmates torture squirrel-like dassies on the savannah by stabbing them and yanking the slick ropes of their intestines out and gleefully waving them in the air. Afraid of being shamed by his peers, the child pretends he isn’t troubled by this brutality, which we recognize as his own version of crying wolf. Even so, the wolf sinks its teeth in our narrator’s hide. “Two more suffered the same fate before we returned to the farmhouse. I felt guilty and sickened by the hunt…one thing I knew for sure, it would be a long time before wars would be eradicated on this earth.”

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August 8th, 2014 / 10:00 am

Reviews

On Udaff.com

I’ll tell you a story, children
Live lousy fucking in the world.
My head hurts a hangover
And in a pocket nor spear, fucked,
Pass the bottle fucking empty
Only them, of course, is not enough.
I fucking, fucking, do not,
I would only hangover
And then all the shit, shit,
And on the wall, fucked, smudge …
This proverb – not a fairy tale,
Tale will be ahead fucking:

This is the beginning of the earliest extant post published in the “Creatives” section of the Russian website Udaff.com, the title translated by Google Translate as “Lewd tale about global catastrophe” (“Непристойная сказка про мировую катастрофу”). Udaff.com describes itself as a repository of counter culture literature. It’s named after the site’s administrator, Udav (Udaff being a faux anglicisation), who posts new works almost every day in categories including News, Creatives (fiction and poetry), Controversy, Book Reviews and many others. The Creatives section, with over 50,000 entries since the site launched in 2000, is the most popular, featuring poetry and fiction that ranges widely in length and content, but is generally short and often serialized.

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July 14th, 2014 / 10:00 am

Subito Press is having their inaugural Creative Nonfiction/Hybrid Genre/Lyric Essay Contest. They’re looking for innovative, experimentally-slanted creative nonfiction/ hybrid genre/ lyric essay/ comics/ verse plays/ visual poetry, etc. The only aesthetic guidelines: no poetry & no fiction. Judged by John D’Agata. Submissions are open from June 15th to August 15th. Information, guidelines & to submit HERE.

Reviews

GUANTANAMO by Frank Smith, Trans. By Vanessa Place

guantanamo-frank-smith-vanessa-place-cover-front-featureGUANTANAMO
by Frank Smith
Translated by Vanessa Place
Les Figues Press, July 2014
160 pages / $17  Buy from Les Figues or SPD

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a law student, I feel that the most important demographic that this book should reach is law students—but for various reasons, it will never reach them.

When reading Guantanamo, I thought back to my Constitutional Law class and our discussions of the constitutional rights of foreign nationals. We learned about the debate through the lens of Guantanamo, specifically Combatant Status Review Tribunals (CSRT), which was challenged on constitutional grounds. As the introduction of this book informs, prisoners in the U.S. are guaranteed habeus corpus relief from unlawful detention. Such relief is generally called for when there is no knowledge of charges by or evidence against the detained person.

The introduction by Mark Sanders talks about translation and how Frank Smith drafted this book in French based on actual interrogation reports. It implies that there is no text under the text, only layers of translation with no correct source document: not only is there the language barrier between the author and the interrogation, but there is also the communication barriers between the Middle Eastern citizens and the U.S. interrogators. Law is very much the same way in having no definitive text. It is a mosaic bible made and revised by humans, primarily rich white American men (even still!) in this country. And yet, those who endeavor to work in it have their very human blind spots, such as the war vet in class who did not want to reconcile with “terrorists” having rights—that the Supreme Court should not pander to terrorists in giving them due process in our courts of law.

The text itself revolves around a trinity of ambiguity, vegetables, and the United States of America. The ambiguity in the writing comes from the use of the French pronoun on to show the absurdity and inhumanity of Guantanamo’s process. You observer a recurring narrative that the reader is unsure of is two continuous characters or two general bodies: (1) “the terrorists”; and (2) “the administrative body conducting de facto trials.” Vanessa Place translates on in a variety of permissible ways depending on tone, or not, or maybe creating her own tone in an unsettling way. Sometimes we are pronounless.

Asks if has family ties with known terrorists in Pakistan.
Answers exactly what kind of ties?
Rephrases the question, asks if any relatives have ties to terrorists in Pakistan.
Answers has no family in Pakistan. How could this be?
States has “kin” who is a member of a terrorist group responsible for attacks in Uzbekistan.
Answers no one in the family has any connection with any terrorist group in Uzbekistan to speak of.   (p. 3)

And so on. Not only does this stylistic choice call to attention the human machinery at work here, but it also creates a haunting, disorienting effect. Who are you supposed to believe? There is no human face that you are supposed to recognize here. There are combating facts which simply do not add up. And here, unlike the real U.S. criminal justice system (for all its flaws), there is no plea bargain to a lesser crime, there are no charges. Your reward for confessing to being an enemy combatant is to remain there, indefinitely, perhaps forever, even if really you were just growing vegetables, at the wrong place and at the wrong time.

The whole book goes like this, in deadpan call-and-response, with occasional breaks into a very sparse poetry, absent of any embellishment. It is not quite as dry as the interrogation proceeding, but only not quite.

“The man, his wife, and his mother still believed
they were being taken to Uzbekistan
but when they reached the other side of the river
a Tajik man informed them that they were actually
entering Afghanistan
and that they would have to fend for themselves,
that Tajikistan had effectively decided
to get rid of its Uzbek immigrants
Some families attempted to object
because they did not want to be abandoned there
but they were threatened with death
if they did not stop complaining.
The man believes they were then
in the area of Ahmed Shah Massoud.” (p. 53-4)

The author instead uses this break to tell the straightforward narrative of the de facto defendant(s), in broken up third-person prose, as if these defendants were not allowed to tell their stories directly and that the only voice which spoke for them was the voice of Allah. Their voices are suppressed, and simultaneously horrifying and bland. They are made bland. They are ruled by the farming of vegetables, caring for their families through agrarian life, until they are expulsed then tricked by ill-meaning “friends.” These narratives are frequent and often in this book, and probably in life too. Yet they are rendered “boring” and unaesthetic. I think this is important.

And at the end, nothing happens. Not in this book, or in the thing it is modeled after as conceptual art, until the shifting mind-mass of law went in the direction of abolishing the kangaroo courts, and setting some of the particulars free. The undangerous ones. Hopefully—but how are we supposed to know?

The worst kind of ambiguity, yet depicted flawlessly.

***

Rory Fleming is a rising third year law student at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He is also a writer of prose and poetry.

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June 30th, 2014 / 10:00 am