Ken Baumann is.
Ken Baumann is.
That’s the feeling I look for, right? In whatever I’m eating, be it real food, or entertainment, art, people. The major event. A safe, manageable portion of the inner land or map blown away, torn out and away, dissolved or smoked. I only know a couple people who really seek that, or when they say they want that destruction it’s a good lie, and maybe they’ve said it enough so it’s shared and indistinguishable from truth. Regardless, it’s a common myth, a familiar dragon to chase, that of the Art That Changes For Good. I rarely recognize the mountain exploding in realtime, while reading something or watching a movie, it’s felt live that way maybe four times in my adultish life. Mostly it’s just feeling the echo of the boom a time later. Still, standing mountains aren’t terrible, and are often really nice. But sometimes you get lucky (pictured, pictured). Here’s what my year looked like:
I almost got to publish TREASURE ISLAND!!! by Sara Levine, but Europa Editions/Tonga Books sent their acceptance letter A DAY AFTER I sent mine. Alice Sebold selected it personally. Sara’s great, though, and her book is fucking hilarious. A Confederacy of Dunces hilarious & beyond. Go get it.
[Matchup #13 in Tournament of Bookshit]
In the Really Fucking Ugly corner, weighing in at less than a tenth of a tenth of a tenth of a pound, is the entire coded structure of happydogmomlitjournal.blogspot.com. Happy Dog Mom Lit Journal is a newcomer on the scene, but has recently secured training with the Google AdSense and AdWords programs, showing off a stiff upper right corner text ad box that flits out ads for Moleskine journals and Tin House magazine subscriptions. Its ability to fly almost completely under the radar––to not have a single pair of eyes look at it, at all, for years, save the eyes of its own mother and master and pen-name bedecked story feeder, among the occasional algorithmic complimentary link bait––is truly amazing. It’s a stunning example of incompetence, laziness, a journey retarded before it’s even begun, and a complete lack of aesthetic sense beyond the named, repuked text-based emotional “landscapes” that can cohere, almost accidentally, under forty thousand clicks or more, here called curation. READ MORE >
Uh oh. Time for byebye money. Dalkey Archive’s yearly holiday sale, with 10 books for $65 or 20 books for $120.
The excellent Peter Mendelsund posted the first part of a five part essay on jacketing works of fiction.
The Marbled Swarm
by Dennis Cooper
Harper Perennial, November 1st, 2011
$10.19 / Buy from Amazon
1. A precursor: the often repeated and often obvious dictum from authors: if one could summarize the idea or express the idea elsewhere, it would not be a book.
2. Another precursor: I have to use numbers for this review. The accumulative force in The Marbled Swarm has made me nervous to write about it. These numbers should help. Related: numbers are very rarely used in the book; we are maybe twice given them as markers, as soft attempts at erasure, but more so as another meter to remember. I understand the absence of counting in the book.
3. Formal book reviews mostly feel homogenous to me; some young limping component of an old structure; sutured to print? The format seems off, or rather: very rarely off. I’m pretty often baffled, too, by the claim that some argument must be lodged and pushed through to agree a reader; maybe I discredit the militaristic form of rhetoric, or of establishing a reading. To me, the reviews, the books too, that are interesting and alive feeling do not seem camped or aimed, yet open and transfixed.
4. I read The Marbled Swarm for the first time on a plane. Enclosed by a tube, moving very fast through different pressured air, hoping for a smooth passage. Fantasizing about puncture. READ MORE >
To criticize is only to establish that a concept vanishes when it is thrust into a new milieu, losing some of its components, or acquiring others that transform it. But those who criticize without creating, those who are content to defend the vanished concept without being able to give it the forces it needs to return to life, are the plague of philosophy.
There is such force in those unhinged works of Hölderlin, Kleist, Rimbaud, Mallarmé, Kafka, Michaux, Pessoa, Artaud, and many English and American novelists, from Melville to Lawrence or Miller, in which the reader discovers admiringly that they have written the novel of Spinozism. To be sure, they do not produce a syntheses of art and philosophy. They branch out and do not stop branching out. They are hybrid geniuses who neither erase nor cover over differences in kind, but, on the contrary, use all the resources of their “athleticism” to install themselves within this very difference, like acrobats torn apart in a perpetual show of strength.
If philosophy is paradoxical by nature, this is not because it sides with the least plausible opinion or because it maintains contradictory opinions but rather because it uses sentences of a standard language to express something that does not belong to the order of opinion or even of the proposition.
Philosophy thus lives in a permanent crisis. The plane takes effect through shocks, concepts proceed in bursts, and personae by spasms.
We do not lack communcation. On the contrary, we have too much of it. We lack creation. We lack resistance to the present. READ MORE >
Leave a comment to enter and I’ll randomly pick a winner soon. If you want: write a three sentence story. Err spooky.