Ryan Call

Countdown to AWP: What I’m (not) looking forward to

One thing that gets me through this awful thing called my life is reading the (dis)likes feature that Aaron and Elizabeth do at the Hobart website. I find myself anxious for the month to pass just so I can see what new things are making their way onto the lists. I feel like I ‘know’ Aaron and Elizabeth that much more, I feel a little involved in their lives (maybe in a creepy way), and I too saw Four Christmases and hated it.

So, with a little nod their way, I’d like to list what I’m (not) looking forward to about this year’s AWP Conference in Chicago. AWP is in a month, so we have plenty of time to think about it.


Web Hype / 41 Comments
January 16th, 2009 / 7:59 pm

What’s your daily routine?


A friend just reminded me about this blog called Daily Routines. The blog seeks to gather together in one place the daily work routines of various smart people – like, you know, Günter Grass and Joseph Campbell. One of my favorites is the post on Charles Darwin:

7 a.m. Rose and took a short walk.
7:45 a.m. Breakfast alone
8–9:30 a.m. Worked in his study; he considered this his best working time.
9:30–10:30 a.m. Went to drawing-room and read his letters, followed by reading aloud of family letters.
10:30 a.m.–
12 or 12:15 p.m.
Returned to study, which period he considered the end of his working day.
12 noon Walk, starting with visit to greenhouse, then round the sandwalk, the number of times depending on his health, usually alone or with a dog.
12:45 p.m. Lunch with whole family, which was his main meal of the day. After lunch read The Times and answered his letters.
3 p.m. Rested in his bedroom on the sofa and smoked a cigarette, listened to a novel or other light literature read by ED [Emma Darwin, his wife].
4 p.m. Walked, usually round sandwalk, sometimes farther afield and sometimes in company.
4:30–5:30 p.m. Worked in study, clearing up matters of the day.
6 p.m. Rested again in bedroom with ED reading aloud.
7.30 p.m. Light high tea while the family dined. In late years never stayed in the dining room with the men, but retired to the drawing-room with the ladies. If no guests were present, he played two games of backgammon with ED, usually followed by reading to himself, then ED played the piano, followed by reading aloud.
10 p.m. Left the drawing-room and usually in bed by 10:30, but slept badly.
Random / 25 Comments
January 15th, 2009 / 10:59 pm

Jonathan Baumbach at Maud Newton


not USAirways #1549, from which everyone appears to have safely escaped

I just finished reading this post by Jonathan Baumbach over at Maud Newton’s blog. He talks a little about the founding of FC(2) and then mentions his surprise at how long the collective has lasted. Originally, he had meant for the alternative press to be a ‘stopgap action in a period of emergency.’ He writes though that his assessment of the situation back then was maybe too optimistic, which explains, perhaps, why FC2 has continued so long. I hadn’t realized that the original collective was meant only as a temporary fix, to ‘jostle the publishing establishment into taking more chances with work that was out on the edge.’ But as time passed, Baumbach says, the industry turned more conservative in its tastes, and FC2 was needed more than ever.

Here’s a tiny bit more from the post:

Originality tends to generate difficulty in that it breaks faith with expectation, undermines the prevailing verities of last season’s fashion. Originality, by definition, takes us by surprise.


Commercial publishing tends to court literary work that is a thinly disguised variation on the recognizably artful — last year’s award winner tricked out to seem at once new and safely familiar.

Thanks to Maud Newton for posting this.

Recent FC2 titles can be found here. FC2 blog here.

Author Spotlight & Behind the Scenes / 10 Comments
January 15th, 2009 / 4:17 pm

Hobart back issue special


what aaron burch's office would look like if it were the womens 1500m at the 2005 prefontaine classic

Aaron Burch has announced a back issue special over at the Hobart blog. Here’s what he has to say:

We have way too many back issues in our “office” — piling up, getting in the way, making it hard to move much less find anything. That said, we aren’t very good at knowing what incentives would make these back issues more enticing. So, until we figure something better out, here are two options:

1) Subscribe and we will send you any back issues you want.

2) Send us as much money as you think is fair and tell us which back issues you might want.

Available are issues:
3 (no link with more info!), 5 (travel), 6, 7 (art), and 8.

So yeah, that sounds like an excellent deal to me, one I would have taken advantage of if I hadn’t already had sitting on my shelf issues 3-9.

(thanks to Matt Bell for the tip)

Uncategorized / Comments Off on Hobart back issue special
January 14th, 2009 / 1:29 am

Reading Resolutions at TQC

first google image return for 'argh'

first google images return for 'argh'

Hi everyone. Scott Esposito is doing a series of Reading Resolutions for 2009 over at The Quarterly Conversation, and my post is now up.

I’ve deviated a little from my list: I reread Notes from the Underground right after Christmas and am now into part four of The Idiot. I cannot believe I read that in high school.

Anyone have any reading lists they want to share?

Uncategorized / 7 Comments
January 13th, 2009 / 10:28 am

new from Willows Wept Press

htbltb20front20coverWillows Wept Press has revealed the cover of the first book in what promises to be a solid catalog. Matt Bell‘s How The Broken Lead The Blind anchors the press and is due to be printed this month. To fully appreciate the artwork by Christy Call, you can see a wraparound cover here.

You can preorder it at the website for $10. Get on it quickly, as there are only 100 copies to be printed.


And look out for the next Willows Wept book, Scott Garson‘s Vercingetorix.

Presses / 22 Comments
January 9th, 2009 / 3:13 am

Word Spaces(4): Laura van den Berg

I met Laura van den Berg at AWP one year. She had written something nice on a rejection note to me after I sent something to Redivider a while ago, and so I tracked her down and said hello. Since then we’ve been in touch, seen each other around, though she’s a bit busier than I – she’s on staff at PloughsharesMemorious, and West Branch, and she has a book of stories called What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us forthcoming from Dzanc this November. A recent story of hers can be read online at the Boston Review site.

Anyhow, I thought it would be interesting to see where she gets her work done (and then somehow exactly recreate it in my own apartment).


Here’s what Laura has to say:

My workspace is in the kitchen of a house in North Carolina, where I’ve been living with my boyfriend since September. My computer is set up on the kitchen/dining table, near a kind of big bay window. I love windows. I have wanted all my writing life to have a workspace with lots of windows. Since our town, Blowing Rock, is up in the mountains, there’s crazy fog sometimes—fog so thick I can’t see the shapes of the trees or the car in the driveway. It’s beautiful and eerie and I love it.

On the wall behind my chair, I’ve taped up postcards, pictures, Obama paraphernalia, and a map of Boston, where I used to live. On one side of my computer, there’s a basket that my brother brought back from Morocco, a mug/pen holder, a picture, and shoeboxes, which I’m using to store random office supplies. On the other side, I have phones, my planner, and a box of notecards that say “I only have a kitchen because it came with the house.” To the right of my chair, there’s a little table, where I keep some books—right now, it’s Amy Hempel, Joy Williams, Alice Munro, Diane Williams, Kyle Minor, Deb Olin Unferth, Allison Amend. Also: lit mags; a photo book of Borneo, where I was going to set a novel; my notebook; a story I’m revising; a box of cards from the Met; a newspaper article on Darwin and Russell Wallace; Poets & Writers; another shoebox full of office supplies. The Joy Williams book I have here—The Quick and the Dead—is one of my favorite books of all times. Sometimes I open to a random page and read a paragraph and I’m always floored. Page 155, for example: “The television was on again. A startled bull with a ring through its immense nostrils stood in a river. Piranha swirled about. The bull turned gray like a block of chalk, then transparent, and then it was a skeleton, floating away.”

A set of headphones are nearby, in the basket, since I usually listen to music while working. I have somewhat schizophrenic taste in music—lately it’s been New Order, Postal Service, Sam Phillips, Jane’s Addiction, and David Bowie. My desk can be a little schizophrenic too—especially now, since I’m still unpacking from a long trip and have lots of little things that I don’t have good places for. There’s a lot of stacking going on. Pretty soon, we’re going to have to think about eating dinner elsewhere.

Thanks, Laura, for sharing.

Word Spaces / 21 Comments
January 7th, 2009 / 3:25 pm

MASSIVE PEOPLE(9): Reb Livingston

0408729-r01-011-70Reb Livingston is a MASSIVE person for two reasons: 1) I have a crush on her and 2) in an interview with Orange Alert in February of 08, she said, “I believe every ‘serious’ poet should, in some way, assist and cultivate other poets.” Reb lives by that belief. She co-edits No Tell Motel, in which appear a great variety of poets; she runs No Tell Books, a micro press that follows the print on demand model; she is very active online and off when it comes to supporting the community; and she is the author of Pterodactyls Soar Again (Coconut 2006), Wanton Textiles (w/ Ravi Shankar, No Tell Books 2006), Your Ten Favorite Words (Coconut 2007), and God Damsel (forthcoming No Tell Books 2009).

A personal bit from her website:

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, she now resides in the greater Washington, D.C. area with her husband and son.  Once she worked for America Online. Although that was a long time ago.

After the break begins the email interview. All pictures are taken from her own site or from her blog. I encourage everyone to check out her blog, as there are some great posts in the archives about the starting a journal, starting a press, publishing that first book, etc (look for the ‘publishing’ label). Also, don’t go away: there’s something special at the end of this post. The something special is FREE BOOKS.


Massive People / 22 Comments
January 6th, 2009 / 4:10 pm

New at Publishing Genius


The wonderful cover of Shane Jones’ novel Light Boxes is now posted over at Publishing Genius. Also, Adam Robinson has redesigned the site and it looks very nice. Scoot on over to have a look. Or go to the blog to see what Adam has to say about the cover. Pre-ordering information here.

Shane Jones blogged more about the book here. Most importantly, he blogged that the book has been sent off to the printer.

Shane Jones looks like a nice man.

Presses & Web Hype / 10 Comments
January 5th, 2009 / 6:37 pm

new from Mud Luscious


In my email (also probably in yours?), a message from JA Tyler, editor of Mud Luscious:

readers & the like.


look, look, look:


mud luscious issue six is live & death-defying. new work by brandi wells, jamie lin, jared ward, charles lennox, laura hirneisen, lauren becker, tim jones-yelvington, m.d. kempis, ryan dilbert, howie good, kyle hemmings, & drew kalbach. this issue also includes a review of every online & print work available from publishing genius press.


go here to view the issue: www.aboutjatyler.com


ml press also opens today for pre-orders of the jan. trio:


LIKE IT WAS HER PLACE by kim chinquee

A HEAVEN GONE by jac jemc



each volume is $2 (includes shipping), is limited to a single run of 50 copies, & will ship jan. 15.

five-month subscriptions are also available. $30 / 15 volumes.


go here to support ml press: www.mudlusciouspress.blogspot.com


also the new flash collection by j. a. tyler EVERYONE IN THIS IS EITHER DYING OR WILL DIE OR IS THINKING OF DEATH is available now from the achilles chapbook series. this collection will only be available in a signed, limited edition of 50 copies. $5 (includes shipping).


go here to order: www.aboutjatyler.blogspot.com  


read up & share out.


happy 2009.

JA Tyler has reviewed the entire Publishing Genius catalog. That is exciting.

Someone should review the entire Dalkey Archive catalog.

Presses & Web Hype / 2 Comments
January 2nd, 2009 / 5:11 pm