It is my pleasure to tell you that Requited #8 is now online. This issue features:
- Fiction by Thomas Mundt, Berit Ellingsen, and Matt Rowan;
- Poetry by Lucy Biederman, Carol Guess & Kristina Marie Darling, Gillian Cummings, Zachary Scott Hamilton, Kamden Hilliard, Kati Mertz, M. Pfaff, Amanda Silbernagel, and Michelle Sinsky;
- Performance pieces by Marisa Plumb, Dave Snyder, and Brian Torrey Scott;
- Visual art by Tyler Mallory (including the image you see above);
- Jeff Bursey’s review of Sam Savage’s Glass.
Check it out!
. . .
I am the non-fiction and reviews editor for Requited and am always eager to consider submissions. Previously I’ve published work by William Bowers, Jeremy M. Davies, Julianne Hill, Steve Katz, Mark Rappaport, Keiler Roberts, Viktor Shklovsky, and Curtis White, as well as interviews with Robert Ashley, Vanessa Place, Rosmarie Waldrop, and Curtis White, and reviews by Daniel Green and Jeff Bursey.
Also, please do check out the Requited‘s steadily swelling archives, where you’ll find poetry by Molly Gaudry and Nate Pritts, fiction by James Tadd Adcox, Jimmy Chen, Jac Jemc, Tim Jones-Yelvington, Suzanne Scanlon, and (ahem) myself, as well as many other nice fine things.
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.
The great Spanish poet Luna Miguel has a bilingual, Spanish/English-translation book coming out from Scrambler Books, entitled Bluebird and Other Tattoos. It ships December 22nd. Here is my blurb for it:
Luna Miguel is a poet who can make me cry. Her passion for life and for poetry is uncommon. She makes language concise, supple, and exciting again. Recurring images: of birds, disease, spit, and blood, integral to a mortal, embodied poetry that reminds us ‘Death cannot be experienced neither for the living nor the dead but for the sick.’ Luna writes a poem, ‘The Beautiful World Gives Me Disgust.’ She writes, ‘I exist, therefore, / then I tremble.’ She writes of the suicidal poets, she writes of all women, she writes of the young. She writes knowing it’s a lie, she lives in the shadow of death. Luna writes of her ‘unprotected life,’ her ‘unprotected diary.’ There is no comfort in this poetry, there is hard beauty. ‘The wind was this. Being born was this. Dying without dying and without a disease was this. To tell you the truth: I am here and I need you.’ Luna.
Mira Gonzalez‘s first book, i will never be beautiful enough to make us beautiful together, is now available for pre-order from Sorry House, a new press founded by Spencer Madsen. It will be published in January. The trailer above is by Meggie Green and Michael Inscoe.
It’s a book of poems. I’ve read the manuscript and enjoyed it. The poems are declarative, metaphorical, full of imagination and dreams as well as physical events. They create a feeling of rudderlessness, an uncanny mixture of confusion, sadness, and detached introspection.
As an added bonus, Mira is a real fun, nice person to interact with, and her Twitter is very enjoyable and funny and zany.
Sorry House has rounded up an impressive group of blurbs from Blake Butler, Melissa Broder, Brad Listi, Tao Lin, and Victor “Kool A.D.” Vazquez.
I feel nice that Mira will have a book out in January and I’m glad Spencer is making a press according to his particular tastes and collaborating with lots of good people.
I hope Justin Sirois gets back to work soon. He’s written five installments of a really fun serial novel called So Say the Waiters. It’s as gripping as 24 or whatever your favorite TV show is these days. Each episode, which takes like an hour to read, ends with a cliffhanger.
I hope he gets back to work because I really want know what happens in episode 6.
Since the beginning of autumn, Justin has been releasing the episodes separately as eBooks for like $.99. Now he’s bundled what I guess would be the “first season” in a printed book, and he’s doing a contest to promote it. To win the contest, you have to send in a kidnapping scenario. The best idea, as judged by Michael Kimball and Ken Baumann, will have their submission written into a future section of the book. That’s neat.
It might seem weird that the contest is based on writing a kidnapping situation, but it wouldn’t if you’re familiar with So Say the Waiters. It’s all about this smartphone app/social network through which people can sign up to be kidnapped. It’s actually not that farfetched, the way Justin handles it. The characters seem like real people. They just want to escape for a while.
When I want to escape, I read a book like this one. I read it on my iPhone.
Todd Grimson is one of the great living cult novelists. I’ve known him for a few years, under strange circumstances. He wrote Brand New Cherry Flavor, which is both one of my favorite horror novels and my favorite novel about Hollywood and the film industry. He also wrote the underground vampire classic Stainless. Both were recently re-released by Schaffner Press, which is now publishing his new collection of stories, Stabs at Happiness, in pleasing hardcover.
I asked Todd some questions about Stabs at Happiness and about his strange life and career.
For a while, you assumed the name “I. Fontana” and published stories in BOMB, Juked, The Quarterly, Lamination Colony, Word Riot, PANK, the Voice Literary Supplement, Bikini Girl, Spork and many others. We corresponded for some time before I knew your real name. Why did you adopt that name?
Fontana comes from “Fontana Mix,” a composition by John Cage I heard when I was 13. READ MORE >
The other one, the one called Borges, is the one who skates at the Place de la Concorde on blocks of ice. I walk through the streets of the 8th Arrondissement, and stop for a moment, perhaps touristically now, to look at a book of old photographs; I know of Borges from the posters for sale at German websites. I like the Champs-Élysées, its cafes and guillotines and obelisks; he shares these preferences, but swishes by, vainly, a total showoff. It would be an exaggeration to say that ours is a hostile relationship, as in the Reign of Terror; I live, I escape the fate of Marie Antoinette and Danton and Robespierre, so that Borges may contrive his skating, and this skating justifies me. It is no effort for me to confess that he has achieved some valid figure eights, but those maneuvers cannot save me, even if he makes the Olympic team. Perhaps his perfect 10 form belongs to no one, not even to him, but rather to whomever has coached him, or posed him for what upon careful review is clearly a posed photograph. Besides, I am destined to perish, definitively, while he will end up for sale online, or hung up in a physics classroom in a high school in Philadelphia. Little by little, thus, by means of confusion, I am becoming him, lassoing cars, and scooting along behind them, much like in Back to the Future, a film I will never see, as I will go blind—not to mention, die roughly one year after its theatrical release, which means that one can assume I never saw it, as I had by that time moved to Switzerland to die from liver cancer, and the IMDb doesn’t record a Swiss theatrical release (though Argentina got it right after Christmas, the bastards). (I did see Citizen Kane, and King Kong, for what it’s worth, and I reviewed them.)
Gabriel Vahanian, author of the book The Death of God: The Culture of Our Post-Christian Era, died on Saturday, September 8. He was 85.
He was not an atheist. He was a theologian and critic of what he referred to as “Religiosity,” Christianity that appealed broadly to his contemporary culture, that embraced faith without doubt, that was literal in its interpretations of the Bible, that was “trivial.” Here he reveals the death of God in the names we give God: READ MORE >
Introducing Colin Winnette’s new book, Animal Collection, available from Spork Books. Look at that letterpressed hardcover, wouldja? The first sentence is “It’s in your best interests to take the beaver’s calls.” You can read an excerpt here or catch Colin on tour and buy one to his face.
Alternatively, “Who Could Win a Rabbit?“
1. Hobart 2.0, wow, with new web features, etc.
2. Diagram 12.4 is OUT!
3. Joshua Cohen:
The repetitions are, in my mind, linked to the idea that the Internet is conceptually vast, but you end up spending the bulk of your time visiting the same sites again and again (or perhaps this is just my own practice). I’m not especially interested in the variety of the Internet; rather I’m interested in the human experience of the promise of variety, a promise fulfilled only by a similarity or sameness, and the idea that the computer seems to license every option of virtuality, while our own humanity seems limited, or to self-limit, through laziness or shame, to the same thing every day.
7. Disorientation, a reading list, at The Millions:
11. My writing tip of the day: It isn’t done when you think it is done.
5. My Grading Scale for the Fall Semester, Composed Entirely of Samuel Beckett Quotes. (By Matt Bell)
Rose Metal Press makes a wonderful chapbook. Shampoo Horns, for example. It feels like hair, if the hair was made of Pop-Tarts or red sun and waterfalls of beer. It was printed on a Vandercook letterpress, with care. It smells like dandelion broth. The entire book-making process is fascinating and you can see it here:
This book has 19 short stories, linked. This would be a good book to examine while considering the nuances/decisions/contemplations of a linked collection. You could ask the author, “What kind of things did you think about when ordering the collection?” You could get Winesburg, Ohio and stack it upright on the dirty kitchen floor and then take three paces and place Shampoo Horns on the disgusting floor (pasta sauce and dream stains, etc.) and then you could fill in the space between the two with other linked books, like stack them into bones or whatnot, and you would have yourself a self-education session. (If you aren’t going to autodidact, you are doomed.)
This book contains red plastic cups, you know the cups, so simple yet they connote so much (even their name–solo). I bet you’ve held a red, plastic cup. Cradled it. Sucked from. There are also “pink flamingos with missing heads” and “stray huskies” and a “overgrown toddler without a shirt” and a “trash bag flapping” and “bologna sandwiches” and “MTV” and “wood panel walls” and a mobile home full of angels and “Texas drawl” and “shit-filled Underoos” and a dildo in a swimming pool and “RV’s” and “a busted La-Z-Boy” and a “greasy ball cap” and a “plastic vodka bottle” and a lot of other THINGS. Agglomeration. Interesting method of delivering the world from a child/boy’s POV. Most don’t do it well. But Teel does, by creating a tornado-like effect of THINGS spinning by, the narrator watching the world blur. Puzzlement and understanding are the milieu of a boy, an aging boy. Your parents are no longer some minor gods. Pain enters life (this world can hurt). And, of course, sex—this strange, persistent force—is in the air. Possibly this is a trailer park Bildungsroman.
Stephen Dixon: “SOASAOS:AN is a novel I wrote 40 years ago, tried to get it published for a couple of years, got some unflattering rejections for a change–before they were always gracious and ‘not right for us’ and ‘wouldn’t know how to market this’ and ‘hope you have better luck with it with another publisher…’ If accepted, it would have been my first published book.”
9. Laura Goldstein interview—lots about chapbooks here. Personally, I used to believe chapbooks were some form of stepping stone and it often works that way: lit mag/chapbook/book-book, etc., but now I am seeing more authors scatter in chapbooks throughout their writing lives…almost in the way flash fiction might break up a longer story collection. Anyway, Laura has some thoughts on said subject.
2. Got a hybrid, a novella, a bookie-wookie? Mud Luscious Press is open for submissions (Note: They have a reading fee.)
3. Not a lot of gender questions but some—my favorite moment was at Reed College, which is super liberal and very academic and a little pressured because of that. Great place, but a little pressured. I read a story called “Debbieland” about junior high school girls beating up a girl and after, someone asked why I wrote about such broken women and girls. And as a woman, didn’t I feel a responsibility to write strong women? I loved it as a question because it sets me up so beautifully to contradict that assumption. A perfect pitch to an eager bat. Because who wants to write strong all the time? Or read strong? Who is strong all the time
4. Wells Tower with a Mitt Romney (sort of—there’s other interesting tidbits, in the legacy of riding-on-the-bus journalism) profile:
5. The jury’s still out on whether Modernism exists, or whether it’s just a way of being snobbish about people like Orwell, who tends not to make the cut.
8. Elizabeth Bachner mashes us some Decadent sick/goodness. Beautiful writing.
Odds are I’m alive, but right now I don’t know whether I’m wrapped in animal or riding one. Either way I don’t know which kind of animal it is, or whether I can hold on, and if I don’t hold on will it still keep running? Maybe I’m not a monument to anything.
Fifty-Two Stories, as you might know, has dropped forty at once (downloadable now as a free PDF, and as a free ebook on July 17). The forty include sick fictions from Lindsay Hunter, Shane Jones, Scott McClanahan, Catherine Lacey, Kayden Kross, Blake Butler, Brandon Hobson, Roxane Gay, Adam Wilson, Kyle Minor, +30 more![!!] Somewhat related: has anyone ever walked into a physical bookstore to acquire a free ebook? Did you get your free Slurpee on 7/11/12?
On my adventures in corporate American marketing, I’ve come across a literary form that I believe is the purest, most perfect expression of human desire, passion, tragedy, longing, comedy, and love. In modern user experience design and eCommerce, this form is known as “Call To Action.” In its most common form it’s a digital image of button, with copy. It appears at the end of a poem about a product. When you see the button, you understand everything that there is to understand about your relationship to capital markets, to objects, and to human labor. Shorter than the novel, more emotive than the poem, and far more popular than the TV serial, the CTA is certainly in a golden age.
Requited is an online journal that I help edit. I’m pleased to announce that the seventh issue is now up. In the section that is my province (essays) you will find:
- Jeremy M. Davies on reading Gilbert Sorrentino;
- William Bowers on watching Spider-Man;
- & Curtis White on rethinking Freud and childhood sexuality.
There is also a review, by Daniel Green, of the book We Wanted to Be Writers: Life, Love and Literature at the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, edited by Eric Olsen and Glen Schaeffer (Skyhorse Publishing, 2011).
In the rest of the issue you will find:
- fiction by Maya Sonenberg, Hilary Plum, Eugenio Volpe, & Adam Moorad;
- poetry by Neal From, Christine Hamm, j/j hastain, Stephen Daniel Lewis, Amy Pence, Andrea Rexilius, Lina Ramona Vitkauskas, & Daniel Godston;
- excerpts from Calamari Press’s Ark Codex ±0;
- a performance text by Michael J Pagan;
- visual art by Mark Aguhar;
- a video by Dara Greenwald;
- & a comic by Dylan Williams.
Requited is edited by Amanda Marbais (fiction), H.V. Crammond (poetry), Ira S. Murfin (performance texts), Fereshteh Toosi (visual art and videos), and myself (essays and reviews). We publish two issues per year. Our complete archive is accessible here, and our submission guidelines are here. If you have any further questions or comments about the journal, I would be happy to receive them.
Enjoy Issue 7!
In 1929, at the time of its publication, William Faulkner said “I wish publishing was advanced enough to use colored ink” in regards to his vision for The Sound and the Fury, specifically, that each of the many intricately layered timeline threads would be printed in different colors. He resigned to using italics in order to address the past, which was rather confusing, given the blunt binary of italics vs. roman text, and the myriad tiers of pasts therein. Reading Faulkner, I always ignore the italics, as part of the allure in reading him is the palpable confusion of memory — the contradictions, oversights, strange overlaps — as similar to the very way we remember, or mis-remember, our actual experiences. The initial modernists (e.g. Joyce, Woolf, Faulkner) seemed to imbue their books, inadvertently or not, with living matter: the tongue of alliteration; the pulse of cadence; the corrosive and unreliable mind; the insecurity of communication; the unruly heart, the very messy things though which we lived, rather than simply read. Eighty-three years since its publication, English publishing house Folio Society is publishing the book as the author intended. It’s gorgeous, $345 dollars, a promised delivery conveniently in the light of August.
YOU PRIVATE PERSON, Chiem’s first collection of short stories, is forthcoming from Scrambler Books (2012).