ToBS R4: Sewage Treatment Technologies vs. middle age white male self published sci fi novel pt 1 of 4

Salt, c. 2007

[matchup #57 in Tournament of Bookshit]

Waste, do you know the word. Often it comes at night when I’m combing my lines in the dark. When I’m mouthing the name of a woman, or fucking myself, or wondering why I carry on being American. Waste means whatever waste wants. In the middle of my life I searched for myself in the engine. I’m not dead links and waste and zero results, I told myself. I wrestle the ancients and yell their names when I’m blackout. I unleash myself on myself and fuck the crow from my book. But waste means here comes the shepherd’s crook. Ask me anything I’m the bellwether nobody tags. Waste and my instant telegrams of perennials and teacups and my shoes in the cities I love they will vanish. I’ve failed to convince myself to subscribe to myself. I stand before the wall on which nothing’s written. Waste means I’m following. I came here to waste in the box but everyone called it life. Waste finds me new addresses, new names every day. A red name, a green name, then orange. Like the colors that hang from the wires that tell me to drive. Waste means traffic. Waste means more invites. Waste means I interview Salt, my friend in his twenty-sixth year because his father manages waste to make money. I remember one day a dozen years ago he came home smelling like shit, Salt writes me. Are you like him do you watch the river of waste to make money. Waste the river of fishbones and scumbags and hair and bloodrags it’s blackbread with the crust come alive. Waste I’m disabling my family filter. Shit definitely one of the top three smells. READ MORE >

Contests / 1 Comment
June 6th, 2012 / 2:44 pm

ToBS R3: Facebook-based political ‘activism’ vs. calling anything you write a manuscript

[matchup #56 in Tournament of Bookshit]

Real talk. Facebook “like”ing this page would probably do more than releasing an anthology of contemporary poetry about it. And claiming that your writing is experimental and divorced from politics doesn’t just mean that you write white identity poetry. It is also an acknowledgement of poetry’s inability to affect change in contemporary America.

Additionally, The New Yorker published a long-form expository essay about Facebook-based political activism. The New Yorker has never published a long-form expository essay about poetry.

At first, it seemed so clear. The facts led this judge solidly in one direction. But then a close friend of mine brought to light a new and intriguing piece of research. It’s called the Penis Defense. In this six-page manuscript, the author lays out a whole new theory behind calling anything you write a manuscript. READ MORE >

Contests / 2 Comments
June 6th, 2012 / 12:33 pm

ToBS R3: “Everybody Has a Story” (1) v. Literary Marriage (5)

[matchup #55 in Tournament of Bookshit]

Midwest Round of 16, Sprint Center, Kansas City, Missouri

After a mathematically efficient run through the opening weekend of the tournament, “Everybody Has a Story”, the First Day of Your Undergraduate Intro to Creative Writing Course Skyriver Conference Champion, faces off against perennial underachiever Literary Marriage, an at-large team from the Contributor’s Note America-12 Conference in what promises to be a contrast in styles.  “Everybody Has a Story,” the number-one seed in the Midwest Bracket and Bookshit Final Four mainstay got to Omaha with a tactical waxing of “Show Don’t Tell” in the opening round of the tournament, followed by their devastating disposal of “Following 1000s on Twitter”, whom despite their up tempo “40 Minutes of Hell” defense were eventually overwhelmed by the methodical pace of “Everybody Has a Story”.  Literary Marriage, on the other hand, squeaked out a dramatic win against potential bracket buster Child of Famous Author’s Novel in the 5 vs. 12 matchup in the opening round followed by a hard fought victory over favored NaNoWriMo, who had a large early lead in that game but eventually ran out of steam, which led to an awkward finish in which NaNoWriMo (#12 in the AP poll) publically celebrated their victory on various social networking platforms despite falling short by at least 13,000 points.  READ MORE >

Contests / 4 Comments
May 31st, 2012 / 2:21 pm

Everyday Genius: The June Issue

(This is my first post here in a while, ugh, and it’s lame that it’s about PGP, but dang I’m all wound up in excitement for this, so why not, and plus it’s a good deal.)

To celebrate The June Issue, Everyday Genius’s first ever print issue, I’m giving a prize to three people who order it before Friday, June 1 (previous orders are being entered to win as well). The prize is a PGP care package, which includes recent books Falcons on the Floor by Justin Sirois (review at The L Mag), Meat Heart by Melissa Broder (review at The Rumpus), Rachel B. Glaser’s Pee On Water (just reviewed brilliantly at The Nervous Breakdown). ALSO included will be Joe Hall’s Post Nativity and Stephanie Barber’s book/DVD these here separated. ALSO also included, Joseph Young’s Easter Rabbit and David NeSmith’s El Greed. Finally ALSO also also included, a PGP tote and a PGP koozy cuz why not cuz it’s summer. READ MORE >

Contests & Presses / 8 Comments
May 28th, 2012 / 4:39 pm

ToBS R3: Daily facebook updates of what you ate while writing today v hating on Jonathan Safran-Foer

[matchup #54 in Tournament of Bookshit]

Last night I had a dream that I was talking to a really attractive girl at a bar in an airport.  We were having a great conversation, and I felt really good.  Somehow I had already seen the movie version of whatever J.S. Foer’s novel is called, and somehow this came up as a topic of conversation.  I laughed to myself and said, “You know what?  I liked that movie.  I really enjoyed watching it.”


The girl stared at me and said “why are you laughing?”


I said, “You know… because it’s that novel… by that guy.” READ MORE >

Contests / 7 Comments
May 25th, 2012 / 3:54 pm

ToBS R3: Dinner at Chili’s vs. middle age white male self published sci fi novel pt 1 of 4

[matchup #53 in Tournament of Bookshit]


Contests / 10 Comments
May 25th, 2012 / 2:21 pm

ToBS R3: Celebrity Fiction vs. Short-Shorts Referring to Whiskey Consumption

[matchup #52 in Tournament of Bookshit]

The main thing about celebrity fiction is that it seems unfair. Writers are writing to get famous. If we had some other way of getting famous, we would probably being doing that, right? But most of us don’t have any other real choices, in the getting-famous-category. Most of us are bad at sports and can’t sing well and don’t have, you know, like personalities and shit. Most of us enjoy sitting in rooms by ourselves and making stuff up about people who don’t exist. If that’s what you spend your time doing, writing is pretty much your only shot, in terms of famous.


But already-famous people who write, what are they doing? Trying to get respect? The fuck is respect going to get you that being famous doesn’t? Maybe you feel a little better about yourself, being respected? Can you buy a sandwich, with that feeling-a-little-better-about-yourself? Can you pay rent with that? READ MORE >

Contests / 4 Comments
May 25th, 2012 / 2:14 pm

ToBS R3: horny middle aged balding poetry professor on campus vs. Sewage Treatment Technologies

[matchup #51 in Tournament of Bookshit]


Contests / 3 Comments
May 18th, 2012 / 4:21 pm

ToBS3: Working at Best Buy vs. Calling yourself the editor-in-chief of an online journal

[matchup #50 in Tournament of Bookshit]

I don’t have specific thoughts regarding either of these things. I imagine that working at Best Buy is similar to many retail jobs? You deal with a lot of odd customers, coworkers, and supervisors? Maybe that is an unfair assumption. See, the only retail job I worked was at a used book store in Virginia when I was in graduate school. I stocked the shelves and I also purchased inventory according to a massive buying manual that the owners had seemingly haphazardly created full of random rules regarding what sorts of books we should take in and what we should not. We bought a lot of mass market paper backs and children’s books. My following these rules at the buying table often meant that I turned down a lot of great books, fascinating and interesting books, that the owners had deemed a waste of shelving space. Probably, from a business standpoint, they were right: they knew their customers, and theirs were customers who were not interested in Fowles’ The Maggot, nor were their customers interested in Barnes’ Nightwood. Both of these books intrigued me when I held them in my hands at the buying table, and even as I turned them down, I wanted to know what was between their covers (I later read Nightwood in a class; still haven’t read The Maggot). Another terribly weird part of this job is that we threw out a lot of books. Like, shitloads of books. And the owners required us to rip the covers off these books because a few years before I worked there, a customer had pulled books out of the dumpster that they had trashed and resold those books to the store several times. So there I was, tearing covers off books like O’Brien’s The Things They Carried and Foucault’s Discipline and Punish, simply because these books had ‘been on the shelf too long.’ After that, I began to take the discards and put them nicely in a box and hide the box in the store until my assigned closing night, and then I would take the box to my car. At one point I had five boxes of books in my car, books the owners had deemed a ‘waste of shelf space,’ and these I distributed to my friends in order to make room to save more books. Eventually, the store closed because the owners couldn’t pay the rent, and I spent my final weekend at that job boxing up books to save from the dumpster in between breaking down shelves and stacking the book carts in a moving van.

Ryan Call


Contests / 3 Comments
May 18th, 2012 / 1:56 pm

ToBS3: Alcoholism vs the guy who goes 20 minutes over suggested reading time

[matchup #49 in Tournament of Bookshit]

The year was 2012 and we were all under the assumption that, in some way or another, the world would end soon. We knew that the Mayans had nothing to do with it because, as we all know, when one calendar ends we just buy a new one, we don’t assume the worst. Capitalism might collapse, geotraumatic insistence might just find us no longer rooted on the earth, it’s too bad NASA itself is gone. All that’s left to feel is our own collective solar body moving through time and space.

We find our bodies in bars, we find our bodies consuming alcohol, we find our bodies consuming more alcohol, we find ourselves going outside for a cigarette, we watch stars plummet and all make the same wish; that we can sustain, that the world won’t end, that our accelerated reality stops, calms down, pauses for a second. READ MORE >

Contests / 3 Comments
May 17th, 2012 / 12:03 pm