The handmade books of Spork Press are spreading across the literary universe, leaving the Spork collective ‘more psyched than ever.’
On any given evening, in the middle of any given week, just off of Fourth Avenue, you might stumble across the editors of Spork Press as they dutifully work on their next set of printings.
They might have music blaring out of the carport in which they work while they press ink onto boards using a half-century-old machine. They might be sipping beers, mixing and transferring music mixes onto cassette tapes. They could be listening to audiobooks, evening out the edges of their work—literally, with a belt sander.
(…..from The Tucson Weekly, “An Analog Experience”)
Yes, Spork makes beautiful books and recently debuted their 6 newest creations (“artifacts”) at AWP here in my backyard (Seattle, which is just across the lake from Kirkland, home of Costco, etc). The Tucson Weekly reports that AWP was a “huge success” for Spork, selling “more than 400 books.”
So, anyways, here is a bit of a roundup of Spork’s 6 new books with a bit of verbiage about each book and/or the author. (and, yes, I’m one of these 6 authors so if you think this is uncool, well, go ahead and sue me).
Christmastime is the best time. There are sparkly lights and cute reindeer and cute snowmen and cute songs, and so on. There’s also a lot of gifts to be given, which is great, especially if you like books and things, as I do. Alas, almost all Western culture subjects won’t get any gifts from Santa at all, as they only care about their Twitter feed, their sexuality, and leading a “grievable life” so that this doesn’t happen to them. But for those thoughtful boys and girls who don’t go around kissing dead Nelson Mandela’s tushy, they should expect estimable presents. These are the ones I want:
Gossip by Samantha Cohen: Gossip can be malicious and harmful, so everyone should do it.
Cunt Norton by Dodie Bellamy: While the cannon is actually quite commendable, so is cutting, which is what Dodie does to one of the Norton anthologies.
Salamandrine: 8 Gothics by Joyelle McSweeney: According to Diane Sawyer, those divinely deathy Columbine boys “may have been a part of a dark, underground national phenomenon known as the Gothic movement and that some of those Goths may have killed before.” So…
Begging For It by Alex Dimitrov: This boy was the subject of some criticism for his appropriation of some kind of AIDS-related art. But AIDS is silly, and Alex is sort of cute.
Butcher’s Tree by Feng Chen: Her Spork book, “Blud,” was really cute and sassy, so these poems probably will be as well.
Our Lady of the Flowers, Echoic by Chris Tysh: Jean Genet was a violent, cutthroat boy, and I want to see Divine and Dainty Feet in verse.
Haute Surveillance by Johannes Goransson: Johannes read an excerpt from this at the first and only ever Boyesque Reading (also featuring Peter Davis, Tyler Gobble, and me). It was violent, stylish, and totalitarian.
The Memoirs of JonBenet by Kathy Acker by Michael du Plessis: JonBenet Ramsey was cute and tragic. This year, she published a collection of rhymes for my cute and thoughtful Tumblr, Bambi Muse. I want to see how Michael portrays the pageant princess.
The Mysteries of Laura by Andrea Quinlan: It’s a collection of poems that are Victorian and gothic, which is to say it’s Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Bronte and Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris.
Mother Ghost by Casey Hannan: I like ghosts.
Since the outside is important too, you should be decking a delightful outfit while you wait for Santa to come. For girls, picking out what to wear isn’t arduous at all, as all girls should wear what they should wear all the time, a babydoll dress, a big but elegant hairbow, and ballet flats. For boys, choosing the correct clothes is much more vexing. Most boys hold the opinion that tight jeans and an ironic top are stylish. But this isn’t so. Style should have meaning. Boy in the vintage Supersonics Shawn Kemp jersey, can you inform everyone who Shawn Kemp is? Are you aware that he once showed up to the Cavaliers training camp as an unacceptable fatty? No, you’re not. Style, like literature, must have meaning. So, while anticipating Santa’s arrival, all boys should wear a meaningful outfit, like the one that I am:
Sunnies because eyes should be kept secret.
Basketball hoodie that I stole from a friend, because basketball players are like monsters.
Purple-striped dress shirt because it’s proper.
A skirt because boys should wear skirts.
Skull-and-crossbone pants because they’re deathy.
Werewolf purple socks to match the purple dress shirt.
Buckled shoes because they’re proper too.
2013 PO’ IN REVIEW–85 (or so) Lines & Quotes That Effed Me Up, in chronological(-ish) order of when i reddit
Right about now is the time of the year when everyone with a goddamn login gets all hyperboled about whatever dumb book they read way back in March, just so they can save a .jpeg and write a bunch of convoluted bullshit about that dumb book and some other dumb books for some dumb literary blog. Those things (blogs, books, hyperboles, et al, et al) are cool. But books are books, and books cost money, and I’m sure that you’re probably broke because you bought me a bunch of Yolo Polos for God’s birthday. Oh, you good little sigh, you.
So instead of giving you a list of books you’re never going to read, I figured I’d go through my pockets and pull out the best lines and quotes I came across in 2013, because (and I know I might be alone here) 2013 felt like a winning fucking lotto ticket to me. Happy holidays. Now give me a hug.
<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
Out there, in the Between, it’s kiss or be kist
R.M. O’Brien, “Poem For Chris Toll In The Between” (Sink Review, Jan. 1)
He could have laid me back
in the middle of the Atlantic; we could have been on a raft
loaded with exotic cargo, parrot eggs and pigeon blood rubies
rather than egg sandwiches and a bottle of wine
thick and pungent enough to be blood. It was hard to imagine
anyone here, not him shucking his shirt onto the deck,
nor ancient sailors or drug dealers in their bullet-boats.
Bridget Menasche, “Claudine Goes Sailing With A Man Who Hates The Hamptons” (PANK, Jan. 15)
a huge amount of fire to see much.
Daniel D’Angelo, “The End of the Sound of Waves (Alice Blue Review, Jan. 29)
MERCEDES S SERIES COUPE 2012
I SEE THIS SHIT ON BUSHWICK AVE; NOTICE THE V12(?) ENGINE DECAL AND HOW FUCKING SMOOTH IT HOVERS AT THE CURB BELOW THE OLD GREYSTONES NEAR MYRTLE. IS IT A DRUG THING OR JUST A BAVARIAN STEEL LOVER, WHO WENT ALL IN? WHO KNOWS? WHO CARES? – IT’S A HEAVY PUSHED-OUT RIDE. YOU IMAGINE THE STREETLIGHTS BOUNCING OFF THE BUBBLE GLASS EVEN WHEN IT’S STANDING STILL.
CHRYSLER 300 2006-2014 (Above)
EVERY DAMN MODEL YEAR THIS ONE GETS MORE LEGIT. PEOPLE LOVE THIS CAR FOR IT’S BULK, I GUESS. THE WHOLE THING LOOKS HEAVY, SERIOUS, AND A LITTLE BIT BAT MOBILE. YOU SEE EM WITH THE MATTE BLACK RIMS. YOU SEE EM WITH THE AFTERMARKET BENTLY GRILL. THEY ROLL REAL SLOW AND PARK REAL NICE. JOHN VARVATOS EDITION WHO? I GUESS PEOPLE ROLL THROUGH IN THE DODGE VERSION OF THIS, THE CHARGER, BUT IT’S NOT REALLY MY PREFERENCE AND SEEMS WAY WAY LESS EMPIRE STATE OF MIND.
Last nighttime, while trying to figure out if it’d be more appropriate to eat chocolate chip pancakes or cocoa pebbles for supper, my teddy bear Kmart sort of suddenly mentioned that there was a fair amount of occurrences in literature and perhaps I should tell of some of them.
On Sunday, Stephanie Berger will hold her first Poetry Brothel of the fall season. It’s at 102 Norfolk Street, starting at 8pm. The charming Irish boy editor of New Yorker Poetry, Paul Muldoon, will be there.
Yesterday, Carina Finn, for the first time in a rather long time, posted on her Tumblr, TH@SBRATTY. Her topic was the poetic life. “My life felt poetic only in the sense that hurt was the constant, and sadness, and want,” reveals Carina. “Not that I have been sad for forever, no one is, not even Hamlet, or Emily Dickinson.” Maybe so, but as long as they were on earth they were probably sad, as this place is filled with lunkheads who stare at screens 24/7/365.
Someone who is speaking about sadness as well is artist Bunny Rogers, who recently declared: “My depression is my commitment to drama. Viewing life as theatre creates a detachment that allows me to process an otherwise crushing environment of extremes.”
Though it is fall now, obviously, it used to be summer, and though summer is vulgar, this summer a relatable collection of poems and stories was published, meaning Gabby Bess’s Alone with Other People. This, too, is sad. One story is about a girl who “constructed herself as the modern tragic figure who would sacrifice herself for whatever.”
Unquestionably, the world is an utterly awful place, and it needs to go away fast.
Are you excited for Berl’s Poetry Book Shop’s new permanent location in DUMBO? I am. Poetry trivia and book art exhibitions: yes. Contrary* to all the chemical hazing and missile rattling, it feels like there is a nice breeze of new poetry-heavy bookstores opening all over (see: So & So Books in North Carolina). Plus I’ve heard about people starting their own Mellow Pages style small press libraries in Oakland and Austin, and Vouched has a new San Francisco wing, with an Austin wing coming soon, I think. Where else? Let’s make a Lonely Planet Cool New Book Places in the comments.
*(I know, I know)
Some things I’ve recently learned that it might benefit you to know:
1.) Did you know that, after Bruce Lee died, there was a cottage industry of films “starring” the recently-late martial arts star? I didn’t, but they exist (and are sometimes called “Bruceploitation“). For instance, witness The Dragon Lives Again, aka Deadly Hands of Kung Fu, aka 李三腳威震地獄門 (1977), the entirety of which is currently up at YouTube watch it quickly:
In it, according to le Wikipedia,
The deceased Lee meets a number of pop-culture icons, including Dracula, James Bond, Zatoichi, Clint Eastwood, The Godfather, Laurel and Hardy, The Exorcist, and even 1970s soft-porn character Emmanuelle.
Since it’s more or less exactly half-way through the year, I thought I’d get a head-start on my normally year-end reading roundup & post the first half now, because this results in far less work for me at the end of the year. I can’t tell if I’ve been more or less insane than normal with my reading habits this year. I can never really tell. Anyway, here we go, here’s what I read from January through June:
01 – Twentieth Century French Avant-Garde Poetry, 1907-1990 – Virginia La Charité
Nice over-view of the major movers & shakers associated with poetry in France throughout the 20th century. While I’m still insistently anti-Surrealist (despite my utter obsession with more than a handful of dissident surrealists), I’m not entirely ideologically opposed to the authors insistence that it is most likely Surrealism which charted the entire course of the 20th century’s poetics.
I picked this up to read primarily because it has a section on the poetry that came out of the Tel Quel group, but was also pleased to discover an entire section dedicated to the “neo-formalists”–a name I’m not quite on board with, but I suppose it works–a group of poets from the 70s & 80s including Anne-Marie Albiach & Claude Royet-Journoud. Being obsessed with these poets, their écriture, I’ve been wanting to read a critical appraisal of their work for a while and was more than satisfied to be able to do that here.
02 – Serie D’Ecriture No. 4 – ed. Rosmarie Waldrop
A spectacular collection of French poetry–mostly work that hasn’t popped up anywhere else, including to my particular excitement a section from Danielle Collobert’s first book, Muerte, & also the entirity of Anne-Marie Albiach’s “WORK VERTICAL AND BLANK.” Exciting enough to re-integrate my renewed insistence upon the work of these poets.
03 – Tagged: Variations on a Theme – Kevin Killian
Kevin’s just the sweetest! Also, my butt is in this book so maybe I’m biased, but it’s a very lovingly assembled collection of naked male people posing with a Raymond Pettibon drawing. Halpern’s essay is interesting, though ultimately perhaps a strange beginning, although it is very smart.
04 – Eric Orr: A Twenty-Year Survey – Thomas McEvilley & Eric Orr
Eric Orr is a revelation. Fitting the perfect lineage of my interest in art, between Yves Klein, James Lee Byars, Terry Fox, John Duncan & even Gregor Schneider in some capacity, Orr is my favorite new person to be excited about. I encountered his painting “Blood Shadow” at the MOCA in LA and immediately fell in love–the piece pulled me to it. I hadn’t heard of Orr so I snapped a photo of the placard and was astounding to find, upon returning home, that there is little to no information on Orr on the internet!
This book, which I got from the library (though would desperately like to own) is amazing, more of an artist book than a catalog, though it does have full-color plates of some of Orr’s work. Orr is magick, working magic, and this is a great little book.
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We get a ton of books for review consideration on my desk for The Volta. Even though we tried to run weekly reviews for a year, that still didn’t seem to touch anything but the best stuff off the top. So, I’ve pulled out a dozen or so that I’m really excited to read this summer:
Rae Armantrout’s Just Saying is the follow-up to the follow-up to Armantrout’s Pulitzer Prize winner, so I won’t be surprised if it gets less attention than Versed or Money Shot—though it shouldn’t. I’m halfway through it, and it’s just as good:
A woman writes to ask
how far along I am
with my apocalypse
What will you give me
if I tell?
June 24th, 2013 / 2:53 pm
It’s been summer for a bit now, and it’s as awful as ever. The heat, the too-much-human-skin-showing, and all the rest of it is as deplorable as one would suppose. But a non-unpleasing part of summer is that it’s a time for cute boys to do cute things, like baseball players can wear their color-coordinated uniforms and hit home runs and throw strikes, and Charlie Sheen and the boy who played Rex Manning can drive to LA and murder a handful of white people, or Sebastian can travel to Europe with Elizabeth Taylor and cause so much mischief that he’s murdered (though not by Charlie Sheen and the boy who played Rex Manning).
Seeing how all of this is so, it seems somewhat salient to take stock of the cutest boys in all aspects of literature, from mainstream to indie lit to alt lit to theorists… and all that.
The 10th cutest boy in literature is: Lee Edelman
Most of the marvelous theroists are either girls, like Sianne Ngai, or girl-boys, like Judith Butler and Judith “Jack” Halberstam. Lee, though, is a boy-boy, and the only theorist on the list. He is the head of the English department at Tufts and looks kind of like a slick movie producer. More so, he’s the author of No Future, a queer theory composition that counters the non-threatening, average ambitions of Frank Bruni, GLADD, Dan Savage, &c. Lee doesn’t think gays boys should spend their time trumpeting Obama. He believes that they should go around and be violent, like Alex in Clockwork Orange.
The 9th cutest boy in literature is: Steve Roggenbuck
About a year ago, the Bambi Muse baby despots composed an authoritative, unquestionable assessment of the Alt Lit milieu. The girls of Alt Lit are admirably moody and cutting while the boys are discouragingly new-agey and feeling-y. One of the few exceptions is Steve Roggenbuck. His curly hair is so very touchable, his buck teeth are rather charming, and his videos are bellicose and cacophonous. Steve would make an excellent dictator.
The 8th cutest boy in literature is: David Trinidad
This boy wallows in the world of Bette Davis, Liz Taylor, Barbies, and lots of other ultra refined, utterly pretty entities. Gossip, sensationalism, melodrama — I aspire to these things too. We also adore the same dramatic poetesses: Emily D., Sylvia, Ann. David merged the latter’s poem, “Food,” with biographical excerpts about the enormous amount of edibles that entered Liz’s tummy. Unlike some people, David sees the similarities between Hollywood and poetry. With DA Powell (who’s absent from this list, though his poetry is fine) he composed By Myself, a prose poem autobiography compiled of stars’ — Gertrude Stein, Kathie Lee Gifford, &c — autobiographies. For a date, David and I could watch Whatever Happened to Baby Jane a million times and then read Tender Buttons for a bit.
The 7th cutest boy in literature is: Jame Yea
I saw this boy read (so did Baby Jong-il) soon after Hurricane Betty Friedan (or as Matzoh Ball Bloomberg calls it, “Hurricane Sandy”). Um… James looked considerably cute in a hoodie, black jeans, and a Daniel Johnston t-shirt. If James and I were to go on a date, it wouldn’t be one the same day as my date with David (as that would be rude), and we’d probably listen to “Walking the Cow.”
The 6th cutest boy in literature is: Blake Butler
The books, blog posts, &c of Blake unveil a decidedly discontent attitude. It’s like he’s trying to blow something up with his words. There’s lots of violence, diseases, and little to no sleep. As Lil Wayne says, “Woman of my dreams / I don’t sleep so I can’t find her.” Who needs girls? Blake probably does, but still… After hearing Blake’s feverish and forceful reading at Notre Dame, it became clear that, like Steve, Blake would make a capable dictator. More people would probably die under Blake’s rule than Steve’s, and that’s fine by me, though I’d prefer it if most of those causalities were white race types.
A concluding remark regarding Blake: he kind of looks like Kurt Cobain.
The 5th cutest boy in literature is: Jonathan Safran Foer
Though he resides in Brooklyn and teaches at NYU, Jonathan’s books take precedent over his ungainly Dan Humphrey attributes. One book is about the Holocaust and Michael Jackson, the next one is about a boy’s adamant love for his daddy. They are thoughtful, meaningful, and clear. Eating Animals isn’t commendably constructed, but the thesis is: systemically torture and kill humans, not the foundation for Disney movies (i.e animals).
Though, really, if Jonathan and I were to be boyfriend and boyfriend, he’d have to move away from Brooklyn.
The 4th cutest boy in literature is: Matvei Yankelevich
Some have whispered in my ear that UDP doesn’t care about me too much. But I care about them! I especially care about the primary editor boy, Matvei. With his Eastern European origins, delightfully doughy mug, and elegant specs, Matevei has the trappings of a terrific boyfriend. While we take Coca-Cola we could discuss Poland, Czechoslovakia, and all those former USSR states where violence and destruction have been allotted a starring role.
If your boyfriend is involved with a press, then you want that press to be estimable, and Matvei’s is. He publishes cute chapbooks by German boys who rhapsodize about rhinos and mouths as well as Julian Brolaski’s super saccharine Gowanus Atropolis: “googline tee he / silly faggot / dicks are for chicks.”
The 3rd cutest boy in literature is: Paul Muldoon
Paul has a mountain of curly hair, an antique, Irish-pub demeanor, and poems about Hitler and Christianity. If he were alive when James Joyce or WB Yeats (or maybe even Oscar Wilde) were alive he’d probably be friends with them, which is extensively enticing, as I am very compelled by the cannon. Also, he teaches at Princeton.
The 2nd cutest boy in literature is: Paul Legault
… can’t even… “Do flowers go to heaven when they die? / I guess probably. By flowers, I mean me.”…. ugh….
The 1st cutest boy in literature is: Spencer Madsen
Maybe the main reason why he triumphed Paul is because he looks like Paul Ryan. Also, his eyes are like bullets, and bullets are bully and so are guns.
Much like Mary Tudor and Anne Boleyn, summer and I are the antithesis of amicable. I hate heat. I heat sweat. I hate seeing human skin. I hate swimming. I hate sunlight. All of these tasteless traits are allotted a starring role in June, July, and August. Already, I want winter to come. The cold, the frost, snow, booties, mittens! Winter is sort of more elaborate than summer. While I never want to be a part of this world, (and by this world, I mean you-know-whos with you-know-what values), I really don’t want to be a part of this world in the summer. Since Mary refused to recognize Anne as England’s queen, I’ll refuse to recognize summer. Instead, I’ll read books (one, obviously, should always read books, since it’s one of the utmost Christian activities), including:
FunSize&BiteSize by Ji Yoon Lee: She resembles a cute tiny kitty who everyone wants to pet, only no one actually does, since nearly everyone is aware that if you attempt to do such a thing then she’ll bite you, and while that bite may not hurt much at first, eventually it’ll turn into a disease much more fatal than the kind gay people get. A preview: “Fetishize my misery / Not white American male’s.”
I Will Never Be Beautiful Enough to Make Us Beautiful Together by Mira Gonzalez: She seems sad, depressed, moody, discontent, and all the other things that most anyone with any perceptiveness would be right now. She also has a rather captivating name. “Mira” is light and delicate, like a fine piece of fabric. “Gonzalez” is also the last name of the former Texas Ranger baseball player Juan Gonzalez. This All Star constantly hit home runs, which are quite dramatic. Preview: “i feel like 400 dead jellyfish in the middle of a freeway.”
Lemonworld & Other Poems by Carina Finn: She’s basically a modern princess (one of the poems in this book is titled “modern princess”) who has come home for winter break to visit her mommy and sigh flippantly and eloquently at the whole entire universe. Carina likes yummy food (browniemix), fashion accessories, like ribbons, violence (“peace is a field of graves”), and the types of things Gertrude Stein would like — “16-year-old girl looking to buy a moustache.” To spotlight her forceful mercuriality, Carina includes plentiful exclamation points, one of the most comely types of punctuation marks ever. A couplet: “don’t trump the mode / there’s a rabbit in the marshmallow!”
Pageant Rhymes by JonBenét Ramsey: Last summer, the cute Tumblr literary corporation Bambi Muse published Baby Adolf’s Nursery Rhymes to much acclaim. Even presumed adversities (presumed, due to a certain trait) were laudatory. “Nothing to complain ’bout here,” was Saul Bellow’s hearty response. This summer, Bambi Muse will publish a collection of couplets by the sensational JonBenét. The verse touches on yummy victuals, fashion, and other things. A couplet: “Cheddar broccoli soup is most profound. / I was killed in my pink Barbie nightgown.”
Taipei by Tao Lin: This boy, though a straight boy, seems like a manipulative psychopath, so I’m invariably curious about his compositions.
TwERk by Latasha N. Nevada Diggs: A little bit ago, Joyelle McSweeney posted about these poems. From what I’ve read, they contain the qualities of a circus as well as a loud, unmitigated drag ball. Even the author’s name teems with theatrics. Nevada is home to quite a few cinematic creations, like Casino (a mafia movie) and Liberace (a boy first and now a movie starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon).
The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank: I’ve read this book bountifully, obviously, and I will continue to do so during the summer months (and I’m not talking about the Sex and the City version either!) Caitlin Flanagan says Anne is an “imp, a brat, a narcissist, a sulker, a manipulator, a manic talker, a flirt, and a person who insisted on the rapt attention of everyone around her at one moment, and on the pure privacy that all misunderstood people demand at the next. ”
Petocha/Chiflada by Monica McClure: The sharply chic Mona is publishing a bratty chapbook with wtfislongsdrugspress, a new press founded by Carina and Stephanie Berger, the princess of The Poetry Festival. It’s invariably estimable when tiny, pretty girls work together on a particular project, it’s kind of like an episode of The Babysitters Club.
The Bible: A ton of people are on a path to hell, but by perusing this text (not just for summer, either) they just may be able to take the trail to heaven, where Edie Sedgwick and Edith Sitwell convene tea parties.
I think everyone should be as concerned about their art as Lily and her mommy are:
The organizers of The Hunger Games academic conference have released a list of their panels.
This is an insightful song about girls.
I Can’t Believe 2012 Is Over // I Can’t Believe I’ve Lived In California for a Calendar Year // The Critical Nature of Commentary vs Experience PART TWO
Sorry that it’s now a week into February of 2013 and I’ve just now finally finished my 2012 round-up, kinda takes a lot. Some books get more attention than others, but hey that’s the way the cookie crumbles. Please enjoy.
66 – If You Won’t Read, Then Why Should I Write? – Jarett Kobek
The repeated insistence that find me tampering my potentiality of reviewing Jarett’s books in any real capacity are always tempered by him being my “bestie” or whatever. I mean, though really, this book had me thinking a lot, and most of that “thinking a lot” comes out in the interview I did with Jarett.
67 – Dodecahedron – Tom Mallin
This is one of those weird 70s novels with a weird & awesome covers that I almost always love that I discovered via GoodReads one night and immediately requested from Link+ (SFPL’s version of “inter-library loan”). It’s… good, and I feel like (though this feeling comes mostly from the intensive aka “long” reviews of said book on goodreads…) there is probably more to it than I got on my initial surface reading, but there wasn’t enough to make me really excited. It’s a short book, and it’s almost literally a nunsploitation film for the first two chapters but then it takes some weird turns into a static martyrdom and one can’t figure out why, because the mystical nature of the protagonist as expressed in the introduction (first chapter? I don’t remember) placates the characterization more as symbol than “psychological figurehead.” Still, much more exciting than anything that’s come out in contemporary times, so I shouldn’t complain too much. Libraries rule, and this is an example of why.
68 – The Thirst for Annihilation – Nick Land
I decided that I urgently needed to re-read this book after finishing the essay collection Fanged Noumena. I had read this before, three years ago probably, and all I remembered was that the book completely blew my fucking mind and that it took me almost 4 months to get through the second chapter, which gets heavy into hard sciences and thermodynamics and was basically impenetrable. This time through I found the text as a whole far more accessible (I think I was far more ‘primed’ for this kind of reading at this point), and–barring the catastrophe of having to dry the book out and praying it wasn’t water damaged (refer to my Two by Duras commentary in the first part of this list)–I tore through the book in something like 5 days. Having read an excessive amount of both Bataille & secondary readings of Bataille, I say without qualifying the statement that Land understands Bataille more than any one else who has ever written about him, he understands that to actually write about Bataille is to inherently embrace failure, that to adapt Bataille to one’s own driving goal is to reduce Bataille to something disposable, and to try to form into Bataille is to refuse the idea that Bataille took so much time to develop, the idea of an entirely heterogeneous oeuvre. Beyond that, Land himself is a compulsively readable genius who is, as I’ve mentioned before, probably the only critical thinker other than Bataille himself that I want to read over and over again. The ideas in here are mind-blowing and amazing.
69 – Great Expectations – Kathy Acker
I’ve basically tried to read one or two Acker books a year since I started reading her. At first, when I discovered Acker, I really found her theory more enjoyable than her fiction, but the more I continue to read her fiction, the more I realize how fantastic it is, despite the fact that in certain ways each novel is a specific failed experiment. That doesn’t matter though, what matters is that Acker is a genius and sometimes the best way to demonstrate genius is to prove you’re not perfect, because if you’re perfect you’re not a genius, you’re just artificial. Acker’s fragmented narrative style works perfectly here, and there’s so much beautiful language that haunts the story of the DESIRE IS MASTER AND LORD, timelessness versus time. I am only an obsession.
70 – Purgatorio – Raul Zurita
Second reading of this, though really I had forgotten so much of it I was convinced that the version I was reading (the older edition than the more recent printing) was actually different from the recent one. Still totally devastating, still totally amazing and heavy. Seems like Zurita is one of those poets who should be far more lauded than he actually is. But then again, poetry is a hardly lauded genre in any capacity, isn’t it. Regardless, this is an amazingly moving book, & the heterogeneity of forms is a great way to move through a poetic space, really.
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I Can’t Believe 2012 Is Over // I Can’t Believe I’ve Lived In California for a Calendar Year // The Critical Nature of Commentary vs Experience PART ONE
I read some books last year. I’d like to tell you about them. Here’s everything I read in 2012, part one.
01 – The Wild Boys – William Burroughs
I’ve been reading Burroughs on and off since I was a Freshman in High School–& now, after all these years, I’ve finally read this one, and it’s firmly secured itself in the place of “second personal-fave of Burroughs.” (second only to Cities of the Red Night). Sontag considers the techniques in this extensively throughout her notebooks, and that’s one of the more interesting things; it’s formally very interesting and doesn’t go on&on&on like, for instance, Place of Dead Roads.
02 – Architecture & Disjunction – Bernard Tschumi
I encountered this through an essay in the book Surrealism and Architecture (ed. Thomas Mical)–and then immediately requested it from the library and devoured it. It borrows extensively from Bataille in its dissident conception of architecture, how architecture works, it’s affect, and more. It’s fucking perfect.
03 – If I Falter at the Gallows – Edward Mullany
I bought a copy of this from Edward after doing a reading with him. I love his poetry; his twitter has always struck me as this bizarre between space of humor and despair, a truly abject horror at times, and the poetry, of course, is even beyond the tweets in its progression. There’s something very dark and special about this book, and Mullany’s readings are also very intense.
04 – Artaud Anthology – Antonin Artaud
Being in San Francisco without the bulk of my book collection I was craving Artaud, and this was the only thing immediately available from the local library branch, and I actually hadn’t read this volume before (I’ve mostly worked through full books & the Calder anthologies) so voila. It’s great, of course, and I think it makes sense that this volume would be enough to entice a generation of Artaud readers when nothing else was available.
05 – Atta – Jarett Kobek
One of my goals I made around the new year was to attend more culture event things, readings included, since that was the reason I had moved to California in the first place. So, I hadn’t read Atta, but I knew I liked Semiotext(e) as a press & had enjoyed the event at City Lights for William E. Jones, so I went to Jarett’s event. I enjoyed how sort of crazy his presentation was, so I freinded & messaged him on facebook & we became drinking buddies (we live in the same neighborhood). So what’s weird about this book is that I became really good friends with the author about half way through reading it. So I feel like it perhaps shades my involvement with the book proper; which is not necessarily a bad thing since the one thing I do know is that it’s a great book. It does some amazing things & it’s simultaneously funny & solemn–as the subject matter would generally, of course, insist.
Merry Christmas Eve! For your holiday reading pleasure, here’s a round-up of some of my favorite book reviews posted on HTMLGIANT in 2012, in reverse chronological order of post date:
HIS STACK OF PALIMPSESTS
Tyler Flynn Dorholt on The Recognitions by William Gaddis
This is a monster review for a monster book. Maybe one of the best pieces of writing you’ll read on The Recognitions.
25 Points: Strange Cowboy
Joseph Riippi on Strange Cowboy: Lincoln Dahl Turns Five by Sam Michel
25 Points: The Book of Monelle
Janice Lee on The Book of Monelle by Marcel Schwob; Trans. by Kit Schluter
I know. This is my review. Really I’m including it in this list because I’m not doing a Top Books of 2012 list or anything like that this year, and instead, I’m recommending you just this one book. Seriously. I’m recommending just one book to all of you this year, and it is this one, so check it out.
Dreams for Kurosawa/Raul Zurita (trans. Anna Deeny)/A View
Carrie Lorig on Dreams for Kurosawa by Raúl Zurita; Translated by Anna Deeny
It’s really beautiful to see the wear of a well-read book. Carrie’s personal review helps to portray the brilliance of Raul Zurita’s poetry.
Needing Don DeLillo
Grant Maierhofer on the work of Don DeLillo
December 24th, 2012 / 12:00 pm
A couple of days ago, the latest installment of Action, Yes made its debut.
For those of you who aren’t already aware, Action, Yes is the online journal wing of Action Books, a pugnacious press operated by Johannes Göransson and Joyelle McSweeney, who happens to be the reigning brunette bombshell of 21st-century poetry.
Also, Action Books has published one of the most outrageous collections of poetry ever — a collection that manipulates language to enchanting extremes. This bold book is entitled Maxium Gaga. Its author is Lara Glenum.
Back to this edition of Action, Yes… it has many notable participants. I’m going to supply some of them with outfits.
First, I’ll dress the editors, Carina Finn and Jiyoon Lee.
Episode one, in Erik Stinson’s series “Boners of the Free World”
1. Nu Stallion: A feeling of elation near the subway exit of the Morgan L station. This is the night beginning to hasten. The wind in the Oak at a nearby park pushes a feeling. The party is over here. The party is over there. Women pass me heading to the train in the opposite direction.
B.J. Hollars wrote a really moving essay about his friendship with Ray Bradbury.
There’s a new poet laureate and she’s not super old! Her name is Natasha Trethewey.
Here’s an interview with Ben Lerner over at The New Yorker.
If you’ve never been to BEA, Emily Gould went for you and wrote about it. If that doesn’t whet your BEA appetite, there are more accounts of the expo here. Edward Champion’s write up of the African American literary marketplace panel is interesting.
Uh oh! Some Christians do not approve of Fifty Shades of Grey and one woman stopped reading fiction because God told her to. Don’t worry, though. Dr. Ruth totally endorses Fifty Shades of Grey.
Once more, evidence that it is inadvisable to respond to negative reviews.
As an aside, do you guys understand Pinterest? Everyone is signing up! I have an account. I have pinned one item. I am intrigued by the site but know I will never really use it. How very Web 3.0.
If you love Patricia Highsmith, and you should, the catalog of the Patricia Highsmith Papers are online.
I am still fascinated by The Rise of the NBA Nerd.
1. Last year, I watched a documentary called I Am Comic which featured comedians talking about the challenges and joys of performing comedy. I love watching stand up so I watch almost anything involving behind the scenes stuff about comedy. It was really interesting to see just how demanding and relentless it is to perform comedy. The kind of drive a comedian needs to succeed is intense. They are relentless in marketing themselves and completely shameless about it and I found that combination inspiring. Writers could benefit from that energy.
I tend to believe writers have to be the most vigorous advocates for themselves. If you won’t fight for your writing, who will? Closed mouths don’t get fed. I love that saying because it is so true. If you want an opportunity, ask for it. A lot of people believe there’s some kind of magical formula for certain writing and award opportunities but most of the time, it is writers who have chosen to advocate for themselves who benefit from these opportunities. Every day, I hear a writer lament about how uncomfortable they are with sharing something as innocuous as a link to their work. Relax. Share the damn link. If you write and submit your work to a magazine and consent to have that work published, you want to be read. Accept that you want to be read. Make peace with yourself. There is no shame in it. There is a difference between self-promotion and being obnoxious. In the time you Tweeted about feeling bad about sharing a link you could totally just share the link.