I Like __ A Lot
blurbing every story in the new New York Tyrant
I wrote a blurb for every story in the new issue of New York Tyrant.
Luke Goebel guest-edited this issue and dedicated it to his brother, who passed away last year. The quality of the writing in here is killer. Sometimes when a journal has so many big names it’s all b-sides. But everybody brought it. Also, most of these pieces contend in some way with the dual burdens of the physical body and family, so the issue as a whole feels like a unified fantasy of escape from a packed boiler room.
Also there is a release party this Friday at KGB Bar in NYC. There will be an open bar from 8-10 PM and no readings.
“Amber, Freckled” by Cooper Renner
Renner’s terse prose dissolve the notion of the fixed self in a surreal, genderless kitchen. Kill your family.
“Clyde Roy” by Brandon Hobson
Whose body is this? That is the question Clyde Roy and so many of us face. Readers who want out of themselves will identify with this story. Kill your family.
untitled drawing by Atticus Lish
On looseleaf paper, Lish portrays a baby who gives his mother more sexual pleasure than her husband. Kill your husband.
“END OF THE WORLD” by Gordon Lish
A meditation on lit mags, solicitation, time, attention span, storytelling, childhood and death. Fyi: the oppression of the present moment is probably your mother’s fault.
“The Metamorphosis” by Paula Bomer
This story of an ad man mysteriously bound to a bed—groaning, grunting, choking and vomiting—depicts the themes of the wife fatale, the burden of responsibility, spiritual illusion and surrender. If you find your husband tied to a bed, definitely let him stay like that.
“Chopsticks” by Mark Leidner
Leidner’s funny and multivalent sequence illustrates the potentiality of chopsticks in our most intimate, mundane and superheroic acts.
“Pachysandra” by Noy Holland
The mood of this text is everything-is-already-over-or-will-be-soon and from that mood blooms frozen lettuce, moldy soap, scraped fetus, cockroaches, bad men, stale jello, old age, snakes, green chili, chin hairs, dead dogs and America. This story is fucking magic.
untitled drawing by Atticus Lish
If you’re going to have sex with a shark BE CAREFUL!
“Noble Soldier” by Padgett Powell
“Noble Soldier” is a trip up the ass, into the intestines, through the voicebox and around the brain of a (likely Southern) military bro. You will learn to say “Who licked the red off’n YER candy?” This story is a study in how to vary sentence structures while maintaining a consistent narrative voice. Funny as hell and does not dispel any stereotypes.
“Kansas City, Missoula” by Gary Lutz
You get married, you fall through your wife, you fall through your lesbian sister, you fall through your lesbian sister’s girlfriend, your lesbian sister’s girlfriend knows you’re a man, what is a man, your wife falls through another man, you fall through the world, what is the world.
“As Those Who Know the Dead Will Do” by Pamela Ryder
The surface of this piece seems simple—desert, sky, father, daughter, hospital—but the space Ryder really inhabits is that existential duality of walking and dying. If you believe you have a one-up on your parents because you are probably going to die after them, don’t be too cocky. Considering the grand scheme of time and outer space, you are going to die so soon it’s like you are basically dying before your parents.
“What’s the Matter” by Sam Virzi
Existence is heavy in “What’s the Matter” and so is your beard and so is the thought that your girl is only having sex with you because she wants you to fix the lawn. If you’ve ever suspected you’re nothing more than food for worms, and that you are made out of noodles, you will dig this story. Kill your beard.
“The Elderly Daughter” by David McClendon
McClendon’s graceful prose traverse from the parts to the whole: the body of a woman, the body of a chicken, the church, the here and the everywhere else.
“The Sky Was Everywhere Like Water” by Robert Lopez
This story contends with the strangeness, and even violence, of ending up with the person we end up with. Through powerful, calculated language, Lopez evokes disconnection, failed alliance and misperception. Kill your wife if she asks you to do it. Also, I still owe Robert Lopez a pie and hopefully this blurb will work in lieu of the pie.
untitled drawing by Atticus Lish
If you could get a tatt on your scrotum what would you get? (I’d get a stallion head)
Black Mummies [ Part One ] by J.A. Tyler
My favorite J.A. Tyler stories are the ones that dwell in post-apocalyptic suburban darkness and utilize familial archetypes, biblical language and boyhood fantasy to create a new cracked onyx globe in which to dwell. This is one of those stories.
“4:30 AM” by Tao Lin
In addition to his gift for writing the self-conscious, the thinking-about-yourself-thinking, Tao Lin writes physical comedy really well. Here it appears as a character “preemptively moving his arms and hands defensively—against what seemed like a purposeless entity that unrea¬sonably desired his involvement…but probably appeared more like a confused hand-shaking.” Tao Lin is funny. I feel more self-conscious writing this blurb than any of the others.
“Muscular of the Seven Props” by Corey Zeller
Corey Zeller braids liquid memory, the female body and the roughness of loss into an assonant piece of breakup prose. Kill your memory.
“A Big Game” by Josiah Summerville
Basketball, vomit and comparing yourself to other people—Summerville reminds us what shame feels like (if we needed reminding) and that boys grapple with body image issues too.
(OKAY STARTING TO GET TIRED SO THESE NEXT ONES ARE GONNA BE SHORT)
“For the Fucking Day” by Catherine Foulkrod
A moral: men can be linear and clumsy but they are absolutely capable of love.
“Old Hildegarde Has Died” by Susan Froderberg
Domesticity is lame, doctors can’t be trusted, your soul-mate might be replaceable.
“Ankle Bracelets” by Amber Sparks
You can totally claim another person as your own, and do it in gorgeous language like Sparks does, but someday it will be in the past tense.
“The Ellens” by Rachel B. Glaser
1. Rachel B. Glaser is always the best. 2. Sometimes you have to split off from yourself and make a miniature you in order to cope with reality
“The Greater Indoors” by Zach Wentz
Every day we can find the body in a deeper state of ruin. Prophecy is real. Puke is hot. Destruction is sexy, at least in stories. Good story Zach, I dug this.
“Ice Water” by Houb Brown
I didn’t read this one yet but I’m going to. It is probably a tour de force. I’m calling it a tour de force in advance.
“Keeping Their Watch by Night” by Carrie Cooperider
I didn’t read this one yet but I’m going to. It is probably deft and rich without being sentimental or exhibitionistic. I’m calling it deft and rich without being sentimental or exhibitionistic.
Design by Adam Robinson
Robinson’s choice of font is a skillful homage to the decadence of ancient Rome suffused with the neo-punk ethos and aura of selectivity emblematic of the Tyrant. This font reveals threads of antiquity in a chaotic present, alluding to a universality of emotion behind the gchat generation. It engages both eyes.