emoji collages w Matisse

Posted by @ 2:52 pm on January 12th, 2017 (Permalink)

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Stefania doesn’t really use the internet but still received a package from Amazon Prime. What’s the point, she thinks, in opening the box when I can use it as a table. Plus, I’m so tired, from what, I don’t know. Let’s see, where did I put my shoes. What are all these mangos doing here and what is this new trash can? The moon looks insane outside and it’s not even full. I don’t know where this vase came from. I must be losing my mind.

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Clarice can only handle art books. Right now she’s looking at Dorothy Ianonne (Siglio Press) and checking to see how many likes her photo got. She posted “Air de Paris” because it’s a controversial one involving a blow job that Instagram won’t notice because it’s too abstract. She doesn’t even really like hot dogs or donuts. She just put them there. And the white brand-less tennis shoes? Those are abstract too which makes me wonder where she’s going with that. READ MORE >

Rachel and Ben (episode 5)

Posted by @ 10:47 am on January 10th, 2017 (Permalink)

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Radiohead’s 25 Best Unreleased Tracks of 2016

Posted by @ 11:37 am on January 9th, 2017 (Permalink)

A Beehive Is Not a Little City (Made Out of Honey)

Tremendous Ache in My Fingers

Are You Reasonable?

In Your Motor Car (Flash Your Lights at Satellites)

Klimt in the Country

Never Break, Day

Booze Cruise

Fellas Remind Yr Mothers

Cantankerous Oval Godhead

Green.Pleasant

Euphoric and He Looks Like a Baby

Cheeseburgers in Paradise

At Loggerheads w/Reptilians

Pants (Refrain)

Murphy and the Solar Bowler Hat

Center of the Earth (Everybody Dances in the)

This Colossal Waste of Time

Preview of a Great Massacre

O Shit I Missed the Brexit Vote

Fan Theory about the Karma Police Video Involving Edward Snowden

Casual Friday (Hazmat Suit)

Something Something Hamilton I Guess

Fodor’s Guide to Antarctica

Anvil Meets Head

Guh

Strixologist as Examining Magistrate of Nature: Notes on Juliet Escoria’s Witch Hunt

Posted by @ 3:26 pm on January 6th, 2017 (Permalink)


I.

I’ll let you fuck me

if you make it quick.

Like mechanized.

Like we both come

and that’s it.

No funny business

in between.

Those four sentences uttered by the narrator of Juliet Escoria’s new book, Witch Hunt, published recently by the critically acclaimed indie press Lazy Fascist, demonstrate the precise composition, emotional wreckage, and elegance of language on display in this powerful text.

The passive first line compared to the assertive lines directly following illustrate the text’s general ethos: deadpan checked-out ghosts of people bumping into one another’s atmosphere where desire forms and floats without anchor. Still, these ghost people transform drug addiction, mental illness, suicide, domestic abuse, political correctness, formal experimentation, epistolary, haiku, conceptual, confessional, visual expectations.

So many ghost people exist inside her sentences. So many performances. From the opening section of the ten-part long poem titled “True Romance,” where the above quote originates, the speaking subject comes into focus so quickly and so resonantly, readers sometimes mistakenly presume to understand Escoria’s speaker way too prematurely. It’s true we come to know a person in the pages of Witch Hunt, but through the course of the book the speaker remains unflinchingly unpredictable. What she does one moment doesn’t forecast what she’ll do in another. To assume to know the narrator, to expect to know what she will say or do or think at any moment proves preposterous. Since this passage appears late in the book, readers who start at the beginning and move forward in the standard reading fashion (as opposed to skipping around) already know they don’t know what’s coming next; what distinguishes this particular moment in the book is the role it plays in the overall structure of Escoria’s fragmented twenty-first century confessional romance narrative. It begins the descent to terminus.

Hopefully the following notes convincingly attest to the raw elegance of Witch Hunt, while nevertheless ultimately revealing my strong admiration for it. As we enter the darkness of 2017 — don’t forget, those Game of Thrones people kept warning us the winter was coming! — let us not forgot this powerful 2016 release. Escoria taps into something vital about our current cultural condition and engages with it in provocative ways. So here’re my thoughts on why I highly recommend it:

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plzplztalk2me: Eve Ewing

Posted by @ 11:53 am on January 5th, 2017 (Permalink)

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Hi! Welcome to plzplztalk2me, a semi-regular feature in which I’ll be talking to people who want to talk to me about things they want to talk about.

The first person I talked to is Eve Ewing. Ewing is a poet, essayist, scholar, and visual artist from Chicago. Her work has appeared in venues such as Poetry, The New Yorker, The New Republic, The Atlantic, The Nation, Union Station, the anthology The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop,  and many other outlets. Her first collection of poetry, essays, and visual art, Electric Arches, is forthcoming from Haymarket Books in fall 2017.

We chatted just a few days after the election, so we talk a lot about that, as well as art, hero-worship, and the Harold Washington Library.

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Memoir: A Barry Hannah remembrance by Po Hannah

Posted by @ 11:47 am on January 4th, 2017 (Permalink)

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Without saying too much, because you’re not here to read about or from me, Barry Hannah has been the biggest writing influence in my life. I don’t write about motorcycles or The South or try to foolishly parrot his sentences. The most important thing he taught me was bravery. Be honest. Be brave. Going into 2017, I will try to keep those reminders close.

At the turn of the year, I remembered this beautiful piece written by his son, Barry ‘Po’ Hannah, shortly after Barry Hannah passed in 2010. It was originally published in the cutting-edge literary journal, Unsaid Magazine. David McLendon (Unsaid‘s major architect) and Po allowed us to republish it here.

“I don’t write under the ghost of Faulkner. I live in the same town and find his life and work inspiring, but that’s it. I have a motorcycle and tool along the country lanes. I travel at my own speed.” – Barry Hannah

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Every Book I Read in 2016

Posted by @ 11:46 am on January 2nd, 2017 (Permalink)

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Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner. (Jan. 19-26)
A lot of things were happening, and I thought I was in love, maybe, ultimately, wrongly, but I was distracted. And I was devastated, and I decided to challenge myself with a difficult read. I hadn’t been reading much by the end of 2015. Bad things were happening. The light in my room was affected by a red lampshade from a previous tenant, and I lived in Bushwick, and I often raced to get through my allotted daily seventy or so pages so I could go to sleep. I wasn’t talking to anyone, and I had no one to talk to about the book. The book is about history and the removal of the experience from the event. I felt like I missed a decent amount, that there seriously lacked the emotion of Faulkner’s other great works, but I enjoyed the places and the desperate, pre-suicidal voice of Quentin, who felt like an old friend, from a time when I had been more excited about literature and life. I was happy when the novel was over.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (late Dec. 2015-Jan. 31)
I started this book sometime in December (but it was not the first book I read in 2016), and found it pedantic and boring. But after finishing Absalom!, driven (not in a car, but figuratively) to my parents’ house, I felt I had no excuse but to push through it. I hate letting a so-called classic defeat me, or get past me, and I hope to one day lay that feeling to rest. If people like this book so much it must be for a reason; there are some nice sentences, but people probably just like it because it’s like a movie, and I read it by the fire, while my parents watched TV. I read the majority in two sittings that way. Sometime earlier, however, a woman approached me, at my cashiering job at the food coop, and told me I was disgusting for reading Lolita in public. I told her I wasn’t.

The Tennis Handsome by Barry Hannah (Feb. 1-2)
I had fallen into some weird freelance things after quitting my salaried, union-benefitted, university library position the previous summer. I had reason to join the public library and was ripping video of a fashion label to media cards, testing that they worked and mailing them out all over the world at a highly inflated rate. It was nice to make money off so little work, but the work soon went away, and I had to find more. Hannah’s fourth novel is an amalgam and extension of several stories from his hit collection Airships, and is mostly about sex, like a lot of his early work. It was a pleasant read for the most part, even making me laugh, and then I was in Massachusetts. I didn’t have a car and was out of touch with most of my old friends. I didn’t have much reason to go back to Brooklyn.

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“Surely no reader will wish me to invent anything further” : On B.S. Johnson’s Christie Malry’s Own Double-Entry

Posted by @ 12:10 pm on December 28th, 2016 (Permalink)

B.S. Johnson

I’m not sure you could come up with a better name for an experimental writer than B.S. Johnson: it sounds like someone both regal and a joke, which for the English writer of this name, who walked a strange line between outsider artist and one at the cusp of avant-garde, it could hardly be more fitting. B.S. Johnson was decades ahead of his own time, both in the fuck-all way he approached the act of narrative, and the very outline of his life. His was a career that would not begin to find its traction until long after his death, and for my money, still not to the level he deserves.

From the beginning, it was clear that Johnson wanted little to do with the bullshit tropes of how a book is known to work. Raised by a working class family and spending his early years working as a bank clerk, he eventually taught himself Latin and left the workforce for college, then began writing as an assault on what he critically referred to as the “neo-Dickensian” output of those who would become his literary peers. READ MORE >

A List of Especially Memorable Fiction and Nonfiction from 2016

Posted by @ 1:16 pm on December 27th, 2016 (Permalink)

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For the past few years I’ve been keeping a list of all the books I’ve read. This simple trick has resulted in a marked increase in the amount of reading I do. I group the book titles by month; when the date is getting to be in the mid- to late 20s and I check my list to find that I’ve only listed one or two books so far, which is often the case, the next several days will include harried bouts of late-night reading intended to prevent myself from later feeling ashamed when I would hope to be proudly perusing my list.

Highlights from this year’s list follow the jump. READ MORE >

Rachel and Ben (episode 4)

Posted by @ 3:22 pm on December 22nd, 2016 (Permalink)

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