I took a picture of Ellen Kennedy

Ellen Kennedy

Ellen Kennedy at Envoy Gallery, 9/28/08.

Monday / Author Spotlight & Web Hype / 8 Comments

Tao Lin’s 2nd Novel will be a Historical Memoir

Ok, yeah, not really, but at least the title will get some people to think so, as Tao Lin announced a couple days ago on his blog that his second novel will be titled RICHARD YATES, author of REVOLUTIONARY ROAD and THE EASTER PARADE, among other things. The novel, scheduled out from Melville House in the Fall of ’09, features as two of its main characters, Haley Joel Osment and Dakota Fanning.

Tao also answered some more questions about his writing process and the future of, um, stuff, in a nice interview with NYU Local.

If you’re just itching to get a read on the novel, a section that is supposedly included in the novel was published in the 2008 edition of NOON.

Monday / Author News / 8 Comments

Rose Metal Chapbook Contest Back For Third Year

The Rose Metal Chapbook contest has announced it’s third annual chapbook contest, beginning October 15th.

Having dipped into the realm of hybrid-fiction, and gained lots of notice from online writers (including Claudia Smith whose The Sky Is A Well and Other Shorts won the first year and helped launch Rose Metal into a little monster of a press) this year’s contest aims to publish another writer of flash fiction or short-shorts or whatever you want to call your pieces under 1,000 words (non-fiction included).

Manuscripts should be 25-40 pages.  Check the website as the opening date approaches for more details.

Monday / Contests / 2 Comments

I Want to Give Someone a $6 Bailout Package

The economy doesn’t look good, but I have a plan.

I have $6 left in my PayPal Account Balance. I used to have more money, but I used that money to purchase many things: the first issue of The Open Face Sandwich, a chapbook from Octopus Books, some subscriptions to literary journals, Shane Jones’ novel from Publishing Genius, and stuff like that.

I would like to give away that $6 to someone or some press or some journal or something. It is not a lot of money, I understand, and I would like to receive something in return, preferably a chapbook, or a book, or some other neat trinket. I know that is a lot to ask for.

The idea is that I could then read that chapbook or journal back issue or whatever and talk about it in another post to promote literature and the economy and capitalism and other American things.

I guess this is like a reverse auction?

I am interested in these places:

Jaguar Uprising
Paper Hero Press
Ugly Duckling Presse
Chiasmus Press
Future Tense Books
Black Ocean Press

I am going to stop listing things, because it is time for bed. I realize that $6 might not cover the full cost of whatever. I hope that is not an insult. It is all the money I have right now in the account. At least someone will make a sale?

At least one unit will move, I guess?

I am also up for suggestions? Please, tell me about a cool thing I can read that I might have missed, preferably something that looks nice and I can touch in a nice way as I read it.

Monday / Web Hype / 8 Comments

Sleepingfish Goes Sliced

Reading period is now open for the next issue of Sleepingfish, which in its new African incarnation will be web-based, a nice node on the face of internet’s reading life.

From editor Derek White:

Having relocated recently to Nairobi, the next issue might have more of a Kenyan or African slant, but not necessarily so. I do however encourage international writers, and writing that takes place outside of the contemporary American psyche, or in fictional places altogether. Despite this skew, Sleepingfish will still retain it’s same skewed aesthetic. If you are not familiar with this aesthetic, please browse some back issues or the recent print issue.

It will be nice to see how the translation occurs, and hopefully we will develop ex-American scourge from the new bruise. Yummy. Send some words, etc.

Sunday / Uncategorized / No Comments

On Ryan Manning

Anyone who has surfed blog comment trails throughout the ‘literary online community’ will most likely have encountered Ryan Manning’s eerily omnipresent comments: ‘the asian [insert semi well known cultural figure].’ For some, this is infuriating; for others, it’s brilliant Avant-garde. I personally fall near the former category, though I will admit I grew a soft spot for him after seeing his beautiful photos on his flickr.

Another odd trait about Mr. Manning is that he changes his blogger profile almost daily, obsessively creating then deleting blogs (hence no links, as I can’t find them). His blogs are either cryptic one-post references to Tao Lin (from whom he got his ‘the asian blank’ shtick), strange videos, or stranger whatevers. One thing is clear: for Ryan Manning, the age of blogging is conceptual terrain for ‘rhetorical obscurity’ as a form of narcissistic celebrity.

Think of Paris Hilton, Ryan Seacrest, the latter phases of Britney Spears, who are seen everywhere and held in the imaginations of everyone, yet who don’t really do anything. Britney goes to Jamba Juice and the world goes wild. Manning goes ‘units are moving’ and he’s got 4000+ profile views. (As of late, he’s appropriated another Tao Lin phrase ‘units are moving,’ which he’s successfully beating to death.) I’m not suggesting that our dear Ryan Manning is futile or obsolete, only that the content of his ‘celebrity’ is empty, wherein most likely lies self-aware rhetoric.

He lives in Virginia, per his blogger profile. I let myself believe there’s some truth to him. His polaroids of the sky as seen from a pedestrian demise are indeed lovely. He chooses the palest days, such that the ‘image’ is mere light. In short, he edits the spectrum of useless days. I highly doubt the absence of content in his images is merely existential. He’s probably making some other clever point, I bet.

Sunday / Author Spotlight / 7 Comments

12 Stories will have 12 Stories

12 Stories is a new online literary journal published by Molly Gaudry and Blythe Winslow, which will feature, no shit, 12 stories in each issue. They run the nice new format of publishing an issue when they have 12 good stories to run, rather than skimming through the gamut and rejecting work that ‘was really awesome, really, but in the end just didn’t work for us.’ That’s refreshing.

It’s nice to see a new web journal with a clear clean aesthetic. I saw on Duotrope that they’ve already taken a story by the badass Mr. Matt Bell, so get your word language in the mailbox to them ladies before you implode a little.

Saturday / Uncategorized / 4 Comments

Kathyrn Regina wants to know you

There’s a little jewel of a poem by Kathryn Regina at Opium called “I Want to Know You.” It’s playfully humorous without being sarcastic, earnest without being sentimental—the tone is dead on. Simply put, it makes me smile.

In the poem, Regina speaks endearingly to the second person pronoun, and one is first compelled to think she’s addressing you, the reader.

As the poem moves forward, [you] begin to suspect she’s referring to something bigger, with Genesis and/or Purgatory light/fire allusions like, “I want to know every fire you have ever lit,” and the clever, “Do you have the internet in your pinkie?”

That she is speaking to Jesus is confirmed with “Tell me how much sadness/ there is in your body and where it is located.” With a simple line, she conveys more about the Passion than Mel Gibson ever dreamed. And there’s this minor epiphany: “You feel like email to me.”

The poem works as an e-generation hymn. It’s so odd to come across a poem that’s so optimistic. She ends it with a surreal kick: absurd, haunting, and beautiful:

I want to know everything about you.
What kinds of trees appear in your dreams
and what whale is beached in your room when you wake.

I don’t know if Regina is religious, and I don’t think that’s the point. Christians ruin Christianity with hypocrisy and hubris (and the constant ‘holy wars’ aren’t helping the PR). This poem may just well redeem this whole Jesus thing, as it reminds us of the simple act of love. Non-sexual, non-platonic. Just love.

Perhaps she’s speaking to you after all.

Saturday / Author Spotlight / 4 Comments

Shya Scanlon Gets Crunk for Absurdismisms

shya scanlon

Longtime wildman Shya Scanlon, who’s been creeping in the postgrad corridors of Brown, just released a chapbook through the Literary Review. Free for download and titled POOLSAID, the book is a series of short prose poem surrealist-ish snippets that bring to mind Ben Marcus or some other semi-absurdist deconstructive freaking.

Either way, it’s a quick and fun read, with sentences like: “Her tin pigs coo and crow as mother window-sits, though standing, and scalds a fingertip and frowns, kitchen faucet cocked.”

Good blather mashed with odd visuals, yes.

Friday / Uncategorized / 6 Comments

J.A. Tyler’s new old school

J. A. Tyler’s writing has caught my attention with his fairly (uncommon these days) old school ‘modernist’ approach. Think of William Faulkner and/or Virginia Woolf’s obsessive hermetic space. I call it ‘brainy fuzziness.’

He seems focused on timeless narratives—with hardly ever any pop references non-intrinsic to the human condition. This is real dangerous ground to tread, because it’s painfully boring when not done well.

I usually respond more to edgy vernacular, with prosaic and almost glib tendencies; but J. A. Tyler really hits some stunning lines, especially with “In Their Palms” published recently in Pequin:

“And he woke to the light of a still white wall and an up-tilted palm holding stains of pills begging water and tears.”

“She held her palm to the sky and the ceiling and smiled and slept and pierced him with her lashes. And she smiled. And his sun shifted in its sky.”

There’s also lyrical play in the ‘palm’ motif, as he repeats alternate versions of “in their palm/in her palm, etc.” Tyler seems cognizant of the spatial implications of words or phrases, almost like e.e. cummings coaxing the eye down the page with words which act as tonal notes. Tyler writes one line paragraphs “And he went,” and “And he did,” (the ‘and’ phonetically paired with other one line paragraphs “An invisibility,” and “An affair.”)

It’s refreshing to see such intricately composed writing and restraint from today’s ironies in writing, which I’m shamelessly guilty of, but that’s neither hear nor they’re.

Friday / Author Spotlight / 4 Comments

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