MLP Chapbooks Arrive

Posted by @ 4:57 pm on May 18th, 2009

 J. A. Tyler’s Mudlicious Press publishes these tiny chapbooks.(Click here to order.) Mine arrived today. They are cute things, these chapbooks. I like getting them. Today I got P’.H. Madore’s “Da Vinci Died Before Cigarettes”, Matthew Savoca’s “Altruism”, “In Praise of Virgins” by Johannes Goransson (sorry that I have no umlaut)  and a sticker with a picture of a dead looking whale that has the words “bleached whale” on it.

Now, generally speaking, I am not ML Press’s ideal reader. I have, over the past decade, grown away from an interest in experimentalism and am prone to reading straightforward, narrative fictions. That said, my involvement here at Htmlgiant has been wonderful in that it pushes me to read stuff I would normally not read. This is good. It keeps me from feeling I am growing old, boring and stubborn even if I am very much doing so. Here are my reactions to the chapbooks:

I first read Goransson’s “In Praise of Virgins”. I’ve read his blog occasionally(click here) largely because he lives in South Bend, Indiana and I have a soft spot for South Bend. He discusses poetic “movements” and issues and so forth with fierce, obvious intelligence and deep commitment.  I read his blog and think, “Wow, I’m really glad I was a good bartender.” “In Praise of Virgins” I will call a poem. It is handwritten, which I like. I like people’s handwriting. Very personal. There are funny pictures between the pages with words. Here is a line– “I liked hearing my voice with a plastic bag over my head. It sounded like I was underwater or pregnant.” This poem made absolutely no sense to me. And yet, I enjoyed it, just enjoyed the images and the way they were put together. It also had a sort of anger to it that was neat.


Next I read Madore’s piece. I read his blog occasionally, too. He is the editor of the lovely online journal (click!), Dispatch Litereview, which has a great story by Elizabeth Ellen. I will be frank: he irritated me on a few occasions  because he left some hostile comments here at the Giant (as everyone knows, I can’t stand those), but he hasn’t done that lately and now that I’ve read his blog, well, I want to make him a sandwich. Young men occasionally bring that out in me.

I will call “Da Vinci Died Before Cigarettes” a poetic story as well as a mood driven piece. I love smoking and there are nice bits about smoking in this piece. He begins with — “Holding the cigarette between two fingers, cherry down, letting nicotine  air weave wavy up into my downward palm”. There is a discernable narrator in this story and he is in a house or apartment and someone is knocking on his door, but he doesn’t want to answer the door. He also takes a shower. I would say that he is thinking on the pages of this story, and here are some of his thoughts: “Think of painters who never learned not to write on walls not thier own. I think of the billions who’ve lived without ever totally accepting the boundaries laid upon them by kings and bankers.” I like that last line. There’s real heart in that line and in the piece in general.

Lastly, I read “Altruism” by Matthew Savoca, whose blog you  can reach here, and whose blog I have also read on a few occasions. I will call Matthew a poet. He has interesting facial hair and very deep set eyes according to the pictures on his blog. While I am unclear on the title’s significance, I do believe this poem is narrated by a young man who is having some relationship problems with his significcant other. I would even call this a “love poem”. I like how Savoca refers to football fields repeatedly as a unit of measurement. I like football, period. I also really liked this part, because it was funny (sorry the line breaks are off, I blame WordPress):

what we’re not saying is that we are bored of each other

which really kind of means we are bored of who we are

when we are with each other

it’s the result of never spending time with anyone else

we talk about this

and then go spend some time with other people

until we remember that we don’t like other people

I could really relate to those lines. And that’s it! That is my time spent with ML Press’s chapbooks! It was a nice thing to do today, as otherwise I would be doing dishes, cleaning up cat urine and being hungover. Thanks, ML Press, for making my Monday less stupid.

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