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25 Points: Factory Hollow Press/Northampton, MA

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1. Factory Hollow is the publishing division of Flying Object, which is located in Hadley, which is an over-the-bridge walk from Northampton, which is probably my favorite place in the world.

2. I love Northampton so much that I once kidnapped Mike Young and held him up in Baltimore for ten months. Every day, he had to interact with a dog. The two of them got along just fine.

3. Dick move alert—I waited until the last day of AWP before picking up Mark Leidner’s and Seth Landman’s books. They’re $15 a piece, but I think I got them for $20 total. Take that, capitalism.

4. Before AWP, I had pre-ordered Rachel Glaser’s new book and Heather Christle’s new chapbook. I paid full price for these. Take that, Mark’s Paypal balance.

5. I’m about to review all four of those books in one LeBlog James.

6a. The cover of Mark Leidner’s Beauty Was the Case That They Gave Me is a collage of a kid who’s about to yolk on the Twin Towers. Any time I think about this cover, I let out a nervous-but-giddy chuckle.

6b. The thing about grief is that you have to eventually learn to laugh again.

7. Why is it that everything that’s beautiful is also so inherently terrifying?

8. Lookie here:

I finally say, I’m leaving you!
All you ever gave me were the wretched crusts!
and you look up at me
tears brimming in your eyes, and say
But the crusts were always my favorite part.

and tell me there’s another place as scary as love.

9. Like a backhand to the nuts in a high school locker room, Mark’s poems encompass all the jovial, painful, horrifying-and-beautiful simultaneity of the human experience. They remind you that with every giant, hope-sprung boner, there’s a painful period of monotony lurking below the lily pads.

10. I’ve only ever bought one issue of The New Yorker, and it was because Heather Christle was in it.

11. Heather has a new chapbook. It’s called “Private Party.” It’s a small letterpressed book, and the title is all shiny and golden.

12. If Heather’s two previous books are these massive ethereal panoramas, then Private Party are the Polaroids you pass around at the world’s greatest spontaneous get-together. They’re the party games you play when all the lames fall asleep, the leftover crumb cake you can’t help from nibbling at on the long ride home.

13. The first time I had lunch with people in Northampton, I was just about too petrified to talk.

14a. Here are some of the major themes in Rachel Glaser’s MOODS:  hair, periods, feelings about dinner parties, children that don’t exist yet, royalty, stuff God does, and good fucking noses.

14b. Yo, for real–if you don’t like poems about hair, you probably shouldn’t read this book.

15. I was a little skeptical about reading Rachel’s poetry. I thought Pee on Water was the most innovative, enjoyable reading experience I’ve ever had. I really didn’t want to ruin anything.

But that was stupid, because Rachel would never ruin anything–MOODS is just as enjoyable as Pee on Water. And it’s also thoughtful and funny. See, look:

Thanksgiving didn’t happen how they said
all it was, was two Indian boys
who shared some deer meat with two Pilgrim girls
and (big surprise)
their families freaked out
the girls got sent to boarding school
the boys were sent into the woods to “think”

and not even the same woods
the boys were sent to two different woods
that were very far apart
one of them died

16. Rachel let me crash at her place once, but she still hasn’t accepted the friend request I sent her in 2009. I am not upset about this–I am a weird guy. Stand your ground, Rachel.

17. Rachel’s poems are the punchlines to the weird jokes you couldn’t finish. They’re the hypotheticals you bake up when you’re baked, except they’re right here, haha-ing at themselves before you’ve even had the chance to figure out what was so funny.

18. I can’t remember which NBA team Rachel Glaser roots for, but I think Seth Landman is a pretty big Celtics fan. I feel for him right now. I’m sure he’s looking at all these temperature-related puns with an acute sense of hopelessness.

19. Seth’s first collection, Sign You Were Mistaken, is a quiet book, and a lot of it is about hopelessness.

20. Seth’s at his best when he’s analyzing himself. A lot of the poems in this book feel like a 12-round bouts with solipsism, and in many instances, it feels like none of us are going to win.

21.  But looking at a second time, I couldn’t help but notice the beautiful things in this book–the paper planes, the rainy stadiums, the basements of old boxes, the chicken coop in our minds. Here, look again:

Let the foot
of the frost come down
and settle the matter
of the season, and let
the insult of being who
we are be the old blanket
we turn in under. I can’t
help feeling it isn’t so bad.
There’s something in the
wind; stand by, it could
be special.

22. I never really wanted to read poetry, but then I met all these beautiful people.

23. Which is (barely) related to this point: at first glace, Sign You Were Mistaken seems like this slow-roasted slab of sadness. But it teaches you things about yourself– how to pray, how to forgive yourself, and ultimately how to be. This book brought me everywhere. I want to read it forever and go everywhere again.

24. Here’s my favorite anecdote–one time, there was a lot of blood coming from my head. I knocked on Mike’s door and–upon seeing the red on my forehead, I guess–he hung up an international call and ran into the kitchen and put this raggedy towel on my head. He wanted me to go to the hospital, but I felt fine, so he sat with me and we played this tennis video game for a couple of hours. It took some time, but we eventually won a Grand Slam.

25. There’s a burger joint in Northampton that will charge you for ketchup, and the weirdest thing about it is it’s worth every penny.

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