gary lutz

NICETIES: Aural Ardor, Pardon Me by Elizabeth Mikesch

NICETIES_coverOut today from Calamari PressNiceties: Aural Ardor, Pardon Me by Elizabeth Mikesch

Niceties debuts today and pokes a hole in the coma of language. The tired factions, lyric versus experience, this tribal cliché, mellifluous pretension, or language generating language, assaulted usually converse by the plain and sneering, story time, popped out of their tepid beers now by a handier relic, just got outmoded – combined to hurt itself inside a voice both beyond and including narration, the personal event broken to the heart’s proper arrhythmia. A flaying can still be vulnerable even if it takes you with it. The sobriety of our times cannot support this book because the general crusade has been swatted operatic. Anything without khakis is giggled about in these great plots for safety so-called artists use to call themselves important. How much precedence might ones pellet-sized message keep in the face of such wrought mystic twirling up the bowel meant for silence?  Don’t fret. Mikesch is here to kick you out of your crib and flout the world that hasn’t started. Think those loops Markus swerves us through tied up in a Finnish peninsular whelp, with an elbow caught between each breath, the chorus tapping out a feel good suicide. I don’t want beauty unless it’s clawing me permanent.

Author News / 1 Comment
February 1st, 2014 / 6:32 pm



By Gary Lutz
Calamari Press, 2011
120 pages / $13  Buy from SPD







It’s no wonder that someone who might be said to live in the sentence would apply its logic—and its subversions—to his lens on the higher-order structures of life. In Divorcer, Gary Lutz tinkers with each level of human-linguistic interaction, cascading from social power structures, to family dynamics, personal relationships, full-scale utterances, isolated sentences, words, morphemes and phonemes, with an eye to at-once humorous and devastating exposure of the failures of empathy and failures of semantic coherence echoing throughout.

September 12th, 2011 / 12:00 pm

2 New from Calamari: Gary Lutz’s Divorcer & Vincent Standley’s A Mortal Affect

Calamari Press jumps back to action with two exciting new titles, both now available for order: Gary Lutz’s Divorcer & Vincent Standley’s A Mortal Affect.

“DIVORCER is a collection of seven harrowing and hyperprecise short stories about ruinous relationships and their aftershocks.” $13

“A Mortal Affect is a satire of meaning systems targeting the role bureaucracy and cultural assumptions play in creating, distorting, and replicating the things we believe to be true. Informed by an absurdism in the Modernist vein, the novel is a celebration of error and folly that questions the wisdom of conviction and the faith in metaphysics. These themes play out in a fictional world inhabited by mortals and immortals, the oppressed and the oppressors. The former understand their condition of being oppressed but have no concept of freedom, while the latter emulate mortals but lack the ability to eat, reproduce, or die, even by suicide. Never allegorical or polemical, the novel operates comfortably within the bounds of comedy, avoiding the earnestness and self-conscious urgency common to the novel of ideas.” $18

Presses / 6 Comments
August 25th, 2011 / 11:36 am

“My writing isn’t a career or a craft or a hobby or anything like that. It is more like a tiny annex to my life, a little crawl space in which I occasionally end up by accident in the dark.” — Gary Lutz, interviewed by David Winters @ 3:AM Magazine. Also: Lutz is reading tonight at the Soda Series.

Wag’s Revue 7

The 7th issue of the Wag’s Revue is now online, & includes a new interview with Gary Lutz by Dylan Nice: “I have too a hard time picturing anyone ever turning the pages of one of my books to worry about what that person might make of having ended up in the privacy of my paragraphs, though my heart no doubt goes out all the same.” It also contains new work by Jen Percy and an interview with Paul Harding, as well as a compelling “frenetic examination of self-loathing in the online era” by Mitch Salm.

Web Hype / 3 Comments
October 14th, 2010 / 12:04 pm

“But the days arched over us and kept us typical to our era.” – Gary Lutz

LIGHT IS WAITING from Michael Robinson on Vimeo.


Random / 10 Comments
October 13th, 2010 / 5:52 pm

I Like What The Hell Is Going On Over Here

Sasha Fletcher reads it up on Apostrophe Cast.

Science Is Fiction was a big wow for me, I recommend finding yourself a copy, if only to see this in all its glory. I saw it on a projector and very loud, which was a good thing to do. The DVD had been skipping the whole time but for some reason on this one not at all, it reminds me of J.G. Ballard’s The Crystal World.


Roundup / 10 Comments
September 2nd, 2010 / 5:11 pm

5 unlike brain surgeries

1. Gary Lutz story.

14. Huxley on Huxley documentary. Too bad I live in Indiana and have a better chance of seeing a puma running a lemonade stand than seeing this film.

33. When you’re writing a kind of instinct comes into play. What you’re going to write is already out there in the darkness. It’s as if writing were something outside you, in a tangle of tenses: between writing and having written, having written and having to go on writing; between knowing and not knowing what it’s all about; starting from complete meaning, being submerged by it, and ending up meaninglessness. The image of a black block in the middle of the world isn’t far out.

7. Half the people I know I say “Indie” and they say “You mean vampire books?”

112. Anyway, Sabotage talks kill author #8.

Roundup / 19 Comments
August 24th, 2010 / 3:51 pm

A Letter to the Editor from Gary Lutz, 1988

A letter to the editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 8, 1988, from Gary Lutz:

[via Caketrain]

Behind the Scenes / 35 Comments
August 21st, 2010 / 4:53 pm

Lutz, Gary.


Web Hype / 21 Comments
August 9th, 2010 / 5:47 pm

Freaks Meeks 700 Sads

1. Excellent profile by Michael H. Miller on the excellent Meeks, by Julia Holmes, at the Observer.

2. This dude owns 700 copies of a book called Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana. What book do you own the most copies of? [via Electric Lit via Ron Silliman]

3. Brief but pleasant list of quality of Gary Lutz’s writing, blogged by Ryan Kamstra. “For all the self-referential wizardry and playfulness with the expectation of the sentence overpowering his work, his fiction is tempered by deep human concern. It is also very sad.”

Roundup / 40 Comments
August 4th, 2010 / 12:51 am

Blue Square Press

Introducing Blue Square Press, who will release their first title, Ben Spivey’s Flowing In The Gossamer Fold, in August.

Here’s what Gary Lutz said about it: “Ben Spivey’s alluringly melodial debut novel of a marriage gone asunder unreels itself with the indisputable logic of dreams and delivers, along its phantasmagoric and dazing way, emotional clarities that feel entirely new.”

Preorder now!

Presses / 6 Comments
June 22nd, 2010 / 4:21 pm

Michael Kimball Guest Lecture Series (6): Acoustics

I hate this quote from Janet Burroway: “Novelists and short-story writers are not under the same obligation as poets to reinforce sense with sound.” I don’t think she understands what Andy Devine does: “Words have acoustical qualities that resonate with being human.”

Fiction begins with language, which is an acoustical occasion. The fiction writer who writes with acoustics uses a kind of close attention. It’s looking hard at the sentence until it opens up. It’s feeling around between words until you find spaces that require new words, new beats. It’s beyond semantics (though it still depends on sense). It’s recognizing the recurring sounds and using them to rewrite a sentence. Maybe the first word in the sentence has a long-o sound in it and the sentence will feel finished if it ends with another word with another long-o sound in it, say, smoke. Maybe the fact that that sentence ends with a hard-k leads to the next sentence beginning with another hard-k sound, so the consonants run together and there isn’t any space between the sentences, not even really a pause, and then all of a sudden the narrative speeds up in a way that feels thrilling and there’s a fire and that story never would have happened if the fiction writer weren’t working with the acoustics. Working with acoustics, it’s a different way to find the right word, or the right place for the right word. It’s a different way to write or revise a sentence or a group of sentences. I like the compositional nature of it.

Dawn Raffel

The fiction can sound however you want it to sound, but it’s figuring out what those things are for you, or for the piece you’re working on, and then using those sounds to make something happen in the fiction, even if it’s something that the reader only feels and doesn’t quite know why. I know writers who are partial to glottal stops and other percussive consonants. I know writers who like the liquid consonants and sibilance. And I know one very particular writer who tries to remove all of these acoustical relations, so that no single sentence is repeating any particular sound. I used to focus on assonantial relations within sentences, but now I’m more often looking for them from one sentence to another sentence, a way to get from one sentence to another sentence.


Craft Notes / 13 Comments
May 13th, 2010 / 12:20 pm

4 Lick-n-Catch

1.) New Diagram 10.1. It be sick like light socket soup. Go stain yourself.

2.) Russia glow will dig Moscow & St. Petersburg 1900 to 1920: Art, Life and Culture in Russia’s Silver Age and this Bookslut interview.

3.) What book speckles/sighs the floorboard of your car right now? I have a copy of Hayden’s Ferry, a Gary Lutz, and a 2009 Best Magazine Writing. The Lutz has a snow/melt coffee stain on its cover and I haven’t even spatulaed the book yet. Oh well. Won’t hurt the sentence none.

4.) The Cows


Author Spotlight / 18 Comments
March 1st, 2010 / 11:42 am

Michael Kimball Guest Lecture #2: Keeping Going

So let’s say we have a great opening and maybe even a good idea or an interesting voice to go with it. Now what? How does the writer keep going? One of the things that has helped me keep going while I’m working on a novel is not thinking about it. That is, I try to not think about what I’m writing when I’m getting it down (the thinking, so to speak, comes later). For me, it’s just a voice speaking, a way of talking, and I’m trying to be receptive to it, open. I’m just trying to get from one sentence to the next sentence. Often, I do this by looking at the previous sentence—its syntax, the words in play, the acoustics of it—I’m thinking in these small ways, but not so much in bigger ways (say, story or plot or idea). I’m just trying to get material down, which is the hardest part for me. After that, after I have something to work with, then I feel like I can do something with whatever I have on the page. It’s the blankness that is difficult for me, filling in the blankness.

Here are some quotes from Sam Lipsyte, Gary Lutz, Joseph Young, and Blake Butler that discuss a similar process in somewhat different ways.


Craft Notes / 78 Comments
February 4th, 2010 / 4:54 pm


1.) Lists fascinate.

5.) A new review of Umberto Eco’s The Infinity of Lists.

Inside is a Chinese encyclopedia created by Borges. Inside the encyclopedia:

There the world’s animals are divided into “(a) those that belong to the emperor; (b) embalmed ones; (c) those that are trained; (d) suckling pigs; (e) mermaids; (f) fabulous ones; (g) stray dogs; (h) those that are included in this classification; (i) those that tremble as if they were mad; (j) innumerable ones; (k) those drawn with a very fine camel’s-hair brush; (l) etcetera; (m) those that have just broken the flower vase; (n) those that at a distance resemble flies.”

3.) Somewhere sinks a cruise ship named Fun with Puns.

10.) Lists shimmer in their making. Like the distance run, or Yeat’s dancer (also the dance) the list is its own doing/undoing. The runner and the run the same, a cloud, a tributary, an experience and an artifact. The making doesn’t wait for a list to appear; the list is the making and the thing. The list is the listing is the list.


Random / 4 Comments
January 16th, 2010 / 12:20 pm

Sleepingfish 8

Sleepingfish 8 is out now, edited by Gary Lutz and Derek White, featuring literary text objects by: Ryan Call, Anna DeForest, Sasha Fletcher, Nina Shope, Rachel May, David McLendon, Eugene Lim, The Brothers Goat, Lito Elio Porto, Adam Weinstein, Diane Williams, Dennis Cooper, Elliott Stevens, Tim Jones-Yelvington, Alec Niedenthal, Amelia Gray, Matt Bell, Eduardo Recife, David Ohle, Evelyn Hampton, Émilie Notéris, Ottessa Moshfegh, Cooper Renner, Christine Schutt, M. T. Fallon, Daniel Grandbois, Julie Doxsee, Terese Svoboda, Blake Butler, Stephen Gropp-Hess & Ali Aktan Aşkın.

$12, with excerpts online, including music and textual collage.

Uncategorized / 32 Comments
January 3rd, 2010 / 1:41 pm

The Tyrant has posted an uncollected Gary Lutz story ‘In Kind’ from their NYT issue 3 today at Vice. “I had no friends, just timid emergency contacts. I married the second woman to come along.” Also worth checking out, an excellent interview with the stoner-Manson-looking Alan Moore.

Reading Ray Backwards (guest-post by Alec Niedenthal)

HannahB-Ray-00If Gary Lutz does it–and he says he does–I don’t know how he does. In an interview with Michael Kimball, Lutz says, “Maybe part of the explanation of why I write the way I write has to do with the way I sometimes read. I sometimes read a book from back to front, sentence by sentence-a practice that, as one might imagine, can give a completely different disposition to a book.” I’ve been trying to read Barry Hannah’s slim marvel, “Ray,” back to front. Sentence by sentence. It won’t work. A book like “Ray” has a certain velocity, speed, force. You’d think that because most sentences here are jewels, are the sharpest of diamonds, that one could isolate them and pick them apart from the bone outward. But it’s become clear to me that Hannah’s sentences sing precisely because they are deeply embedded in a system of voice which, however fragmented the narrative structure of “Ray,” is a system, and therefore, to my mind, necessary.


Uncategorized / 105 Comments
December 17th, 2009 / 1:48 pm

20 Important Books in Other Languages; or, “a list always growing longer”

Unendlicher Spass

A post re:– neither repost nor riposte–Blake’s wichtige Liste and (only at first) about Infinite Jest in German. Maybe a chair is a good metaphor for who gets translated. Have you been translated? Have the Important Writers on Blake’s list? And not 25 because Saramago, Ouredník, and Zizek are already others, Ben Lerner’s a poet, Aase Berg’s both, and I’ll write about poets in translation and translation in poets at an other time.

Not sure if anyone went there during all the well DFW grammar talk (thanks, Amy), but imagine translating, say, Oblivion. Good that one of Wallace’s German translators, Ulrich Blumenbach, did just that, presumably (it first appeared in 2006), while whittling away at Infinite Jest, which took him six years and has had, as Unendlicher Spass (literally, the less Shakespearean Unending Fun), endless success: ten times the expected five grand copies have been sold since it appeared at the end of August, on the heels of Infinite Summer, which the publisher, KiWi, has translated too, as 100 Days of Infinite Jest (in German–it ended on 12-1).

In an interview with Der Spiegel, Blumenbach (pictured–in German) regrets that the author never answered his many questions, “a list always growing longer”: it seems Wallace had grown weary of taking translator’s queries, and, according to The Complete Review’s useful paraphrase of a slippery summary (still looking for the original source), considered the Spanish La broma infinita (tr. Calvo and Covian | Mondadori, 2002) and the Italian Infinite Jest (Nesi w/ Villoresi and Giua | Einaudi, 2006) and apparently other attempts (anyone know more?) to have “all failed, more or less.”

la-famille-royaleIn a warm war, France is responding with (900 pp. of) Vollmann’s Rising (not translated by the great Claro, see below, who did six previous tomes, but by one Jean-Paul Mourlon, translator, it seems, of Jimmy Carter and Hilary Clinton). There’s also German Vollmann (3 titles), Spanish Vollmann (3 more), Japanese Vollmann (2), Greek Vollmann (2), and Czech Vollmann, all (not counting the French) with only one title (Butterfly Stories) repeated.

American Genius is only a Great American Novel for now (does it even have a British publisher?), despite Tillman’s first book of stories, Tagebuch einer Masochisten, having appeared in Germany in 1986, four years before her first collection in English, READ MORE >

Behind the Scenes & Presses / 28 Comments
December 17th, 2009 / 10:47 am