Dennis Cooper’s blog today: “Four Books I’ve Loved Recently: The Ask by Sam Lipsyte, Marsupial by Derek White, A Common Pornography by Kevin Sampsell, and Stories II by Scott McClanahan.” Also, don’t miss yesterday’s “17 examples of how musicians conflate the terms ‘mawkish’ and ‘arch’ with varying degrees of success.”
From Salon, an article on Bloomsbury’s newest case of the white-outs. “Publishers whitens another heroine of color.” (You might remember that we bugged out about this the last time it happened too.)
Here’s an introduction to “The Secret History of Typography in the Oxford English Dictionary.”
From Jeremy Schmall- Rick Steves on Haiti.
Check out this rad new feature/series at Portland-based Wieden+Kennedy called Story Time, which produces “recorded readings of short stories by published young authors set to soundscapes.” Trinie Dalton is episode #1, Kevin Sampsell’s #2, and that’s all that there is so far, but we’ll be (duh) keeping an eye on these guys, and one hardly doubts that there’s more great stuff ahead. And what is Wieden+Kennedy exactly? They say: “We are an arts and culture digital content delivery platform, a subsidiary of advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy. Our goal is to renegotiate the relationship between art, media, advertising and the consumer.” Ahh, okay then. To help further advance negotiations, you might also check out their other series, Don’t Move Here: Inside Portland’s Music Scene.
Top of The Rumpus today is our own Alec Niedenthal on Kevin Sampsell’s A Common Pornography.
Homeboy-in-chief Kyle Minor wrote a massive piece on “A Kidnapping in Haiti” that went up yesterday. You should make time for it.
Ronnie Scott, editor of The Lifted Brow (which we’ve been excerpting all week here) has a long interview with Jonathan Lethem.
Also, New Yorkers, don’t forget that the Giant/Rumpus Event is tonight at Broadway East.
I don’t know if anyone else on this site is planning to write about my pressmate Kevin Sampsell’s new book–I hope someone is–but I feel like sharing some thoughts about it, so here goes. The main thing that strikes me is how effortless and propulsive the reading experience is. The package containing A Common Pornography (and a galley of Dennis Cooper’s Smothered in Hugs–it was like Christmas all over again!) arrived this afternoon around five, and yet, somehow, here it is a quarter after ten and I’m about three quarters through it. I read it sitting in my desk chair. I read it on the subway. I read it in the checkout line at Trader Joe’s. I read it on my couch. If I hadn’t put it down to write this blog post about it, I’d be reading it now.
Now, I know that Kevin is–like me–a Richard Brautigan fan, and I think there’s a very Brautigan-y energy at work in this book. Not a Brautigan tone, mind you–Kevin’s book isn’t emo or surrealistic–but here, as in a Brautigan, the chapters are very short, typically a page or two at most, and tend to be anchored by a single image or idea. The book doesn’t demand so much as suggest your attention–hey, you wanna hear a story? Sure. The subject matter (the author’s superlatively deranged upbringing) is sometimes dark (and/or gross) but Sampsell doesn’t plea for your sympathy, he doesn’t go for pointless shocks, and he doesn’t attempt some sort of showy “defiance” or “reclamation” or whatever. He’s just this guy remembering stuff that he did or that happened to him, or to people he knew, and sort of thinking about how it was all maybe a little weirder than he thought it was at the time. Some of it’s funny, and some of it’s touching, and some of it’s sad–and a lot of it is two or more of these things at once–but I think what it really succeeds at doing is creating an atmosphere that encompasses all of those states without forcing the reader to choose one, and that too for me is very Brautigan.
So anyway, that’s my first reaction to Kevin’s book. I’m excited to see him in February, because Harper has us scheduled to do a handful of events together–we’re doing a night in Boston (2/17) and then the following two nights in NYC, and hopefully I’ll be out to see him in Portland sometime later this spring. Want to know how we met? Okay, I’ll tell you the story. We met because right before I moved to Portland, Oregon from NYC in early ’05, I found a copy of Susannah Breslin’s You’re A Bad Man Aren’t You? which he had published through Future Tense, on the bookshelf at St. Mark’s. So I emailed him to say that I was moving to his town and we should get together. He was, I think, looking for an intern, and I know that I was looking for someone to publish the mess of short stories in my backpack. So we had lunch one day near Powell’s. There are a number of ways this meeting might have ended poorly, but instead what happened was I interviewed him for Bookslut, and we’ve been friends ever since. You can read that interview here. Fun interview fact: Kevin Sampsell was the first person I ever heard mention the following names–Sam Lipsyte, Gary Lutz, Gordon Lish, Diane Williams, Amy Hempel, Tao Lin. Not bad, right?
January 15th, 2010 / 12:12 am
2009 has been a hell of a year for books, I think. Will 2010 be even better?
The answer, of course, is an emphatic maybe.
Here are three coming in 2010 you should be looking forward to. Comment with more. READ MORE >
December 11th, 2009 / 3:07 pm
This evening I noticed that Kevin Sampsell posted a facebook update about how he was firming up tour dates for February…which got me thinking about book tours for indie writers…which got me wondering if there existed any kind of Reading Series Database — like an index where indie writers/publishers could go to find opportunities to read from their books. I couldn’t find anything like that, so I thought I’d ask y’all to maybe help contribute to an informal list in the comments here — is there a Reading Series in your town? For folks in NYC or San Francisco, I assume there are many — what are they/where are they? Outside those big city hubs, is there a venue for indie writers to read in your town?
Kevin Sampsell, incomparable writer/booklover, has edited a crime fiction anthology for Akashic Books: Portland Noir. Kevin, admittedly a noir noob, talks about the process over at the Powell’s blog. I’ll go ahead and reposition Kevin’s question for the HTML Giant audience: Which books in the crime/noir/mystery genre should he/I/we be reading? I recommend Dashiell Hammett.
June 15th, 2009 / 2:03 am
There’s a new issue of Smokelong Quarterly now live.
Issue Twenty-Two (October 2, 2008): Innocence, Briefly by Jenny Arnold «» Tapioca O’s by Natalie DeClerck «» How Anything Got Done by Paul Elwork «» Tenderoni by Kathy Fish «» Breathing Oysters by Stefanie Freele «» The Mime’s Dog by Steven Douglas Gullion «» Two Minute Silence by Sarah Hilary «» Constructing Birds by Jo Horsman «» Crazy Sun by Lauren Huckstadt «» One Night Out by Ashley Kaufman «» Asian Girl by W.P. Kinsella «» Fatback by Jeff Landon «» Bounty by Tricia Louvar «» Beautiful by Antonios Maltezos «» Private Room by M.E. Parker «» True Identity by Kevin Sampsell «» Campfire by Donna D. Vitucci «» Interviews: Jenny Arnold «» Paul Elwork «» Kathy Fish «» Stefanie Freele «» Steven Douglas Gullion «» Sarah Hilary «» Jo Horsman «» Ashley Kaufman «» Jeff Landon «» Tricia Louvar «» Antonios Maltezos «» M.E. Parker «» Kevin Sampsell «» Donna D. Vitucci «» Cover Art “November Leaves” by Marty D. Ison «» Letter From the Editor
October 3rd, 2008 / 1:33 am