HTMLGiant fave Matthew Savoca just came out with his novel yesterday, improbably titled I Don’t Know I Said. Laura van den Berg said it’s a book for anyone who has ever been bored. Michael Kimball said it’s got more charm than it should ever have. Scott McClanahan said it’s like eating baby food with a loved one. Chris Killen said he’d recommend it to anybody. The book is about Arthur and Carolina, youths in love, trying to do it right. Here’s an interview with Matthew, if you’re bored. On Friday evening Matthew will read the entire novel and broadcast it at Everyday Genius.
Tell me about the most exciting thing you’ve experienced in the past month.
The first thing that came to my mind is the other day when I thought about getting a dog. I was on a 2 hour drive and I just sat there and thought for a long time about having a dog again and about where I would take it and all those kinds of things. What toys I would get, would it be the kind of dog I could let off the leash when we took a walk? Stuff like that.
Oh, also, I went to see Harry Houdini’s grave a couple weeks ago. It’s great. There’s a cool inscription that says, “He went about doing good.” And people leave all this cool stuff there like eye glasses and lighters and playing cards and pictures of their children. I left a broken zipper that I had in my pocket and asked Harry to fix it for me. I gotta pick it up next week.
What’s going to be inscribed on your tombstone?
Wish you were here.
(note: Kendra’s keyboard is broken so none of her text is capitalized. She would really like it if someone wanted to buy her a computer.)
Matthew: Can you briefly describe the timeline of events surrounding the entirety of Everything is Quiet, from inception to publishing, including the total amount of time that the poems span?
Kendra: okay. four years ago i moved to new york for a job. three years ago i got laid off from that job. three years ago i started drinking everyday and writing a lot because i wanted to just use up my savings instead of getting another job. two years ago, or maybe a little more i started submitting things to magazines. a year ago i compiled a manuscript. six months ago jeremy spencer accepted the manuscript and told me he was releasing it in six months so i could be released with you. i think the poems span about three years of my life. some go back a little farther. some don’t really have time frames at all.
most of your work is grounded in the quietness of domestic life, and the listless struggle of it all. do you ever intend to do this? how does your domestic partner(s) view your work?
Matthew: I’m pretty sure that I don’t intend it in the sense that it is something I really try to convey. What I’m usually trying to do is “get things right”. It’s a whole lot different from “make things right” which I think has more in common with the general idea of being deliberate, which I am not.
I think my domestic partner probably views my poetry as something good that it is “doing something” – that’s a phrase she has used before – but she also feels bored sometimes in reading about her own life, and then other times she enjoys it in the way we all do, and then in one final way, when she reads it she learns things that I was thinking and feeling that she was unaware of previously.
Continue reading “Malone & Savoca Week (5): Kendra & Matthew Interview Each Other”
I enjoyed Matthew Savoca’s long poem, Long Love Poem With Descriptive Title, and for Malone and Savoca Week, I interviewed him about it and some novels he’s written. Our talk is almost 3400 words long (edited from ~6,000) and requires no preamble, so let’s get to it. Here is the book cover:
Adam: OK, I want to ask you about Long Love Poem With Descriptive Title. Ready?
Matthew: Yes, let’s do it. I’m drinking a beer.
Adam: Okay, nice. First of all, can I call you the speaker?
Adam: Oh good. I feel like people make that very complicated.
Matthew: I am definitely the speaker, and I’m not trying to hide it.
Adam: Are you crazy?
Matthew: In what way?
Adam: Well, we should talk first about how much you’ve written.
Adam: How much have you written? Continue reading “Malone and Savoca Week (2): A Conversation with Matthew Savoca”
Scrambler Books—which (like Flatmancrooked) manages to be awesome despite being based in turd-haven-of-a-city Sacramento—is releasing two upcoming books of poetry that I’m stoked about: Kendra Grant Malone’s Everything Is Quiet and Matthew Savoca’s long love poem with descriptive title. You can get these books separate or together, or together in a hardcover edition, which is pretty fancy for indie lit, right? Click here and here for sample poems from Malone and here and here for Savoca poems. These are sure to both be tender and exhausted collections that feel like drinking the wrong beverage at the wrong time and somehow having that be the only thing that makes you feel better. Can’t wait.
Today’s contestant is Matthew Savoca, who’s story “Everybody Painted the Barn that Day,” in Kathryn Regina’s brilliant childhood photo project at Wunderkammer, struck me as the closest thing to Mark Twain I’ve ever read on the Internet, as much for the voice as for the quaint story. Hoping that you’ll still follow the link to Wunderkammer in order to see the picture that Savoca is responding to, I have pasted the story here:
Everybody painted the barn that day. There was Ma, Paw, Timmy, and Mr. Walsh. We’d been planning to paint it for three or four weeks starting in the beginning of April but didn’t actually get started until early May which really messed up my plans because I had decided sometime in February that I was going to leave as soon as Winter broke. I was five years old. Paw couldn’t understand why I was so enthusiastic about getting the painting started, which was because I had decided I’d stay and help so as not to upset Ma. Eventually we did it, over two days – Saturday and Sunday. The picture was taken on Saturday that’s why it doesn’t look like much has been done. I got paint all over my overalls when one of the cans spilled off the ladder Paw was on. It even got in my hair and we spent all night washing and scrubbing it out. Then my overalls were all messed up and Ma got to working on mending an old pair of mine that she’d been meaning to fix up for a long time, so I had to wait even longer before leaving. One thing led right on to another thing happening and I never did run away that summer.
Not much to explain there, Mr. Savoca, but I do want to know: did you run away when you were a boy, and if so, for how long? Matthew Savoca: EXPLAIN YOURSELF! (applause).
(For last week’s edition featuring Peter Berghoef, who lost, click here.)
Our own Matthew Simmons’ Happy Cobra Books has just released their new website, featuring Matthew Savoca’s e-book TOUGH!!! with his poems accompanied by illustrations by Tao Lin, Greg Lytle, Mike Bushnell, Tracy Brannstrom, Gene Morgan, Chelsea Martin, among many others.
TOUGH! is a book of brief pieces, haiku of the apotheosis of rural American maledom. Very funny. Wonderful illustrations, too.
Downloadable pdfs featuring Chelsea Martin, Catherine Lacey, Ellen Kennedy, Justin Dobbs and Blake Butler coming soon.
Rooms Outlast Us is a new poetry journal run by a couple of people I worked with back when I edited fiction at Phoebe. Earlier today, I emailed/gchatted with one of the editors, Danika Stegeman, about it, and she said the journal is modeled after some of the smaller poetry zines that were out in the 50s, 60s, 70s, like the Evergreen Review, which was originally published by Grove Press (before the journal moved online in the 90s, I guess).
Here’s what she said officially:
Rooms Outlast Us will be a small print journal, approximately 40 pages per issue, and will include poetry and poetic criticism. Our emphasis is on showcasing writing from more established poets alongside emerging poets. We are hoping to accommodate writers working on longer works and sequences as well (so the journal will generally favor fewer poets with more pages per poet, rather than many poets with fewer pages). The first issue will be coming out in early January and the journal will be published bi-annually after that.
Rumor has it that they’ve got Matthew Savoca and Laura Sims to contribute to the first issue.
Submissions should be sent to roomsoutlastus[at]gmail.com.
Editors: Danika Stegeman, Ethan Edwards, and Justin Kielsgard.
I recently read Matthew Savoca’s, i am being honest, over at bearcreekfeed. I’ve been enamoured with this site since its first story by Kim Chinquee. Editor Colin Bassett has yet to leave me feeling anything but happily morose and disheartened.
i am being honest has this tender sensibility about domestic life, but it’s still very dour and a little sad. It reminded me of small pale humans, by daniel spinks. They both have this way of displaying the repetitive quality of relationships that is comforting but ultimately depressing as hell. I would like to marry either of these writers, but after reading their lovely work, it suddenly seems like a bad idea.
Here is Matthew reading the last (and my favorite) poem of the book. He talks in a funny voice, and I like it.