Peter Markus

2017 Indie Lit Wish List




There’s a lot of exciting stuff headed our way in 2017 from independent publishers. Here are some of the books I’m looking forward to getting my hands and eyes on this year.

(What books are you looking forward to in 2017? List them in the comments section below!)


Random / 9 Comments
January 13th, 2017 / 12:09 pm

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

Lishcast Moonfish Sleepingfish Bookmas

1. Iambik offers a free audio Q/A slash talk with Gordon Lish re: creation, editing, Beckett, Ginsberg, Tao Lin (for real), and various etc., in corollary with the release of his audio books.

2. Cinematheque Press has published a limited edition run of Peter Markus’s classic The Moon is a Fish in a limited edition of 84, with all proceeds going to support the InsideOut Literary Arts Project in Detroit.

3. If you haven’t been following Sleepingfish’s vol iX sequence, you have some reading to do, including new short pieces by Robert Lopez, Jack Boettcher, Elisa Misto, and more more.

4. I got my mom Sebald’s Rings of Saturn and Brautigan’s Trout Fishing in America/The Pill versus the Springhill Mine Disaster/In Watermelon Sugar and J. Robert Lennon’s Pieces for the Left Hand for xmas. I disagree with Adam: books are the only gift I usually actually end up doing something with beyond the day it arrives.

What books did you get people? What did/will you get?

Random / 45 Comments
December 24th, 2010 / 1:45 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

Please Support InsideOut Literary Arts Project [A letter from Peter Markus]


The Calm, by Timothy Pace

Dear Friends,

The InsideOut Literary Arts Project, where I work as its Senior Writer, is looking for your help.

For the past 15 years, InsideOut has placed creative writers—poets, novelists, short story writers—into Detroit Public School classrooms as a way of getting students to actively engage in the power and pleasure of language and the imagination.

I’ve been a writer with InsideOut since its inception. It’s a part of who I am in the world. I can tell you, first-hand, that the work we do changes lives.

When a child picks up a pencil and is asked to gaze up inside it, anything—no everything—is possible.

When you write it down, I often tell them, people have no choice but to listen, to see what you see, to know what you know.

See for yourself. Check out this poem written by a 4th grader at Fitzgerald Elementary.

Web Hype / 12 Comments
August 10th, 2009 / 2:49 pm

Give a writer some of your money

Dzanc Books is sponsoring a Write-A-Thon. They need a little money.

Hey, you have a little money. A little, right? $5, maybe? You should sponsor one of the PARTICIPANTS of the DZANC WRITE-A-THON so that they can continue to publish Peter Markus and Yannick Murphy and Roy Kesey and Kyle Minor and Allison Amend.

And more Peter Markus is coming. And Dawn Raffel. And Robert Lopez. And Terese Svoboda. And Suzanne Burns.

Do it for Steve Gillis. Do it for Dan Wickett. Those guys love books and they take fiction seriously. And they do right by a bunch of really good writers.

You love those people. You know you do.

Hell, you all love Peter Markus. If you didn’t love Peter Markus, you wouldn’t be reading HTMLGiant. Do it for him. Sponsor him. He’s a participant.

Or Kim Chinquee. Sponsor her. She’s a machine. She’s a freakin’ short-short fiction machine.

Or Matt Bell! Everybody loves Matt Bell! He wrote that great essay about Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards for Hobart. Remember when you read that? And it made you laugh?

Or Jim Ruland! He had a great essay about the movie Repo Man in The Believer a while back. You loved that essay!

Presses / 4 Comments
November 12th, 2008 / 2:47 pm

Peter Markus is a monk I think

Brother Markus’s interview on Detroit radio WDET is now posted in its entirely with a backup photo montage have now been posted on Youtube for our enjoyment.

Peter talks a lot about writing his new novel BOB, OR MAN ON BOAT from Dzanc Books, including inspiration, rejection, and an excerpt read in Peter’s highly incantatory speech.

“Nothing’s conscious for me, Greg.”

I really enjoy listening to Peter talk, on paper on from the mouth, I think he would be capable of hypnotizing babies in a way that made them smarter, if I ever have a baby I will ask Peter to come down and make the child’s head fattened in the good way.

Author News & Author Spotlight / 2 Comments
October 11th, 2008 / 12:58 pm

Peter Markus

Always looking forward to what Peter Markus is doing with his words, I decided to ask the man himself what we can expect from him in the future.  A few great things to get everyone pumped:

-A new book of brother stories to be published by Dzanc in 2011.

-A limited edition book from Cinematheque Press called “The Moon is a Fish” that he describes as “a sort of novelty project that will have illustrations, maybe even maps, other odds and ends and assortments—fish bones, fish teeth, fish scales, a broken off piece of the moon, etc” to be published sometime next year, but not definite yet. 

-A manuscript of three long stories where “every word is monosyllabic.”  One of these will appear in the next issue of Unsaid. 

And if all that is too much of a wait, Peter will be on Detroit radio this morning at WDET 101.9FM on the show Detroit Today at 11:00.

Author News & Author Spotlight / 2 Comments
October 10th, 2008 / 9:52 am