Notes While Reading “Cityscapes” Anthology (Editor: Jacob Steinberg)
Cityscapes / Jacob Steinberg Prologue
Cityscapes was edited by Jacob Steinberg. Jacob goes to NYU (does he still go to NYU?). I remember he used to bro-down with Spencer Madsen and one time they did a Ustream from the beach in Florida or something. I’ve been in many Tinychats with Jacob. I like him.
Jacob mentions Julio Cortazar in his prologue. We’re both fans of Cortazar and of Clarice Lispector, not that those are rare people to be fans of, but I feel as if we’ve e-bonded over being into those authors. Jacob asked me to be in this but my piece wasn’t really about Chicago particularly. Took place on the internet.
This project used to be called Alt Lit Cityscapes but Jacob decided to drop “Alt Lit” because there were non-Alt Lit people in it. I also heard “somewhere” that “someone” refused to be in an anthology with “Alt Lit” in the title.
“i live in a magical kingdom” Jackson Nieuwland
I love this poem. The second-to-last stanza is particularly great, to me. I’ve noticed Jackson likes metaphors and patiently carrying out extended metaphors. Really love the second-to-last stanza.
4 shorts by Alice May Connolly
I’m not sure if these 4 shorts are interrelated or seen as separate from each other. Thought of Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas while reading these, via the “shifting between characters in their little lives all in one place” aspect. I enjoyed them. I have been seeing Alice May Connolly’s name pop up more recently and her pieces seem to be well-crafted and unpredictable. The last of the shorts is about the health and physical appearance of the speaker’s buttocks.
Melbourne / Susie Anderson
I have known of Susie for a long time. I think we may have interacted a few times. She used to (still does?) run a blog with Stacey Teague, who is also in this anthology. They both live in London now, I believe, having moving from New Zealand and Australia. This prose or prose poem is called “thank you batman, i feel magical now.”
Auckland / “snail” / Stacey Teague
Stacey is coming to New York to visit, I have heard. We’ve been in many Tinychats together. I published her in Pop Serial #3.
“waiting for a flood” / Dave Shaw
Dave seems cool. I don’t know him very well at all. He made a nice image for the next issue of my magazine. I know he’s been friends with Steve Roggenbuck and other people I know for a while now. I like his book reviews he posts on Facebook. Seems like a cool guy. I have heard many girls (and boys) say they thought he was cute.
“hunter gather” / Frank Hinton
Frank’s been in Pop Serial. She/he/them/it is supposed to send me something for the next one too. I like Frank’s writing. This piece strikes me as more lyrical or something than other things I’ve read by Frank. Might re-read it.
London / Alexander J. Allison
I’ve interacted with Alexander but I don’t know him too well. He has a novel coming out. Several friends of mine seem to be enamored of his writing. He has hung out with various British friends of mine. I remember liking a thing he had in Kill Author (RIP hehe…).
Excerpt from “nature poem” / Crispin Best
I love Crispin Best. He is a wonderful presence online and in person. I had the pleasure of hanging out with him and Ben Brooks during AWP this year. They are quite the duo, I love them both. Crispin is a hilarious, clever, delightful fellow, what can I say, lol… We’ve discussed publishing the complete version of this poem in Pop Serial #4 but haven’t decided yet. I love Crispin Best.
I have known of Thom James for a bit. He sent me a prose thing unsolicited for Pop Serial #4 (I mostly solicit) and it, as they say, knocked my socks off. I even compared it to Beckett in my message back haha.. I’ve liked his poems but that thing he sent to me was better yet than anything I’d seen by him. I am excited to read more stuff by Thom.
I’ve vaguely known Giles for a while. He’s been very supportive and friendly on social media but I’ve never had much or any (?) direct contact I think. I know he’s friends with my friends in England. He seems like a very nice guy. Interesting piece. Seems restrained. Kept thinking “paragraphs” while reading. The paragraphs as units seems to be something i thought about while writing (really don’t know what I’m getting at here, what the fuck lol…). Restrained. Interesting piece. Feeling dumb at the moment. Need to pee brb.
“high male vocals” / Ana Carrete
I love Ana. She is the first person to publish me. She’s been in every issue of Pop Serial I think. She visited me in Chicago once and I visited her in Tijuana. I’m always wishing the best for Ana. I’m glad she has a book out now. This story is about her relationship with a character named Macaulay Culkin. Was interesting for me trying to guess the Culkin character’s possible real-life counterpart. I know Ana has had a longstanding extreme crush on the actual Macaulay Culkin.
“palm trees are not native to los angeles” / Mira Gonzalez
I like Mira a lot. She’s a really fun, nice person. We talk pretty regularly on the internet. I read her forthcoming book and like it. Got to get a blurb to her soon. She has poems in the next Pop Serial. I’m excited about her. I can tell she’s trying hard with her poetry.
Megan seems nice, I don’t know her very well. My first interaction with her was when we both participated in a roundtable discussion with a pseudonymous shit-talker whose pseudonym I honestly can’t remember anymore. The roundtable was to be published by Housefire but has been delayed a bunch of times. Now the controversy with the shit-talker is irrelevant and everyone mostly forgot about it, so there’s no real point in publishing after all these delays. Was disappointed with the delays initially because I planted a cheeky quote in there and was excited to have the cheeky quote out there in the world. Was something like “Pop Serial has the most sexually attractive contributors of any literary journal in history” or something haha…
Portland / Zeke Hudson
I don’t know Zeke Hudson. Ampersands. Unconventional spacing of the poems.
San Francisco / M Kitchell
I like Mike. We used to hang some when he lived in Illinois. Good guy. He admitted he didn’t like me before meeting me IRL. I like that he liked me after meeting me, lol. I know of several people who love his writing a lot. I like it. I’ve mostly heard him read it out loud moreso than read it by itself. I’m interested in his ideas about the impossible and imagining a different life/reality. I’m glad he’s happier living in San Francisco. His contribution to this anthology is self-portraits taken on webcam, no text. That’s fun. I wish all the best for Mike.
“Bodies in DC” / Carolyn DeCarlo
I’ve met Carolyn, with Jackson Nieuwland, at AWP this year. I like her. I immediately felt comfortable talking to her. I like what she’s done with her magazine, UP.
I think I know him from Facebook. No offense to Bradley, going to keep moving along because I want to get through this.
“F.I.L.A. (Forever I Love Atlanta)” / Michael Hessel-Mial
These are some sweet-ass macros by Michael. I’ve met Michael once, he had dinner with me and Roggenbuck in Chicago when he was passing through town. Steve had him take over as managing webmaster of Internet Poetry. Michael seems like a really nice, awesome guy. I love that he is in the academic world and very smart and then makes these silly, inspired, awesome macros. A thing I appreciate with Michael’s macros is that the imagery is always kind of pretty/nice-looking, whereas many macros are intentionally kind of ugly/crude-looking–I also like that he goes for more than just irony with his macros. His macro repertoire includes irony, nonsequitur, post-irony and more. I asked Michael to make a special two-page spread for the next Pop Serial. I expect it’ll make me very happy to look at.
New York / Alex Dimitrov
I think CA Conrad or someone mentioned Dimitrov on Facebook, so I assume he’s well-known to some. Going to google Dimitrov now.
OK he was in Yale Review. I don’t know, I feel tired.
Saw a photo post by him with the title, “America I’ll Be Your Poet.”
He runs a queer poetry salon in New York.
Prose-poem with run-on sentences. I’ve seen Mike several times. I’ve seen him read–he’s a very charismatic reader, reads with facepaint on oftentimes. I admire his boldness and spirit. We talked a bit on the subway during AWP I remember. I like Mike.
Short poem. No comment, I don’t know.
I like Willis. We’ve been chatting more recently. Seems like a nice, fun guy. Hoping we can hang in New York soon. I’ve seen him sleeping on cam in Tinychats numerous times, which I find endearing.
“ode to flatbush” / Jacob Steinberg
I think anything I read by Jacob is more fun for me because of my interactions with Jacob. His charm and personality and my knowledge of him make reading him more entertaining.
I like the style and the multiple versions of CA talking to each other. Not too familiar with CA’s work, but I remember a very cool, fun girl I dated for a while said CA was her favorite poet.
Chicago / Sam Pink
I love Sam Pink’s writing. He’s one of my favorites. Heiko Julien and I were talking today about how much we admire him. I like the concept of this piece. Feels like typical Sam Pink humor. He imagines his suicide and then provides a “fun fact” about Chicago. Haha.
I like Cassandra. We’ve hung many times in Chicago. Very nice person. I dig her writing and her reading-style at readings. I like this poem. Tristan Tzara name-drop. Some good lines in this.
Memphis / Janey Smith
Janey is intriguing to me. He “like”s things I post on Facebook pretty frequently. His writing and persona online seems peculiar, somewhat difficult to parse. Which I’m sure is what Janey is going for. I think he once submitted to my magazine and said he was going to run into traffic if I didn’t accept it. Haha. I’m too tired to read all of this right now.
New Orleans / Rod Naquin
Rod’s a neat guy. I follow him on Twitter. He used to jump into conversations a lot back when Roggenbuck was doing essays on poetry. I appreciate his intelligence and thoughtfulness.
Sao Paulo / Ana Guadulupe
Cool that there’s poetry in translation. I like the line “a map carried by a turtle.”
Paris / Irene Gayraud (Transl. Caitlin Adams)
I like this. Nice prose style. A bedroom scene. “…easy in that exoticism without voyage.”
Barcelona / Luna Miguel (Transl. Jacob Steinberg)
Luna is fierce, wonderful, I love her poetry. She always has memorable lines and a terrific energy in her poetry. “Like those pigeons run over on the Rambla I seek to be just a hole.”
Seoul / Noah Cicero
I like Noah. We’ve chatted numerous times. I appreciate his sense of humor and his passion for literature. These appear to be sarcastic poems? The narrator of the first claims to be from Brooklyn, and Noah is not from Brooklyn. I’m not sure. Interesting.
Brittany seems nice. The one time we met IRL I didn’t get a chance to talk with her much.
Buenos Aires / Malen Denis (Transl. Jacob Steinberg)
Couldn’t think of a comment. I’m glad there’s translated poems. I want to visit Buenos Aires.
Taipei / Ben Townsend
“the gloss jungle plants” stuck out to me. Some interesting combinations of descriptive words in this.
Dubai / Vivek Nemana
I don’t know what to say about a lot of these. Usually if I don’t know what to say it means either I read it and it seemed fine but I didn’t see a memorable line or couldn’t think of a nice thing to say about it. I haven’t hated any of these pieces. Some just I don’t have anything nice to say or nothing comes to mind.
Aurelio Meza (Transl. Jacob Steinberg)
I’m regretting deciding to do notes on every piece. I’m glad everyone contributed to this. I like this anthology. Good job, Jacob.
Ibarra Calavera (Transl. Jacob Steinberg)
Nice energy to this. Thought the word “mighty” while reading this. “Mighty verse.” Idk lol…
Port-au-Prince / Ariana Reines
I have known of Reines a long time. People seem to love her. I’ve liked all the poems I’ve read by her, I think. Have looked at her Facebook, her photos. Interested in the fact she seems cool but is accepted by “the establishment” maybe??? Like she seems “young” and “with-it” but also considered serious and important.
I like how her poems feel casual and yet she has lots of memorable lines. “I get hit by a car / I like it.” I like lines about self-violence. Roggenbuck and I were very into requests for someone to bludgeon/murder us last year. Well I thnk we’re still into it lol… Being violently murdered.
I feel like Ariana’s poems always feel long in a good way, like she keeps going and going until the thing’s been done. Good poem. Probably my favorite in this.
This has been my shitty-ass liveblog/notes on “Cityscapes.” Cheers to Jacob Steinberg. Cheers to all the writers. Goodnight.