September 2008


The guy from Bookworm talks to David Markson. You should listen to it, because David Markson writes books ostensibly without plots. But actually, they always sort of seem to have plots.

David Markson writes the books you wish you could write:

“Sophocles, I’ve used them all. Aeschylus, I’ve used them all…I’m running out of famous people to talk about!”

“I’m spending a million dollars on those little index cards.”

Author News / 2 Comments
September 30th, 2008 / 5:19 pm

The daily obsessions of Mark Baumer

Mark Baumer’s everydayyeah chronicles (among author interviews, short fiction, misc.) with a new photo posted every day, inscriptions of the words EVERY DAY YEAH on practically anything imaginable: gumdrops, mattresses, crosswalks, pasta, etc. Part of the thrill is seeing what he comes up with—the sometimes imprudent terrains (i.e. public property, high altitudes, heavy traffic, etc.) on which he writes the words, and the orientation of the words (sometimes they are written in different places and only come together to form the phrase at a certain perspective. It’s a hefty commitment, not just of time, but of creative mental energy. Each incident is fresh, peculiar and intuitive.

I always ask myself, “where the hell is he taking these pictures?” (Let’s just say the guy gets around.) Many of the photos remind me of Where’s Waldo or the hidden bunny on the Playboy covers, as one often needs to search around before finding the phrase. Baumer, who seems highly in control of his own aesthetic, is probably doing this on purpose.

Another Baumer creation is Best Friends: photos of complete strangers (or light acquaintances at best) caught in an unlikely incidence of quasi-romanticism—at least through Baumer’s eyes. Of course, the appropriations are sarcastic, yet there’s a hint of solemnity—a certain loneliness conveyed, from not just the subjects, but the voyeur Baumer himself. He seems to always be looking, seeking comfort in the awkward spaces between limbs, averted eyes, and pending smiles.

Every day, every day. Yeah, yeah. I wouldn’t worry about OCD for Baumer, just server space.

Author Spotlight / 2 Comments
September 30th, 2008 / 3:31 pm

EWN Indie Publisher E-Panel

Dan Wickett of Dzanc Books and the EWN once again rips shit up with a nice new epanel discussion on independent publishing, with a Q&A among publishers from several indies, including Underland Press, Ellipsis Press, Keyhole Books, Tyrant Press, Hobart Short Flight Long Drive, Rose Metal Press and Hotel St. George Press. They discuss all matters of what running a small press entails, from searching through submissions to marketing the books to sales and promo, just about everything you could want to know.

A great, great interview, and a fascinating read, esp. if you are in the market of trying to place your own book or start your own press.

As a particular favorite moment, here’s Eugene Lim of Ellipsis Press on the future of Indie publishing:

I’d like to think an indie movement is going on. Twelve years ago there was an issue of The Review of Contemporary Fiction, titled “The Future of Fiction,” and edited by none other than David Foster Wallace. In it, there’s a hilarious and dead-on piece by Dalkey head John O’Brien, which stated among other things that the “end of literary books in commercial publishing is a historical inevitability.” And so it has come to pass. The bigger houses will cease (have ceased!) to publish literary fiction. It is not profitable for them to market and produce a title that will sell to 5000 people (even if Rick Moody strong-arms a National Book Award for them). S’okay though. The old publishing joke goes, How do you make a small fortune in publishing? Answer: Start with a large one. And then you and your crony get to laugh bitterly together. But it’s the wrong question. A small and lively (and one hopes resurging) group of people care about the novel as art. And with the new methods of production and distribution, it’s getting easier for writers to connect with readers. The truth is there’s never been any money in publishing innovative writers (at least before canonization—for those lucky few). But now what’s being revealed is it doesn’t matter that there isn’t. This is parallel with the digital revolution in filmmaking, which Francis Ford Coppola famously predicted by saying, “One day, some little fat girl in Ohio is going to be the new Mozart and make a beautiful film with her father’s camcorder and the so-called professionalism about movies will be destroyed forever.” Similarly and importantly, the means of production and marketing for books have become much more affordable.

Yes. Yes. Yes.

Presses / Comments Off on EWN Indie Publisher E-Panel
September 30th, 2008 / 2:38 pm

Fence is inside the house

Fence just announced a new fiction and poetry contest run in correlation with the Summer Literary Seminars, with publication and cash prizes for best poems and short stories which can be submitted through their website: here. No stamps or printing = nice.

The fiction side is to be judged by the badass Lynne Tillman, whose last novel AMERICAN GENIUS, is one of the most original and brilliant things I’ve read in years: about the Manson family and a woman in an asylum and encyclopedic recall and other beyond Pynchon shit. In the house.

In addition to being in Fence, winners get free tuition at the SLS, which looks pretty interesting, and includes a trip to either Italy, Lithuania, or Kenya. Jesus xox.

Contests / 2 Comments
September 30th, 2008 / 12:37 pm

Lily Hoang’s PARABOLA

Lily Hoang’s new novella, PARABOLA, which won the Chiasmus Press Undoing the Novel Contest last year, is finally out and available for consumption. From the looks of it, this thing has got to be incredible. From what I’ve read of Lily’s work (including an ebook I put out by her earlier this year THE WOMAN DOWN THE HALL) she is quite on top of the semi-surrealist mash up of fairy tale and Lynchian narrative, in a way not quite captured by anyone else I’ve seen.

PARABOLA is definitely worth checking out, and is the first in a slew of novels forthcoming from Lily, you can buy it from the press’s site above.

Bonus Lily links:

An awesome short fiction on Alice Blue Review

An interview with Lily about the novella and her writing process.

Author News & Author Spotlight / 1 Comment
September 30th, 2008 / 12:15 pm

I took a picture of Ellen Kennedy

Ellen Kennedy

Ellen Kennedy at Envoy Gallery, 9/28/08.

Author Spotlight & Web Hype / 8 Comments
September 29th, 2008 / 11:57 pm

Tao Lin’s 2nd Novel will be a Historical Memoir

Ok, yeah, not really, but at least the title will get some people to think so, as Tao Lin announced a couple days ago on his blog that his second novel will be titled RICHARD YATES, author of REVOLUTIONARY ROAD and THE EASTER PARADE, among other things. The novel, scheduled out from Melville House in the Fall of ’09, features as two of its main characters, Haley Joel Osment and Dakota Fanning.

Tao also answered some more questions about his writing process and the future of, um, stuff, in a nice interview with NYU Local.

If you’re just itching to get a read on the novel, a section that is supposedly included in the novel was published in the 2008 edition of NOON.

Author News / 4 Comments
September 29th, 2008 / 12:35 pm

Rose Metal Chapbook Contest Back For Third Year

The Rose Metal Chapbook contest has announced it’s third annual chapbook contest, beginning October 15th.

Having dipped into the realm of hybrid-fiction, and gained lots of notice from online writers (including Claudia Smith whose The Sky Is A Well and Other Shorts won the first year and helped launch Rose Metal into a little monster of a press) this year’s contest aims to publish another writer of flash fiction or short-shorts or whatever you want to call your pieces under 1,000 words (non-fiction included).

Manuscripts should be 25-40 pages.  Check the website as the opening date approaches for more details.

Contests / 2 Comments
September 29th, 2008 / 10:50 am

I Want to Give Someone a $6 Bailout Package

The economy doesn’t look good, but I have a plan.

I have $6 left in my PayPal Account Balance. I used to have more money, but I used that money to purchase many things: the first issue of The Open Face Sandwich, a chapbook from Octopus Books, some subscriptions to literary journals, Shane Jones’ novel from Publishing Genius, and stuff like that.

I would like to give away that $6 to someone or some press or some journal or something. It is not a lot of money, I understand, and I would like to receive something in return, preferably a chapbook, or a book, or some other neat trinket. I know that is a lot to ask for.

The idea is that I could then read that chapbook or journal back issue or whatever and talk about it in another post to promote literature and the economy and capitalism and other American things.

I guess this is like a reverse auction?

I am interested in these places:

Jaguar Uprising
Paper Hero Press
Ugly Duckling Presse
Chiasmus Press
Future Tense Books
Black Ocean Press

I am going to stop listing things, because it is time for bed. I realize that $6 might not cover the full cost of whatever. I hope that is not an insult. It is all the money I have right now in the account. At least someone will make a sale?

At least one unit will move, I guess?

I am also up for suggestions? Please, tell me about a cool thing I can read that I might have missed, preferably something that looks nice and I can touch in a nice way as I read it.

Web Hype / 8 Comments
September 29th, 2008 / 1:41 am

Sleepingfish Goes Sliced

Reading period is now open for the next issue of Sleepingfish, which in its new African incarnation will be web-based, a nice node on the face of internet’s reading life.

From editor Derek White:

Having relocated recently to Nairobi, the next issue might have more of a Kenyan or African slant, but not necessarily so. I do however encourage international writers, and writing that takes place outside of the contemporary American psyche, or in fictional places altogether. Despite this skew, Sleepingfish will still retain it’s same skewed aesthetic. If you are not familiar with this aesthetic, please browse some back issues or the recent print issue.

It will be nice to see how the translation occurs, and hopefully we will develop ex-American scourge from the new bruise. Yummy. Send some words, etc.

Uncategorized / Comments Off on Sleepingfish Goes Sliced
September 28th, 2008 / 2:50 pm