November 2008


Poet Julia Cohen has been asking people for advice over at her blog, On the Messier Side of Neat:

>>I’m reading Everybody’s Autonomy by Juliana Spahr. I’m on page 14 so I have a ways to go. What I would really appreciate is if you, in the comment box, let me know which theory or philosophy book was the most transformative for you. What has most deeply impacted your way of thinking/writing? I will then read it.

Whoever recommends the book that then impacts me the most will receive a prize greater than or equal to one pound of elk meat. Ok, greater.<<

Here’s some of what’s come in so far:

Our own Mike Young got first comment, with >>The work of Emmanuel Levinas, specifically Totality and Infinity.<<

A guy named Gary McDowell suggested Gaston Bachelard’s Poetics of Space, along with an apology that it was such a cliche choice. No shame in a crowd, Gary! I’ve read that book too.

I went on this long-winded spiel about the nature of the question, then finally got around to naming Zizek’s Puppet and the Dwarf. 

Mathias Svalina of Octopus Books (and of going steady with Julia Cohen) fame, picked The Giving Tree, but then Julia said her mom thinks that book is sexist, and pointedly thanked “everyone else.”  (Hmm. Did I just start an “internet rumor?” Can I classify this post under “web hype” now?)

Kitchen Press (aka Justin Marks) weighed in with this: >> Why Did I Ever, by Mary Robison. It’s marketed as a novel, i guess because she calls herself a novelist, but one could certainly argue for it as a prose poem. or lyric novel. or some mixed genre something or other.<<


And other people wrote other things too. Maybe YOU will win the elk meat?


This could be you, and you could be this.

This could be your new life.

Author Spotlight & Contests & Web Hype / 26 Comments
November 30th, 2008 / 10:38 pm

Win all of Bolaño’s stuff over at TQC

The person known as my wife eats pies inside out.  



*The person known as my wife eats pies inside out.


In the latest issue of The Quarterly Conversation, Scott Esposito is running a contest to give away to his readers

every single one of Roberto Bolaño’s works available in English, plus a special preview of his forthcoming novel The Ice Rink (New Directions, 2009). That’s eight books, including his mammoth new novel, 2666, and his new poetry collection, The Romantic Dogs, both reviewed in this issue.

The contest is pretty simple – read issue 14 of TQC, answer the questions on the contest page, and send your answers to Scott’s email address by December 31, 2008.

*Enjoyment of eating pie = enjoyment of reading TQC?

Contests / 2 Comments
November 30th, 2008 / 9:11 pm

Education for Indie Heathens

On this site, in a recent post which garnered 200+ comments, someone quoted Ezra Pound; the source, Pound’s instructional text A B C of Reading.

Lego my Ezra

Lego my Ezra

In the book’s introduction Pound writes, “For those who might like to learn. The book is not addressed to those who have arrived at full knowledge of the subject without knowing the facts.” He goes on to describe A B C as a text-book ” ‘for pleasure as well as profit’ by those no longer in school; by those who have not been to school; or by those who in their college days suffered those things which most of my own generation suffered.”

Obviously Pound had HTML’s audience in mind.

After the jump is a passage that hasn’t aged a day since its 1934 publication.


Random / 70 Comments
November 30th, 2008 / 7:31 pm

2 New from Magic Helicopter Press

Two really exciting new handmade chapbooks (I will not call them ‘chaps’) from the exciting, pastel colored Magic Helicopter Press: Mary Miller’s LESS SHINY and Benjamin Buchholz’s THIRTEEN STARES.

Here are specs:

Mary Miller’s LESS SHINY

36 pg
First Printing: November 2008, 75 numbered copies


A collection of short short stories from the author of Big World (short flight/long drive books 2009). Mary Miller’s stories have appeared in the Oxford American, New Stories from the South 2008, Mississippi Review, Black Clock, Quick Fiction, Barrelhouse, Hobart, and elsewhere.


from NOÖ Journal: “This Boy I Loved a Rock”

from elimae: “South Dakota”

from SmokeLong Quarterly: “A Blind Dog Named Killer and a Colony of Bees”

Benjamin Buchholz’s THIRTEEN STARES.

36 pg
First Printing: November 2008, 75 numbered copies


A collection of poems and photographs from US Army officer Benjamin Buchholz, who is the author of the non-fiction book Private Soldiers from WHS Press, now nominated for the Book of the Year Award by ForeWord Magazine. Work Buchholz published in 2007 has been nominated for the Pushcart, the Million Writers Award, and included in the anthology Best of the Web from Dzanc Press.


from NOÖ Journal

from Tryst: “Promotions and Demotions”

from Tarpaulin Sky: “Nowords”

Two killer new things to read and gift and give and enjoy. Cheap! Kick it.

Presses / 4 Comments
November 30th, 2008 / 2:31 pm

The Jeopardy! Report #2

par oft an ongoing series, wherein my friend Danielle watches Jeopardy! and then emails me a diary of her concerns. 

Oh my God, Alex Trebek has totally crossed the line now. First of all, the panel must have the lowest combined age of all time, and they’re attractive too. It’s like for one magical day someone parted the dark, pendulous storm clouds that hang eternally over the Jeopardy! set, and the light shone down upon these three rare specimens. And this totally sexy-librarian type is answering almost every single question; I mean she’s killing it. And as hot as that is, I almost feel bad for the dudes because they seem, of all things, pretty okay. Anyway, the girl just goes on smoking these guys’ asses and at the first commercial break I’m  like, You know, there’s something magically rad about this episode. Okay, so: commercial break, and then back to the show, and as they zoom in on the set, I’m feeling pretty sweet. And then I realize that Alex has moved from his podium. He is standing next to the cool, nerdy girl, asking himself the question  that–let’s face it, I watch a lot of Jeorpardy! and I think we can both agree that I really get it, so just trust me–could–nay, will– change her life forever: Of all the dumb facts on this gay blue card, which can I use to bring the greatest shame and humiliation upon this woman and her family? “She has a Master’s degree in something that I think would be very, very useful and important in this day and age”? Really? What? It seems that Alex is actually quite taken with her and not at all his usually you-look-like-someone-who’s-got-a-vagina-so-it’s-time-to-think-of-a-way-to-make-you-feel-bad-about-yourself self. It turns out that her degree was in Plant,Soil, and Environmental Science, but she was in the sustainable agriculture program doing good for the underdog but helping small farm farmers reduce their reliance on herbicides. “Okay, so what’s the best way to do that?” he asks. Really? What? Fill me in on the major findings of your master’s thesis and do be aware that I will interrupt you almost immediately? It’s like he’s an asshole by accident whenever he’s not busy being an asshole on purpose. So she handles fine and says “Be careful” which is kind of whatever, but okay at least you said something. And then Alex says, “That’s it? Just be careful?” RRRRRRRRRRRRRRR. He ruined the whole show for me.


[the following appeared a few minutes later in a separate email.  -ed.]

The guy next to the environmental scientist just graduated from business school, where he studied marketing, and Alex tells him, Good for you, good for you.





Mean & Random / 14 Comments
November 30th, 2008 / 11:41 am

Dear Leader

Blake Butler—our fearless leader here at htmlgiant—has a novella coming from the mighty Calamari Press. Go here to pre-order it.

That is all.

Author News / 8 Comments
November 29th, 2008 / 11:23 pm

Chesticles Friday: Belated

I apologize for the late post.  Friday is indeed over.  I have a good excuse though.  Let me explain.

I went deep undercover into the scorpion’s nest.  My phone camera was crotch concealed and undetected.  My life was in jeopardy and the final question was “What is you’re fucked?”.

Seriously, I am flayed skin if these guys find out I am secretely posting drunken pictures on HTML Giant to increase female/homosexual readership.


Uncategorized / 22 Comments
November 29th, 2008 / 4:40 pm

Department of New Stuff: Vehicular, a zine from The Press Gang


A press gang.

A press gang.


Qin Gangs Press Conference

Qin Gang's Press Conference

So last Tuesday I read some poems at an event put on by Boog City (site seems out of date) which featured four indie presses: X-ing Books (my guys), Open 24 Hours Press (no site I could find), Farfalla Press, and The Press Gang.  Well, as you might imagine, everybody had the best time ever. I ate some cheese, and Anne Waldman did this terrifying thing where she shouts what might be Wikipedia entry about manatees over a boombox soundtrack of something that sounds like the music on the first Ani Difranco/Utah Philips collaboration. (I’ve actually seen her do this twice now, so I guess it’s like a thing.) Anyway, my favorite thing was The Press Gang, who put up an impossibly emo young poet named Evan Kennedy, who compulsively kicked the floor with his boot while he read. After the reading, one of the editors high-fived m and then gave me a copy of issue #1 of their ‘zine, vehicular. Then they wanted to come out drinking with us and I wanted them to come but then someone I was with said where we were going wasn’t really that kind of place, and her brother was in town visiting–all of which was true–so we didn’t get to hang out. Next time, next time. 


Anyway, the zine, which is photocopied unbound pages tied up with a string, is a split between two writers: J.D. Mitchell-Lumsden and Evan Kennedy. JDM-L makes weird blocks of prose and presents things that look like they are diagrams, or used to be, or maybe will be soon. Kennedy, writing as “Evan Abandoned,” presents a sequence (?) of Bowie/club-kid inspired poems. Despite one poem actually containing the refrain “I am as lonely as a poetry reading,” it’s really interesting work, and I think he’s onto something. Evan’s section of vehicular is entitled “All the Young Dudes,” and here’s a poem from it, which I typed up just for you (I tried to approximate his spacing, but it’s admittedly a best-guess sort of job). 


“In a Season of Switchblades”

for Saint Augustine


After an awkward phase,     our bodies

became a pleasure to look at;


we got the hint that things    were starting

to fill out.

                We joined the Wreckers and


received matching coats. We bred

a subtle trouble      through the school halls.


Even a little danger loved was death won.

There were the bloody-nosed    at the video arcade


and haircuts in the bowling alley bathroom.

On one wall     a portrait of Cabeza de Vaca,


another, all the animals he brought.

There were Swishers to smoke and


showers to get the stink off. The Cineplex

was brimming with unheard-of poetries.


The heroes were attributed human sins,

but not ours. 

                      There was the tree we shook


after skinny dipping;     pears fell into

mud that was     up to our knees. Two eggs

dropped as well, and we     palmed them.







Saint Augustine

Saint Augustine

Saint Augustine, FLA

Saint Augustine, FLA


The chorus of Saint Augustine by moe. goes God is light, light is good, yeah God is good.

The chorus of "Saint Augustine" by moe. goes "God is light, light is good, yeah God is good."

Author Spotlight & Presses / 10 Comments
November 29th, 2008 / 3:23 pm

“THEY TOOK THE DOORS OFF THE HINGES!” – Worker dies at Long Island Wal-Mart after being trampled in Black Friday stampede

They took the doors off the hinges. He was trampled and killed in front of me. They took me down too...I literally had to fight people off my back. - Jimmy Overby, Wal-Mart employee

"He was trampled and killed in front of me. They took me down too...I literally had to fight people off my back." - Jimmy Overby, Wal-Mart employee

Fuck, man. I passed Valley Stream on the way to my cousin Jeff’s for Thanksgiving yesterday. His wife asked me if I was planning to go to any of the big special sales. It took me a minute to figure out what she was talking about, then I said “why would anybody do that?”

Catherine, I stand by most of the critiques I made on your blog a while back about Adbusters’ aesthetic etc., but seriously–if there was ever an argument for their perpetual relevance, this story is it.

Too bad nobody told those sick motherfuckers on Long Island about Buy Nothing Day. Oh, and just to give the rest of us some perspective:

Does your spouse know you stepped on someones throat today? Do your kids?

"But Mom," my kids said when I told them what I'd done. "This is a FIRST-WORLD DEMOCRACY. Things like that might happen in Mexico, but not here." I told them they would understand when they got older.

Web Hype / 14 Comments
November 28th, 2008 / 10:08 pm

Coconut 14

I am too caloric to say much of whole hey anything, but I have found some new words to eat my stomach for me, as issue 14 of Bruce Covey’s Coconut has pretty badass prose poems and etc., with a list of contributors from Gog:

There’s a brand-spanking-new Coconut 14 live on the web, featuring new poems by David Lehman, Snezana Zabic, Denise Duhamel, Nin Andrews, William Minor, Lee Ann Roripaugh, Chad Sweeney, Brigitte Byrd, W.B. Keckler, Shira Dentz, Jared White, Eileen Tabios, Amber Nelson, Sam Pink, Molly Arden, Graeme Bezanson, John Most, Dana Guthrie Martin, Sarah Bartlett, Matt Turner, Lara Glenum, Susana Gardner, Carmen Gimenez Smith, Jackie Clark, Gale Nelson, Stephanie Berger, Rauaun Klassnik, and Jed Rasula!

Plus, sparkly brilliant new book titles from Jen Tynes and Sueyeun Juliette Lee!!!!!!!!

Let’s have a look see, shall we? Sam Pink gives sonic head.

I don’t know where boobs are. I feel large. I am touching my own boobs. You should too.

Uncategorized / 4 Comments
November 28th, 2008 / 5:26 pm