August 2011

Reading the new issue of Action, Yes

i’ll fuck before the winter’s out

Having read the new issue of Action, Yes while listening to Slayer’s Reign in Blood — except for when I got to “sounds for soloists” by Sebastian Eskildsen and Cia Rinne, which required me to pause Slayer — I continue to return to the final line of “Winter Diary” by Lidija Praizovic, translated from the Swedish by Johannes Göransson. The conjunction of the profane with the rhythmic beauty of its iambic tetrameter (da-DUM da-DUM da-DUM da-DUM) really appeals to me. I back up and re-read the second half of the final stanza:

i simply say this: and i’ll stick to it
over my dead body
over my dead body
over my dead body
i’ll fuck before the winter’s out


Random / 23 Comments
August 31st, 2011 / 1:48 pm

11 greebles and twangers (of e)

1. Best nonfiction books of all time, etc.

2. A list of novels about lonely people.

3. Shelia McClear interview about psychology, sexism, stripping, memoir.

I just totally want to defend someone’s right to do that sort of work whether it’s a peep show or prostitution. I mean, I don’t want to be a prostitute. I would just defend it, because I’ve had a lot of jobs, and many of them were more demoralizing than the peep show.

11. WTF? Murakami wrote yet another story about cats…


The sounds Stafford make at 4:05-ish are pretty epic. Also enjoyed, “Yeh. Get the fuck off me!”

4. Winesburg, Ohio online.

12. Barf bag collector site. Enjoy.

Random / 14 Comments
August 31st, 2011 / 8:24 am

Art Observed (Lost and Found)

This week: You will make many changes before settling satisfactorily. You will attain the highest levels of intelligence. You should enhance your feminine side at this time. Your financial situation will soon be improving. Remember 3 months from this date! Your lucky star is shining. -TD


Film / 1 Comment
August 30th, 2011 / 5:01 pm


The Sextine Chapel

The Sextine Chapel
by Hervé Le Tellier
Dalkey Archive Press, 2011
104 pages / $14.95 Buy from Dalkey Archive Press
Rating: 7.0







The Sextine Chapel, a book about the sexual interlocutions of 13 males and 13 females, stands upon the mathematical bedrock of Oulipo. The algorithm: (A)nna has sex with (B)en who has sex with (C)hloe who has sex with (D)ennis all the way until (Z)ach has sex with (A)nna who then skips six letters to (H)arry who skips another six to (O)riane and so on until, in close, (P)hilippe is having sex with (A)nna finishing the corporal turntable. Each hook-up is a paragraph on a page. Not everyone has sex with everyone else, but sayings are passed and settings repeated, creating a finite kaleidoscope of vagina and penis inside of which these strangers are connected.


August 30th, 2011 / 12:06 pm

The new issue of Action Yes is live, and all Swedish, and amazing.

Graphic Text Readings

I know Christopher Higgs just posted his superb fall semester reading list, so I’m being a sort of copycat perhaps, but also, would just love to get some thoughts and ideas from you all.

I’ve been teaching a class called Graphic Texts: Looking at Text and Image Combined on and off for a couple years now, and am always looking for new material to fold into the class.

The class is basically a survey class that looks at various different kinds of “graphic texts” in all senses of the world. Students read, have critical discussions, and create graphic text projects of their own.


Behind the Scenes / 40 Comments
August 29th, 2011 / 4:07 pm

A Conversation With Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Aimee Nezhukumatathil is the author of three poetry collections: Lucky Fish(2011); At the Drive-In Volcano (2007), winner of the Balcones Prize; and Miracle Fruit (2003), winner of the Tupelo Press Prize, ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year Award, the Global Filipino Award and a finalist for The Glasgow Prize and the Asian American Literary Award. She has won a Pushcart, an NEA fellowship and many other accolades and she is a faculty member in the English Department at SUNY-Fredonia. Her most recent book, Lucky Fish, blends the political and personal and is a really exciting and textured collection of poetry. I had a chance to talk to Aimee about her poetry and what influences her writing.

A lot of your poetry is deeply connected to the natural world. What is it about nature that you find so poetic?

Hmmm…I guess I love to let nature do the talking for me, so to speak. And why not—she has a much richer palette than I could ever conjure up! When I first started writing seriously in college, my subjects weren’t very broad: I basically wrote these sappy love and un-requited love poems. As I learned about the power and loveliness of metaphor (and as I began to get bored with myself!), I started to draw upon nature as an alternate lens to re-imagine ‘relationshippy’-issues and what it was like growing up Asian American in predominantly white towns.

Growing up, my father always took the time to make sure my sister and I knew the names of constellations, tree names, and most types of rock, etc. He did this on what now seems like these luxuriously long nature walks in the desert foothills of central Arizona and in the rich greenery of western NY—basically anywhere we lived, he found ways to make sure we didn’t just stay parked in front of a television. Many of those places have become gentrified and paved over so now in particular, I feel an urgency to witness and celebrate the natural world in my writings.


Author Spotlight / 11 Comments
August 29th, 2011 / 1:00 pm

A Consciousness of the Luxury of Art: An Interview with Jon Leon

Last month I received a copy of the first issue of a new project by publisher James Copeland called Content, a series that releases uniform length and shape books each filled with “content” from an individual author without restriction. The first issue is by Jon Leon, a piece titled Elizabeth Zoë Lindsay Drink Fanta, which is at its most basic a series of photographs of the three famous women referred to in the title, manipulated and arranged by Leon throughout.

I didn’t quite know what to make of the book at first. I think I immediately thought, Why? But the book stayed out on my desk and I found myself continuing to look at it, and to think about the things Leon mentioned in the one page letter that accompanied the volume (reproduced here on Leon’s website), which includes the lines, “I wanted to talk about ‘the demented power of the lights,’ how literature is evil, the end of my ‘career,’ the end of the artists editions, my conceptual death, my simulation of life, my meltdown in print and on tape, my public facade, my disappearance from Los Angeles, my disappearance from the Atlanta scene, my disappearance from New York in the holiday of 2009. My resolution to ‘end this shit’ in 2010. To kill off the poems.”

Last week I had an email correspondence with Mr. Leon regarding the concept of the book, its assemblage, the context of creation and aging with creation, Lindsay Lohan, modeling, and disintegration in general, among other things.


Author Spotlight / 15 Comments
August 29th, 2011 / 12:59 pm


Fantasies of Trauma and the Experiment of Coherency

The Flame Alphabet
by Ben Marcus
Knopf, Jan 2012
304 pages / $26  Buy from Amazon








Ben Marcus wrote this book, which is to say he either typed it into a computer or used a stylus, pen or pencil to scratch pigment into a page or roll of paper—the tools available to us humans at our particular anchor in time.* He did this in roughly a year, after developing the concept: a man—through his own somewhat distorted lens on reality—relates his recent experiences in a world wherein language, spoken and written, is discovered to harm its producers and recipients. I will try not to ruin it for you, but the inhabitants of this world eventually determine that the formation of meaning itself—the moment of insight, in which the gestalt of the lexeme coalesces in the mind of the listener/reader—is the problem; i.e. when you understand a word, you become sick: and more words, more understanding makes you sicker.


August 29th, 2011 / 12:00 pm

Fall Semester Reading List

Starting next week, I’ll be teaching two sections of an undergraduate course in Postmodern American Literature. For those who might be interested in what we’re reading, here’s the list:

John Barth – Lost in the Funhouse (1968)
+ excerpts from Metafiction by Patricia Waugh
+ “Mapping the Postmodern” by Andreas Huyssen

Joanna Russ – The Female Man (1975)
+ “A Cyborg Manifesto” by Donna Haraway
+ “Change of Dominant from Modernist to Postmodernist Writing” by Brian McHale

Clarence Major – My Amputations (1986)
+ “Postmodern Blackness” by bell hooks
+ “Structure, Sign and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences” by Jacques Derrida

David Markson – Wittgenstein’s Mistress (1988)
+ “The Precession of the Simulacra” by Jean Baudrillard
+ “Poetics of Postmodernism” by Linda Hutcheon

Lara Glenum & Arielle Greenberg, eds. – Gurlesque: the new grrly, grotesque, burlesque poetics (2010)
+ “The Laugh of the Medusa” by Hélène Cixous
+ “The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism” by Frederic Jameson

Behind the Scenes / 135 Comments
August 28th, 2011 / 4:42 pm