September 2012

DIED: Gabriel Vahanian

Gabriel Vahanian, author of the book The Death of God: The Culture of Our Post-Christian Era, died on Saturday, September 8. He was 85.

He was not an atheist. He was a theologian and critic of what he referred to as “Religiosity,” Christianity that appealed broadly to his contemporary culture, that embraced faith without doubt, that was literal in its interpretations of the Bible, that was “trivial.” Here he reveals the death of God in the names we give God: READ MORE >

Author News / 7 Comments
September 21st, 2012 / 2:00 pm


Say Poem

Say Poem
by Adam Robinson
Awesome Machine/Publishing Genius Press, 2010
76 pages / $4  Buy from Publishing Genius









Adam Robinson is one of only four or five writers I know named Adam, but he’s the only one with the last name of Robinson. Adam Robinson runs a press named Publishing Genius (the only one named that) and I’m inclined to agree. Robinson has been publishing some pretty awesome writing for the last few years. I’ve seen him read a few times, and I have to say he’s one of the most entertaining readers named Adam I’ve seen. If he’d take his shirt off, he’d probably be in the top six.

A lot of people use words like “meta” when talking about writing, and it would certainly be appropriate when describing Robinson’s Say Poem, except I don’t like the word “meta.” “Meta” killed my father. It was during a hunting trip in New Jersey. “Meta” said it was an accident; he said he was aiming for a deer. My father looked nothing like a deer. For one thing, he was slightly taller and had fewer legs. For another, he was asleep in his bunk. So instead of using that word, I’ll use “George”, which was my father’s name, to describe Robinson’s collection. He would’ve liked that. The book is very George. Robinson is commenting on the difference between poetry on the page and poetry in the ear in a very George kind of way. The book is split into two sections, two long poems, really: “Say Poem” and “Say Joke”. The George-conceit of the first poem is that it is a text of Robinson performing several short poems. It includes often-very-George-commentary, light stage directions, banter Robinson would use, theoretically, between shorter poems within the longer section, either to add context to the poems themselves, or to keep the flow of the collection going. Robinson manages to do this without intruding on the poems too much. My father used to say that it’s not what you say it’s how you say it. He used to say that, but it’s been so long since I’ve heard it, I don’t even remember what his voice sounds like. Isn’t that sad? Some of Robinson’s poems are sad, too.


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September 21st, 2012 / 12:00 pm

Birkensnake #5 is now available

Birkensnake #5 cover by Chemlawn (2012).

Ever since its first appearance in 2008, Birkensnake has been one of my favorite fiction journals. It always includes quality work, and is always made available online in addition to its very pretty print editions (a model that I wish more print journals would adopt).

Issue #5 is now online here. And the print edition, which is now completely free (yes!), is available here. (All of the back issues are also available for free now, too—though note that donations are welcome.)

Meanwhile, Birkensnake #6—which will be edited by seven different pairs of editors, and released in seven different editions—is currently accepting submissions.

Finally, here’s a Black Clock interview with Brian Conn and Joanna Ruocco, Birkensnake‘s founders and editors.

I Like __ A Lot / 2 Comments
September 21st, 2012 / 10:16 am


A List of References in Mary Ruefle’s Madness, Rack, and Honey

Paul Valéry
Stéphane Mallarmé
Glandolyn Blue
Timothy Sure
Ralph Angel
Ezra Pound
Ernest Fenollosa
Roland Barthes
Gaston Bachelard
Cy Twombly
John Crowe Ransom
Barbra Hernstein Smith
Emily Dickinson
Walt Whitman
Charles Simic
Paul Auster
Hayden Carruth
Pablo Neruda
Nicholas Negroponte
Julio Cortazar
Edward Lense
Robert Graves
Robert Lowell
Babette Deutsch
Anthony Burgess
Archibald Macliesh
James Kirkup
Anne Sexton
Andrei Voznesensky
Kenzaburo Oe
Eugenio Montale
Pablo Picasso
Vladimir Nabokov
Neil Armstrong
Alan Shepard
Edgar Mitchell
James Irwin
Alan Bean
Jesus Christ
Wallace Stevens
the Dalai Lama
Maurice Blanchot
Philip Sterling
Tess Gallagher
Shelley READ MORE >
September 20th, 2012 / 10:57 pm

Win Lonely Christopher’s CRUSH DREAM

Hot new shit all over the place coming from Radioactive Moat : Most recently Lonely Christopher’s CRUSH DREAM : Of which CAConrad said “DON’T BE STUPID you know as well as I do these poems boil to the top of the gravy!!” : And of which RM has kindly offered to giveaway a copy along with copies of Ji Yoon Lee’s IMMA and Lucas de Lima’s GHOSTLINES , both also from RM.

All one has to do is : “Write Three Sentences About Your Worst Crush.” : Leave your sentences as a comment and a winner will be selected by Lonely Christopher : in ~48 hrs

Contests / 29 Comments
September 20th, 2012 / 12:26 pm

A mixtape inspired by The Orange Eats Creeps, a novel by Grace Krilanovich

Just wrapped up a two week session on The Orange Eats Creeps in my 21st Century Horror class, and one of my awesome students, DJ Dodd, created this badass mixtape: “For those who are interested in further exploring the dark underbelly of society hinted at by The Orange Eats Creeps, here is a streamable and downloadable mixtape that features the twisted, crusty, and often sublime characteristics found within the novel.”

A link to the mixtape, plus a track list after the break.


Music / 4 Comments
September 20th, 2012 / 12:20 pm

Animal Collection by Colin Winnette

Introducing Colin Winnette’s new book, Animal Collection, available from Spork Books. Look at that letterpressed hardcover, wouldja? The first sentence is “It’s in your best interests to take the beaver’s calls.” You can read an excerpt here or catch Colin on tour and buy one to his face.

Alternatively, “Who Could Win a Rabbit?

Author News / 4 Comments
September 20th, 2012 / 9:22 am


The Best American Review of the Best American Poetry 2012

I flipped to five poems in the anthology at random and wrote five sentences about each one.

1. “Hate Mail” by Carol Muske-Dukes
I can’t tell if this poem is supposed to be ironic or reflective or pissy. It doesn’t matter though because the poem doesn’t matter. It explores some really wack-a-doodle subjects such as blimps, the ozone layer, pigs flying, uses the words “whore,” “God”  and “honkers,” and even references the completely relevant world of l33t culture, inserting “btw” in the middle of a line. I don’t care about either side of the phrase “Queen Tut”—I just don’t care. This poem is trying so hard to be funny, controversial and current that it feels used up and desperate.


September 19th, 2012 / 9:11 pm

HTMLGIANT is now open to queries for regular or irregular columns / articles / contributions of questionable sort. Please write to blake [at] htmlgiant dot com with ideas of potential interest / content. Bizarre perspectives encouraged, as are calm or serious 1s. Will respond as best at ++++.

DIED: Dr. Thomas Szasz

Dr. Thomas Szasz was a professor of psychiatry who spent much of his intellectual life critiquing psychiatry. He believed much of psychiatry was unscientific and should not be used to justify coerced detention in mental institutions and that diagnoses should not be allowed in courts of law. He was popular with libertarians (because he believed in body and mind self-ownership over state control of our relative psychiatric [un]hingedness) and, because he called psychiatry a “pseudoscience,” he was embraced by the Church of Scientology.

Because he called psychiatry a “pseudoscience,” he was embraced by the Church of Scientology. READ MORE >

Random / 12 Comments
September 19th, 2012 / 2:50 pm