Mark Cugini

is the editor of Big Lucks and the curator of the THREE TENTS Reading Series in Washington, DC. His first chapbook is forthcoming from Ink Press.

STARK WEEK INTERLUDE: SLampson at the Beast Forest

This is what happens when a poet quotes his poetry to a weird worm-looking thing in Second Life, a 3D world that announced a ban on in-world gambling on July 28, 2007, in fear that new regulations on Internet gambling would affect the privately held American Internet company if it was permitted to continue.

[21:11] Slampson Slarkweather: this forest is unusually horny.
[21:13] Namadisi: it is a romantic forest on the sky hahahhaha
[21:13] Namadisi: :)
[21:15] Slampson Slarkweather: They sky has no clouds here. Just a ridiculous blue.
[21:16] Namadisi: maybe is your viewer?
[21:16] Namadisi: i see clothes
[21:19] Namadisi: lol
[21:19] Namadisi: clouds
[21:20] Namadisi: hahahahhhahaa
[21:22] Namadisi: and clothes or course
[21:23] Slampson Slarkweather: Anyone who dances with their shirt on is dead to me.
[21:23] Namadisi: hahahahahahahahaa
[21:24] Namadisi: we ae near the lake who wear shirt  near a lake???
[21:26] Slampson Slarkweather: Fracking laws and loopholes taught us water is winning.
[21:27] Namadisi: hhahahahaha the water does look nice
[21:27] Namadisi: you should go take a dip
[20:28] Slampson Slarkweather: You should really come see what it’s like down here, to be me.
[20:30] Namadisi: where r you?
[20:33] Namadisi: hahahhaa now i know what you mean hahahahhaa
[21:35] Slampson Slarkweather: I want to go home, find you have been living beneath my bed, take off all our clothes, lie back and talk and talk until it’s ruined the stars.
[21:38] Namadisi: wow
[21:38] Namadisi: nice words poet?
[21:38] Slampson Slarkweather: i’m not a poet i just crush a lot.
[21:39] Namadisi: hahhaha
[21:39] Namadisi: you fo that well
[21:40] Slampson Slarkweather: My friend thinks poetry has nothing to do with words.
[21:42] Namadisi: well thats silly poetry has eferything to do with words
[21:02] Namadisi: :=))
[21:42] Slampson Slarkweather: Poetry is exactly like sexual harassment. Don’t ask.
[21:43] Namadisi: no i think i understand =P
[21:44] Slampson Slarkweather: Your exercises in empathy are encouraging, but is it really possible for two people to ever understand each other?
[21:45] Namadisi: hmmmmm good question
[21:45] Namadisi: i think so
[21:46] Namadisi: if you get 2 kno someone well enough and spend alott of time listening to each other then yea
[21:47] Namadisi: thats true love =D
[21:49] Slampson Slarkweather: I have love like a headache.
[21:49] Slampson Slarkweather: Sure you can cut a hole in a sheet but good luck trying to fuck a ghost.
[21:51] Namadisi: O-o what do u mean
[21:51] Slampson Slarkweather: Hello plasma. It’s me, fellow fake state of matter.
[21:54] Namadisi: is this a joke or somethin’
[21:55] Slampson Slarkweather: the secret to life is being tan.
[21:56] Slampson Slarkweather: Give me your wallet.
[21:56] Slampson Slarkweather: Did you think this poem was going to end by itself?

[Note: This dumb thing was inspired by this broadside from Rye House Press.]

Author Spotlight & Blind Items / 1 Comment
July 20th, 2013 / 4:00 am

STARK WEEK INTERLUDE: SLampson at the Goth Club

This is what happens when a poet quotes his poetry to a lonely girl in Second Life, a 3D world where you can discover your artistic talents and share them instantly with friends.


[2013/06/24 20:49] Dibblez Doobie (busy response): If All You Are Going To Do Is Send Some Lame, Overused, DumbAss Line, Just Stop And I’m Someone Else. Be Creative Man .FFS Thanks Have A Nice Day
[2013/06/24 20:50] Slampson Slarkweather: I should just dance my face off for the next 20 seconds.
[2013/06/24 20:50] Dibblez Doobie: lol
[2013/06/24 20:50] Slampson Slarkweather: would that be weird?
[2013/06/24 20:51] Slampson Slarkweather: or good weird?
[2013/06/24 20:51] Dibblez Doobie: lol
[2013/06/24 20:51] Dibblez Doobie: im not even sure what ur talking about but u made me laugh
[2013/06/24 20:51] Dibblez Doobie: so good wierd i guess
[2013/06/24 20:52] Dibblez Doobie: r u 3 weeks old or an alt ?
[2013/06/24 20:53] Slampson Slarkweather: I’m 33.
[2013/06/24 20:54] Slampson Slarkweather: and I still don’t understand the bird and the bees.
[2013/06/24 20:55] Dibblez Doobie: lol
[2013/06/24 20:55] Slampson Slarkweather: and I’m a black belt in pussying out.
[2013/06/24 20:55] Slampson Slarkweather: :)
[2013/06/24 20:56] Dibblez Doobie: lol something to bwe proud of i suppose lol
[2013/06/24 20:57] Dibblez Doobie: r u sober ?
[2013/06/24 20:58] Slampson Slarkweather: I’m telling you, the squirrels are up to something.
[2013/06/24 20:58] Dibblez Doobie: duide
[2013/06/24 20:58] Dibblez Doobie: dude u know i have no idea what ui are talking bout right
[2013/06/24 20:59] Slampson Slarkweather: when you say “coffee” all people hear is “liquid turkey.”
[2013/06/24 21:01] Dibblez Doobie: im very used to men not making sence .. ;)
[2013/06/24 21:02] Slampson Slarkweather: I can hear the sound of your sadness, a small bird flailing in the grass, one wing making a useless music, and sometimes circumstance is the victim.
[2013/06/24 21:03] Dibblez Doobie: lol not the adjative i woulda used lol but ok
[2013/06/24 21:03] Slampson Slarkweather: what army hides inside you?
[2013/06/24 21:04] Dibblez Doobie: sorry im basing it on experince not
[2013/06/24 21:04] Dibblez Doobie: lol
[2013/06/24 21:05] Dibblez Doobie: lol no army silly
[2013/06/24 21:06] Slampson Slarkweather: Remember when Bill Murray was the right answer over Captain Kirk and you didn’t flinch?
[2013/06/24 21:07] Dibblez Doobie: lol wat the fuk are u talking abt
[2013/06/24 21:09] Slampson Slarkweather: I used to wonder what would happen if a plane flew through a rainbow.
[2013/06/24 21:10] Slampson Slarkweather: don’t you just love love?
[2013/06/24 21:10] Dibblez Doobie: i did once
[2013/06/24 21:10] Dibblez Doobie: n my friends adore me
[2013/06/24 21:11] Slampson Slarkweather: turns out this life is super fucking hard.
[2013/06/24 21:11] Slampson Slarkweather: you know?
[2013/06/24 21:12] Dibblez Doobie: that i know
[2013/06/24 21:13] Slampson Slarkweather: ever think the god that put us here forgot to punch holes in the jar?
[2013/06/24 21:13] Dibblez Doobie: every day
[2013/06/24 21:14] Dibblez Doobie: funny we are having this convo cause im watching titantic
[2013/06/24 21:15] Slampson Slarkweather: Depression is the fog that settles over the swamp you call your life.
[2013/06/24 21:15] Dibblez Doobie: ya tell me about it
[2013/06/24 21:16] Dibblez Doobie: i used to be happy
[2013/06/24 21:17] Slampson Slarkweather: I feel like my insides are about to explode.
[2013/06/24 21:19] Slampson Slarkweather: I want to help you, I want to open you up and fix all the black and bloody shit in there.
[2013/06/24 21:20] Dibblez Doobie: omg you sure are somethin
[2013/06/24 21:20] Dibblez Doobie: this party is lame, do you wana come hang out in my place
[2013/06/24 21:21] Slampson Slarkweather: I want to go where emails go, brave as the tiny birds stuck inside JFK airport chirping like a ringtone.
[2013/06/24 21:21] Slampson Slarkweather: Google Earth knows dick about my birthmarks.
[2013/06/24 21:21] Slampson Slarkweather: Dear Mom—you don’t know shit about poetry. If you were a think tank, we’d all be making cartoon balloons.
[2013/06/24 21:24] Dibblez Doobie: mom?
[2013/06/24 21:24] Dibblez Doobie: I ain’t your momma boy.
[2013/06/24 21:25] Slampson Slarkweather: It’s like Russia. Nobody realizes it size, the way you can die out there.
[2013/06/24 21:25] Slampson Slarkweather: We edit into existence.
[2013/06/24 21:25] Slampson Slarkweather: A girl’s leg disappearing.
[2013/06/24 21:26] Slampson Slarkweather: A hallway of possibility.
[2013/06/24 21:26] Dibblez Doobie: OMG.
[2013/06/24 21:26] Slampson Slarkweather: A new Eurydice.
[2013/06/24 21:26] Slampson Slarkweather: A green dress stitched with light.
[2013/06/24 21:26] Slampson Slarkweather: On her shoulders by thin electricity.
[2013/06/24 21:27] Slampson Slarkweather: Pulled the plug.
[2013/06/24 21:27] Slampson Slarkweather: The leg is flesh, which doesn’t make it real.
[21:27] User not online – message will be stored and delivered later.

Author Spotlight & Haut or not / 4 Comments
July 18th, 2013 / 4:04 am

STARK WEEK INTERLUDE: SLampson and the Mermaid

This is what happens when a poet meets a mermaid on Second Life, a 3D world where everyone you see is a real person and every place you visit is built by people just like you.


[19:31] SLampsonSLarkweather: Hail, Hail, the kid can swim!
[19:32] rigar yumsfeld: kid?
[19:32] SLampsonSLarkweather: I scream even more, you’re all here to see me bleed, run down roosters, bees, the buoyancy of already gone, I was just playing
[19:32] SLampsonSLarkweather: FISH OUT OF WATER.
[19:33] rigar yumsfeld: haha
[19:33] SLampsonSLarkweather: So I float. So I kick and scream for no other reason than being born.
[19:33] rigar yumsfeld: haha you could float
[19:34] rigar yumsfeld: :)
[19:35] SLampsonSLarkweather: We whored our pool via free advertising. Paid through the nose. “Above ground” is a term I still don’t understand.
[19:37] rigar yumsfeld: haha yeah
[19:38] SLampsonSLarkweather: We all come out swimming. Not a lifeguard for miles. They called me White Lightning in the stands, but nobody knew my name was Doubled-Over, that I peed my pants simply to stay warm.
[19:38] SLampsonSLarkweather: What can you do?
[19:38] rigar yumsfeld: what you mean?
[19:40] SLampsonSLarkweather: I mean that You believe in words. Their power. Weight.
[19:40] SLampsonSLarkweather: Like some kind of nerd.
[19:40] SLampsonSLarkweather: imagine this as music.
[19:40] SLampsonSLarkweather: dunzo
[19:40] SLampsonSLarkweather: now where to go
[19:41] rigar yumsfeld: idk wtf you are talkign bout
[19:43] SLampsonSLarkweather: clusterfucks aren’t a breakfast cereal.
[19:44] SLampsonSLarkweather: I’m telling you the clouds point to us, too.
[19:49] rigar yumsfeld: sorry im at work
[19:51] SLampsonSLarkweather: Instead of a raise, my job offered to get me a new chair, in the form of one of those giant exercise balls.
[19:53] SLampsonSLarkweather: As if I don’t realize they are actually saving money by buying me a plastic ball for a chair.
[19:53] rigar yumsfeld: I dont need a raise
[19:53] rigar yumsfeld: ^^
[19:55] SLampsonSLarkweather: i can do anything with money.
[19:55] SLampsonSLarkweather: i’ll show you if you give me the money.
[19:55] rigar yumsfeld: lol
[19:57] SLampsonSLarkweather: Have you noticed all the commercials these days are trying to cash in on the economic crisis?
[19:58] rigar yumsfeld: yeah :P
[19:58] rigar yumsfeld: well I better get going
[20:00] SLampsonSLarkweather: I’d love to partake
[20:00] SLampsonSLarkweather: but i’ve got umbrellas and promises to break
[20:01] SLampsonSLarkweather: and miles to go before this roofie wears off.
[19:58] rigar yumsfeld: you are fucking weird man

[Note: This dumb thing was inspired by this broadside from Rye House Press.]

Author Spotlight & Vicarious MFA / Comments Off on STARK WEEK INTERLUDE: SLampson and the Mermaid
July 16th, 2013 / 4:15 am

“She wanted to convince herself that there was a way to learn how she might securely know just one thing, maybe a couple of things, about any other person—if only the most persuasive of that person’s reasons for having hated his handwriting at the moment it came time at last to make a list of things that must change absolutely right away or else.”

 New Gary Lutz over at 3:AM, for all us FANBOYZ.

Comments Off on

Monstrous Women: An Interview with Alissa Nutting

TAMPAI learned about Alissa Nutting’s debut novel when I put together some half-baked thoughts on Amazon’s purchase of GoodReads. I came across the Book Page for Tampa and noticed that there were a lot of really weird reviews. One said the book was “ too explicit, too graphic, and too weird…to finish;” another said, “I don’t think women will read this for a thrill, especially anyone with school-aged sons.”

These reviews weren’t surprising–people have weird responses to sex. People have even weirder responses to stories about young female teachers who seduce their barely-pubescent students (and yeah, that’s sort-of-but-not-really the plot of Tampa). But still, I was not happy about these reviews, even before I read the book. I didn’t know Alissa then, but I knew her work well enough to know that she would not write a book like this just to be a sensationalist.

Tampa is not a book about pedophilia–it’s bold, sharp critique of the unreasonable expectations and the myopic judgments that contemporary women face on a day-to-day basis. The subject matter may be shocking, harrowing, and morally repulsive, but what makes Tampa so important is that this isn’t really satire. This stuff (and the ridiculous conversations around each instance) happens every day.

I don’t want to reveal more because I think you should read this book. I think you should react to it, and think about why you’re reacting to it. I think it’ll teach you something about the way you think about women.

Alissa deserves thoughtful responses to her work, because this book is really damn good. I wanted to talk to her about some things—about her intentions, her process, and her fears. I’m really grateful to know Alissa now.

MC: What made you want to write Tampa?

AN: I primarily devote myself to female characters, and I’m drawn toward topics that evoke social discussion. One of my areas of interest is monstrosity, and I was very aware that there aren’t many novels that follow a predatory female protagonist–especially a female sexual predator. Women are tasked with the social role of nurturer, so it’s taboo for them to perform any act of violence that isn’t protective or defensive. But it’s doubly taboo if that violence is sexual and the victim is male. As a society, we aren’t simply conditioned to accept males as victims of sexual violence perpetrated by females. This book is meant to challenge and engage that blind spot.


Author Spotlight / 2 Comments
June 21st, 2013 / 10:34 am


25 Points: Factory Hollow Press/Northampton, MA


1. Factory Hollow is the publishing division of Flying Object, which is located in Hadley, which is an over-the-bridge walk from Northampton, which is probably my favorite place in the world.

2. I love Northampton so much that I once kidnapped Mike Young and held him up in Baltimore for ten months. Every day, he had to interact with a dog. The two of them got along just fine.

3. Dick move alert—I waited until the last day of AWP before picking up Mark Leidner’s and Seth Landman’s books. They’re $15 a piece, but I think I got them for $20 total. Take that, capitalism.

4. Before AWP, I had pre-ordered Rachel Glaser’s new book and Heather Christle’s new chapbook. I paid full price for these. Take that, Mark’s Paypal balance.

5. I’m about to review all four of those books in one LeBlog James.


June 5th, 2013 / 10:37 pm

Great Tweets in Literary History


Random & Technology / 14 Comments
April 12th, 2013 / 1:45 pm

Speculations about Goodreads & Amazon (instead of eating lunch)

I was going to go get Subway for lunch today, but then I started thinking about what was more important: eating or social media? I decided eating, but then I remembered that I used to be a social media consultant, so whatever, here’s some thoughts on this Goodreads/Amazon thing that a lot of people (thirty-five, maybe) are really worked up about:

  1. Amazon isn’t Google, which does a really fantastic job of buying the cutest startups at the pound and then leaving said startups on the side of the road after they get old and ugly and start pissing on the carpet. Jeff Bezos invests and improves his acquisitions–just look at how Audible integrated with Kindle so that users can switch back and forth between listening and reading. Nothing is going to happen overnight, but expect some serious changes in your Goodreads user experience.
  2. Mashable ran the headlineAmazon Buys Goodreads to Make Reading Experience More Social.” This sounds utterly terrifying, because the last thing I want to do when I’m reading is socialize. But I guess it also sounds gorgeous, because it might create some dystopian world where we  see status updates like “Fat Jim checked into His Bathtub, Bitch! (with Georges Bataille and A Diet Coke).”  READ MORE >
Behind the Scenes & Technology / 15 Comments
March 29th, 2013 / 2:44 pm

I meant to write a longer post about this, but then we were all in Boston and my car battery died, etc. But before all that, I was feeling pretty gassed about the new issue of Jellyfish, particularly this low-pressure system from nice guy Mike Krutel. Dig in and love the pants off it.

My Last-Ever AWP Apology

You Are The Meat cover

Unlike some other stuffed animals, I had a very good time in Boston. Admittedly, that’s probably because I didn’t get there until Friday. I also tried to avoid any and all conversations that had to do with books. The only time I talked about writing was when my buddy Mike and I drunkenly explained “epistemology ” to our non-MFA friends. Gross.

The two coolest stuffed animals I met there were Tyler Gobble and Layne Ransom. We probably hung out for a total of 25 minutes, but it was a real dope 25 minutes: we played dice and Tweeted from each other’s phones and hopped around on a dance floor that was pulsating. I always leave AWP with a swollen, stupid heart because of all those instances where internet user names morph into actual people. Meeting these two actual people was definitely one of my most swollen moments (ew).

But all that said, I have to apologize to Layne. Because I did something stupid.

The week before AWP, I had bookmarked about ten new online lit journals and chapbooks, because AWP was coming up and OMGWTF I had so many travel-sized tubes of toothpaste to buy. The last thing I wanted to do was virtually thumb through lit shit, but then someone posted a link to You Are The Meat (Layne’s new jumpoff from H_NG_MAN Books) right when I was about to eat some Chinese food. The Chinese food was disgusting; You Are The Meat was anything but. I was completely captivated by each of the fourteen poems in this digital chapbook (which you can download for free, BTW). Layne’s writing is like the dude you always want to invite to your dance party—these poems are going to hug you for twenty seconds too long, drink all the empties in your recycling bin, and pick a drunken fight with the choad who accidentally says something sexist. Then, in the morning—when you’re really hung over and want to do nothing but eat some eggs—they’re going to say something silly and beautiful that will remind you of how nice it is to be around good, good people. READ MORE >

I Like __ A Lot & Web Hype / 3 Comments
March 18th, 2013 / 11:23 pm