They Could No Longer Contain Themselves:
A Collection of Five Flash Chapbooks
by Elizabeth J. Colen, John Jodzio,
Tim Jones-Yelvington, Sean Lovelace, and Mary Miller
Rose Metal Press, 2011
248 pages / $15.95 Buy from Rose Metal Press
The problem with collections of flash fiction is their unevenness, or that the reader recognizes the unevenness more than in, say, a novel. Maybe this also applies to story collections, especially non-linked stories, though there are a few that come away feeling complete–to me, usually collections with fewer stories. I can’t think of a single flash collection that does not seem hill-and-valley. They Could No Longer Contain Themselves is no exception. I find it interesting to note, however, that the chapbooks that were linked helped me see past the valleys, as I was always aware of the range. Okay, enough of this terrible analogy. On to the individual chapbooks. READ MORE >
August 2nd, 2011 / 12:02 pm
Friendlier, prettier, smarter. This illusion.
My beard grew wild, as did my waistline.
The way I write these aren’t like the way I told you I write these…
AWP with 6$ plastic bottles of gnu pee.
Pour down a tall wine or two for ballast.
Frogs. I like the attitude of frogs.
It was a night jump and I was drunk.
Prick-points of sensation. Get it?
Clinically, you know…
I will fucking stop for cornbread!
Like those balloons.
These are some thoughts in response to Sean Lovelace’s post the other day, which asked “You do send your Very Best work Every time when submitting to a literary magazine, right?”It started out in the comment thread, but then I decided that his question deserved more of a commitment than that. Here goes.
I think this idea of “best” vs “not-best” is based on a fundamental, and mistaken notion that *every*thing one writes ought to be published. One-offs, exercises, middling poems and pieces of “flash”–well I already wrote it, the logic goes, so why not place it *some*where?
Everyone, please help us welcome our last 3 new lovely contributors: Sean Lovelace (author of How Some People Like Their Eggs), Matt Bell (editor of The Collagist and author of, among many things, the forthcoming How They Were Found), and Lily Hoang (author of Changing, Parabola, and about 50 others). We’re busting up!
Anybody who happens to have bumped into the words or online speaking of Sean Lovelace (author of the recently released How Some People Like Their Eggs, which is fantastic and very smart (that will be my last positive reference to Mr. Lovelace in this post)) knows the dude really wants you to know that he loves nachos. It’s hard to get through a week of his blogging without at least some kind of reference to it, and to how much he loves them, etc., etc. He’s even published essays on the subject, including one in the David Foster Wallace memorial issue of Sonora Review.
To me, though, Lovelace’s endless tirading about the food seems overbloated, and in some ways insecure. It seems the food-language equivalent of truck nuts:
I think Sean Lovelace’s blog is hilarious and always spot on. His writing there makes me not hate runners as much. Like when he did the airforce marathon, I thought that was a fascinating and rugged bit of literary essay.
I also think he thinks that how a thing is said matters more than what that said thing is. That’s a smart rule, a top ten rule, one that can’t be made too elastic. I mean, really, I don’t know him at all so there’s not much reason for me to care about his running habits, impressive though they are, or his disc golf hobby, whatever that is, or how much he likes hot dogs and thinks they are the greatest food on the planteen. But since, blogwise, he often opts to invent a phrase like “hang something all oyster” rather than to further explain a point that is (maybe) clear enough or (maybe) less valuable than the vim of the saying or (maybe) whatever — since that — then I’m piqued and I have a reason to care about all the else, the running and deer hunting and whatever hippy hobby he has.
He can’t, thank heavens, go a blog-sentence without ending awonk. A paragraph like this gives the reader a lot of credit and gives him the opportunity to use language like paint:
. . . I ate my pre-race meal, a mixture of liquids and gels and potato chips and solvents and Near Beer and oil additives. My body felt like a Global Hawk. My stomach did the cloud-cover, the sandstorm. I then descended into the arms of Morpheus.
That excerpt starts with lucid detail then crashes another party. This is the reading eye I brought to his chapbook, How Some People Like Their Eggs, fresh from the Rose Metal Press skillet. How does it measure up?
September 30th, 2009 / 3:24 am
How Some People Like Their Eggs by Sean Lovelace (Rose Metal Press, August 09)
The Drunk Sonnets by Daniel Bailey (Magic Helicopter, October 09)
Prose: Poems, a Novel by Jamie Iredell (Orange Alert, fall 09)
sean lovelace releases his new chapbook HOW SOME PEOPLE LIKE THEIR EGGS (rose metal press) onto the world much like a mean janitor releasing the class pet just to make everyone sad. read an excerpt here. the excerpt is really good. it has fullness.
So much internet today. I don’t even know how to start. Let me say, though: There’s too much to here for me to distill & tease with quotes from the individual articles, so please have faith and click through to the pieces. It’s all very good. Let’s jump in:
Over at The Millions, the venerable Garth Risk Hallberg has posted the first installment of a three part series talking about the future of literary journalism, i.e. book coverage, titled Part I: R.I.P., NYT? This is a really smart piece of criticism; it defines ‘the problem’/offers solutions/peers into the future. I look forward to the rest. Plus, it includes shoutouts for The Rumpus and The Quarterly Conversation, two of my favorite sites, so, Word.
And here’s an interview with N Frank Daniels at Dogmatika. Really interesting interview. Daniels originally self-published his first novel, and marketed it creatively, and then was signed a two book deal with Harper Perennial. And I have to say: Dogmatika is housing some of the best author interviews I’ve read. Great job, folks.
More after the jump.