Thursday, March 31, 2011

An Interview With J.A. Tyler

With My Eyes Closed: An Interview With J.A. Tyler can be found at Outsider Writers Collective.

And if you haven't yet, please check out his latest book, A Man Of Glass & All The Ways We Have Failed, which is available at
Fugue State Press.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Charlie Kaufman | Writing

"To begin... To begin... How to start? I'm hungry. I should get coffee. Coffee would help me think. Maybe I should write something first, then reward myself with coffee. Coffee and a muffin. Okay, so I need to establish the themes. Maybe a banana-nut. That's a good muffin."

Directed by Spike Jonze
114 minutes

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Blake Butler Rap

The Blake Butler Rap

Beats/Music by Chad Cosby

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Robert Coover | Deep South Festival Of Writers

Robert Coover
Deep South Festival Of Writers
March 26, 2011
University Of Louisiana At Lafayette
Fletcher Auditorium
7:30 PM

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Kendra Grant Malone | Everything Is Quiet

Kendra Grant Malone's
Everything Is Quiet is a chemical reaction yielded from the mixture of confusion, hate, disgust, sex, body parts, love, and cats. These spectrums of emotions explore those inner crevices of the brain--the author takes the unknown, makes it known, and then puts it back in a pocket or a drawer. In this collection of poems, Malone doesn't show any restraint, but instead, not only does she reveal her cards, she shows her poker face, and then, she'll splash the pot. In addition to this 'in your face' tone, Malone, amazingly, at the same, creates this gentility that both softens and hardens the human condition. Take, "Faceless," for example:

he said he wanted to
destroy my face but
he did me no such favor. (22)

In "Three Hundred Dollar Coat," the narrator conveys this push-pull feeling, creating this quiet chaos surrounding the concepts of guilt and love and the need to feel both, exemplifying the complexities of emotions. Here is the guilt:

i walked down the sidewalk
in my three hundred dollar coat
i felt absurd
because my rent doesn't cost
that much more. (74)

The love is shown when the narrator explains when she bought the coat--when her father had visited her and they had gone shopping together:

he saw the three hundred dollar coat
and touched the fur collar
and smiled
when i tried it on
he grabbed my hand and spun me
a vision he said
and i knew
it did look nice
and i bought the three hundred dollar coat on credit. (74)

And it is these combined emotions that create these realms of profound conflicts, providing glimpses into the intricacies of the mind, and this tugging and tapping can be found throughout the collection of poems. Everything Is Quiet is a pillow. Sometimes, it's a cold pillow, and sometimes the pillow is warm. And sometimes the pillow is damp, and sometimes the pillow is lonely. Through its quietness, there is this power that glows from underneath--a certain sense of vulnerability that deceives, because at the end of it all, the poems are full of muscles.

Everything Is Quiet
by Kendra Grant Malone
89 pages
ISBN 978-0-578-06801-5

Scrambler Books, 2010

Monday, March 21, 2011

From Hulme's "Romanticism and Classicism"

"Put shortly, these are the two views, then. One, that man is intrinsically good, spoilt by circumstance; and the other that he is intrinsically limited, but disciplined by order and tradition to something fairly decent. To the one party man’s nature is like a well, to the other like a bucket. The view which regards man as a well, a reservoir full of possibilities, I call the romantic; the one which regards him as a very finite and fixed creature, I call the classical." (para. 13)

"What I mean by classical in verse, then, is this. That even in the most imaginative flights there is always a holding back, a reservation. The classical poet never forgets this finiteness, this limit of man. He remembers always that he is mixed up with earth. He may jump, but he always returns back; he never flies away into the circumambient gas." (para. 18)

"You might say if you wished that the whole of the romantic attitude seems to crystallise in verse round metaphors of flight. Hugo is always flying, flying over abysses, flying up into the eternal gases. The word infinite in every other line." (para. 19)

T.E. Hulme's essay, "Romanticism and Classicism," at The Poetry Foundation.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

tabula rasa

Should you know the rules and the basics before breaking them? Or should you just go ahead and just break them? Are there rules? Do you need rules? What if it was all taken away? What if you were the first person to write? Would you write for others? Would you write for yourself? If it was all taken away--books, journals, essays, diaries, notes, articles--and there was nothing there, just you and a pen and a blank slate, what would you write? Could you write? Would you automatically try to think about the past, and when you find out that you're just alone, when there are just empty images, what would you write? Can writing progress? If so, can writing progress if you don't study the past and the present works--if you are in your own fortified sphere--would it matter? Does writing need to progress? What is progression? Is regression, progression? Who was the first person, the individual, that sole person, to write--who were you? What were you thinking? Why? What compelled you? Was it a to-do list? Was it angry? Sad? Full of love? Was it just a letter or word or sentence? Did you write a second letter or word or sentence? A third? What are the rules? What are the basics? Do you need them? Where are the boundaries? What is the starting point? Will there be an ending point? Is there already an ending point? What do you need to know? What don't you need to know? What is fiction? What is nonfiction? What is science fiction? What is romance? What is mystery? Is it all a mystery? Is one book just a continuation from a previous book, and that, a continuation from a previous book--is it a straight line? Is it skewed? If writing wasn't required, if there wasn't writing or language classes or education or schools, would you write? Could you write? What is plot? What is narrative? What is clear and concise? What is explaining? What is showing? What are details? What are characters? Can there be a story without characters? Does a character have to be a living or dead being? Can it be an object? Can it be anything? Does it have to be anything? Does a character have to grow or change? As soon as the pen touches the pad, is there a character? What is sentence structuring? What is a run-on sentence? Would a run-on sentence be a run-on sentence if there was no one else around? Would a run-on sentence be a run-on sentence if there weren't any rules? Does writing need to be in context? Does writing need to be understood? What is gibberish? Was gibberish, at one point, the rule? Can writing be understood if there wasn't any writing but your own? Do you need to know the answers? Do the answers matter? If there aren't any answers, do want to know the rules? Do you want to know the basics? What is considered a rule? What is considered basic? What is considered breaking it all and doing whatever? Does "asdf hjklg qwert yuiops pppam bnbvvvxs" mean something? Does "go stop roll eat live die" need anything else? What is poetry? What is prose? What flows? What is choppy? What are your intentions? What are you trying to do? What are you not trying to do? What's in a word? What's in a sentence? Why? If there weren't anything before you, would you look ahead? Is it necessary to know what has been done before? If not, should we know anyway? Where does the comma go?

Joyelle McSweeney And Johannes Göransson Reading At The Deep South Festival Of Writers

Joyelle McSweeney and Johannes Göransson
Deep South Festival Of Writers
University Of Louisiana at Lafayette
March 15, 2011

Joyelle McSweeney:

Johannes Göransson:

Also Visit:
Action Books and Montevidayo.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Killer Of Sheep

Killer Of Sheep
Directed by
Charles Burnett
USA. 1977.
80 minutes. Black & White.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Matt Bell | How They Were Found

Matt Bell's How They Were Found dives into dark worlds, and the pages, themselves, become mirrors, revealing these strands of beauty found in the most unusual circumstances. These stories are full of bruises, and machines, and blood, and they drip from one line to the next, creating these macabre scenes and magnifying the aesthetics of broken realities. Not only do these stories hold mirrors up to the readers, but they also hold mirrors up to the characters themselves, creating these opposites that pull and push each other until the end has arrived.

In "Dredge," Bell gives life to the dead and at the same time, he makes the living seem dead, or near death:

The drowned girl drips everywhere, soaking the cheap
cloth of the Ford's back seat. (108)

It seems as though the dead girl is still alive as she is in the car, perhaps being a nuisance, in a sense, by messing up the seat with her dripping and "soaking." Additionally, that first line, itself, is amazingly tricky: "the drowned girl drips everywhere." It's not just any girl dripping in the car, but a "drowned girl," and in a subtle way, Bell makes the dead girl lifelike as any soaked human would be dripping, and drenching the seat of a car. It's the casualness of the content that makes the dead girl seem alive. Then, later on, Punter, the main character of the story, sits in the car with her and then drives off as if all is normal:

Looking in the rearview, Punter smiles at the
drowned girl, waits for her to smile back. (109)

So here, the dead girl is described and being treated like she is alive. Then, throughout the story, Bell portrays Punter, who is alive and dealing with the dead girl, as though he is the one who is dead…or should be dead:

Punter wakes up choking in the dark, his throat closed
off with something, phlegm or pus or he doesn't know
what. (125)

And then later on, "Punter coughs, not caring where the blood goes" (131).

Punter is described as if he doesn't have much time left, while the dead girl is described as the opposite. The relationship between the dead girl and Punter goes even deeper--there is this mirroring of "the drowned girl" and the "choking" Punter who incessantly "coughs." Perhaps, the dead girl infects Punter or lives through him, or perhaps, Punter feels the warmth of death through the girl. And throughout these stories, Bell makes the gloom and the horrid fascinating, he makes the darkness breathe, and he makes the living suffer--both, in a graceful manner. What does being alive really mean? What does being dead really mean? Read How They Were Found to seek the answers and to play with these mirrors.

How They Were Found
by Matt Bell
256 pages
ISBN 978-0982151259
Keyhole Press, 2010

David Cotrone, On Reading

"Often I feel lonely. As someone who writes whenever I can, and as someone who reads with the same lust, I might not be helping myself. Writing is a lonely activity, so is reading. Writers and readers really know loneliness. But so a book is a place two lonely people can meet, and that's everything to me."

David Cotrone's writing has appeared in Fifty-Two Stories, The Rumpus, Dark Sky Magazine, elimae and elsewhere. He is the editor of Used Furniture Review.}

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Michael Kimball's Us

Us by Michael Kimball is now available for pre-order from Tyrant Books.

Rob Roberge | Working Backwards From The Worst Moment Of My Life

Rob Roberge's Working Backwards From The Worst Moment Of My Life is gritty and raw, and it allows the reader to understand what happens when all is taken away--when we are at the lowest points of our lives. We are able to see the human body, without skin and bones--we are able to see the soul. Roberge reveals to the world what we don't see when we turn and look the other way. This collection of stories is emotional, and pure, and it provides a beautiful and amazing beat to the human heart.

Working Backwards From The Worst Moment Of My Life
by Rob Roberge
112 pages
ISBN 978-1-59709-165-7
Red Hen Press, 2010

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"Pecan" | Used Furniture Review

Thank you to the kind editors of
Used Furniture Review for taking my story, "Pecan," an excerpt from a work-in-progress. It can be found here.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Message From J.A. Tyler [A Man Of Glass & All The Ways We Have Failed]

[If you don't like my book I'll write you another book on the inside of that book. Order it, read it. If you don't like it, ship it back to me & I'll write a new book for you on the inside of that book. Yes. This is how much I believe in these words.]

[A Man Of Glass & All The Ways We Have Failed:]

Pick up a copy of J.A. Tyler's latest book from Fugue State Press, here.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

J.A. Tyler | A Man Of Glass & All The Ways We Have Failed

J.A. Tyler's A Man Of Glass & All The Ways We Have Failed is filled with haunting and elegant prose, full of imagery that appeals to all senses. Each word, each line, is packed with energy, and there is this epic tension that forms from sentence to sentence:

Glass crumbles and her hair dries, her body
dries, and the towels go up on the rack and the
boat it goes back in her head, the last drips
running down her ankles. A captain and his
sword, the words she doesn't hear. (20-21)

The work is powerful in its silence, meaning, there isn't any forced language, but rather, the fluidity of diction magnifies each poetic scene:

She checks under her fingernails for a piece of
luggage she lost years ago, it had in it one of
her favorite dresses, a halter-top that flowed
with material, exploded color. (29)

Tyler also explains the abstract--those elements which are open for a variety of definitions, and the author provides these mirrors with the repeated use of certain words and sounds which adds to this creation of the intangible while at the same time, specifies, or narrows those fields of definitions:

Forgetting is salt over the shoulder. Forgetting
is giving up. Forgetting is regret and artists
and making words in wounds and opening
wounds and wounding and winding and
wonderful spilling of letters out holes, mouth
and ears and nose. Head, shoulders, knees, and
toes. (67)

These are just a few examples of how Tyler's A Man Of Glass & All The Ways We Have Failed accomplishes a myriad of feats through precision and emotion, and the work, as a whole, is consistent, as it reinforces Tyler's pictorial nature of language from page to page. It's a wonderful maze.

A Man of Glass & All the Ways We Have Failed

by J. A. Tyler
112 pages
ISBN 978-1-879193-24-6
Fugue State Press, 2011

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A.K. Ramanujan | No Amnesiac King | Collected Poems

No Amnesiac King

One knows by now one is no amnesiac
king, whatever mother may say or child believe.

One cannot wait any more in the back
of one's mind for that conspiracy

of three fishermen and a palace cook
to bring, dressed in cardamom and clove,

the one well-timed memorable fish,
so one can cut straight with the royal knife

to the ring waiting in the belly,
and recover at one stroke all lost memory,

make up for the years drained in cocktail glasses
among dry women and pickled men, and give back

body to shadows, and undo the curse
that comes on the boat with love.

                                                             Or so it seems,

as I wait for my wife and watch the traffic
in seaside marketplaces and catch

my breath at the flat metal beauty of whole pomfret,
round staring eyes and scales of silver

in the fisherman's pulsing basket,
and will not ask, for I know cannot,

which, if any, in its deadwhite belly
has an uncooked signet ring and a forest

legend of wandering king and waiting
innocent, complete with fawn under tree

and inverse images in the water
of a stream that runs as if it doesn't.

Ramanujan, A.K. Collected Poems.
New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2010.
126. Print.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Scott C. Rogers, On Reading

"Reading is like fucking. Raw, powerful and beautiful the better."

Scott C. Rogers is the author of the novels Duct-taped Mouth, Celluloid Cowboy and Love Like A Molotov Cocktail to the Chest.}