Have you ever read the book "Desperate Characters" by Paula Fox? It was written in 1970 and is one of the best books I've ever read. I just read it for the second time. It is brutal, but stunning!
I just went to search for a picture of the cover and found out that they made a movie version of it in 1971 with Shirley MacClaine... let's never see it!
Thanks to Jonathan Frazen for rediscovering the book and helping it back into print, and Chris Bachelder for teaching it at Umass-Amherst.
Fun Fact: Fox is Courtney Love's biological grandmother.
Here is a great end-of-year 2013 fiction round-up, full of links and authors to look out for
Here is an interview I did with Kallie Falandays for Lit Bridge about MOODS
Here is a song by John Maus I've been having fun listening to
And another by Janet Jackson that is even better
Do you have a group of poems you want to put in a chapbook? Consider submitting to Flying Object's Chapbook contest. Act fast! Submissions close on January 17th.
I'm almost done with my first novel "Paulina & Fran"! It's 48,??? words right now. I'm excited about it! Besides that I've been playing chess against the computer and getting ready for my workshop "The Strange Page" that starts on January 27th at Flying Object.
Recently I rediscovered how great Jesus' Son is (duh!) and the lesser known collection "Escapes" by Joy Williams. My copy of Escapes looks nothing like the one pictured. For the first time I've been reading "Why Did I Ever" by Mary Robison, which is just as amazing as everyone told me it would be. Who needs friends when you can spend your days with lovable lunatic narrators like this?
October 1st marked an important date in local literature news--It was the 3rd anniversary of Flying Object! Refurbished firehouse and house of words dreamt and founded by Guy Pettit! For the last three years, I've marveled at it, and parked by it, and taught writing there, and learned about reptiles there, and participated in readings and collaborative drawing nights, and danced and sweated there, and snuck into the apartment there, and fiddled with the lock there, and been surprised to see Luke there, or Ben Roylance there, and tried to discern Guy's moods there, and pushed aside the black curtain there. (The editors at The Glaser Gazette would have never let such a sentence fly, but here there is more creative freedom).
On October 18th, we celebrate FLYING OBJECT, and all the poetry of the world, and the people in these towns, and the wildly inspiring performance work of Ben Hersey (who I had the joy of watching perform at the Book Mill last week, in an epically weird display of all the funniest parts of being human, in a tour de force (did I get that right?) that made all other art seem flappy and useless). I will be reading poems alongside the music of Potty Mouth (the talented, girl-powered band that reminds us how things used to feel/should feel, who have in the last year grown into their own, outgrowing their own with their new record Hell Bent), and the poems of Sampson Starkweather, a competitive athlete, a necessary dancer, the giant of the poetry world, and author of the murder weapon, The First 4 Books of Sampson Starkweather.
If we are lucky, woman of grace, maker of beauty, Paige Taggart will show, and Ben Pease and Bianca Stone, and Ben Fama and Monica? I know Peter Gizzi will be there, come early for a signature, and Dara Wier (in elegant black), and even possibly John Maradik, amateur badminton player, Seth Landman (man of the whale), famous sportswriter Frank Basket , Emily Hunt (artist/poet/beginner poker player), Emily Pettit (who I don't want to embarrass with any quick nickname), newlyweds and hilarious duo, Jacob and Shannon, the voice behind the clouds, Mike Young, gentleman about town, Boomer Pinches, local opinion, Jono Tosch, the beating heart of Brian Foley, neighbor of wit, Jonathan Volk, guys it's an exhausting amount of people... I heard that the ghost of Chris DeWeese will drop by and change the ipod to grunge music, and I know Dan Chelotti will be there, gathering the sticks of a poem the morning after, and is it too much to think new Umass Fiction Professor, Jeff Parker, might stop by? or Lucy from the bookstore, or the first years I haven't met yet, or Luke Bloomfield, mayor of Cattan, or Haley Thompson on her beautiful rescued bicycle, Halie Theoharides, the face inside my ring, Carla Costa brilliant mind in the trees. Mike Young, is this what it feels like in your head?
If you want to buy tickets for the raffle or learn more about the party, click here.
Also, check out Kelin Loe's newest endeavor: Flying Object Radio! Her first guest is stunningly amusing poet, Dorothea Lasky
I was excited when a friend told me MOODS was on display at McNally Jackson, a book store I've always wanted to visit. In this picture it looks so like the Amherst Books Poetry section. Even that stretching girl seems slightly familiar.
In local news, no more Kathy's Diner. Mike Young couldn't be reached for comment.
Also, if you are looking to read one of the wildest, most sophisticated sex stories of the 70's, find Harold Brodkey's Innocence. The story appears in Brodkey's "Stories in an Almost Classical Mode" and also in the anthology "My Mistress's Sparrow is Dead" which is the only anthology I've ever loved and carried around with me like a treasure.
My art show "Triple Overtime" opens at P-R-I-M-E-T-I-M-E Gallery on June 15th. Here is the Facebook invite. Please stop by!
I've been discovering a lot of interesting sports painting on the internet these days. Here is one of my favorites:
Shouldn't the Basketball Hall of Fame look more like that??
In writing news, my strange short story "Turid," originally printed in 'Cousin Corrine's Reminder' has been reprinted in 'Cleaver Magazine' alongside a lot of great writing!
Two writer friends of mine, Jack Christian and Gabe Durham are about to embark on the tour for their first books! Are they coming to a place near you? They are reading with phenomenal people everywhere they go!
Lastly, tonight John and I read aloud the first chapter of one of the Wayside School books and several lines were cracking us up.
I hadn't heard of Iris Owens until the night Mike Young gave me this book, and a few pages in I knew she was a legend. Here is the oddness of Purdy and Jane Bowles, and the dreamy inner life of Lore Segal's Lucinella, but this book stands on its own legs, led by the sassiest narrator I've ever met. A bit much at times, and offensive to many, this gem has the most exciting sentences I've read since Gaetan Soucy's The Little Girl Who Was Too Fond of Matches. The descriptions in this book occasionally left me so floored that I had to put the book down and go to sleep.
I am pleased to announce that pre-order sales have begun for Seth Landman's collection of poems "Sign You Were Mistaken" and my own collection "MOODS." Here to celebrate, is a poem from each recorded for Jupiter 88 : A video journal of contemporary poetry. Seth Landman and myself. To preorder, click here.
My close friends Max Bean (pictured right, in a painting done years ago by the artist John Hardy) and Mojo Lorwin were in town to visit. Max is a writer/teacher involved with many political and social movements in New York City. Mojo is a musician/writer/teacher who recently campaigned and organized for Obama in New Hampshire and played in the nyc based band 'Thunder and Lightning.' Max taught me a very cool associative word game that Lawrence Detlor (poet and math genius) taught them. I've already played it with my Flying Object class and my College Writing class at ELMS.
Here are the rules in case you want to try it:
1) One person thinks of a word (typically a noun) and says "one." They do not say the word they are thinking.
2) Another person thinks of a word (typically a noun) and says "two."
3) The two "speakers" wait a beat and then say "three" in unison.
4) Also in unison (or near unison), the two speakers say their words aloud.
5) Everyone playing (including the two initial speakers) try to think of a word "in the middle" of the two words.
6) When someone thinks of a word that might possibly be "in the middle," they say "one."
7) The game continues until two people arrive at the same word.
You can't repeat the same word in the same game.
Sometimes the same word is arrived at on the second round. "Plant" "Beer" and then the next two people said "Weed." "Banana" "Three" and then two people said "Bunch." Other times, the words circle around each other and it takes 20 rounds to find common ground.
poems up at two of my favorite sites of all time, Two Serious Ladies, and C.A. Conrad's amazing Jupiter 88 series (of video poems) along with recent additions to the site: Guy Pettit, Emily Pettit, Seth Landman, Caryl Pagel, and many more!