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UM MFA candidate Georgia Dennison has a new poem up at The Pacifica Review. A lament, a revelation, and a fist raised for artistic and social truths.
by Georgia Dennison
This land carries, against its will,
the word “discovered.”
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David Gates, UM prof, has a new story out in The New Yorker.
"After the children had left home and his wife had made her escape to Italy, Garver kept most of the house closed off, even when summer came and he no longer had to save on heat. Better the blank doors than the empty rooms—not to get sentimental at this late date. He still went to his studio every day, although the work was no good anymore, and “anymore” was putting it kindly."
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Happy to announce that George Kalamaras, CutBank Online contributor (here!), wild-haired poet at large, beagle booster, and former Poet Laureate of Indiana (2014-2016), begins a poetic series of Long Way From, Long Time Since epistles to the likes of John Haines, Bob Arnold, Phil Woods, Richard Hugo, and more.
We kick the series off this Tuesday with a “Letter to John Haines I Neglected to Send, So I Am Finally Sending Now, Twenty Years Late.”
Here’s a sample to hold you over:
for a forest tough, for a woodsman
who salvaged wood for his cabin
from an old bridge over Gasoline Creek,
laying trapline from Norfolk, Virginia,
to Vallejo, California, into desire
for the frozen north, for western light leaking through
cottonwoods here in Helena. All afternoon we talk
and hold Indiana and Alaska together like fraternal twins
in the liminal space of Montana.
Allow George to introduce himself and Bootsie (among other animal presences) in an audio interview at Radio Free Albion. The interview celebrates, in part, issue 13 of Court Green, including the poem “Dream in Which Kenneth Rexroth Counts to Eight.”
…and enjoy two classics by John Haines. (Brace yourself for “The Flight.” It’s a gut punch.):
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Jeevika Verma chats at NPR.org with poet Kaveh Akbar about Kaveh Akbar’s chats with poets on his site, DiveDapper:
"Not sharing your gratitude is like holding a Snickers bar in your mouth for a week. You'd just get cavities," he laughs. "This is what I want to do with DiveDapper. As far as I'm concerned, poetry is the best thing that exists in the universe."
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More from NPR, from their Songs We Love feature.
“…imagine a green-lit bar scene from a James Bond film, a symphony hall, or a vast night sky where you're watching stars collide as a story of the things we accept in spite of ourselves unfolds.”
Jorja Smith, 'Let Me Down (Feat. Stormzy)'
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Dangerous Minds rarely lets us down when it comes to the unusual in literary, artistic, or just damned odd stuff. This feature on Femke Hiemstra unveils some surrealistic whimsey that’s a joy to step into from the mundane of normalcy. And cats, among many other critters.
From the artist’s FAQ:
B.2 Who or what are your sources of inspiration?
“I can get inspired by anything from music lyrics, a news item or someone’s weird nickname. I also get inspiration from animal behavior, nature, old packages with hand drawn typography, tattoo’s, old encyclopedias, firework wrappers, vintage toys, comics, Japanese woodblock prints, old Little Golden Books, (tin toy) collectables and the art of Max Ernst, Hieronymus Bosch and the engravings of J.G. Posada.”
I’m setting myself a small project: taking each and every one of these inspirations, exploring the world (at, and away from the desk) for an example, and creating something, anything from them. A sentence, a story concept, a memoir vignette. And now that I’ve said it “out loud,” I have to do it, right?
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When you’re tired of being nice…
11. Vladimir Nabokov on Ernest Hemingway (1972): “As to Hemingway, I read him for the first time in the early ‘forties, something about bells, balls and bulls, and loathed it.”
(HT to Reviews Editor Molly Gray for this one.)
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My obsession of the moment: Shelly Jackson
A story at Electric Lit hooked me. Temporary art, mortal (and ineradicable) art, story as participatory performance, the wherewithal to take an idea and make it real, patience in seeing that reality emerge, and the willingness to allow serendipity and the unexpected to play a part. And wow, it’s all lovely in a way that transcends the “what it is” and gains emotional value in the simple fact that it is.
Shelley Jackson’s snow story is now in its fourth year, and its eleventh sentence
“The east coast of the U.S. recently had its first major snow of the winter, which sucks in almost every conceivable way but one. The silver lining: the continuation of author Shelley Jackson’s story written in snow, which was started back in 2014 and, four years later, is still only a few sentences long.”
Intrigued? Me, too. Here's more:
The Skin Project
“no stain, no gain”
What is the Skin Project?
It's a 2095-word story published exclusively in tattoos, one word at a time, on the skin of volunteers.
“Part of the idea was that it was a mortal story, that it would die as its participants died out, so that nobody would be allowed to read it except for those who were actually involved in the story, and I made a promise to make every effort to come to the funerals of my words”
“Skin” an offshoot of The Skin Project
“The Skin video rearranges 191 words from the original story into a whole new story that is read aloud, collectively, by the words themselves. Originally commissioned by the Berkeley Art Museum, it was on display on their net art portal from March 1 - May 31, 2011.”
And finally (for this particular now), an interview in videos about Jackson’s Patchwork Girl, an interactive novel in hypertext.
“This interview of Shelley Jackson, conducted by Dene Grigar, took place on Friday, October 18, 2013 in the Electronic Literature Lab at Washington State University Vancouver as part of the Pathfinders project. The interview is divided into nine videos and provides insights into the development of the work. The commentary is written by Moulthrop.”
About Patchwork Girl:
“Perhaps the true paradigmatic work of the era, Shelley Jackson's elegantly designed, beautifully composed Patchwork Girl offers the patient reader, if there are any left in the world, just such an experience of losing oneself to a text, for as one plunges deeper and deeper into one's own personal exploration of the relations here of creator to created and of body to text, one never fails to be rewarded and so is drawn ever deeper, until clicking the mouse is as unconscious an act as turning a page, and much less constraining, more compelling.” — Robert Coover
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Awesomeness on the Web
Magical nonfiction by Frances Chiem, courtesy of Hobartpulp.com.
“By the time we were working on the banishment spell, he had come out to me as gay and I to him as bisexual, but it was the belief in magic at such a late age that bound us together, even as we orbited in different circles at school (me with the goths, he with the cheerleaders and their boyfriends). We met weekly at the Borders a few miles from school and treated the occult section like a library, sitting on the floor and pulling books from shelves. […] At the time, Kyle and I were both active participants in our families’ churches. I was a student leader in the youth group and regular reader during Catholic mass. Maybe we wrote our own spells instead of using Wiccan ones as a way to alleviate our guilt.”
Fungi-enhanced consciousness in poem form by Ariel Francisco, at the Pacifica Literary Review.
Ellipsis brings us a brilliant burst of nonfiction by Stephanie Hutton.
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Topic.com brings us A Morning Stroll...
There’s more to watch on the Near Future Mixtape page, five films in 55 minutes. “Highlights include a pointed commentary on the dark side of gentrification in London, a meditation on love and space exploration, and a look at what happens to a person after his job on Mars gets eliminated.”
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- Authors on authoring -
At LitHub: HARUKI MURAKAMI: THE MOMENT I BECAME A NOVELIST
At a baseball game in 1978, the writer who almost wasn't
How Junot Diaz Wrote a Sexist Character, but Not a Sexist Book
by Joe Fassler, writing in 2012 for The Atlantic.
"It's almost as though Yunior doesn't have the depth to contemplate a female psychology, let alone make one real for a third party. And when he does directly address the reader—like when he tells us Nilda, his brother's girlfriend, has "a chest you wouldn't believe"—he assumes we're high-fiving heterosexual males (just like he is)."
CB editor’s note (it's me, Barry, btw...):
This one discusses Diaz with Diaz, chatting with the author about his misogynistic, womanizing Yunior character. It struck home because of a workshopped story that exploded on me. The story is about ugly people in an equally ugly situation doing ugly things to each other, the question of redeemability and the casual choice to break bad for survival’s sake. I rendered it broken and badly, when it comes to sexism. And apparently offensively. A sexist setting and sexist male characters in the fore, with the only female in a highly beaten down position... How to present this realistically without inadvertently glorifying male gaze horribleness? Diaz helps. Revisions in process.
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Final notes on an upward course:
David Byrne give us Reasons To Be Cheerful. In his words, RTBCh is such that:
“I imagine, like a lot of you who look back over the past year, it seems like the world is going to Hell. I wake up in the morning, look at the paper, and go, "Oh no!" Often I’m depressed for half the day. It doesn’t matter how you voted on Brexit, the French elections or the U.S. election—many of us of all persuasions and party affiliations feel remarkably similar.
“As a kind of remedy and possibly as a kind of therapy, I started collecting good news that reminded me, "Hey, there's actually some positive stuff going on!" Almost all of these initiatives are local, they come from cities or small regions who have taken it upon themselves to try something that might offer a better alternative than what exits. Hope is often local. Change begins in communities.”
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And, since I sometimes wrap this thing with graffiti art, especially if it’s Banksyesque, how awesome the universe is to present me/us with this from last August, in Medium.
“When I first moved to Los Angeles in July of 2013, I found a room for rent in a house on Craigslist. I soon learned the landlord, and the man I’d be living with, was none other than the famous graffiti artist and incognito street poet Banksy.”