Wednesday, April 11, 2012

3 books I read recently & loved: Steve Roggenbuck CRUNK JUICE, Elizabeth Ellen Fast Machine, Brian Oliu Level End


Noah Cicero: I think your poetry has something original about it. It has no meter except for maybe “pita bread is vegan” which might be iambic. No rhyme, no alliteration, no consonance, assonance, pretty much no music at all. The themes appear, to me anyway, to be concerned with the meaningless thoughts of Americans living in a technocracy. “Checking out my BMI online” seems terrible. Seems like a terrible thing to do. I’ve done it. It seems pointless and outrageous to spend one’s time on earth doing such a thing, but most of us have done it. Are you trying to point out to the audience the pointlessness of some of their behaviors?

Steve Roggenbuck: thank you noah. i have a mix of feelings toward the speakers in the book. i think you’re right that a lot of the stuff mentioned in the book is really inconsequential, and i think the poems kind of illustrate how everyone is a big dork for how excited/proud we get about pointless stuff. but then also i have really positive feelings because of the specificity of the actions, the phrasing, and the cultural references. like even if a lot of the actions in the book are pointless, the speakers feel lovable to me. this is what humans (or people like me) do, this is how we talk about it, and this is how we feel about each other and our lives. even if some of the references are unhealthy or disagreeable (one of the b-sides mentions pizza hut), it seems beautiful to me in this weird way like the book just honors experience and life and people’s interaction with culture.

NC: When I try to put your style together and make sense of it, I see Ezra Pound’s Personae collection, the poems are very imagist. Are you influenced by the imagist writing?

SR: i haven’t read enough of ezra pound or other imagists to really be influenced directly by them. i have been influenced a lot by translations of japanese haiku though, which maybe has a similar emphasis on image and description without commentary. i’ve also been influenced by some of the language poets who focused on presenting series of images (ron silliman, robert grenier, lyn hejinian)

NC: You mention a lot how you write the poems, how you got the lines from gmail or text messages. Do you think that “how you create the art” is just as important as the finished product? Do you think it is important for the finished product to be able to stand alone without the backstory? Or do you personally prefer to always know the backstory of the creation?

SR: i’m interested in process, but i usually value the finished product more. conceptual writing for example, which is maybe the extreme of valuing process, is a little bit interesting to me, but for me it doesn’t successfully take the place of poetry that is really enjoyable to read. but i mean i am in support of poets doing that work. there are benefits if writing can stand alone without a backstory—like it could be posted on flyers or reblogged more easily without explanation—but i wouldn’t demand that of all poetry. i can appreciate writing without knowing the backstory though. sometimes i read tweets that i really like, and i’m not sure if the twitterer meant them to be ironic or really sincere, but i like them either way.

'The Poetry of Steve Roggenbuck' @ HTMLGIANT
SR's 'i am like october when i am dead'
Buy or download 'CRUNK JUICE' @ LIVE MY LIEF

Steve Roggenbuck CRUNK JUICE

'CRUNK JUICE is my full-length poetry book, compiled from my blog and videos, twitter accounts, lit mags, and previously unpublished work.

'CRUNK JUICE is 116 pages, self-published into the public domain on 29 February 2012. Print copies are printed on 100% recycled paper.

'PRINT COPY – $15 (Free Shipping in U.S.) or donate any amount you want and download the PDF (even a dollar or less donation helps, because i’m frugal as heck !!! thank you)' -- SR



whatever people may think, it is all right just be yourself
thank you
completely enjoy your new life

i wake from my painful slumber of hell
take out my knife of hell
god help me im killing everyone

i was ok in the sea
put me back



this is the most unholy fruit to be grown in hell
fuckin rock on
\m/ \m/



when i have poems assigned for school i write them abotu you no matter
what the assignment is

heather is a coll as heck girl,she lives in a old ass home that no one knows if she is even alive in the house. her faverite games are playin foosball and watcheing hockey on tivo :)
well, heather is one of the best humens alive and she eats a lot of interesting foods such ass choclate cake.Yeah thats heather for u :) aw i think shes coll
anyway, One day heather getss a package in the mail. it says on big leters, “HI HEATHEr :) lol”
its a bomb tho.
heather knowsit is a bomb because she is a smart girl. she says audibley in her own home,,
“god dam
“thats a bomb”
well tha sukcs
The bomb explodes
and heather dies.
But shes hapy as hell,guess why? She got in2 heaven
The end :)


i scrape rust off a bicycle headlamp,
even the moon is orange tonight
unhook my cars air conditioning now ”
i thought football and curling were diferent sports

good fucking lord we enjoy the wheat season in michigan

The morning is beautiful
everything else
is beatiful too i am alive i am alive
a poet tells us to look at our hands Then we do it, its wonderful.
good bye for all my life.”
thats a setnence
i love to hear you talking”
that is a sentence
as well,
if i fall down to die
then grass will be a beautiful surface

Steve Roggenbuck reads from CRUNK JUICE


i am like october when i am dead- by steve roggenbuck


'Elizabeth Ellen's new collection Fast Machine is billed in some of its promotional materials as an "anthology." And even though it's written by just one woman, that label makes sense. It's a dense little brick of a book whose insides have been chopped up into dozens of short stories, many no longer than a paragraph. The stories all feel taut and inwardly focused. The women in these stories—and they are, with very few notable exceptions, women—range in age from childhood through middle age. Some of them are from relatively comfortable backgrounds (at least, comfortable enough to be sent to boarding school) and others are addicts who live in filthy squats.

'Though there's no way Machine could be read as the story of one woman, the whole thing builds into something like a catalog of a single fractured psyche, or a life story shoved into a kaleidoscope and shot through with a million multicolored rays of light. The characters all share the same vocabulary of experiences from the end of the 20th century (Purple Rain, Johnny Carson, Natural Born Killers, Judy Blume) and the stories are all more or less told in variations on Ellen's between-the-eyes prose. ...

'You don't get to see this side of womanhood very often in fiction—tough, and bitter, and unashamed—and it requires something intensive like Fast Machine, a deep, repetitive series of brutal inquiries, to uncover those kinds of secrets. What Ellen is doing here is going deep inside herself and coming back with something small and glistening and vulnerable cradled in her hands. She's offering it to you. You should take it.' -- Paul Constant, The Stranger

Elizabeth Ellen Fast Machine
Short Flight/Long Drive Books

'Dan Wickett once described a Mary Miller story as "a slightly less gritty Elizabeth Ellen story." We're not sure what that means, but it sounds kind of cool. We like the word gritty. And we're obviously huge fans of Mary Miller and her stories. And grit. The stories in Fast Machine come in three sizes: flash, regular, and too-long-for-journal-publication. Some were previously published. Some are brand-spanking new. One is called "Period Sex," for Barry Graham/Kendra Grant Malone. There are slightly more than four hundred pages. There are no acknowledgements (i.e. no three-page thank you to everyone she met at every writers' colony). Zero epigraphs. There are repeated themes: driving, smoking, teenagers, drinking, escape, the Midwest, masturbation, self-loathing and blood. We hope some of you will like it. It's okay to hate it though, too.' -- Hobart

Elizabeth Ellen's stories have appeared in numerous online and print journals over the last ten years, including elimae, Quick Fiction, Hobart, Lamination Colony, Mud Luscious, Sleepingfish, kill author, Pindeldyboz, and many others. She is the author of the chapbook Before You She Was a Pit Bull (Future Tense) and her collection of flash fictions, Sixteen Miles Outside of Phoenix, was included in A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness: four chapbooks of short short fiction by four women (Rose Metal Press). Fast Machine is a collection of her best work from the last decade. Currently she lives in Ann Arbor where she co-edits Hobart and oversees Hobart's book division, Short Flight/Long Drive books.



They were drinking margaritas and talking about death and she was drinking water and talking about death and they were talking about death as something to be feared, as in they feared dogs attacking them when they walked down the street or a car hitting them likewise and she did not know how to express her thoughts on death, as in she thought about death as something to be welcomed, as in driving her car into a guardrail at a hundred miles per hour or drowning in a lake that was pretty to look at and also really, really deep. And she heard herself say aloud the thing about welcoming and the thing about the guardrail and she saw on their faces that they were trying to compute which of these ways of looking at death – hers or theirs – was more alarming, and it became apparent that welcoming death was more alarming in their minds than fearing it and they forgot their own concerns, for their sanities and well beings, and were concerned instead with being concerned about her, her self-destructive nature, which they viewed as being a response to his lack of concern for her and his desecration of her spirit, which they mistakenly believed had once been similar to their own, i.e. that she had once feared dogs attacking her as well, though honestly she could not remember a time in which she feared a dog’s attack or a car crashing into her and did not think he bore any responsibility in her views on death or her desire to drown herself in a pool of water that was pretty to look at and deep enough to overtake her natural instinct to tilt her head above. And she sat perfectly still as they conversed and surmised her state and she sipped from the water glass that reminded her of him and wondered if he had a similar glass in his hand and if he were drinking from it or saving it for later as he had promised.

What Was Meant

She didn't mean what she said. I'm fairly certain of that. Or, if she did mean what she said, she probably didn't mean for what she said to come out the way that she said it. Perhaps she didn't mean for it to come out at all. I remember she turned her head slightly to the left afterward (I was on her right), a gesture I interpreted at the time as regret, though it is possible, in hindsight, that she turned her head to the left to clear her view (she has very long hair, this woman) and the thought of regret never even entered her mind. I want to give her the benefit of the doubt. I have not known her long. She is not one of my oldest friends. She is not, technically, my friend at all. She is the wife of a friend. This is the fact I find most irritating. I am often irritated when forced to make small talk with women who are married to friends of mine. I do not like small talk and am not good at making it. I was already annoyed at being left alone with her. This was before she made the remark in question. Perhaps if I had not been so annoyed I would not have been listening quite as carefully to what she was saying and would not now be hearing her words over and over again in my head as though they were an oral grocery list or set of daily affirmations. I don't want to think that she meant what she said. What she said was very unkind. If she meant the unkind thing that she said it stands to reason she is an unkind person and if she is an unkind person what sort of person then is my friend, her husband? I have always believed my friend to be a kind man. Perhaps he too is unkind but is better at disguising his unkindness. I cannot remember a time when my friend acted in an unkind manner or made an unkind remark but maybe this is because I am never annoyed at being left alone with him and therefore pay little attention to the things he does and says. It is possible he has made many unkind comments in my presence over the years. He has very unusual eyes, my friend, the color of molasses, and I often find myself staring into them as though held in place by a visual stickiness. His wife's eyes are not unique. They are blue or green or some combination of the two. They are a color you would expect.

A Brief Bio by Elizabeth Ellen

Aaron Burch & Elizabeth Ellen On Hobart & Whisky

Fast Machine Song


Roxanne Gay: Who are some of your influences? What books do you love most?

Brian Oliu: I’m a huge proponent of the lyric essay, and so I love John D’Agata, Christian Bobin, pretty much anything on Brevity, Lyn Hejinian, Jenny Boully, etc, etc, etc. Joan Didion, Joy Williams, and Olena Kalytiak Davis made me want to write / make me want to write / make me want to write better. I’ve been incredibly fortunate in terms of my writing teachers and I am very much in debt to them: Lia Purpura taught me how to synthesize the world and the self and to do it effortlessly and stunningly, Michael Martone taught me how to take chances in writing and form, to work towards a larger idea and project, and to always ‘whole-ass’ everything, Kate Bernheimer taught me how to channel memory into something sublime and terrifying and beautiful. Friends here in Tuscaloosa too: Lucas Southworth, Colleen Hollister, and Tessa Fontaine are just a sampling of gorgeous and at times ‘perfect’ writing. I am obsessed with the Odyssey; my first novel/memoir/whatever is a retelling of Odysseus’ story if it were a computer virus. Dear Sugar! Wikipedia articles! Anything that is beautiful and has heart and feels toiled over yet flows naturally and passionately. Writing that sounds good out loud.

RG: While some people are bored by process questions, I’m increasingly interested in how people write. How do you write?

BO: I love process stuff! I type everything. I don’t turn off browsers/ Facebook/ Twitter/chat because that seems like I’d be in ‘high pressure / I AM SO SERIOUS RIGHT NOW’ writing mode and I wouldn’t get anything done. I don’t really have a writing time of day, nor do I write every day. I like to move around; I wrote all of So You Know It’s Me from my desk in my room, but I haven’t written from that desk in at least 6 months. I was writing on the futon for a while, but that broke, so I’ve been writing on the couch in the room that no one sits in. I’ve been on a book / eating / spaceship tour the past two weeks and so I write something from my hotel bed which I’m really intrigued about. I’m heading home to New Jersey for a few weeks and I’m excited to see what happens when I write back at home (it usually turns out weird? and dark? and ornate?). I read everything aloud when I write. If I’m working on a project, I’ll read all of the pieces of that project aloud in order to get me into the language / rhythm of writing. When I am done, I’ll read it aloud: if anything gets stuck in my mouth, it’s gone. I’ll do this multiple times. If I feel something is done, I need it out of my computer as soon as possible — meaning I’ll send it out for publication immediately or I’ll send it to my friends Elizabeth Wade & Jeremy Hawkins who are the best editors / readers of my work on the planet. I write pretty well on Thursday late afternoons. No music, but sound is okay. Usually with a Coke Zero or Diet Dr. Pepper.

Brian Oliu Internet Presence!
'100 Facts About Brian Oliu' @ Pank
Brian Oliu's 'Zelda Revisited'
Brian Oliu's 'Ghosts 'N Goblins'
Buy 'Level End' @ Origami Zoo Press

Brian Oliu Level End
Origami Zoo Press

'When you arrive, the music changes. In Level End, Brian Oliu treats you as a player rather than a reader, providing a video game walkthrough made of lyric essays, guiding you through the toughest boss battles. In this world, though, the pixelated enemies you face are uncannily familiar: angry family members, lost loves, yourself on a night after too much wine. Oliu’s game-inspired pieces are labyrinthine and beautiful–you’ll want to get lost on the way to the nearest save point–and they serve as a constant reminder that what you find at the end might not be at all what you expected.'
-- Origami Zoo Press

'Among the recent wave of young writers with a literary interest in video games, Brian Oliu is both the least literal and the most successful in representing their strange, surreal logics. His lyric essays read the way video games felt before they understood themselves: mysterious, lonely, sad, funny, weird, existing in their own desire as much as (or more than) their bodies. They read the way it feels to remember something incorrectly.' -- Mike Meginnis, Editor of Uncanny Valley


Boss Battle: The One With the Long Neck

When I arrived, the music changed -- you, queen of what remains, you in a room too small for your body. Your neck is something I am unfamiliar with -- the back of it invisible, the front of it, delicate: the graze of a finger causes the chin to tilt downward, a trap, always a trap. Your face, a mask -- smooth as the day you were born and as hard as the stone on the ring that I am wearing, the ring that allows me to pretend that this does not hurt as much as it once did; that the bruises that form fade to yellow faster, that this is what I should have been wearing since the beginning -- trading the green of my youth for something that reminds you of an announcement, a declaration of danger.

You, larger than the room you have been sleeping in. You, despite this, will not push me against the wall, will not press your head into my chest, will not listen to what I am saying; that you must disappear, that the only thing that must remain is the room that we have built here: red brick, red paper, red fabric on the floor. I take my knife and start cutting -- your neck breaking in sections and vanishing, tendons unraveling like our time away from this room, your neck growing shorter by the second. Your face shrinks back towards your shoulders, shoulders I remember but cannot place. You, of the neck. You, of no neck, neckless: head on body like a badly drawn picture, like something I once drew. This is where you disappear. This is where the door opens. This is all that I have wanted.

Boss Battle: My Brother Who Controls the Weather

When I arrived, the music changed—all notes go silent: the only thing audible is the hum of a soft rain, constant though we are inside, and for a moment it is peaceful, something we can sleep through, something that makes us turn off everything else so we can hear water on windows, on slanted roofs. You appear in a flicker, fast strobe first, then slowing to a gentle spin, arms out stretched and palms upward like you are receiving something—that someone who loves you will place a gumdrop into your hand so you can close your fingers around the jeweled sugar and place it between your teeth in a dirty scarfing.

This is where the lightning starts: dry heat from the sky and into your hands leaving burn marks on skin, smoothing over heart lines like you have no heart, though I know it is there. The bolts, jagged like raised veins come together in front of your stomach and slice towards where I am standing, speechless. The outcome is uncertain: the voltage runs over my body like a pulped orange turning everything I am into something I am not, or it doesn’t. The current springs back upon you, knocking your helmet off of your head to reveal a face like mine, or it doesn’t. The wind changes direction: I know this because I cannot stand still—I must pick up what is left, I must hold your blackened hands. I know this because for once I can see the rain slanted downwards: falling in grey lines like the ghosts of our loved ones shooting towards the earth.

Brian Oliu reads 'Super Mario Bros.'

Brian Oliu reads 'ManiacMansion'

Trailer: Brian Oliu's 'So You Know It's Me'


p.s. Hey. First, Rose Bach, yesterday's curator, wrote to me this morning and asked me to thank everyone very much for your interest in the show she put together yesterday. Second, here's an alert to those of you who are in/around NYC or will be in the next few weeks: The great artist A.R. aka Alex Rose, whom I'm very proud to call a d.l. of this blog, has an exhibition of new works opening at Envoy Gallery tomorrow night. He's incredible, and that show really is an absolute must-see if you can get yourselves over there. Here's the info. ** Cobalt91, Howdy! Thanks much for filling me in on your and Chad's work situations. I'm not totally sure what a pharmacy tech is, but, long hours aside, the combination of the words pharmacy and tech sound quite interesting and kind of charismatic. But working in a bakery doesn't sound bad either 'cos, at least when you're only a patron of bakeries, they're pretty charismatic too. Anyway, as long as you're able to find time to write, that's the big thing. Yury's money job is as a Colorist at a high-end hair salon here, but his real and longterm work/ interest is as a fashion/ clothing designer. He's working on his first collection right now, and I think he's angling to hold his first presentation/ runway show and launch his clothing brand later this year. Oh, about 'Frisk', well, ... For one thing, the way I work, which is basically within a fairly tight area of subject matter(s) and emotional substance and character types and so on, I'm continually trying to improve my approach and work and cause them to evolve with each novel and trying to never repeat myself within my self-imposed limits. So, the approach I took in 'Frisk' feels far behind to me. I believed in it completely when I wrote the novel, and I did the best I could, and even though I think the novel has some conceptual and aesthetic problems in hindsight, I wouldn't try to fix it now because even though the approach I took there feels early to me, my skills as a writer are much better now, and I think I would fuck the novel up if I reworked it because I imagine that what power it has derives at least partly from my intense belief at the time in the approach I took. I'm okay with that novel, although I don't think it's one of my better ones. Also, that novel really and permanently branded me as a writer. It cemented the image of me as a bad boy/ monster/ shock-meister, etc., and that image has just been a total, tiresome drag to labor under, so, in the case of 'Frisk', it's also a novel that I might have a hard time being objective about. I appreciate your asking. Chad did Pep? Cool. I know almost nobody who has. 'Randy' is a good word for its effect, yep, ha ha. I still write by hand the majority of the time. 'TMS' was the first novel I wrote on a computer rather than by hand as part of a writing experiment, and I liked what happened, so I'm a little more open to working that way now. As far as I can tell, Ira Silverberg seems to be doing well over at the NEA, but I haven't talked to him in months. Oh, my email address is: dcooperweb Yeah, send me whatever you like. That would be awesome. A great pleasure as always, man. ** MANCY, Ooh, nice all the way around, and especially that they did 'my song'. I think I read that Codeine are coming over here. My ears are peeled. ** Jeff, Lack of sleep is overrated, that's for sure, or I think so. It has a particular druggy effect, sure, but I don't think it's worth it. Sam Pink is cool, yeah. I want to read his new book. I need to get on that. Aw, thanks, man, about my 'Weaklings'. That's so kind of you to say. ** David Ehrenstein, Hey. Wow, that FaBlog entry does look pretty incredible. I'll go back over there as soon as I publish this sucker. Everyone, the right honorable David Ehrenstein has what looks to be a super interesting and meaty and chockfull post over on his FaBlog right now enticingly called 'Pierre Klossowski and the Temple of Doom'. Head over there. Use this door. Oh, David, d.l. Natch asked me about whether Kip Noll, the 70s porn star, hung out with Andy Warhol. I know nothing about this. Do you know if that's true? ** Sypha, Hi. No, I don't have any kind of across the board antagonism towards religions. I find belief in religion to be really curious and interesting and foreign in a neutral way. My only antagonism is towards arrogant, power-mongering people who use their religion as a basis for oppressing and trying to scare others or who aggressively try to recruit people into their shit. Probably the same sort of stuff you feel antagonist towards. ** Omar, Hey! Welcome, greetings, and thank you very much! ** Alan, Hi. Quebec City. Why there? I was there once. I think it was very pretty. I was very young. I don't remember much. Yes, I did get CDs, thank you so much! I haven't slipped them into my laptop yet, but I will. ** Steevee, Oh, right, now I think I remember you talking about the ad in Backstage, yes. Fingers ongoingly crossed about those two actors. Yury is 27. He thought he had found very early signs of balding last year, and he went to work using Propecia and some kind of cream. My understanding, mostly through him, is that things like Propecia are far more effective as a preventative measure than as a restorer. ** Lee, Hey, pal. Ha ha, so you're really a schoolboy now, that's nice. I mean it should mean that much to you, right? Dumb shit is very mutable. Seriously, you should see my first drafts. Dumb shit city. Keep staring at it and poking it, and it will come. I hope you get the funding, man, duh. Getting funded is starting to be like one of those long lost activities like winding a pocket watch or something. Everyone over here is really holding their breaths because Sarkozy has made massive, slashing cuts to arts funding France that are due to come into effect soon, but Hollande has pledged to restore arts funding to its old level and maybe even increase it, so ... Let me know what you think of the Markson. The skies are ... hold on ... less gray today. So far. May yours open if they haven't already. ** Natch, Hi, Natch. Yeah the 'Noll' piece appeared on my blog first. Quite a number of pieces in 'Ugly Man' started out here. When I was developing 'The Marbled Swarm', I was using this place to try out writing experiments I was doing, and a lot of the 'Ugly Man' pieces were originally novel/ voice/ style try-outs. Chris Noll didn't actually exist. 'He' was a character played by Scott Noll in one porn video, and the video's direction was attributed to Chris Noll, but it was kind of a joke, and he wasn't real. That's why I didn't include him, but it is an interesting story, so I probably should have. I don't know anything about an event around 'The Noll Dynasty'. Hm, I'll do a search. That's news to me. I don't remember anything about that story of me meeting Kip Noll. Either it never happened, or my memory is messing up this morning. I don't know if Kip Noll hung out with Warhol -- I asked Mr. Ehrenstein is he knows of that up above -- but there were some 70's gay porn stars who fraternized with Warhol: Jeremy Scott, Lance, others. Warhol did make a portrait of Lance. Oh, please do send the Trintignant text, if you like. I would be very happy to have and read it. No, I'm not a specialist of Italian cinema. I'm interested in it, of course, but I consider it kind of a weaker spot in my film knowledge. I know and love the obvious Italian directors -- although I'm not a big Pasolini fan, which always surprises people -- but I'm much more versed in northern European cinema, French film in particular, of course. You have a very nice week too! ** JoeM, Hi. Glad you liked the photos. Yeah, that Grand Central Station one is so stunning. It true: McCartney himself seems like a sane and okay guy. Of course, I like how publicly and passionately pro-vegetarian he is. Obviously, good question about what would have happened if The Beatles had continued. Their last album, 'Abbey Road', is pretty good stuff, but I guess I kind of assume that George Martin must have a lot to do with how rich and cohesive that record sounds and feels. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hooray! At last! My afternoon is now spoken for! Everyone, at long last the new issue of the mighty and unimpeachable zine Yuck 'n Yum, which is co-masterminded by our own _B_A aka the artist Ben Robinson, is online and fully ready to be explored and read from start to finish completely gratis, and so, without further ado, dudes and dudettes, you want to use this portal and go indulge heavily and spread the news and so on. Do! Hooray! ** Postitbreakup, Oh, you do Propecia too? Actually, Yury pops one in my mouth everyday, which might be why I'm more Kiefer Sutherland than Dr. Phil. Man, that baldcelebrity site is kind of weird and neurotic, no? It kind of gave me the willies for some reason. ** Paul Curran, Hey, Paul. Oh, okay, cool. My mailing address is: c/o Centre International des Recollets, 150 rue du Faubourg St. Martin, 75010, Paris. Awesome! Thank you! ** Daveyhoule, Hey, Davey, good to see you. You well? I don't know if you noticed or if it matters much, but for the George Miles Cycle show in Amsterdam, the curators included a dozen or so zines from my collection at NYU, and one of the zines they chose was 'Fuh Cole', and it was visible in the photos of the show I had on the blog recently. I was happy they picked it, obviously! ** Paradigm, Hi, Scott! Yeah, the post/Day is wonderful, and I had no problem setting it up, and, in fact, it'll show up here on Thursday the 19th, or a week from this coming Thursday, in other words. Thank you so much, man! Wow, interesting about your new hometown and all the unfamiliarity. It's kind of exciting to start a local life from scratch, no? I've always loved doing that when I moved to a strange place, and the loneliness and freshness kind of combine to create such a fertile situation, I think, or it can. Finding new friends is pretty key, though, so I hope you find comrades soon or soonish at least. Very interesting. Lovely day to you, man. ** Creative Massacre, Very cool about the Nashville/TNA trip. I've never been to Nashville. I'm sure you have before. You like it? What's kind of, I don't know, particularly special about it? 20 seconds? Yikes. ** Richard chiem, Hi, Richard! Awesome to see you! Thanks for the kind words on the post. And obviously I'm so glad that 'High Life' rated so highly for you. 'Empty Mile' is kind of ... different. I'll be curious to learn what you think. Oh, and I'm still on you-know-what. Sorry for my seemingly forever slowness. Take care. ** Shannon Barber, Hey, Shannon! That' so crazy -- well, not that crazy, but I just finally bought my Kindle 'Wayward Words' while I drinking my coffee this very morning! I think I figured out how I'll be able to read it. It doesn't seem like complicated process. Anyway, how about them odds? Hooray for me! Aw, thanks, pal, about my little blog here. You're so sweet, Love of a mega-variety to you. ** Misanthrope, Wow, a totally satisfied Misanthrope, that is something right there. Rose Bach is a magician. Yeah, I don't know, it just seems like your Beatles dislike must be heavily involved in a dislike for the mythos around them, but I don't know. Really, Harry is that tops for you? Interesting. I'll have to look closer at him if he's the epitome of your uber-male. I figure the day that beauty doesn't make your feet pedal air you're dead. I think you should write at least one horny, melancholy poem about Harry. In fact, that's an assignment. You can even use one of your long alter-egos if you want. ** Chris Dankland, Hi, Chris. Yeah, I really did and do love the sound of that novel and those characters and how you've given birth to it. I know what you mean about printing out. It makes such a difference to read a novel-in-progress and think about it, editing-wise, when it's paper form. Same goes for me. I guess because it's at least tangentially related to a book and to the reading experience then? At least until the time when every book is just an eBook, I guess. Korine is the man. I don't know, I think he's easily among the greatest American filmmakers right now. Very exciting. ** Bill, Yeah, try to slip through Paris for a bit at least this summer if you can. T'would be awesome, sir. Are there other European locales where you want or need to be? The Guy Maddin thing was really fantastic! It was cool 'cos I was there all the time, and you could go downstairs -- he did it at the base of the stairs down to the basement -- and just watch him make films for a while, not to mention the relative omnipresence of his cast members Udo Kier, Charlotte Rampling, and Geraldine Chaplin, among others. It was really special, really wonderful. I think he's doing the same piece/residency at MoMA, either now or sometimes soon. I hope that light at the tunnel's end gets brighter and brighter such that you'll need to have a good pair of sun glasses. ** Schilix. Hey, Uli! Om, awesome! Do they have something new coming out? That venue looks really magical in and of itself. I think maybe that Ryoji Ikeda installation is coming to the Pompidou. He's doing something or other there soon. Best of the best to you, man. ** Rewritedept, Hey. Work will tweak the pissiness, that's for sure. Mystery solved? I saw your email, but I haven't dug into it yet. I will. Here's to sleep, stringing, and writing until further notice. ** Okay. Those three books up there are the three most recent ones I loved, obviously. Well, I'm actually in the middle of some other, newer books that are courting my love quite effectively so far, so those aren't technically the most recent, I guess. Anyway, I recommend those three books up there to you. See you tomorrow.


DavidEhrenstein said...

As usual today's reccomendations looking scrumptious.

Kip Noll and Andy? Never heard anythign abotu that -- though it's perfectly likely. Usually Andy (and Paul) would like to discover talent on their own -- most famously Joe, but also Philip Fagin, the Van Rensaleer boys, et al. Speakign of which, does anyone know what hapened to Max de Lys -- Karl Lagerfeld's ersrwhile boytoy in L'Amour ?
L'Amour remains one of Paul's most seriously negelected works.


As classic fashion presentations traditionally end with a bridal gown, may I humbly suggest that Yury consider draping something lovely over Francois Sagat?

alan said...

Nice to see the different directions writers are taking.

Oh, I have to get to Alex Rose’s show. His last show in NYC left an indelible impression. Your Biennial thing is on my list too, and Cindy Sherman.

I really wonder what you would change in Frisk? There’s so much beautiful stuff in it. There are passages that make me tear up every time.

Quebec City, yeah. Why? Well, for us it’s budget Europe, Europe by bus. And Nobuko is living upstate, literally on the bus route to Montreal. So instead of my getting off as usual she gets on. We did Montreal last year and it was so cool and the food so great we figured QC is probably more so, idk.

daveyhoule said...

Yeah, I did see that Fuh Cole in the George Miles zine wall photo. That was awesome! Almost as awesome as when you interviewed Courtney Love and handed her a copy. That spazzed out my 20-whatever-year-old self to no end. :)

Bill said...

Hey Dennis, thanks for the good wishes regarding the light. But I will grit my teeth and carry a flashlight, just in case. And Erpenbeck reads well in near darkness.

I like Brian Oliu, will have to get Level End. I like the video clips of Steve Roggenbuck reading, much better than reading the texts myself. With me it's usually the other way round, odd.

Wish I could get to New York for Last Spring and Alex Rose's show. But with the Ann Arbor thing in May, there's just no way...


Stephen Tully Dierks said...

Hi Dennis,

Happy to see Steve recommended here. He is a wonderful guy and I have loved being friends both online and IRL. I appreciate the many links, samples, and thoughtfulness of presentation. Cheers!

cobalt91 said...

Hey there sir,

Yuri sounds very cool -- I always respect people with any sort of skill with color; Chad's kinda the same way, in the sense of like "Oh yeah, that turquoise would go well with the gray pants" whereas I have to ask what color socks go with what jeans half the time.

So, if Frisk is one of your weaker books, which, would you say, is the one you would hold up as a better book? Or does that just change with whatever you finished most recently?

Very interesting to read about TMS being written by computer. Did I mention I wrote an erotic straight romance, once, to make some money, which it didn't, but it did get me a comfortable acquaintance with word processors again; how did you notice it changed the process, if I may ask?

"Fast Machine" looks like such an amazing book; I'm ordering it soon.

I know have, sitting by my laptop, all of your books (including HHUnplugged) save for My Loose Thread and Period. It's really cool and kind of overwhelming, the idea of reading everything a writer has ever written.

Oh, the first part of that piece I mentioned awhile back, the "experiment with obsessive structure" hits The Awl network tomorrow; I'll link you to it when it hits. I hope you like it.

Oh, and Chad laughed about the Pep thing. A friend of his who'd sort of limped through the 80s had a big stockpile at one time.

I would say, about controversy: do you think the controversy surrounding Frisk helped make you well-known/perhaps made you some money? It's what worked for Bret Easton Ellis, twice. Or did it just sort of help people categorize you so they didn't have to take you seriously? Like the way you explained, your PR interview, the way the word "cult writer" means.

Did you know people still get in fights on Amazon review comments of whether Frisk or Poppy Z Brite's "Exquisite Corpse" are better books? Like big nasty Internet fights. The idea of really fighting like that seems kinda strange to me, but if I'd written one of those books, I'd sorta laugh, I think.

steevee said...

When Yury launches his fashion line, you should devote a day here to it.

I'm seeing Guy Maddin's KEYHOLE tonight.

My insurance company finally relented and allowed me to get a prescription of 30 Zyprexa filled today. The only downside is that my co-pay was twice the usual amount. I hope there's no problem when I get it refilled in a month.

Sypha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chilly Jay Chill said...

Alex - If you're reading this, congrats on the NYC show. The images on the site look amazing, as usual! Hope I'll be up there to see them in person.

Dennis - I'm just now back from two wonderful weeks at MacDowell. It's an amazing place - great facilities, plus nice vibe and really talented folks. Got to meet John Jesrun, whose work I've always admired. Have you done a day on him? Also Lee Hyla, who composed a cool and abrasively modernist soundtrack for Howl for Kronos Quartet and Ginsberg - among many other things.

My collaborator and I got a lot of work done on the new theater piece - radically condensing 2000 pages of "The Dream of the Red Chamber" novel into something much more fleet and manageable. Plus dealing with the piece's extremely odd conceptual framework. While we were there we found out we got another MAP Fund Grant, specifically for this piece, which is huge.

I also got a running start on some new fiction, which was nice. Been collecting lots of bad news from publishers (wrapped in compliments, but still) on the novel but trying to put that out of my mind as much as I can.

Has your whirlwind of activity abated for a little while? What's new on the horizon for you?

Great post today about these books. Adding them to the list, stat.

JoeM said...

Yes I think George Martin was a huge factor in the Beatles Story – the sort of posh upper class Southern English father figure that could keep them in line – they'd only have rebelled against one of their own Northern Liverpudlian kind. And incredibly important musically with his classical background and discipline. And adventurousness. A lot of the Beatles new ground was broke by him.

I thought it was sad that George Martin's last Beatles project - that Cirque Du Soleil thing he did with his son – was a relative failure. It had the worst title ever – Love. I still think, if it had been called The Beatles:The Remixes it would have done at least half as much as 1.

1 was so perfect. As a concept, and as a Beatles album – all those brilliant singles in chronological order. Very few of the artists who ripped off the concept had the actual Number One hits to back it up: MJ/Elvis, uh that's it.

And of course McCartney held it all together too. Ringo said that he and John avoided Beatles work whenever possible. They would be lazing, drinking and hear the phone - 'And we would just know it was him - summoning us to work'.

Misa: 'I think part of my Beatles distaste is the mythos, the legend, the hype' - as opposed to Elvis/Jim Morrison and um Harry Styles...

But honestly, I love the fact that you can, at 40, still get infatuated. (I'm 53 and still get infatuated - albeit more mildly and short-termed than before. I think.) What's wrong with that? I hope to continue to be that way till death do I part.

Oh and you should click onto The Sun UK – everyday Harry Styles propaganda...

5strings said...

Hey dude! Hahaha I could get away with only cowboy boots LOL, like Porter Wagner pink ones. The girls would go nuts. I could bring back INXS? They have orange thon at Clichy. I don't trust those sandwiches man, they're everywhere. I got a bhang fucking pink grapefruit (ie. Pomplemousse) gelatin desert in the arcades last time I was in town. Tried fois gross, worst dish ever! I've been doing the vegetarian thing, losing weight like crazy. Meat does not agree. Moo-shoo, cool! I've looked for cold sesame, some reason every time I ask for it, the lady in the back gets on the phone and looks at me very strangely? I just like the aesthetic and the seaweed and crap LOL. I'm fiending Paris and Vienna. I've written the first chapter like a thousand times. It always ends the same, Ryan goes home sleepy. He's went to a party. That's a start. Ryan's a blond kid who thinks he loves a Stroke, but he's really in love a pair of Jew brothers, wait that's 3 Jews. Anyway, back to work tonight. I finished grad school! Finally, I'm gradiated like Jethro Bodine. Oh man, so quitting my day job. Several months off for me to write, Amen. Started reading Locus Solus, tres weird. I skipped chapter 3, "Words, words…" and chapter 4 was like woah. Cool post yesterday. Catch ya on the flip. Later DC

PS. Got some history of sculpture table-books!

Bollo said...

Hi Dennis

you missed me yesterday sadface...
: ) now worries i know how much work it is and i didn't say much.

hopefully we get to see Alex's show here in some form? gonna pep at the gallery now.

social welfare sorted, way less messy than i feared i hate having to be on it but there's nothing much else going on money wise. still have to wait a lil while for money tho but i don't have to have any meetings or visitations which is great.

what i've read online of Steve Roggenbuck is pretty fun, tempted by the book might have to snag the pdf for now.
these post always make me wanna buy the books its great to find new fresh people to read. finished reading Querelle, and now i have to read more Genet. what's the best next move? i snagged Querelle cheap 2nd hand in a great bookshop in Berlin. it had lots of things i wanted to read in it, which doesn't happen so much in Dublin.

speaking of the whole changing past works is funny cause i've been staring at some old paintings id did that my folks have on the wall. i kind want to paint black over them then strip them back some how? its been bouncing in my brain for a bit so it might happen.

hope all's well? and Yury's fashion show is on the looking forward to list!

JoeM said...

Oh and you shouldn't have mentioned Abbey Road.

Possibly a you and Misanthrope hate megamix/Grundleburger : MJ + Beatles = this

Here Comes The sun King

She's so...

_Black_Acrylic said...

@ Bollo, my own fave Genet is Our Lady of the Flowers, the first of his I ever read. I have Sartre's Saint Genet on my bookshelf that I keep meaning to tackle.

lee said...

ha - dumb shit city, population: us. that settles my stomach. and double ha re: SCHOOLBOY. maybe i'll make a t-shirt in celebration. it really is pretty great, and as you say, great that i find it so great. i'll keep poking, keep hoping, and keep you abreast of developments whatever.

thanks for the recommends - the steve roggenbuck looks totally interesting, even to almost-zero-poetry-reading me.

skies here were kind today, hope yours were too xx

JoeM said...

Everybody had a good time

postitbreakup said...

yay steve!!! booost!

dunnadam said...

Hey Dennis. It's Adam here, I sent you a couple of your books last year to sign and a few copies of Straight to Hell, hoping you remember. Anyway, wanted to check if you've had any time to send the books back, please let me know, you're awesome, thanks!

Adam dunnadam @ hotmail . com

Creative Massacre said...

Dennis - Nashville is a very cool town. I definitely like it. It’s mostly centered around, its country music heritage. I’m not really a fan of country music, but it’s cool to see some of the places where country’s top artists got their starts and whatnot. I’ve seen a few concerts there as well. It’s definitely a cool place to go for music. I’ve seen everyone from the Pixies to the Kills there. It’s a fun little town to visit. They have a lot of really neat stores and restaurants. If you ever get the chance, you should check it out, at least once.

DavidEhrenstein said...


JoeM said...

Oh my God David E - not that one!

Of all the White's.

Are you being ironic?

I think this one's the best:

The World was Waiting Just for You

As you know this was a song about the Mahhhrahhsisishshsiwahetever thehyrealltheseame

Misanthrope said...

JoeM, I came to Elvis and The Doors in a totally different fashion than The Beatles. My mom's a huge Elvis fan and I was listening to the music since I was baby and well before I ever realized who Elvis was. Same with The Doors. I'd never heard of them, but I saw a video of "Touch Me" on VH1, was intrigued, and started listening to their music, which I got into before I ever got any idea that Morrison was this rock god or whatever.

The Beatles are different. All I'd hear in high school, from other kids or TV adverts or whatever, was how they were the best ever, bigger than Jesus, etc. So I take a listen and I'm like, "Really? This?"

Oh, and my niece informed me today that I'm too old to be concerned with anything One Direction. So I guess I'm only allowed to listen to music by 40 year-olds and read articles about 40 year-olds.

Dennis, Like I told Joe, The Beatles hype got to me before the music. I don't think the music had much of a chance, hahaha. Plus, my mom hated The Beatles and we never heard them. It was all Elvis. I remember being really little and dancing to Elvis with my mom.

Weirdly, she's not a big Doors fan, but I ended up liking them. I discovered them on my own, though, and it was the music I was exposed to first.

Yeah, I thought all those photos yesterday were ace. Really good stuff.

I often wonder if I'm not just stuck at 16. You know, a lot of us gay kids didn't get to have childhoods: we couldn't be open about our sexuality, couldn't have crushes openly, couldn't date this guy or that. We missed a whole part of life. And sometimes it seems like I still haven't gone through that or am going through it now.

Well, great minds -or one great mind and mine!- think alike: I've already thought of expressing this crazy lovestruckness of mine in verse. I really have considered it. And you know what? I think I'll do it!

In the meantime, I'll put this out there (a riff on Andrew "Dice" Clay and Mother Goose):

Harry, Harry, quite contrary,
trim that taint, it's so damn hairy!

Chris Dankland said...

Hey Dennis, this is a really cool collection of writers. I was reading some of the online version of Crunk Juice earlier this evening, and looking at Elizabeth Ellen's tumblr...

I'm wondering if you've ever been personally tempted to make promotional internet videos, like book trailers or anything? Does that interest you at all, or not really? You know so many artists and directors. I was also wondering if you've had much pressure from publishers to make videos, or do they care? I saw that Ugly Man had a book trailer, but I didn't see one for TMS.

JoeM said...

Misa - well that's the great thing about being gay - if you want you can be Forever Young.

Blah, I'm not going to push it. Here.

Chris said...


I offer great apologies for leaving for months on end. I have returned, somewhat prodigal.

I got my PhD scholarship, so that's all good. And started teaching and lecturing. Which is great.

And very recently, someone complained about the clips I used in my lecture. Bad language, references to rape, etc. in thew context of parodying the sensationalism and fearmongering the news media gets into when it winds up a moral panic. And it made me think of you!

Not because of the obvious reason right there, but because I thought, wow, is this a university and a grounding for life where we teach people the skills they need, or is this a place for them to fuck around and complain about the slightest thing that offends them?

And then I thought of my classes at undergrad, and how we read Frisk and Try, and how they'd be foaming at the mouth if they read some of that stuff.

Are we teaching them to be challenged and to engage and explore things that make the uncomfortable, or are we just teaching them the meaning of big words like patriarchy and not bothering to add any caveats or contexts to that term? Because if it's the latter, it's completely fucking pointless. You're in university. You're at least 20. Man up or the world will eat you alive pretty soon. Unless you write me another E grade essay, and then I'll kill you before the world gets to you.

Dennis! How are you?

alan said...


I’m with Black Acrylic: Our Lady of the Flowers was the most important one for me too.

It’s hard to go too far wrong with Genet. His work is pretty pure. Dennis’s fave is an idiosyncratic choice but an interesting one. Don‘t forget about the plays, as well.

postitbreakup said...

hey dennis, i made this for you:

The Weaklings Library

& was hoping you could take a look at it & tell me if there's anything you want me to change, especially the list of your books at the end, i feel like i left something out. also, i know you don't like amazon, so i made the links to powell's, but if you want them to go somewhere else just let me know & i'll correct them.

thank you for doing so much for the literary community & supporting all these great authors,

& being super super forgiving of my shit. maybe this can be some small, small form of penance.


magick mike said...

dennis, i still absolutely love you and your work, but i really miss the days when you recommended books and included your own commentary / also miss learning about killer shit from the 60s & 70s that i hadn't heard of

(i mean, this is not a jab at anything presented here, it's just maybe due to my stupid involvement with 'indie lit' or w/e i've always ended up already having seen most of the aggregated data)


hi dennis!!

yes we definitely have to meet up in la! for sure. That's so funny about "safe," as enjoyable as it was. Yeah I totally get it about old stuff, i can't even look at my old stuff it's so embarrassing. i can't even think about it, yuck. but speaking of stufffffff. works in particular - if you have time - i just posted my new project. i basically shaved my chest and projected it on photographs of really close up skin from friends and myself. yeah i shaved my chest in front of the whole class hahaa. i think everything worked out for the most part. everyone loved it which was awesome. i posted the video itself and then a recording of the projection on the photographs that i put the sound over again. the photographs were taken with my nikon digital, disposable film cameras, and my old pentax and nikon film cameras from the 80's. the upload is kind of weird though but i don't feel like doing it again, it takes so long. and yes, if you notice, i dyed some of my hair fuchsia for some reason. maybe it's the sea punk thing. haha, just kidding. well i hope you like it! and i'm glad you had some time to relax after being so busy!!

Schlix said...

Dennis, Om will have a new album out in july and will be back in europe in september (they said).
This Berghain location is some kind of magical but I was just there to see concerts cause I not so into techno and dancing. My best and longest friend who lives in Berlin and who I met two days ago he almost lived in inside of Berghain for month. He said he got almost lost and addicted to it and had to cut down. But he is more into the club scene and stuff and DJ himself...

New interesting books here. And i brought many new books with me from Berlin. Where will this end?

Thomas Moronic said...

Really like the stuff by Steve Roggenbuck that you posted. I've ordered his book. Quite tempted to jump for the other two as well. Man. This place is bad for my bank account but so so good for my SOUL! Hehe. Thanks for the recommendations, Dennis.

Really like the balance of humour and sadness/darkness that's going on in Steve's stuff, based on first impression. It's a tricky thing to do without seeming over-thought-out or too dry or something. So yeah, very excited to jump into his stuff a little more.

Thomas x

Ian Tuttle said...

The YouTube videos are amazing. It's strange to see authors in video so frequently now. It used to be all you had was the tiny back jacket photo. Id stare at those for hours trying to figure out what kind of person could write the book I was reading. Now there's so much exposure.

Thanks for all the recommendations. These all look remarkable. And get in touch for a coffee if you can. I'm here in Paris till sunday.

Matty B. said...

Safely landed and settled in here in Rotterdam, and heading to Koln for a birthday evening, and then on to Berlin for Friday/Saturday. I know you were headed possibly up to Amsterdam? Sometime around mid-month, right? We're going to get back there next week as well, to see your show and spend some extra time exploring. Would be great to connect if that ends up working,as I believe you mentioned also heading back to the States at some point this month... Let me know and thanks for the b-day wishes!

querik said...

Hey, yesterday I visited your show in amsterdam. it looked great, very archival, if thats a word. the work of vincent and falke was a real discovery to me, browsed some of the zines.

the ultramarine walls made it look like the whole show was something rescued from the depths of the sea, a little subterrrenean archive room for cooperphiles and literati. (yes, i'm gonna paint the walls of my bedroom that color!)

blue blue electric blue thats the color of my room where i will live