Monday, September 18, 2017

166. Klink prompt } Dec. 2003.

“Titles of the next five books of poem you plan to read,” asked poet Joanna Klink (511 – 01 Special Topics: Description). I wrote,

Standing Wave by John Taggart; After Calculus by Craig Watson; School of Udhra by Nathaniel Mackey; maybe Eunoia by Christian Bok; maybe Watchfulness by Peter O’Leary; maybe My Life in the Nineties and/or The Fatalist by Lyn Hejinian and maybe Tis of Thee by Fanny Howe. Though talking about Cole Swenson whetted my appetite for Such Rich Hour, which has languished on my shelf for a couple years (in part because I fantasize reading it and Très Riches Heures simultaneously). I’m also interested in reading some more by Myung Mi Kim, who wrote the wonderful Dura. And then, there’s The Maximus Poems, Pound’s Cantos… all competing with fiction and non-fiction that MUST BE READ. 
Therefore, none of it will ever be read. By anyone.

I ask, has anyone read any of these books?

If I told you I read Standing WaveAfter CalculusEunoia, and Watchfulness—would you believe me? That School of Udhra is full of my notes, kept on a table in the basement where I read it when I fold laundry? Life, yes. Tis, no.That Such Rich Hour is the only book by Cole Swenson I haven’t read? Have I read more Myung Mi Kim? Is there The Maximus Poems? What about “…September is end of thunder / The hibernants go into their caves?” Would you believe me if I told you there’s no fiction or non-fiction that “must be read”

Why should you?

Friday, September 1, 2017

165. Acorn } nos. 1, 3, 5 & 6.

[ Acorn no. 1 ]

[ Acorn no. 3 ]

[ Acorn no. 5 ]

[ Acorn no. 6 ]

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

164. Rooms where } writers work.

What’s this all about? The New York Times Magazine featured photographs of “The Rooms Where Writers Work”—to be more specific, three writers. No one knows who these writers are. Nobody has ever heard of these writers.

Why is Camille Bordas’ room so dark? What is hidden behind those black lacquered Venetian blinds? “I like to reduce.” she says. “I’m always aiming for a completely bare space in which to work. But then I tend to accumulate things, books and little trinkets.” As cluttered as her work space is, there’s no world outside of it. Sleeves of Nicorette, she tells us, are not as aesthetically pleasing as packs of cigarettes. We worry about the books on her bookshelf. She wants us to see Lapham’s.

Meanwhile, Javier Zamora writes, “More and more I’m hearing that there’s a lot of nature in my work.” Who is it who tells Zamora what’s in Zamora’s own poems?

Danzy Senna covers her window with a white bed sheet. Her Ikea couch is draped with fur. “Around me” are “Mother’s Day portraits” drawn by her children. “[A]nd I thought it was funny because one was significantly browner and had black curly hair and the other one was pale, so it kind of reflected the duality in my work.” Her children’s drawings do not reflect the duality in her work.

To be fair, I too am the subject of a New York Times Magazine feature called “The Rooms Where Writers Work”—though my profile was published here, on Lori Hettler’s blog. Note that I do not write in any of the places portrayed; the stairwell is not mine, the “office with no windows” was demolished last year, and the “more mundane” office is occupied now by Buddha.

[Photo of Camille Bordas by Sean Donnola for The New York Times Magazine.]

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

163. Cover drafts } New Genre no. 1.

[Fig. 1]

(Who cares about this? I use Leuchtturm 1917 plain notebooks; but, for a stretch in the late 1990s, my preferred notebook was sold at The Gap. The clothing store. A ribbed, paperback cover, with glossy, lined pages. In black, khaki, pale blue, yellow, and red. The pens I used, Bic rollerballs (I think), inexplicably didn’t smudge. I found the notebooks on remainder—I remember the price being about $5. When I couldn’t find them anymore, I called The Gap headquarters to see if maybe they had a box of them somewhere. When they told me they didn’t, they also told me they couldn’t tell me who manufactured them—I don’t know why. The Leuchtturm is demonstrably better, but I do miss The Gap notebooks.


In a Gap notebook dated 11.8.97 / 2.26.98, is a series of design ideas I drew for the cover of New Genre no. 1. Ultimately, Mark Osmon designed the cover, but my design ideas show an interest in the spare aesthetic direction that first cover took (with the exception of “Nude Genre” (fig. 2)—a much discussed sister publication that, alas, never came to fruition). (On the same page as “Nude Genre” is a note I don’t understand: “milk custom, drink shots.” Maybe I was playing with the phrase “drink custom milk shots”?)

[Fig. 2]

[Fig. 3]

[Fig. 4]

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

162. from Plutonian } "The Wind, The Dust."

Initially, when Scott Dwyer requested a story for his as-of-yet named anthology of “the best writers working in the weird horror genre,” I declined. We agreed, instead, on an interview for The Plutonian.

And then I changed my mind.

I sent “The Wind, The Dust,” from a sequence of stories I’m writing for a collection tentatively called Autobiography. (Another of those stories, “Woods (Marion),” can be read online at Essays & Fictions.)

A few weeks ago, a proof of Scott’s anthology now called Phantasm/Chimera arrived. It’ll be officially released at Necronomicon next week.

Reading it, I realize I have lost track of current horror fiction. I haven’t read a "best of" in many years, or bought a new collection. I knew just one name in the anthology: Brian Evenson. (Evenson’s story, “The Hole,” reminds me of the best scenes from his Aliens novel.) Christopher Slatsky, Jon Padgett, Livia Llewellyn, etc.—are all new to me, though apparently bright lights in the current horror scene. Clint Smith, too, whose “Fiending Apophemia” is the best story in the book—a candidate for those best ofs I haven’t been reading.

If, like me, you’re not attending Necronomicon, you can get your copy at Create Space.

Nervous about committing 16 bucks? Our friend Des Lewis is real-time reviewing the anthology. Of mine he wrote, “The plot did not seem to care whether I was frightened or not, but I was.”

[ The image above: a spread from the anthology—two pages from “The Wind, The Dust,” with my most recent edits. ]