Sunday, April 29, 2012

April In The Chapbook Arena

A version of the first of my moon poems is in the new issue of scissors and spackle, please read it.

Been reading some good chapbooks and other small books in the past few days. Hooray for small presses. I really don't know what my brain cells and other organs would do without all the good work they produce.

Cataclysm Baby by Matt Bell (Mud Luscious Press, 2012)
Become a father and read this book. In that order.

The Wilhelm Scream by Jeremy Behreandt (Plumberries Press, 2011)
Very awesome poems printed on gray cardstock cards wrapped in a piece of vellum. The packaging alone made me read them over and over.

How the Days of Love and Diptheria by Robert Kloss (Nephew/Mud Luscious Press, 2011)
Such a great, intense, language piece. Hoping this is the start of a lot more great work to come from Kloss. Can't wait for his novella, The Alligators of Abraham, later this year.

The Bible by Gregory Sherl
Not published yet, but it should be. The phrase I keep using is "quietly epic", as it takes on a vast story landscape and whittles all the overarching ideas down to the tiniest stuff. Because maybe it's the little things and not the all-encompassing weight of everything else. Yeah.

Treesisters by Joseph Rippi (Greying Ghost Press, 2012)
Very short, poetic piece that shot something new out at me each time I read it. Beautifully printed, too.

I don't have enough adjectives in my head to be reviewing things, at the moment, so these shoddy descriptions will have to suffice.

Still chugging along on NaPoWriMo. I think it's helped me get all the pop culture references out of my system...maybe. Almost.

Monday, April 2, 2012

On Books I'm The Last Person To Read And Books I'm Very Likely The Only One Reading...And Some Poems

Doing NaPoWriMo for the first time. So far, all my poems are about/based on female television characters. I figure I should go with this theme, so if you have any of said characters to recommend...I do need twenty-eight more. There is a lot of room in my head for these things, obviously.

I have a poem called TUNDRA BAR in Thunderclap! Magazine's eighth issue. You can purchase a print copy or download a free PDF here.

I have another two poems, CRACKS IN PAVEMENT and FAITH COUNTER, in the second issue of Emerge Literary Journal, which you can go here to read for free.

I haven't yet read both issues in full, but the stuff I've read so far is great, so check them out even if you don't want to read my little poetic morsels.

Finally hit the finish line on The Hunger Games trilogy, largely wondering why I decided to read it in the first place. As a bookseller, I guess you can easily be compelled to dive into something when you spend a single night selling dozens of copies of it; I don't recommend this decision process when it comes to reading material, for life is short and reading takes, you know, time and stuff. To spare you a thesis-length diatribe on the disappointing state of teen fiction (and fiction in general) and lack of desire from writers and publishers to challenge readers (again, life being short and all), I cut to the list form:

GOOD THINGS

- Well-paced for action novels.
- Katniss/Buffy thing.
- Great mix of old and new world culture with the gladiator-meets-reality-TV backdrop.

NOT-AS-GOOD THINGS

- Too many plot turns for the sake of convenience.
- Rehashed love triangle of barf.
- Katniss/Buffy thing.
- Hard to ignore author's misuse of certain words.
- Allegorical/Social concepts not played up enough.
- Historical background is virtually nonexistent. Nonsensical evolution of language/culture.

It'd be interesting to see an early draft of the books; I almost wonder if Collins initially had more back story and social commentary to balance out all the action writing and was told to cut it. Haven't seen the movie yet, but I predict it'll be a rare occasion in which I enjoy it more than the book.

It took me a long time to read Ben Marcus's The Flame Alphabet. As I type this, I'm still not finished with it, and I've read of others' experiences in taking a while to finish it. The story doesn't arc perfectly, but I think that, among other things, is what I like about it. It's very wrenching and despairing in an un-sugarcoated way, which is what you want out of a novel about an epidemic of children's speech being lethal to adults. It's also refreshing that Marcus doesn't write an unusual concept for the sake of being experimental; the story is so thought-provoking you find yourself pondering the morality of characters' actions long after they've taken them...perhaps what action you would take in their situation, as well. It's been a long time since I've read Ben Marcus, and his novel renews my appreciation for his work. It seems this isn't an easy book to like, but it's worth the effort, as the writing is beautiful.

PLAYING ONE ON TV is "Best Dressed!"

This week, PLAYING ONE ON TV was featured by Sundress on The Wardrobe's Best Dressed. Much excite! Head over to their  blog  to read som...