Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Come Play a Game

Amazon lists a book that does not exist. It is titled None and is by an author named None. It has no description. It needs reviews. Some of us have written ours. have fun. Go write yours

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Brandon Book Crises

The Brandon Book Crises
MuuMuu House
Brandon Scott Gorrell and Tao Lin

The Brandon Book Crises is an un-edited collection of gmail chat sessions, text messages and emails centering around the problems that Tao Lin and Brandon Gorrell had in dealing with the layout and design of Gorrell's upcoming poetry collection, During My Nervous Breakdown I Want to Have a Biographer Present. It's just the raw data, with no tweaking (in fact they have left in tact their personal phone numbers and even log in information to their printers FTP server).

Going into this book I thought that I could view in like the running commentary on a movie. It turns out to be nothing like that. In fact, it has nothing at all to do with the poetry collection itself. The conversations are all about layout, color schemes, file types and the minutia of formatting. This should be random and unreadable. The things is, an actual narrative emerges. There is genuine tension about whether they will be able to get the book completed in a form that they can live with.

Characters emerge. Oblique references to girlfriends (and the troubles that relationships entail), unemployment, on-line feuds, and meals begin to inform the reader. Through it all Tao and Brandon seem a bit out of their depth. These are writers (very young writers at that) and not experts at graphic design or layout. Their dealings with the tech people at the printer are almost funny. You get a real sense for how young these men are (they say 'bro' a lot and worry if Blake Butler is 'on their side' and such).

The book is very post-post modern, and strange. It may help the reader to think of it as a sort of dumbed down My Dinner with Andre for twenty-somethings.

The Brandon Book Crises is not a book for a mass audience (the creators know this, they are only printing 150 copies) but it is an oddly compelling read.

Nathan Tyree

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Break This Shit

An interesting idea. Jon Catron wants you to break his shit. Bust it up. Smash the mirror and put your freakshow face up. Post the bloody results in the comments so we can all see how pretty your ugly gets.

13 Perspective Breaks

Blurred eyes slide pieces of a jigsaw face into finely minced detail.
Knuckles bleed silently, white and sparkling.
The mirror screams angry words that I cannot say.
It breaks for me.
It bleeds for me.
God does not heed either of us.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Interview with Greg Santos by Nathan Tyree

MotD's Nathan Tyree interviewed Greg Santos. Greg is an editor at Pax Americana, as well as being a great poet. He is Canadian, which is interesting. The following are the results of that interview.

NT: Do you feel that a poet should attempt to focus on a single theme (or set of themes) that run through their body of work and create something unified?

GS:I don’t think a poet should have to do anything. It’s up to an individual to decide whether or not they want to keep writing about a single theme or a set of themes. That being said, I get bored when I see the same thing over and over. I mean, how many times can Billy Collins keep writing the same poem about staring out a window? I love Billy Collins but the same persona can get tiring after a while. In my opinion, a great poet, or any artist, for that matter is someone who is able to adapt and change over time and build on their corpus.

NT: What sort of poetry (or which poets) have effected you the most? Would you say that your work is directly effected by a specific school (or poet) and if so, which?

GS: I’m always adding to the list. When I first moved to the US and starred studying in New York I devoured poetry by the first generation of The New York School poets. Particularly Kenneth Koch and John Ashbery. Koch’s poetry is absolutely hilarious but extremely rich. I mean, I could only read “Some General Instructions” and “The Art of Poetry” for the rest of my life and never get tired of them. I also think Koch’s book Making Your Own Days on the pleasures of reading and writing poetry is brilliant. I teach a weekly poetry workshop to 8-year old kids and his book Wishes, Lies, and Dreams on teaching children how to write poetry is my bible. As for Ashbery, I don’t always understand Ashbery’s poems but I get him, you know? I find myself thinking about his poems a lot after I read them because they make my brain feel like a Rubik’s cube. I guess some other names I’ll throw out there are James Tate, Russel Edson, Dean Young, and Mary Ruefle. Whenever I’m stuck and I’m not able to write anything, I turn to Dean Young and Mary Ruefle to get unstuck. Read Ruefle’s Indeed I Was Pleased With The World. It’ll change your life. I also really love Elizabeth Bishop’s poetry. She had a small body of work but man was it good.

NT: Has the internet (and the rise of internet publishing ) changed poetry? If so, are these changes good or bad?

GS: Absolutely. I don’t think it’s only changed poetry but the entire publishing industry in general. I like how the internet has allowed publishing to become much more democratic. Everyone, in theory, can be a published writer or editor. The internet is good for building links and it allows for poets to expose their work to a large audience at the click of a mouse. That being said, that also means there’s a lot more writing to sift through. The fun part, though, is discovering sites and online journals that have work you enjoy reading on a regular basis.

NT: Do you like editing? What is the best thing about editing a magazine? What is the worst thing?

GS: The best thing about editing a magazine? The power to rule with an iron fist, of course. Being an editor often helps me approach poets whose work I enjoy reading and admire without seeming like a weirdo. But the best feeling is receiving a submission Ben, Carter, and I end up falling in love with from someone we’ve never even heard of and sharing it with our readers. That feels pretty rad. The worst part is turning down someone’s work. It’s someone’s baby. No one wants to have their child rejected. Sometimes I really like a poem but it just doesn’t fit with the theme of an issue or there’s some other variable at play. That’s the way it goes. Though, it doesn’t make rejecting someone’s work any easier.

NT: Do you feel that your duties as an editor detract from your ability to spend the necessary time writing and submitting your own work?

GS: No way. If anything, I think editing helps me read and write better. There’s a lot of navel-gazing that goes on when you’re constantly thinking about and working on your own stuff. Editing others’ work, like teaching, gives me the opportunity to stop thinking about myself and forces me to focus on someone else for a change. And with all the crazy stuff that goes on in that noggin of mine, it’s often a very welcome change.

NT: My favorite poets are Baudelaire and Bukowski. Which do you prefer? Who is your favorite poet?

GS: I like Bukowski but in small doses. I really liked Bukowski when I was younger. It was around the same time that I was really into the Beat writers. I think I was first introduced to his writing from an anthology I seriously dog-eared when I was in my late-teens called Drinking, Smoking, and Screwing. It was hedonistic writing at its best with stories, essays, and poetry, by people like Bukowski, Spalding Gray, and Nabokov. I find a lot of Bukowski’s poetry sounds the same but maybe I’m just too old of a fart now to appreciate his writing. I don’t know. As for Baudelaire, I don’t really read a lot of him now but when I first started writing poetry seriously, I was given a copy of Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal when I graduated from college by my then-girlfriend and current fiancĂ©e. Baudelaire really influenced a lot of my early writing. I remember writing a poem about a pigeon after his famous albatross one. I’ve been writing a lot of prose poems lately and I haven’t been conscious about the way Baudelaire wrote prose poems but now that I think about it, his prose poems were the first prose poems I was introduced to. That must account for something. I don’t have a favorite poet. I have favorite poets. But there isn’t any one poet that I consider to be better than anyone else.

NT: Have you ever eaten raw meat?

No. But it’s on my to-do list. The last time I was in Montreal I ate pig’s feet. That was awesome. I watch Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Foods on the Travel Channel all the time and lots of the stuff he eats looks absolutely nasty but now and then I’ll see something interesting and think I want to try that. For instance, in one episode he goes to Ethiopia, I think, and eats raw meat dipped in lemon juice and spices. It looked like sushi! Only bloodier.

NT: T.S. Elliot and Ezra Pound were geniuses; great poets, but on a personal level they were shits. These men allied themselves with the Fascists. Does that change the way you read their work? Should it? That is, can you disconnect the art from the artist, and should we even try?

GS: You can’t take away their contributions to English literature. When I first read Eliot’s The Wasteland it was a revelation. His use of polyphony in that poem opened up what I thought poetry could do with multiple voices. A lot of Pound’s Imagist stuff was also great. But then again they were douches. Eliot was a raging anti-semite and Pound was a fascist. I appreciate what they did for literature but it doesn’t mean I have to like them.

NT: If a stranger punched you, would you hug him?

GS: I would start with a friendly hug and then sneakily turn it into a wrestling bear hug. That’s how I roll.

NT: What is your favorite color?

Supernova. Is supernova a color?

NT: Is there anything that you would like to mention? This is your chance to pimp upcoming work, your magazine, anything. Go:

GS: Well, I just finished writing a poetry manuscript for my MFA thesis. Any takers? People can order a copy of my chapbook Oblivion Avenue from Trainwreck Press. Check out pax americana online and also order copies of our print issues. You’ll be the most popular kid in town. That or you’ll be chased by an unruly mob brandishing pitchforks but at least people will be taking an interest in you. Our next web issue is going to be guest-edited by the beautiful people who bring you New York’s Poetry Brothel. pax americana also has a short story contest in the works with a cash money prize, so keep your eyes open for that.

NT: Do you feel that poetry is more pure than prose?

GS: No, I don’t think it’s more pure or has any more truth in it that prose or any other art form. Though, I personally prefer writing poetry. I used to be all over the place. I did theater before I really got into poetry, I also wanted to be a cartoonist when I was younger, and I did publish some short stories. At one point I realized I needed to focus on one thing and poetry ended up being the art form I was most passionate about. For me it isn’t just a career. It’s a vocation.

NT: What are your thoughts on "prose poetry"?

GS: I’m a big fan. Like I mentioned earlier, I was turned onto the whole prose poem genre by Charles Baudelaire. I then discovered work by poets like James Tate, Russel Edson, Charles Simic, and so on. There’s an irreverence to the genre that I can’t get enough of. One of my favorite poetry anthologies actually is Great American Prose Poems edited by David Lehman. When I write poems, I don’t necessarily have a switch in my brain that helps me differentiate whether it’s going to be a prose poem or not. It just sort of happens. The poem decided how long its lines are going to be and if they’re going to have line breaks or not. Sometimes I write my prose poems in blocks, other times I break them up into a series of sentences because that’s how they want to be. I think it’s possible that when people encounter my prose poems, my work could be considered flash fiction or something like that but in my mind they’re always poems.

NT: Name a website that all poets should read on a regular basis?

GS: Moondoggy’s Pad and pax americana, of course. Also, Ben Mirov’s blog. Ok, that’s several. I’ll keep going. I always go on The Poetry Foundation’s website for poetry news. Some other poetry or poetry related sites I frequent are Eyewear written by Canadian expat Todd Swift, Bookninja, and HTMLGIANT. I love what Brandi Wells is doing on The Brandi Wells Review. She posts 100% of the submissions she receives. You’d think that would water down the quality of the writing but she publishes some pretty kick-ass stuff there. Paul A. Toth runs some pretty cool sites, too. He’s the editor of Hit and Run Magazine which publishes writers’ raw notes and materials as well as Sitting Pretty Magazine which displays writers’ desks and workplaces. They’ve very addictive.

NT: You're from Canada, but live in the U.S. What is the biggest difference you noticed between this country and yours?

GS: The US has less polar bears running around mauling people. I miss that about home.

NT: Are all Canadians as affable as they seem on TV?

GS: Remember Terrance and Phillip from South Park? They’re Canadian. You know how they have flapping mouths and beady little eyes? We Canadians are exactly like that. It’s almost scary how accurate the portrayal is.

NT: What are your thoughts on MFA programs? Are they really useful or just a waste of time and money?

GS: MFA programs can be expensive so it’s not for everyone but it also depends on how much you want to learn from the workshops and classes you end up taking. I went in there eager to learn from everyone around me and I think that’s a great way to approach it. I personally had an awesome time in my MFA program. I can’t believe it’s almost over. The supportive community of students and professors really made my experience something I’ll cherish for the rest of my life. I would give my life for them. You’ve heard of those crazy exploding poison-tipped bullets? I would so take one of those for them.

NT: Is there anything else (anything at all) that you would like to share with the 76 people that read this site?

GS: Stay in school. Don’t do drugs. Floss every day. That’s about it. Thanks.


Short Story Competition: The Twilight Zone by Jonny Kelly

Hello readers of MotD,due to the new life in literary competitions on
the internet, I've decided to start my own.
Guideline & Rules: Every short story has to be ORIGINAL, but written
like an episode of The Twilight Zone (Horror, sci-fi, twists).
Basically a weird, Serling-like, beginning, middle and end. There is
no word limit at all. You must send the story in the body of the
e-mail. You can send me as many stories as you like, as long as they
are in different e-mails.
Closing date: all entries are to be sent by the June 1st 2009.
Prize: £30 ($45) winner, you'll get it published somewhere and I'll
get it published in my e-book and you'll make a percentage of any
Submit stories to: jonathankellyoim@google

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Ebay crazy sex toy cuddly stuff

MotD favorite Nathan Tyree is running an ebay auction. The winner gets to be a character in his next novel. Check out the auction here

The winner gets to be a major character in a novel I will write. The winner will have to provide me with their name, a photo of themselves, a description of their personality and mannerisms, a bio (background info and such). I will write the novel and guarantee publication within one year of the end of the auction. Then they will also receive a free copy of the book.

Praise for Nathan Tyree’s Work

“[Mr. Overby is Falling] Crams more malevolent nastiness and thought-provoking misanthropy into its every word and deed that your average Bret Easton Ellis.”

-Peter Wild, Editor of Noise and The Flash

“Nathan Tyree’s “Morning in Alphabet City” takes the idea of showcasing a large collection of unrelated characters as they go about their day and presents it with as much horror and brutality as it does compassion and tenderness.”

-Joe Roche, Dogmatika

“Tyree goes right for the jugular.”

-Susie Morris, Epinions

“(At times) violent and (always) compelling, Mr. Overby is Falling is a smart, well-written book.”

-Kevin Donihe, Author of Shall We Gather at the Garden and Ocean of lard

“[Mr. Overby is Falling] will have you biting your nails.”

-Brent Powers, author of The Dog’s Tooth

“[Mr. Overby is Falling] takes a wild dark ultra-violent turn around page forty that will interest and sicken almost any reader.”

-Miele Bang

This is a once in a lifetime chance. Grab it now!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Fiction Anonymous

Fiction Anonymous

by Jonny Kelley

The man who looks like Patrick Stewart is asking me personal questions.
He is tapping his knee several times.

“Repeat what I'm doing John,” he says, sounding very commanding.
“What is in your head now?”

I'm thinking of the time I was sick after sucking all the artificial
ink off a chocolate bar wrapper. But I would be foolish to say that to
Patrick Stewart.

“I'm thinking of the time the bone was sticking out my leg, they put
an orange pillow over it - the leg that is.”

He tells me to banish the thought, rip it apart in my mind. I do this
so well I fool the psychologist - what a stupid man he clearly is.
Still I hope for there to be no life on the billions of stacked universes.
There was a stupid woman who put belief in God - I killed her, I bet
she is rotting in the ground.

“Do you feel better?” asks Patrick.

“Yes,” I answer.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Interview w/ Nathan Tyree by James Horn

Regular Magazine of the Dead contributor James Horn sat down with MotD Contributor and sometimes editor Nathan Tyree to discuss fiction, writing, death and other important topics. The following is a transcript of that conversation.

James Horn: So, how have you been?

Nathan Tyree: Roughly close to death, I guess. It's all up and downs but no arc. You know? How about you?

JH: Okay.

NT: You working on anything good?

JH: Right now I'm writing a story about people having sex with dead amputees. I'm reading a draft of a new book by Z. Lustig, and it's very good. Very strange. Tell me about your new book. What's it called again?

NT: Stygiophilia.

JH: What's it about?

NT: Self destruction. Sex. Self loathing. Existential dread. Underage girls. Cigarettes. Alcoholism. Everything that I have a problem with I guess. It's about enjoying a hellish existence. Maybe enjoying it too much. The main character mutilates himself and gets a sexual thrill from it. He can't maintain a relationship in a healthy way and he has terrible secrets in his past. That's all on the surface though. The subtext is the interesting part.

JH: What's the subtext?

NT: None of your fucking business.

JH: Fair enough. Let's talk about the old book, Mr. Overby is Falling.

NT: Let's talk about fetuses.

JH: Really. That book has a bit of a cult following. I know it effected me a bit. When you wrote it did you think that it would catch on the way that it has?

NT: I don't know that it has caught on. A few thousand people have bought it. Some of them liked it and mentioned it various places. I'm not Chuck Palahniuk or anything.

JH: Didn't I hear that it inspired some artist?

NT: Yeah. Teo Treloar cited it as an inspiration for his NO EXIT exhibition.

JH: How'd that make you feel?

NT: Good. The dude's work is the balls, and that he chose to claim I helped inspire it shocked me.

JH: What's this I hear about Palahniuk saying something about your work?

NT: I don't know about that.

JH: Okay. Do you consider yourself an internet writer>

NT: I don't know what that means. Do you consider yourself an internet writer?

JH: Yes.

NT: Have you ever killed anyone?

JH: I'm not answering that. What are you working on now?

NT: Mostly poetry and flash fiction. I hate that term, by the way. It sounds like something dirty. But I love writing short, forcing myself to create a full story in a short space.

JH: What are your plans for the future?

NT: I want to be a mercenary. That or a male stripper. I'm sexy, you know.

JH: This has been fun. I hope we can do it again.

NT: Me too.