Before mercury, my blood used to fill thermometers.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tomorrowland Forever!

The festival is in sixteen days. Kara just told me there's a Whole Foods by the hotel, and I'm freaking out all over again. I am always nervous going somewhere new, not knowing where to buy sushi. My protein situation is dire.

Some of the panels and panel-dwellers I am most thrilled to see:

  • Prose Poetry/Flash Fiction: the Orphic Genre with Alta Ifland, Joanna Howard, Joanna Ruocco, Anthony Tognazzini, and Peter Grandbois
Our panel seeks to explore the narrative possibilities of highly condensed prose modeled on the Orphic descent as opposed to the dominant model of the Freytag ascent in western literature.

I love Joanna Ruocco's writing. I reviewed her Man's Companions for a forthcoming issue of Prick of the Spindle but the review is really just a meek plea to check every available thing by her out. She and Joanna Howard addressing this topic is a dream. The pieces of a Compendium of Domestic Incidents that were in Web Conjunctions completely knocked me out with how massively the mood ulcerates in such a tiny space. "Josephine's Father" is just badass. That's how I really review.

  • What's That Mess? It's Excess! with Kate Durbin, Kate Zambreno, Amaranth Borsuk, Bhanu Kapil, and Johannes Göransson
This panel enacts and explodes the history of aesthetic excess as it pertains to experimental literature, in particular the literature of madness, the internet/technology, and the feminine. Excess may not belong in the institution, yet it seeps out of the cracks in the walls.

Every single person on this panel blows me away. If you are someone who found this googling the phrase tattooed on Frances Bean Cobain's back, take heed: Kate Durbin just heaped hundreds of panties onto Sunset Boulevard. Kate Zambreno's Green Girl is out in four weeks and it will do such things to you maybe you will never say them because they'll live in you forever because she said them so perfectly (although the book she will read from in this panel is Heroines for which I am so excited - I have not been this excited for a book since Nabokov's the Original of Laura which was just a fetish object that I needed to clutch and cry at college because I was so weird, going crazy the senior year that turned into my junior year). Amaranth Borsuk co-authored the forthcoming Excess Exhibit with the aforementioned Ms. Durbin and as we speak is teaching the coolest classes at MIT. I recently contributed to public transit's culture of total discomfort by crying like an idiot reading Bhanu Kapil's Incubation: a Space for Monsters and her Schizophrene just came out and I can't wait to cry over that, too. Johannes Göransson is in this month's Evening Will Come and I will get to in a little how jazzed beyond reason I am about Montevidayo. This is an arena rock concert. Not "the literary equivalent of" or anything like that. I hope I'm not the only one ripping my top off. I expect a lot out of the UCSD crowd.

  • "Guarding the Fort," which consists of Borderland in Panopticon: all parts of the interior visible from a single point with Chris Mazza, On Pornography and Common Sense with Rob Halpern, Homeland Insecurity: Panoptic Fictions with Pedro Ponce, and Cascadian Poetics y Haibun de la Serna with Paul E. Nelson
An exploration of surveillance as a metaphor and structuring device for narrative.

Yes! Mr. Pedro Ponce is a Seven Kitchens author and his book, Homeland: a Panorama in 50 States is my favorite 7K title ever! I got to spend a year with its proofs and the mad mad ravishing Roxanne Carter, of whom I'll speak in a second, lent her photography to the cover. They are such flamboyantly uneasy stories! So funny and awful and abruptly cold and visible everywhere.

  • Seeing Stars with Tisa Bryant, Roxanne Carter, Masha Tupitsyn, Ronaldo Wilson, and Kate Zambreno
For this creative panel, we will celebrate our own literary works that are star-struck, rapturous and consumptive about not only these images that flicker and grace our screens but also the embodiment of the stars that play these myths, examining ourselves and our own ambivalences, our simultaneous roles as fans as well as critics.

Maybe this is the rock concert. Tisa Bryant is one of the editors of one of my favorite projects living today, the Encyclopedia Project, and is one of the people about whom I know less and am all the more excited to see live. I love falling for art in person. I went to see Amanda Palmer in Philadelphia in the winter of 2008 and her opening bands were Vermillion Lies and the Builders and the Butchers and I am fervently, voraciously, soul-crushingly in love with their music and it hitting me right there in the crowd for the first time was revelatory. Roxanne Carter's Glamorous Freak is due out soon. It cannot come out soon enough because everything she has published of it is maze-like and mesmerizing and that Jaded Ibis rocks enough to feature all of the gorgeous photographs that accompany the work makes me dread not being able to afford the limited-art-edition of it. Since I was unfamiliar with Masha Tupitsyn I googled her and her latest book, Laconia, came out ten days after my birthday and is about "whether we can any longer truly see corporatized cities like LA and NY other than in old movies, how to understand David Lynch's women, and whether there is any real possibility for connection in social media, or for that matter, in watching films," so the fact that I am not all ready a gigantic fan is offensive to me. Here is where Kate Zambreno will read from Green Girl and that all these works of art are being read together is the most unreasonably perfect thing. I am so proud of the time I live in that this art is happening, that this is the art of my time on Earth.

  • "Women on Women and Bodies," which consists of a Curious Body: Shelley Jackson's 'My Body' with CA Schaefer, a Species Spectacle: the Hybrid Body Narratives of Djuna Barnes and Bhanu Kapil with Cristina Milletti and Christine Hume, Interlacings: Rae Armantrout and Susan Howe's Filigree-Work with Elisabeth Joyce, and Banal new world: Fatty XL and narratorship in the work of Finnish Poet Tytti Heikkinen with Niina Pollari
Tytti Heikkinen's Fatty XL represents a new kind of narrator - one who has no desire to grow despite the public backlash against her for it.

Being a massive fan of the work of Shelley Jackson, Djuna Barnes, Bhanu Kapil, and Susan Howe, I am still looking forward to Niina Pollari on Tytti Heikkinen most of all. Niina is a Birds of Lace author and I love the juxtaposition of "no desire to grow" with the name Fatty XL.

  • 21st Century Lit as Mashup with Roxanne Carter, Janice Lee, John Dermot Woods, c. vance, Christopher Grimes, and Doug Rice
Jaded Ibis Press authors discuss their perspectives on the convergence of their literary manuscripts with visual art, music and video, focusing on what these collaborations tell them about interpretations of their own writing and what they see as future creative possibilities provided by the Press' multiple-edition/multimedia collaborative structure.

Jaded Ibis' vision is utopian and I love their promotion of a new generation of art collectors. Everything about it from the commitment to print-on-demand to the authors they've worked with so far - I am sad Anna Joy Springer isn't here but she is in charge of the entire festival, so slack is cut - this is what it all ought to look like, publishing, all this joy.

  • Montevidayo Omnibus Reading with Sarah Fox, Johannes Göransson, Lucas de Lima, Joyelle McSweeney, Monica Mody, and Megan Milks
This panel showcases the creative work of six Montevidayo contributors to highlight the ways in which the aesthetic ideas developed on the blog - which include the necropastoral, atrocity kitsch, ghost theory, and queer, carnal, and animal poetics - are exercised in their writing.

This was the only spot where I was split squarely between two panels but I don't think I can pass this up. I had a really bleak week recently where I stayed in and read Montevidayo, grateful to the marrow that it was free and even if I didn't now have this fuzzy attachment to it, necropastoral is a powerful bargaining chip. Sad that Danielle Pafunda isn't here, she's my favorite contributor, but I think I would cross the US just to see this, anyway. Sans everything else I've just talked about.

Also my festival roommate, Tantra Bensko, will be reading - I don't know where or when, but I am intensely looking forward to that, too. And partying in the Whole Foods parking lot with my best friend the farthest away from Pennsylvania that I've ever been.


  1. !!! i am super excited, too. i haven't ever been to &now before, but everyone seems to love it. but i haven't even gotten a hotel yet. crap. i am not organized. & yes!!! joanna h. & joanna r. are awesome, indeed. there's also a panel on divinatory writing with selah saterstrom and danielle vogel that will be sweet. etc.

  2. I am all over that panel! Yes! Are you traveling with your husband? Or if alone and cash is a concern, I'm in a room with two other girls, a $129-a-night room at the Sheraton for the nights of the 12th, 13th and 14th, so between four people it would be one contribution of $96. In case you encounter any problems making arrangements, you're more than welcome to join us! Either way, I can't wait to see you read!!!

  3. oh! how nice. thank you for offering! i will keep that in mind, but i might be sorted into someplace or other now. i am going alone, yes. braxton is too preoccupied with a teaching malaise to depart from ohio.

  4. Of all the teaching maladies, the Ohio kind is the worst! I hope he climbs out from under it soon! You are absolutely welcome, and the offer's totally open should you need it.

  5. kari! actually, now i am thinking your offer sounds better... if it is still okay? i promise i am neat & not too crazy! can you email me the info (i can send a check to someone now?) at persephassa at gmail. i just bought my plane ticket, i get in around 8 on the 13 & leave saturday evening, so that would work perfect for me... plus being near the conference (i don't drive). eee.

  6. It is most definitely still okay! I am a great cooperative dweller and definitely plan on being very, very asleep much of the time I'm in the room. I don't drive either, and have thus been checking out the walking situation - it's a little less than a half-hour's walk out of the hotel, and I'm still investigating public transit. I'll email Rosemary, the girl that set up the room, for all the specifics, and I'll forward it to you with all our contact info! She all ready paid for the room, so Kara and I are paying her when we get there (I offered the money up front when we arranged the room, but Rosemary said not to worry til we get there). You'll have it all stat! It will be amazing! And so inexpensive! I'm intensely relieved - the tickets were the cheapest I could find but still 75% of my budget.

  7. oh hooray! thank you so much, that is great. it is very expensive--my plane ticket is all wacky (i don't get back to ohio until sunday and have to switch planes twice even though i leave saturday) & it was the most i've paid for a ticket since... going overseas! who knew it would be difficult to get out of ohio! ha.