Before mercury, my blood used to fill thermometers.

Monday, November 26, 2012

No one ever ends up thanking god for meeting me.

Anobium has two new features in effect: Outer Space and Commerce in Shall. Outer Space orbits its concern around links (to features, to articles, to blog posts, to tumblr tags) that might otherwise get lost in the ether. Commerce in Shall is named after Catherine Wagner's "Macular Hole" and, every Friday, celebrates the efforts of writers, presses, designers and beyond who deserve the consideration of readers' paychecks.

Also at Anobium, I embarked on the personal initiative to investigate my canon, starting with Dennis Cooper's the Marbled Swarm. Reading the Marbled Swarm was occasion for me in the first place to consider what becomes and rigidly stays My Favorite because - even though it's new and I just read it for the first time in May - it was very meta for me in how reading it required me to confront a lot of what I get out of reading and what I look for in books.

And then Dennis Cooper dedicated a post to Anna Karina, the subject of Say you're a fiction, on his blog.

Next I think I'll do Nabokov's Ada. Recently I've encountered books that are new to me and speak to old impulses, that I love because they reassert how things are constant - I don't know why that's comforting right now, as the constants are not all that wonderful. I get madly fragile in the winter. Stretching back, a good number of the last winters have been weird. This one's shaping up to be revelatory. I don't mean to be obtuse - especially when I haven't updated all over the place - but I do have good news and all kinds of details to share very soon. But: I just finished the Group, and apart from loving it now as I've never read it before my first reaction was still "I would have loved this in college!" which I think is my limp psyche's attempt to integrate the strata of my reading life.

As I'm running my hands over those rings maybe I will review individual poems. Maybe I won't inflict that on Anobium. Poems themselves have, by and large, greater permanence than whole collections, and I am also hard-pressed to love an entire album, so I assume that's my quirk. One time someone I admired enormously said Roethke's "the Waking" brought me to mind. I do not expect this person remembers that comment that has loomed in my thinking ever since. Any petty interrogation of my behavior that's ever come since I've wanted to explain with the poem. But that's insane.

Likewise, crazy: spent a cumulative month bleakly muttering Plath's "Daddy" over small disputes and potential disappointments re aforementioned authority. After all this was over I started watching Mad Men. Season two's creative volley between authority Don and protege Peggy resulting in her going "What did you bring me, Daddy?" still has the power - as of latest test over Thanksgiving weekend - to make me cry like an idiot.

Also touching and seasonally appropriate in its joyousness, Liz's portrait of Marina Abramovic, soon to live with me:

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sciences et nouvelles croyances.

Caketrain issue ten is available for pre-order!

Featuring: Emily Anderson, Aaron Apps, Adam Atkinson, Steve Barbaro, Chloë Bass, Carrie Bennett, Lena Bertone, Elaine Bleakney, Amelia Boldaji, Whitney DeVos, Logan Fry, Lewis Gesner, Michelle Gil-Montero, Nicholas Grider, Andréa Griffon, Elizabeth Hall, j/j hastain, Amorak Huey, Aby Kaupang, David Kutz-Marks, Carlos Lara, Kari Larsen, Norman Lock, Michael D. Main, Peter Markus, Julia Martin, Rich McIsaac, Carson McWhirter, Thibault Raoult, Anne Marie Rooney, Forrest Roth, Kathryn Scanlan, Hyunhye Seo, Farren Stanley, Jacob Sunderlin, Russell Swensen, Zayne Turner, Cheryl Clark Vermeulen, Jessalyn Wakefield, Rob Walsh, Andrew West, and Chelsea Wolfe.

My story, I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles, can be read in the preview, so get clicking.

Monday, November 12, 2012


The Third Annual Harrisburg Book Festival was this past weekend, and on Saturday, I was a featured speaker on a craft and publishing panel. The context has the greater significance for me: the Scholar moved to its current space in 2010, right after/as I graduated college. I don't think it had been there very long, having just moved from its place in an attic up the street, when I took the bus with what had to be all my money in the world, to peer in and get waved away because I did not have the foresight to confirm their hours. I went back again when they were opened and have ever since been suffering Where the Heart is-type fantasies of being locked in and having to live there. When the first festival took place, I knew about it, but was still living a half-hour's car ride away, marginally employed, and very depressed. When the festival occurred the following year, I basked in the contrast between how down I had been, unwilling to try and go, frustrated with myself, and there I was taking notes for an article about the festival. I was prowling through the art monographs when I received an email from the Caketrain editors accepting a story I was so proud of and enduringly over the moon to have in their care. So this was significant.

Catherine Lawrence, co-owner (with her husband) of the Midtown Scholar, greeted and complimented me so highly in such astonishing sentences - Catherine's elocution itself made me feel profoundly privileged to have been selected by her. She can speak. I had to hang onto that throughout the panel and was very rigid with myself about mitigation. As soon as I hear myself mitigating I get grunting-and-moaning frustrated and the whole thing slides into a sub-par Chewbacca impression. Such were my concerns as I nabbed the center chair between Ann Elia Stewart and the Reverend Nathaniel Gadsden. Ann also writes at WITF and Rev. Gadsden and I have a very good mutual friend in poet Maria Thiaw, so things were very cozy. I had to control the mic, therefore I had to sit in the middle, or else I would have been a harried mess of yelling since my party was in the very back. We discussed - very neatly - our individual formations as writers, our relationship to writing communities, and the variously intimate and isolating process of attempting to and ultimately publishing. I was very proud to take some audience members to school on the subject of the small press and the chapbook. As a homage, I mentioned Caketrain. Catherine's moderation was spectacular. A question about Nanowrimo occasioned me to paraphrase Rod Serling, but only I knew that. Given more time, I would have attributed the paraphrasal because I think of it constantly: the benefit to applying that kind of thousand-words-a-day discipline consistently across your writing life is that you get your voice firmly in your head and no longer surprise yourself by producing what you think, in the night after a wild day of working, is a masterpiece, and then waking up to discover you've given birth to excrement. He says it way snappier.

Someone in my party quipped that all they were able to bring to the occasion was a seat in the audience, to which I reply (always): the audience is the most important part of the panel. The audience for this particular panel was jam-packed with many people standing. The decision to host it on Stage Two, in "the Classroom," was one I was delighted by ahead of time and even happier about when I saw the space swell up. The Classroom is where the literary fiction is now and where I spend most of my time on visits. It does not the thoroughfare that the main stage can be. It was perfect, everything about it. My heart is still coming out of my clothes.

My party and I said hellos to Cherie and Stephen in the subterranean rare books space, Robinson's, and I was ecstatic with their reception of my article. I stole some covetous glances at their prints and flitted through the Scholar's new basement expanse. There is so much peace back there. The shelving is from a library. I did not want to leave, but the bathroom on that level isn't operational yet.

I got to meet Harvey Freedenburg! He writes Arts & Entertainment for HMag also and, during the panel, was holding it down on Twitter. I voiced my affection for Twitter and, in the aftermath of the panel, Catherine confirmed to me the need next year for a panel on digital publishing and technological advancements in traditional publishing. When I say I can't wait, I am nevertheless willing to absorb what sort of year the one in between then and now will be. It will be good. My good fortune - all the forces and things that enable me to exercise my passions every day - is rearing its head as blatantly as possible in time for me to seem that much more eloquent at Thanksgiving. But my luck is tremendous. I am so happy. I hope I can get it together and use what this gives me to generate feelings like this in others. That's my objective for the coming year. Yes.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Slough of Despond.


Below lies an announcement roundup. First, how things are. I've been reading the Group. Every few pages I look up Mary McCarthy online. I love in that her Paris Review interview she's writing the Group and saying what a big deal the mothers are. I love all the references made within the text to the terms created by their mothers. Terms for things. "Or [x], as mother calls it." Today my friend called her mother to demonstrate their crackling dynamic as a parent-child team and her mother hung up on her.

I proofed my short story that will be LEADING issue ten of Caketrain, which is a dream come true. I am drafting statements to read on Satuday (see below) and my love of collaborating with editors and submitting to journals as a means of establishing relationships, about loving that part of publishing. The love of Caketrain's editors for what they do is so palpable.


1. The latest Very Literary at WITF is all about Curtis Smith. Curtis and I have internet and small press world acquaintances in common but live down the highway from each other. He has a new book, Beasts and Men, coming out from Press 53 this spring!

2. Last month I interviewed and came to love everything about Stephen and Cherie Fieser, who rule the Midtown Scholar basement's sub-business Robinson's Rare Books and Fine Art Prints, and the interview is now ALIVE at Harrisburg Magazine Online! I'm going to go crazy in the subterranean Scholar on Saturday. Do you remember what Saturday is?


Saturday, November 10!
2 pm!
Stage 2 at the Midtown Scholar!
Craft + Publishing Panel
with ME,
Nathaniel Gadsden, and Ann Elia Stewart!
1302 N. Third Street, Harrisburg, PA 17102!
The Third Annual Harrisburg Book Festival!


5a. I've kicked off a new feature on Anobium's website called Outer Space. It's a link-roundup, and the first one is all me (it will be fueled by the varied, wild web staff) and features Kate Zambreno, Roxane Gay, Carina Finn, Leanne Shapton, Emily Keeler, and Sadie Stein.

5b. This new feature (and more!) is to celebrate Ben, ruler of the Anobium kingdom, easing into preparations for Vol. IV, Weird Love, and my becoming the new Web Editor. That would also make these new features my job, to which I would say: my whole job at Anobium is a celebration.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Wraith typing all day for money.

By the time I appear on Stage Two (in the cozy new wing) at the Midtown Scholar on November 10th at 2 p.m. for a panel at the Third Annual Harrisburg Book Festival, I will have worked off all my OVERWHELMING EXCITEMENT. The festival will see only a cool, collected version of what SCREAMS AT YOU FROM ACROSS THE INTERNET.

This panel will be unstoppable, and the Scholar has maple lattes. I would love it if you'd come. 2 p.m. November 10th, 1302 N Third Street, Harrisburg, PA 17102. In advance, I'm telling you that it's okay if you have a coughing fit. I had a coughing fit at the first public reading and talk by a writer I ever attended. My friend shared her hot cider with me on the walk over. The ground was covered in leaves and it was the first time all year we were freezing. We went into the beautiful hall where the reading was ready to start. Coughing is an astonishingly rare thing for me. Little interruptions that necessitate the clearing of the throat: that happens. But I was seized from within by a cough tornado and my professor, seated across the aisle from me, went for what great mind Brad Neely calls the Shame Spell. I may have made up the memory of him following me to the bathroom and forcing an explanation from me, or else it was the manifestation of said spell. Should coughing transpire while I'm on stage, I will respect it.

One can gear up to hear me by listening to me read "Van's Friend in the City" as it was featured in Anomalous issue five earlier this year. "Van's Friend" is from Come as Your Madness, coming next winter from Birds of Lace! Much of what my throat can get away with in this panel will be devoted to how what people like Gina Abelkop is doing is the most important thing. My thesis statement is a line from a Patricia Highsmith novel.

Meanwhile, things urgently need to be read: I reviewed Dorothea Lasky's third poetry collection, Thunderbird, at Anobium. I love how this book collided with me. I am really grateful to pulverizingly beautiful books right now, like Kate Zambreno's Heroines, which I reviewed right here yesterday. Today Heroines is officially released and is excerpted at the New Inquiry alongside an awesome interview with Kate Z by Mary Borkowski.

Coming soon: I am working on a new Very Literary at WITF and have two articles in the pipeline at Harrisburg Magazine (web and print!) and big things are a-boom at Anobium. Maybe on November 10th I will leak spoilers. November 10th! 2 p.m.! Midtown Scholar!