Thursday, December 31, 2015

Book list

This past year I read fewer books than usual, mostly because of work but also because of a creeping creative laziness that seems to have extended to reading. I don’t have any resolutions, but hope to shake that off. 
Below are my favorites. In fiction I suspect I may have picked The Accidental not only because it's fresh but because it’s fresh in my mind. I read a handful of excellent novels, including The Corrections, Station Eleven and The Last Samurai. The disappointment was All the Light We Cannot See, which failed in a number of ways and again persuaded me the Pulitzer Prize is full of crap. (My review on GoodReads is here.) In graphic novels, Tom Gauld's You're All Just Jealous of My Jetpack was a close second.

Fiction pick: The Accidental by Ali Smith
Non-Fiction: Going Clear by Lawrence Wright
Memoir: Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Poetry: Negative Blue by Charles Wright
Graphic/Comics: Girl Stories by Lauren Weinstein
Favorite Cover: After Midnight by Irmgard Keun

Full List
1. Wild by Cheryl Strayed (Jan 4)
2. The Fifth Woman by Henning Mankel (Jan 6)
3. Insomniac Circus by Amorak Huey (Jan 12)
4. Dina’s Book by Herbjorg Wassmo (Jan 15)
5. Ann Coulter’s Letter to the Young Poets by Sara Biggs Chaney (Jan 20)
6. According to Mark by Penelope Lively (Jan 21)
7. Galatea 2.2 by Richard Powers (Jan 23)
8. The Last Samurai by Helen Dewitt (Feb 5)
9. Deep Dark Down by Hector Tobar (Feb 11)
10. Girl Stories by Lauren Weinstein (Feb 12)
11. Are You My Mother by Alison Bechdel (Feb 14)
12. Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman (Feb 14)
13. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (Feb. 16)
14. After Midnight by Irmgard Keun (Feb 22)
15. Negative Blue by Charles Wright (March 12)
16. Novel Interiors by Lisa Borgnes Giramonti (Apr 3)
17. In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower by Marcel Proust (June 14)
18. Monsieur Proust by Céleste Albaret (Jun 28)
19. Mr. Peanut by Adam Ross (Jul 8)
20. Fingersmith by Sarah Waters (Jul 21)
21. We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families by Philip Gourevitch (Aug 2)
22. The Dogs of Riga by Henning Mankell (Aug 11)
23. Seasonal Works with Letters on Fire by Brenda Hillman (Aug 18)
24. Late Wife by Claudia Emerson (Aug 19)
25. Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake (Aug 19)
26. Auf eine Zigarette mit Helmut Schmidt (Sep 4)
27. Was ich noch sagen wollte by Helmut Schmidt (Sep 7)
28. Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake (Oct 11)
29. You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack by Tom Gauld (Oct 17)
30. The Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick by Peter Handke (Oct 17)
31. Going Clear by Lawrence Wright (Oct 21)
32. Remembering Satan by Lawrence Wright (Oct 23)
33. Blankets by Craig Thompson (Oct 24)
34. The Dead Beat by Marilyn Johnson (Oct 26)
35. Translations on Waking in an Italian Cemetery by Michael Keegan (Oct 27)
36. The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen (Nov 2)
37. Postmortem: Poems by Maurice Kilwein Guevara (Nov 17)
38. Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar (Nov 23)
39. The Secret Life of Hardware by Cheryl Lachowski (Dec 2)
40. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (Dec 12)
41. The Accidental by Ali Smith (Dec 19)
42. Joie de Vivre by Lisa Jarnot (Dec 24)

Monday, December 21, 2015

up early

At the airport there was an abandoned paper bag with images of stone figurines on it the color of cookies, but not cookies, if you tried to bite those you’d break your teeth; your teeth aren’t up to that, like if the game were “rock, scissors, teeth” your teeth would not win that game

which reminds me of the editor who hated my semi;colons

also the woman on the train this morning in black pants, dress shoes and neon green socks, hello

it’s awkward having to talk to hair cutters and taxi drivers and people with whom you must spend an allotted amount of time alone, also doctors, which is why I suck at therapy but I do make an exception for my dentist because he is a smiler and upbeat and even if it’s fake it’s a relief 

my mother brought me a stack of New Yorkers and I notice a weird thing they’re doing with their print layout here’s a picture 

In my earliest memory I am inserted onto a saddle atop a brown horse like a piece of text

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Park your car, forget your anger

Some of my recent poems

Is it white, or what?

This week Ruth+Moth published my found poem “Seven Shaved Bald in One Room,” which uses Svetlana Alexievich’s book “Voices of Chernobyl” as its source text. The acceptance note said the editors “found your poetry to be of tremendous power and importance, both poignant and professional.” 

burns like black handkerchiefs
Another poem I wrote using the Alexievich book was “Newlyweds, Ukraine 1986,” which DMQ Review has nominated for both the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net anthology. I posted it here a couple months ago when Alexievich won the Nobel Prize. 

Cease beeping, we said to just about everyone
Concis published my short poem “Inebriate of Air,” which takes its title from an Emily Dickinson poem (“I taste a liquor never brewed”). 

The brick is an enemy of the bohemian
Right Hand Pointing also published one of my object obsession poems, “Single Brick,” in its latest issue. 

What should we be without the help of that which does not exist? - Paul Valéry
Literary Bohemian also published two poems - “Visiting the Outer Space Exhibit in Bonn on New Year’s Day 2015,” which is about exactly that, and “Oarsman Ghazal,” a poem written in the Persian ghazal form.

the day I resembled a hill / hunched up and clutching
My poems “Whittler” and “Flush Sky” were published at Sundog Lit this fall. “Flush Sky” is also a found poem, in which I switched words of a pop science interview with new words. 
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