Sunday, May 30, 2010

Reading Log

May 30, 2010 04:35PM

Written, according to the author, in 1967 and published in 1969, Olt by Kenneth Gangemi brings to mind the mid-60's fiction of Georges Perec (eg. A Man Asleep) and interestingly prefigures David Markson's "anti-novels" such as Wittgenstein's Mistress and Vanishing Point with their compilations of factoids. A thoroughly engaging mini-novel you can read in about an hour.

May 30, 2010 03:05AM

William Walsh's Pathologies has introduced me to yet another terrific practitioner of the wry and ironic brand of flash fiction. This is a consistently inventive and witty collection which ended all too soon. Walsh and the folks at Keyhole Press have a real winner here.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Paintings by Casebeer

Just thought I'd give a little exposure here to a painter based in Tempe, AZ just down the road from my home here in Scottsdale. My wife and I have five Casebeers hanging on our walls (none of which are pictured above) along with a small sculpture of hers in our family room. Her myspace page is here and her facebook page is here

We Were Eternal and Gigantic by Evelyn Hampton

Just finished another chapbook from Magic Helicopter Press and this one really knocked my socks off! It's Evelyn Hampton's We Were Eternal and Gigantic, a collection of stories and poems displaying some truly brilliant flights of imagination and verbal acrobatics. I found myself rereading passage after passage just to savor the highly original wordplay going on here frequently reaching the end of a poem or story with a big smile on my face wanting only to start over again. Hampton has a strikingly personal take on the absurdist/surrealist model and doesn't shy away from real emotional depth along with the wild conceptual juxtapositions. Really great stuff by a very talented young writer. Five stars.

Reading Log

May 10, 2010 05:14 AM

Just finished David Peak's The Rocket's Red Glare and was quite disappointed. It wasn't at all what I expected given the almost unanimous praise for high literary merit his previous book,Museum of Fucked, received. The new book is a Y/A fantasy/adventure novel with all the plot and character cliches associated with that genre and with no apparent pretention to any artistic quality as a work of fiction. Very light, mindless entertainment which, I suppose, is OK once in a great while. 2/5 stars.

May 23, 2010 12:05 AM
1047987Ken Sparling's new book, Book, continues his fascinating literary project of narrative fragmentation but this time the dislocations from paragraph to paragraph of character, plot, scene, timeframe, etc., are even more profound. Consequently my disorientation, as a reader, became more pervasive in this than in Sparling's previous books. While still highly interesting at the level of individual sentences and paragraphs due to the extraordinary imagination at work, I missed the accumulating sense of familiarization with who the characters are and what's going on that's gained in reading the earlier books. The weird flights of fancy and powerful emotional content is still there but the parts didn't add up to as meaningful a whole as my favorite Sparling books: Untitled, For Those Whom God Has Blessed With Fingers and Hush Up and Listen Stinky Poo Butt.

May 23, 2010 12:20 AM

Daniel Bailey's The Drunk Sonnets and Jimmy Chen's Typewriter are two very worthwhile chapbooks from Magic Helicopter Press. The first is a cycle of 53 sonnets on themes of social alienation and, of course, booze, done in a very lively and amusing style and read more like 1st person narrative prose poems than traditional sonnets. The second is a cycle of flash fictions on the theme of internet culture and the attendant isolation and loneliness of those consumed by it. These pieces by Chen are excellent examples of inventive imagination coupled with dry wit and biting satire. Very amusing stuff.