Monday, September 17, 2018

Finished Ben Lerner's THE HATRED OF POETRY

The Hatred of PoetryThe Hatred of Poetry by Ben Lerner

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The first half of this monograph was so well done. It spoke of poetry, which is unspeakable, in a way that was straightforward in its failure to do so. That was cool and kind of meta. At some point, and it started when he got into political aspects of some poetry, I went into this kind of trance where I felt stupid beyond imagination for the rest of the book. Could be I'm pretty stupid; could also be that things can be stated a little more simply, even if the subject is the unnameable, indefinable Poetry.

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Sunday, September 16, 2018

Finished Matthew Zapruder's WHY POETRY

Why PoetryWhy Poetry by Matthew Zapruder
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Zapruder gets me excited about poetry, and more relaxed. That's key, really - more relaxed. This is a good one for any level of poet, I'd say. Worth the read.

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Friday, September 14, 2018

Writer's Bone interview links to listen

I was interviewed at Writer's Bone and it is available every which way but loose. Here are all the options to link and listen to me talk about writing and other terrible things:

Mother glory am I grateful they interviewed me. Three people joined forces for that to happen - David Joy (who put a bug in Daniel Ford's ear about my writing) and Jay Hill (who set the interview up on my behalf). And, of course, Dan for agreeing to talk to me. You all are pure champions for real.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Contract signed with WVU Press for a book focusing on Breece D'J Pancake

Big news on the writing front

I signed a contract yesterday to write a book on Breece D'J Pancake for West Virginia University Press. Is there any real way for me to explain how incredibly excited I am? Well, I usually use words to express thoughts, but I might come up short on this one. Let's just review the facts:

1. I'm contracted to write a book for West Virginia's largest press.

2. It's the home state of the writer I'm writing a book about.

3. The writer is my favorite writer.

Seriously, there's more, but it would start resembling full on brag time if I went into it. It's enough to say those above three facts result in what is just about the coolest thing that's happened to me since I started writing thirty years ago.

A call out

There's going to be a section in which I take various author interviews (from folks who were influenced by Pancake in one way or the other) and hybrid it all up nicely. That being said, I'd love to get some responses from anyone who might be interested in writing up a little something or answer at length a few basic questions for a form I'll use to incorporate it all later. In particular, I'm hoping to get something from David Joy, Bonnie Jo Campbell, Scott McClanahan, Karen McElmurray, Chris Offutt, well the list goes on and on, really, but that's a start. I'll be sending out emails to solicit all these folks at some point (likely sooner than later).

There's another pot on the fire, writing-wise. I can't mention any specifics yet, but there's a fairly good chance I'll have a great indie press pick up my recent short story collection Sway at some point later in the year. Nothing is at all definite about that, though. I'm only going on some early impressions. It looks okay, though.

On the events front

I'll be reading at Taylor Books in Charleston, West Virginia on September 14. It'll be my third time reading at Taylor Books and I have Jay Hill to thank for every single one of them. Jay is a magician you will be hearing a lot from in the not too distant future. He's a champion.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Interview with Writer's Bone

Daniel Ford interviewed me today for Writer's Bone. I feel like I rambled and answered too briefly and took everything too serious. That's part of my anxiety - taking things seriously, worrying about them until I make myself sick, wishing I was someone smarter, etc. But he seemed pleased, so that's good.

Topics covered in the interview: the MFA debate; my novel Brown Bottle; advice for writers; writing about Eastern Kentucky

The interview may appear about a week from today, Dan said.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Infinite Jest: A Failed Entertainment

Infinite JestInfinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There are about seven sections (long sections, though) that stand out as some of the best writing I've ever encountered. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the novel seems more of a platform for Wallace to expound upon various philosophies and personal ideas. Nothing wrong with that, but let's not confuse that with a novel that works as an "entertainment" as he would say. But then I'm immediately reminded that the book originally had a subtitle, which was - "A Failed Entertainment". I don't think it failed, but I do think it was only occasionally entertaining.

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Finished Ben Lerner's THE HATRED OF POETRY

The Hatred of Poetry by Ben Lerner My rating: 3 of 5 stars The first half of this monograph was so well done. It spoke of poetry, whic...