Wednesday, March 25, 2009

20. Farther Along, a novel by Donald Harington. A Stay More book. There are a handful of Harington novels that stand out as rivaling just about anything I've read, in terms of structural inventiveness, engaging characters, and flat-out storytelling. The Architecture of the Arkansas Ozarks; With; Some Other Place, The Right Place; Butterfly Weed, maybe. This one isn't on the level of those, but it's still a fine book. I could say something trite like that Harington is getting older, but With is a recent book, and Farther Along rivals (and surpasses) many of his earlier novels. Some stories are quieter than others, that's all. Farther Along is a good read, but if it's your first Harington novel, you should probably start at the beginning and work your way up.

21. City of Names, a young adult novel by Kevin Brockmeier. Brockmeier has his moments, but this isn't one of them. The idea behind this book is solid, but the execution felt incomplete.

Sunday, March 22, 2009 It's 3,700+ pages. I'm thinking grad. students did it.

So I didn't write the poem attributed to me. Neither did anyone else write the poems attributed to them. It's some sort of algorthymic thing. I'm curious about it, though--where do the words actually come from. I mean, as far as I understand it, a computer program lifted words from somewhere and put them in this particular order and attributed them to particular people, but where were the words lifted from and why attributed to those names? Did they go through several of my poems and randomly arrange my words to make this? Cause I've only ever mentioned the word "butterfly" in one poem, and it isn't available online. So yeah. Kind of funny, though. Ron Silliman, who takes himself fairly seriously for having a name like that, got all litigious on his blog about it. Poetry Magazine mentioned it on their blog. Notice that I haven't linked to these blogs. The "authors" claimed to take the site down, but obviously they haven't.

Still, nice to be noticed, even if it's by a computer.
This (hopefully funny) little piece is in Johnny America, filed as nonfiction, which I can't really argue.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

16. The Watchmen, a graphic novel written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons. Yeah, I know; I tend not to read popular things when they're popular.I like to see if they stand the test of time. It's interesting to see how influential this book has been, not only in comics, but in movies as well. But seriously, an octopus monster? Really?
17. It's a Bird...a graphic novel written by Steaven T. Seagle, illustrated by Teddy Kristiansen. I really wanted to like this because it dealt with Huntington's Disease, which is something I have a vested interest in, but it was a little pretentious and boring. I recalled, too late, that Seagle wrote for the comic series "Sandman Mystery Theater," which I also found pretentious and boring, one of the few early Vertigo titles I couldn't stomach. Live and learn.
18. Arkansas, a novel by John Brandon. I'm reviewing this for Ghoti.
19. How to Make Love The Bruce Campbell Way, a novel by Bruce Campbell. Very funny, a little predictable in a B-movie kind of way. Am I a jerk for saying that?

Friday, March 13, 2009

14. Leviathan, the final book of the Illuminatus! Trilogy. Not much to say about it. It ended. I won't say it ended well or badly; it just ended.
15. Nation, by Terry Pratchett. A YA book that is (somewhat) secretely a call-to-reason of humanist thinking. Good read. Not the best Pratchett book I've read, but not bad. I hope it isn't his last.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

In the past couple months, I've put together several poetry manuscripts. Anthem looks to be on track to be released in April by Cervena Barva Press. I gave it the penultimate proof and did some cover editing. There will be one more hardcopy proof and then Robert is your mother's brother. Yeah, I just quoted a Guy Ritchie movie (I think Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, but I don't recall). I have a reading for this release in Boston, May 20.

I'm in talks with a publisher to release Riceland, a collection of poems about my childhood, farming, etc. I'm putting together a marketing plan for it. I have a possible cover in the works, as well. Hope to have this all squared away and moving forward in a couple weeks.

I have three poetry chapbook manuscripts--February, Give Me, and You Hated Us for Our Wings, so We Never Flew. All but Give Me are in the mail. An online journal, "Right Hand Pointing," solicted a chapbook from me to be posted online later in the year. All of these were attempts at that. Not sure if any of them are right. It will probably be either Give Me of February. Unless February is picked up elsewhere, then it will definately be Give Me.

Actually, I liked Wings so much, I went ahead and made it into a full-length, which I've just maybe finished and definately sent off. Same title. It might be a little strange because it has several longer prose poems which editors in the past refuse to consider anything other than flash fiction. So who knows how that will go. So if the chapbook and the book are both picked up, that will be strange. It was sloppy of me to send the chapbook off and then expand it into a full-length collection using manyu of the same poems, but it happened. And odds are, nothing will come of either. None of these are contest entries, btw. I don't do that anymore.

I also put together a collection of 10 10-minute plays entitled Ten which I hope to shop around at some point. Thinking of a short story collection, but I don't think I'm ready yet. Wouldn't a novel be nice? I sent my most recent endeavor to a couple publishers, no takers.

Okay, now I really have to go finish the cabaret for the Spring Performance.

12. The Eye in the Pyramid by Robert Shea & Robert Anton Wilson, book one of the Illuminatus! Trilogy.
13. The Golden Apple by Robert Shea & Robert Anton Wilson, book two of the Illuminatus! Trilogy. How to describe these...take every conspiracy theory you can think of and add a lot of pot and sex. These books constantly loop back on themselves, revising their purported plots. Also, there are lizard men, aliens, immortals (including, apparently, John Dillinger and FDR--though all we know so far is that they faked their deaths), Atlanteans, dirty hippis, pirates, talking dolphins, and a Dealy Lama (from Dealy plaza). Very funny stuff. Basically, it's like Foucault's Pendulum with a sense of humor, or the Da Vince Code if it had been written by someone who could write.

The trilogy contains many references to Discordianism, including the "fnords", and several major "characters" in Discordianism figure heavily into the trilogy. According to wikipedia, it is also the source of the "23" numerology thingee, though I find that hard to believe.

Currently reading" Leviathan, book Three of the Illuminatus! Trilogy. Also, In Short, a collection of flash-nonfiction by various authors, which I'm using in a class (but neglected reading earlier, tsk tsk).

I hope, soon to read:

Nation by Terry Pratchett
Further Along by Donald Harington
Lost Echoes by Joe R. Lansdale.
Can't Quite You Baby by Ellen Douglas

To Review:

Arkansas by John Brandon
Where We Come From by Doug Ramspeck
A couple poetry collections I haven't received yet...

All right, I'm off to write a caberet for the Spring Performance. I'm about half-finished with it.