This Boring Apocalypse by Brandi Wells (A Review)


Originally posted on Sundog Lit Blog:

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124 pages | $13.95

Love, the great destroyer, the apart-tearer — woe unto those caught in the crosshairs of the love of Brandi Wells’ unnamed narrator in her novella This Boring Apocalypse, be they woman, man, or torso, cat or cow, horse, house, or tree. Everything in This Boring Apocalypse is taken apart, catalogued and itemized and, if none of it ever quite dies, it is perhaps only because we have misunderstood what it means to be alive.

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We need your help! You need good books!


Originally posted on Horse Less Press:

Dear friends who love poetry: we started our spring fundraiser a little soon after AWP and Buffalo Small Press Book Fair and a handful of other events we could not get to this time around, where people buy great micro-press books, and I fear that means strapped budgets: our spring fund drive is pretty slow-going this year. We’ve got less than a week to go, and we haven’t quite hit our halfway mark. Can you help? And get some awesome books for yourself in the process? It’s your first chance to order any of our 2015 chapbooks; it’s also your first chance to pre-order two forthcoming full-length titles:  Anne Cecelia Holmes’ THE JITTERS and Kristi Maxwell’s PLAN/K. Feel free to forward EVERYWHERE!

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The &NOW AWARDS 3


Originally posted on Raging Biblio-holism:

&nowThe Short Version: A collection of “the hardest-hitting, most provocative, deadly serious, patently absurd, cutting-edge, avant-everything-and-nothing work” from 2011-2013 – writing that is as much about the words and the writing itself as it is about what the words are saying.  Real heady stuff, you know?

The Review: I have a tumultuous relationship with so-called “innovative” writing. At the end of the day, I’m not sure I buy into the idea that words-as-art still qualify as a reading experience. An artistic experience, sure – but not necessarily a reading experience. I threw There is No Year across the room more than once – but I love Jeff VanderMeer’s work. I’ll pick up Mark Z. Danielewski any day but Angela Genusa’s piece in this collection/anthology (for example) left me oh-so-cold. So I went in wary…

The perhaps most-telling thing for me, with this collection, was the fact that it features an excerpt…

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The Magnetic Fields’ Stephin Merritt just wrote the dumbest piece of book criticism in the history of ever


Originally posted on The Stake:

Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat: I love love LOVE the yearly Tournament of Books at The Morning News. The March-madness conceit of pitting the best books of the year in a bracket-style tournament is brilliant. In its championship round, it has consistently steered me toward some of the best books I’ve read in recent years.

But the major weakness of the tournament is that the whole thing can be completely undone by one judge—and that is exactly what appears to have happened in today’s round of the Tournament, in which Stephin Merritt of the Magnetic Fields judged Roxane Gay’s An Untamed State vs. Anthony Doerr’s All The Light We Cannot See. In fact, though it’s still early in the year, I’m calling it: Merritt has written the most boneheaded, tone-deaf, willfully offensive piece of book criticism that I or anyone else will read this year, in which…

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Jonathan Littell’s Syrian Notebooks (Book acquired, 3.23.2015)


Originally posted on Biblioklept:

Jonathan Littell’s Syrian Notebooks is new in English translation (by Charlotte Mandell) from indie Verso. This one seems like a big departure from The Kindly Ones (which, uh, it should be), which I loved hating that I loved. Verso’s blurb:

A blistering firsthand account of the conflict in Homs by the internationally acclaimed author of The Kindly Ones
“We fight for our religion, for our women, for our land, and lastly to save our skin. As for them, they’re only fighting to save their skin.”

In 2012, Jonathan Littell traveled to the heart of the Syrian uprising, smuggled in by the Free Syrian Army to the historic city of Homs. For three weeks, he watched as neighborhoods were bombed and innocent civilians murdered. His notes on what he saw on the ground speak directly of horrors that continue today in the ongoing civil war.

Amid the chaos, Littell bears witness…

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Why We Need Queer Escapist Lit


Originally posted on The Lesbrary:

When asking a reader why they spend so much time reading, the most common response seem to be some version of “to escape”: to entertain themselves, to distract themselves, and to immerse themselves in a life that isn’t their own. And although that’s not the primary reason that I would give for reading, it seems to be the most popular one, which got me to thinking… If most people read to escape, why do queer readers so desperately seek queer books?

After all, escapism should just require reading about a life that’s unlike your own, so shouldn’t queer people be able to escape into straight/cis literature? Are these queer readers not reading for escapism? That seems unlikely, given the demand for more queer sci fi and fantasy, the genres most identifies with the “escapist” label.

Or is it that escapism requires a protagonist that is relatable? Do we need to…

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Bad or Boring: Doing Without Ethics in Poetry


Originally posted on WEIRD SISTER:

Hi guys. I’ve noticed something about the word boring.

I noticed it most recently in discussions about Kenneth Goldsmith’s performance of his version of the St. Louis County autopsy report for Michael Brown. Many people responded with outrage to Goldsmith’s appropriation and objectification of Brown’s body (see the above link to Rin Johnson’s piece and Amy King’s piece asking “Is Colonialist Poetry Easy?”, among others); many of them saw his performance as symptomatic not only of an individual poet’s bad taste or careless sense of entitlement, but of the inherently white supremacist values of avant-garde poetry specifically and the American literary world in general (values that Cathy Park Hong brilliantly exposes in “Delusions of Whiteness in the Avant-Garde,” and that the Mongrel Coalition Against Gringpo continues to critique and rage against and lampoon). Goldsmith’s performance, many of these critiques point out, is a logical extension of a position he outlined in…

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