Sunspots Are Malignant: Symposium by Joshua Gray

Daniel Casey


Joshua Gray 
Red Dashboard, 2016 

I know too many people plagued by cancer. Young people, middle-aged people, the old, intimates, casual acquaintances, and strangers all are riddled with the disease. It is ubiquitous and it often feels like it’s something inevitable. A dark voice in me is convinced that if we live long enough we’ll all either suffer from some form of cancer, Alzheimer’s, or diabetes. There is no escaping. This is our contemporary existence; these are the plagues we’ve chosen.

Nearly everyone I know who’ve endured cancer have come out the other side. They are alive today, healthy but a disparate self. Articulating this change becomes a vital task, one that it’s incumbent upon me to listen to intently. I would argue that this is the purpose of survivor literature, those of us that didn’t undergo the experience have a duty to read, watch, and…

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A Sort of Caribbean Noir: Between Two Fires

Toni Williams first novel in his Dread Desires crime fiction series, Between Two Fires

Daniel Casey

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Saint+LuciaA view of Soufriere on the western shore of St. Lucia

Between Two Fires is the first novel in the planned trilogy Dread Desires from Toni Williams. This debut is a murder mystery set in the Caribbean on the fictional Elysian Island off the coast of St. Lucia as well as in the city of Soufriere on Saint Lucia. While presented at first as the story of a man getting entangled and overwhelmed by a smart, independent-minded woman, the story quickly takes a turn into more familiar thriller territory. In fact, Williams creates a sort of Caribbean crime noir novel which manages to not just fit the genre well but open up a lot of interesting possibilities with the storytelling. 

It’s not rare to encounter escapist island fiction, a species of…

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Catalyst: feminism, theory, technoscience

Feminist Philosophers

The first issue of the new feminist science studies journal can be found here.

Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, and Technoscience serves the expanding interdisciplinary field of feminist science and technology studies (STS) by supporting theoretically inventive and methodologically creative scholarship incorporating approaches from critical public health, disability studies, postcolonial studies, queer theory, sci-art, technology and digital media studies, history and philosophy of science and medicine

They are currently accepting submissions. Check out their Table of Contents!

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AWP isn’t me.

AWP is winnowing away community


I’m not sure who “AWP Is Us” is addressed to.* It can’t be me Kate Gale of Red Hen Press is pointing at. I went to Association of Writers & Writing Programs conference once in 2014, when it was in Seattle and I could carpool and stay at a friend’s house rather than paying for transportation and hotel. I was in a master’s program so I qualified for the very reasonable student rate ($50).

AWP 2016 is at the end of March in Los Angeles. If I were to book right now, airfare from here to LA would be a little over $200 (not bad, but would get more expensive the longer I waffled). Early bird nonmember registration is $240 and tops out at $300 closer to the event. Maybe I could figure out a friend I could stay with in LA, but I’d probably be best off…

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This Boring Apocalypse by Brandi Wells (A Review)

Sundog Blog

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!

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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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

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)


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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