I love you, PDX. You're my Paris of the 21st century. I'm coming back to you tonight.
Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
This coming winter term I get the opportunity to teach a film class called The Outsider in American Independent Cinema. I narrowed down about 50 films I wanted to screen to the following. Clearly, there are some pretty large holes in this list, but we'll cover a lot of material in the reading (and short clips). I still have a week to make some adjustments. Any suggestions?
Shadows (John Cassavetes 1959)
The Connection (Shirley Clarke 1962)
Stranger than Paradise (Jim Jarmusch 1984)
Slacker (Richard Linklater 1991)
Ballast (Lance Hammer 2008)
George Washington (David Gordon Green 2000)
The Exiles (Kent MacKenzie 1961)
Killer of Sheep (Charles Burnett 1977)
She's Gotta Have It (Spike Lee 1986)
Girl 6 (Spike Lee 1996)
Daughters of the Dust (Julie Dash 1991)
Born in Flames (Lizzie Borden 1983)
Poison (Todd Haynes 1991)
Go Fish (Rose Troche 1994)
Mala Noche (Gus Van Sant 1985)
My Own Private Idaho (Gus Van Sant 1991)
Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi 2007)
Silent Light (Carlos Reygadas 2007)
Thursday, December 24, 2009
My publisher at Black Ocean, Janaka Stucky, has written on the press' blog a very thoughtful and comprehensive history of Black Ocean from its beginnings in 2004. He speaks of hearing me read in Austin (at an amazing group reading during the AWP conference) and soliciting The Man Suit that night, and how he was able to ride its wave into other projects.
What I don't want to get lost is that that wave has two sides. The Suit had been batted around in contests for 3 years before that night in Texas and I had already pushed it aside to start work on Scary, No Scary. Janaka and Carrie Olivia Adams reinvigorated my energy and confidence in the Suit, and were generous enough with their time and editing skills to make it twice as tight. Compared to what I can gather from other poets who have published books with small presses, Black Ocean spends an exceptional amount of time and energy being sure they get it right--not just in pre-publication, but also in post-publication. The Man Suit's success can be largely attributed to Janaka and Carrie's continued willingness to invest in its promotion. They didn't just publish it and move on to the next title, despite each of them having full-time jobs outside of Black Ocean. They still invent new ways to make it stronger, to promote it, Scary, No Scary, and their other dynamite titles, and they will continue to as long as they exist as a press. Thank you, Black Ocean, for taking a chance on me, for continuing to follow through on that chance, and for helping me trust that what I write is worthy.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
I can now officially announce that Octopus Books' fourth full-length book of poems, Matvei Yankelevich's Boris by the Sea, is now available for purchase. Please buy it from SPD here, from Octopus directly, or demand that your small press friendly bookstore order a few for you.
Matvei's Boris is a work of existential theater that destroys the distance between puppeteer and puppet, between ego and id, between what is real and what is absurd. Consisting of prose, poems, and plays, the book creates its own world and then confronts the loneliness of having to exist within one's own creation. Like Daniil Kharms, Yankelevich has written a a children's book for only the bravest of adults.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
I am proud to have some poems in two poetry magazines that I want to tell you about. Poor Claudia, out of Portland, whose second issue is a collection of unbound broadside postcards in a handprinted wraparound jacket, and Microfilme, of the Amherst collective of small press poetry magazines, which is, well, printed on a microfilme reel. Preservation is the new consumption. Small presses are the new presses.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Matvei Yankelevich's Boris by the Sea (Octopus Books 2009) will be ready to ship out from our giant warehouse (small kitchen) here at Octopus, and from SPD, in the next few days. I'll announce it more officially then. But to prepare you for your purchase, I wanted to direct you to Matvei's conversation with BOMB magazine about his first full-length book.
If you're in Portland, you should go buy it in person at the Pub Fair at The Cleaners downtown from 11-6 on Sunday. Octopus Books (which will be represented by Emily Kendal Frey) and Poor Claudia (which will be represented by Joseph Mains) will share a table at the fair. Do you like small presses? Do you like free hot popcorn balls and hot apple cider? I thought you did. I know you.
Here's all the info you'll ever want.