April 28, 2008
i spend a lot of time thinking about what i would like to put in my mouth coins and paperclips your left pinky finger the letter “S” and then 220 volts of electricity By Kendra Grant Malone.
April 28, 2008
I quit my job after eleven months. I took showers. With the water on, I looked down at the light discoloration brushed around the sides of the tub. This trace was left by the person who lived here before me, or the person before them, and will be left for the person after me, and the person after them, and I thought about the people who lived here previously and the people who will live here subsequently and somewhere it became overbearing because I could feel my body shaking and my knees shifting. To bring myself back in-kilter I looked at the soap and shampoo bottles and realized I had formed red circles on my abdomen from scrubbing against it for quite awhile. By Stephen Daniel Lewis.
April 26, 2008
Last count I’d travelled to over sixty different countries, some for no more than a day, and some in my memory as just a trip to a museum or being drunk in a bar. For a year I lived on board a ship and sailed around the globe three times. Apart from being able to write about the cyclone and mountainous waves in Show Me the Sky from experience – one of the most frightening moments was seeing fear on the Ukrainian Captain’s face when caught in a tropical storm in the South China Sea – and describing exotic locales and customs from Fiji, travel shoots the novel with a panoramic lens. Even close focus on a place or character can be enhanced by the wider knowledge of what is ‘out there.’ Other cultures help you see your own, what is the same, what is different. Darran Anderson interviews Nicholas Hogg.
April 18, 2008
Lots of bad luck and trouble out there, mostly attributable to fuku, a curse that attaches when least expected. But Junot Diaz has a major counterspell or zafa thing going these days. Born in the Dominican Republic, raised in Paterson, New Jersey within a crack vial’s throw of Nueva York, Diaz has found the ultimate writer’s niche: the Dominican literary hipster experience on the hard streets of a stateside barrio. Not a lot of competition there, the last time I looked. But who’s complaining, since Diaz has talent to burn. First Drown, a slim volume of street-heavy stories of misspent Dominic youth published to critical acclaim in 1996; now, eleven years later, a Pulitzer-Prize-winning first novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Jonathan Woods reviews The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.
April 13, 2008
What I was hoping for when I opened 3:AM London, New York, Paris was a collection of well-written, interesting and enjoyable short stories from a group of writers that had been chosen by 3:AM Magazine, an institution I trust fairly well to do exactly that. And, thankfully, that is what I got. Just look at their first collection, The Edgier Waters, or anything from their site over the last six years and I’m sure you’ll agree that they know what makes good writing. But at no point in reading 3:AM London, New York, Paris was I ever considering the theme in any great depth. To be honest, while reading the stories that impressed me the most, I completely forgot that the collection even had a theme. Joe Roche reviews 3:AM London, New York, Paris.
April 11, 2008
Tangier’s legacy is in its literature, not only in the writings of the Western novelists – William Burroughs' Naked Lunch, Bowles' Let It Come Down – but also in that of its home-grown talent, Driss Charhadi's A Life Full of Holes and Mohamed Choukri's For Bread Alone, both of which Bowles enthusiastically transcribed and promoted. Choukri writes: “I did not see as much bread in Tangier as my mother had promised me I should. There was hunger even in Eden, but at least it was not hunger that killed.” Published in 1981, and banned in Morocco by King Hassan II until 2001, For Bread Alone chronicles teenage prostitution, sexual promiscuity, alcoholism and poverty, a harsh and cutting reality at the heart of Tangier; the city as a muse, albeit loose and unforgiving. Susan Tomaselli reviews Mohamed Choukri's Streetwise.
April 10, 2008
“I prefer to write for people untouched by poetry…I would like them to read poems in such a matter-of-fact manner as if they’re reading the newspaper or at a football match,” he once wrote, outlining his own personal creed. His was a simple but surprisingly rare quality in an artform whose practitioners are too often seen, and see themselves, as gatekeepers of some obscure bastion of knowledge. Sure he dealt in fairly esoteric subjects with a great deal of symbolism but he did so in the most free, reachable way possible. Holub was one who opened the backdoors and ushered the world in, one of the ones who might just have saved poetry from the poets. Darran Anderson in praise of Miroslav Holub.