January 28, 2010

New Fiction at nthWORD

"Finally to get her to stop calling he told her what he really thought of her little stories. Metafiction was out, he said. It was so nineteen seventies. Now it was all a return to psychological realism with sophisticated deployments of free indirect discourse, or close third to dummies like her, and organized around epiphanies that reconcile us to the way things are. When she was older she would understand."
now at nthWORD

January 27, 2010

"A Critical Dimension"

Warren Motte, interviewed at Word Without Borders:
"You know, I had for a long time thought the word 'experimental' described the literature that most interested me, and yet experimental literature is generally taken, as you know, to designate literature that is highly bound up in questions of form. So it might not apply very closely to literature that's invested in other kinds of experiments: experiments in theme, in voice, in idea, and so forth--works that can be very deeply interesting to me. Then for a time I thought that I was interested in the avant-garde, but that term has fallen into a kind of... well, it's belated, now, it's vexed, and I don't think that it really is a performative term any more. Now, John O'Brien has talked about 'subversive' literature in one of the pieces in CONTEXT, where he describes the kinds of books he's looking for in his catalog, and I think that's a very apposite way of thinking about the kind of literature that interests me. But recently I've become convinced that more than anything else the books I'm interested in have a critical dimension, and by that I mean several things: on the one hand, they take a critical position with regard to literary tradition, put that tradition on trial in a variety of different ways--on the level of the page, and so forth. They put themselves forward in a way that promotes or enables a critical reading as well, so that you can read them flat on your back on your sofa if you wish, but they reveal their richness most abundantly when you approach them from a critical perspective, in other words with an awareness of the kinds of gestures that they perform with regard to convention, the canon, and so forth firmly in the mind."
And here's the John O'Brien statement on "subversive" fiction that Motte may have been thinking of:
"Several years ago someone in an interview tried to get from me a one-word description for the kinds of books we publish, and she suggested the words that you have. I finally said that the correct word was 'subversive,' which is still the word I would use, though I know it's rather useless in terms of trying to pigeonhole what it is we publish. My point was that the books, in some way or another, upset the apple cart, that they work against what is expected, that they in some way challenge received notions, whether those are literary, social or political. And this is precisely the kind of fiction that I find interesting: it does things I haven't seen before, or it requires me to be figuring out how in the hell the writer is doing what he or she is doing. This is of course quite removed from the idea of being a passive reader, that you are in the backseat of the car and the writer is taking you on a tour."

January 12, 2010

New Fiction at Rumble Magazine

One groovy thing about Rumble Magazine is that you can read the site in your choice of five color-schemes: blue dream, beige boy, hot pink, sea turtle, and my personal favorite, yellow bastard (or is that five groovy things?).
Another groovy thing about Rumble Magazine is that the offerings don't necessarily have anything to do with the "theme" of the month. This month, for example, it's the "We Are All Doomed" Terrorism Issue, in solemn acknowledgement of the existential threat we're all under from deadly underwear bombers and so forth. And yet the stories and poems this month -- by Michael Doherty, Kyle Hemmings, Meghan Lamb, Lisa Carroll-Lee, and Jonathon Ullyat (plus a J.A. Tyler review of Joseph Young's Easter Rabbit and an interview with its author) -- seem flippantly, even brazenly, off topic!
I smell irony. Is there any chance the Rumble editors don't take seriously the ceaseless vigilance of the US government and US media, so ceaseless and vigilant that it is sometimes hard to tell them apart? Is it even possible that the site's groovy five-color template selection represents some kind of subtle or unconscious "dissing" -- or whatever you kids these days call it -- of our sacred Homeland Security Terror Status Alert system?
In that case it shocks me to report that a story by me, "The Halsted Arms," has also somehow found its way into this issue. I can only say, in my defense, that I originally thought I was submitting it to this Rumble Magazine, the one with motorcycles and pictures of chicks on motorcycles.

January 7, 2010

All of the Words of Shakespeare Sonnet 144 . . .

and and and
angel angel angel angel
be be being
better better
both both
but but but
colour'd comfort
corrupt despair
devil directly do doubt each evil fair female fiend
foul friend
good guess
have hell
her his
in in
is know
like live loves man may
me me me
my my my my my my my
ne'er not of one
out pride
purity right
saint shall side soon
still suggest
the the
this till
to to to to
turn'd two
whether which win
with woman wooing
worser would

For all of the words in some other order, go here.
For all of the words of all the sonnets, stop by Adam Tessier's Our Daily Sonnet.