Thursday, October 28, 2010

author talk: Michael K. White + Nora Nadjarian


Earlier this year, blueprintpress put a call up for micro novels - and received a pile of manuscripts that ranged from historic to futuristic. 2 of the manuscripts turned into hand-made micro novels: "The Republic of Love" by Nora Nadjarian and "My Apartment" by Michael K. White.

Michael K. White is one half of the semi-legendary playwriting team Broken Gopher Ink, and lives in Colorado. Nora Nadjarian comes from Cyprus. Her work has won prizes or been commended in various international competitions, including the Commonwealth Short Story Competition, the Féile Filíochta International Poetry Competition, the Binnacle Ultra-Short Competition and the Seán Ó Faoláin Short Story Prize.

Now the 2 authors - who didn't know each other before - met in the virtual daily cafe for an author talk:


MICHAEL K. WHITE: What is your favorite guitar solo? Mine is the one in "Cinnamon Girl." I could live my whole life inside that solo.

NORA NADJARIAN: I don’t know if this counts, but I was just listening to Sting’s “Fragile”. I love that guy, and his guitar.

MKW: Do you prefer writing poetry over prose?

NN: I started out as a poet, and the prose came later. A lot of my prose is poetic anyway; quite a few people have told me that.

MKW: I see that too. In "The Republic of Love" I like the way you write in an almost elliptical manner. I like the way you play with structure, very much like a poem, the switching of POV, etc. I really like the way you didn't explain everything. You let the story tell itself in its own way. You let it unfold.

NN: The truth is I am a person of few words, even when I speak, and so I don’t believe in writing words just for the sake of filling up a page. What you write should have some purpose, should mean something, and you shouldn’t have to fill up pages and pages just to make your point, as is the case in poetry. I loathe stories which take ages to get to the point, books full of descriptions of somebody’s fingers and toes and mango trees and 500 pages of boredom.

MKW: I agree with that. Its one thing to set the mood but it's another to kill it. I'm thinking of the first seventy pages or so of Moby Dick...the book not the drum solo, although the drum solo is just as boring.

MKW: How do you write? What is your process? Rituals? Day or night writer?

 >> click to read the whole dialogue:
author talk: Michael K. White + Nora Nadjarian

>> on night writing, mayonnaise, the 21st century and ice penii

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

revisited: Postal Poetry

Between 2008 and 2009, the webzine Postal Poetry showcased poetry postcards. The magazine was open for poems that were combined with images in the form of postcards, real or potential/digital. The site featured some amazing works, yet closed down in March 2009.

It's not unusual that online magazines close down - and it's sadly even not unusual that they fold completely, and withdraw the online pages from the web, blanking out all words and images once published. Not so Postal Poetry: here's a magazine that closed - then went ahead and created a new archive page that now showcases all published postcards! You can find it all here: Postal Poetry.

Contributor include: Tammy Ho Lai-ming, Christine Swint, Jean Morris, Fernando de Sousa, Marja-Leena Rathje, Jennifer Saunders, and many others. Make sure to click the first postcard "The Way to America"- it's the starting point of the project that now finally found a place, too.

About Postal Poetry + Videopoems
Postal Poetry was published by Dave Bonta and Dana Guthrie Martin. Read more about the story of Postal Poetry in the 'About' section of the archive - and if you are interested in digital poetry, then make sure to visit Dave Bonta's new web project Moving Poems, it features videopoems, filmpoems and animated poems from around the web.

A Note on Lost and Found Online Magazines
Online literary magazines that went offline are also one of feature themes of the BluePrintReview issue "re/visit" - some research on the theme brought a surprise back then: some of the online literary magazines that had gone offline and were considered lost together with all their content turned out to be still available in parts, in the web archives of the Waybackmachine, here's an article with 'lost' links: Lost, Found, Dead + Alive: Online Literary Magazines.

website: Postal Poetry.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Ten Walks/Two Talks - Jon Cotner and Andy Fitch (Ugly Duckling)

Ten Walks/Two Talks combines a series of sixty-minute, sixty-sentence walks around Manhattan with a pair of roving dialogues—one of which takes place during a late-night "philosophical" ramble through Central Park. Mapping 21st-century New York, Cotner and Fitch update the meandering and meditative form of Basho's travel diaries to construct a descriptive/dialogic fugue.

Jon Cotner and Andy Fitch have performed their dialogic improvisations across the country and internationally. They recently completed another collaborative manuscript called Conversations over Stolen Food. The audio magazine textsound (which is worth a visit itself) features 8+ hours of their solo and collaborative work in a special issue: Improvisations 2006-2010.

Fitch's critical study Not Intelligent, But Smart: Rethinking Joe Brainard is forthcoming from Dalkey Archive Press. Cotner lives in New York City. Fitch is an assistant professor in the University of Wyoming's MFA Program.

About Ugly Duckling Presse
Created by a group of artists and writers without commercial publishing experience, Ugly Duckling Presse has a unique publishing structure with a non-hierarchical editorial collective at its heart. Growing out of the Ugly Duckling zine of the early 1990s, and incorporated as a not-for-profit art & publishing collective in 2002, UDP produces small to mid-size editions of new poetry, translations, lost works, and artist’s books, averaging more than 25 titles a year. The Presse favors emerging, international, and “forgotten” writers with well-defined formal or conceptual projects that are difficult to place at other presses

Jon Cotner + Andy Fitch: Ten Walks/Two Talks
88 pages, $14
ISBN 978-1-933254-67-8

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

first issue: #3

#3 is a quarterly, independent not-for-profit journal bringing together art and art theory from various global contexts. The editors of #3 are interested in "collaborations with artists, designers, writers and curators from across all media and cultures."The first issue of #3 now launched - the full issue is available as pdf-download: #3 / Vol.1.

The issue features a wide range of themes: architecture, art, media, sociology, for example: "Trace & Intent" by Daniel Staincliffe, "Welcome to the Labyrinth (an excerpt from Sex, Death and Design in the Digital Culture)" by Ken Hollings, "Faces and Phases - an excerpt from "Mapping Our Histories: A Visual History of Black Lesbians in Post-Apartheid South Africa" by Zanele Muholi and
"A Constructed Conversation (between Kay Rosen and Virgina Woolf)" by Kay Rosen - if you like visuals / wordart, make sure to check out the Kay Rosen link, it leads to an online wordart exhibition room.

Also included: a thought-provoking interview with Paolo Pedercini, an artist and game designer who explores the intersection between gaming and politics - here one of the interview questions: "The anti-WTO slogan often credited to Jello Biafara, “Don’t hate the media, become the media,” is cited on your website, and you teach a course at Carnegie Mellon titled “Game Design for Artists, Mavericks, and Troublemakers.” You seem to theorize resistance to major entertainment corporations and, as you stated, are concerned with the opaqueness of more “serious” games."

#3 is edited by Josh McNamara, Neal MacInnes and Hana Tanimura.

direct pdf-link: #3 / Vol.1

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Everything Was Good-bye - Gurjinder Basran (Mother Tongue)

Everything Was Good-bye centers around Meena, a young Indo Canadian woman growing up in the lower mainland of British Columbia and traces her life as she struggles to assert her independence in a Punjabi community. Raised by her tradition bound widowed mother, Meena knows the freedoms of her Canadian peers can never be hers, but unlike her sisters, she is reluctant to submit to a life that is defined by a suitable marriage. Though a narrative moving between race and culture, it is ultimately a story of love, loss and self acceptance amidst shifting cultural ideals.

This novel won the Search for the Great B.C. Novel Contest, chosen from sixty-four manuscripts by Jack Hodgins, who described it as "a fascinating story, skillfully written, of a rebellious young woman's remarkable courage.”

Gurjinder Basran studied creative writing at Simon Fraser University and The Banff Center for the Arts. Her work was shortlisted for the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award and earned her a place in the Vancouver Sun’s annual speculative arts and culture article, “Ones To Watch.” A 2006 graduate of Simon Fraser University’s award-winning Writer’s Studio, Gurjinder has read her work at the Vancouver International Writers Festival and has been both a panelist and facilitator on writing at the 2007 Writer’s Studio alumni symposium. She lives in Delta, British Columbia with her husband and two sons. This is her first novel.

About Mother Tongue Publishing
Formerly Mother Tongue Press, Mother Tongue Publishing concentrates on publishing unique, bold and stimulating books of British Columbia art history, fine art and literature. Recent publications include Rocksalt: An Anthology of Contemporary B.C. Poetry, edited by Mona Fertig & Harold Rhenisch, and 4 Poets - this new BC poets series features emerging and established BC poets in a fresh format that explores the broader scope of the poet’s work.

Gurjinder Basran: Everything Was Good-bye
novel, 288 pages
ISBN 978-1-896949-07-9

related links: international, gender+race

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Beaufort Diaries - T. Cooper & A. Petrowsky (Melville)

The graphic novel The Beaufort Diaries tells the inspiring story of a polar bear who escapes extinction by going Hollywood. It may sound like a familiar story - boy goes to Hollywood, boy befriends big star, boy gets almost as famous as big star, boy finds fame tricky - but The Beaufort Diaries are subversively different. For one thing, the “boy” is a polar bear. For another thing, the “big star” is Leonardo DiCaprio. And together, they decide to make an action movie… about the environment.

The graphic novel is a collaboration between T. Cooper (story) and Alex Petrowsky (illustration). The illustrations are poster-like, full color images, sample pages are up on Petrowsky's Beaufort webpage, click the cover to open the illustrated pages), and just beyond the book is a book video that features Beaufort, and a story text excerpt is online in the Outlet: From “The Beaufort Diaries” by T. Cooper.

T. Cooper is also the author of two regular old novels, Lipshitz Six, or Two Angry Blondes and Some of the Parts, as well as co-editor of an anthology of short stories entitled A Fictional History of the United States with Huge Chunks Missing. He lives in New York with his family.

Alex Petrowsky is an enterpeneur, a nomad, an artist, an illustrator - for more of his projects, visit his webpage.

About Melville House PublishingMelville House is an independent publishing house born out of the book blog MobyLives and founded in Hoboken, New Jersey, which is also known as the Left Bank of New York City, and which is where Marlon Brando said to Eve Marie Saint (in "On the Waterfront," which was shot in Hoboken), "Come on, I'll walk you home. There are a lot of guys around here with only one thing on their mind." As it turns out, what's on the mind of a lot of those men -- and local women, too -- is good, solid literature, especially literary fiction, non-fiction and poetry. In an amazing coincidence, this is exactly what Melville House provides.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Frankfurt Book Fair 2010 - themes, sights, hotspots

Frankfurt Book Fair is on - it's one of the largest and oldest book fairs, a meeting point for over 7300 exhibitors from more than 100 countries, with a tradition that spans more than 500 years. The first 3 days of the fair are business days, the weekend is for the general public.


Galleria: the northern entry of the book fair, which directly leads to the halls of the International Publishers

technology + change: even though most books presented are print books, a lot of the forum discussions are about e-books. didn't notice it when i took the picture, but it's a collage of some of the main themes: print books, "picturing + poeting" (the yellow book), and next to it: “Massive Change” – and beyond it, upside down: "New Technologies".

contrast of eras: the fair central plaza with the circus-style"Lesezelt" (reading tent) - and in the background, the modern "MesseTurm" (FairTower) with company offices.

German books + authors: Helmut Karasek with his new book (on historic letters), interviewed at a publisher's book stall. more on current german's books, in an essay from The Millions: The View from Germany by Garth Risk Hallberg, who noted: "On the eve of the Frankfurt Book Fair, it's striking evidence of a literary trade imbalance that so many American books should be prominent in German buchhandlungs when so few German writers are available in English at all."

going Asia: the Hong Kong Pavillon and a large group presentation of Chinese publishers - China was last year's (controversial) guest of honour. next year's guest will be: Iceland.

e-books: this year's unofficial controversial guest of honour: e-readers and e-books. below, one of the many presentations / expert talks on the theme - more in the book fair newsletter: "Digital heads discuss the e-book market and the challenges that face us all"



Argentina is this year's guest of honour, with a special pavillon. The pavillon is designed in a labyrinth-like architecture that invites the visitor to explore both the history and the literature of Argentina.

To discover new literary talents and enable publication in as many languages as possible, the Argentinian Foreign Ministry has launched a programme for the support of translations: 100 titles by Argentinian authors were translated into german in 2010. More: Literature on the Move: Argentina at the Book Fair

Nobel Prize in Literature: parallel to the book fair, the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature was announced: Mario Vargas Llosa, from Peru. He received the prize "for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual's resistance, revolt, and defeat".

Vargas Llosa is the first South American winner of the prize since 30 years - in 1982, the prize went to his favourite rival - Colombian Gabriel Garcia Marquez (more: BBC article with a note on Marquez / official Nobel webpage).

Nobel Flashback: last year's laureat was Herta Müller, a german author of prose and poetry whose writing is inspired by her life in Romania under Ceausescu's totalitarian regime. She received the prize for being an author "who, with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, depicts the landscape of the dispossessed".
more: the wiki list of laureats with all previous prize laureats, and here a virtual note on Herta Müller's book "Always, the fox was the hunter" + a discussion on persecuted writers. & following the theme of discussion + rivalry, a facebook thread: "But it's now been 14 years since a poet won the Nobel Prize.."



halls: Frankfurt book fair takes place in 6 main multi-level-halls, the halls are connected through corridors.

themes: halls and floor levels are dedicated to themes: fiction and non-fiction, children's books, internationl publishers, academic publishers; added to that, there are special areas, for example the "Comic Centre"

hot spots: the fair also includes hotspots, for example: "Storydrive": a meeting place for the international media and entertainment world, with an own conference program. photo: "Everything Free: Losing Control of Content" with Charles Glenn (aka Afrika Islam / Dr. Charlie Funk), who played a mashup of music first.

media: many tv and radio stations report live from the fair, for example the multi-lingual german/french culture channel "arte tv", founded 1991 to enhance the relationship between France and Germany: "ARTE is a European cultural television channel. Its originality lays in the fact that it targets audiences from different cultural backgrounds, in particular French and German." (more). + the fair press department runs photo pages: Day 1 / Day 2 / Day 3

money and values: as ending note, a moment from inside the reading tent: a live discussion on money and values, with a benedict monch, and the manager of puma (in an unusual collaboration, the two of them wrote a book on this theme)

- editor's blog: Frankfurt book fair 2009, photos and some notes
- daily s-press: international books
- daily s-press: indie e-books (online books or pdf-downloads)

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

I Fucked A Girl And I Liked It – Eventually by Kirsty Logan

I Fucked a Girl and I Liked It – Eventually is an essay on the truth about lesbian sex. It's also a story of creative pdf-ing:

Logan says: "I wrote it for an anthology, but then the anthology was never published. Damn, I thought to myself, I wasted a day of writing. And then I went and had a cup of tea.

It is a little-known fact that the genetics of British people mean that tea is linked to thinking. More tea = more thoughts. It took 1,539 cups for John Logie Baird to figure out the TV. It took 2,599 cups for T. S. Eliot to write ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’. It didn’t take Baudelaire any tea at all to write Les Fleurs du Mal, because he was French and needed only opium and absinthe.

Anyway, the tea fortified my brain and made me wonder if I could perhaps still get that £75 for the essay. And thus my plan was born!

If you have a spare £1 (which is US$1.50 and CA$1.60) and would like to read my personal essay, I Fucked A Girl And I Liked It – Eventually, then great! Visit
my webpage, read a bit more about the essay, and if you like the idea, click the Paypal button, donate your £1, and I will email you a beautifully-designed, 1,500-word PDF."

Kirsty Logan won her first literary contest at the age of 8, and has been going mostly downhill ever since. She writes, edits, teaches, reviews books and works in a tea-shop in Glasgow, Scotland. She is currently working on her first novel, 'Little Dead Boys'. She likes coffee cupcakes and sticking pins in maps.

Kirsty Logan: I Fucked A Girl And I Liked It – Eventually

related links: gender+race+age

Monday, October 04, 2010

In an Uncharted Country - Clifford Garstang

The award-winning stories that make up the linked collection In an Uncharted Country showcase ordinary men and women in and around Rugglesville, Virginia, as they struggle to find places and identities in their families and the community. They experience natural disasters, a sun-worshipping cult, Vietnam flashbacks, kidnapping, addiction, and loss. The book’s opening story, “Flood, 1978,” follows Hank, who comes to understand his father’s deep sense of grief over the death of his wife. Later, in “Hand-painted Angel,” Hank’s sons see the family spinning apart as their father ages and family secrets are disclosed. In “The Clattering of Bones,” Walt mourns the collapse of his marriage after the loss of a child, but in the collection’s title story he recognizes his emotional need for family. The concluding story, “Red Peony,” unifies the collection, as many of the characters from other stories come together for a tumultuous 4th of July Celebration.

Clifford Garstang received an MFA in Creative Writing from Queens University of Charlotte in 2003. His work has appeared in Virginia Quarterly Review, Shenandoah, The Ledge, The Baltimore Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Potomac Review and elsewhere, and has received Distinguished Mention in the Best American Series. He won the 2006 Confluence Fiction Prize and the 2007 GSU Review Fiction Prize and is a Fellow of the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. He currently lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

interlinked short story collections
Garstang's book was mentioned earlier this year in this blog, in the daily author talk: "Rose Hunter + Dorothee Lang on short stories, places... " which picked up on Garstang's blog series on linked short stories, "the missing link project" (introduction /reviews).

About Press 53
Press 53 is an independent literary publishing house located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and was founded in October 2005 by Kevin Morgan Watson. Other Press53 offerings for 2010 include Miracle Boy and Other Stories by Pinckney Benedict; the 1971 Pulitzer Prize-nominated novel Journey for Joedel by Guy Owen; the 2009 Spokane Prize for Short Fiction-winner Strange Weather by Becky Hagenston; and Rattlesnakes & The Moon by Darlin’ Neal.

Clifford Garstang: In an Uncharted Country
204 pages, $14
ISBN 978-0-9824416-7-1

Friday, October 01, 2010

The Short Review + #storysunday

Each monthly issue of The Short Review brings original online reviews of new, not-quite-so-new and classic collections and anthologies, written by reviewers many of whom are also short story writers themselves and who love short fiction.

The Short Review was initiated in November 2007 by Tania Hershman to fill a void she saw in terms of short story collection reviews.

Hershman says: "Readers don't know what's there and so they don't buy the books. We have over 40 reviewers around the world, I get people contacting me all the time to review books, we're always happy to have new, reliable reviewers, different perspectives. I also receive many requests from publishers and authors who want us to consider their short story collection. We can't review them all since we only review 10 per issue, older books as well as new, but the market is certainly very healthy!

We never consciously choose themes for The Short Review, I prefer to let it happen organically, with categories ranging from classics and children's to fantasy and historical as well as literary or steampunk. The current issue has, as ever, a mix of recently-published single-author collections, such as Corporate by Guy Cranswick and Lori Ostlund's The Bigness of the World, and older books, this month's being Sean O'Faolain's Selected Stories, as well as reviews of multi-author books like Qissat, an anthology of short stories by Palestinian women, and Ten Journeys from Legend Press. The October issue will be out around October 7th and will take us from zombies and dracula to rattlesnakes with single author collections by Darlin Neal, Peter Gordon, Steven Redwood, Brendan Connell, Jonny Townsend, Andrew Hurley and Lydia Davis, as well as several anthologies."

#storysunday is a twitter-based story exchange. The base idea: every Sunday, short story recommendations are shared on twitter - anyone can join and add a link, as long as the short story can the read online, and as long as it's not written by the poster himself/herself. Hershman explains that she came up with the idea of #storysunday on Twitter for 2 reasons: "because I wanted to get away from the "me-me-me" culture and inspire people to link to other people's short stories.... and because I wanted more recommendations of new stories to read! It's taking off well, and now if I'm stuck with a free 15 minutes, I search for #storysunday on Twitter and find myself something to read - and hope that's what other people do too!"