Saturday, July 31, 2010

Daily s-Press this week: lit-clips, poetry, a first issue 1 + an indie novel

++ LIT-CLIPS: 6S summer film festival, Electric Literature, Moving Poems, 3Cheers + more ++

++ POETY: 2 full-lenght collections of poetry: David Wolach "Occultations" + Felino Soriano: Realities of Bifocal Translations ++

++ ISSUE 1: new fiction by new voices: Fractured West ++ Indie Novel: The Singer's Gun by Emily St. John Mandel ++

Friday, July 30, 2010

Lit Clips: 6S summer, Electric Literature, Moving Poems, 3Cheers + more

Friday is for literary specials in Daily s-Press. This week's special theme: literary film clips.

the 6S summer film festival
The 6S Social Network is running a summer film festival with short films based on 6 sentence stories. There are 7 films up so far, all listed on this page: the 6S summer film festival. Make sure to check out "My Pirate Neighbour" by Oceana Setaysha - the ship turns to 5 paper boats in the clip: "My neighbour is a pirate. He’s building a ship in his backyard of oiled teak and adventure.."

Electric Literature Single Sentence Animations
Electric Literature, a youtube channel that features electric literature and cross-over projects in bi-monthly anthologies. Now playing: Single Sentence Animations. "These days, we're on an animation kick". Here's one of the clips for starters: "Little Things" by Matt Sumell.

Moving Poems
Moving Poems is an on-going compendium of video poetry from around the web, with a new video every weekday, hosted by Dave Bonta, editor of qarrtsiluni. There is a "Random"-feature in the sidebar - that's how I at first try arrived at "The Art of Drowning" by Billy Collins, which coincidentially connects to the 6S pirate ship video, just like the currently featured "Landlocked" does, too. It's ship video days.

Folded Word 3Cheers
Folded Word has developed a lit clip format called “3Cheers", each Cheer features 3 works from their magazine. An overview of all clips is up here: 3Cheers award. The recent clip is 3Cheers Spring 2010 - literature goes playmobil in this one.

Reviews, Beats, Vimeo Poetry
More lit-clips:
- Referential editor Jessie Carthy reviews books: "4 Book Reviews in Under 7 Minutes!"
- Susan Gibb creates a decade's flash in a poem: "Recycling" (don't get tricked by the title)
- Mel Bosworth goes beat for his new book: "Greasy Beats"
- and there is a huge (and rather miscellangelous) section of "Poem"-clips up in Vimeo: Vimeo Poems / Vimeo Poetry

related links: friday specials, literary summer

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Fractured West - Issue 1

Fractured West is an independent not-for-profit literary magazine, set to publish the most exciting short fiction by new and emerging writers from around the globe.

From the editorial of Issue 1: "There are approximately twelve billion literary magazines, ranging from the shiny and well-paying to the photocopied and stapled. So why did we decide to enter the stramash? After dipping our toes into the indie publishing world, we noticed that the same names kept popping up in every magazine. They were good writers, no doubt, but surely there were new voices out there. At Fractured West, we do not care who you are. We do not care where else you have published. We don’t solicit work, and we consider all submissions. The slush pile is our friend."

The stories in Fractured West come from all over the world; they are eerie and they are sexy, honest, raw, sweet and bizarre. Issue 1 includes Canada's Fan Li, Sweden's e.g. Jönsson, America's Robert Hinderliter and the U.K.'s Kay Sexton, along with 18 other writers of deliciously addictive short short fiction. These stories are as varied as they are evocative; some will keep you up at night, some show you the world in a new way, and others simply make you smile every time you remember them. You can read a selection of stories from issue 1 online: Fractured West - Current issue.

About Fractured West
Fractured West is a new literary magazine for flash fiction, prose poetry, microfiction, sudden fiction, vignettes, and short short stories. Check the submission page for details. The magazine is edited by Kirsty Logan and Helen Sedgwick.
Helen Sedgwick is a writer, editor and creative writing tutor living in Glasgow. She writes novels, short stories, flash fiction, book reviews and non-fiction, and is represented by Kevin Pocklington of Jenny Brown Associates. She graduated from the University of Glasgow’s MLitt in Creative Writing in 2008 and has also worked as a research scientist and musician.
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.

Fractured West - Issue 1
60 pages
subscription 1 issue £4.99 (incl. P&P)

related links: first issues, short stories

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Felino Soriano: Realities of Bifocal Translations (Blue & Yellow Dog)

Felino A. Soriano's Realities of Bifocal Translations is dominated by jazz echoes, scatted as it were, and its idioms, as well as the personal and celebrated brushstrokes of 20th and 21st Century painting translated to poetry. Predominately one page takes, the poems, executed in a hybrid of modernist/postmodernist syntax, offer the reader a swirling look down & up at the all-important avant-garde heritage of us all. Simultaneously historic and contemporary, the poems in this volume do what good ekphrastic poetry (or music or painting) should do... dip its tongue in the honey and lay it back down, poised like the instrument all musicians/artists/poets share—experience and articulated reality.

Felino Soriano is the founding editor and publisher of Counterexample Poetics, an online journal of experimental artistry, and the founder of Differentia Press, an electronic-book press dedicated to publishing experimental poetry. His poetry can be found in numerous online and print journals. His poetry collections Artist in Residence has recently been published by Calliope Nerve Media, upcoming by Desperanto is his collection "In Praise Of Absolute Interpretation.

About Blue & Yellow Dog Press:
There are only 5 volumes of poetry published so far in Raymond Farr’s Blue & Yellow Dog Press Book Shop (a spin-off of his on line poetry journal Blue & Yellow Dog)— four volumes by Raymond Farr, and Felino Soriano’s Realities of Bifocal Translations. The next book to appear in the B&YDog Book Shop Series, will be Adam Fieled’s latest prospect, Equations, due out sometime in August 2010. Any full length poetry ms is welcome - submission guidelines.

Felino Soriano: Realities of Bifocal Translations
poetry collection
Paperback, 98 pgs, 15$

related links: poetry, experimental

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Occultations - David Wolach (Black Radish)

Occultations is David Wolach’s first full-length collection of poems and the second release from the book publishing collective, Black Radish Books (BRB). This 4-part cycle plus essay engages, through procedural ritual and other poetic modes, the performativity, poetics, and politics of the body—as site of resistance, as tool of power, and as inscription of the catastrophic event of neoliberal capitalism.

"An occultation is a withdrawing, a flight or sentence into non-existence. In David Wolach's Occultations, the reader becomes propinquitous to so much that she can't see, so withdrawn has the actual world become through a media which functions as the eyes and ears to the detriment of a becoming proprioceptive. By amplifying the senseless via pun and other synaesthesic language effects, Wolach overturns common sense and returns his reader to their senses. What would be contemporary peeks out through Wolach's picnolepsy. Reading Occultations, 'I' takes refuge in loss, lack, and non-presence saved only by what cannot be redeemed: the wreck of our bodies shored by the catastrophic convergence of late capitalist Neoliberalism and cross-cultural moral fundamentalisms." - Thom Donovan

David Wolach is professor of text arts, poetics, and new media at The Evergreen State College, and visiting professor in Bard College’s Workshop In Language & Thinking. He is the author of several books, most recently Prefab Eulogies Vol. 1: Nothings Houses (BlazeVox), Hospitalogy (Scantily Clad Press, forth. 2009-10), Acts of Art/Works of Violence (SSLA/Univ. of Sydney), and book alter(ed) (Ungovernable Press, 2009). His poetry has appeared in numerous journals, most recently 5_Trope, No Tell Motel, XPoetics, Dusie, Little Red Leaves, and The BlueFifth Review. Recipient of grants from the Washington Arts Council and the Olympia Fund for Diversity in the Arts, Wolach’s work is often site specific and uses multiple media.

About Black Radish Books
Black Radish Books was founded as a collective in 2009. Our editorial focus is to publish and promote innovative writing. "Because we operate as a collective, our goal is to allow members to dictate the aesthetic. As such, our bent is best described as eclectic, with focus on the difficult and the surprising." Forthcoming books: The Incompossible by Carrie Hunter, Herso,- An Heirship in Waves by Susana Gardner, and The Dead Love Everyone by Jared Hayes. Ten more volumes of poetry are in the pipeline, coming out later this year and 2011.

David Wolach: Occultations
poetry collection
168 pages; paperback; 15$
ISBN 9780982573129

related links: poetry, experimental

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Singer's Gun - Emily St. John Mandel (Unbridled)

In The Singer's Gun, a novel of international crime, false identities, the depths and limits of family ties, and the often confusing bonds of love, Emily St. John Mandel explores the dangerous territory between one’s moral compass and the heart’s desire.
Everyone Anton Waker grew up with is corrupt. His parents deal in stolen goods and his first career is a partnership venture with his cousin Aria selling forged passports and social security cards to illegal aliens. Anton longs for a less questionable way of living in the world and by his late twenties has reinvented himself as a successful middle manager. Then a routine security check suggests that things are not quite what they appear. And Aria begins blackmailing him to do one last job for her. As Anton’s carefully constructed life begins to disintegrate around him, he’s forced to choose between loyalty to his family and his desires for a different kind of life. When everyone is willing to use someone else to escape the past, it is up to Anton, on the island of Ischia, to face the ghosts that travel close behind him.

The Singer's Gun was #1 on the Indie Next List for May 2010.
"A gripping, thoughtful meditation on work, family, and the consequences of major life choices." - Booklist

Emily St. John Mandel was born on the west coast of British Columbia, Canada. She studied dance at The School of Toronto Dance Theatre and lived briefly in Montreal before relocating to New York. Her first novel, Last Night in Montreal - a June 2009 Indie Next pick and was a finalist for ForeWord Magazine's 2009 Book of the Year - was recently released in paperback.

About Unbridled Books
Fred Ramey and Greg Michalson formed Unbridled Books in 2003, a renewal of their partnership dedicated to publishing high-quality works that are moving, beautiful, and surprising. "We chose the name to designate a publishing venture that is both energetic and independent. We want to be able to continue our longtime discussion about what allows a novel to touch our hearts and our minds at once. And we want our readers, booksellers, and reviewers to trust that when they pick up an Unbridled book, we’re inviting them to enjoy that rarest of pleasures, a good read."

Emily St. John Mandel: The Singer's Gun
304 pages, hardcover, $24.95
ISBN: 978-1-936071-64-7

related links: novels+novellas, flavour: philosophical

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Daily s-Press this week: talk, write, read

++ TALK: author talk: Rose Hunter + Dorothee Lang ++
++ WRITE: Folded Word 24/7 Writing Month - join now! ++

++ READ: The Equation of Constants by BL Pawelek - free e-book ++ economy - qarrtsiluni's fabulous online issue as print edition ++ Had Slaves prose-poetry by Catherine Sasanov ++ Lantern Review: a Journal of Asian American Poetry - issue 1 ++

Friday, July 23, 2010

author talk: Rose Hunter + D. Lang

Rose Hunter is the editor of the poetry journal YB and the author of Another Night at the Circus, a collection of linked short stories launched in spring.
Dorothee Lang is the editor of BluePrintReview and the author of in transit, a collection of transit stories that also launched in spring.

In June, the two authors started a mail dialogue about their books, and themes connected to the stories included: story locations / life situations; layers of identity; accidental intimacy; linked short story collections; going places (London, Mexico City, Asia), the gap between anticipation and reality and the stories coming from there...

The dialogue developed in circles and zigzags, this is a cleaned-up and sorted version of it.


Dorothee (27.6.):
I read Circus while completing in transit, and when I returned to it last week, the first paragraph drew me right in again. What stood out for me is the vastness of its scope, with the story locations reaching from Canada to Texas to Australia, and the life situation of Alex [who works in the sex trade industry] a different one in every chapter.

While moving from one chapter to the next, I felt that your use of the scenes, the way they are like pieces of a story, but aren’t giving away the complete story, open the read to a larger dimension. I found myself wondering about what happened in between the places / chapters. At the same time, those blank spots between the chapters were a vital element to the collection, I felt, the space for Alex to withdraw to, and for the reader to reflect on. Much like life, in fact, where we usually only get to know episodes of the whole story.

Also, following the Circus theme, and the carousel image, I thought that the stories are in fact taking the readers on a ride, and are spinning into each other, without defined start and stop. From end, you could go to start again, and go on one more round.

What I wondered: are there more stories of Alex, stories that aren’t part of the collection?

Rose (29.6.): Thanks for your comments on Circus, very interesting and helpful to me. In fact there may have been other stories that didn't end up making it in there. I say maybe, because the book is quite old; the first drafts for it were written in 2003. The original drafts were lost a long time ago, in various moves.

Re the blank spots, gaps - I had an idea in my head about what a linked collection of short stories was supposed to be, which was precisely this, swooping down to pluck a moment in time, out of an ongoing, larger story, which wouldn't be told, or would be told only in fragments. For me that was the difference between it and a novel.

I'm not sure all this was conscious, but in retrospect it seems to be a form that suits the mental state of the protagonist/narrator. I don't think a person like Alex even thinks in terms of whole stories, in the sense of ones with the "beginning, middle, and end". She doesn't have that coherent sense of her own identity, or belief in the sense in the events around her.

I tried to build this into the collection at a few points, for example, when a john asks her for stories, and she isn't able to deliver the kind that he wants - they're not his idea of "stories" either...

>> click to read the whole dialogue:
author talk: Rose Hunter + Dorothee Lang

>> on reading, writing, anticipation, transits, reality, and ?

summer writing: Folded Word 24/7 Writing Month

This summer is good for writing - if you look for inspiration and motivation, there is A Year of Flash This Summer (a flash writing initiative with a weekly task), the August Poetry Postcard Fest, and now Folded Word just announced their first writing month:

Folded Word invites and encourages everyone to join them for a month of writing. This August, Folded Word will be holding their first writing month event called 24/7: "For the first 24 days of August, everyone will dedicate time each day to write either a piece of twitter fiction (up to 140 characters), prose poetry (up to 100 words), short poetry (up to 9 lines), micro fiction (up to 250 words), or flash fiction (up to 500 words). The last 7 days of August will be dedicated to revising these works."

If you would like to participate just follow these simple steps:
1.Send an email to editors[at]foldedword[dot]com with the subject line “24/7”
2.In the body of the email, include your legal name, the name you prefer to use online, city, state/province, and country.
3.An invitation to join our Basecamp group will be sent to the email address used for the request.
4.Accept the Basecamp invitation when it comes and follow the directions.
Once accepted, feel free to look around and become familiar with the Basecamp. At the end of August those who participated throughout the entire month will receive an “I wrote 24/7 in August” e-badge as well as some special publication opportunities.

related links: writing events, summer special

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Equation of Constants - BL Pawelek (Artistically Declined)

and i see it
i am here now myself
with nothing behind
i am the one
who splits the night

BL Pawelek's collection of poems, The Equation of Constants, is running with history and place, all above the basic construct of mathematics. Everything is constant, build the equation.

"The poems in B. L. Pawelek’s The Equation of Constants are built of short wonderful phrases, like curtly reading each separate branch and leaf of a tree – and when we step back we see the magnificently whole structure, the beauty of big, the massive feel of shade in a yard where all else is sun." - J. A. Tyler, author of In Love With a Ghost

bl pawelek has been to a million places in life and has forgotten most of them. But he is here now and trying.

About Artistically Declined Press
Artistically Declined Press is devoted to the pairing of fantastic writing with great design, creating complete works of art. The press publishes books of fiction and poetry, the literary journal Sententia, and ADP.PDF's, a series of free ebooks, and is run by Ryan W. Bradley, who writes and lives in Oregon with his wife and two sons.

BL Pawelek: The Equation of Constants
poetry collection
15-pages, free e-book free for all

related links: poetry, e-books

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

economy (qarrtsiluni)

At the start of recent global economic turmoil, "economy" became the word of the moment. It was a natural choice for a theme issue - in June 2009, the qarrtsiluni guest editors Anna Dickie and Pamela Hart put a call for submissions up for an online issue. Included was a line that asked contributors to go beyond the obvious:

"We urge you to think broadly, associatively and imaginatively about this touchstone word. Consider economy of movement, expression or effort. Think fuel, cash or gift economy. In your investigation, remember the epigram and the epitaph, both concerned with the economics of composition. Think about how the subject might inform style, as well as content."

The result was one of the most consistently high-quality and creative collections qarrtsiluni has ever published. It includes work that explores not only the negative but the positive sides of "economy," and does so in surprising ways. The issue is now available as a printed edition, and as a timely commentary on the current state of both our outer and inner worlds.

Issue editors
Anna Dickie is a photographer and poet based in East Lothian, Scotland. In the last three years she's won or been short-listed in a number of competitions, including having a shot hung in the Scottish Parliament as part of a touring exhibition on the theme of coastal erosion.
Pamela Hart is a former journalist. Her chapbook, The End of the Body, was recently published by toadlily press. She is writer-in-residence at the Katonah Museum of Art and teaches writing at Long Island University's Graduate School of Education.

About qarrtsiluni
As online literary magazines go, qarrtsiluni, at five-and-a-half years old, is positively venerable -- but retains the edginess, openness, vitality and editorial responsiveness that have set it apart from the beginning. The current issue at qarrtsiluni is "New Classics," edited by Ann E. Michael and Jessamyn Smyth. In August, the journal will publish poems from all eleven finalists in its annual poetry chapbook contest, and the winning manuscript in its entirety: Watermark, by Clayton T. Michaels, which will also be published as a printed book available from Phoenicia Publishing. That will be followed by the fall issue on the theme, "The Crowd," edited by Dave Bonta and Beth Adams, the managing editors of qarrtsiluni.

economy (qarrtsiluni)
print edition of the online issue "economy"
96 pages, $13.96
ISBN 978-0978174972

related links: the world these days, mixed formats

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Had Slaves - Catherine Sasanov (Firewheel Editions)

Had Slaves is Catherine Sasanov's third book of poems. Written out of her discovery of slaveholding among her Missouri ancestors, and the fragmented evidence left behind of the 11 men, women, and children held in their bondage, Had Slaves pieces together lives endured from slavery to Jim Crow across a landscape lost beneath big box stores, subdivisions, and tourist sites. Avoiding Gone With the Wind imagery, the book takes readers to slavery's less expected locale: where big house means log cabin and plantation is a small-grain farm with tarantulas mating in the corn. One author's look at a stumbled-upon past set in motion after finding the words, "Had slaves".

Catherine Sasanov is the author of two previous poetry collections, Traditions of Bread and Violence (Four Way Books) and All the Blood Tethers (Northeastern University Press), as well as the theater work, Las Horas de Belèn: A Book of Hours, commissioned by Mabou Mines. She is a recipient of fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation. She lives in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.

About Firewheel Editions/The Sentence Book Award:
Firewheel Editions is a non-profit organization. It publishes "Sentence: a Journal of Prose Poeticss" and sponsors the Sentence Book Award which goes annually to a manuscript consisting entirely or substantially of prose poems or other hard-to-define work situated in the grey areas between poetry and other genres. The press also offers an annual chapbook award, looking for innovative work that crosses genres, combines images and text, comes in formats other than the traditionally bound book, or that may have difficulty finding a publisher due to the nature, typography, or format of the work.

Had Slaves by Catherine Sasanov
poetry collection
99 pages, $18.00
ISBN: 978-0-9665754-8-4

related links: human condition, poetry

Monday, July 19, 2010

Lantern Review - Issue 1

Lantern Review: A Journal of Asian American Poetry provides a virtual space in which to promote and discuss the work of contemporary Asian American poets and artists, and seeks to publish expertly crafted work in a variety of forms and aesthetics, including traditional and experimental pieces, hybrid forms, multimedia work, and new translations. Lantern Review welcomes pieces from anglophone writers of all ethnic backgrounds whose work has a vested interest in issues relevant to the Asian diaspora in North America, as well as work created collaboratively in a community context.

Issue 1 of Lantern Review features poems by Angela Veronica Wong, Changming Yuan, Melissa Roxas, Frances Won, Vuong Quoc Vu, Ocean Vuong, Kevin Minh Allen, Maria T. Allocco, Jon Pineda, Subhashini Kaligotla, Eileen R. Tabios, Rachelle Cruz, Sankar Roy, Vanni Taing, Asterio Enrico N. Gutierrez, Jai Arun Ravine, Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé, Henry W. Leung, Luisa A. Igloria, & Barbara Jane Reyes; translations by Hsiao-Shih (Raechel) Lee visual art by Rebecca Y.M. Cheung, Ray Craig, Elaine Wang, and Steve Wing, and includes a special feature showcasing work created by members of the Kundiman community, as well as a book review of Sun Yung Shin's Skirt Full of Black, contributed by Craig Santos Perez.

About Lantern Review
Lantern Review was founded in 2009 by Iris A. Law & Mia Ayumi Malhotra, two college friends who had gone on to pursue graduate creative writing programs in different parts of the US. Lantern Review in online-only, and consists of an electronic journal and a blog.
We chose a lantern as our emblem because lanterns are cross-cultural symbols of beauty, hope, and enlightenment, have historically been a feature of community celebrations, and are also linked with exploration, discovery, and the forging of new paths. We hope that our name reflects our dual desires to shed light on the complex nature of Asian American poetry and to be a stage on which the question, “What is contemporary Asian American poetry and where is it headed?” can be played out.

Lantern Review Issue 1
90 pages, online issue

related links: first issues of new lit journals, east / west

Friday, July 16, 2010

Daily s-Press summer special

now playing: a summer special. up already is Elephant Summer (a blog filler that turned larger than expected); The Summer of Genji (a joined summer reading project), the 100 Days Project (a creative collaboration with daily projects), and the Most Anticipated Summer Reading (a book preview list compiled by The Millions), A Year of Flash This Summer (a flash writing initiative), the greatly debated New Yorker summer fiction issue 20 under 40, and the August Poetry Postcard Fest.

for more new reads, try the recently featured novellas, or the short story + poetry collections. enjoy~

August Poetry Postcard Fest

Everyone loves getting postcards. And postcards with poems, all the better. That's the idea that lead to the August Poetry Postcard Fest: for 1 month, poets commit to writing a poetry postcard a day, and send it out. In return, they receive poetry postcards from fellow poets.

"What's unique about this approach: Rather than submitting poems for possible rejection, you are sending your words to a ready-made and excited audience awaiting your poems in their mailboxes. In addition to writing 31 wonderful poems yourself, you'll receive these wonderful postcards in your mailbox too."

The August Poetry Postcard Fest invites poets who are interested in taking part to register online now, more here: guidelines and registration link.

How the Poetry Postcard Fest works:
• Get yourself at least 31 postcards.
• On or about July 27th, write an original poem right on a postcard and mail it to the person on the list below your name.
• Starting on August 1st, ideally in response to a card YOU receive, keep writing a poem a day on a postcard and mailing it to successive folks on the list until you've sent out 31 postcards.
• What to write? Something that relates to your sense of "place" however you interpret that, something about how you relate to the postcard image, what you see out the window, what you're reading, using a phrase/topic/or image from a card that you got, a dream you had that morning, or an image from it, etc. Like "real" postcards, get to something of the "here and now" when you write.
• Once you start receiving postcard poems in the mail, you'll be able to respond to the poems and imagery with postcard poems or your own. That will keep your poems fresh and flowing. Be sure to check postage for cards going abroad.

A reflection on poetry postcards:
"This was an exercise in community, in discipline (as poets were expected to average a poem a day) and in consciousness. Some poets used the image on the card as inspiration, as in an ekphrastic poem. Some would continue a theme from a card they received as they wrote to someone completely different. Other poets wrote with no connection to the image, or to the poems they received, but developed their own themes. Certain themes started to emerge." - Paul Nelson, Postcard Exercise

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The New Yorker: Summer Fiction: 20 Under 40

In June, The New Yorker released a double fiction issue. What made the headlines wasn't the release of a fiction issue, but the title and concept of it:

"Summer Fiction: 20 Under 40
Our Summer Fiction Issue features twenty young writers who capture the inventiveness and the vitality of contemporary American fiction."

The included authors are: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Chris Adrian, Daniel Alarcón, David Bezmozgis, Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, Joshua Ferris, Jonathan Safran Foer, Nell Freudenberger, Rivka Galchen, Nicole Krauss, Dinaw Mengestu, Philipp Meyer, C E Morgan, Téa Obreht, Yiyun Li, ZZ Packer, Karen Russell, Salvatore Scibona, Gary Shteyngart, Wells Tower.

There are also several stories from the issue online: An Honest Exit by Dinaw Mengestu, The Erlking by Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, The Young Painters by Nicole Krauss.

Also available online are brief interviews with every writer: Author Q & A, the questionnaires are accompanied by an introduction by the editors and by a live chat transcript of the summer issue.

The introduction explains the base approach of the editors, and draws the parallel to their fiction issue of 1999: "Last winter, when we came up with the plan to devote this issue to young fiction writers who we believe are, or will be, key to their generation, we took a look at a similar issue that we published, in 1999, titled “The Future of American Fiction.” Back then, we had to decide how we were going to decide: did we want to choose the writers who had already proved themselves or those whom we expected to excel in years to come? A good list, we came to think, should include both." (sidenote: when the New Yorker's list was issued in 1999, it included future big-name authors such as David Foster Wallace, Jonathan Franzen and Jhumpa Lahiri.)

The 2010 summer issue caused a stir, discussions about the validity of such lists and the methodology - an effect that probably was both expected and intended by the editors. Here's another quote from the introduction: "The habit of list-making can seem arbitrary or absurd, leaving the list-makers endlessly open to second-guessing (although to encourage such second-guessing is perhaps the best reason to make lists)."

To read some of the essays and discussions stirred by the issue, try this search link: google search: "new yorker fiction 40 under 20 discussion" - and dip into essays like the Gawker's "How to Complain About the New Yorker's 20 Favorite Writers Under 40" or the MFA Weblog analysis "The New Yorker's 20 Under 40 List, and MFA Rankings". For some contemplation on writing, visit the "Special Rumpus lamentation with possible added pep talk" by Steve Almond.

The second-guessing indeed lead to additional lists - and also sparked an initative to create a list that focuses on small presses: Dzanc contacted nearly 100 independent publishers, agents, editors, bloggers and reviewers, and based on the feeback, put together: 20 Writers to Watch - An Alternate List

No surprise: like the New Yorker list, this list lead to some debates as to whom should have been included, and which group is missing, and how to compile such a list, and how to feel about it - see comments of the list, and this essay in the Nervous Breakdown: The Lists We Love to Hate: First the New Yorker, Now Dzanc?

editor's note: there is an additional review of "40 under 20" up in the blueprintreview blog, with a different angle: "New Yorker summer fiction issue / 2nd language authors

update, August 2010:
Luna Park featured a series on Race, Class, Gender & Sexuality in Indie Publishing. i contributed an article on gender ratios, and the effects on categorization - it includes this passage on the summer fiction issue:

"Categories influence the viewpoint — I was reminded of this again when The New Yorker launched their fiction issue in June. Instead of just calling it “Summer Reads,” they titled it: “20 under 40.” And that’s exactly what the reviews and discussions then picked up on: instead of focusing on the stories and authors, the focus moved to the age categorization, and the whole topic of “youth” vs” “aging”. What almost went unnoticed was the fact that the issue came in a fine balance of 10 male and 10 female authors, and with more than 30% non-native writers included. That’s another effect of categories: they define the directly accessible statistics."
(link: Tag Poc 50/50, or: the Complexities and Effects of Categorization)

Monday, July 12, 2010

52/250 - A Year of Flash

For some, the best summer reading comes in short bursts. If you are looking for a blast of color this summer, check out 52/250, a site that features flash fiction from a variety of authors, some published, some entirely new to the scene. It began in late May and already has a small following – devoted writers and readers both.

The story of 52/250
The whole thing started when one writer decided to set herself a goal of writing one piece of fiction each week for a year. She planned to post the stories on her blog under the heading 52/250 – 52 weeks, 250 words each week. She mentioned the idea to an old friend who, wanting to unsheath his own rusty pen, declared: “I’m in!” So they built a website, fixed it up nice with the help of a third writer whose html is as pretty as his prose, called it 52/250: A Year of Flash, and invited other writers to participate.

Each week follows a theme, which is unlike a prompt in that the words do not have to appear in the stories. The stories must simply be inspired by the themes offered. The process begins and ends in a democratic fashion, in that the editors of 52/250 choose the weekly themes from ideas suggested by writers and readers. They also welcome all writers – submitted stories generally make the cut, so long as they do not exceed the 250 word limit. In addition, each week features one piece of art, and thus far the pieces have come from architects, amateur and professional photographers, and students of art.

52 themes + more than 40 authors so far
The first week opened in May with 17 different stories about Breadfruit. Who knew you could find that many perspectives on a spongy, bland thing packed with nutritional value but more likely found in books than on the shelves of supermarkets? Writers turned out for the challenge put to them that week, and they’ve been doing so ever since. Several writers have met the challenge every week, but everyone is free to come and go. On average, twenty new stories are posted each week, some from new authors and some from old hats. Since writing about breadfruit, authors have contributed stories about fancy me, little worlds, cartography, lovelies on the beach, the balance of terror, broken camera, and corrected vision.

This site is a little gem,” says Susan Tepper, one of the regular contributors. “I really look forward to the mini-challenges each week!” Other writers agree. Jane Hammons should be writing her novel but instead found herself writing flash back in May. Even poets have tried their hand at flash over at 52/250. You can read poems by Sam Rasnake, Darryl Price, and Peter Larsen at 52/250, and stories by writers as diverse as Beate Siggriddaughter, Sheldon Lee Compton and Linda Simoni-Wastila. And alongside those experienced hands, you'll find other writers such as Ajay Nair, Matthew Hamilton and Martha Williams making their mark, as well as newcomers like student Eddie Kirsch, scientist Michelle Fuller and horsetrainer Liz Irvine.

About 52/25052/250: A Year of Flash is edited by Michelle Elvy, with the help of John Wentworth Chapin and Walter Bjorkman. You can find also find Elvy and Bjorkman at Voices, and, if she's not flashing at 52/250 or listening at Voices, Michelle is sailing on Momo.

Writers, artists, and readers are all welcome at 52/250.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Millions Most Anticipated Summer Reading

In January, the Millions compiled a superb book list for 2010, a compass for the upcoming months, noting: "At The Millions we’ve put together a “Most Anticipated” releases preview, with blurbs on all the books (well, clearly not all) you should be excited about in the next months. Add your own in the comments."

Now, just in time for July, an updated version of the list went online:
Most Anticipated Summer Reading 2010 and Beyond: The Great 2010 Book Preview Continued

The list is sorted by months, starting with July, which brings: Goodman's The Cookbook Collector, Moody's The Four Fingers of Death, Doerr's Memory Wall, Shteyngart's Super Sad True Love Story, French's Faithful Place, Langer's The Thieves of Manhattan, and 2 books by Bolaño: The Return and The Insufferable Gaucho. And that's just July.

For more reads, check out the initial list from January: "Most Anticipated: The Great 2010 Book Preview" - or visit some darker summer reads, as compiled by Emily St. John Mandel in Five Apocalypses: A Particularly Catastrophic Summer Reading List - including Justin Cronin's The Passage, Nick Harway's The Gone-Away World, McCarthy's The Road and other apocylptic books that probably are best read on a sunny day, while the world looks all bright and cheerful.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

100 Days Project

One Hundred Days is a summer collaborative project put into motion by artist volunteers:

"The 100 Days Project gathers story writers, poets, painters, photographers, filmmakers, musicians, and programmers together for one hundred days of creative effort: a piece a day for 100 days. Each artist’s work will be unique yet build on the work of others in the collective. Here we make, remake, shape and reshape."

The main page 100 Days 2010 has all the feeds of the participants’ weblogs so that the updates are made and seen automatically. There is also a 100 Days group blog and a group page on Facebook. This year, the project runs from Saturday, May 22 until Sunday, August 29. This endeavor seems to be taking on status as a tradition and is open to all interested in taking part.

About 100 DaysThe history of 100 Days is pretty simple: the first One Hundred Days began as a collaboration between Carianne Mack Garside and Steve Ersinghaus that resulted in a pretty cool book available on Blurb and wildly fun gallery showing at Tunxis Community College. Garside painted a watercolor a day and Ersinghaus followed her painting with a poem interpreted from the painting. The joining was demanding, fun, a great opportunity to problem-solve.

The 2009 One Hundred saw a larger project, which began every day with a story written by Steve Ersinghaus and followed, this time, by Carianne Garside, as they decided to flip the 2008 procedure. They had fifteen other collaborators join in, from fiction writers, poets, photographers, designers, and programmers. That project can be found here: 100 Days Summer 2009.

For 2010, they’re continuing the tradition with John Timmons starting off the summer work with a short film. People who’d like to take part in One Hundred Days 2010 choose to develop a daily project that follows Timmon’s work or other work that develops from it. “We’d love to see how a larger body of work develops, like a massive root and plant system from either the films or other work that develops from the daily films.” In both years, self-constraint, like the confines of a sonnet, really opened up the flow.

Ersinghaus made some suggestions to help inspire the participants:
1. Follow the daily film, which will be available when the film maker uploads it his blog, and develop a work from it
2. Follow a person working with the film and develop a work from it, extending it, reshaping it in another form
3. Figure out a project and then work it back into the collective body of works in some way.

100 Day Links:
project main page: 100 Days 2010
group blog: 100 Days group blog

Monday, July 05, 2010

The Summer of Genji

The Summer of Genji is a joined approach to tackle a classic read: The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu. This book is considered to be one of the world's first novels, its size: a sound 1216 pages, the author: a lady in the Heian court of eleventh-century Japan.

Two online lit magazines - The Quarterly Conversation and Open Letters Monthly now teamed up to read this book between June 15 and August 30, at the pace of 90 pages a week, as summer read. Their reading blog is: The Summer of Genji

The readers invite everyone to join their journey: "We’ll be offering lots of commentary and candid opinions on a classic text that many consider the world’s first novel. We hope that you’ll join us! We want to have as many people as possible reading along with us, offering their own thoughts in the comments."

Even if you don't have the time (or patience) for a 1000+ book, it's well worth visiting the reading website. It already includes a whole string of posts that lead far beyond the story, to topics like translation / categorization, and to the process of reading itself, especially when it comes to books from other hemispheres. How to approach such a book? That's what George Fragopoulos considers in his blog entry "Thoughts of Genre": ".. the need to situate, or “triangulate” oneself as a reader in relation to a text that comes to us with an insurmountable amount of historical and cultural distances. The distances between ourselves and the Genji are vast, and many of them are, in fact, rather insurmountable—as they would be with any other text, albeit it in different ways; and before many of us begin reading the Genji—or begin re-reading it—I would simply like to raise some questions in regards to genre and translation."
But despite the distance, human nature is universal - as the blog post "Coming Back to Genji" by genjimaureen points out, in an unexpected parallel: "Back in New York, I loved The Tale of Genji, and hated that I loved it. It was about people who appeared to lack both moral and practical sense, were bound by the conventions of a be-numbingly complicated caste system, and spent inordinate amounts of time judging other people by their clothes. Even when they managed to be charming, most of the characters – Genji himself in particular – were only so in the service of being odious in some other respect. It was rather like high school. It was very like New York."

Reading blog: The Summer of Genji
Book details (Penguin Edition):
The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu1216 pages, weight: 3.4 pounds
ISBN: 014243714X

Friday, July 02, 2010

Elephant Summer (notimetosayit)

Elephant Summer: a collection of all things elephant, published on during the summer of 2009 by 35 writers and artists. The collection contains artwork, stories, poems and prose all centered around an elephant theme.

This project started as a lark by writer/blogger xTx who wanted her blog to be occupied by more than dead space when she went away on multiple vacations during the summer. She deemed it Elephant Summer and put out a call for anything elephant to be sent her way and received an unexpectedly enthusiastic response from her readers. Elephant Summer ended up being extended into October and turned into an ebook!

Writers and poets in Elephant Summer include: Ben Brooks, Dennis Mahagin, Crispin Best, Sam Pink, Mel Bosworth, R.C. Miller, Ani Smith, Matt DeBenedictis, Janey Smith, Roxane Gay and Nate Innomi to name a few.

Elephant Summer is edited by xTx, a writer living in Southern California. You can find her writing in places like PANK, Smokelong, decomP, elimae, Dogzplot, and >Kill Author. Her e-book “Nobody Trusts a Black Magician” is available for free at nonpress.

Zombie Summer
Due to the overwhelming success of last year's "Summer", there is a call again this year with the new theme of Zombies. Zombie Summer is now in full swing and can be found on And here, the direct link to the Elephant e-book:

Elephant Summer
free e-book, 60 pages

related links:
- experimental
- natural

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Shine (Solaris)

Shine is a collection of near-future, optimistic SF stories that portray the possible roads to a better tomorrow. Definitely not a plethora of Pollyannas (but neither a barrage of dystopias), Shine shows that positive change is far from being a foregone conclusion, but needs to be hardfought, innovative, robust and imaginative. Most importantly, it aims to demonstrate that while times are tough and outcomes are uncertain, we can still bend the future in benevolent ways if we embrace change and steer its momentum in the right direction.

The anthology is edited by Jetse de Vries. A table of contents with links to author bios and interviews is online at DayBreak Magazine: Shine - The Table of Contents.

"For an anthology with a very tight remit — optimistic near-future science fiction — there is a huge variety in the stories themselves. It occurs to me that this book is the perfect introduction to SF for readers who wouldn’t normally venture into the genre." —Catherine Hughes

About Solaris
Solaris was founded in 2007 by BL Publishing as an independent imprint, to trade alongside their existing licence-based imprints Black Flame and the Black Library.
In September 2009, Solaris was taken over by Rebellion, to publish alongside their existing imprint Abaddon. More than anything, Solaris exists to publish fantastic books by great authors, and to bring your attention, as a reader, a plethora of exciting new stories and novels.

416 pages, £5.99, $7.99
ISBN: 1-90673-567-0

related links:
- the world these days
- anthologies