From March 8-12 I'll be at the AWP Conference in Austin, Texas. I'm on a panel put together by the good people of Omnidawn about "Nonrealist Fiction", and am quite humbled to be in the company of panelists Kelly Link, Jeff VanderMeer, Brian Evenson, and Laird Hunt. There are also plans for a reading by all of us, plus the great Gavin Grant, at Bookpeople in Austin on Thursday, March 9 at 7pm (subject to change, I expect).
And now for some more or less random stuff:
- The, uh, charmingly named Bloggasm has relaunched after some technical difficulties. How do I know this? They interviewed me.
- Alan DeNiro:Notes on Speculative Poetry
- Charles Bernstein: "Poetic innovation is pragmatic. Innovation is what lets you resolve emerging problems as they pop up, mostly unexpectedly and often unhappily. But better than innovation, call it ingenuity. It's not something rarified or, well, avant-garde. On the contrary, it's the absence of ingenuity that takes poetry out of everyday life."
- Julia Kristeva writes a "thriller of ideas": "The malaise of a fatherless nomad who is no dupe but who nevertheless drifts, the spasm that strangles all real presence of love...." (via Galleycat)
- Kate Braverman interviews William Vollmann: "My father always used to say the reason academics fight so much is because the stakes are so small. When your book is published, the stakes are so low. Whatever they pay you is not enough. Therefore, why should you compromise? In the meantime, we're all prostitutes. Most of the prostitutes I know keep one little private thing. Some prostitutes won't kiss. Some of them save the anus for the person they love. Or they might refuse to say "I love you" except to the person they love. Whatever it is, they keep one tiny little broken shard of their integrity. I don't want to use the word integrity because it sounds as if they're doing something bad. They aren't. They're just living on the capital they have, which is themselves."
- (By the way, if you haven't read Kate Braverman's short story collection Small Craft Warnings, I recommend it. Beautifully written and deeply affecting. As is Lewis Nordan's Music of the Swamp, which I'm reading when I get an occasional break from academic stuff, because a secret agent in the Far East told me to.)
- From the museum of great first paragraphs: "Next month celebrations to mark the centenary of the birth of Samuel Beckett begin. What would he have made of them? I doubt he would have turned up -- but then I doubt that the man who saw life as a fatal disease would have turned up for his own birth if he had been given the choice."
- Scott Esposito writes about David Markson's marvelous novel Wittgenstein's Mistress, one of my favorite books of the past few decades. (I tend to think of it as a last-person-on-Earth story, but it's ambiguous, which is part of the pleasure.)