Poetry at Molly’s Bookstore

This Sunday I took a bus from Chinatown to Philly to see my friend Luis Valadez read at Molly’s Bookstore on 9th Street.

Luis’ poetry reading has always been an intense experience, but he has really polished his style in Chicago the last couple of years. I heard him read his poems from What I’m On many times when we were at Naropa Boulder, but Sunday I heard them as if for the first time. Luis has honed each poem, revealing the energy that motivates the word. His breath work during the chanting of “My Matrix” showed his musical influence and his maturation. I was just so impressed. What a poet!

The evening was organized by New Philadelphia Poets and featured Luis along with Joe Roarty. They made a dynamic combination; both poets filled the room with language twisted and stretched to its limit, at times beyond its limits. Joe beat a drum. Luis had everyone stomping their feet.

After the features, there was an open mic, and I was able to hear a […]

Shoplifting from American Apparel

Shoplifting from American Apparel by Tao Lin

Everyone should read this book, if for no other reason than that it is part of Melville House Publishing’s The Contemporary Art of the Novella  series. Novella’s need love too.

The book jacket says this work describes youth culture attacking the main stream with scathing wit and ferocious optimism . I got witty but not optimistic and nothing was scathing or ferocious. I did get the feeling that the main character, Sam, was very unhappy.

Sam is a young poet living in New York. He has some acclaim but works at a restaurant and sleeps on a mattress on his brother’s floor. He has a few relationships with women that could be best described as ambivalent. He breaks up with his first girlfriend but doesn’t know why. He dates a few other women but doesn’t seem to enjoy them. That’s the thing about Sam, he doesn’t enjoy very much. His shoplifting seems to be a symptom of ennui.

Despite Sam’s melancholy, the book was enjoyable, […]

A World of Inspiration

I discovered MYKUWorld last December. I was immediately reminded of the Renku form of Japanese poetry, similar to the haiku but written collaboratively in small groups. Renga gatherings were fun, playful events. MYKUWorld (the name a play off of “haiku”) is a social-networking site where participants communicate through short poems of approximately 4 lines that are linked together in sets of 25.

The Process On the home page is a map of the imaginary MYKUworld with six different islands. I click on the map, then choose one of the six island. I usually try to match my current mood to one of the islands: urban, forest, jungle, tropical, icey, or desert.

Each island has several clickable locations with an associated image: a cardinal perched on a fence, a view of the Empire State Building, a hammock on the beach. Again I select an image that matches my current emotions.

At each location is a list of active boards. Each board has 25 spots. I read through the list of boards, clicking on titles […]

Walk Like A Man – Retort Magazine

I am very pleased to announce that a short story I wrote was published in Retort Magazine. The magazine was founded nine years ago by Brentley Frazer and continues to publish “new innovative, experimental cutting edge art + text in all disciplines”. Yes, indeed!

I have been trying to get published for a while. Using Writers Database to track submissions takes some of the sting out of all the rejections, depersonalizes them by turning each one into a number. Out of 59 submissions, this is my first acceptance. When I read the email, I did a little dance. Then I happily emailed the other dozen journals where the story was still pending.

If you are interested in more of my stories, and I hope you are, my bio page now has Prison Cell, an MP3 recording of a reading I did with Luis Valadez at Boulder Naropa SWP 2006.

In the next week or so, I will be adding more of my writing so check back or click the Get as Email link to […]