Thursday, March 18, 2010

Regarding an earlier post, I have been busy (and Agent Carla has helped) with the Face and Hands page, which is proving to be addictive. Part of the obsession is based on the idea that every writer, at some point, adopted a version of the classic pose. Still, two writers have eluded me in this regard, both being writers I have written about recently here in the Hungry Inferno: Borges and Faulkner. With that, I give you my favorite pictures of these two that I have found during the course of my search.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Daley Discussion

The Reader retorts.

I really need to see this profile in The New Yorker. Then again, maybe I don't.

The Other Blog

I'm on a mission to document odd phenomenon of writers who pose with their hands at their their faces. If you have not gone to my other blog, have a look:

If you have photos, or a favorite writer you'd like to see up there, hit me with that.

Monday, March 15, 2010

WWB Anthology OUT!

At long last, WWB’s anthology is out and about.

I had a small part in its production, mainly securing a few rights before my time was through. So you’ll see my name in the acknowledgements. I suppose that counts as being in print, right?

Seriously, I have not looked it over yet, but I know the contents and, aside from some poor translations of Vallejo, this is a pretty great collection and the ideal way to expand your knowledge of international poetry. Everybody wants to do that, right? Right?

[Sounds of crickets...]

Friday, March 12, 2010

Russians to Read

These look like fin. Kharms and Mandelstam I know, but I am less familiar with the others.

To the bookstore!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Art that Changed My Life: William Faulkner

I could just as easily label this "Art that Changed My Life: The Sound and the Fury" as that one book remains the sole reason I put Faulkner near the top of my list of favorites. Sure, Kurt Vonnegut is my favorite American writer, but The Sound and the Fury is the finest novel any American has produced to date (at least that I've come across). Of course, there are other notable works to come from within these borders; Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court comes to mind. And Sherwood Anderson was certainly an inspiration. There's Cat's Cradle and The Scarlet Letter. And let's forget about Moby-Dick. Many see a connection between Melville and Faulkner, and who am I to dispute this. What I will say is this: where Moby-Dick put the U.S. of A. on par with the great Russians of the 19th century, Faulkner's efforts matched those of the European modernists. With his "big four" (As I Lay Dying, The Sound and the Fury, A Light in August, Absalom, Absalom!) we had a firm place in the brave new world of literature, alongside Joyce and Proust and Woolf. Yay-rah!

To be sure, any sentence in Absalom, Absalom! is as staggering as your average hypotactical Proustian moment. As the Frenchman recreated a society, Faulkner did likewise. That Faulkner's land was apocryphal and resided in the deep south of Mississippi might scare away the Europhile fuddy duddies eager to imbibe wine over whiskey and foie gras over cornbread.

Okay, I'm not trying to rag on the Europeans, but all too often us Yanks get overshadowed by the giants of the fake continent. Thankfully, with Faulkner we have permanently staked our place on the literary world's stage. It doesn't matter that some of his books are unreadable (never made it through A Fable, for example); If a person writes a book as great as The Sound and the Fury, they need never write again. (Think about Juan Rulfo, for example.)

And what about The Sound and the Fury? Well, I came to this book fresh off of Hemingway's preverbal teat. I had waded through The Old Man and the Sea, said A Farewell to Arms, and even agreed that The Sun Also Rises (though, in Ernie's hands, not very well). Hell, I even tried For Whom the Bell Tolls, giving up after the first fuck scene. I was ready to let my manhood swing alongside Ernie and to call him the bull macho of American letters, when out of nowhere comes Bill, drunk, confident, uncompromising, wild, restrained, proper, and brilliant. I could never go back. The Sound and the Fury has affected me like few other books. It ties for 1st place in my heart (a 3 way tie with The Master & Margarita and The Obscene bird of Night). Perhaps it is a case of reading it at the right time, or maybe it was the awe of his vision that got me. You have to marvel at the manner in which Bill lets each section of the book become its own, filling in what the last left out, drifting through time and memory, relating individual experiences and trying to tell a story that sprang from one idea: a young girl climbing a tree to look in a window and see her dead grandmother, who dirties her panties in the process and bests her brothers. From this seed grew a mighty fucking oak.

I could go for pages about the book (as others have) and still sound like an idiot (as others have not). I rank this book up high, yes, but I include it, and its author, on the list of art that changed my life as it and he have done exactly that. After Faulkner, nothing seems impossible and so much else seems trite.

Carry on, mates.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Funnies

Carla sent me this. Which reminded me of this.

Laugh until you cry.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

A good take on last Sunday's awards. Isn't it nice that the right film won?

Monday, March 08, 2010

Breaking Bad Season 3

Only a few short weeks away. Goddamn, I love this show. Fuck Heroes, 24, Lost, or whatever you're watching: this is the shit. Recognize!

Bolaño Wrote for Somebody's Sins…

But not Patti's.

The legendary singer, etc. waxes weird on our man Roberto.

Friday, March 05, 2010

A Kinder, Gentler Finnegans Wake

Get ready to runriver past bay to bookstore and snatchagrab a smoothed out copy of the world's least readable novel.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

On Very Fucking Random

Why do I differentiate between blogs (like this one) and Twitter? It’s all the same cup of tea, right? Wrong. I don’t know… I just can’t get it within me to tweet. That said, here are some random thoughts that might blend in with the crap being slung over at Twitter (t6hough they exceed the character cap). Read them and understand why I avoid such tar pits.


I heard “Don’t Look Back” by Boston on the radio the other day. I have to admit that it was the first time that Boston sounded pretty good.

What does this say about me?

Going now to listen to some speed metal.


Fuck Richard Rodriguez. Again I taught his essay as objectively as possible when everything within me was in revolt against his bullshit.


The Oscars are coming!

I don’t think I care.


NPR reran a piece on This American Life about the pranksters (sorry, artists) over at Improv Everywhere. Read or watch clips or do whatever over here.

I’m not sure about all this tomfoolery. While the part of me that kneels at the alter of Andy Kaufman and Neil Hamburger thinks this is somewhat interesting, the part of me that loathes pretension finds this group annoying at best and socially irresponsible at worst.

My first reaction was: who the fuck do they think they are? Then I realized that the same question can be put to any artist. I mulled this over for a while as the walls caved in and the creek began to rise.


I met a man named Gus. It occurred to me that I have never met a child with that name. Almost as if Gus is a name you get when you turn 30. All the Kyles and Dylans and other equally dully named young boys may legally have their names changed to Gus should they choose. If I were them, I would.


Most days I don’t think of Office Space while struggling with the printer here at lawyerland. But some days I do.

Que the Ghetto Boys.


Both Time Out and The Reader have recently run issues devoted to Hyde Park, Chicago. Why the sudden interest? Is it because Obama is from (near) there? Anyway, I like the idea of living there, but then I remember that I’d be surrounded by U of C types. That’s almost as bad as being surrounded by Wicker Park hipsters.


Icelandic yogurt is the new Greek yogurt.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Carmen Boullosa

A killer article from The Quarterly Conversation (new issue!) on the fabulous Carmen Boullosa. Read it and weep.