Emergency Room Wrestling by The Dirty Poet (Words Like Kudzu, April 2011)
Sure I've watched ER, an episode or two of House, and even been forced to sit through Grey's Anatomy, but none have captured the mixture of raw humor and fierce wretchedness like New Jersey's The Dirty Poet. In his first collection, Emergency Room Wrestling, The Dirty Poet records a series of moments that will make you laugh, cry, and even throw-up a bit in your mouth. The collection kicks off with the graphic description of 400 pound man with necrotizing fasciitis (look it up, but not at work), and the challenges of caring for him.
Scott McClanahan is the best storyteller that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. He is a solid writer as well, but Scott is a natural born storyteller. When you begin one of his stories you are sucked into his speech pattern and language and his life. It is no longer about form, structure, flash, prose, or anything but spending a few moments in his mind. He writes the way he speaks and he speaks like a southern gentleman with a sometimes twisted past.
I follow thirty different literary website on a regular basis. Every few days I open my rss feeder and see if there is a new story or poem or interview or article for me to read. I read and enjoy and if I really like a piece I share it with others. It is easy for sites to blend together. In my reader Metazen looks a lot like Everyday Genius and decomP is not that unlike Word Riot. When consumed regularly and all at once what can set one apart from another? Well, it is the editors involved and the choices they make. For Dogzplot that is Barry Graham, but it is still hard to fully understand the vision of a site.
"Three front knocks to the rocker of the door, three more. Waltzy. He's had, not a bath but a whimper, not a song but a soup, still sporting a pajama-slippers ensemble, a beard-mustache mask. Roaring the open door opens the roaring, the Cassandra of his dream, the mezzo-soprano of the dream of Cassandra. CassanD. ra. Her pheromone hovers as floating rose petals."
Lucky for me The Iguana Complex by Darby Larson is only 46 pages because had to read through it twice and I am still not sure I understand what I read. It was compelling, but so challenging. Perhaps, I was trying to hard, but there seems to be a constant haze over each and every page. Really it is more of a perpetual dreamlike state, a frustrating looping and fading confusion that the reader can not awake from. It is brilliant nonsense that I might just go and read one more time.
"Freeman No longer Freeman awake but asleep Freeman. No longer Freeman locked in a Freeman Freeman of Freeman but Freeman in a different Freeman."
Firehouse Neckbrace by Josh Spilker (Deckfight Press)
What is becoming increasingly interesting is the way writers can utilize the internet and electronic form of delivery to influence and interact with their writing and presentation. It is really giving the phrase "Internet Writer" a whole new meaning. Writers are able to easily manipulate text and images to convey a story in a whole new way and delivery it cheaply. In the latest release from Deckfight Press we find Josh Spilker presenting his e-chapbook as a slideshow.
The world that Erica Adams has created in her debut collection The Mutation of Fortune is many things on several levels. That is vague because the protagonist in the collection morphs and changes and adapts throughout the stories. She is a young girl, she is a wolf on the hunt, she is a lost runaway, she is a hunter, she is rabbit. There is not a connecting level of consciousness but there is a common voice and perspective. To create the intense and dramatic feel of the collection Adams researched and even borrowed from some older text. She also created a series of color plates that accent the collection and add a whole new dimension. The final element or layer are the symbols that inhabit the margins of these dark and enchanting stories. You can find a key to the symbols here, but it is not included in the book.
Black Hole Blues by Patrick Winsink (Lazy Fascist Press, May 28th, 2011)
"Because everybody knows their time is limited, but nobody wants to think they wasted it. But the truth is, there's probably nothing you can do to make it worth your while."
Have you ever wondered what your bed is thinking as you lay on it or what the knife is thinking as you cut through your sandwich? Well, Patrick Wensink must wonder that often. In his new novel Black Hole Blues, Wensink tells key parts this Country Western tale through objects like a guitar named Rusty, a bus, a knife, a proton, a stolen car, and other objects caught in the middle of this wild journey.
"If I am tweeting it is literature, and if you don't like that go take a bath"
What makes a poem a poem? Is it structure, cadence, intent, content? In his free chapbook, Download Helvetica, (you can also purchase it as a book) Steve Roggenbuck essentially found poems buried within chat messages that he sent while he was a senior in high school. This method has been utilized before, but I don't think it has been over done. What you find is that our chats, tweets, emails, status updates, check-ins, etc are the ways we are currently documenting our lives. What is a poem if not a way to document life?
Market Street Exit by Caleb Puckett (Otoliths, Dec. 9th, 2010)
One of the first writers that I ever interviewed for Orange Alert was Caleb Puckett. At the time I said I was drawn in by his word selection and the images he pulled together. Four years later I find myself again reading through the thoughts and stories of Caleb Puckett. His latest collection was released by Otoliths, and is entitled Market Street Exit. The main theme of this collection of fiction and poetry is an examination of work life through the eyes of the discourage worker.
"Idle disposition seeking suitable sham illness to justify behavior. Must be willing to relocate."
Compendium by Kristina Marie Darling (Cow Heavy Books, May 2011)
"Its sound crashing like waves against the darkest corners of the room."
The latest collection from Kristina Marie Darling is beautifully written, and such cleaver in concept. What we have, at least at the start of this collection, is a Victorian novel chopped and strained through the mesh of a poet's mind. Darling is well versed in the elaborate language and grand themes of the form, and that is what led to the second half of the collection.