Archive for the ‘art’ Category

Wednesday, March 7th

AWP 2012 Report.

Trying something new this year. All photos are from the evening festivities. All words are stray observations from the book fair.


{Doug Paul Case @ Convocation in Chicago}


9:48am – Why am I here? This might be hell. No wifi, no cell signal, no link to the outside world, just sitting here trying to engage with people who have profound social anxiety to the degree that engaging in a social way is paramount to having fingernails yanked out by needle nose pliers.

9:56am – Attempting to enter a zen state. Attempting meditation. Calm yourself. Be in the moment. It feels like people are buying books everywhere but here. Draw them in with your energy.

10:06am – Desperation condenses on the walls & ceilings of this place. It drips from the air ducts. The table across the aisle from me has a poster asking the question, “What is creative sustainability?” Whatever it is, it does not feel like it’s here.


{The esteemed host of Convocation in Chicago}

10:21am – Met Amanda Jane Smith. Handed off a bunch of post cards. I’m trying to see how long I can get people to stay at my table by talking to them.

10:35am –  Good conversation with a young Asian woman. There was a moment in the convo when it was going so well I wanted to cut ties before I could fuck it up. Work past that.

10:45am –  Met Juked editor. Cool guy, talked shop about conference. 1-2 min convo. Talking is different w/ males. Need to entertain or appeal to their benefit.


{Chris Newgent @ Convocation in Chicago}

11:14am – Smattering of interactions. People aren’t going to talk to you if they don’t want to. No matter how much you engage them.

12:06pm –  Met a submitter I rejected. We had a good dialogue. Talked about creating a mark of quality.

12:19pm – Met Liz Wykoff and her friend from American Short Fiction. I feel an overwhelming sense of wanting to read more of ASF. An almost savage desire to get all their back catalog and devour it in a day. I don’t mention this to them. I think it shows on my face though.


{Tim Jones-Yelvington @ Convocation in Chicago}

12:31pm – Keep accidentally dissing Bryan Furuness. Totally not intentional, just keep having bad timing when he comes up to talk.

12:55pm – Lesser men have been broken by running a book table at AWP.

3:30pm – Thinking about Wu-Tang. This quote pops into my head “You gotta have love in your heart.’ – The RZA


{Literary Karaoke fake Elvis following Convocation in Chicago}


8:50am – When I lived here in Chicago I was lost, confused, angry, afraid, ignorant, obsessive, cloistered and immature. What kind of a city fosters that kind of behavior? Most cities foster that kind of behavior.

9:06am – Walking past Columbia I read a promotional poster for the school that said “Live what you love.” I am part of a generation sold this trajectory that getting paid for doing what you love is the ultimate goal. What’s unspoken is that making a living doing what you love is an incredible display of privilege. And most people do not have the means or privilege to attempt this ideal.

9:28am – It is a struggle to stay present. Maintain.


{Kurt Kennedy and a big hammered dude @ Neutron Bomb #8}

9:39am –  Thinking about how I got here, to AWP. What road lead me to sitting at this book fair table? I was raised in a place of illusion, an artificial culture. It felt wrong, inauthentic, a fake life. I searched for things that felt real. Books felt real. But books proffer their own illusions. And the truth is, everything has an authentic and artificial side.

9:45am – What is creative sustainability? Being fearless of the future.

10:01am – Met Barry Grass. Fucked up the spelling of his name on the postcard I made excerpting his essay. Felt shitty. Make a new run of cards and send him a stack.


{I read something @ Neutron Bomb #8}

10:15am – Be aware of peoples inclination to just want to say “hi” and nothing else. Let them move on and don’t take it personal. You’ve got no idea where they’re coming from.

{If you are planning on giving a reading in the future, put those plans on hold until you watch Scott McClanahan read. This is the bar. You are instructed to either meet it or exceed it.}

Monday, March 5th

Interview: Indira Chandrasekhar

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Out of Print is an Indian online lit journal dedicated to providing a platform for writers of short fiction with a connection to the subcontinent. While doing research and outreach for Annalemma Issue Nine: India, I had the chance to speak with the founding editor Indira Chandrasekhar about the climate of Indian literature, important Indian writers and common themes in Indian literature.

How did you get started with your publication?

The relative dearth of English language outlets for short fiction when I started looking to place my own writing was what got me started. After that, it was conversations – with our marvellous editors, Mira Brunner and Samhita Arni, our web consultants, Resource Design in Bangalore, our designer, Yamuna Mukherjee of Kiri Design, and of course, our sponsor, Brothers Twain, that brought Out of Print together.

What’s the most important thing Western readers should know about Indian literature?

I hesitate to be prescriptive, particularly when talking about ‘Indian’ literature, which, I believe is as complex and diverse and sophisticated and hard to define as India or, dare I say, the subcontinent itself. Every region is multi-layered and has its language, every language its own subtle cultural voice and context which translates into the written word be it in English or otherwise. And yet, there is in my opinion, an undeniable commonality of perspective and understanding. Does that come from our shared geography, history and politics, how do the nuances of the urban subculture define our contemporary space? It is those questions, particularly with the growing strength and confidence of the Indian writer in English and the emergence of a strong presence outside of the diasporic angst, which we at Out of Print are curious to explore.

What are some commonalities you see in fledgling Indian writers?

Well, our editor Samhita, who is of the generation of new writers has this to say: because of the economic boom, and the growth of the publishing and affiliated (e.g. media, journalism) industries, it’s possible for a writer of my generation to live in India, and eke out a living as a writer. So I think there are also more journalists who also write fiction and conversely, aspiring novelists who supplement their income with journalistic assignments – and thus some amount of the new literature coming out seems to reflect that ‘journalistic’ world view. Being a writer is now starting to have acceptance as a viable career option.
I would hesitate to see too many commonalities of style. There are various ‘groups’ emerging. For example, there is a whole school of fiction writers from the business, engineering and technical fields who address a commercial mainstream market. There is a growing readership – books aren’t luxury items anymore, and writers are addressing this new readership – many of them reading books for the first time.

I think there’s also a greater engagement or at least awareness, even among IWE (Indian Writers in English) writers, with vernacular, regional language traditions and literature. Salman Rushdie once spoke scathingly of Indian writing in languages other than English (I suspect he meant contemporary writing, because Haroun and The Sea of Stories draws on ancient, storytelling traditions) – I don’t think any writer could make such a remark today.

How do you see Indian literature influencing the global literary landscape?

Aha, when worthy magazines such as Annalemma run an India issue, it seems to me we have the answer!

Who are some writers Americans need to be reading?

With increasing accessibility of translated literature, writers who write in languages other than English such as U.R. Ananthamurthy who appears in our September 2011 issue. And the wide and interesting range of writers – Kuzhali Manickavel, Anjum Hasan, Murzban Shroff, K R Usha, Altaf Tyrewala, Annam Manthiram, Chandrahas Choudhury, and the many others whom we feature on Out of Print.

Indira Chandrasekhar

{photo: Mira Brunner}

Friday, March 2nd

TONIGHT: Neutron Bomb #8


Hey Chicagoans: I’m going to be here tonight. Come see me read something about Wu Tang. I miss you.

Thursday, March 1st

TONIGHT: Convocation in Chicago.


Hey Chicagoans: Come to Beauty Bar tonight and see some wild humans ejaculate perfection from their mouths. People found out how much fun this was last year. Expectations are high this year. Will they be met? Come and see, come and see.

Wednesday, February 29th

Come See us at AWP!


Hey Chicago folks! We’ll be setting up our AWP book fair table tomorrow afternoon. Please come by table H18 in the Southwest hall to outfit yourself with some of our new postcards and maybe a magazine or two (or twelve).

Words and images excerpted from Annalemma Issue Eight: Creation. These are also free with any purchase from our store.


An asymmetrical configuration for the nonconformist in your life:


Hope to see you there!

p.s. Come to our reading we’re hosting with [PANK] and MLP, Convocation in Chicago. Will post more details tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 28th

Issue Nine: India – Roster


Behold, the roster for Annalemma Issue Nine: India. I’m very excited about this issue, some incredible writing form all over the world, specifically India, but a few western writers too. Click the links below to get yourself aquainted with these fine writers and artists.



Essay: Arvind Dilawar

Images: Topher MacDonald

The Eye of God

Essay: Linda Kobert

Image: Andrea Manica


Essay: Mira Desai

Images: David Lemm

Of Linking Road

Essay: Parul Sharma

Images: Mark Lev


Essay: Paul Kavanagh

Images: Laura Wood


After Five Years in India

Story: Patrick Bryson

Images: TBD

Mister Security Guard

Story: Tanuj Solanki

Images: Shawn Kuruneru

The Woman Who Climbed Trees

Story: Smriti Jaiswal

Images: Karolin Schnoor

The Mochi’s Wife

Story: Murzban F. Schroff

Image: Sergio Membrillas

Interview with Dr. Ana Steele, president, Dalit Freedom Network

Images: Aimee van Drimmelen

Monday, November 28th

Check Out: TRNSFR.


If you’re digging what we’re doing here with the pretty print stuff, you might want to do yourself a favor and check out TRNSFR, a lit mag/print artifact out of Grand Rapids Michigan. The mailman brought me a few copies last week and I’ve been rubbing them against my face.


I love TRNSFR’s format of whole-heartedly embracing the idea of doing things in print you can’t do online: a pullout cover, post card stock inserts, flip book movies on the margins, all the things that make print lovers like me drool with delight.


Not to mention they publish some of my favorite writers including Brandi Wells, Amber Sparks, Roxne Gay, Catherine Lacy, J.A. Tyler, Blake butler, Ryan Bradley, Matthew Simmons, Shya Scanlon and on and on.


These lo res camera phone photos don’t do it justice, it’s really a sharp mag with some very cool experimental print things happening alongside some vital writing.


Big thanks to editor Alban Fischer for sending me these. Go check TRNSFR out!

Monday, November 21st

Check Out: 300KS.

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If you’re like me, a surge of happiness washes over you like a floodlight every time you come across a beautiful book cover. If you’re like me, you’re going to love 300KS, a collection of stunning book covers writer Dev Aujla has collected from his travels to used bookstores all over the world. Prepare to get lost in the wonder.

Tuesday, November 8th

Check Out: Helter Skelter.

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If you’re like me, you like to immerse yourself in an interesting idea, person, or thing to the point you feel a bit queasy and off, not unlike a post-Halloween candy binge. Hopefully, our announcement of Annalemma Issue Nine: India, has  left you wanting to familiarize yourself with Indian writing and publications. If so, check out Helter Skelter, and online independent mag with focus on alternative Indian culture.

Favorites from  this latest issue include Suroshree Dasgupta’s account of Metallica’s recent cancellation of their first concert in India and the resulting fallout, Sanchari Sur’s dissection of the ambiguities of parental boundaries imposed on young Hindu women, and Chandni Singh’s quiet and compelling vignette of a small village plagued by a dysfunctional government meal program.

Also worth checking out is Ack!, a comic series focusing its irreverent lens on everything from Hinduism, current events and Jersey Shore.

Go check it out!

Tuesday, October 25th

Best American Nonrequired Reading 2011.

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Big ups to Issue Six: Sacrifice contributors Anne Valente and Jim Ruland for snagging a “Notable” mention in Best American Nonrequired Reading 2011. Anne got the hat-tip for her story “A Very Compassionate Baby” and Jim was recognized for his story “Fight Songs”. Both Anne and Jim are fantastic writers and these are great stories. Click here to check out Issue Six where the stories first appeared.

You probably already know about BANR, but if you don’t, I highly suggest picking up a copy. Significantly less dry and stodgy than its series forebears Best American Short Stories and Best American Essays, BANR attempts and often succeeds in showcasing writing equal parts provocative, energetic, inspiring and downright fun. Congrats to Anne and Jim for getting recognized by what is clearly a committee with a keen taste for quality and talent. And thanks to the BANR committee for giving it a read!