Monday, October 24, 2011

the saddest story i've listened to as an audiobook

Cyrus Duffleman finds himself in good company over at, sharing the homepage and a discount opportunity with arguably the greatest overlooked novel of the twentieth century, Ford Madox Ford's The Good Soldier.

Okay, so Ford may be the canonical genius, the great one I just mentioned as the most overlooked--yeah, but you know better to listen to what I say, and all that, but I would suggest that Cyrus's sloppy, sadsack routines can give Ford's narrator a run for his sadness. Unless you find his troubles to be amusing.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

and don't forget

Strictly for the purposes of personal promotion, I'm writing an even slimmer volume on why people should read Benito Cereno and Billy Budd, Sailor, but I'm also tearing my hair out in neurotic angst over whether or not I should italicize or put these titles in quotation marks. Or maybe throw folks off by italicizing one and putting the other in quotes? (The Billy Budd hypertext from the University of Virginia is worth linking to more than once.)

And please don't forget Pierre, "Bartleby the Scrivener," "I and My Chimney," "The Encantadas," Israel Potter, and so forth.

As a final thought, I'm transfixed by the possibility that Herman Melville would have been a great name for one of those huge, seven-foot, tree-trunk centers who were so prevalent in the 1970s NBA (the other NBA). Of course, Nathaniel Philbrick also resonates in this regard. Where have you gone Caldwell Jones? And what are you reading?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Linh Dinh

Over at counterpunch, I stumbled upon a familiar name, that of Philadelphia's own Linh Dinh.

I remember that in the early nineties, my early twenties, he was already recognized as a new and important voice in town. I believe he was understood to be a poet, then. One night at McGlinchey's, I'm pretty sure we met, and we talked a bit over famously inexpensive drafts. I didn't have any literary accomplishments, so I imagine that I would have been impressed with whatever he had to say.

McGlinchey's is the kind of place where the hipper Temple and University of the Arts professors mingle with everyone else although I began to indulge in sobriety and never had time to go there once I started teaching all around town. (I've never been a party type, but you could say the adjunct overloads kept me off the streets.) My understanding is that the bar might not be the extreme bargain it once was, or that even the bargains don't seem so these days. In fact, I'm having trouble picturing it at all with the smoking ban now firmly in place although the comments at yelp suggest smoking inside is alive and well at the "dive-y" bar and grill.

Anyway, Linh Dinh's current project includes photographs from Occupy Wall Street and, if I'm not mistaken, dozens of other occupations. And he is accepting donations, perhaps because he needs them: "Speaking of solidarity, I wouldn’t have been able to observe the protest if a dozen readers of my blog hadn’t sent me hundreds of dollars this past month alone. Part of this cash was used to fix my broken camera. With a poisoned media, untrained citizens must anoint themselves journalists."

Well, I suspect that most of the "poisoned media" are just trying to survive like the rest of us, and even many writers considered mainstream are freelance and hustling to make ends meet. But Linh Dinh's photographs are certainly not indicative of an "untrained" eye.

Friday, October 7, 2011

new web design

The Atticus Books website received a total makeover, and now the homepage sports title rotation worthy of the very finest in Dim Sum table spin. (No, I don't know what that means, but it's worth checking out.)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

occupying a nice first print run

Within hours of learning that The Philadelphia Inquirer no longer prints a Saturday edition (I do remember that one shrinking over the years), I read that Occupy Wall Street printed its first newspaper--raising $12,000 and printing 50,000 copies.

I guess it's safe to say that we can now count Occupy Wall Street as among and in support of the 99% of writers who contribute to the global economy of words on paper and screen and yet fail to reap a swell wage with full benefits. But would that be at the expense of the 1% of writers who still hold the good union jobs with corporate newspapers?

Fight for Your Long Page!

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