Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Rag[e] in Brooklyn

The Rag and Canteen Magazine are hosting a free party on Friday, September 21 at 3rd Ward in Brooklyn, NY. The party starts at 8:30 following Canteen's Outwrite event at 7:00. This is a subscription party, where joint annual subscriptions to The Rag and Canteen will be available at a discounted price. An open bar will be provided, courtesy of Brooklyn Brewery and The Noble Experiment. Yes, free booze. And bands (to be announced). You must be 21 or older to attend. You can RSVP through Facebook but please also email Dan ( Remember, this is a free event and occupancy is limited. It will fill up fast, so sign up today. We'll see you in September.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

michael james rizza

L.U.S.K. continues to be the hot spot for blog titles that include the middle name (no mere middle initial here, party people), so I'm excited to announce that Michael James Rizza has won the Starcherone Prize for Innovative Fiction for his first published novel, Cartilage and Skin. The contest judge was Wesleyan writing professor Deb Olin Unferth.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

john henry fleming

Well, the university seems to have shown amazing resilience and survived since my last post, but here's a relevant one, no doubt, for the gazillions of desperate-to-be-published folks in the hallowed halls of our English departments. In a best case scenario, it will take the edge off all of our own literary rejections snailed, emailed, or otherwise sent.

I much prefer the one where the agent declines by landing on my brain and proceeding to smash with a tiny steel hammer while insisting that not only do I have no commercial potential, but I'm also a bad person.

And by the way, John Henry Fleming's serial novel-in-emails is funny.

So check it out.

As usual, then.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

bad review

"Every mind lives or dies by its ideas; every book lives or dies by its language."

So this is the last sentence of the now almost famous bad-meanie review of Alix Somebody's new novel. I could only skim the review, saw he cared enough to name-drop half the canon, and I'm almost positive I'll never have time to read the book, but the sentence is rather compelling, and I like it and am almost left wishing it were true. But I'm also reminded of Philip K. Dick and other writers who very rarely crafted a beautiful sentence but had other things going for them that have kept them in print. One of my favorite creative-writing guides, title escapes me, at one point tries to give the languageless writer a boost by reminding us of how many famous writers didn't write such poetic prose and how some were paid by the word and not the pretty sentence. Dickens. Balzac. Yeah, I agree, it's wrong to name Hemingway here, but in 2012, Bukowski is as loved and in print as anyone from his generation. Some would say language was a strength of Kerouac's writing although most of these folks weren't critics. For The New Yorker, James Wood once wrote of Paul Auster, "Although there are things to admire in Auster’s fiction, the prose is never one of them."

No one path to literature, and at the end of the day, I suppose that this Alix Somebody or Nobody or Youtellme (and I'll admit I now remember her last name is Ohlin) has to be grateful for this Jerk Reviewer and the NYTimes just for running any review of her work. A lot of great books don't get close to being reviewed by such a major publication. And now I've been to the amazon page for the book, and it looks like The New Yorker and everyone else, customers and critics, loves the darn thing silly. My final impression is that the author will survive the scathing pen of Giraldi.

Fight for Your Long Day, Alix Ohlin and William Giraldi! And the rest of literature, too.

(I must confess that I liked the part of the review where he addresses the importance of a book's title.)

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