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Showing posts from September, 2013

Adjunct Gilmour?

I'd never heard of David Gilmour before his unfortunate descent into toward-dead-white-maleness (or would that merely be a transnational voyage through middle-aged Caucasia of the heterogametic sex?), but by now, of course, I have of course been subject to numerous notifications of his indecency, idiocy, sexism, racism, homophobia, and more.

And I've chimed in with my own two cents, too. Under one facebook update, I wrote, "word on the street is that Hemingway, Mailer, and fifty Dirty Realists are gonna go after this guy hard for not being mentioned in the interview. . ." The poet who originally posted was kind enough to give me a "like" for that.

But, also, of course, curiosity did indeed get the better of this cat, and so I searched for him where they can hopefully, or unfortunately, find us all, in this case Amazon's Canadian store. Low and behold, it does seem as if negative publicity effectively sells books.

According to, as of this writ…

ban the books and can the poor

Although started-small-but-went-viral "The Death of Adjunct Story" is most specific to adjunct-instructor and retirement-age poverty as well as coverage gaps in Medicare and Medicaid, there's news that working-age poverty and poverty for full-time workers have been increasing during the recent "recovery." But if you're living in this country, you probably didn't need me to tell you that, and you don't have to be Warren Buffett to know that inequality is getting worse.

In other news, Ralph Ellison's 1952 National Book Award winner Invisible Man was banned in Randolph County in North Carolina, and school board member, Gary Mason, stated, "I didn’t find any literary value."

But I doubt this relates to any current poverty trends. Unless it does. A lot.

Back to Pittsburgh, based on what one-time three-rivers-area contingent Dave Newman, the novelist I just exchanged interviews with, wrote, a scary aspect of Duquesne adjunct pay is that it c…

worse for millennials?

Dave Newman responds

Novelist-trucker-teacher-father Dave Newman included some great lines in these responses to my interview questions. Excerpt, you ask?

On writing and the married life:

I didn’t ever plan on marrying. I figured it was an either/or situation. You either wrote, which required hours of reading and writing, or you got married, which required hours of marriage stuff, whatever that was. Then I found myself in Vegas, getting married to a woman I barely knew, and I was unbelievably happy about it. My wife is awesome, and she’s a great writer, and we support each others’ writing in every way possible. It really speeds up the process to know you have someone in the other room who wants to read your writing, not is willing to, but wants to. We both have three published books now. We had a combined total of zero books before we were married.

Be sure to check out the full interview at Karen the Small Press Librarian.

toilet talk

It's good to see that there are international officials who refuse to censor themselves and are willing to speak sincerely about some of the major global issues of our time. Because literature is written, at least in part, to inform, I've enjoyed pairing George Packer's essay "The Megacity" and Uwem Akpan's short story "Baptizing the Gun." Both concern Lagos, Nigeria and, at least in part, address open-air squatting. Indoor-pooping progress anywhere will lead to healthier lives everywhere.

Indeed, in these potty times, it's good to see The New Yorker take the lead in offering full and extended coverage of all that surrounds the bathroom scene.

Off the tenure track in Pittsburgh, PA

But thanks to the matchmaking of Karen the Small Press Librarian, Dave Newman and I had an opportunity to interview each about our novels of academic life off the tenure track. Karen posted part one, Dave asked and I answered, earlier today. If you're a fan of novels of working life, and you also appreciate Pittsburgh, writing, teaching, drinking, or living, you'd probably enjoy Dave's Raymond Carver Will Not Raise Our Children. My interview with Dave should be posted on Karen's blog relatively soon.

washing dishes

I'm pleased to note that "Awash in Barach & Bolono" will appear in CHM's July-August 2013 special print edition on Chilean poetry. It's yet another story of mine with a dish-washing scene, and it's one I've fiddled with on and off for almost my entire six years teaching at Clemson. Originally inspired by seeing President Obama give his stump speech on campus in late winter or early spring of 2008, it also concerns pounding the pavement in Paris, searching for restaurant work or any employment I could get. With Roberto in the title, it feels right to find it in an issue dedicated to Chilean poetry.

I also noticed online that editor Daniel D. Peacemen has recently translated some Amy Tan into Romanian.

Daniel Kalder's 10 favorites of Russian fiction

Partly inspired by his recent piece on Vasily Grossman's Life and Fate, partly in honor of the recent chill in Russian-American foreign relations, partly so I could recommend his intriguing post-Soviet travel narratives Strange Telescopes and Lost Cosmonaut, partly because F.D. Reeve's passing is still floating around the psychic swamps, and partly just for the hell of it, I recently asked travel writer and anti-tourist Daniel Kalder to supply me with a list of his top-five Russian novels from both the 19th and 20th centuries, and he thoughtfully included a story collection as well as a 21st-century text (I, too, am one of those people who "loves Gogol" but has never read Dead Souls,and I probably would have included Babel, Chekhov, and Shalamov even if asked for novels).

Here is what Kalder sent to L.U.S.K.:

In no particular order and with no claim to finality, these are the books that came into my head the day I was asked. They’re all good, but I can’t say I would …

Labor Dreams

A lot Atticus Books fiction concerns how blue-collar Americans struggle to make ends meet, but I'm sure their newest book, Paper Dreams, has a lot on how folks wielding manual and electronic writing and printing devices have also struggled to stay afloat. You don't have to be Edmund Wilson to know the writing life is suffered more favorably on a wealthy patron or partner's dime.

Anyway, it's Labor Day, and a slitheror two of unrefined reflection on my father's own "downturn" in the early nineties is partly what I thought of just now after reading this Counterpunch article that insists these are not good times. Its notable statistics include President Obama's economic approval rating is down to 35 percent, a record 36 percent of all "millennials" (aged 18 to 31) are living at home, and that 936,000 of the 963,000, or 97 percent, of new hires in the past six months report that their new jobs are part-time. And then over at gawker, this cynical…