Kamby Bolongo Mean River named one of 25 Important Books of the 2000s by HTML Giant

KBMR was named one of 25 Important Books of the decade by HTML Giant. And was a Page One selection of New & Noteworthy Books by Poets & Writers Magazine.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

No news today - Guest Post - Kyle Minor

(The Baptists Were Right, and Now I’m Dead and Everybody’s Watching the 16mm Film of My Life)

4,987,524,129 films have preceded mine.
Who knew eternity would be spent watching so many hours of sleeping?
There are not very many ways to have sex, but I have availed myself of so few of them, anyway.
The Lord is slumping so sadly in the Bemis seat.
Jaylynn perks up everytime she has a scene, like you would have expected.
The lesson of the afterlife films: Everyone’s adulthood preoccupation is the people they wanted to please who are now dead or soon will be dead.
I always worried what Mrs. Keneally would think of me when she saw me masturbating, but now I know about that thing with her and the stuffed chicken.

Kyle Minor (www.kyleminor.com) is the author of In the Devil's Territory, a collection of stories and novellas.

Monday, August 23, 2010

No news today - Guest Post - Paula Bomer

Today is a day like many other days at this time in my life – I woke early to get my sons off the tennis camp, I lost my temper with my teenager who was supposed to be fully prepared for a trip to Boston he’s making after camp, but he had no idea where his ticket was, I felt guilty and ashamed for losing my temper, I went back to bed and felt guilty and ashamed for smoking last night and having one extra vodka that was really not necessary, I stayed in bed until noon, I got up and read and wrote while drinking coffee and eating eggs, I felt very tense and jittery and afraid of having to lift weights with an ex-marine later in the day and contemplated taking an Ativan, I read and wrote some more after showering and listened to the phone messages-- so I suppose if there is nothing profoundly different about this day at all, then there really is no news.

The idea that there is no news reminds me of the book I just finished, called Marking Time. Throughout the book, the characters, whose lives are greatly disrupted by WWII, think of themselves as just marking time. This is in part because many of the characters are adolescents- between childhood and adulthood—and have very little power to do what they want to do, but are not young enough to not want to do more grown up things. So they are marking time- waiting- until they will be grown up enough to do what they want to do. But in many ways, everyone, including the adults in the book, is waiting for the war to end, so they are all marking time, waiting for the news to be good, so in that way, all the bad news isn’t news, because the only news they want, the only news that will free them from feeling as though they are marking time, is the news that the war is over. Sadly, at the end of the book, there is no news then, no news that will free these poor characters that is, no news that matters, as Japan has just bombed Pearl Harbor.

Paula Bomer is the author of the forthcoming short story collection, Baby And Other Stories (Word Riot Press, 2010). Her fiction has appeared in Open City, Fiction, The New York Tyrant, The Mississippi Review and elsewhere. She's the co-publisher at Artistically Declined Press and the supervising editor of the literary journal, Sententia. Find out more at http://www.paulabomer.com/.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

No news today - Guest Post - Donald Breckenridge

Fish Tacos for dinner.

Donald Breckenridge is the Fiction Editor of The Brooklyn Rail, Editor of The Brooklyn Rail Fiction Anthology (Hanging Loose Press, 2006) and co-editor of the Intranslation web site. In addition, he is the author of more than a dozen plays as well as the novella Rockaway Wherein (Red Dust, 1998), the novels 6/2/95 (Spuyten Duyvil, 2002) and You Are Here (Starcherone 2009). His novel This Young Girl Passing is forthcoming from Unbearable Books/Autonomedia.

Monday, August 16, 2010

No news today - Guest Post - Jess Walter

True story: When I was twenty I was sent to see about a dead woman on some railroad tracks. I’d only been at the newspaper a few weeks. I drove out to an industrial area between downtown and the suburbs, my wire-bound reporter’s notebook jutting from my back pocket. The intersection with the railroad crossing was cordoned off, traffic was stopped. The woman’s body was between the rails, under one of the cars of the train, except for a bruised leg, which was draped over the tracks. Some firefighters had laid a body bag next to the tracks, and as I watched, they counted to three and then lifted the woman off the tracks. That’s when her back gave out, like an old grain sack, and she sort of … dissolved into the bag.

All afternoon, I interviewed people about what had happened. Drivers had seen the woman pacing by the tracks for at least an hour, as if she was waiting for a train. She let one train pass. The engineer of the second train saw the woman pacing and thought: Oh no, don’t do it. Because you can’t stop a train, he said over and over. Not like a car. Right before she stepped in front of the train, the woman looked up and made eye contact with the engineer.

It turned out the woman lived in a little house near the tracks. She crossed that intersection nearly every day to walk to a grocery store, where she bought food for her husband, who couldn’t work because of a bad back, and her son, who was developmentally disabled. There was a fabric store next to the grocery store and after shopping, the woman went into the fabric store sometimes but she never bought anything. She just fingered the bolts of fabric and then left. However, on this day, on the day she waited for an hour to step in front of a train, the woman bought several yards of material. No one asked what she was making. The fabric was in a bag next to the tracks.

Back at the newspaper, I organized my notes, imagining I was writing a small but vital story—tragic, ordinary, inexplicable. I planned to write it matter-of-factly, to avoid making judgments and connections. My editor came over and I told him what I was working on.

He said, Forget it. We don’t do suicides.

Why not, I asked.

He said, because it’s not news. I just stared at him.

Look, he said, people who commit suicide want desperately to share their misery with the world. If newspapers published the morbid details of suicides, it would just make other people want to kill themselves, too, to share their misery with the world.

Looking back, I think it was probably a good rule. But it seemed kind of insane to me at the time: we don’t do suicides. Later I became a novelist. Misery is big news for a novelist; for a good suicide, we’d stop the fucking presses.

Jess Walter is the author of five novels, most recently 'The Financial Lives of the Poets.' He won the Edgar Allan Poe Award for best novel in 2005 and was a National Book Award finalist in 2006.

Friday, August 13, 2010

No news today - Guest Post - J.A. Tyler

The no news today is that two boys played near an open well
deep in the ocean and none of them fell in. The no news
today is that there was no explosion. The no news today is
that instead of falling in, these two boys fell up and
broke their heads on the sky. The no news today is how
it hurt, the clouds coming slowly down and spilling, the
land a mess of white in the shape of all these animals.

J. A. Tyler is the author of eight books including the
recent INCONCEIVABLE WILSON (Scrambler Books, 2009) and the
(Fugue State Press, 2011).He is also founding editor of
Mud Luscious Press.Visit: www.mudlusciouspress.com.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

No news today - Guest Post - Lucy Corin

Sometimes when I’m trying to find the microsoft word icon to pull up a new document I do get it mixed up with what it feels like to scrounge around for a piece of paper. I’m going to have my own website, soon, and I have seen the mock-up or whatever you call it for the blog page. (Mock-up is a technical term I don’t feel qualified to use.) When I imagine my voice in the blog it’s a little stiff and anxious (like this), the blog is a confessional (the world of the internet is my priest) and it is a diary (the world of the internet is my projected self). I might post a few entries from my actual childhood journals, which I addressed after a great deal of thought, to “?”. I think I’m finally old enough that nothing from childhood is embarrassing, because it’s from childhood, the pod of me—it’s not embarrassing because of the way things are turning out. A babysitter saw that I wrote in journals and bought me one that said on the cover in iconic bellbottomed 70’s font “I’m okay and getting better!” (I did not use it but I had a hard time getting rid of it even though I did not like that babysitter.) A writer horrified me at a reading I went to a few months ago by saying that “autobiography is the quest literature of our time.” The incredible journey up my ass. Can I say that on this radio?

Lucy Corin is the author of the novel Everyday Psychokillers: A History for Girls (FC2) and the short story collection The Entire Predicament (Tin House Books). She's working on a novel and an assemblage of 100 apocalypse stories, currently strewn about the web.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

No news today

There is no news today. An 86 year old former senator from Alaska, who survived a plane crash in 1978, seems to have perished in a plane crash. At the same time, readers of Publisher's Weekly named all kinds of writers as part of an extensive underrated list, including Donald Antrim, Deborah Eisenberg, Brian Evenson, Richard Ford, Mary Gaitskill, Michael Kimball, Sam Lipsyte, etc. There is no appropriate reaction to being included on such a long list, I don't think. Still, there is a certain amount of appreciation and comfort in knowing that this certainly qualifies as no news.

Monday, August 9, 2010

No news today - Guest Post - Christopher Kennedy

Inception is a very thought-provoking film. Here are some of the thoughts I had while watching it:

The beard’s not working for Leonardo.
Ellen Page annoys me. I hated Juno. And Smart People.
Hey, Leonardo is driving a Hyundai Genesis. No one’s dream car is a Hyundai Genesis.
Shouldn’t Leonardo’s wife be standing on the ledge of their hotel instead of the one across the street?
I must be deep in my own subconscious, because these two and a half hours feel like two and a half years.
Did Tony get whacked? Oh wait; wrong black out ending.
That was the worst Batman film ever.

Christopher Kennedy's fourth book, a collection of prose poems, Ennui Prophet, is due from BOA Editions, Ltd. in 2011. He is an associate professor of English at Syracuse University where he directs the MFA Program in Creative Writing.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

No news today - Guest Post - Susan Daitch

I had some characters who needed to go to the Berlin Zoo in 1933. It’s a place I have visited, but not in 1933, and I wanted to make sure, to the extent I was able, what the zoo was like about eighty years ago. In the process I got sidetracked by the story of Carl Hagenbeck, animal and human impresario. Hagenback was born in Hamburg in 1844. I imagined him living in the quaint folkloric Germany of Clemens Brentano or the fairy tale middle European constructions of Ghislain de Diesbach. His father, a fishmonger with a side business in exotic animals, gave Carl, when still a child, a seal and a polar bear cub as presents. Hagenback displayed them in a tub and charged a few pfennigs to spectators interested in watching arctic mammals splash around. These early entrepreneurial endeavors eventually led to a career capturing, buying, and selling animals from all over the world, destined for European and American zoos. Hagenback, known as “the father of the modern zoo” was a pioneer in the concept that animals should be displayed in some approximation of their natural habitat. Acknowledging little difference between human (at least some humans) and animals in terms of questions of captivity and display, he also exhibited human beings: Eskimos, Laps, Samoans, African, Arabs, native Americans, all stationed in zoos across Europe in reproductions of their native environments. Creating panoramic fictional spaces for his creatures, Hagenbeck is often credited was being the originator of the amusement park. How these captive people felt about the peculiar dress, language and eating habits of the spectators has not, as far as I know, been recorded. European emissaries, whether propelled by diplomatic missions or for purposes of trade, went into the world and brought back artifacts, instigated the concept of collecting for those who could afford it. German museums would come to display the Gate of Ishtar, vast Chinese temples, Assyrian fortresses, and other treasures. Hagenbeck, a hybrid figure: ethnographer, zoologist, showman, anthropologist, capitalist, but also the son of a fishmonger was not of this class of adventurer. A populist, ok, but also the question hangs in the margins: when did the Berlin Zoo stop displaying humans? 1931, I think, but I’m not sure.
In a Berlin bookstore I found a copy of Gerald Durrell’s Zoo in My Luggage, a long lost book from my childhood. In 1957 Durrell and his wife traveled to Cameroon to collect endangered animals and bring them back to England for his private zoo with the intension of re-introducing species back into the wild whenever possible.

Susan Daitch is the author of two novels, L.C.(Lannan Foundation Selection and NEA Heritage Award, The Colorist, and a collection of short stories, Storytown. Her work has appeared in Tinhouse, Conjunctions, Guernica, Bomb, Ploughshares, failbetter.com, McSweeney's, The Pushcart Prize Anthology, and The Norton Anthology of Postmodern American Fiction and elsewhere. Her work was featured in The Review of Contemporary Fiction along with William Vollman and David Foster Wallace. Her fourth novel, The Dreyfus Book, will be published by City Lights in Spring, 2011.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

No news today - Guest Post - Joshua Furst

We got the news, when it came at all, weeks after it had occurred, and—though by then, it was meaningless, useless, a fading dream, to the rest of the world—we read it, when it arrived, like it still mattered. The outrageous claims of political hucksters, the baroque tales of intrigue and violence in the cities, announcements of bills passes or stalled in the Senate, of inventions and slaughters and weddings and sporting events, all so crucial, so bloated with change-making implications, we’d read all about these goings on, nodding, stroking our chins, exclaiming, “Well, who woulda thunk that could ever be?,” pondering how the news would affect our lives, or if it already had, and if so, how, when?

We’d mosey out to the porch and look across the fields—the fresh cut alfalfa, the stream, the old oak tree—all the same old same old we knew so well. That stray tabby had given birth to a new litter; they were hobbling around now, their eyes still half glued shut. We’d feel just the same as we had the day before, and the day before that, and last year and so on. But different too, a little less sure of whether to believe the story of the land sloping out before us or those tales that had floated in from the capital, a bit more resentful about being told, so long after the fact, what was real and what wasn’t. Like we didn’t have eyes. Like we couldn’t see for ourselves.

Storms were brewing in the sky, tornado season was on its way again.

Joshua Furst is the author of The Sabotage Cafe and Short People. His work has been published in the Chicago Tribune, Conjunctions, the New York Tyrant and Esquire, among other periodicals.

Monday, August 2, 2010

No news today - Guest Post - Shane Jones

Right now I'm eating a Wallaby Organic Yogurt, Strawberry Banana flavored. I'm at work, sitting in a corner cubicle. Someone is playing John Mayer really loud. When I opened my yogurt today it did this thing where little blobs spat all over my shirt. The music just changed to M.I.A Paper Planes. Strange.

Shane Jones lives in New York. He's the author of several books and chapbooks. He blogs and updates things at www.shane-jones.com