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.

Monday, February 27, 2012

No news today - Guest Post - Ark Codex

Not Ark Codex 0:

It's not news that in the beginning there was no beginning—only a sea of sound. There was no language—only the sound of kumquat falling.

The sound of kumquat falling was knowing. The sound of qumkuat falling was forgetting. In the beginning there was no difference between knowing & forgetting.

If there was a sound, it forgot what it was going to say. It forgot if it forgot, if that's even possible through language, what to say. It forgot about forgetting itself, leading to the first extinction.

After eons of error, the reassembled noise took the form of a tongue. Yet there was no ear to hear the tongue. There was no cavity for to tongue, no ear to call out “dear” to all the animal near.

After another zillion eons of error, the noise formed an ear that fit the tongue. The tongue sounded to the ear but only for so long before echoing into darkness, leading to the second extinction.

( ...)

After another zillion eons, the noise formed another cavity with both a tongue & an ear & a desire to sire more of the same.

The first black sound cavity had only one hole (in the ear) for both giving & receiving (the tongue) so the hole divided by itself & the leftover parts led to the third extinction.

The cavity remains divided into two then filled one another & split again, begetting a third. The third cavity drowned out the first cavity & stuck its tongue in the second cavity's ear forming another third.

The second third drowned out the first third, but not before the first third & second created a fifth hollow body cavity to receive the noise. And the fifth formed a chord with the first & third, forming a sound beyond what each individual tongue could make.

The sound formed a wave that swept the seeded sea onto the barren land to form a tree. The third tongue sounded & split & both forked tongues sounded again in tune to form the word 'kumquat seed'.

The sound of 'kumquat seed' sounded & was swallowed by the sea to feed the noise that had divided by itself, ad infinitum. What remained led to the final extinction, but not before the kumquat seeds formed an anemone vortex in the sea to stick the tongue.

Ark Codex is a book forthcoming from Calamari Press.

Monday, February 20, 2012

No news today - Guest Post - Alethea Black

For most of my life, I would never ask a writer for an autograph. It was partly shyness, and partly that I felt a little like a spy. I was a novice, clandestinely attending book readings to study the art of writing from the back row; why on earth would I go up afterward and reveal myself?

Now the shoe’s on the other foot, and perhaps because I never really stuck it on the first foot, I have very little understanding of the rules for inscribing books. I still know how to sign my own name, but beyond that, it’s a game of poker where every card’s wild. Did we just meet a minute ago? I might still sign your book “with love.” I might sign it “xx.” I might say things I’ll have no memory of in the morning.

What to say to someone I’ve just met, but to whom I feel deeply indebted? It’s readers who enable me to be who I am. A friend told me always to include the date and the place. “Everyone likes it, and it takes up space.” But I sign a lot of books while I’m alone in my house, then send them out to publishing acquaintances or to people who’ve helped me in some way. I’m not sure “11/2/11, my bedroom” sounds the right note. But simply writing whatever comes to mind in the moment may not be the wisest choice, either. Dear Sandy McClatchy, You don’t know me, but you sent me a really nice email once, and I’ve never forgotten it. PS Here’s my book! PPS Is it okay to call you Sandy?

When you’ve labored over every word of a manuscript for years, it’s unsettling to discover you’re a loose cannon with the signing pen. I’d written a book of literary fiction. Why was I signing it as if I were a high school senior clutching a yearbook and a Sharpie at a keg party?
I think part of the problem is the practice of striking through your name on the book’s title page. Right away, that makes me feel giddy. And French. It’s as if I’m saying: “We don’t need zis fake girl anymore. Look, I am here! And I am wearing pants!” Why my book-signing avatar has a French accent is anyone’s guess. Maybe it’s the sense of liberté. It was a lifelong dream to have my name on a book’s title page, and now that the dream is realized, I get to cross it out—brilliant.

Another factor is that at live readings, I’m nervous. I don’t know what to say. Yes, words are supposedly my stock in trade. Yes, this wonderful, generous person is about to fork over hard-earned money for those words. Yes, there are lots of people waiting in line behind him. But it’s difficult to be insightful and amusing under these conditions. I choke. I’m tempted to fall back on the Total Honesty approach. I can’t even think of something original for an inscription, which probably means I’m a wanker, and a bad writer to boot. Is it too late to return this book, now that I’ve written in it?

And if the body of the inscription’s a killer, the sign-off is even worse. You might think “Best” would be a safe way to go. But I don’t even sign emails to my accountant “Best.” “Best” fails to express what I feel for the people who read my book, or for the better-known writers who’ve been kind to me. If someone whose work I’ve admired for twenty years says something beautiful about my collection of stories, can’t I thank her with an x and an o? Lately I’ve been going with “My best wishes” followed by a sneaky little x before my name. But I worry that makes it look as if I need to mark the spot where my signature goes, the way they do on my tax returns.

However I sign your book, it’ll be a surprise to us both. But I’m not ashamed of the word love. The bond between writer and reader can be defiantly unnameable—it’s a long-distance intimacy, an anonymous trust, an incorporeal coupling. I wake up in the morning wanting to give readers the best of myself. What is that, if not love?

Alethea Black's story collection, I KNEW YOU'D BE LOVELY (Broadway Books/July 2011), was a Barnes & Noble 'Discover' pick and an Oprah.com book-of-the-week.

Monday, February 13, 2012

No news today - Guest Post - Timothy Liu and Hansa Bergwall

A moonshine mason jar appeared,
hot and bright when he needed
to prop the flowers up—lilies
that had yet to unfurl fragrance
in a room pinned down by elegies
that someday must be written.
His wristwatch had grown
a minute slow since last year.
He didn't notice but did feel
something slipping past: a ghost
making demands only a lover
would dare, binding his second
hand with a stray hair. Unlocking
his fears with a Mont Blanc.
Apple-picking on each other's
shoulders, drunk on the season.
Nor would they let the sun go
down till each had promised things
neither of them had to give.

HANSA BERGWALL (The Thames & Hudson Project) has poems published in Lodestar Quarterly, Caliban Online, St. Petersburg Review and Whistling Fire. He lives in Brooklyn with his husband.

TIMOTHY LIU (The Thames & Hudson Project) is the author of For Dust Thou Art (Southern Illinois University Press, 2005); Of Thee I Sing (2004), selected by Publishers Weekly as a 2004 Book-of-the-Year; Hard Evidence (2001); Say Goodnight (1998); Burnt Offerings (1995); and Vox Angelica (1992), which won the Poetry Society of America's Norma Farber First Book Award. He has also edited Word of Mouth: An Anthology of Gay American Poetry, (Talisman House, 2000). His poems have been included in many anthologies and have appeared in such magazines and journals as American Letters & Commentary, Bomb, Grand Street, Kenyon Review, The Nation, New American Writing, Paris Review, Ploughshares, Poetry and Virginia Quarterly Review. His journals and papers are archived in the Berg Collection at the New York Public Library.

Monday, February 6, 2012

No news today - Guest Post - N Michelle AuBuchon

He’s got it, Roberta Clemmons hissed.

Her sister felt cold but it was June and she didn’t know what it was.

Roberta made a tunnel between her mouth and her sister’s ear. Down there, she said.

How do you know? the sister said.

I overheard some women talking at church. After Sunday School. By the cold cuts. About how they know Frank’s got it. They didn’t see me because I was behind the pass-through window looking for mustard. The signs haven’t appeared yet, but I’ve got to be careful. What will happen to our children?

The men were talking too. He heard them in the walk-in freezer last week. Frank Clemmons.

I smelled it on him when we were closing yesterday, one of the children said. Maybe that was part of it, not being able to smell your own illness.

That night he went home and confessed to his wife.

Sweety, he said. But Frank didn’t have to say anything because they both knew and they both started shaking. And then Roberta said, Frank, just fuck me.

But what about the children, Frank said, his eyes puddles.

Roberta bit into Frank’s ear, chomping down until they both came.

How about I fix us something to eat? She said after.

Saturday mornings Frank opened the butcher shop at six to prep the meat. They specialized in whole pigs, the color of flesh.

He unwrapped one to hang in the window. An unexpected nausea boiled up from his loins.

He decided not to open the shop that day.

N. Michelle AuBuchon is an MFA candidate at Sarah Lawrence College and lives in Brooklyn.