Archive for March, 2011

review + interview [Alissa Nutting]

Alissa Nutting’s Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls won the sixth Starcherone Prize for Innovative Fiction, selected by Ben Marcus. What more do you need to know? Starcherone produces great books (Raymond Federman’s Shhh, Joshua Cohen’s A Heaven of Others, Johannes Göransson’s Dear Ra) and Ben Marcus knows innovative fiction (see: Notable American Women, The Father Costume, The Age of Wire and String). Plus, Nutting is managing editor for Fairy Tale Review, former editor with Black Warrior Review, and her writing has appeared in Tin House, Fence, Bomb, and a load of other wonderful journals. Do you want to know that her bio picture is adorable? Okay, it is. There. I said it. But what else?

Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls is, quite honestly, an explosion of perfectly-timed words, meant to scatter-plot our faces into new thinking. Take for example, and this is all I will need to convince you, the first sentences of each of the eighteen stories that compose this collection:

I am boiling inside a kettle with five other people.

My best friend Garla is a model from somewhere Swedishy; if you try to pin down where, like what town, or if actually Sweden, she just yells, “Vodka,” or if she’s in a better mood, “Vodka, you know?” which seems like she’s maybe saying she’s Russian, but really she just wants to drink.

I’m expected to have anal sex with the winning contestant on the moon.

I took a baby panda home from the zoo.

“You are embarrassing yourself on a national level,” Sister yells into the phone.

When space on earth became very limited, it was declared all people had to host another organism on or inside of their bodies.

“The ghost is friendly,” says Grandmother.

It has been a long day of intergalactic delivery, and I’m feeling a little boxed-in.

My friend Gizmo who works at the funeral home occasionally smokes the hair of the embalmed dead.

I invited Eddie over for dinner as a first date.

I am sixteen years old and I cannot have Luke Gunter’s baby.

I work at a small business that makes ice sculptures for gay pool parties.

I never had breasts until I went to Hell.

Although we broke up two months ago, I agree to be his class reunion date anyway.

It began during an unconscionably dry spell in lovemaking for Robert and me.

I don’t know if I’m able to have children myself.

My boyfriend Ginno is a pro-bowler.

After my older brother Keith lost his arm in a car accident, I bought him a bird.

These stories have amazing sexual power but do not affront with their aggression. They scream at the reader but in a lovely and genuine voice. These are stories spun around fingers and up calves, sometimes into space but never outside of the words, never driven beyond what they mean or want to mean or want to be read as. There is a word for this kind of writing: vigilant. Nutting watches out for her readers while also asking them to come forward into something darker, a single finger beckoning.

There is a reason that Marcus selected Nutting’s work for this Starcherone Prize, a reason that this book has already received numerous nominations and honors (the Eric Hoffer award, Small Press Distribution’s 50 best-selling titles of 2010, etc.). These eighteen stories connect with each other in a way that is both gentle and unexpected, raising our eyebrows without our blood-pressure, the kind of innovative fiction that your mom can dig into but that the small-knit indie literary communities will also find delicious enough to lick.

+ interview [coming soooooon]

Buy this book here. Read more about / from Alissa Nutting here.

Hey Small Press!

Hey Small Press! was founded in 2011 by current and former public library employees to promote independent publishers to public libraries. HSP! provides a curated monthly list of upcoming fiction and poetry releases from small presses all over the world for librarians and readers. With our list, librarians can find great books to order for their collections and readers are armed with all the information they need to walk into their nearest public library branch and request the books (then check them out!).

Year after year, independent presses publish the most exciting books but lack the marketing budgets to get noticed by public libraries. The lack of marketing leads to under-representation on library shelves and lack of access for readers. HSP! exists to pick up the publicity slack and push hard to get these books noticed. Every month. Free of charge. Because amazing books should be available to everyone.

get/grab: Heather Palmer’s MERE TRAGEDIES

What works best in Heather Palmer’s Mere Tragedies, the first e-chapbook from Girls with Insurance, is the declaritve nature of her writing. The people in these tiny stories are always picking something up, going to get something, coming home with something. They are always on the move and always on the move with purpose. These are people who are doing. Palmer’s use of concrete phrasing and simple (though not overly so) language is thus perfectly at home in each piece. PLUS: all these pieces add up to something greater. PLUS PLUS: we are talking $2.50 or less for different bundles including pdf, epub, and audio versions. Spend a couple bucks: get/grab.

MONKEYBICYCLE8 PODCAST: “Chipmunks” by Steve Peacock

Over the next few months we’re going to be posting podcast versions of some of the stories and poems from Monkeybicycle8. It’s a fantastic issue that we’re really proud of and we want to share it with you in as many ways as we possibly can.

The second Monkeybicycle8 podcast, a poem called “Chipmunks,” comes to us from Steve Peacock and tells the story of a man who is seriously considering departure from this mortal coil. Then, iTunes steps in.

Listen to the podcast here.

This is just one of the 22 great works from Monkeybicycle8, which you can purchase here. And if you order before March 15, you can also pick out a free back issue to go along with your order.

Subscribe to the Monkeybicycle podcast here.

have we met? Pedlar Press

If you don’t know Pedlar Press, get to reading. Their books are beautiful & nicely built & filled with good good words. I know them most for Ken Sparling, whose Untitled & Book were recent in their catalog, but o, they are so much more. For instance, these two books, which I read back-to-back yesterday:  Small Arguments & Found, both by Souvankham Thammavongsa. Like pin-drops of poetic rain, slim but powerful, raking through for perfect choices, making me sing:

“A grapefruit / understands / this is what happens / to a body / How, sliced, its insides / will blare red: / a heart, strata of pulp / How, even here, / you will dig, / fill into spoon / the taste that arrives / before reaching mouth, / the heaviness / branched with soft bone”

Damn, their lit is sprite.

Elizabeth Alexander Interviewed at Uncanny Valley

Monkeybicycle7 contributor, Elizabeth Alexander, has a great interview up at Uncanny Valley right now. You should check it out. If you’re interested in reading “On Anzio Beach,” pick up a copy of Monkeybicycle7 in our Store. Better yet, order Monkeybicycle8 before March 15 and you can get issue 7 for free.



get/grab: Michael Bible’s COWBOY MALONEY’S ELECTRIC CITY

I read this in manuscript form awhile ago, & I can vouch for its goodness. Michael Bible’s Greying Ghost chapbook Gorilla Math was an avalanche, so you know that with more words he will do more damage. PLUS: Have you seen a Dark Sky book live & in person? They are fantastic. Slick, well-trimmed to the hand, packed with lovely words. PLUS PLUS: This excerpt:

There is an illness in this part of the country that makes happily married men get up and leave their houses. Sometimes they walk to the next town, forget who they are and start new families. Once, after a sledding accident, I saw a man dying in the waiting room. He got off the bus by himself with an awful head wound, blood down his face. There was a magazine with a tiger on the cover. He picked it up. He set it back down.

This is to be had: get/grab.

MONKEYBICYCLE8 PODCAST: “Donald Mason’s City Inspection and the Stakeout Standoff” by Blake Kimzey

Over the next few months we’re going to be posting podcast versions of some of the stories and poems from Monkeybicycle8. It’s a fantastic issue that we’re really proud of and we want to share it with you in as many ways as we possibly can.

The first podcast comes from Blake Kimzey, whose story, “Donald Mason’s City Inspection and the Stakeout Standoff,” is the comedic tale of a grudge between a fast food fry cook and a city worker who “dings” people with unshoveled sidewalks in the winter. It’s a great ride that we think you’ll enjoy immensely, even if snow is the last thing people want to think about after such a tough winter.

Listen to the podcast here.

This is just one of the 22 great works from Monkeybicycle8, which you can purchase here. And if you order before March 15, you can also pick out a free back issue to go along with your order.

Subscribe to the Monkeybicycle podcast here.

The Monkeybicycle Lightning Round! March 16, 7pm, NYC

We’re happy to announce another installment of the Monkeybicycle Lightning Round, our quarterly reading series in New York City.

The Lightning Round fuses quick, high energy readings with a broad range of voices–both established and emerging–into a seamless hour of literary brilliance. Each event will feature 20 readers, each of whom will read no longer than three minutes before introducing the next reader. No interruption from the host means a continuous listening experience. No guidelines other than length means maximum variety of form and content.

This time around, we have another fine group of gifted and entertaining writers, including Paula Bomer, Vince Czyz, Scott Geiger, Jeff Gruntharer, Michael Hickins, Suzanne Marie Hopcroft, Blake Kimzey, Lincoln Michel, David Moscovich, Dustin Luke Nelson, Steve Peacock, Edwin Rivera, Kathleen A. Ryan, Andrew James Weatherhead, and Katie Wudel, plus others.

In addition, this Lightning Round will double as a launch party for our eighth print issue, which will be on hand, hot off the presses. It features 22 amazing stories and poems from an incredible collection of writers. You can read more about it and pick up a copy here (note: order before March 15 and we’ll throw in a free back issue).

It’s going to be a really fun time, so I hope you can make it out if you’re in the NYC area. Here are the details:

The Monkeybicycle Lightning Round
March 16, 7pm, free
The Cake Shop, 152 Ludlow St. between Stanton and Rivington (J, M, Z or F trains to Delancey)

get/grab: Lily Hoang’s UNFINISHED

Lily Hoang invited over twenty adventurous writers to submit unfinished stories that she then completed. Story fragments ranged from a few sentences to a few pages, and manifested in wildly different styles. “The breadth of range is impressive,” wrote book critic Paul Constant, “some entries are science fiction, some are field guides for fictional birds, some are descriptions of fantastic, otherworldly museums.” Authors of unfinished writing are Kate Bernheimer, Blake Butler, Beth Couture, Debra Di Blasi, Justin Dobbs, Trevor Dodge, Zach Dodson, Brian Evenson, Scott Garson, Carol Guess, Elizabeth Hildreth, John Madera, Ryan Manning, Michael Martone, Kelcey Parker, Ted Pelton, Kathleen Rooney, Davis Schneiderman, Michael Stewart, J.A. Tyler.

PLUS: Artist Anne Austin Pearce will complete unfinished art by 20 professional and naive artists.

PLUS PLUS: Original art finished by Anne Austin Pearce & original music by by Ron Heckert (Tornado In A Jar)

PLUS PLUS PLUS: There is this “fine art limited edition”: Polished aluminum box beautifully silkscreened with artwork by Anne Austin Pearce. The box contains each story as an oversized jigsaw puzzle made of fine paper on bamboo wood. Each puzzle is missing one piece. The missing pieces are contained in a sealed container. Also included is a set of limited edition prints of the original art finished by Anne Austin Pearce, signed & numbered by the artist. Limited edition of 25

Jaded Ibis is a powerhouse & Hoang is fantastic: get/grab.