Follow posts tagged #coffee house press in seconds.Sign up
New release! Listen NOW to chapter 1 of Sleight by Kirsten Kaschock (@sleightist / @coffee_house_):
“Kaschock’s work stands out for the originality of its concepts, narrative structure, and, particularly, language, as the author redefines words in relation to her art and boldly breaks from traditional grammatical constructions. Kaschock’s intimate knowledge of dance is an asset, helping her bring the sleight performers vividly to life… . Sleight is to the traditional fiction narrative what alternative music is to mainstream pop. Readers who enjoy the challenge of an innovative, unconventional style will take pleasure in this selection.” - Library Journal
Dollhouse #9 Reader Travis Nichols' Coldfront interview and more!
So, you want to get to know Travis Nichols better? Read this fantastic interview from Coldfront AND see Travis read at The Dollhouse this Friday!
The interview is not enough, you say, well check out an excerpt from Travis’ most recent novel, Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder, from Coffee House Press.
"minds don’t function without bodies." Brian Evenson @htmlgiant
I’m fairly skeptical of the idea of a mind/body split to begin with; minds don’t function without bodies and bodies don’t function without minds. I think, since we live in a culture still dominated by Cartesian notions that favor the mind, that correctives such as the one Bhanu gave can be very useful for shaking us out of our unexamined habits. I’d also say, though, that for me the most productive path in terms of thinking about these relationships is phenomenology, one of the few philosophical disciplines which takes seriously the task of thinking of consciousness as beginning with the experiencing of one’s own body as a kind of lived body and then building up from there. That notion of the lived body seems to me a very important one since it can be read as suggesting that the joining of body and mind is essential to consciousness.
Thomas Metzinger argues that we don’t really experience the world but experience a representation of the world that we simulate in our head. But of course we create this simulation by moving around in the world and taking it in with our physical body, and if we don’t create our simulation with a sufficient degree of accuracy we run into bodily trouble in the real world.
To our friends at Coffee House Press: The Open Curtain, audiobooked?
“Someone once told me when I was still living in my father's house that I had a handsome voice and ought to shepherd it and not keep it to myself. After that I sang a little louder at our church and took a turn at a solo at my school. One night my first winter in Kentucky I thought to share that solo with my husband when that singing mood came upon him after his supper. He had not favored my story but I thought he might favor my song. I sang and reckoned it was fair crooning but Linus Lancaster's fist came out so fast I thought an angel of the lord had flown down off his shoulder to bestow its wroth. Even after Cleome who was standing in attendance had helped me back to my bench and my husband had wiped his hand and recommenced singing I thought this. I thought it then and now here it still sits. Funny how you can once think a thing then never see the tail of it. My father liked to say God lived in the lightning and look out below. He told it that in the battles he fought when there was lead or arrows in the air the boys used to holler, "He's a comin'!" They get roused up when the fellow at church here sings "Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory." But I keep quiet when he's at it. There's different kinds of glory. There's all kinds. I have seen some.”—Laird Hunt, Kind One
MPR: Leaving the Atocha Station
Here’s a brief highlight from the interview, part of Lerner’s response to why people hate and/or attack poetry and—more specifically, here—why people have a more tumultuous or love-hate relationship with poetry than other genres of creative writing:
That tension of celebration and disavowal is as old as poetry itself. I think part of it has to do with the fact that poetry is in some sense impossible. Poetry is a word we use to denote the perfect linguistic object. That’s the poem. It’s supposed to be better than prose, it’s supposed to be deeper and more precise and more beautiful.
And of course, you never get the perfect poem. There’s no such thing. So there’s this structure of frustration built into poetry.
At HTMLGIANT, Ben Mirov says listening to the interview is similar to obtaining an MFA in poetry. I’m not sure if Mirov is being snarky about the MFA or incredibly generous to Ben Lerner—maybe he’s doing both—but I certainly think there’s plenty to gain here for
a poet any writer in or out of the MFA.
It’s a 30+ minute interview, so it’ll take a small chunk out of your busy day, but it’s good ‘til the last drop (where Ben actually reads from the novel!). Hit play and do the dishes or clean the house or re-alphabetize your bookshelf—whatever you decide to do, if you must mutli-task, please take time to listen to this insightful interview, fellow writer. Lerner has so many interesting ideas about art, poetry, impossibilities in writing, and our daily relationship with art—you will not regret it.
A Review: Leaving the Atocha Station by Ben Lerner
Ben Lerner’s debut novel has been cast as a philosophical meditation on art, as seen through his narrator’s, Adam Gordon’s, eyes while on a poetry fellowship in Madrid. Adam moves through the Spanish streets, in Madrid and farther afield, and ends up wandering through museums, dating a gallery owner, visual artist and poet, partaking in a public panel on “Literature Now,” and, albeit unwillingly, reading his poetry to the crème de la crème of Madrid’s art and literature scene. But more than the art itself, the import of Lerner’s novel lies in Adam himself and the way he uses art, among other things, as a way to experience the inexplicable world and, at times, as a shield against experiencing it at all.
Lerner’s background, like Adam’s, is as a poet and a damned fine one. Three books of poetry and plenty of awards preceded his first novel. While the plot of the novel is easy to fall into, Adam’s vacillations between women and friends providing both humanity and humor, the aspect that heightens the slim book is Lerner’s language. His tendency towards the poetic, a rhythm and a way of stringing together unlikely phrases, creates a mimetic novel, art about art.
“You can view any object from any angle or multiple angles simultaneously or you can shut your eyes and listen to the crowd in the arena or the sirens slowly approaching the red car or the sound of the pen writing down the years as silver is hammered and shaped.”
In essence, the novel is less about art and more about the other elusive big word, self. Adam struggles with his poetry and with being a poet as he struggles with his relationships, with his medication (prescribed and not), and the idea that he has no substance in the world without them. He is the sum of his parts and his arts. An unnamed foundation gave the poetry fellowship to Adam on the premise that he would write an epic poem about Spanish literature’s reaction to the Spanish Civil War. Yet he often repeats, to others who threaten to unmask his aloofness toward the project, that poetry isn’t about anything. With all of Adam’s doubts and his unannounced determination not to write at times, he seems to be insisting that he is not about anything.
Adam is not a very likeable character; he is passive-aggressive, depressed, and self-absorbed. But because of all of this, he’s tangible, a person not a hero, and Leaving the Atocha Station is his story. However, I believe there is a rule inscribed somewhere that demands a poet’s story must be told through poetry. Lerner created a lovely slip of a novel and readers unfamiliar with his poetry will be pleased with it. I hope he returns to poetry.
Leaving the Atocha Station by Ben Lerner
Coffee House Press, September 2011
The Dollhouse Presents: Bill Berkson
Bill Berkson recently guest-blogged for Harriet, and we think the photo in this post is reason enough to join us on Friday (scroll down to see Bill with John Ashbery, Frank O’Hara, Patsy Southgate and Kenneth Koch). Here are some more reasons our very first Special Event is not-to-be-missed:
Bill Berkson was born in New York in 1939. His first book Saturday Night: Poems 1960-61 was published by Tibor de Nagy Editions in 1961. During the 1960s, he worked in various capacities at ARTnews, the Museum of Modern Art, and as associate producer of a show on art for public television. He moved to Northern California in 1970 and during the next decade edited a series of little magazines and books under the Big Sky imprint. He has taught at The New School for Social Research, Yale, in many Poets in the Schools programs, and for twenty-four years at the San Francisco Art Institute, where he is now Professor Emeritus. He is a corresponding editor for Art in America and artcritical and has contributed reviews and essays to such other journals as Aperture, Artforum, and Modern Painters. His recent books of poetry include Portrait and Dream: New & Selected Poems (Coffee House Press, 2009); and Lady Air (Perdika, 2010). Other books include a collection of his criticism, The Sweet Singer of Modernism & Other Art Writings: 1985-2003 (Qua Books, 2004); Sudden Address: Selected Lectures 1981-2006 (Cuneiform Press, 2007); an epistolary collaboration with Bernadette Mayer entitled What’s Your Idea of a Good Time? (Tuumba Press, 2006); and four poems-and-drawings sequences: BILL with Colter Jacobsen; Ted Berrigan with George Schneeman; Not an Exit with Léonie Guyer; and Repeat After Me with watercolors by John Zurier. A new collection of his art writings, For the Ordinary Artist (BlazeVOX) appeared last year, as did Parties du Corps, a selection of his poetry in French translation (edited by Olivier Brossard) from Joca Seria. A new collection of his poetry, Expect Delays, is due from Coffee House Press in Spring 2014.
RSVP for The Dollhouse Special Event with Bill Berkson and Dora Malech this Friday!
(Photo Credit: Connie Lewallen)