Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Titles Read in 2016

     January
Don’t Tell Me to Wait by Kerry Eleveld

After Sixty-Five Years a haiku chapbook by Louis Cuneo
 
Roots & Wings: poetry from Spain, 1900-1975 edited by Hardie St Martin
 
Beyond Perspective poetry chapbook by John Rowe
 
Neither poetry chapbook by Julian Shendelman
 
Heads in Beds by Jacob Tomsky
 
In Other Lands Than Ours by Maud Gage Baum (as an ebook)
 
The Laziest Secretary by Jennifer Blowdryer
 
The Well-Wishers by Edward Eager
 
Selected Poems by Luis Cernuda, translated by Reginald Gibbons
 
Cannibal Cafe, 2006-2014 by Julia Vinograd
 
By Word of Mouth: poems from the Spanish, 1916-1959 translated by William Carlos Williams, edited by Jonathan Cohen
 
Down & Delirious in Mexico City by Daniel Hernandez
 
February
Moonshot: the Indigenous comics collection edited by Hope Nicholson
 
Bird Dream by Matt Higgins
 
A Longing for the Light: selected poems of Vicente Aleixandre edited by Lewis Hyde
 
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
 
You Are Here: around the world in 92 minutes by Chris Hadfield
 
Mike’s Place by Baxter, Faudem, Shadmi
 
March
Oakland Review #2 Corman-Roberts and de Salvo, editors
 
The Singular Pilgrim: travels on sacred ground by Rosemary Mahoney
 
The Threepenny Review #137 Spring 2014
 
The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon edited & translated by Ivan Morris
 
The Bridge: the life and rise of Barack Obama by David Remnick
 
The Year of My Life: a translation of Issa’s Oraga Haru by Nobuyuki Yuasa
 
Haiku Revisited, v. 2 by Louis Cuneo
 
Selected Poems by W. H. Auden, edited by Edward Mendelson
 
Bat City Review #4 20008
 
Rosine and the Laughing Dragon of Oz by Frank Joslyn Baum
 
Neither of Us Can Break the Other’s Hold by John Oliver Simon
 
Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett
 
April
A Wind in the Door by Madelein L’Engle
 
A Lion Among Men by Gregory Maguire
 
Georgetown Review Spring 2007, v.8 iss 1
 
Out of Oz by Gregory Maguire
 
May
Gratitude by Oliver Sacks
 
Shrift poetry chapbook by Lynn Strongin
 
Dancing Bear poetry chapbook by John Oliver Simon
 
Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
 
Askew #18 2016, Marsha de la O & Phil Taggart, editors
 
Armadillo Heart chapbook by MK Chavez and Cassandra Dallett
 
After We Kill You, We Will Welcome You Back as Honored Guests: unembedded in Afghanistan by Ted Rall
 
A Young Man in Search of Love by Isaac Bashevis Singer
 
The Blue Emperor of Oz by Henry S. Blossom
 
Overland #154 Autumn 1999
 
A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America by Stacy Schiff
 
Rattlesnake Grass by John Oliver Simon
 
My Father, the Pornographer by Chris Offutt
 
June
The Medicine Man of Oz by Mark E. Haas
 
Into the Magic Shop: a neurosurgeon’s quest by James R. Doty
 
Ploughshares Spring 2007, v. 33 no. 1
 
A Little Help: essays and stories by Denis Clifford
 
Lady Killer by Joelle Jones and Jamie S. Rich
 
Daleko.2.Kyori a zine by Liz & Megan
 
Waterlily a mini comic by Tatiana Fiermonte
 
The Book of the People: how to read the Bible by A. N. Wilson
 
Index/Fist, Feb 2014: The Opposite of a literary zine
 
Another Moment a prose chapbook about her diseases by Alta
 
Lost in America by Isaac Bashevis Singer
 
Hard to Swallow Comics by Dave Davenport and Justin Hall
 
Haunted House a mini comic by Emeric L. Kennard
 
July
The Magicians by Lew Grossman
 
Bernie by Ted Rall
 
Nonbinary Review #3: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz 2016, Allie Marini and Lise Quintana, editors
 
archyology: the long lost tales of archy and mehitabel by don marquis
 
By the Candelabra’s Glare poems by L. Frank Baum (as an ebook)
 
Mojo January - June 2016
 
The Trouble with Tycho by Clifford D. Simak
 
Mayfly #61 Summer 2016
 
Visions and Revisions by Dale Peck
 
Lost Discoveries: the ancient roots of modern science by Dick Teresi
 
You May Also Like: taste in an age of endless choice by Tom Vanderbilt
 
On Loving Woman by Diana Obomsawin
 
The Journal Summer 2014, vol. 38.3, Ohio State University
 
The New Teen Titans, vol. 1 by Marv Wolfman and George Perez
 
Death Obscura poems by Rick Bursky
 
Towerkind by Kat Verhoeven
 
Baby Bjornstrand by Renee French

Tracks Across Alaska: a dog sled journey by Alastair Scott
 
Dun4 May 2016, issue 2, a mini-zine, Decker Boone, editor

August 
The Anatomist: a true story of Gray’s Anatomy by Bill Hayes
 
Costa Rica: a traveler’s literary companion Barbara Ras, editor
 
The African by J. M. G. Le Clezio, translated by C. Dickson
 
Something New: tales from a makeshift bride by Lucy Knisley
 
Porcelain: a memoir by Moby
 
Holy Titclamps #16 January 1998, edited by Larry-bob
 
Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnick
 
Madman, vol. 1 by Michael Allred
 
Rocannon’s World by Ursula K. LeGuin

September 
Ghosts of Vesuvius by Charles Pellegrino
 
Tom Cat mini comic by ADC
 
Wild: from lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
 
Holy Titclamps #13 a zine by Larry-bob
 
Lost in Place by Mark Salzman
 
Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier
 
Cut Stones and Crossroads: a journey in Peru by Ronald Wright
 
October
Zero Summer by Andrew Demcak
 
Epoch v.56 no.1, 2007
 
The New Teen Titans, vol. 2 by Marv Wolfman and George Perez
 
The Princess Marries the Page by Edna St Vincent Millay
 
Automata a mini comic by Garrett Sneen
 
The Teaching Chronicles mini comic by Matt MacFarland
 
Trump by Ted Rall
 
How Much Earth: the Fresno poets edited by Christopher Buckley, David Oliveira and M. L. Williams
 
Beeswax Magazine #5 December 2008
 
Molly and the Bear by Bob Scott
 
Grunt: the curious science of humans at war by Mary Roach
 
It’s Night in San Francisco but it’s Sunny in Oakland edited by Emji Spero and Otis Pig
 
Ordinary Things by Jean Valentine

November 
The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan
 
Shopping for Buddhas by Jeff Greenwald
 
Something to Tell You by Hanif Kureishi
 
From the Other Side of the Century edited by Douglas Messerli
 
Large White House Speaking by Mark Irwin
 
As You Were: a punk comix anthology, v.4: Living Situations edited by MItch Clem and Ann Ehrlich

Boom Studios free comics sampler

Court Green #9 2012
 
The Royal Historian of Oz by Kovac and Hirsh
 
Inverse Sky by John Isles
 
The New Teen Titans original issues 17 - 25, plus annual #1
 
Tales of the New Teen Titans 1 -4
 
Missing You Metropolis by Gary Jackson
 
December
The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford
 
On a Train, Sleeping by Adam Hammer / Starting Out Again by Joseph Newman
 
The Origin of AIDS by Jacques Pepin
 
American Poetry: the next generation edited by Gerald Costanzo and Jim Daniels
 
Comet in Moominland by Tove Jansson
 
Sparkle & Blink issues 76 - 80, 2016y
 
Reckless: my life as a Pretender by Chrissie Hynde
 
Askew #19 Fall/Winter 2016, edited by de la O & Taggart
 
Sustenance by Aaron Anstett
 
Dark Horses: poets on overlooked poems edited by Joy Katz and Kevin Prufer
 
Someone Else’s Wedding Vows by Bianca Stone
 
Mountain Home: the wilderness poetry of ancient China translated by David Hinton
 
Failed Haiku #11 2016, failedhaiku.com
 

Monday, January 02, 2017

Best Poems of 2016

Aaron Anstett ….. Man Saves Own Life
Aaron Anstett ….. Open Beer Stores, Running Buses …
Aaron Anstett ….. Travel
Rick Bursky ….. Cloud Theory
A. V. Christie ….. In My Dream
Elizabeth Crocket ….. haiku: “thinking”
Louis Cuneo ….. haiku: “on door knob”
Aron Feingold ….. haiku: “yoga by the bay”
Gloria Fuentes ….. Love Turns You Into a Rosebush
Adam Hammer ….. Guide to Marine Mammals and Sentence Structure
Hsieh Ling-yun ….. #26 from Dwelling in the Mountains
Rick Hurst ….. haiku: “ashes to ashes”
Bill Kenney ….. haiku: “trick or treat”
Loretta Collins Klobah ….. El Dia de los Muertos
Myron Lysenko ….. haiku: “cemetery at midnight”
Clive Matson ….. Thank You
Robert Mezey ….. Night on Clinton
Ron Padgett ….. Lucky Strikes
E. Martin Pedersen ….. haiku: “I was so happy”
Rebecca Reynolds ….. Surplus
Luis Rosales ….. Locked with a Tear
Pedro Salinas ….. Deaths
Pedro Salinas ….. So Transparent Your Soul
Brenda Shaughnessy ….. Rise
Bianca Stone ….. Letter
Bianca Stone ….. Outpost
Bianca Stone ….. You Were Lost in the Delta Quadrant
Jose Angel Valente ….. An Empty Place at the Celebration
Robert Witmer ….. two haiku: “back home” & “fishmonger’s slab”
Yang Wan-li ….. Night Rain at Luster Gap


While I’m reading a book of poems I keep handy a stack of placemarks. If a poem so strikes me that I want to read it again I slide a placemark in next to that poem. When I go back and read the poem again I may decide that a mere second or third visit is not enough, I have to read it again. Then again. Should I decide I can’t leave it behind, I copy the poem out by hand onto loose leaf binder paper and add it to the latest fattening notebook. The above are the poems I decided over the course of the last year that I had to keep with me.

In the last days of the year I ran out of 8 1/2 by 11 binder paper, and there were still poems my hand would work over. I don’t know how it worked out that I committed to so few poems in the first eleven months of the year, but I copied out about 2/3 of the besties in December. For paper resupply I walked over to the nearby CVS. They had binder paper but the binder paper they had was 10 1/2 by 8. That size seems to go on sale a lot, especially in August, back to school time. I’ve been seduced by price into buying 10 1/2 by 8 in the past. But not for many years. It’s not that I purchase binder paper frequently. I stock up at a sale price and it takes me a few years to go through it. 

I tried Walgreens. Same story. I tried Office Depot on the other side of town. No 8 1/2 by 11 binder paper. Really! I didn’t want to order anything online because it seems a waste of resources unless you get a pallet. I did review the Staples website and it looked like they would have the right size and there is a Staples in Berkeley. 

On the way home from work last week I stopped by the big Staples store. They had 8 1/2 by 11 binder paper! 400 sheets in a package. Then to my delight my eye caught the sale sign. 120 sheets for a dollar! I took five packages, proud of myself for getting a bargain. 

When I stepped in the door at home Kent called out, “I got you binder paper!” That was sweet. During the day Kent also had walked down town and he knew what I needed and there it was. The 400 sheet package sat on the couch. 400, huh? I thought. Nice of him but why didn’t he notice the sale? When I stacked all the packages together the reality bonked me on the noggin. After all that trouble I had bought 10 1/2 by 8 paper. Nice price. But here I had held out! I had held out — and gotten a good deal! I was so proud of myself!

What to say. 

“I’m your hero, right?” Kent said. 

It’s not like 10 1/2 by 8 paper is unusable. You kinda don’t want to mix the two sizes because of wear and stacking issues, which makes 10 1/2 by 8 less useful. But if it’s basically going to be the only size available, without extra trouble, I guess I should adapt. I have 3 1/2 floppy disks that have been superceded. A zip drive. VHS tapes. I can handle this. 


Still, I don’t have to deal with 10 1/2 by 8 for a while. 400 sheets worth of while!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

word of the day: titivating

context:

The Snork Maiden immediately took out her looking-glass to see if it was broken, but, thank goodness, the glass was whole and all the rubies were still on the back. But as she was titivating herself, [she spotted] something else. …Something that crept slowly nearer …

definition for titivate:

To make small alterations or additions to one's toilet, etc. so as to add to one's attractions; to make smart or spruce; to ‘touch up’ in the way of adornment, put the finishing touches to. [Oxford English Dictionary]

A friend of my mother gave us two or three of the Moomintroll books so I remember them sitting on the bookshelf at home. I don’t know if my brother ever read them, but I know I didn’t. I may have made an attempt or two but if I did, I didn’t get far.

The library has collected volumes of the Moomintroll comic strip and that proved an easy in. Recently I read Moominpapa’s Memoirs and found I enjoyed Jansson’s prose, too. Will I make it through the whole series? They’re awfully twee. Gentle, cozy, sweet, eccentric. A little precious. Likable. Meandering. I got Comet in Moominland off the Claremont Branch shelf a couple weeks ago and read it on lunches and breaks (alongside a book of essays by Salman Rushdie). 

“Titivate” is a surprising word for a children’s book. When was the last time you saw it? Have you ever? The translator made the choice, not Jansson, at least not that particular word, who knows maybe a similarly unusual choice was made in the original Swedish?

source: Comet in Moominland by Tove Jansson
1946. (1959 English translation by Elizabeth Portch)

Farrar Straus Giroux, New York

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

word of the day: bension

context:
The shadows lengthened across the deserted track, and the evening wind sighed down it to sweep a flurry of whispering leaves across the rut, their brown brittleness light as a bension as they drifted across the unheeding white form [of the exhausted old dog].

definition: The word “bension” does not appear in the Oxford English Dictionary. Curious! I have heard of a “benison,” however. A benison is a blessing; as the OED has it, “That blessing which God gives; a giving of blessedness.”

I had no luck with Google finding another instance of “bension” outside Sheila Burnford’s novel The Incredible Journey. A site called Quizlet offers “bension” among its “flashcards” for The Incredible Journey (see chapter three) and even provides an audio pronunciation beside the definition (“a blessing or benediction”). I didn’t see a source for Quizlet’s definition. 

It could be that “bension” is a typo, a transposing of the “s” and the “i” of “benison.” If so, is it a typo that’s persisted 55 years and multiple editions? A completely typo-free book is rare. Sometimes typos are found and when a new edition is issued they’ve been corrected. You can read critical editions of classics that discuss such mistakes and often try to figure out whose fault they are, the author’s? the publisher’s?

Perhaps Sheila Burnford was familiar with the word “bension,” as she spelled it, and used it consciously. Words certainly change spellings over time and in different places, so it could be her version of “benison” was not a typo but common to her community.

source: The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford
1961. Delacorte Press, New York 

Friday, December 02, 2016

shark attack!

Maybe you don’t want to sail out to sea because you’re afraid if the ship goes down and you find yourself bobbing about in the water a shark will sniff that bleeding cut on your finger and come scooting over for a toothier taste. Nobody likes the prospect of being eaten alive. We know it happens. We see it on the nature documentaries.

You’ve heard that shark attacks on humans are pretty rare, right? But, you know, maybe that’s because there aren’t many shipwreck victims to make a meal of.

In her book on science and war, Mary Roach investigates the military’s success in creating a sharp repellent. Soldiers at sea don’t like the idea of being eaten alive. Thinking about it causes stress. If you can supply a fella with a bottle of Shark Begone you’ll give him some peace of mind. This is war. Peace is relative. But any peace in a war!

Mary Roach says no. No such things as Shark Begone. Products that claim to be shark repellent  don’t have reliable research backing them up. There are even products that insist they repel sharks that actually attract sharks. So you want to be careful what you lather on your bobbing parts.

An article at the Smithsonian about the sharks attracted to the sinking of the USS Indianapolis in World War II builds in the fear:

Soon enough [the floating survivors] would be staving off … sharks. The animals were drawn by the sound of the explosions, the sinking of the ship and the thrashing and blood in the water. … Reports from the Indianapolis survivors indicate that the sharks tended to attack live victims close to the surface … The first night, the sharks focused on the floating dead. But the survivors’ struggles in the water only attracted more and more sharks … Of the Indianapolis’ original 1,196-man crew, only 317 remained. Estimates of the number who died from shark attacks range from a few dozen to almost 150.
Sharks!! They ate 800 sailors! 1,196 minus 317, that’s 800ish. Nobody actually knows how many living sailors managed to escape the sinking ship. How many subsequently died from exposure, dehydration, drowning? 

Mary Roach wasn’t having much luck finding stories about sharks eating sailors. 

A floating sailor [can] dispatch a curious shark by hitting it or churning the water with his legs. ([One researcher] observed that even a kick to a shark’s nose from the rear leg of a swimming rat was enough to cause ‘ … raid departure from the vicinity.’) ‘The sharks were going after dead mean,’ said a survivor quoted in a popular book about the 1945 sinking of the USS Indianapolis, an event that often comes up in discussions of military shark attacks. ‘Honestly, in the entire 110 hours I was in the water,’ recalls Navy Captain Lewis L. Haynes … ‘I did not see a man attacked by a shark.’ [emphasis in the original]

But aren’t rafts often followed by sharks? Pretty scary. Aren’t they just stalking the passengers, waiting to nab anybody who falls off? 

Mary Roach says fish like the shelter of the raft. There’s not much shade to be had out at sea so when some happens by there are those who take advantage. The sharks come to the raft to feed on the fish under the raft, not to hunt the people on it. 

Not even human blood has been shown to entice sharks. What does? What swims under rafts. Fish.  


So. Stop worrying. A shark is not going to get you. Mary Roach told me so.

source: Grunt: the curious science of humans at war by Mary Roach
2016. W.W. Norton & Co, NY

Thursday, December 01, 2016

the beaded curtain

When I first encountered a beaded curtain as a kid I found it mildly annoying. A fabric curtain would hide what was going on on the other side of the opening, but a row of beaded strings hanging in a doorway, what does that hide? Obscure slightly, maybe. That was a goal? I didn’t like going through the curtain, afraid a bead string would catch in my hair. Plus, it wouldn’t go away. Every time you went through that door you had to deal with it. 

A beaded curtain could be decorative, I conceded. I kind of liked the way it rattled as you went through. And I kind of didn’t. And I guess that’s where my engagement with beaded curtains ended. I’ve never considered hanging one. 

But then there’s this footnote in Mary Roach’s latest: 

[B]eaded strands that hang in doorways in Middle Eastern homes, allow[] breeezes, but not flies, to pass.

Oh. 

Who knew? Makes me thankful once again that flies were never much of an issue in my neighborhood.

Or, as Mary Roach puts it: 

Who among the thousands of youthful 1970s doofs who hung these in their bedrooms had any clue as to the beads’ provenance as fly control? Not this doof.

source: Grunt: the curious science of humans at war by Mary Roach

2016. W.W. Norton & Co, NY

Monday, September 19, 2016

find the world


… in prose you start with the world
and find the words to match; in poetry you start

with the words and find the world in them.


That’s Charles Bernstein from his poem “Dysraphism”.

source: From the Other Side of the Century: a new American poetry, 1960-1990 edited by Douglas Messerli

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Notes Toward an Autobiography by Others

”What’s your favorite color?”
The question came, one morning on the walk to school, from my five-year-old daughter, lately obsessed with “favorites” — declaring hers, knowing mine.
“Blue,” I said, feeling very much the Western male (the West loves blue, and men love it a bit more than women).
A pause. “Why isn’t our car blue, then?”
“Well, I like blue, but I don’t like it as much for cars.”
She processes this. “My favorite color is red.”

That’s the way Tom Vanderbilt begins, You May Also Like, his investigation of favorites, of taste, how we come to like one thing (music, food, color) over another.

I remember being obsessed with favorites as a kid. I’m a little embarrassed by it now. While I certainly have preferences these days, I have tried to cultivate a pleasure in variety, in not having one favorite but in appreciating many things, in finding things to like in places that seem unlikely (or unlikable). 

Yes, I remember insisting that people (my mother, my classmates) come down on a favorite color, as though announcing a favorite defined something essential about that person, something helpful. I think my favorite was red. But I also interrogated this preference. I would look at red in a shirt, red in an advertisement, red in a flower and ask myself if, really, this red was better than blue or purple or yellow anywhere. There were different shades of red, I could see. Maybe there was the shade of red that was the finest, that I could say was my favorite red, no, not just my favorite red but my favorite color, that other shades of red might not hold up to every blue the way my favorite red surely would. 

I remember one time quizzing people on their favorite television network. At the time for me it was CBS. Because they ran a Muppet special, I think. There must have been one or two other things. Maybe they hadn’t preempted a favorite program for a stupid play-off game like other dumb networks. Unlike with the favorite color I mainly got puzzlement over the idea of having a favorite television network. Not just, I like red sometimes, I like blue sometimes, I guess I don’t have a favorite, but what’s a network? If you don’t know which network airs your favorite TV shows how can you declare a favorite network? Not only was educating people on the premises of my question more work than I wanted, the people I had to educate weren’t interested in the lesson. C’mon the CBS eye logo is kinda cool even now, right?


source: You May Also Like: taste in an age of endless choice by Tom Vanderbilt. 2016. Alfred A. Knopf, New York. 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Toast and coffee with your fried eggs?

When I came across “Ladle Rat Rotten Hut” (when I was a teen, I think) I was fascinated. The educator H. L. Chase had written the text to prove that you could switch out similar sounding words for the familiar ones and the listener would be able to discern the original sense as though interpreting an accent. “Ladle Rat Rotten Hut” equals “Little Red Riding Hood.” (The Exploratorium has Chase’s version of the classic fairy tale on its website.) I’ve seen something like this as well when writers attempt to reproduce the sounds of a particular accent. One less radical version you might have seen (or even accidentally used) is the switching out of the contraction for “have” with the soundalike “of” as in “He should of done that already!” (instead of “He should’ve done that already.”)

I have used this homonymesque technique in my writing, poetry particularly, adding slightly hidden meanings or puns. I like to stretch the soundalike across more than one word. Chase does this, too. Here’s Red Riding Hood to the Wolf in grandmother disguise:


"O Grammar, water bag noise! A nervous sore suture anomalous prognosis!”

Let’s see if I can translate: O Grandma, what a big nose! I never saw such an enormous proboscis. I think I got that right. “Anomalous prognosis” doesn’t sound much like “enormous proboscis” to me and I had to struggle a little figuring out what Chase meant us to read. In the category of soundalike covering more than one word: "suture" stands in for "such a", "water" for "what a". You can break words up, too. "Grandma" might be written "gray maw," for instance. (If there’s an authoritative translation of "Ladle Rat" I haven’t seen it.)

It’s tricky. Push this too much and the hidden meaning is so hidden as to be absent. I often have trouble parsing Chase’s “Ladle Rat Rotten Hut” and it’s not supposed to be a big challenge. 

In his memoir/essay about being young and fighting the good fight in ACT UP (the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) back in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s, Dale Peck writes about a bit of goofiness amid the fierce seriousness:


Byron … taught me to yell “ACT UP! Fight back! Fried eggs!” (instead of “ACT UP! Fight back! Fight AIDS!”) to relieve the monotony of two- or three-hour chants at demos: you could shout it right in cops’ faces, in reporters’; they never knew the difference.


Given that I often can’t make out the words in chants if I don’t already know what the chanters are shouting, I’m not surprised Peck heard no one puzzle over the fried eggs part. Close enough, right?

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Roxane Gay On Assholes

In a chapter of friendly advice in her book, Bad Feminist, Roxane Gay has a few things to say about assholes, the whole body variety:

Sometimes your friends will date people you cannot stand. You can either be honest about your feelings or you can lie. There are good reasons for both. Sometimes you will be the person dating someone your friends cannot stand. If your man or woman is a scrub, just own it so you and your friends can talk about more interesting things. My go-to explanation is ‘I am dating an asshole because I’m lazy.’ You are welcome to borrow it.

Don’t flirt, have sex, or engage in emotional affairs with your friends’ significant others. This shouldn’t need to be said, but it needs to be said. That significant other is an asshole, and you don’t want to be involved with an asshole who’s used goods. If you want to be with an asshole, get a fresh asshole of your very own. They are abundant.

source: Bad Feminist: essays by Roxane Gray
2014. HarperCollins, NY

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

pile of reading

The Singular Pilgrim: travels on sacred ground by Rosemary Mahoney
This is a library discard I grabbed before it got boxed up for donation. I’m reading it on my work breaks. And quite enjoying it. Mahoney is good at description and evoking place. I’m currently in the chapter on Varanasi, the holy city in India where human bodies are cremated and the ashes scattered in the sacred Ganges River. Mahoney is impressed by how polluted the river is. The last passage I read has her walking up to a man who is emptying garbage from plastic bags directly into the river. There are signs forbidding this activity but he’s hardly the first person Mahoney has seen flouting such rules. Anyway, Mahoney walks up to him and tells him to stop it. Stop throwing garbage in the river. He pauses, perplexed and a little intimidated by the foreign woman. “Not even the electric wires?” he says. 

The Bridge: the life and rise of Barack Obama by David Remnick
I’ve been eyeing this biography on the shelf at the library where I work. After David Maraniss’s Barack Obama: the story left us hanging as young Mr Obama heads off to law school, I’ve wanted a biography that brings me a little closer to the present. Remnick’s The Bridge was published a year into Obama’s presidency, so maybe this will serve. Like the earlier book this is a fatty, clocking in at 586 pages. So I haven’t been in a hurry to commit. Now that I have checked it out, I guess I’m still not in a hurry to commit. I’m a big 14 pages in. Am I in love with Barack Obama? He seems to me rather cold. But I’m curious about him, where he came from, how he got to the White House. He’s done some good things there, and yet … there seems to be so much more he could have done. He still has a little time. 

Moonshot: the indigenous comics collection edited by Hope Nicholson
This won an award and the theme piqued my interest so I ordered it from the library. Not far enough in to have many thoughts on it. 

From the Other Side of the Century: a new American poetry, 1960 - 1990 edited by Douglas Messerli
Douglas Messerli’s Sun & Moon / Green Integer Press has been home to much avant garde or innovative writing. I read his anthologies of non-U.S. poets and enjoyed them so brought home a nice used copy of From the Other Side of the Century when I had opportunity. At more than 1100 pages I figure I will be reading it for a while. I’m coming up on a fourth the way through and the reading has been pretty good. Yet I connected more frequently with Messerli’s non-U.S. poets anthologies than here. 

Selected Poems by W. H. Auden, edited by Edward Mendelson
This is one of those books I got well into then put aside for several months. I got hung up in a long take on Shakespeare’s The Tempest. After finishing some other books I took on completing the Tempest section and both liked and struggled with the task. I’m now on to Auden’s 1946 “Phi Beta Kappa Poem.” 

A Longing for the Light: selected poems by Vicente Aleixandre, edited by Lewis Hyde
Having just read an anthology of 20th century poets of Spain and having been favorably impressed, I looked on the shelf at the Central branch to see what individual poets’ collections the library owned. I pulled this one. Aleixandre has appeared in my personal anthology so I ought to read more. “If you could only see what suffering / the moon displays without trying.”

The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon edited by Ivan Morris
Sei Shonagon was a contemporary of Murasaki Shikibu, author of The Tale of Genji. Both women lived in Japan and were members of the imperial court about a thousand years ago. Shonagon recounts anecdotes and makes lists of personal likes and dislikes. The reader is immersed in an unfamiliar but not incomprehensible world of art and etiquette and mild intrigue. It’s a book I sometimes forget I’m reading.

Oakland Review #2, edited by Paul Corman-Roberts and J de Salvo
My friend Tim Donnelly has poems in this issue and I picked up a copy at a reading in Oakland last week. I also handed one of the editors an envelope full of my own poems in hopes that, you know …

Poems for the Millennium, volume 4: the University of California book of North African literature edited by Pierre Joris and Habib Tengour
Another fat anthology. I’ve enjoyed earlier volumes of the Poems for the Millennium series and there hasn’t been much North African or Arabic literature in my diet (partly because there isn’t a lot in translation and partly because I haven’t been much fond of it). This volume wasn't easy to find.

Bird Dream: adventures at the extremes of human flight by Matt Higgins
I watched a video on youtube of a man leaping from an airplane in one of those full body wingsuits and coming in for a water landing on a lake. All other wingsuit videos ended with the daredevil deploying a parachute for landing. The video looked pretty authentic. But I wasn’t certain. Then I came across Bird Dream in the library. The book seems to be about the very feat I watched the video of. Other books keep supplanting it in the gotta-read-now category but maybe I’m ready this time? It looks like something I want to read.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Titles Read in 2015

     January
I Hugged This Pony Today by Leo Puppytime, et al
The Stop & Go Show #1 by Leo Puppytime 
Perpetual Nervousness #6 & #6.5 by Maira
The Solstice Submarine a 3D minicomic by Christopher Joel & Donna Almendrala
Parthenon West Review, issu3 7, 2010
This Layer of Plush by Ann Veronica Simon
The Transparent Body by Lisa Berstein
The Graces by Aaron Shurin
Index/Fist, Feb 2014: The Opposite of edited by Caroline Kessler, Janet Frishberg, Lulu Richter
Fairy Tales and After by Roger Sale
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain (ebook)
Wet Reckless by Cassandra Dallett
Another Bullshit Night in Suck City by Nick Flynn
What Light Can Do by Robert Hass
The Reenactments by Nick Flynn
Poetry Jan 2014, vol. 203 no. 4 
     February
Mouth by Lisa Chen
Mixed Up! a zine about mixed race queer & feminist experience
It Never Happened Again by Sam Alden 
A Short History of Laos, 2002 edition by Grant Evans 
Poetry Feb 2014, vol. 203 no. 5
Notes on the Mosquito: selected poems by Xi Chuan
Secrets of the Kingdom: the inside story of the Saudi-U.S. connection by Gerald Posner
7 Poets, 4 Days, 1 Book by Marvin Bell, Tomaz Salamun, et al
Sister by Raina Telgemeier
Lockjaw & the Pet Avengers by Eliopoulos & Guara
Poetry March 2014, vol. 203 no. 6
The Man Who Folded Himself by David Gerrold
Irene #5, 2014 edited by Andy Warner & Dakota McFadeean
’68 by Paco Ignacio Taibo II
Poetry April 2014, vol. 204 no. 1
     March/April
Two Lines no. 18: Counterfeits edited by Luc Sante & Rosanna Warren
Poetry May 2014, vol. 204 no. 2
The Rock from Mars by Kathy Sawyer
My Judy Garland Life by Susie Boyt
The Gate by Francois Bizot
Second Avenue Caper by Joyce Brabner & Mark Zingarelli
Destination Cambodia by Walter Mason
Eavesdrop Soup by Matt Cook
The Wild Trees by Richard Preston
Cinder’s Kingdom by Adeline Esquerra & Ryane Acalin
Poems Out of Harland County by Vivian Shipley
Poetry June 2014, vol. 204 no. 3
Against Forgetting: 20th century poetry of witness edited by Carolyn Forche
City of Coughing and Dead Radiators by Martin Espada 
Fanny Kemble’s Civil Wars by Catherine Clinton
Greenpoint by Russell Lichter
The Unreasonable Slug by Matt Cook
The Narnian: the life & imagination of C. S. Lewis by Alan Jacobs
The Virtues of Poetry by James Longenbach
Poetry July/Aug 2014, vol. 204 no. 4
Proving Nothing to Anyone by Matt Cook
Driving Mr. Albert: a trip across America with Einstein’s brain by Michael Paterniti
10 Pocket Poems coutesy of Mrs Dalloway’s bookstore, Berkeley
The Selected Poems of Irving Layton by Irving Layton
Astro City: The Tarnished Angel by Kurt Busiek
Poetry Sept 2014, vol. 204 no. 5
Some Angels Wear Black: selected poems by Eli Coppola 
Astro-City: Shining Stars by Kurt Busiek
Destination Saigon by Walter Mason
Americana: the Kinks, the riffs, the road by Ray Davies
Arroyo Literary Review Spring 2012
Astro-City: Through Open Doors by Kurt Busiek
A Place I’ve Never Been by David Leavitt
     May
The Sculptor by Scott McCloud
A Coney Island of the Mind by Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Again by Lynne Knight
Poetry Oct 2014, vol. 205 no. 1
Petty Theft by Pascal Girard
The Legend of Oz: the Wicked West #4 by Hitchison & Borges
All-New, All-Different Avengers free comic book day sampler from Marvel by Mark Waid, Mahmud Asrar
Magnus Robot Fighter & Nexus #1 by Baron & Rude
A Member of the Family: gay men write about their families edited by John Preston
Astro-City: Local Heroes by Busiek & Anderson
The Tales of Olga da Polga by Michael Bond
William and the Lost Spirit by Bonneval & Bonhomme
Poetry Nov 2014, vol. 205 no. 2
Einstein’s Daughter: the search of Lieserl by Michele Zackheim
A Year of the Hunter by Czeslaw Milosz
The Great Comic Book Heroes by Jules Feiffer
Autobiography by Morrissey
Lucky Life by Gerald Stern
The Infinite Wait & other stories by Julia Wertz
Difficult News by Valerie Berry
Poetry Dec 2014, vol. 205 no. 3
     June
It’s Not Over by Michelangelo Signorile
Super 8 by Richard Lopez
Smile by Raina Telgemeier
Mirror Maker by Primo Levi
In the Wake of the Day by John Ash
The Family of Max Desir by Robert Ferro
Tomboy by Liz Prince
Reader Please Supply Meaning by Jim Murdoch
Two Lines 2012: Passageways edited by Camille T. Dungy and Daniel Hahn
Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
The Stranger by Albert Camus
Enizagam 2011, issue 5
Sparks-tastic: 21 nights with Sparks in London by Tosh Berman
American Zen: a gathering of poets edited by Ray McNiece & Larry Smith
Berkeley Poetry Review 2012, #42
Oatmeal Magazine #8
When I Grow Up by W. W. Denslow (ebook)
Project Pendulum by Robert Silverberg
Anorexia by Lisa Bernstein
Terms of Service by Jacob Silverman
The New York Review of Books May 7, 2015, vol. LXII no. 8
Best American Comics 2014 edited by Scott McCloud
     July
The Anatolikon by John Ash
The Spectral Boy by Donald Petersen
On the Move by Oliver Sacks
The Enchanted Apples of Oz by Eric Shanower
The Ice King of Oz by Eric Shanower
The Secret Island of Oz by Eric Shanower
The Forgotten Forest of Oz by Eric Shanower
Portfolios of the Poor by Daryl Collins, et al
Masters of Sex by Thomas Maier
Snaggletooth in Ocean Park by FrancEye
Smash Cut by Brad Gooch
Berkeley Poetry Review 2010, #41
The Blue Witch of Oz by Eric Shanower (as appears in Adventures in Oz)
Pippi Goes on Board by Astrid Lindgren
Seriously Funny edited by Barbara Hamby & David Kirby
Massive: gay erotic manga edited by Ishii, Kidd, Kolbeins
Second Son by Robert Ferro
Nippon by Jonathan Hayes
The Parthian Stations by John Ash
Tablegeddon a mini comics anthology edited by Robert Kirby
Deep: free-diving, renegade science … by James Nestor
BUMF vol. 1 by Joe Sacco
     August
To Keep Time by Joseph Massey
Chasing the Scream by Johann Hari
Berkeley Poetry Review 2009, #40
The Gift to Be Simple: a garland for Ann Lee by Robert Peters
Pratfall a mini comics anthology edited by Robert Kirby
My Avant-Garde Education by Bernard Cooper
Pippi in the South Seas by Astrid Lindgren
To the City by John Ash (as appears in Two Books: The Anatolikon & To the City
This One Summer by Jillian & Mariko Tamaki
Gay in America portraits by Scott Pasfield 
The World Between Two Covers by Ann Morgan
Roots and Branches edited by Howard Junker
Eating Fire: my life as a Lesbian Avenger by Kelly Cogswell
The Bedside Guide to the No Tell Motel, Second Floor edited by Reb Livingston & Molly Arden
Why Religion Matters by Huston Smith
Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari with Eric Klinenberg
Variety Photoplays by Edward Field
Heat a zine edited by Camille & Tom
Two Lines Spring 2015, no. 22
     September
Gaysia: adventures in the queer east by Benjamin Law
The Flayed God: the mythology of Meso-America by Roberta & Peter Markman
A Byzantine Journey by John Ash
How I Killed Pluto and why it had it coming by Mike Brown
Half Magic by Edward Eager
Snowden by Ted Rall
A Year of Rhymes by Bernard Cooper
Knight’s Castle by Edward Eager
Digest by Gregory Pardlo
An Age of License: a travelogue by Lucy Knisley
Catamaran Literary Reader Fall 2014, vol. 2 iss. 4
Evening Brings Everything Back by Jaan Kaplinski
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
Rick Sings by Phil Taggart
Alone Forever by Liz Prince
Please Excuse This Poem edited by Lauer & Melnick
Displacement: a travelogue by Lucy Knisley
     October
So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson
Brief History of the Slinky by Andy Warner
Hornblower Proper by R. G. Mandrake
I Have No Idea What I’m Doing by Maggie Ramm
Professor Cuties by Dave Baker
Hotel Bikini by Gilbert Armendariz
The Old Well by Chris Pianki
Butt Planet by Sienna Jane Robrock
Escargoteric by Johnny Herber
Cringe: an anthology of embarrassment edited by Peter S. Conrad
After the Fall: poems old & new by Edward Field
Magic by the Lake by Edward Eager
The Walrus 2010, issue 53
We Shoot Typewriters by Paul Cormen-Roberts
Crazy Child Scribbler Oct 2015, issue 85, guest editor: Tobey Kaplan
Frank by Barney Frank
The Time Garden by Edward Eager
     November
Treasury of Mini Comics, vol. 2 edited by Michael Dowers 
Why We Hate by Jack Levin & Gordana Rabrenovic
A New Time for Mexico by Carlos Fuentes
The Motherless Oven by Rob Davis
Talking to Girls About Duran Duran by Rob Sheffield
     December
The Interior Circuit: a Mexico City chronicle by Francisco Goldman
Magic or Not? by Edward Eager
Burning the Midnight Oil edited by Phil Cousineau
Trembling a mini comic by Sarah Adams
Drinking Stories by Amy Burek
A Semblance of Adulthood by Erika Sjule
Coyote Tails by Stephanie Houden
if you’d like to hear it, I can sing it for you: a zine on aging #1 edited by A. L. 
Milk & Carrots #3: the science fiction issue edited by Brian Hernick
I Like Your Headband by Elizabeth Beier
Seven-Day Magic by Edward Eager
Solar System by Marcus Chown
Asswipe #8 by Vanessa X
Little Nemo: return to Slumberland by Shanower & Rodriguez
Irene #6 edited by Andy Warner
Becoming Nicole by Amy Ellis Nutt
Ruins by Peter Kuper