Woe: Milkman, p. 97

Mammy! The heads! They took the heads! Where are the heads? Where’s Lassie, mammy? Where’s daddy? Have the brothers found Lassie? Where’s daddy? Where’s Lassie?

This novel, which won the Man Booker, fully deserved to win.

Graywolf Press has now given self two books that absolutely shattered her: this one, and the translation of Liu Xia’s poetry collection, Empty Chairs.

That is all.

Prairie Schooner: The Opioid Issue (Winter 2018), Guest Edited by Glenna Luschei

Ray Murphy, from a letter quoted in the Introduction by Glenna Luschei:

Virtually all of my writing about opiates stems from writing about injury. I never address opiates as a recreational drug. Be interesting to see how many other submissions you get that come out of injury and pain, and then progress into dependency and possibly full-blown addiction.

The second piece in the issue is Marsha de la O’s Paradise Motel. An excerpt:

Black flame, blue spoon, now the shadow
draws close a cloak as wide as Lake Michigan,
robed and rocked in god’s water, rippling
indigo. From out on the street the rush of cars

weave through their harmonies —
those vessels I’ve entered one by one,
riding out currents on a raft of fire.

Marsha de la O’s new collection, Every Ravening Thing, is just out from Pitt Poetry.

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

CHARLIE CHAN IS DEAD, Vol. 1

For the workshop this weekend, re-reading some old stories to show different ways of writing memoir. In particular, thinking of a story called Lenox Hill, December 1991, which Jessica Hagedorn included in the anthology Charlie Chan is Dead.

When Jessica contacted self to solicit a piece, self had nothing, nothing, nothing.

Her sister had died just the month before. She did keep a diary, though.

The diary became the story. The first story in what later become a cycle of grief stories: Mayor of the Roses (Miami University Press)

For a while, a course called Ethics in Medicine, taught at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, included the story in their syllabus.

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Opioid Issue, Prairie Schooner (Vol. 92, No. 4), Guest-Edited by Glenna Luschei

from the introductory essay, Pandora’s Box, by Glenna Luschei:

  • I talked to our contributors Michael Harris and Ray Murphy about physical and mental pain as a genesis of addiction. Where was so much pain coming from? That is a question I am still asking. Some of our poets address it. In a letter Ray Murphy wrote, “Virtually all of my writing about opiates stems about writing from injury. I never address opiates as a recreational drug. Be interesting to see how many other submissions you get that come out of injury and pain, and then progress into dependency and possibly full-blown addiction. Opiates are at once remarkably versatile and one-dimensional. There is no end to the topic.” Yes, I feel that opiate addicts are like canaries in the coal mine, as the addicts are the indicators in our society of the pain we are suffering. In a previous century, addiction to drugs like laudanum may have been connected to mystical vision, as R. T. Smith conjures in his narrative, Sergeant-Major Perry on Sullivan’s Island.

— San Luis Obispo, July 2018

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Poetry Tuesday: Dorianne Laux in PRAIRIE SCHOONER (Vol. 92, Issue No. 4)

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An Excerpt from Snow

by Dorianne Laux

It wasn’t snowing, and then it was,
like death, like my sister’s texts
that just stopped: I’m in the hospital
then a phone call: We did everything
we could: endocarditis, valve leakage,
her heart on heroin. She wasn’t addicted

and then she was, on and off, for years
her and her daughter, my niece, living
on the streets, every few weeks, a phone call:

Amazing issue.

Kudos, Prairie Schooner.

 

 

New Year, New Issues: Prairie Schooner and Calyx

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Just Arrived: Sunday, 6 January 2019

SPREAD THE WORD.

Excerpt: First Causes (Quarterly West # 89)

Yesterday, someone on Twitter posted a question to the Asian American writing community: share your 2018 achievements. Self’s response began with: “I am an experimental science fiction writer.” Which she’s sure had people scratching their heads.

To explain what she meant by “experimental science fiction writer”, here’s an excerpt from a story that Quarterly West published in Issue #89. The story takes place in a classroom of the future. The narrator is a boy named Dragon who is NOT a dragon. The professor, who really IS turning into a lizard, is named Fire Lizard. The other characters are Drinker, Knot, and Big. Big’s just gone missing.

Drinker says, low, “Big passed.”

I answer: “Fucker. Big’s not Big. He’s Big XXX. Mark it.” I slash three quick XXX’s across my screen. Knot looks to the side quickly, then glances down.

“The All-Powerful, the Everlasting,” I start to sing, lowly.

Drinker shudders, pulls slightly out of his seat.

“You!” Fire Lizard screams, pointing at Drinker. “What’s your issue?”

“Obscure,” Drinker mutters.

Fire Lizard’s eyes seem to bug out of his head. “Who remembers rain?” he shouts. “Last rain? Who remembers?”

I hold up my hand. “Ghost of,” I say. “243 days since.”

Self would like to take this opportunity to express her gratitude to Quarterly West for taking a chance and accepting this story. It’s wild, it’s crazy, it’s not easy to understand. But did she ever have fun writing it.

Stay tuned.

Sentence of the Day: Rachel Cusk

What all publishers were looking for, he went on — the holy grail, as it were, of the modern literary scene — were those writers who performed well in the market while maintaining a connection to the values of literature; in other words, who wrote books that people could actually enjoy without feeling in the least demeaned by being seen reading them.

Kudos, p. 37

The Story of Trees

First Tree: Great Beech, Fagus Sylvatica, Non native, Seeded around 1860

Writer: Olive Broderick

  • There is no going back. She is so deeply rooted here it’s hard to tell her from Oak and Ash in this delayed-spring grove.

The Trees of Kilbroney Park is a publication of Light 2000. A copy was mailed to self in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig by her friend, poet Csilla Toldy, who edited the book.

Stay tuned.

 

From Marilyn Butler’s Introduction to EMMA

Jane Austen was paid 300 GBP for Emma by the publisher, John Murray.  The title-page states only that it is ‘By the Author of Pride and Prejudice, etc. etc.’ An additional preliminary page gives the dedication to the Prince Regent ‘by his Royal Highness’s dutiful and obedient servant, the Author.’ The date is given as 1816 . . .  Two thousand copies were printed and 1,250 sold in the first year . . .

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