What a long August it was. It stretched out like a temporal cat in the sun from 28/7/2019 to… right now. Space and time was purred at in a satisfactory kind of way, bending them around what was once a weekly newsletter to appear as if the past year-and-a-bit was indeed, merely four weeks in the sunshine of 2019.
This isn’t a return to the weekly format, you’ll be pleased to hear. But more of a round up of the year-or-so I’ve been absent from your inbox. Shall we?
I’m going to have a break.
I recently noticed that Laura Olin’s newsletter takes August off, and as every book I have picked up recently has burst into flame in the heat, I have decided to do the same. It’s a bit of a hitzefrei.
When I return, refreshed and full of new words in September, I am going to stop sending you poetry on a Friday. Instead I will be sending you poetry once a month, maybe on a Sunday which seems like more of a poetry kind of day than Friday in in retrospect. This should…
Michael Akuchie’s You Are The One God Forgot uses a Russian doll of imagery to convey loneliness in absence. The imagery folds around one another, each line giving to the next, which readjusts the scale in each line — the island, the poem, the ruins.
Pair nicely with Kaveh Akbar’s Being In This World Makes Me Feel Like A Time Traveller which follows the sentiments here, with “When I wake, I ask God to slide into my head quickly before I do”.
Ducks, Newbury Port seems like a banger from the looks of this review
Unlike Michael’s poem above, or…
No real newsletter this week as I have been wandering around the highlands, or the mythical wandering kingdom of Foglandia, as it sometimes seems. I’m very pleased to have seen a lot of hyper local signs off one-track roads which simply read things like “Books!” or “Bookshop” with a hastily drawn arrow — as if the signwriter wanted to finish the work quickly so they too could enjoy “Books!” before the shop ran out. While most of the bookshops contained large sections which could have been titled “books about where you are, and what you are doing, right now” —…
Lydia Davis has a new piece in the New Yorker called Everyone Cried. Like a lot of Lydia’s work, the story picks at the little things that drive people mad. Through looking at these irritations in detail and amplifying the human reaction it is first suggested that these feelings are trivial, but once the scope of the story expands to include the pains of every person Lydia shows us the way that our society creates these small madnesses that will eventually break us.
Anne Carson has a kind of play after Samuel Beckett in Granta. Krapp Hour — a kind…
What is the point of any of committing something to a text? To remember without memory is one, to transmit an idea without being present to speak an idea another, to exist a little beyond our own physical bodies — a possible third.
Gut Text by Mike Corrao (which can be downloaded and read for free over here) is an experiment in submitting an identity to a text with a nihilist twist.
The text is an evolution of a way of thinking across a handful of cryptically-named identities — nn, ff, vv, yy, each of which has their own #existencegoals.
There are certain texts that grip you from the first instance — an arresting opening line, a surprising set up, an unusual voice leaping out from the page at you. Others, like Ash Before Oak by Jeremy Cooper has you turning pages with its gentle observation of the world which hang just outside of “plotting”. It tugs at the part of your brain which wants to put together a complete picture of what you’re being told — we are used to having the entire machine of a story slowly revealed to us. That is not the case here, we are…
The Anonymous Diary, an essay in The Paris Review by Kathryn Scanlan is a kind of confession about using someone else’s story in your own — and how that guilt can be alleviated by trying to reconnect the stranger to your reality.
The essay wanders through the use of this diary in Kathryn’s own work, and her attempts to find the owner of the diary or her family — and the odd corner of the internet she ends up in to find this connection.
Last year I saved some of my great grandmother’s diaries — all of them A7…
It’s an arresting opening line.
The story, by Hiromi Kawakami, translated by Allison Markin Powell is about the complicated relationship between loss, place, and moving on from that loss. Place here represents the private madness of loss, a space of transgressive ideas which sits in opposition to the public world. Enjoy it over at Guernica.
Tom Snarsky has put together a wonderful write up of two books from Moloko House. Some excerpt from the poems can be found here. I particularly like those from mead mania >:( by Louis Packard, which has a internet-irony vibe throughout.
High Spirits: A round of drinking stories is a short story anthology revolving around drinking, drunkenness and featuring alcohol more generally. Last weekend it won the 2019 Saboteur Awards for Best Anthology, and for good reason.
Each story connects the ways that we interact with alcohol with the cultural triggers for its enjoyment or abuse. Although it’s not as simple as that. The stories present the way that drinking bares some truths that are repressed by the daily pressures of society.
Here’s a snippet from Painting The Walls White by Michael Stewart