TGIF

OK, I know it’s Thursday. But this video makes me so insanely happy I can’t help myself!

Matt & Kim’s songs sound like walking around downtown Manhattan in summertime and this video is particularly magical.

Required Reading — Thisbe Nissen

Thisbe Nissen’s first novel, The Good People of New York, came out in 2001 and I remember buying it immediately and gobbling it up like Tasti-D-Lite in a waffle cone on a hot afternoon.

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Tomorrow Thisbe and her husband Jay Nicorvo (also a writer who works at CLMP and Ploughshares) are coming to UMass to host a forum on small press publishing as part of the WRITERS WORK & SMALL PRESS BONANZA series. In anticipation of their visit I pulled my copy of The Good People… off my bookshelf and am now re-reading it. It’s just as great as I remembered—funny, heartfelt, and the mother-daughter duo of Roz & Miranda are endearing yet complex. A great summer read!

Stop by Bartlett 316 tomorrow from 11:30 – 12:30 to meet Jay & Thisbe, learn more about the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses, and hear their advice on getting fiction published.

jubilat/Jones Update — Natalie Lyalin!

Breaking News! Due to scheduling conflicts, Lucie Brock-Broido is no longer able to come up to Amherst for this afternoon’s reading. Instead we are SO INSANELY LUCKY to have Natalie Lyalin read in her place. Natalie’s work has been published in Octopus, Coconut, La Petite Zine, Skein, Invisible Ear, and her first book, Pink and Hot Pink Habitat, is forthcoming from Coconut Books. She is the co-founder and co-editor of  the kickass online magazine GlitterPony.

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Come to the Jones Library today at 3pm to hear Natalie read with Timothy Donnelly. In the meantime, here’s a sneak peak at one of Natalie’s poems, previously published in Octopus:

A Kind Of Grace

The condition is human and the beating is the heart.  Why do the fathers not think before us. Do they realize that there are several impacts. We do not crash as they want us to.  Fathers do not think of crashes as they lead. Why do they know everything but walk past us. What happened to the holding. Here is a language barrier called “The Continental Drift and Plate Difference” Fuck. Fuck that moving sensation. I could have vomited up a better bucket but I held it for eight years. The language barrier is temporary. Read about the alligators in their natural habitat.

TGIF

This week, if you were to walk through 32 Cherry Street, you’d’ve witnessed Jack, Christy, and me at our desks typing away at our computers and all playing Neko Case’s new album Middle Cyclone on high volume. It’s just about the only thing I want to listen to right now, especially the short punch-to-the-gut song “I’m An Animal”. Here’s fun a promo movie with interviews and song clips:

Hinterland Film Festival

Yay! The Hinterland Film Festival is taking over the Book Mill this weekend and next!

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My friends Sara Blaylock & Brian Baldi are the co-founders and excellent arbiters of cinematic taste so it promises to be an excellent collection of short films. I have my tickets for Program 1 tomorrow night and Program 2 on Saturday night. (I think this weekend is already sold out but tickets are still available for next weekend.) I’m particularly excited for films my friends RB Glaser & Ryan MacDonald, as well as the possibility of meeting the mysterious committee member George Jablonski.

The Longest Long Weekend

An overabundance of it!

Friday

Jess Fjeld, Francesca Chabrier, & Jono Tosch KILLED IT at LiveLit.

Saturday

Amy Adams hosted a full evening of wholehearted entertainment in Chris Cheney’s barn.

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Chris Ward & Co. performed a play, David Bartone read his most incendiary poems, and the Cinnamon Urns (nee Young Cin & The Sexists) played the shit out of their cowboy aesthetic. Particular highlights were Anne Holmes on the oboe and Cutie Crutchfield’s cover of Neko Case’s “I Wish I Was The Moon” that broke all of our hearts at once. The whole evening felt a bit like falling into a Wes Anderson movie but only in the best possible sense.

Sunday

The most ambitious members of our Moby Dick book group went on a whaling expedition. We roadtripped to New Bedford where we readied our souls with libations then stormed the Whaling Museum, charming every docent in the place and closing it down.

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There are some enterprises in which careful disorderliness is the true method. The more I dive into this matter of whaling, and push my researches up to the very spring-head of it, so much the more am I impressed with its great honorableness and antiquity; and especially when I find so many great demi-gods and heroes of all sorts, who one way or other have shed distinction upon it, I am transported with the reflection that I myself belong, though but subordinately, to so emblazoned a fraternity. — Melville

Yes, it was just like that.

In honor of his birthday…

Congratulations, Seth Landman

You are my favorite person of the year.
Welcome spring pussy
willows. Let’s map the impermeable–
a ghost of a woman floating
above your bed. Valve or cartilage
You raise your hand and look much like a masthead
to me. The simplicity of tuna salad
between two slices of good
peasant bread. Sternum or breastplate
I am for serious about this
this time. Ribplexus or solarcage
Say boys will be basketballs.
Say they won’t. Whatever you do
don’t let it hit you in the heartbone.

Vesper Sparrow

On Monday I received the sad news that Deborah Digges passed away last weekend. Deb was a professor of mine at Tufts and a huge inspiration for me as a young poet—I took my first undergraduate poetry workshop with her. She was incredibly generous with her students, a beautiful poet, and one of the loveliest people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. Both her writing and her presence will be sorely missed.

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The last time I saw Deb was at a reading she gave as part of the jubilat/Jones Reading Series in Amherst a year ago last fall. She read all new work from a manuscript that will hopefully be published by Knopf next year. The poems were breathtaking and I remember her being very joyful, both at the reading and beforehand when we met for coffee.

As poets, she told us to memorize as many poems as we could, to “make them the marrow of our bones.” Here is one of my favorite of her poems that I will soon be learning by heart.

Trick Birds At The Carnival

They too have fallen out of the rapt original into now, nor could
they say how or why or circle the moment that once felt intended.
What is tameness? What does it mean to be tame? To be reckless
enough to trust any being–rooted, bound by less and less. That
dullness born of ravenous craving without pretense feeds on
distraction, accident, the indifferent cruelty or good will of
others it has forgot, knowing the forgetting but not the memory.