Friday, December 10, 2010

New Bluecast for Winter Break

Dear Bluelight readers,

We are taking a few weeks off from blogging as we close up shop for winter break.  But before we go, we wanted to leave you with a present. Mark Holden, author of the short story, "New Baby" has honored us with a reading of this story. It will be appearing in issue 32.2 which should be hitting shelves and mailboxes sometime within the month.  Every time I read this story it gives me chills. Enjoy!
       

                       
   
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If you haven't ordered your copy of 32.2 yet. It's not to late. Just click here.


p.s. Thanks to our tech-savvy intern Tara, you should be able to find the podcast via iTunes. & you can subscribe to the podcast at: http://inreview.podbean.com/feed

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Review from 32.1

The Scoundrel and the OptimistMaceo Montoya. The Scoundrel and the Optimist. Tempe, Arizona: Bilingual Review Press, 2009. $28 cloth (ISBN 978-1-931010-65-8), $18 paper (ISBN 978-1-931010-67-2), 266 pages.


Reviewed by Bradley Bazzle

Maceo Montoya’s debut novel, The Scoundrel and the Optimist, is about a runty teenager named Edmund (the optimist) and his drunken lout of a father, Filastro (the scoundrel). The novel’s first sentence establishes their relationship: “Of Filastro Augustín’s seven children, the only one he couldn’t bear to beat was his youngest son, Edmund.” Filastro spares Edmund because he hopes one of his children will take care of him in his old age. As a result, Edmund knows a Filastro quite different than the tyrant who abuses his mother and siblings. Most of the novel weaves deftly between the story of those siblings, who escape one by one to the United States, and the story of Edmund pursuing beautiful young Ingrid Genera by learning to play guitar. All this takes place in a small Mexican town peopled with eccentrics.

Don’t be fooled by the insipid jacket summary (“a hapless but irrepressible redheaded teen whose magnificent strength of spirit makes him a giant among men”); this is a vigorous book, full of humor and gnarled beauty, whose simple, furious language captures the world of a precocious adolescent. Jags of humorous dialogue ring true because Edmund simply has no filter. When Ingrid resists his advances, he blurts
that she looks like a horse. Why? Because she has “skinny bow legs.” The exchange is funny, but it also reveals the unthinking cruelty Edmund shows to those around him. In this way, Montoya draws a disturbing but essential parallel between knavish Edmund and boorish Filastro. Along the same lines, though Filastro is the adult and Edmund the child, there is something desperately childish about Filastro’s drunkenness: he uses peer pressure to drag his compadres on benders complete with jokey rules, benders that, in an adult world, prove deadly. One way to read the novel is as Edmund and Filastro’s journey from self-centered children to empathetic adults.

Montoya seems to delight in goofiness. Because of this, the novel’s minor characters, who aren’t burdened by interiority or narrative importance, stand out. The infamous loan shark, Tres Pasos, agrees to give Edmund his dead son’s guitar if the boy will listen to his best three hundred stories—funny, morally ambiguous anecdotes (a Mexican gangster version of the Arabian Nights) that pepper the novel. Ricardo the Notary makes his living typing letters from aging mothers to their children in the United States, adding morbid literary touches whenever possible. When he types “goodbye” letters from Filastro’s estranged children to Filastro, Ricardo interpolates his unsettled issues with his own father to hilarious effect. But the best of them all is Edmund’s cousin Jorge el Gato, called “the cat” because he may or may not have attempted, on a dare, intercourse with a cat. His is the unlikely voice of wisdom throughout the novel, dispensed over popsicles from the cart he pushes around town.

This novel comes to us from the Bilingual Review Press at Arizona State University, which publishes books “by or about U.S. Hispanics” (from their website: www.asu.edu/brp). Though The Scoundrel and the Optimist is successful because it’s a good story about engaging characters, it draws additional power from its cultural relevance. It’s no imaginative lark that Edmund is named Edmund, a name so Anglo that it barelyexists in the U.S., let alone Mexico. The name conjures the supremely English Edmund Bertram of Mansfield Park and Edmund Pevensie of The Chronicles of Narnia. The curious name, along with the humor and somewhat picaresque structure of The Scoundrel and the Optimist, places it in conversation with the coming-of-age novels of an earlier era, novels like Charles Dickens’s David Copperfield and Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Montoya seems to be asking the reader whether Edmund, but for his location in Mexico, is any different from the heroes of Dickens and Twain. The answer is no. And Montoya adds a twist to the coming-of-age form: Edmund never reads as a proxy for the brilliant young artist, stifled by the people around him and biding his time before writing a deeply moving novel about himself; instead, Montoya lampoons that tradition (and himself) in the wretched figure of Ricardo the Notary.

In the interest of honesty, I should set aside my praise and tell you that this is not a perfect novel. The abrupt prose style used in passages written from the point of view of Edmund bleeds into shorter passages from the points of view of adult characters, and as a result, the adults lack appropriate complexity. The mother, for instance, simply cries or is silent in reaction to Filastro’s cruelty, because the novel hasn’t given her language to express what are surely conflicted emotions. There is also a hooker with a heart of gold. Lastly, the ending may not be quite right, in that it’s convincing from the perspective of Edmund but not from the perspective of Filastro. But isn’t it the sign of a good book when you care if the ending is wrong?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Review from 32.1

Charles Simic. The Monster Loves His Labyrinth. Keene, New York: Ausable Press, 2008. $14.00 paper (ISBN 978-1-931337-40-3), 120 pages.

Reviewed by Ryan Teitman

In his newest book, The Monster Loves His Labyrinth, Charles Simic manages to squeeze between the cracks of traditional genre. The blocks of prose in this collection look like prose poems (most are only a paragraph long, or even a single line), but read like nonfiction. These pieces are Simic’s notebooks, and they give the reader an intimate and funny insight into the brainwork of one of the most formidable poets at work today.
The first of the book’s five sections is the most explicitly organized: very brief scenes of Simic’s time in Belgrade and Chicago. The dense language gives these short, essayistic recollections the feel of prose poetry:

Beneath the swarm of high-flying planes we were eating watermelon. While we ate the bombs fell on Belgrade. We watched the smoke rise in the distance. We were hot in the garden and asked to take our shirts off. The watermelon made a ripe, cracking noise as my mother cut it with a big knife. We also heard what we thought was thunder, but when we looked up, the sky was cloudless and blue.
While these sketches may lack length, they provide a vivid portrait of a childhood and a family, whether Simic recalls finding the lice-infested helmet of a dead German soldier, or his father buying him an expensive suit (which he can’t afford) after they’ve been long settled in America.

The second section shifts gears abruptly—the swiftly-told stories of the opening give way to a barrage of aphorisms and pithy notes. Simic often presents the reader with a single, beautiful image: “Utopia: A rich chocolate cake protected from flies by a glass bell.” But other times his work riffs on and challenges conventional wisdom: “‘You can not shoe a flea,’ Russians say. Whoever coined the proverb forgot about poets.”

Simic devotes the middle section of the book to a kind of ars poetica: his poetic views are laid out in witty dictums that convey a strong faith in poetry, including the belief that some of what makes poetry great is mystery. “God died and we were left with Emerson,” Simic writes. “Some are still milking Emerson’s cow, but there are problems with that milk.” There’s no elaboration on the specific defects of that transcendental brand of milk, but Simic slyly notes a few pages later (with a single line that reads like gospel truth): “Most poets do not understand their own metaphors.”

The final two sections of the book are the least defined, which, in part, makes them the most compelling. The viewpoints and history Simic builds in the opening sections become intertwined. He jumps from vignettes about his father to bold philosophical statements about poetry. And those leaps are some of the most intriguing moments—when we can see the notebook as Simic’s mind at work. A paragraph can work as a poetic manifesto and character sketch all at once:

It is possible to make astonishingly tasty dishes from the simplest ingredients. That’s my aesthetics. I’m the poet of the frying pan and my love’s little toes.

And while Simic may run roughshod over the notion of making a definable point, that isn’t his project. The lyricism of the brief—the moment—is the maze he wants to get lost in.
Simic thrives in this particular genre, which reads like a hybrid of poetry, essay, rulebook, and fable. His notebooks deftly sketch scenes from his childhood, then ably make declarations about the nature of poetry. At the beginning of the book, Simic recalls his teacher giving him chocolates after a violin lesson in Belgrade during World War II:

“Poor child,” she’d say, and I thought it had to do with my not practicing enough, my being dim-witted when she tried to explain something to me, but today I’m not sure that’s what she meant. In fact, I suspect she had something else entirely in mind. That’s why I am writing this, to find out what it was.

Simic never discovers what mysterious insight his violin teacher made after that lesson. But he applies that sense of urgency to the entirety of The Monster Loves His Labyrinth. Simic astutely—yet playfully—interrogates poetry, politics, and his own past. We may not ever find out why Simic wrote these notebooks, but we get to see the strange and wonderful workings of one of the great contemporary poets.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Driving, driven

Photo: supakali

Driving has always been, for better or worse, a significant part of my life. My parents would often take long road trips to visit family, for vacation, for business, for fun. And while travel could get boring very fast -- and frequently, the only thing to do was sleep -- I fell into the routine of staring out the window and wondering about the other people in cars, about the lit-up and the darkened windows in vast buildings, about the freeway bridges, the glimpses of cities at which we'd never pause. Back then, this kind of wondering about people and spaces shaped my impulse to write, I think. Who are you, where have you been, where are you going, what are these places, who was here?

I think you can do the same type of wondering as you walk, but it's much slower, the experience changed because you're in the landscape. In a car, light blurs, everything hurtles backward, there, here, here. You're just passing through, navigating by impression and accumulation. Maybe I'd call this a type of pre-writing.

Readers, how do you pre-write?

--dk

Monday, November 29, 2010

Holiday Cheer!

So Thanksgiving is over.... the holiday where we remember what we are thankful for and eat a lot of cranberry sauce is immediately followed by the holiday of: What am I going to buy So-and-so for Christmas/Hanukkah/Holiday of your choice?  There will be long lines at stores, silver wrapping paper, tinny music about reindeer, fights in the parking lot over the last empty space.  Ah, maybe my view of the holidays is a bit bleak. Maybe December like Thanksgiving can be a great excuse to remember why we do the things we do, and the people around us while we are doing those things.

(play the cheesy [but heartfelt] music)

I personally am thankful for Indiana Review...and all the literary magazines out there. I am thankful because words are important. Sharing words, being moved by words, discovering new things about yourself and the world through literary works.  I am thankful that I get to be part of something so revolutionary as printing words on the page.

Like everyone out there, I could make a pitch to buy a subscription (or copy of) Indiana Review for all your holiday gift needs, but I'm not quite going to do that. I'm going to say, this:

If you are are a fan, reader, or writer and are thankful for communities supporting current literary stuffs, support by doing a few of the following:
--Write!
--Read!
--Send your own work out for consideration.
--Subscribe to Indiana Review or any other journal that suits your word-fancy.
--Print copies of your favorite poems by your favorite authors and send them with your holiday cards.
--Buy books at the independent bookstore in your town.
--Read out loud! to your loved ones!
--Subscribe to Indiana Review or any other journal that suits your word-fancy.

Support what you are thankful for so as to make sure it will continue to exist. Also, if your sick of waiting in lines and don't know what to get your BFF or your mother, why not give the gift that arrives in thier mailbox twice a year, no lines!

--aks

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Featured Poetry Website: linebreak.org

Poetry People,

For this installment of our occasional series on poetry websites, we bring you linebreak.org . Linebreak is a weekly online magazine featuring original poems with a special twist-- each poem is read and recorded by another working poet selected by the editors. Not only are the featured poems solid, but hearing them in a voice other than the author's can be a pleasure. 

Here are a few links to former contributors of IR featured on Linebreak:

D.A. Powell read by Geoffrey Brock
http://linebreak.org/poems/crab-louse/

Bob Hicok read by Ash Bowen
http://linebreak.org/poems/american-history/

C. Dale Young read by D.A. Powell
http://linebreak.org/poems/or-something-like-that/

Traci Brimhall read by Jeff Simpson
http://linebreak.org/poems/falling/


Enjoy,

Keith Leonard
Poetry Editor


Get Ready

IR readers,

Go to fullsize image
If you’re going to be in New York City this Thursday, November 18th, check out Gerald Stern at the Poets House at 7 P.M., for a reading and discussion of his work with Indiana Review supporter and contributor Ross Gay. It’s ten dollars general submission, seven dollars for students and seniors, free to Poets House Members.

If I was heading back to New York for Thanksgiving earlier, I’d be there. A Gerald Stern reading is always amazing.



Only T-minus 168 hours until T-Day

Kurian

Thursday, November 11, 2010

But what is it?

Scan from Oletheros. Gaiman, Neil and Dave McKean. Signal to Noise. Dark Horse, reprinted 2007. (ISBN: 978-1593077525)


Comics have always intrigued me. And sequential art. And graphic novels. Or, generally, any interaction between still visuals and text (film being another creature). In the literary world, the idea of hybridization is a contentious one, and by extension, the idea of categorization. Fictional memoirs, story-poems (prose poem? short short?) -- how do we define pieces? Why do we define them?

It's been said that a piece is what the author calls it, or maybe a piece doesn't have to fit into a genre. Does it have to fit into just one, or can a piece work in multiple categories? I'm not sure.


I bring up this idea of classification because recently, I had a conversation with a poet friend about trying to create an illustrated fiction piece. He was thinking about integrating art into a poem. Neither of us were interested in writing responses to visual art that's already been created, or ekphrasis, but making something that was new, visually and textually. But we talked about the difficulty of attempting this (neither of us felt visual-savvy), and then we thought about general reactions to this specific type of hybridization. That is, to many, the act of adding art to text (illustrations or visuals to a short story or a poem or novel) is somehow equated to "dumbing it down."

The reverse is true, too. How many studio artists and teachers and historians consider comics and any type of cartooning style a "dumbing down" of art? Somehow, adding text to art is often considered a juvenile move.

Either it's illustrated prose -- why read a graphic novel when you can read a novel? -- or it's captioned art. There is something inherently "easy" about a visual/textual collaboration because the implication is that it's no longer pure visual or pure text, because most of us are used to deconstructing and analyzing and enjoying things on a certain set of aesthetics or terms. And to condescend something that utilizes both visual and text on the grounds that either element should be able to stand on its own, isn't productive.

Dear readers, what books have you come across that work both visually and textually? I've been meaning to check out William Gass's The Tunnel and Umberto Eco. Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is a favorite of mine.

--dk

Monday, November 8, 2010

New Bluecast: Patrick Rosal


In the newest edition of our Bluecast, Patrick Rosal reads his poem "The Tradition of Pianos" which will be featured in our soon-to-be-printed Winter issue, 32.2! If you aren't subscribed to receive this issue, its not too late. Click Here.

       

                             
  
 



This poem gives me goosebumps every time I hear it. Thanks, Patrick, for taking a minute to record for us your awesome poem, and the process of writing it.

--aks

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Jazzy Poetry

Poetry Peoples,
This morning was a cup and tea and moved to the rhythm of a slow jazz riff. Don't you love those mornings? Let's do a little jig to two jazzy videos from youtube for this installment of poetry on the interwebs. Relax, feel a little somber with Langston, feel a little ecstatic with Jack.







 Best wishes,

Keith

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Ain't That Peculiar

Congratulations to our Indiana Review Intern Tara Johnson winner of our tri-annual 2010 Costume Contest for her costume “Issue 22, Number 2: pencil drawn woman in mustache and glasses.”


The mustache says cool, mysterious, and maybe a tad dangerous, giving contrast to the glasses, which shows a willingness to be playful.

Much like the issue itself, which features the 1999 Indiana Review Poetry Prize Winner Nils Michals “Revolving Around Tycho Brahe” Wenceslas Square.”

The winning picture will be the facebook photo.

Congratulations Tara
-Editors

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I Second That Emotion

Dan Chaon is the judge for the 2010 Indiana Review fiction prize. Last January I had the fortunate opportunity to attend a master class of his and one of the most reflective moments came when he discussed his writing process. He said he sometimes worked on multiple projects at once, going each day to what spoke to him. I found it similar to my own process, where six out of seven days in the week a look at my computer screen will give a glimpse of eight or nine opened documents, all in different states of completion. It’s funny how there’s a certain comfort as a writer knowing that what you’re doing is not that different from someone else.


When I’m working through a writing slump I often turn to the words of my favorite authors to get me going.

Here are a few:

"I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all."

-Black Boy (Richard Wright)

“The writer’s business is to make up convincing human beings and create for them basic situations and actions by means of which they come to know themselves and reveal themselves to the reader.”

-The Art of Fiction (John Gardner)

“Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open. Your stuff starts out being just for you, in other words, but then it goes out. Once you know what the story is and get it right — as right as you can, anyway — it belongs to anyone who wants to read it. Or criticize it.”

-On Writing (Stephen King)


What’s your process? What are some of your favorite quotes on writing?

-Kurian

Monday, October 25, 2010

Imagination Exercise

When I was a kid, I was afraid of growing up because I thought I might lose my imagination. This caused me a great deal of anxiety until my mom bought me a magnet with the famous Lewis Carroll quote from Alice in Wonderland:
"I can't believe that!" said Alice.

"Can't you?" the queen said in a pitying tone. "Try again, draw a long breath, and shut your eyes."

Alice laughed. "There's no use trying," she said. "One can't believe impossible things."

"I dare say you haven't had much practice," said the queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

This quote and my third grade P.E. class taught me that with a little exercise I didn't need to be afraid of growing up. My imagination was a muscle just like my biceps.  So, I'd like us all to flex our imagination muscles this Halloween. IR needs a costume idea! Dress up one of your copies IR in a costume and we will post the most imaginative ones as our Facebook profile pic. Send photos to inreview (at) indiana.edu with "Costume Contest" in the subject line.

Have an imaginative day!

--Alessandra

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Featured Poetry Website: Fishousepoems.org

Hello poetry peoples,

For this installment in our occasional series highlighting poetry on the interwebs, we bring you "From the Fishouse: An Audio Archive of Emerging Poets" (fishousepoems.org). It's a site known to many, but certainly not enough. Fishousepoems.org offers a hearty helping of readings by poets mostly with one or two books, such as Matthew Zapruder, Matthew Dickman, Sandra Beasley, John Murillo, and so on into a vast nebula of other exciting poets. I strongly suggest you check it out. Satisfaction Guaranteed.

Click on the picture below to be redirected to fishousepoems.org:



Best wishes,

Keith

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Cheers!

We're delighted to extend our congratulations to a former contributor, Dan Beachy-Quick! His collection, This Nest, Swift Passerine, was a finalist for the 2010 PEN USA Literary Award in Poetry! His poem, titled "Poem (Achilles' Shield)," was featured in issue 31.2 of IR.



--dk

Friday, October 15, 2010

National Book Award Finalists Announced!

Terrance Hayes featured in issue 30.1 in the Funk Feature was named a 2010 National Book Award Finalist for his book Lighthead 


In his fourth collection, Terrance Hayes investigates how we construct experience. With one foot firmly grounded in the everyday and the other hovering in the air, his poems braid dream and reality into a poetry that is both dark and buoyant. Cultural icons as diverse as Fela Kuti, Harriet Tubman, and Wallace Stevens appear with meditations on desire and history. We see Hayes testing the line between story and song in a series of stunning poems inspired by the Pecha Kucha, a Japanese presenta­tion format. This innovative collection presents the light- headedness of a mind trying to pull against gravity and time. Fueled by an imagination that enlightens, delights, and ignites, Lighthead leaves us illuminated and scorched.

Check out all the finalist here.  Or order a back issue of the Funky 30.1 to get a taste of Terrance Hayes and other fine writers.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Readings at IU!

We invite you to a reading by Karen McElmurray tonight in Bloomington, hosted by IU's MFA Creative Writing Program:

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 13 AT 6:00 P.M.
Neal-Marshall Black Cultural Center
Bridgewater Lounge

Karen Salyer McElmurray’s newest novel is The Motel of the Stars (2008 Sarabande Books).  The novel has been nominated for The Weatherford Prize in Fiction, was a Lit Life Novel of the Year and was named Editor’s Pick by Oxford American. She is also the author of Surrendered Child: A Birth Mother’s Journey, recipient of the AWP Award for Creative Nonfiction, as well as Strange Birds in the Tree of Heaven, winner of the Chaffin Award for Appalachian Writing.  Associate Professor in Creative Writing at Georgia College and State University, McElmurray is Creative Nonfiction Editor for Arts and Letters: A Journal of Contemporary Culture.  

---

And! You're also invited to a reading by Mark Strand tomorrow:

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 14 AT 5:30 P.M.
Fine Arts Lecture Hall 015

Mark Strand was born on Canada's Prince Edward Island on April 11, 1934. He received a B.A. degree from Antioch College in Ohio in 1957 and attended Yale University, where he was awarded the Cook prize and the Bergin prize. After receiving his B.F.A. degree in 1959, Strand spent a year studying at the University of Florence on a Fulbright fellowship. In 1962 he received his M.A. degree from the University of Iowa. He is the author of numerous collections of poetry, including Man and Camel (Knopf, 2006); Blizzard of One (1998), which won the Pulitzer Prize; Dark Harbor (1993); The Continuous Life (1990); Selected Poems (1980); The Story of Our Lives (1973); and Reasons for Moving (1968).

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Can I Get A Witness


Sampsonia Way has a great interview on their website featuring Sapphire author of the novel Push, which was adapted into the Academy Award nominated Precious. I highly recommended you check it out.

Click on the picture for the website:



Don’t forget the 2010 Indiana Review fiction prize deadline is coming up fast. October 15 is the last day to submit! So send that story burning a hole in your computer!
-Kurian

Monday, October 4, 2010

Now you can sing America too!

Poetry peoples,

I just stumbled on this website and had to share. It's that priceless. For the third installment of our poetry on the web, I bring you "Off the Charts: Web Karaoke." The good folks at PBS have created a website devoted to turning your poetry into song. With this website, you can plug in your poem, hear a tune, and record your beautiful voice. Enjoy and you're welcome.

Click on the picture for the website:


Best,

-Keith

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Something to celebrate!

Fall has arrived (I missed the Super Harvest Moon -- did anyone see it?!), coffee consumption is at an all-time high, and the stack of Fiction Prize submissions is vast and growing vaster.

It's come to our attention that a former contributor, Jeff Hoffman, from issue 29.1, won the 2010 New Issues Poetry Prize for his manuscript, Journal of American Foreign Policy. We're thrilled about this news -- the manuscript will be published in spring 2011! Congratulations, Jeff!

Going back to issue 29.1, an excerpt from Hoffman's "Victory Crowd," which is -- ironically -- about a different sort of victory:
The Marriott explodes in a filth of balloons
and confetti. Rachel sickles a hand
to my ear: We won, etc. I love you, etc.

--dk

Photo by Andy Keels

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Cultural Studies by Kevin A. Gonzalez reviewed by Marcus Wicker

Kevin A. Gonzalez. Cultural Studies. Pittsburg, Pennsylvania: Carnegie Mellon Press, 2009. $14.00 paper (ISBN 978-0-88748-493-3), 90 pages.

Reviewed by Marcus Wicker

In his debut collection, Cultural Studies, Kevin Gonzalez fleshes out and amps up many of the already strong poems from his 2007 chapbook, The Night Tito Trinidad KO’ed Ricardo Mayorga. Employing the second person “you” as a stand in for the “I,” Gonzalez writes as a Puerto Rico-born MFA poet, educated in the U.S. Cultural Studies articulates a recurring speaker’s love and distrust of identity and America as a rosy melting pot.
Cultural Studies is a book about voice, and it sounds like a poet’s heart occupying space between Puerto Rico and the States, pondering the self. Ars poetica “Flat American Waltz” introduces this idea:

Beneath the cracked roof of the bus shelter,
where a school of cigarette butts gathers

to worship the thin lines of the sidewalk,
a man is muttering a cliché as deep

as the best metaphor you could conjure
for America. It’s all been done before.

Gonzalez insidiously calls attention to the self (the speaker, talking in clichés) by juxtaposing clichéd cigarette butts with the man muttering a cliché concerning America. This redundancy mirrors the act of writing a poem—the notion that, from subject matter to craft, no idea is original. What’s original about Gonzalez’s work follows two couplets later:

Let’s talk about accents, tongues

curling up as they hit the base of the pot.
The black smoke of the bus assimilates

into black air. Let’s all believe in the place
These hard plastic seats are taking us.

A kind of “accent,” or voice here, is celebrated in the poet’s fresh imagistic rendering of an old adage—the cigarette butts become a school, gathered to worship the sidewalk crack. Black smoke serves as a metaphor for the writer’s own identity—a convergence of languages and cultural points of reference. Throughout the book, as in the final couplet, Gonzalez seems to be talking himself into believing that a bicultural identity is natural. However, Gonzalez is also a truth teller; his poems are willing to admit the complexity of identity and nationality.
The speaker’s life in Cultural Studies can be traced from childhood to college to graduate school and back to Puerto Rico. In “Poet Laureate Guest Stars on The Simpson’s” the speaker, at ten years old in San Juan, makes frequent early exits from the baseball diamond to watch dubbed American television in an overcrowded apartment building. Daily, he ran past an old man “who walked so close to death / he must have already missed himself” to watch Homer struggle with a clip-on tie and Marge gamble away Lisa’s college fund on The Simpsons. Near the middle of the narrative, Gonzalez begins to critically assess the show’s impact:

. . . Youth was
however long it took to learn
nobody loans without borrowing something
in return. For you, Homer was Homero
& Santa’s Little Helper was Huesos,
& somewhere, kids deterred
by the bent acoustics of your tongue
referred to Samuel Sosa as Sammy,

In making the English-speaking cartoon character his own (Homero), the poet also relinquishes a bit of his own identity. By westernizing Latin American baseball star Samuel Sosa’s name for his friends, the speaker takes part in the process of assimilation. By the poem’s end, Gonzalez wishes to return to the baseball diamond—“it’s foul poles / two bent palm trees.” But he cannot; the “beachfront lot is now a Walgreens.” Through suggestion, Walgreens becomes a metaphor for the seemingly acquiescent speaker.
In “Cultural Strumpet,” the speaker recounts college, explaining “you were still / a Poli-Sci major. You wore T-shirts / with portraits of patriots on the front / & told girls how Che Guevara, baby, / was buried beneath the Fountain of Youth.” Juxtaposed with lines like “The Puerto Rican girl said, You’re so militant / the black girl said, You’re so white / the white girl said, You’re so white / and there was no arguing in Pittsburgh [where Gonzalez attended college],” the reader sees a man outwardly struggling with identity, momentarily conceding to the girls’ collective judgments. Paired with a poem like “Cultural Sellout” where the speaker longingly proclaims “Pablo [Neruda] was not the kind of poet / who googles his own name,” we view the American notion of fame interfering with the poet accessing his identity as a writer of Spanish descent.
Through a narrative, “Cultural Stud” portrays the speaker returning to his native Puerto Rico after college. At Frenchie’s nightclub, a Columbian waitress sparks a realization:

She wants to be an American citizen
& you are tired of being
a graffittied wall
forgiving the humid caresses
of your vandals. You tell her
it's true: you have a token to feed
to the rusted turnstile of heaven
but you have no lube to make it turn.

To the waitress, the speaker’s birthright becomes more important than his poetic flattery. Nothing will cure the author’s sense of cultural dislocation; neither drinking cases of Medalla, Puerto Rico’s national beer, nor his knowledge of American cartoons. However, in Cultural Studies, the poet’s tongue—his diglossic, melancholy, narrative exploration of a conflicted bicultural identity—allows a reader space to try on the author’s blues. Winding yet taut, candid and crafted, intelligent but never obnoxious, Gonzalez celebrates and laments cultural dislocation in a wildly honest voice.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A few of my favorite things....

You might not be able to see it, but I believe this blue man lifting weights while dancing has something to tell us:
Don't forget to floss. Don't forget to exercise. Don't forget eat your spinach (or kale, chard, or other leafy greens). Don't forget to plan out your Halloween costume and don't forget to submit to the IR Fiction Prize. and Don't forget to scroll over to the left and peruse our Bluecast.


Thanks to our fabulous and hardworking intern Tara we've sidestepped earlier technical difficulties and are able to make them available again. Yay!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

You Beat Me To The Punch

I fell in love with the music of Motown this summer, thanks to a class on the history of the record company taught by Professor Charles Sykes. After six weeks of listening (and awkwardly dancing in private) to the Miracles, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, the Supremes, the Temptations, and  other Motown artists, I understand what it means for older generations to shake their head and say music isn’t the same anymore.


In the age of auto tunes, it’s easy to forget that good music should tell a story. Motown's founder Berry Gordy, who started as a songwriter, attributed their success to a firm belief in how a song should be structured. And while listening to this in class, I couldn’t help but draw parallels to the fiction writer:

Narrative Elements in the Motown Sound

Context: when, where, under what circumstance
Thesis: theme—conflict
Antithesis: conflicting ideas—antagonist
Synthesis: resolution, clarification
Moral: proverb, something to live by
Figurative language: simile, metaphor, figurative language


Thanks to my fellow Indiana Review editor DK, who reminded me in her post earlier this week that every experience informs our fiction—what we write and the way we write. So although good music tells a story, a good story gives you the feeling of experiencing music.

This is for you DK

Mary Wells – You Beat Me to the Punch (Written and produced by Smokey Robinson and Ronald "Ronnie" White)



That day, I first saw you passing by
I wanted to know your name but I was much too shy

But I was looking at you so hard
Until you must have had a hunch
So you came up to me and asked me my name

You beat me to the punch that time
You beat me to the punch
You beat me to the punch
After I hadn't known you for it seems like a long, long time
I wanted, wanted to ask you, would you please, please be mine

Whenever you came around, my heart would pound
So you must have had a hunch
So you came up to me and asked me to be yours

You beat me to the punch one more time
You beat me to the punch
You beat me to the punch, yeah

Since I love you, I thought you would be true
And love me tender
So I let my heart surrender
To you, yes, I did

But I found out beyond a doubt one day, boy, you were a playboy
Who would go away and leave me blue

So I ain't gonna wait around for you to put me down
This time I'm gonna play my hunch
And walk away this very day

And beat you to the punch this time
And beat you to the punch this time
I'll beat you to the punch, yes, I will
And let you know, know, how it feels


P.S. If you can’t tell by the titles of my blog post, this will definitely be a Motown themed year.


P.S.S Deadline for the Indiana Review Fiction Prize is October 15. Please submit. You know you want to.
http://indianareview.org/general/prizes/fictprizeguidelines10.html

-Kurian

Monday, September 20, 2010

Alliteration is always appealing...!

Panel from The Amazing Spider-Man #24 by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, page 2

1960s superhero comics are fascinating time capsules. I find them an often ludicrous read, particularly because characters can only speak in exclamation points! This makes everything dynamic! And dire! Recently, for a class, I've been looking at meta-narration in this particular Spidey era. The narrator isn't a tangible entity here, yet the voice is so strikingly loud. It talks to us, questions us, cajoles us. It's as if we're embarking on an adventure, buckling our metaphorical seatbelts for the ride to start: "And awaaay we go...!"

Certainly, it's been a trope of pulp fiction for the narrator to act as sports commentator or circus ringleader. It's a marker of serial drama, of to-be-continued soap operas. The author, whether one person or a team, wants you to wait desperately for what happens next -- while continually summarizing, explicating. On the other hand, literary fiction is usually more subtle. First-person narrators may address their audience, but usually the narrator is invisible, or situated closer to the perspective of one character. So what's the value of looking at these showing-and-telling comics?

For me, they're a reminder of how fiction should make us feel. We should be insistently, urgently engaged with the text, asking our own questions, feeling the full crazy weight of something happening, someone else's interiority, some other setting we may recognize or one we don't know at all. The Spidey panel is not necessarily an exciting one. It's Peter Parker's house. No one menacing is at the other end of the door. Everything is as domestic as possible. But the narrator's voice floods the panel, an energizing force -- there is possibility here. There is huge promise. Awaaay we go...! And I think this is how we should feel as writers and as readers, even if we may not be dealing with madcap supervillains who dress as giant scorpions.

I remember a more recent, familiar incarnation of this can be found in Christopher Nolan's 2008 film, The Dark Knight. In a pivotal scene, the Joker whispers, "And here we... go!" to himself and to Batman, but the phrase also works to goad the audience. That dialogue clip was featured prominently in the movie trailers, implying peril, implying tension. The "we" commands us. We are waiting. We are ready.

--dk

Thursday, September 16, 2010

What's Out There





Here on the Indiana Review blog we have a label called "Yay us exclamation mark" and we use it whenever we have happy news about contributors or issues. This week on NewPages.com our beautiful Issue 32.1 was featured on their Literary Magazines Reviews right next to our AWP book fair neighbors the Los Angeles Review. You can read the reviews here

If you still haven't gotten your hands on a copy of our blue feature you can buy a copy online and have it mailed personally to you! (I know the U.S.P.S. has been in service since 1775, but I still find it a to be a small marvel every time mail arrives at my door where there are hundreds of doors on my street, hundreds of streets in my town, hundreds of towns in my state...)

--aks

Monday, September 13, 2010

Featured Poetry Website: Motionpoems.com

Hey all,

This week's featured poetry website is motionpoems.com. Motionpoems a collaboration between poet Todd Boss (his first collection Yellowrocket was published by Norton a couple years ago and was stellar. Check it out if you haven't already) and artist Angella Kassube. While relatively new, Motionpoems.com has produced some absolutely beautiful graphic reditions of poems. It's also drawn (yes, terrible pun intended) such poetic giants as Jane Hirshfield, Marvin Bell, and Robert Bly.

Below are a few of my favorites. (To copy the url, I had to go to youtube. Go to motionpoems.com for the actual site and better quality videos.)

Click Here for Tim Nolan's "Old Astronauts"


Click HERE for Freya Manfred's "Swimming into Winter"


 

Click HERE for Todd Boss' "The God of Our Farm Had Blades"



Best wishes,

Keith


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Let’s Get it On

My name is Kurian. I’m the new Fiction Editor of the Indiana Review. While officially this is my first month on the job, I’ve been combing through submissions all summer, and I’m very impressed by the variety of work being sent into IR. Despite the rumors, you all are proof fiction still survives.

So keep submitting!

What I’m excited for most this year:

• Reading submissions

• The 2010 Fiction Prize and working with Dan Chaon (Submit, Submit, Submit)
    http://indianareview.org/general/prizes/fictprizeguidelines10.html

• Issue 32.1 (Coming winter 2010)

• AWP in Washington, D.C

I look forward to reading your work!

-K.A.J

Monday, September 6, 2010

Poetry on the Interwebs!

Greetings, fine people of the internets,



As the new Poetry editor of IR, I have the distinct pleasure of blogging poetry related news to you weekly. This is a good thing, since much of my writing procrastination involves wandering aimlessly around the web, finding audio or visual poetry to charge the lazy synapses. For this first week, I’d like to highlight a website I can never get enough of: bornmagazine.org. Bornmagazine.org is a website that brings writers and graphic artists together to collaborate on beautiful graphic interpretations of a text. Below are a few I particularly admire.



Click Here for April Kopp's poem "Whether It Suffered, or It Did"



And Here for Esther Lee's (a former IR Editor) "The Blank Missives"



And finally Here for Ander Monson's "Index for X and the Origin of Fires"


Best wishes,

Keith Leonard

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The missing

Photo by Zeromusta

We did put up the bio of our 2010 Fiction Prize judge, Dan Chaon, but we wanted to talk some more about his work! I especially found his 2001 short story collection, Among the Missing, a startling and unsettling read. There are definitely themes at work here, metaphoric doors left hanging ajar, things missing and unexplained, disappearances, abductions, gaps in time and memory. The moments in these stories don't always form linear, clear-cut epiphanies. But the moments do draw us in, provoke us to ask questions, and imprint themselves into our consciousnesses. They surprise. They linger. They're  powerful because they remind us of our own fears and relationships, the times we open newspapers and see a blurb about a tragedy in our neighborhood, our cities. The stories examine how people deal with what's missing in their lives.

His novel, Await Your Reply, published just last year, is similarly concerned with questions and issues of identity, secrets, runaways, coincidences. The title alludes to a spam email that you might get after foolishly submitting your electronic address somewhere. (We get tons of those emails, by the way -- every version you can think of. An elderly woman who begins with "Dear," an African prince, a government, a billionaire...) You don't know who's on the other end, who's waiting for you to respond.

--dk

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

All Steam Ahead

Yesterday, we officially opened Poetry and Nonfiction. So if you spent all summer revising, revisiting, revisioning, revamping, reviewing, reading your essays and poetry now's the time to submit your work to us. We're open. Click here for guidelines.

Also, its FICTION PRIZE season at Indiana Review We're super stoked to have Dan Chaon as our final judge this year. Check out the details here for a chance to win $1000 and publication. All who submit will also receive a year subscription!
--aks

Monday, August 23, 2010

From the Blue - Contributors Read & Recommend #4

Back-to-school shopping is raging here in Bloomington; it's time for defensive cart steering down the aisles of every store! Don't forget to pick up some reads while your out and about. And if you haven't already seen the summer issue, its not too late to get your own copy. Today on our reading series, Erika Meitner, poet featured on our bluecast and in 32.1 shares with us what books are catching her eye and a great gift idea. Her newest book, Ideal Cities, just came in the mail to our office. I'm looking forward to reading it!

Which upcoming book releases are you most looking forward to?
There are so many good books due out this fall! In poetry, I can’t wait to get my hands on Matthew Zapruder’s Come on All You Ghosts (Copper Canyon). Also Jason Schneiderman’s Striking Surface, Sean Thomas Dougherty’s Sasha Sings the Laundry on the Line (BOA), and Julie Carr’s Sarah — of Fragments and Lines (Coffee House). Julie’s 100 Notes on Violence ( Ahsahta Press) is also on my to-read shelf. And Sarah Vap’s Faulkner’s Rosary (Saturnalia Books). I’m also ridiculously excited for Laurel Snyder’s forthcoming kids’ book, Baxter, The Pig Who Wanted to be Kosher (I have a three-year-old son, so we read a lot of children’s books). And Ghita Schwarz’s novel Displaced Persons (HarperCollins) sounds remarkably similar to my family’s history, so I can’t wait to read that (due out any day now). Would it be totally gauche to say that I’m very much looking forward to my own book release too, any day now (Ideal Cities, HarperCollins)?

What are you reading right now?
I’m right in the middle of Lighthead (Penguin), by Terrance Hayes. “The Golden Shovel” is a devastatingly perfect poem. When I finish that I’m hoping to start in on my friend Susanna Daniel’s novel Stiltsville (HarperCollins), which just came out a few days ago, and is en route to my house via amazon.com.

What else have you been reading this summer?
I just finished Carrie Fountain’s book Burn Lake (Penguin), and adored it. I also just finished re-reading both Anna Journey’s book, If Birds Should Gather Your Hair for Nesting (UGA Press), and Gabrielle Calvocoressi’s Apocalyptic Swing (Persea Books)--both stunning. I’ve been mailing either Rachel Zucker’s Museum of Accidents (Wave Books) or Jehanne Dubrow’s Stateside (Northwestern U Press) to friends as thank you gifts because I thought they were so terrific that I had to share them. Everyone should give poetry as thank you gifts!

Friday, August 13, 2010

From the Blue - Contributors Read & Recommend #3

The summer semester is winding down, hot and quick, and so ends the term of current interns. Of course I'm sad, but trying not to show it, and I'll miss the office and my fellow interns and editors. Luckily, though, another crop is just around the corner, not to mention our Blue issue (32.1), which is out and making a ruckus. We are very excited about this issue!

In round 3 of our contributor interview series we spoke with Curtis Bauer, a poet whose "Colony Collapse Disorder" appeared in our latest issue. Curtis' poems and translations have been published and are forthcoming in The American Poetry Review, Ninth Letter, Fulcrum, and Barrow Street, among others. He won the John Ciardi Poetry Prize for his poetry collection, Fence Line, and has been a finalist for the New Letters Poetry Prize, The Willis Barnstone Translation Prize, and the Glimmer Train Poetry Open. He is the publisher and editor of Q Ave Press Chapbooks and teaches creative writing and translation at Texas Tech University.

What are you reading right now?
A few weeks ago a friend sent me a little gem of a book called The Proust Project. I’ve been reading through that, considering the passages from Proust’s work and what the essayists have to say about those passages. Reading Proust makes one reflect on the past, consider how the present is woven with threads of lived and imagined experiences.... It makes me want to go back and read Swann’s Way again, and The Guermantes Way, just a few pages, but I know “just a few pages” is impossible with Proust. I’ve worked my way through Camille Dungy’s amazing anthology, Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry; I’m teaching it in the fall, but I would recommend this book to everyone; I love the introduction, the section essays, the poems, and how she’s organized the book. Though it’s a short book and I started it earlier this spring, I’m still reading Fermat’s Last Theorem: Unlocking the Secret of an Ancient Mathematical Problem, by Amir Aczel; my Dean at Texas Tech recommended it to me: he’s a mathematician and reads poetry, so I thought it’s the least I could do...read a little about math. And I’ve borrowed a few books from my father’s shelves recently: Lucian Freud: Some Thoughts on Painting; The Microscripts, by Robert Walser; Sorgegondolen, by Tomas Tranströmer; and Charles Wright’s Scar Tissue.


What else have you been reading this summer?
This summer I’ve been reading a mix of books in English and Spanish, many of them translations from other languages. When I was in Spain I read the Bernofsky translation of Robert Walser’s The Tanners, with a spectacular introduction by W.G. Sebald which is almost as good as the book, and I dabbled in Speaking to the Rose (also Walser). I like this last book for its brief essay-like pieces; they’re good lessons in observation, especially when living in another country. I’ve dabbled a bit in the novel/memoir Bilbao—New York—Bilbao by the Basque author Kirmen Uribe, but I’ve set it aside for later. I picked up a book of collage poetry by Herta Muller called Die blassen Herren mit den Mokkatassen, translated into Spanish; it’s a sort of art book and poetry book in one...fascinating. I’ve been flipping through a new translation (into Spanish) of the Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer called El cielo a medio hacer (translated by Roberto Mascaró with an excellent prologue by the Spanish poet, Carlos Pardo).

While I’m thinking of Spanish poets, I’ll mention a great...no, a spectacular anthology of young Spanish poets called La inteligencia y el hacha, compiled by Luis Antonio de Villena. That collection set me onto the work of Luis Muñoz, Carlos Pardo, Elena Medel, Julita Valero, Jorge Gimeno, Lorenzo Plana, Juan Andrés García Román, Andrés Navarro, Mariano Peyrou, Antonio Lucas...and many more. Of course I’m also reading the new selected poetry of Juan Antonio González Iglesias, since I’m translating it into English, as well as the book Leve Sangre by the Mexican poet Jeannette Clariond.

Strangest book/article/thing you've ever read?
One of the strangest articles I’ve ever read is one that I had to cut out and carry in my wallet—this was more than a decade ago, and since then I’ve lost the article...along with a few wallets. Not only was I certain no one would believe me if I were to recount the story, but I was also fascinated by the fact that a newspaper would publish such an article, that it was considered “newsworthy.” I was living in northern Spain at the time, and reading a range of papers every week. One day I came across an article in El Diario Vasco about a Columbian child (perhaps 3 years old) with a man-sized penis. The report was so dry I thought it was either a joke or that I wasn’t understanding it correctly. I read it again and again, and I understood everything perfectly. The oddest thing was the last sentence, which went something like this: “The boy’s parents also report that he’s been shaving for more than a year.” Poor kid.

Anything else you would recommend for our readers?
Books small enough you can carry them in your pocket:
Intimate Strangers by Breyten Breytenbach
A Giacometti Portrait by James Lord
The Shape of a Pocket by John Berger
Species of Spaces and Other Pieces by Georges Perec
Speaking to the Rose by Robert Walser
Oases: Poems and Prose by Alastair Reid
D’Apres Tout: Poems by Jean Follain (translated by heather McHugh)
The Path: A One Mile Walk Through the Universe by Chet Raymo
American Sonnets by Gerald Stern
Eros es más by Juan Antonio González Iglesias ("Eros Is More" in English)

-N

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

From the Blue - Contributors Read & Recommend #2

Round 2 of our contributor interview series finds us talking with Oliver de la Paz, whose poem "My Truant Words Have Got Me All Messed Up—A Blues" is part of the Blue Feature in our latest (32.1) issue! Oliver is the author of three books of poetry: Names Above Houses, Furious Lullaby, and, most recently, Requiem for the Orchard. He is the co-chair of the Kundiman.org advisory board and teaches literature and creative writing at Western Washington University.

I'm really jazzed to see the short story collections he mentions below, because these are all works I've read in the past year, loved, and would absolutely recommend. Now, without further ado!

What are you reading right now?
Right now I'm juggling several short story collections: Anthony Doerr's Memory Wall and The Shell Collector, Kelly Link's Magic for Beginners, Annie Proulx's Close Range. Summer's the only time I have prolonged stretches where I can read an involved narrative, only these days now that I've got two kids, I can only devote enough time to read a short story.

What is the best thing you've read all summer?
It has to be a tie between Anthony Doerr's "Memory Wall," and "The Hunter's Wife." These are longer stories out of two different collections and they both have strong elements of speculation. "Memory Wall" takes place in the future while "The Hunter's Wife" has to do with an empath.

What book started it all for you?
For poetry it was, strangely, Robert Penn Warren's Collected Poems. When my parents first moved to the United States, they purchased a subscription to Readers' Digest, thinking such reading would assist them in their transition to a new country. Part of the deal for the Readers' Digest membership was they could select books from the Readers' Digest library. The Collected Poems was one of the selections, so they chose it. I "discovered" poetry by stumbling upon this book in my parents disheveled library. I, of course, didn't understand Penn Warren's work at the time (I was really young), but I experimented with writing poetic lines.

Anything else you would recommend for our readers?
I'll give you a list of "hybrid" books--ignore the numbers, they're in really no order. I've been teaching a prose poem class as a mixed genre class over here at Western Washington, so I like to recommend my students books that have trouble fitting into genre categories:
1. Carol Guess's Tinderbox Lawn
2. James Galvin's The Meadow
3. Jenny Boully's The Body: An Essay
4. Kazim Ali's Bright Felon

Stay tuned for Curtis Bauer on Friday!

Monday, August 9, 2010

1/2 K Prize Winner 2010

We are taking a momentary pause for our reading recommendation series to Congratulate and Thank winner and all the participants of our 2010 1/2 K Prize! The 1/2 K prize is one of my favorites to read for. With the only rules being: no more than 500 words and no line breaks, we never know what we are going to get, but we are always blown away by the variety and awesomeness of all our submissions.

This year we are pleased to say
Congratulations Stripped - Myspace Glitters

to Paul Griner of Louisville, KY for his piece, “You’re Going to Miss Me When I’m Gone.” Alberto Rios, our esteemed final judge selected this piece as our winner and said, "With its deceptively simple voice, “You’re Going to Miss Me When I’m Gone” reminds us of something liminal but true—that the world is at work as much as we are, vibrant with intent and purpose and potential. In this piece, a knife is a knife—and not simply a word. Metaphoric as much as literal, quick as the slice of that knife, in these few moments we enter our own world through another doorway."

Congratulations also to our Runner-Up, Megan Baxter of Hanover, NH, for her piece “Dear Billy the Kid.”


Thank You Glitters - Myspace Glitters

to all of the writers who submitted to this summer's contest and made it such a success and a joy to read for!

I'm feeling as glittery as the images on this post! Thank you all for submitting to and supporting the work at Indiana Review! We are now looking forward to our fiction prize.

--AKS

Friday, August 6, 2010

From the Blue - What Our Contributors Read & Recommend #1

It's balmy and beautiful here in Bloomington, IN and the Indiana Review staff is excited about the recent arrival of our Blue issue (32.1). For me, summer is a time for reading (well, when isn't?) and looking forward to new works coming out in the fall. In fact, I've always got my eyes peeled for book recommendations, which I also love to give! So, to celebrate the new issue and the wonderful writers it lovingly contains (as well as satisfy our literary nosiness), we thought it would be fun to ask our contributors a few questions about what they are reading, what they've loved, and what they are looking forward to in the next few months.

Our first contributor "interview" is with Elizabeth Wilcox, whose piece "Holding up traffic as if to say" appears in our latest issue. Elizabeth lives in Los Angeles, where she is an assistant lecturer at the University of Southern California. She is working towards a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing.

What are you reading right now?
The White Album, by Joan Didion. I can't get enough of Didion, especially her essays. I think it must be extremely annoying for my friends, because I'm forever interrupting stories and conversations with, "Oh, that reminds me of this great Didion essay ..."

"Classic" you've been meaning to read?
Believe it or not, I still haven't ever read Keats. I mean, I know the Grecian urn one, and the one where he pops the grapes on the roof of his mouth and it tastes like joy (is that right?), but that's the best I can do. It's shameful, really. Luckily, I've invented a project for myself this fall that's going to require me to be familiar with his works, so I should be able to wipe this blot off my poetic conscience soon.

What book started it all for you?
This is a tough question because it presupposes that I know when "it" all started. I didn't admit to myself that I was/wanted to be a "poet" (a title I'm still not sure of) until about five years ago. So the book of poetry that really made me sit up and say "Yes, I want to do this," would probably be Moy Sand and Gravel, by Paul Muldoon. My copy of it is full of underlines, of arrows and circles and exclamation marks. I am in love with the way that Muldoon is in love with words, the way he can be playful and silly and deadly serious all in one line. The way he's not afraid of rhyme, or of long lines, or of a moment in a poem that someone in a workshop would likely cross out.

But if you want to go back to the beginning, WAY back, you'd find yourself next to my crib where my grandfather was giving my parents a Complete Works of Shakespeare as my 1st birthday present. My parents thought he was crazy. They put it in a closet. Other people gave me stuffed clown toys, which seemed much more appropriate. But that Complete Works stayed with me, and I finally got it out and started thumbing through it in 5th grade, and I haven't been able to break the spell since. The clown toys, though, are long gone (thank god).


Next week we will have interviews with Oliver de la Paz and Curtis Bauer. Stay tuned!

-N

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Good reads

I found this ingenious bookshelf on Lifehacker. I've always been frightened of the stepladders often found in used bookstores and gargantuan private libraries, so this is excellent.

August means packing and moving for many here, so storage solutions have been on my mind -- and summer cleaning. Especially as most writers and vehement readers maintain a ferocious hoard of books. I moved here without lugging too many of my books with me, and yet I've found that I've had to call back home and have my parents ship more of my books to me just so I can find certain passages, paragraphs that still leave me stricken. And I've also been using BookMooch, which is a nifty indirect book-trading tool. My end result: lots of books, at least half of which I haven't finished. Sort of like transferring hundreds of songs to your MP3 player and skipping most of them.

So when do you think, I've got too much to read? Dear readers, do any of you have a specific solution, a ground rule? "One in, one out"? I've a friend who insists that audiobooks are the way to go, but that doesn't work for me.

And that said, what have you finished reading so far?

Lastly, the fiction submissions are pouring in! It's astounding.

-D

Monday, August 2, 2010

One Door Closes, Another Opens

Check out Armando Mariño featured in 32.1
at http://www.armandomarino.com/
The Closing Door: Congratulations, to our fourth and final winner of the Blue Trivia Contest, who answered quickly and correctly  Q#4: "Blue Bloods." That brings an end to our summer trivia contest! It was a lot of fun! Thanks to all the participants who emailed us. Though the contest has ended, its not too late to order a copy of the Blue Issue

The Opening Door: Fiction Submissions have Opened! Hurray! Hoorah! It's been a long time since we closed them, but we are now ready to receive new fiction work! Send your stories our way. Here is the complete guidelines and here is a link to our submission manager

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Blue Light Triva Contest, Round Four!

Hey all! This is Nicholae, IR's summer publicity and reviews intern, and I will be taking over for Kristina for this fourth and final trivia question.


So, in keeping with the blue theme:
What 19th century English idiom was (and still is) used to describe persons of noble birth and was originally ascribed to Spanish royalty claiming Visigoth descent?

The first person to correctly provide this expression wins a FREE copy of the 32.1 blue issue! Remember to send your answers to inreview (at) indiana (dot) edu. Good luck!

-N

Monday, July 26, 2010

Third trivia answer revealed!

Congratulations to Nick Bruno, who was the first to answer last week's Blue Light Contest question correctly. He wins a free copy of 32.1!

Pablo Picasso is one of the most recognizable painters of the 20th century because of his inspired "periods" -- Blue, Rose, African, and Cubist.  He claimed that his Blue period was inspired by the suicide of his friend Carlos Casagemas in February 1901.

One of Picasso's most famous paintings of the period was "The Old Guitarist," pictured here.

Be sure to check back Wednesday for our fourth and last trivia question! -K

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Blue Trivia Question the Third

 As a student of literature, I greatly admire my academic cousins in Creative Writing for their seeming fecundity of ideas. It's a phenomenon that has long fascinated me, and so I based our third trivia question on the subject of inspiration.

An early 20th-century painter claimed he was inspired by the color blue after the suicide of a close friend in 1901. The first to give the name of this painter's unfortunate friend wins a FREE copy of the 32.1 Blue Issue! Remember to e-mail your answer to inreview (at) indiana (dot) edu. -K

Photo Credit

Monday, July 19, 2010

Trivia Answer to Question the Second

Congratulations to Aaron Gilbreath, who answered last week's Blue Light Contest question correctly. He wins a free copy of 32.1!

A common ingredient of blue alcoholic beverages is Blue Curacao.  This often bright blue liqueur is made from the dried skin of bitter Laraha oranges.  An offshoot of Spanish Valencia oranges, the Laraha were originally grown on the island of Curacao and are known for their sweet fragrance.

Blue Light Trivia Question the Third will be posted Wednesday!

Until then... -K

Photo Credit

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Blue Light Trivia Contest round two


Photo by moniqe

Ah, summer and its frosted drinks. If only there was a hammock in this office. I've been getting some reading done, and by the way, Hayden's Ferry Issue #46 is just wonderful.

But onwards to question number two: What is the common ingredient in blue cocktails that makes them blue?

(Hint: it's simpler than a specific food color number.) Once again, send your answer to inreview (at) indiana (dot) edu for a chance to win a free issue!

-DK

Monday, July 12, 2010

First Blue Light Trivia Answer Revealed!

Congratulations to Sinead Lykins, who answered last week’s Blue Light Contest question correctly.  She wins a FREE copy of 32.1!

McKinley Morganfield, better known as the great Muddy Waters, was world-famous for such oft-covered hits as “Hoochie Coochie Man” and “I Just Want to Make Love to You.”  He also ranked #17 in Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

Waters was played pretty masterfully (in my opinion) by Jeffrey Wright in the 2008 film “Cadillac Records” -- with Mos Def as Chuck Berry.  Beyonce Knowles caught some flak for her portrayal of Etta James, but regardless, the film has merit. I recommend it to any blues lover.

Look out Wednesday for Question the Second!  Until then...  -K