Dinner Companions

1. We told you about artist Malcolm McNeill’s Ah! Pook Is Here, a vast extended collaboration with William S. Burroughs, two years ago. Great news — the work is going to be published by Fantagraphics.

2. Sean Michael Hogan was one of the five winners of a writing contest we held on this site in 2003. He’s an excellent writer, and also an opinionated sports nut, and he’s combined both inclinations into an e-book, It’s Not Just A Ballgame Anymore. Here, also, is a short story by Sean about the frustrations of being a writer.

3. Clay January, aka Lightning Rod, was one of my favorite voices here on Litkicks during our crazy message board phase. The Rodster is now posting commentaries — sharp, as always — on his own site, The Poet’s Eye.

4. I didn’t know that the film The Hurt Locker originated as a poem by author/poet Brian Turner. He reads the poem in this video, and also explains what the title means.

5. Ron Kolm tells us about a new book called The Ass’s Tale by John Farris, apparently “a Rabelaisian story of a dog’s search for his identity, told in the existential down-and-dirty vein of Ralph Ellison, Ishmael Reed and Chester Himes” by a veteran of the literary streets.

6. Jason Boog wrote an article for Believer Magazine, Bohemian Rhapsody (preview only available here), about a bunch of poets who weathered the Great Depression by forming a collective called the Raven Poetry Circle.

7. “Why Franzen’s Freedom, though? What would Obama have done if handed a copy of Sh*t My Dad Says instead?” From D. G. Myers’ A Commonplace Blog.

8. Enigmatic young novelist Tao Lin has scored an impressive Time magazine cover parody at Seattle’s The Stranger, as well as an interview at swanky Black Book, which ponders whether or not he may have Asperger’s Syndrome. I’ve met him and I say he probably does — and he’s pretty good at milking it for all its worth.

9. I wasn’t sure at first about Washington Post book critic Ron Charles’s humorous new series of videos about books. I’m not sure why he has to play such a blatant (and grating) character. However, Charles is definitely hitting his stride with the third video (about e-books and the Booker Prize) . Really funny stuff, and a groundbreaking use of new media from an alleged newspaper critic.

10. I don’t know about some of these classic poetry parodies that go around. The .DOC File of Alfred J. Prufrock has a couple of transcendent moments, but I’m still telling you, I was this close to not bothering to link it here. This close. But, I realized, it’s not much worse than Christopher Buckley’s now antique spin on Allen Ginsberg’s Howl, titled Yowl, which has been getting pageviews on Litkicks for the past ten years. So I may as well link the Prufrock thing too. I also don’t know if this Hamlet on Facebook parody is quite as funny as it should be either, but what the hell, there it is.

11. Matthew Landis, who has written for Litkicks about Jorge Luis Borges, Antonin Artaud and other subjects, is asking for help financing (or, kickstarting, as they call it in the social networking world) a new musical project.

12. Another single-sentence animation from the folks at Electric Literature, art by Alice Cohen, sentence by Joy Williams.

13. The Arcade Fire’s The Wilderness Downtown web video asks you for location information, then uses map images from your hometown to illustrate the song.

14. Former Blondie guitar player Gary Lachman Valentine is heavily into Carl Jung.

15. Wind Up Guitar by Thurston Moore at the Whitney Museum in New York City.

16. For Moby Dick buffs: A young girl’s diary of a whaling voyage.

17. Postmodernism and Led Zeppelin: Everything is a Remix. They do know their Zeppelin.

18. Writer, Jewcy editor and literary raconteur Jay Diamond has written a chapbook.

19. Lydia Davis explains why we need (and she provided) a new English-language translation of Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary.

20. A new website devoted to lovable San Francisco latter-day Beat Poet Jack Micheline.

21. A bunch of commenters are trying to guess the next Nobel Prize for Literature over at a Words Without Borders comment thread. I’m in there, offering up Paul Auster (a longshot right now, but I bet he’ll collect one someday) and explaining why I think Philip Roth won’t win. Other guesses: Haruki Murakami, John Berger, Elias Khoury. Who are your picks?

22. Here’s a video of a dinner conversation with Henry Miller in 1979, the year before he died (that’s him, reaching for the gravy, in the image at the top of this page). One of the topics of conversation: whether or not Henry Miller will win the Nobel Prize. He didn’t.

10 Responses

  1. Haruki Murakami gets my vote!
    Haruki Murakami gets my vote!

    About three years ago, someone told me my fiction reminded them of Murakami after reading my book “Space Savers.” A couple of months ago, another person, totally unrelated to the first, told me the same thing after reading “Tamper.”

    The second person had no idea that someone else had made the same comparison. They don’t know each other and live hundreds of miles away. What else could I do? I finally read “Kafka on the Shore,” loved it, and now I’m reading “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.” Ditto for that one.

    How humbling and encouraging to be compared to this Haruki Murakami! Note to self: They said I reminded them of the guy – not that I was anywhere near as good a writer!

  2. p.s. – I just went back and
    p.s. – I just went back and re-read the article on Litkicks by Matthew Landis. Quite good. I’m going to take a good look at his new project.

  3. henry miller and actress
    henry miller and actress brenda venus are pictured…she was in the eiger sanction w/clint eastwood……lrod’s poets eye…o yeah!!!!…..henry really wanted that nobel prize….bad…

  4. I would love Paul Auster to
    I would love Paul Auster to win it, but I am so much a fan of Murakami. The bits of surrealism he weaves in are quaint yet mesmerizing.

  5. thanks levi!
    so when bush

    thanks levi!

    so when bush was president he remarked at some point that he was reading camus’ “the stranger,” and i was pretty proud of myself for using some of its first chapter in a lesson on character traits this week in my 8th grade english class.

    i never thought i’d be more likely to choose something in bush’s library for that kind of thing than something in obama’s library, but i still appreciate franzen at the very least for doing what he can to keep the american novel going. not an easy task.

    anyway, who you callin opinionated???

  6. I’ve read plenty of Henry
    I’ve read plenty of Henry Miller’s books. He was a bawdy novelist way back when. He was a bohemian writer who
    anticipated the “Beat Generation” and was before his time.
    He finally made some royalties in the States while in his late middle age. (Incidentally, your “Action Poetry” page is off line–
    the featured items come up, but the regular page comes up blank.)

  7. I finally watched the Henry
    I finally watched the Henry Miller, dont’cha know. Really enjoyed it!

    People had been telling me for years that I should read Henry Miller, but all I ever heard about it was the obscenity ban. I’ve got nothing against obscenity, but I wondered if there was any more to it than that. I finally read Tropic of Cancer a few months ago. I was delighted find that the book lives up to its reputation as great literature. I’m sure I don’t have to tell most of you what a witty, fun, and outlandish story it is.

  8. Levi! I’ve finally caught up
    Levi! I’ve finally caught up with, well life! Over the past few weeks. Thanks so much for posting the link to the Kickstarter (also in my homepage…harumph). Things are going well (62% funded with one week to go…still need help, but it’s doable!). I just wanted to stop by, give an update and again say thank you so, so much for yr continued support for more than a DECADE….that’s how long I’ve read this site and I was posting in the Action Poetry forum and submitting articles for about that long too. Quite a testament to yr staying power!

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What We're Up To ...

Litkicks will turn 30 years old in the summer of 2024! We can’t believe it ourselves. We don’t run as many blog posts about books and writers as we used to, but founder Marc Eliot Stein aka Levi Asher is busy running two podcasts. Please check out our latest work!