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STAGGER TOO

When Wendy Xu started asking me questions for our interview in iO Poetry, we knew we were going to need two acts. Act two just went live this week, and you can read the first act here. We talk about advertisements in this one:

The one that gleams in my mind is a commercial for a popular tortilla chip that’s spraypainted with flavor and often gives people headaches because it contains MSG. I refuse to say the names because I refuse to say the names. In the commercial, two tortilla chips are boxing each other. The crowd is composed entirely of tortilla chips. At one point, one of the tortilla chips punches the other tortilla chip in the face, splits its respective head open, and these same tortilla chips come flying out of its head, like blood, and fly into the crowd of tortilla chips, who open their mouths and devour themselves. It’s a fascinating devolution metaphor when you think about it.”

S P D • S P D • S P D • S P D • S P D

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These lines you see here above were wrenched from a poem I wrote called “Ledger.” That poem lives inside a book I wrote called American Barricade, which is now available from Small Press Distribution. This is a kind of justice for me, because SPD is good to indie presses and writers and bookstores in a time when a lot of distributors aren’t. If you buy American Barricade from SPD, send me your address and a hello and I’ll mail you a postcard to use as a bookmark while you’re reading it.

BROOKLYN LAUNCH

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It took a long time to write this book called American Barricade. On Saturday, April 26, it’ll take but a few hours to launch that book into the sea. It’s happening at Over the Eight, in Brooklyn, 7-9PM, and there’ll be readings by me, Mark Leidner, Alex Dimitrov, Allyson Paty, and Ben Kopel. Come for some free booze, come for some books, let’s put this poetry to sleep. RSVP

VIOLATOR

One day Colorado Review asked me a few questions. We talked American Barricade, how to violate a sentence, grinding the axe with editors, the blue hour, fatalism. At one point I said this, but I don’t remember saying it:

The failure of names, our failure to live up to the names we are given—whether those names are son, father, friend, sonnet, United States, mother, wife, lullaby, husband, America, you name it—is a thought I can never shake loose. Like as soon as you name a thing you begin to mark it with its own incommensurability to what you’ve called it to do.”

THE POEMS OF OTHERS

In which a poet hands over a basket of poems that he’s been unable to loose from his head in the past few weeks. 

                                                          • • •

Eight Poems - Sandra Simonds
"Young Adult" - Kelly Schirmann
"A Poem for Painters" - John Wieners
"If You Must Hide Love from Yourself" - Christopher Salerno
from “Citizen" - Claudia Rankine
"Odysseus Amongst…" - Dan Chelotti
"War Music" - Christopher Logue
"O Death" - J. Melillo & J. Skribsund
"Inside Beyonce" - Cathy Park Hong
from My Life - Lyn Heijinian

[image above is from a failed flier I was trying to make using lines from Ana Božičević’s poem “The Mystery of Seagulls”]

HATCHET JOB XXI

Hatchet Job was out west chopping down trees for the past two months, but now Hatchet Job is returned. Our twenty-first event happens on April 24, at Suburbia, in Brooklyn, 7PM, with Eileen Myles, Brian Blanchfield, Todd Colby, and Farnoosh Fathi. RSVP here

There’s only one way to consume an American Barricade, and this guy here has cracked the code. 

There’s only one way to consume an American Barricade, and this guy here has cracked the code. 

TRENCH MOUTH BE FREE

Alerty yr media: Black Cake Records has just released Trench Mouth, a chapbook in which I read some new poems, a few poems from American Barricade, and collaborate with John Berryman, Zachary Schomburg, and Ronald Reagan. Siouxsie says listening to Trench Mouth is like “hearing a poet get fired thirty times a minute for refusing to fire himself.” Trench Mouth was released alongside Worth is the Wrong Word, a new chapbook by Lisa Ciccarello. Both chaps are free for streaming and download, so put on your floor-punching shoes and take a listen.

STAGGER

Recently I talked to iO Poetry and the great Wendy Xu about my first book of poems, about the U.S., about April in New York City. Now it’s a real boy and you can read it. This is part one of the interview and I say words like this:

"In some ways this book begins in media res, after innocence has been sloughed off, and the poems are obsessed with telling you how that loss occurred. You’ve tried out life, money, having a pet, praying to god, glory, and then one day you wake up in a hospital bed. That’s the nature of silence in America. Your failed attempts at milk and honey come washing over you like a pall and they shut you very much up.”

ET TU, CRITICISM?

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Here’s what I’ll do: reviews of American Barricade are starting to rear their heads, so I’ll put them all here and pin this sucker to the top each time a new one shows some fang. This bag you’re looking at was created by Kelly Schirmann and you can obtain yourself one here.

Reviews of American Barricade

Entropy, Winter 2014
Electric Literature, Winter 2014
Nailed Magazine, Winter 2014