To the White Sea

images.jpgLet’s go back to the early 1970’s. I came home from work with a fresh, crisp paperbound copy of Deliverance by James Dickey.

I had stumbled upon Dickey in the public library and had read his first three volumes of poetry. Then he showed up for a reading at the university and I got more of a sense of what he was like: something that helped me understand his poems a little better (later I would drive across western Virginia and see the oceans of kudzu which also helped understand certain poems).

In graduate school Dickey visited one of my classes, reading his poems and answering student questions which he had probably responded to over and over through the years. I sat in the far back corner of the room nursing an intense desire to relieve myself in the men’s room but the dilemma was how to make it to the door, walk in front of Dickey or behind him. I walked behind him with a meek “excuse me” and was humiliated when one of my favorite contemporary poets humorously accused me of disliking his poems so much that I had to leave the room.

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What To Do With Chuck Palahniuk

images.jpgEveryone knows Fight Club. Probably more know the very successful movie than the fact that it was originally a story and then a novel by a then unsuccessful young writer, Chuck Palahniuk. Since Fight Club, Palahniuk has published a long list of works, most which can be best described as transgressional fiction. Here at ACOR we like transgressional fiction and have therefore read a great number of Palahniuk’s novels.

But how good is this author? How important is his work?

Chuck Palahniuk has been viciously criticized for writing the crudest juvenile gross-out novels, each new one attempting to outdo the sleaze and degradation of the earlier works. But if your forte is sleaze and degradation, isn’t it a positive sign that you are investigating more imaginative scenarios to shock and disgust your readers?

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Architectures of Experience

conj68aI have said it before but it always holds true: when you subscribe to a publicatiion that only comes out twice a year, it’s always a surprise when that neatly packaged journal is found lurking in the mailbox. What is it? Who is it from? Zip open the cardboard container and realize that another six months have passed.

It’s Conjunctions #68: Inside Out: Architectures of Experience.

Here’s what the editor, Bradford Morrow, says about this issue:

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Make the Bookcase Higher

imgresWhen you realize that I probably ignore nine out of ten new book titles I run across during the month, it’s still amazing that I can limit these suggestions to one-a-day. Add to that all the books I already have on my new bookshelves and I can hear the blind fury coming down the stairs looking to snip my aging thread before I can even make a dent in all this desirable reading.

Rather than panic, though, I have found the time and needed concentration to read eight to twelve books each month and being a retired old man gives me an excuse to lie in bed with my iPhone or sit comfortably at my desk reading on my iPad. Then there is my new tactic: reading real ink and paper books sitting on my porch in my rocking chair with the sun keeping me warm (and sometimes a little sweaty).

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